From W. D. Fox 18 [November 1870]1
Broadlands | Sandown | I. Wight
My dear Darwin
The sight of your hand writing did me much good. It would have greatly rejoiced me to have been able to run down to Down for a day, as Mrs Darwin kindly asked me to do, but I am obliged to be careful at this time of year, for fear of being laid up, and I felt I ought not to delay getting to Winter Quarters.2 As you ask me how I am, I am glad to say much better than I have been for some months, & quite hope to be able to get about thro the winter. I was very ill a few months ago, and hardly thought I should get over it.
I get very stiff and old in my feelings of body, and childish in my mind I think. I do not think I was ever more young in mind— in fact I have a very enjoyable existence, & I know few I wd exchange with. There now.
I wish you could give yourself a little rest, but I know you cannot. In cælo quies, in terra nulla.3 I hear sad tales about your Book about to come forth.4 I suppose you are about to prove man is a descendant from Monkeys &c &c Well, Well!— I shall much enjoy reading it. I have given up that point now. The three main points of difference to my mind—were that Men drink, smoke & thrash their wives—& Beasts do not.
But alas my faith is overthrown entirely. The Lady Monkey from the Andamans—drinks & smokes like a Christian; & evidently the Gentleman wd thrash, if not kill the Lady, if he had an opportunity.5
I always look at Books as I do Newspapers. I am not bound to tye my mind to that of the writer. There are points in your unrivaled Book “The Origin of Species”—which I do not come up to— but with these few expressions omitted, I go with it completely. I do not think even you will persuade me that my ancestors ever were Apes— but we shall see.
I have no religious scruples about any of these matters. I see my own way clearly thro them— —but I see many points I cannot get over, which prevent my going “the whole Hog” with you.
In a few years—if not sooner—we shall know a great deal more than we do now.— We are sadly cribbed here, and ones mind feels the impossibility of grasping what one longs to do. Well, well! (as a friend of mine always says in a difficulty) let us do our best, & hope for better things. I must run over & see you some day. Why not you & Mrs Darwin run over here, when you have finished your Book— you can study my little Apes & Apesses—
Kindest regards to Mrs Darwin & thanks for her note—
Always yours Affecly | W D Fox
Has heard "sad tales" about CD’s forthcoming book [Descent]; does not think even CD can persuade him his ancestors were apes.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7376,” accessed on 23 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7376