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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox    [24 December 1828]



My dear Fox

I am sorry I did not write to you, as I promised, on Monday, but we have had people in the house so could not.— I & Mr. Dash arrived quite safe here on Saturday morning He rises in my opinion hourly, & I would not sell him for a 5£ Pound note.— it would have excited your envy & spleen to have seen him on the scent of a covey of Birds, & the style in which he went down when I held up my hand.— I have begun to entomologize & have taken thirty specimens of Platynus Angusticollis: the best silpha: Dromius agilis, & a few other insects.—

You cannot imagine how pleased my Father was with the Death-Head’s;1 to use his own words “if he himself had thought for a week he could not picked out a present so acceptable”. He came in very tired from Nottinghamshire, & the sight of them acted like a charm— I hope it is not the Entomological Mr. Boothby, (who married Lord Vernons daughter), who is so very ill: My Father in his way back again, called at the Priory: where Mrs Darwin gave a magnifiqùe account of you & your character to my Father.—

Catherine had a letter the other day from Bessy Galton,2 which contained a flaming account of Erasmus3 entry in the Navy, ushered in by right honourable Lords & gallant Captains.—

This letter is a most unconnected tissue of facts; but whilst I recollect, I must put you in mind that you have my snuff box, & I have yours; doubtless yours is the most valuable: but mine was the gift of Mr. Owen, & he is the Father of Fanny, & Fanny, as all the world knows, is the prettiest, plumpest, Charming personage that Shropshire posseses, ay & Birmingham too, always excepting the blooming Bessy, & now that I know a most pleasant train of ideas are excited in your mind, I will not interrupt them by writing any more

But believe me my dear Fox | Yours most sincerely | Chas: Darwin.

Do write soon & tell me how Entomology goes on.— Catherine is ruminating some message to you, which will express a proper proportion of kindliness & decorum mingled in due measure. I cannot wait, so frame one according to your own liking.— I most cordially hope your degree goes on well. write a most minute & particular account of all your doings.


Death’s Head moth (Acherontia atropos).
Elizabeth Ann Galton.
Erasmus Galton, Bessy Galton’s brother.


CD is collecting entomological specimens;

extols the charms of Fanny Owen.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Shrewsbury ⁠⟨⁠DE⁠⟩⁠ 25 1828 153
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 7)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 54,” accessed on 20 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 1