skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   1 September [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Sept 1.

My dear old friend.

I shd. have written before, but I have been in bed for some days with ugly Head symptoms, but the Doctors thinks that these are only secondary.2 They tell me, however, to do as little as possible for some time. I will therefore only write a line to say how glad I shd. be to see you here whenever I am decently well.— Your pleasant letter has pleased me much in many ways.3

Ah the old days! This is the first of September. How well I remember some of our shooting excursions.4

My head swims, I must write no more. | Farewell | My dear old friend | Ch. Darwin

My son George is better, but he has been compelled to give up his profession.—5

Emma is fairly well.— We are a poor lot.—


The year is established by the reference to George Howard Darwin’s giving up his profession (see n. 5, below).
CD had fallen ill with partial loss of memory and ‘sinking fits’ on 26 August 1873 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
CD and Fox went shooting together when they were Cambridge undergraduates; Fox, however, gave up the sport when he took holy orders (see Correspondence vol. 1, letter from W. D. Fox, 1 November 1834). The partridge-shooting season starts on 1 September.
In April 1873, George Howard Darwin’s ill health had forced him to give up his plans to practise as a barrister (see ODNB; his decision is recorded in the letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [24] April 1873 (DAR 219.9: 101), and the letter from Emma Darwin to Horace Darwin, [25 April 1873] (DAR 258: 574)).


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

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Has been in bed for some days with ugly head symptoms. "We are a poor lot."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 152)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9040,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21