The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 57 of 188

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

[Cambridge] Thursday [March, 1830].

My dear Fox,

I am through my Little-Go!!! I am too much exalted to humble myself by apologising for not having written before. But I assure you before I went in, and when my nerves were in a shattered and weak condition, your injured person often rose before my eyes and taunted me with my idleness. But I am through, through, through. I could write the whole sheet full with this delightful word. I went in yesterday, and have just heard the joyful news. I shall not know for a week which class I am in. The whole examination is carried on in a different system. It has one grand advantage–being over in one day. They are rather strict, and ask a wonderful number of questions.

And now I want to know something about your plans; of course you intend coming up here: what fun we will have together; what beetles we will catch; it will do my heart good to go once more together to some of our old haunts. I have two very promising pupils in Entomology, and we will make regular campaigns into the Fens. Heaven protect the beetles and Mr. Jenyns, for we won’t leave him a pair in the whole country. My new Cabinet is come down, and a gay little affair it is.

And now for the time–I think I shall go for a few days to town to hear an opera and see Mr. Hope; not to mention my brother also, whom I should have no objection to see. If I go pretty soon, you can come afterwards, but if you will settle your plans definitely, I will arrange mine, so send me a letter by return of post. And I charge you let it be favourable–that is to say, come directly. Holden has been ordained, and drove the Coach out on the Monday. I do not think he is looking very well. Chapman wants you and myself to pay him a visit when you come up, and begs to be remembered to you. You must excuse this short letter, as I have no end more to send off by this day’s post. I long to see you again, and till then,

My dear good old Fox,
Yours most sincerely,
Charles Darwin.

[In August he was in North Wales and wrote to Fox:–

“I have been intending to write every hour for the last fortnight, but really have had no time. I left Shrewsbury this day fortnight ago, and have since that time been working from morning to night in catching fish or beetles. This is literally the first idle day I have had to myself; for on the rainy days I go fishing, on the good ones entomologising. You may recollect that for the fortnight previous to all this, you told me not to write, so that I hope I have made out some sort of defence for not having sooner answered your two long and very agreeable letters.”]

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

[Cambridge, November 5, 1830.]

My dear Fox,

I have so little time at present, and am so disgusted by reading that I have not the heart to write to anybody. I have only written once home since I came up. This must excuse me for not having answered your three letters, for which I am really very much obliged…

I have not stuck an insect this term, and scarcely opened a case. If I had time I would have sent you the insects which I have so long promised; but really I have not spirits or time to do anything. Reading makes me quite desperate; the plague of getting up all my subjects is next thing to intolerable. Henslow is my tutor, and a most admirable one he makes; the hour with him is the pleasantest in the whole day. I think he is quite the most perfect man I ever met with. I have been to some very pleasant parties there this term. His good-nature is unbounded.

I am sure you will be sorry to hear poor old Whitley’s father is dead. In a worldly point of view it is of great consequence to him, as it will prevent him going to the Bar for some time.–(Be sure answer this:) What did you pay for the iron hoop you had made in Shrewsbury? Because I do not mean to pay the whole of the Cambridge man’s bill. You need not trouble yourself about the Phallus, as I have bought up both species. I have heard men say that Henslow has some curious religious opinions. I never perceived anything of it, have you? I am very glad to hear, after all your delays, you have heard of a curacy where you may read all the commandments without endangering your throat. I am also still more glad to hear that your mother continues steadily to improve. I do trust that you will have no further cause for uneasiness. With every wish for your happiness, my dear old Fox,

Believe me yours most sincerely,
Charles Darwin.

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