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Letter 3316

Darwin, C. R. to Nevill, D. F.

12 Nov [1861]

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    Writes at Lindley's suggestion to ask whether DN can send several orchid specimens. Describes his work in preparation for Orchids.


Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Nov. 12th


Dr. Lindley has told me that he thought that your Ladyship would be willing, if in your power, to assist me.— I am preparing for publication a small work ``on the various contrivances by which Orchids are fertilised.'' I much wish to examine a few more exotic forms, & if you happen to have those which I wish to see, possibly your Ladyship would be so generous as to send me two or three flowers. I am aware that it would be a remote chance that your Ladyship should possess or spare these flowers. I chiefly want any member of the great Tribe of Arethuseæ, which includes the Limodoridæ, Vanillidæ &c.

Mormodes & Cycnoches are especial desiderata, though they would be most difficult to send, as the pollen-masses move or explode when the end of the column is touched. I, also, want much Bonatea, Masdevallia & any Bolbophyllum with its lower lip or Labellum irritable. Indeed any genus with any remarkable peculiarity would be most gratefully received.—

I have much reason to apologise for thus intruding on your Ladyship; & I am far from expecting that your Ladyship will reply to this note, if you cannot assist me.— I will only add that for a parcel too large for the post, my quickest address is ``C. Darwin care of the Down Postman Bromley Kent''. I find that orchids travel safest in tin boxes or cannisters with a little damp paper.—

With many apologies, I have the honour to remain | Your Ladyships | Obedient servant | Charles Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 3316.f1
    The year is given by the reference to CD's preparing the manuscript for Orchids, which was published in May 1862.
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    f2 3316.f2
    See letter to John Lindley, 25 October [1861]. Dorothy Fanny Nevill had a notable garden at Dangstein near Midhurst, Sussex. She specialised in the cultivation of orchids, nepenthes, and other tropical plants (R. Desmond 1977).
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    f3 3316.f3
    See letter to D. F. Nevill, 19 November [1861].
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