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Letter 2325

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

8 Sept [1858]

    Summary Add

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    Has finished with and is disposing of his pigeons.

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    Invites WBT to Down; would like to see his bees' cells.

Transcription

Down Bromley Kent

Sept 8th

My dear Sir

At last, thank God, I have done with my Pigeons, & have just killed all the scores of cross-breds— I have about 22 pure-birds left; several of these are old & I know not what the merit of the others are.— I have lost a great number lately all my Laugher & Trumpeters except one, which seems sick:— Whether these are worth your acceptance & coming for, I do not at all know.— I want to clear away my pigeon-houses, so shd be glad, if you think it worth coming here, if you could come on Tuesday 14th or Wednesday 15th—& bring baskets. My horses are light & I cannot send carriage for you both ways, but I have comfortable tax-cart, in which I always send my sons & I would send it to meet you on either day, which you could appoint, to meet the Train which Leaves London Bridge (N. Kent Division) at 10o 30': you must get out at Mason's Hill Bromley: we dine at 112 & then with another horse I could send you back.

If you are inclined to come, I shall much enjoy seeing you, but my health has lately been bad that I am physically incapable of talking for long.—

If you have Hive with incipient cells, will you bring it for me to see. Have you taken comb with cylindrical cell: I shd excessively like to see that.—

I have some Burmese Fowl-skins for you to take back, if you think fit—

Will you let me have the skeleton head of the wild Indian Fowl?

Will you kindly let me have early answer; & excuse this hurried note, for I am very far from well.—

Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

If you cannot come on Tuesday or Wednesday will you fix early day af-terwards, & I will let you know whether that will suit me— Next Monday & Monday week, I am engaged.— Your train had better always be 10o 30'.—

P.S. | I have just received your note, for which many thanks. We will talk about Bees cells when we meet.— Assuredly I shd state, whenever I publish, which will not be for long, that you suggested to me the crude wax.—

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2325.f1
    Dated by CD's reference to having completed his work on pigeons. CD recorded in his journal that his pigeon manuscript, which had been interrupted in June, was recommenced in August 1858 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
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    f2 2325.f2
    It seems that CD wrote up his pigeon work in full, although he was also at the time composing the ‘abstract’ of his species book. The pigeon manuscript comprised folios 50–96 of Natural selection; it was compressed for CD's ‘abstract’ (Origin, pp. 20–9) and then later expanded for Variation. The original has not been located in the Darwin Archive.
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    f3 2325.f3
    CD had offered his pure-bred pigeons to Tegetmeier (see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 April [1858] and [21 April 1858]). The phrase ‘or Wednesday 15th—’ has been deleted, presumably by Tegetmeier in selecting the date of his visit.
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    f4 2325.f4
    ‘A two-wheeled open cart drawn by one horse, and used mainly for agricultural or trade purposes, on which was charged only a reduced duty (afterwards taken off entirely).’ (OED).
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    f5 2325.f5
    See CD note. For his earlier questions to Tegetmeier on this topic, see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858], 9 May [1858], and 8 [June 1858].
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    f6 2325.f6
    See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 17 January [1858].
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    f7 2325.f7
    CD had lent Tegetmeier the skull of a wild jungle fowl from India sent to him by Edward Blyth in 1855 (Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 6 December [1855]).
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    f8 2325.f8
    See CD note transcribed following the letter.
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    f9 2325.f9
    Cited in Origin, p. 228. See also letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 8 [June 1858].
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    f10 2325.f10
    CD's note pertains to his subsequent conversation with Tegetmeier. It is in DAR 48 (ser. 2): 32. Tegetmeier's statement about the quantity of sugar needed to secrete a pound of bees' wax is given in Origin, p. 233. Further notes with various dates in September 1858 (DAR 48 (ser. 2): 33–41) reflect CD's interest in bees' cells at this time.
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    f11 2325.f11
    Perhaps Miner 1849. There is a short abstract of this work in CD's notes on bees' cells (DAR 48(ser. 2): 20).
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    f12 2325.f12
    CD refers to the work of François Huber (F. Huber 1814). For CD's disagreement with previous descriptions of the initial stages in the formation of bees' cells, see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier,9 May [1858] and 8 [June 1858], and to W. D. Fox, 27 [June 1858].
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