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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox    [15 October 1829]

Christ College [Cambridge]


My dear Fox

I am afraid you will be very angry with me for not having written during the Music Meeting, but really I was worked so hard that I had no time: I arrived here on Monday, & found my rooms in dreadful confusion, as they have been taking up the floor, & you may suppose that I have had plenty to do for these two days.—

The Music Meeting was the most glorious thing I ever experienced: & as for Malibrand,1 words cannot praise he[r] enough, she is quite the most charming person I ever saw.— We had extracts out of several of the best Operas, acted in character, & you cannot imagine, how very superior it made the concerts to any I ever heard before.—

J. de Begnis2 acted Il Fanatico3 in Character, being dressed up, an extraordinary figure gives a much greater effect to his acting. He kept the whole theatre in roars of laughter.— I liked Madam Blasis4 very much, but nothing will do after Malibrand; who sung some comic songs, & persons heart must must have been made of stone not to have lost it to her.—

I lodged very near the Wedgwoods & lived entirely with them, which was very pleasant, & had you been there it would have been quite perfect.— It knocked me up most dreadfully, & I never will attempt again to go to two things the same day.—

I passed through London on Sunday, but Mr. Hope was not there: Weaver in Birmingham has a very good collection, but does not know much about them, & I bought 15s. worth of insects of him: one insect, if it is British, quite surpasses my knowledge.— Would you believe it, that I have the Endomychus coccineus, a bad specimen however, given me by Mr. Hope?— I hope you have found something in the Fungi: any how tell me when you, what you have done in Entomology.—

Cambridge is most wonderfully empty. Wilmer & the Rev— Robinson5 are the only men up that you know: Poor Robinson has got to go in again for his degree as he had not entirely kept one of his terms.—

Your conjecture was perfectly right about the letter, when I came home I found it in my great big top-coat, to my sisters no small disgust & indignation.— I suppose you have sent Stephens Catalogues to Shrewsbury, from whence I have ordered them to be sent here: it is a pity, as they have come so late, that they were sent for at all.— Do write soon & tell me your plans. I earnestly hope that you mean to come up early & stay for some time: it will be so very snug being together once more.—

Yours most sincerely | Charles Darwin


Il fanatico per la musica, opera by Antonio Sacchini. De Begnis sang the aria ‘I violini’. (Birmingham Musical Festival programme, 8 October 1829, Birmingham Central Libraries.)
George Alington Robinson who was ordained deacon in 1829 (Alum. Cantab.).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.


The Music Meeting was "glorious"; Malibran outshone all others.

Missed Hope in London.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Christ’s College, Cambridge
Cambridge ⁠⟨⁠O⁠⟩⁠C 16 1829
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 23)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 73,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

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