To W. D. Fox 24 October 
12 Upper Gower St
Octob 24th —
My dear Fox
I have been intending for some time past to write to you, although I have little to say. My chief object is to get a letter from you, to tell me how you & MrsFox are, & whether there is any likelihood of your coming to London, as you told me at Bermingham this was possible. I had fully intended, when at Maer, to have paid you the morning visit I talked off, but during my whole visit in the country I was so languid & uncomfortable that I had but one wish & that was to remain perfectly quiet & see no one.— I scarcely even enjoyed my visit to Shrewsbury.— I have been much brisker since my return to London, & I am now getting on steadily, though very slowly with my work, & hope in a couple of months to have a very thin volume 8vo on Coral Formations published.1
Emma is only moderately well & I fear what you said is true “she wont be better till she is worse”.— We are living a life of extreme quietness: Delamere itself, which you describe as so secluded a spot, is, I will answer for it, quite dissipated compared with Gower St.— We have given up all parties, for they agree with neither of us; & if one is quiet in London, there is nothing like its quietness— there is a grandeur about its smoky fogs, & the dull distant sounds of cabs and coaches: in fact you may perceive I am becoming a thorough-paced cockney & I glory in thoughts, that I shall be here for the next six months.— I am afraid you will say if I had not anything better to write about than the advantages of London over country life, I had better have been quiet: but I have been thinking of writing for some time past, so write I would—do you follow my example & let me have a line from you—
I heard from Shrewsbury a few days since, that Mr & MrsFox2 were going to pay a visit there: my Father will enjoy very much having some family talk with MrsFox: I think our fathers have never seen each other. Talking of family affairs, can you tell me from memory what the motto to our crest is for I mean to have a seal solemnly engraved.— I have put your letter carefully by & for the life of me I cannot find it— it was aude ? et—?3 If your memory does not serve you, do not trouble yourself with looking in your papers—I gave you too much trouble before.— When at Shrewsbury I had a regular hunt through some old papers & pedigrees relating to our most ancient family, which as you say is older than the heralds office.— It has given me a great wish to see Elston,4 which some future year I will put into execution.— The pedigrees want filling up terribly; so ancient a family ought not to be neglected: My father gave me a curious old ivory box, which belonged to W. Darwin of Cleatham, who died in 1682.—5 By the way Hensleigh Wedgwood made a curious discovery regarding our august family, which I must tell you, that a W. Darwin my great grandfather is described in thePhil. Transacts for 1719, as a person of curiosity, who discovered the remains of a giant, evidently an Icthyosaurus.—so that we have a right of hereditary descent to be naturalists & especially geologists.—6
I had a letter yesterday from Caroline, the first I have received for a long time: she appears in much better spirits, & even writes about baby-linen & such points, which shows she can now somewhat master her grief.— I do not believe the deaths of but few babies have caused more bitter grief than hers, & I fear it will be a great draw back to her happiness through life.7
Goodbye my dear Fox, excuse this letter—I am very old & stupid | Ever yours, | C. Darwin
P.S. I shall direct to Delamere Rectory, though I dont know whether it is a Rectory or Vicarage, but one always ought to give the highest title
Hopes to publish volume on coral formations in a few months.
He and Emma live quietly, having given up parties.
Asks WDF if he remembers the Darwin family motto. He means to have a "seal solemnly engraved".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 541,” accessed on 21 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-541