Sketch and description of a [wasp's] nest from Cuba. [Notes by CD on wasps' nests and comb-building habits of hive-bees.]
7 April 1860
My dear Darwin,
I send you all I can well manage—a mere sketch of what you might expect to find if you think the specimen sufficiently interesting to have it forwarded—
now hidden under cotton wool at the top of the bell glass [angle] about
it is suspended from inside of a bell glass by liquid & cotton wool—I can easily detach it by Alcohol— The edges are somewhat crushed here & there, & altogether it is beyond my opportunities to examine it so thoroughly as to give you any very precise details— I find it came from Cuba not Mexico, as I told you. The material resembles that of the nests of V. vulgaris & V. holsatica—firm fibre—not the herbaceous materials which become so rotten in the nests of V. crabro & V. rufa—& look as if these were composed of rotten wood— Perhaps they may be in part—but certainly not entirely, for I have found the material, when freshly laid on, quite green in some cases—
My Curate is away for a fortnight, & I have my hands full— but I did not like to defer this scanty account any longer— If you prefer propounding Questions, to seeing the specimen I will endeavour to answer them—but not feelin<g sure> of what you exactly want I am at a loss—
- f1 2750.f1The abbreviation stands for Hitcham Rectory, Suffolk, where Henslow lived.
- f2 2750.f2In the letter to J. S. Henslow, 2 April , CD had requested information about the form of cells in a wasps' nest in Henslow's possession. The diagram has been reduced: the original measures 12 inches and was drawn in ink over pencil.
- f3 2750.f3The note was written on the verso of Henslow's letter.
- f4 2750.f4CD was in London from 21 to 24 April 1860 (Emma Darwin's diary). He apparently visited Frederick Smith and George Robert Waterhouse at the British Museum, where both were employed.