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Letter 476A

Darwin, C. R. to Herbert, J. M.

[Jan 1839 – Sept 1842]

    Summary Add

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    Suggests the names of two bird-preservers for JMH's friend.

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    In reference to an earlier letter, replies: "As for Birds of Paradise from the West Indies, tell that to the marines, as we used to say on board the Beagle".

Transcription

[London]

[In his undated letter, Darwin gives his correspondent two names of bird-preservers for a friend and notes, `I should recommend your friend to call herself and explain in which styles she wants them mounted.' Darwin then replies to an unknown remark made by his correspondent in an earlier letter in a particularly animated manner: `As for Birds of Paradise from the West Indies, tell that to the marines, as we used to say on board the Beagle.']

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 476a.f1
    Herbert is identified as the correspondent in the sale catalogue.
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    f2 476a.f2
    The date range supplied in the sale catalogue is apparently based upon the London address. CD lived at 12 Upper Gower Street, London, from January 1839 to September 1842, when he moved to Down, Kent.
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    f3 476a.f3
    `Tell that to the marines': said of a far-fetched story. The saying, attributed to King Charles II of England, was prompted by an account of flying fish given by Samuel Pepys. The courtiers reacted with incredulity until an officer of the marine regiment confirmed the existence of flying fish. The king replied: `Henceforward ere ever we cast doubts upon a tale that lacks likelihood, we will first ``Tell it to the Marines''' (Brewer, p. 1160).
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