skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox    [7 January 1829]



My dear Fox

You must have thought me a most ungrateful wretch to have taken not the slightest notice of your offer of getting up the morning of my departure from Cambridge; the reason was, (& I told Impey1 particularly to mention it to you) that I was called so late that in the hurry I forgot all about it, & in despair I rushed to your rooms, but found the staircase so dark, that I had not time to crawl up them.—

I am much obliged for your giving me so minute an account of your Ento- mological proceedings, although they have excited no small degree of envy & spleen: I literally can take nothing, excepting one small insect, something like the Trufle beettle, which Henslow gave us.—

The Chrysalis goes on very well, it is much more lively, so that if touched, it will roll itself about.— & it appears to me the parts about the head are very much more distinct than they formerly were.— The process is,—a flower potfull of dampish mold, & over that a stratum of not very dry sand, on which the Chrysalis is placed; an inverted glass vessel, which I suppose prevents too much evaperation, is placed over it,—the whole kept in a warm room.—

I suppose you have heard poor Mr Boothby is dead he expired whilst my Father was in the house.— Lord Vernon also is there he is quite paralytic on one side.— What an excessively nice old gentleman he appears to be, it makes one pity him so much more.—

From the bottom of my heart I pity your dismal state in Cambridge: I suppose there is scarcely any body up there, & wit⁠⟨⁠h⁠⟩⁠ this odious weather, & still worse degree, how it must make you long to be at dear old Osmaston.—

How very odd it is you do not hear from Chapman—2 You can scarcely wish, half so much as I do, for it to be settled favourably, as I should think a curacy in Derbyshire would be pleasanter to you, but to me it will make all the difference whilst I remain at Cambridge

My Father has given me 20£ towards going to Edinburgh, but I still remain in doubt. it is so very long a journey to take in winter.— Remember me kindly to Hore & Jem. Holden—3 I long to hear of your being AB. as I have no doubt I soon shall.—

I remain dear Fox yours sincerely | Chas. Darwin


Impey was CD’s ‘gyp’ (college servant). See Emma Darwin (1915) 2: 166.
Possibly Benjamin Chapman, a fellow undergraduate at Christ’s College.


Emma Darwin (1915): Emma Darwin: a century of family letters, 1792–1896. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1915.


Entomological news, his poor success in collecting, observation of chrysalis.

Commiserates with WDF in his dismal pre-examination state.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Shrewsbury JA 8 1829 153
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 8a)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 55,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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