Has heard of mules of canary and other finches breeding occasionally, but it is rare, and there is hardly one authenticated case of two such mules breeding together.
Sixteen of the household at Down are sick with influenza.
Down Bromley Kent Feb. 24
Many thanks for your friendly note. You seem all very prosperous, & we are very glad to hear of it.— I have heard of the mule from the canary & other finches occasionally breeding; but it is very rare (except with the siskin where the case is not so rare) & there is hardly one quite well authenticated case of two such mules breeding together. I will not forget your offer if I should wish for any observations or enquiries made in the north.
Life rolls on, as you know, very uniformly in Down, & we have no news. Yes, we have, the Butcher has jilted his old love, & is going to be married to a new one!
We went a few days ago to lunch with the John Lubbocks & they evidently seem thoroughily to enjoy their new home & freedom. They gave us a good account of poor Montague.
We have had the Influenza here very badly— 16 were sick in this
house, & at one time six in bed. Etty keeps capital;
but now we have Horace failing badly with intermittent weak pulse, like four of
our other children previously. It is a curious form
of inheritance from my poor constitution, though I never failed in exactly that
way.— I am glad to hear that M
Believe me Dear Innes | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 3457.f1Letter from J. B. Innes, 19 February .
- f2 3457.f2In Variation 2: 154, CD wrote of finches kept in confinement that `more than a dozen species could be named which have yielded hybrids with the canary; but hardly any of these, with the exception of the siskin … have reproduced their own kind.'
- f3 3457.f3The name of the butcher's shop in Down was Osborne & Whitehead (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1862); the reference is to Alfred James Osborne (Census returns 1861 (Public Record Office, RG9/462: 71)).
- f4 3457.f4CD refers to a lunch party held by the Lubbocks on 15 February 1862 (see letter from John Lubbock, 13 February 1862). In 1861, John and Ellen Frances Lubbock moved from the Lubbock family home, High Elms, near Down, to Chislehurst, several miles north of Down (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 52).
- f5 3457.f5John Lubbock's younger brother, Montagu, had been seriously injured in a carriage accident in 1861 (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 178). See also Correspondence vol. 9.
- f6 3457.f6Henrietta Emma Darwin had been ill throughout 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9).
- f7 3457.f7For an account of Horace Darwin's symptoms, see the letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February .
- f8 3457.f8Eliza Mary Brodie Innes (see letter from J. B. Innes, 19 February ).