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Letter 2620

Darwin, C. R. to Cresy, Edward, Jr

[12 Nov 1860]

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    Thanks for information about the weight of water.

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    Describes experiments on Drosera.


Down, Bromley, Kent

Monday night

Dear Cresy

Upon my life I think you must be the most good-natured man in the world. How capitally you have answered the question about the weight of water; you are as good, indeed a great deal better, than an Encyclopedia. How fortunate for me that I asked you about Hofman's note. What a horrid blunder I should have made! But what trouble you have taken for me.—   About the measure and weights I daresay your explanation is quite right, for I looked into old and new books; but there were also most stupid misprints.—   I shall permanently keep your letter.

As you seem a little interested about Drosera, I may mention that today I have been testing how light a weight will set a single hair moving, and I find 150 of an inch of finest cotton thread suffices and rather shorter length (measured by micrometer) of my wife's hair suffices; and I have sent today several inches of both to be weighed by good balance in Jermyn St.; and the result will show a very small fraction of a grain; so that the hairs are as sensitive to mechanical as to chemical action.— All the wild Droseras, I find, are dead for this year; so I must now write my paper and cannot try a few more experiments, as I much wished to do.

I have been much amused by your account of your conversation with Woodward and I should much like to hear you take him off. He is a very good man in his way, and his generalisations on Shells are really capital.

We returned home on Saturday evening; and my girl stood the journey well; but she is very weak.

With hearty thanks | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2620.f1
    Dated by the relationship to the letter from Edward Cresy, 10 November 1860, and to CD's return to Down on Saturday, 10 November (`Journal'; Appendix II).
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    f2 2620.f2
    Letter from Edward Cresy, 10 November 1860.
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    f3 2620.f3
    See letter from Trenham Reeks, 15 November 1860. Reeks worked at the Museum of Practical Geology in Jermyn Street, London.
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    f4 2620.f4
    See letter from Edward Cresy, 10 November 1860. CD refers to Samuel Pickworth Woodward's treatise on the Mollusca (S. P. Woodward 1851--6), which he had read and praised in 1856 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 18; and vol. 6, letter to S. P. Woodward, 15 May [1856]). There is an annotated copy of the work in the Darwin Library--CUL.
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