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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   8 May [1858]

Down Bromley Kent

May 8th

My dear Fox

I send by this Post Dr. Lane’s Book, which you can keep as long as you like.1

I enjoyed your little visit extremely; & short as it was, you won golden opinions from the members of the Family there.—2 After you went, I thought of half-a-dozen subjects, which I shd. have much liked to have talked over with you.— I was an ungrateful dog not to have thanked you for all your several letters on Turkey chicks &c &c: and this, moreover, was the most serious kind of ingratitude; for it was ingratitude for favours to come; for I shall be very curious to hear about the Kite & Turkey-chicks by themselves.3 If you make the experiment, when the Hen is present, pray describe how far off the chicks run from her before they squat.

I got splendidly well the few last days at Moor Park, & walked one day two miles out & back; & I am now hard at work again as usual.—

Whenever you write, do tell me, whether you got your Hoes.

Farewell my good & dear Friend | Yours most truly | C. Darwin

Mem. if ever you see a Dun, even with only dorsal stripe, enquire colour of dam & sire: I have not been able even in one case to ascertain how Duns appear.—4


Lane 1857. CD and Fox had frequently corresponded about hydropathy, and it was Fox who first suggested that CD try the water-cure (see Correspondence vol. 4, letters to W. D. Fox, 6 February [1849] and 7 [July 1849]).
On 27 April 1858, Fox recorded in his diary: ‘Went to Moor Park to see Charles Darwin, who is at Dr Lane’s Hydropathic Establishment … Spent day there.’ (Fox family deposit, Darwin Archive, CUL). In DAR 205.11 (2): 108, there is a note dated ‘May 5/58’ describing the nest-building instincts of the golden wren (gold-crest) and giving Fox as the source.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Will be most curious to hear results of WDF’s experiment with a kite and turkey chicks "by themselves".

If WDF ever sees a striped dun horse, he should ascertain colour of dam and sire.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 113)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2270,” accessed on 17 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7