CD wants WED to make some measurements on mid-styled [Primula sinensis] plants.
If your mid-styled has the stigma pretty near the same height with the anthers Papa
He is pretty bad this morning, after a wretched sleepless night, but his cold makes him
feel more weak & uncomfortable. There is a Bromley ball here on the
Ever your affec. | H. E. D.
Mama pretty well.
- f1 3633.f1The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. E. Darwin, [15 March 1864] (see n. 2, below). In 1864, 16 March was the first Wednesday after 15 March.
- f2 3633.f2CD evidently wanted William to measure pollen from an equal-styled, or what William called a mid-styled, Chinese primrose (Primula sinensis) that he had recently acquired; William had also recently sent sketches of pollen from three different forms of P. sinensis (see letter from W. E. Darwin, [15 March 1864] and nn. 4 and 9). CD later wrote, while discussing the equal-styled form of the plant, that the pistil length varied greatly, even in flowers on the same umbel (`Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants', pp. 414--15, and Forms of flowers, p. 218). A letter including William's measurement has not been found; however, CD's annotation above the third plant drawing of DAR 108: 86 probably recorded that the pistil of an equal-styled plant was just as large as that of a long-styled one (see letter from W. E. Darwin, 22 March  and n. 8; see also `Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants', pp. 415, Forms of flowers, p. 219, and letter from W. E. Darwin, 22 March  and n. 4).
- f3 3633.f3George Howard Darwin was planning to go home for the Easter holiday; in 1864, Easter Sunday fell on 27 March. In a letter from G. H. Darwin at Clapham to W. E. Darwin, [24 March 1864], George wrote: `The boys have gone home today for their Easter holidays & I stop here to mng' (DAR 251: 2233). George, Francis, and Leonard Darwin were pupils at Clapham Grammar School in March 1864 (F. Darwin 1920, and CD's Classed account books (Down House MS)).
- f4 3633.f4Ernest Hensleigh Wedgwood was a clerk to the secretary of state for the colonies (Colonial Office list).