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Letter 5262

Darwin, C. R. to Hooker, J. D.

1 Nov [1866]
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    Summary Add

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    Requests water-lily pods to count, weigh, and to germinate some of the seeds of the crossed and uncrossed pods.

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    Hopes Haeckel did not bore him.

Transcription

Down

Nov 1

My dear Hooker

The trees are planted & look very well, but I write now to say that I have despatched carr. pd to London the two empty hampers & 2 mats, which my gardener says are well worth returning. What success have you had with Euryiale or any other water lily? please remember that I shd like to have the pods to count, weigh, & germinate some of the seeds of the crossed & uncrossed pods. But how to germinate them I shd much wish to know. The main quantity of seed cd be returned if desired.

Did Ho√ęckel call on you? if so I hope he did not bore much. He is a very nice fellow & a first-rate zoologist but talks atrocious English.

My dear Hooker | ever yours | Ch Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5262.f1
    Hooker had recently sent trees and shrubs for CD's lawn (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 19 October 1866 and n. 1).
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    f2 5262.f2
    CD became interested in Euryale ferox, a large waterlily, when Robert Caspary mentioned it as an example of a plant that was perpetually self-pollinating, but that maintained its vigour over numerous generations (Caspary 1865b, p. 20; see letter from Robert Caspary, 25 February 1866 and nn. 3 and 13). CD asked William Robinson, foreman of the herbaceous department at the Royal Botanic Society, Regent's Park, London, to perform crossing experiments with Euryale ferox to see whether crossing had an effect on the fertility of the plant (see letter to William Robinson, [29 April 1866]).
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    f3 5262.f3
    CD had given Ernst Haeckel a letter of introduction to Hooker after Haeckel had visited Down House (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [21 October 1866]). In an entertaining account of that visit, Henrietta Emma Darwin told her brother George Howard Darwin that Haeckel `could stumble on very decently' in English, adding a few examples of his idiosyncratic usage, such as his comment on dining in London, `I like a good bit of flesh at a restoration' (letter from H. E. Darwin to G. H. Darwin, [22 October 1866] (DAR 245: 269)).
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