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Darwin Correspondence Project

To WDFox   29 October [1872]

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct. 29th

My dear Fox

Your old Lady might just as well have said we were gone visiting to the moon.1 We have, however, been away from home & returned only on Saturday from a villa which we took for 3 weeks at Sevenoaks, close to the magnificent Knole Park; as I had been working at the microscope & my head had failed.2 Three weeks of extreme dullness have done me some good; but my strength fails more & more, & I find I require a rest every 6 weeks or so.— I really have no news to tell about myself, except that I finished some two months ago a small book on Expression, & which will be published at Murray’s sale early in November. I shall soon receive copies & will send you one.3 Whether you or anyone will care much about it, I know not.— How I wish I could accept your invitation & pay you a visit at Sandown;4 but I have long found it impossible to visit anywhere; the novelty & excitement would annihilate me.—

I am heartily glad to hear that you are better. You mentioned when you wrote last, that before leaving the Isle of Wight you had been bad.—5 I cannot give much of an account of my children. Three of my sons are ailing more or less, & have inherited my poor constitution.6 It is a fearful misfortune

Farewell | My dear old Friend | Ch. Darwin


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 October [1872] and n. 5. Knole Park, in Sevenoaks, is a deer-park that dates from the fifteenth century.
Expression was published by John Murray in November 1872 (Freeman 1977; on the sale dinner, see the letter to R. F. Cooke, 27 October [1872] and n. 6). Fox’s name is on CD’s presentation list (see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix V).
CD may refer to William Erasmus Darwin, George Howard Darwin, and Horace Darwin. George had been to a German spa in the summer, probably with Horace (see letter to WDFox, 16 July [1872] and n. 3). William’s ill health is mentioned in a letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, [22 August 1873] (DAR 239.23: 1.13).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Has finished Expression.

His strength fails more and more; needs to rest every six weeks or so.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
OC 29 72
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 151)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8585,” accessed on 31 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20