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cabinet is more magnificent than the most zealous entomologist could dream of; he appears to be a very good-humoured pleasant little man. Whilst in town I went to the Royal Institution, Linnean Society, and Zoological Gardens, and many other places where naturalists are gregarious. If you had been with me, I think London would be a very delightful place; as things were, it was much pleasanter than I could have supposed such a dreary wilderness of houses to be.
I shot whilst in Shrewsbury a Dundiver (female Goosander, as I suppose you know). Shaw has stuffed it, and when I have an opportunity I will send it to Osmaston. There have been shot also five Waxen Chatterers, three of which Shaw has for sale ; would you like to purchase a specimen? I have not yet thanked you for your last very long and agreeable letter. It would have been still more agreeable had it contained the joyful intelligence that you were coming up here; my two solitary breakfasts have already made me aware how very very much I shall miss you.
(Later on in the Lent term he writes to Fox :-
"I am leading a quiet everyday sort of a life; a little of Gibbon's History in the morning, and a good deal of Van John in the evening; this, with an occasional ride with Simcox and constitutional with Whitley, makes up the regular routine of my days. I see a good deal both of Herbert and Whitley, and the more I see of them increases every day the respect I have for their excellent understandings and dispositions. They have been giving some very gay parties, nearly sixty men there both evenings."]
C. Darwin to IV. D. Fox,
Christ's College (Cambridge), April 1 (1829) MY DEAR Fox,
In your letter to Holden you are pleased to observe" that of all the blackguards you ever met with I am the greatest.” Upon this observation I shall make no remarks, excepting that I must give you all due credit for acting on it most rigidly. And now I should like to know in what one particular are you less of a blackguard than I am? You idle old wretch, why have you not answered my last letter, which I am sure I forwarded to Clifton nearly three weeks ago? If I was not really very anxious to hear what you are doing, I should have allowed you to remain till you thought it worth while to treat me like a gentleman. And now having vented my spleen in scolding you, and having told you, what you must know, how very much and how anxiously I want to hear how you and your family are getting on at Clifton, the purport of this letter is finished. If you did but know how often I think of you, and how often I regret your absence, I am sure I should have heard from you long enough ago.
I find Cambridge rather stupid, and as I know scarcely any one that walks, and this joined with my lips not being quite so well, has reduced me to a sort of hybernation. ... I have caught Mr. Harbour letting — have the first pick of the beetles; accordingly we have made our final adieus, my part in the affecting scene consisted in telling him he was a d-d rascal, and signifying I should kick him down the stairs if ever he appeared in my rooms again. It seemed altogether mightily to surprise the young gentleman. I have no news to tell you ; indeed, when a correspondence has been broken off like ours has been, it is difficult to make the first start again. Last night there was a terrible fire at Linton, eleven miles from Cambridge. Seeing the reflection so plainly in the sky, Hall, Woodyeare, Turner, and myself thought we would ride and see it. We set out at half-past nine, and rode like incarnate devils there, and did not return till two in the
morning. Altogether it was a most awful sight. I cannot conclude without telling you, that of all the blackguards I ever met with, you are the greatest and the best,
C. Darwin to IV, D. Fox,
(Cambridge, Thursday, April 23, 1829.] MY DEAR Fox,
I have delayed answering your last letter for these few days, as I thought that under such melancholy circumstances my writing to you would be probably only giving you trouble. This morning I received a letter from Catherine informing me of that event,* which, indeed, from your letter, I had hardly dared to hope would have happened otherwise. I feel most sincerely and deeply for you and all your family; but at the same time, as far as any one can, by his own good principles and religion, be supported under such a misfortune, you, I am assured, will know where to look for such support. And after so pure and holy a comfort as the Bible affords, I am equally assured how useless the sympathy of all friends must appear, although it be as heartfelt and sincere, as I hope you believe me capable of feeling. At such a time of deep distress I will say nothing more, excepting that I trust your father and Mrs. Fox bear this blow as well as, under such circumstances, can be hoped for.
I am afraid it will be a long time, my dear Fox, before we meet; till then, believe me at all times,
Yours most affectionately,
C. Daru'in to W. D. Fox.
Shrewsbury, Friday (July 4, 1829). MY DEAR Fox,
I should have written to you before only that whilst our expedition lasted I was too much engaged, and the conclu
* The death of Fox's sister, Mrs. Bristowe.
sion was so unfortunate, that I was too unhappy to write to you till this week's quiet at home. The thoughts of Woodhouse next week has at last given me courage to relate my unfortunate case.
I started from this place about a fortnight ago to take an entomological trip with Mr. Hope through all North Wales ; and Barmouth was our first destination. The two first days I went on pretty well, taking several good insects; but for the rest of that week my lips became suddenly so bad,* and I myself not very well, that I was unable to leave the room, and on the Monday I retreated with grief and sorrow back again to Shrewsbury. The first two days I took some good insects. . . . But the days that I was unable to go out, Mr. Hope did wonders . ... and to-day I have received another parcel of insects from him, such Colymbetes, such Carabi, and such magnificent Elaters (two species of the bright scarlet sort). I am sure you will properly sympathise with my unfortunate situation : I am determined I will go over the same ground that he does before autumn comes, and if working hard will procure insects I will bring home a glorious stock.
My dear Fox,
C. Darwin to IV. D. Fox.
Shrewsbury, July 18, 1829. I am going to Maer next week in order to entomologise, and shall stay there a week, and for the rest of this summer I intend to lead a perfectly idle and wandering life. . You see I am much in the same state that you are, with this difference, you make good resolutions and never keep them; I never make them, so cannot keep them ; it is all very well writing in this manner, but I must read for my Little-go. Graham smiled and bowed so very civilly, when he told me
* Probably with eczema, from which he often suffered.
that he was one of the six appointed to make the examination stricter, and that they were determined this would make it a very different thing from any previous examination, that from all this I am sure it will be the very devil to pay amongst all idle men and entomologists. Erasmus, we expect home in a few weeks' time: he intends passing next winter in Paris. Be sure you order the two lists of insects published by Stephens, one printed on both sides, and the other only on one; you will find them very useful in many points of view.
Dear old Fox, yours,
C. Darwin to W. D. Fox.
Christ's College, Thursday (October 16, 1829). 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 and found my rooms in dreadful confusion, as they have been taking up the floor, and 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 ; and as for Malibran, words cannot praise her enough, she is quite the most charming person I ever saw. We had extracts out of several of the best operas, acted in character, and you cannot imagine how very superior it made the concerts to any I ever heard before. J. de Begnis f acted 'Il Fanatico' 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 Madame Blasis very much, but nothing will do after Malibran, who sung some comic songs, and [a] person's heart must have been made of stone not to have lost it to her, I lodged very near the Wedgwoods, and lived entirely with them, which was very pleasant, and had you
* At Birmingham.
| De Begnis's Christian name was Giuseppe.