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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,
[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."]
C. 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,
C. Darwin to W. D. Fox.
Cambridge, Sunday, January 23, 1831. MY DEAR Fox,
I do hope you will excuse my not writing before I took my degree. I felt a quite inexplicable aversion to write to anybody. But now I do most heartily congratulate you upon passing your examination, and hope you find your curacy comfortable.
If it is my last shilling (I have not many), I will come and pay you a visit.
I do not know why the degree should make one so miserable, both before and afterwards. I recollect you were sufficiently wretched before, and I can assure [you] I am now, and what makes it the more ridiculous is, I know not what about. I believe it is a beautiful provision of nature to make one regret the less leaving so pleasant a place as Cambridge ;
and amongst all its pleasures—I say it for once and for all — none so great as my friendship with you. I sent you a newspaper yesterday, in which you will see what a good place [10th] I have got in the Poll. As for Christ's, did you ever see such a college for producing Captains and Apostles? * There are no men either at Emmanuel or Christ's plucked. Cameron is gulfed, together with other three Trinity scholars! My plans are not at all settled. I think I shall keep this term, and then go and economise at Shrewsbury, return and take my degree.
A man may be excused for writing so much about himself when he has just passed the examination; so you must excuse [me]. And on the same principle do you write a letter brimful of yourself and plans. I want to know something about your examination. Tell me about the state of your nerves; what books you got up, and how perfect. I take an interest about that sort of thing, as the time will come when I must suffer. Your tutor, Thompson, begged to be remembered to you, and so does Whitley. If you will answer this, I will send as many stupid answers as you can desire.
Believe me, dear Fox,
* The “ Captain " is at the head of the “ Poll": the “ Apostles” are the last twelve in the Mathematical Tripos.
[In a letter addressed to Captain Fitz-Roy, before the Beagle sailed, my father wrote, “What a glorious day the 4th of November * will be to me-my second life will then commence, and it shall be as a birthday for the rest of my life.”
The circumstances which led to this second birth-so much more important than my father then imagined-are connected with his Cambridge life, but may be more appropriately told in the present chapter. Foremost in the chain of circumstances which led to his appointment to the Beagle, was my father's friendship with Professor Henslow. He wrote in a pocket-book or diary, which contain a brief record of dates, &c., throughout his life :
"1831. Christmas. — Passed my examination for B. A. degree and kept the two following terms.
“During these months lived much with Professor Henslow, often dining with him and walking with him ; became slightly acquainted with several of the learned men in Cambridge, which much quickened the zeal which dinner parties and hunting had not destroyed.
“In the spring paid Mr. Dawes a visit with Ramsay and Kirby, and talked over an excursion to Teneriffe. In the
* The Beagle did not however make her final and successful start until December 27,