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Letter 1842

Darwin, C. R. to Tegetmeier, W. B.

15 Mar [1856]

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    Asks WBT to try to purchase some specific pigeons.

Transcription

Down Bromley Kent

March 15th

My dear Sir

I am going to beg a rather unreasonable favour of you.— I called yesterday at Mr H. Weirs & he told me that some Leghorn Runts are to be sold on Tuesday at Stevens. Would you be so kind as to purchase a pair for me (or single bird) that is if the Birds have short tail, long legs & long neck, in short appear of a different shape from your Smyrna Runts, which in shape are like what I already possess.—

I would go as far 20s, or 25, or even 30, if they appear very distinct in shape; but Mr Weir thought that perhaps they would go for under 20s

I presume that you could purchase a basket & send them with the enclosed address by some trustworthy Porter to Golden Cross, Charing Cross by 3 oclock. & I could repay you immediately for these incidental expences & whatever you paid for them.— But I am well aware that I am asking you to take a very scandalous amount of trouble.—

If by any odd chance a pair of black Carriers, very long in the Beak & narrow in the Head, were to be sold for 20s (I do not care much for wattle) I shd be glad of them. But the Leghorn Runts are important, as I shd never be able to pick up skeleton.—

Forgive me if you can & believe me | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1842.f1
    Dated by the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 20 March [1856].
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    f2 1842.f2
    Harrison William Weir was a noted pigeon fancier, animal painter, and member of the Philoperisteron Society who lived in Peckham, Kent. He illustrated Tegetmeier's Poultry book (Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7) and was to have provided the text for the pigeon and rabbit sections of the work if publication had not ceased prematurely. Weir and Tegetmeier collaborated on a work on pigeons in 1868 (Tegetmeier and Weir 1868). CD acknowledged his indebtedness to Weir in Variation 1: 132 n. 2.
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    f3 1842.f3
    John Crace Stevens. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 January [1856], n. 1.
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    f4 1842.f4
    The departure point for the coach that called at Farnborough, two miles from Down (Post Office London directory 1858).
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    f5 1842.f5
    CD described the Leghorn runt as a breed of pigeons that was probably extinct in Europe in Variation 1: 144. He knew of it only through the description and illustration in Aldrovandi 1599– 1603 and in [J. Moore] 1765 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV).
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