To W. D. Fox 21 October 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Fox
I am rather uneasy about you. When you wrote from Hampstead, you spoke uncomfortably about your health & as you have had at various times so many illnesses I should very much like to hear how you are—2
If you have strength & inclination, but not without, tell me what you can about the great magpie marriage that I may quote your account.3 What I call sexual selection as applied to birds has turned out to be an everlasting subject, & I am still at work on it.
Some time ago I broke down & we all went for 5 weeks to Freshwater Bay & enjoyed it much.4 I know you like hearing about our children so I may tell you that George has delighted us by getting his fellowship at Trinity this first year.5
Poor old Sedgwick now 84 yrs old, with a multitude of complaints, most kindly wrote to congratulate us.6
Leonard succeeded about half a year ago in getting in as No 2. into Woolwich & means to be a R. Engineer if he can.7 Henrietta has been touring in Switzerland & met there two of Sir F. Darwin’s daughters & much liked their frank & cordial manners.8
I have nothing more to say—for this note is written to extract an account, & I much hope a better account, of yourself—
My dear Fox | your sincere friend | Ch. Darwin
P.S. I have vague remembrance that you once mentioned to me instances of Horses, or dogs, or cattle, or pigs, in which the male preferred some particular female, or conversely the female allowed of the advances of some particular male.9
Have you ever kept an account, or know anyone who has done so, of number of males & females born, in pigs, dogs cattle, sheep, or poultry? I much want a large collection of facts on this head.10
Reminds WDF to write about the "great magpie marriage". Sexual selection an "everlasting subject".
News of his children.
Asks for information on instances of sexual preference in animals and data on numbers of males and females born in various domesticated species.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Fox, W. D.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (Fox 149); DAR 266
- Physical description
- breeding behaviour
- information, data, scientific description
- number, increase and decrease
- queries / requests
- sexual selection
- wild vs domestic forms
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6426,” accessed on 25 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6426