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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox    1 April [1829]

Xst. College [Cambridge]

April 1st.

My dear Fox

In your letter to Holden you are pleased to observe, “that of all the blackguards you ever met with I am the greatest”: Upon this observation I shall make no remark, excepting that I must give you all due credit for acting on it most rigidly: And now I should like know, in what one particular are you less of Blackguard than I am? You idle old wretch why have you not answered my last letter which I am sure I forwarded to Clifton nearly 3 weeks ago? If I was not really very anxious to hear what you are doing: I should have allowed you to remain till you thought it worth while to treat me like a gentleman.—

And now having vented my spleen in scolding you, & having told you, what you must know, how very much & how anxiously I want to hear how you & your family are getting on at Clifton, the purport of this letter is finished. If you did but know how often I think of you & how often I regret your absence, I am sure I should have heard from you long enough ago: I find Cambridge rather stupid, & as I know scarcely any one that walks, & this joined with my lips not being quite so well, has reduced me to sort of Hybernation, which almost equals “poor little Whitmores” melancholy case.—1 Old Whitley has begun to take your place, & we have just commenced a regular series of constitutionals.—

Entomology goes on but poorly: a few Dromius & Agonum’s, together with the Pæcilus (with red thighs) make the g⁠⟨⁠reat⁠⟩⁠ part of what I have collected this ter⁠⟨⁠m⁠⟩⁠. I have caught Mr. Harbour letting Babington2 have the first pick of the beettles; accordingly we have made our final adieus, my part in the affecting scene consisted in telling him he was a d——d rascal, & signifying I should kick him down the stairs if ever he appeared in my rooms again: it seemed altogether mightily to surprise the young gentleman.—

I have no news to tell you, indeed, when a correspondence has been broken off like ours has been, it is difficult to make the first start again.— Last night there was a terrible fire at Linton eleven miles from Cambridge; seeing the reflection so plainly in sky, Hall,3 Woodyeare4 Turner5 & myself thought we would ride & see it we set out at 1/2 after 9, & rode like incarnate devils there, & did not return till 2 in the morning. altogether it was a most awful sight.—

I cannot conclude, without telling you, “that of all the blackguards I ever met with, you are ye greatest & the best | C Darwin.—

1 o’clock—going on very well


Eager to hear how WDF and his family get on.

Entomology goes poorly. Harbour has given C. C. Babington first pick of the beetles, and CD has stopped buying from him.

Fire at Linton.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Cambridge AP 2 1829
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 11)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 60,” accessed on 24 September 2023,

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