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Letter 6647

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

8 Mar [1869]

    Summary Add

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    Transmits letter [from Fritz Müller].

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    Has been asked to permit a French translation of Orchids and Journal of researches.

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    At work on sexual selection.


Mar 8—

Dear Hooker

I think that part of the enclosed letter is well worth your reading, viz about the grass of which the awns like a tendril catch its own rachis. The first part about Escholtzia, which is self-sterile in a much greater degree in S. Brazil than here, is not worth your reading. At the end of the note however there is a good & precise case of the transmission of character from the individual flowers on the same spike.

Please return the letter.

I am rather glad to have the excuse of sending it, as I want to hear a little news of you. About myself I have no news, as I am going on in my old routine. The subject of sexual selection grows bigger & bigger as I progress but I suppose I shall some day end it. We are a very small party here at present for Lizzy is gone to Germany & Henrietta is in a very poor state & has been confined to her bed room for the last fortnight.

As you always puff me up so I must tell you that I have just been applied to to permit a French trans. of my Orchis book. It bothers me a good deal to know how much to add, for I have an immense amount of new matter; want of time however will compel me I think to make but few additions.

yours affectionately | Ch Darwin

Though I am so despised by the great guns of the Institute, I presume I am rising in estimation amongst the mob, for another man has applied to translate my Journal of Travels.— Here is a boasting note.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 6647.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Fritz Müller, 12 January 1869.
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    f2 6647.f2
    CD evidently enclosed the letter from Fritz Müller, 12 January 1869. CD refers to Müller's experiments with Eschscholzia californica and maize.
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    f3 6647.f3
    CD refers to his research for Descent.
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    f4 6647.f4
    According to Emma Darwin's diary (DAR 242), Elizabeth Darwin left on 5 March, and Henrietta Emma Darwin was very ill from 23 February until 9 March 1869.
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    f5 6647.f5
    The French translation of Orchids by Louis Rérolle was published in 1870 (Rérolle trans. 1870). CD's additions to the French edition were in the form of footnotes ending `C. D., mai 1869'. CD published an English version of these notes in Annals and Magazine of Natural History in July 1869 (`Fertilization of orchids'). Much of this material was later incorporated into the text of the second edition of Orchids.
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    f6 6647.f6
    CD probably alludes to the Académie des Sciences and to the negative reception of Darwinian views among the French scientific élite (see Browne 2002, pp. 260--1). Charles Phipps Haussoullier had requested permission to translate CD's Journal of researches into French (see letter from C. P. Haussoullier, 31 January 1869 and n. 1).
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