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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   [28 September 1841]

12 Up. Gower St


My dear Fox

I was very glad to receive so much an improved account of your wife— I heard from Shrewsbury, a few days before I received your note, that she had returned home & was surprisingly better— I earnestly hope for all your sakes she may continue to suffer less, though, as you say at the expence of being an invalid.— It is a long time now since I saw you both at the Isle of Wight.—1 Pray remember me very kindly to her, & as you seem to like the title of compadre, I hope she will not dislike being my commadre, which I have heard Spaniards, I know not whether in joke or earnest, call the wives of their compadres.—

You must give Mr. S. W. D. Fox a kiss for me, that is if you are as fond of kissing babies, as I am— some fathers are more cleanly in their tastes.— I am very glad you did not reject me as god-father— I hoped & expected you would not.— Has the ceremony taken place? Our children are baptized.— You were right in thinking I had left out the critical not.—2

I forget how long it is since I received your note, but I suspect I have left it rather long unanswered, which you would forgive, if you knew what a turmoil I have been living in house-hunting.— We have seen one near Chobham & Bagshot in Surrey, wh. we think will suit, but the vendor asks an exorbitant price.— I long to be settled in pure air, out of all the dirt, noise vice & misery of this great Wen, as old Cobbett called it— I am going to Westcroft (the name of one place) on Friday with a valuer & then mean to make an offer— We shall not move till next summer indeed I fear from requisite alterations not until Autumn.

I envy your discovery of the Cheirotherium footsteps—3 it must have been very interesting encountering these relics, which seem more real & recall the past far more vividly than old bones—the very emblem of the past.— I suppose I shall hear more about them in course of time.— Is it not singular how long obvious phenomena remain unobserved! I never cease marvelling at this.—

I am very glad you mean occasionally to pay London a visit— nothing on earth will be easier than coming on to us, when we are settled near Railroad in Surrey.— If you come up to town this autumn or winter do let me know beforehand & I have no doubt we shall be able to give you a bed & then we could see more of each other far over with less fatigue to me.— But I am grown a dull old spiritless dog to what I used to be.— One gets stupider as one grows older I think.—

Ever yours | My dear Fox | C. Darwin


20–1 November 1837 (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix II).
A creature known from footprints found in beds of the Red Sandstone in Saxony and named by Johann Jakob Kaup. See Buckland 1836, 1: 263–6 n.


Buckland, William. 1836. Geology and mineralogy considered with reference to natural theology. Sixth Bridgewater treatise. 2 vols. London: William Pickering.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Sends news of his house-hunting.

Envies WDF his discovery of Cheirotherium footprints.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 62)
Physical description
ALS 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 609,” accessed on 21 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2