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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 9 June 2023,

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