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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   26 May [1876]

At H. Wedgwoods Esqre | Hopedene | Dorking

May 26th

My dear Fox

You will see that we are not at home & shall not return for 12 days, as I stood much in need of a rest & change; so that I am very very sorry that I shall not be able to see you this time.—1

You enquire about poor Caroline: she is in a piteous state & has now been confined to her bed for 10 months— She is a little better & we have been scheming whether she cd. return to Leith Hill in a special train & bed carriage, but it is decided she is yet too weak, & God knows whether she will ever return.2

My son William of Southampton has had a serious accident; his horse fell heavily & caused concussion of brain; but he is going on very well & is here. I hope next week he will be able to go to see Paget, & then we shall learn how long precautions must be taken, but I fear it will be months before he will be quite himself again.—3

I sincerely hope Mrs Hughes,4 whom I remember very well, may go on well.— What a deal of illness & misery there is in the world. Remember me very kindly to Mrs Fox.— I had forgotten it was 30 years since her visit!5

Your old friend | C. Darwin


CD and Emma Darwin visited Hopedene, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey, home of Hensleigh Wedgwood, from 24 May to 7 June 1876, and then stayed at Hollycombe, the home of John and Ann Hawkshaw, until 10 June (‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). In July 1875, Fox had made inquiries about seeing CD; they probably met while CD was in London (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from W. D. Fox, 16 July [1875], and Appendix II).
Fox’s letter has not been found. Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, CD’s sister, had fallen ill during a visit to Felixstowe, probably in August 1875 (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from E. A. Darwin to Emma Darwin, 1 September [1875?] and n. 2). In April 1876, she had told CD that her patience was almost exhausted (letter to C. S. Wedgwood, 20 April 1876). Leith Hill Place in Surrey was the home of Caroline and Josiah Wedgwood III.
William Erasmus Darwin’s riding accident happened on 10 May (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242); James Paget had also been consulted when CD had a riding accident in 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter to James Paget, 29 April [1869]).
Frances Jane Hughes, Fox’s sister.
Ellen Sophia Fox had visited Down in 1846 (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to W. D. Fox, [before 3 October 1846] and n. 5).


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


Caroline [Wedgwood] has been ill for the last 20 months.

James Paget to be consulted about William Darwin’s brain concussion.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Hopedene, Dorking
MY 26 76
Source of text
University of British Columbia Library, Rare Books and Special Collections (Pearce/Darwin Fox collection RBSC-ARC-1721-1-11)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10515,” accessed on 14 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24