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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [25 March? 1877]1



My dear Father,

I see Mr Fox has Pulmonaria out, and he says it is well out in the woods. Do you want any points looked at or want any plants? I can run over next Sunday to the same old wood near Cowes & should enjoy the expedition.2

My stay here is very pleasant, as they are all very friendly and Mr Fox very kind & pleasant to listen to; there are 3 sisters 2 boys at home, and 3 friends staying besides me, so we are chuck full.3

It is the best house in Sandown with a nice Garden & fair view. The garden is overrun with thoroughbred fowls & tame wild ducks; & heaps of dogs about the place.

Sandown is really a far nicer place than I remembered it, I prefer it to Shanklin now.4

I am very glad I have made the Fox, acquaintance & shall come over again during the summer.

I have just been to evening church, as they all went, and am only now shaking off my rage against the sermon; we had a beautiful organ which kept me cooler.

We have a tremendous lot of talk about your Father5 whom Mr Fox seems to admire more than anyone he has known.

Your affect son | W E Darwin

Frightfully written better be read by M.6


The year is established by an early archivist’s note on the letter. The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter, the letter from W. D. Fox, 3 April [1877], and the letter from W. E. Darwin, 4 April 1877. The Sunday following 25 March 1877 was 1 April, and would have been when William planned to make his observations.
William was visiting William Darwin Fox. William Erasmus Darwin had made observations on the forms of flowers of Pulmonaria angustifolia (narrow-leaved lungwort) in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12). Cowes is a town on the Isle of Wight, about fifteen miles from William’s home in Bassett, Southampton. William had visited Cowes to make botanical observations in 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 24, Supplement, letter from W. E. Darwin, 11 October [1862]).
The ‘sisters’ were probably Fox’s youngest daughters, Theodora, Gertrude Mary, and Edith Darwin Fox; Reginald Henry and Gilbert Basil Fox were his youngest sons. The friends have not been identified.
Sandown and Shanklin are neighbouring seaside towns on the east coast of the Isle of Wight. CD went on holiday to both these places with William and the rest of the Darwin family in 1858; see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. D. Fox, 21 [July 1858].
Robert Waring Darwin.
M: mother (Emma Darwin).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Staying with W. D. Fox on the Isle of Wight. Offers to find Pulmonaria plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 67)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10922F,” accessed on 22 July 2024,