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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   18 May [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

May 18th

My dear Fox

It was very kind of you to take so much trouble about the curious dog; but unless one is on the spot it is hopelessly difficult to understand the amount & origin of difference. The dog, however, must be a most curious creature.—   I am glad to hear of a naturalist taking up so difficult & neglected a subject as spiders.—

If I have time & if in London moderately soon, I will look at the deer-Hybrid— But the fact is, if it appeared ever so intermediate I shd. not believe in its hybrid nature, unless after careful dissection of its internal organs; & one might easily be deceived by hoofs being filed &c &c.1

You will be sorry to hear that our eldest girl, Etty, has now been 3 weeks ill with odd fever, partly remittent partly typhoid;2 but I have great hopes we see signs of abatement. It has harassed us much, though not exactly frightened us. At one time, however, the Doctors seemed rather anxious.—   But I think it must end soon.— What a household you must have had with seven with Hooping Cough!

My health has been better of late, which I am inclined to attribute to mineral acids, no sugar, & drinking wine.—3

I do not know whether you ever see various Reviews, but the attacks have been falling thick & heavy on my now case-hardened hide.—   Sedgwick & Clarke opened regular battery on me lately at Cambridge Phil. Socy. & dear old Henslow defended me in grand style, saying that my investigations were perfectly legitimate.4 I have begun my bigger Book, but make very very slow progress.—

My dear old friend, | Yours affect | C. Darwin


See letter to W. D. Fox, 22 [March 1860].
Henrietta Emma Darwin had been diagnosed as having ‘a form of Typhus fever’ (letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 May [1860]).
For a description of CD’s new dietary regimen, see the letter to W. D. Fox, 22 [March 1860].


Attacks [on Origin] are "hot and heavy". Adam Sedgwick and William Clark at Cambridge Philosophical Society opened a battery. J. S. Henslow defended in grand style.

Slow progress on bigger book.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
MY 19 60
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 128)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2809,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8