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Letter 7345

Wedgwood, L. C. to Darwin, C. R.

[15 June 1872?]


Worm-casts on a ridged hill.


Chalet de Villars | Montagnes d’Ollon | Aigle, Vaud

Dear Uncle Charles.

The steep grassy hill-sides here are very distinctly scored with ridges.They run parallel to each other with great regularity, about 3 or 4 ftapart and about 1 ft wide or nearly. They very seldom run into eachother. There are worm-casts—but not abundant. I cannot help thinkingthey are made by the cows—(there are very few sheep)— they areundoubtedly used by them, being very often cross-ridged into thosepeculiar furrows cows always make in soft places by stepping in each othersfootsteps. I thought it wd. be useless to draw them as it wd. be merelya no. of parallel lines.f2

We stay here another 4t. night (till 29th) in case you(and the post takes 4 or 5 days) should wish to know anything more aboutthem; If not, I need hardly say of course do not answer this.

We are enjoying ourselves exceedingly in this most beautifulplace, with splendid weather

Yr. afft niece | Lucy Wedgwood

Would some one kindly direct enclosed to Bessyf3 if not at home as I dontkno’ where she may be.?

DAR 181: 61



The date is conjectured from the subject matter of the letter (seen. 2, below), and from a pencilled annotation, ‘Saturday 15th’. Theonly month in 1872 when 15th fell on a Saturday was June.
CD cited ‘a friend’ for this information on cow-trodden parallelridges in Earthworms, pp. 278–9; he had asked Wedgwood to makeobservations on the angle of wormholes earlier in the year(letters to L. C. Wedgwood, 5 January [1872] and 21 January [1872],and letter from L. C. Wedgwood, 20 January [1872]),and she had also sent information on parallel ridges (letter fromL. C. Wedgwood to Elizabeth Darwin, [7 March 1872 or later]). CD hadfirst sent out enquiries concerning furrows and other forms of ridgesin 1871, but most of his requests were made early in 1872 as partof his investigation into the transformation of landscape through theaction of earthworms (see for example Correspondence vol. 19, letterfrom Francis Wedgwood, 4 January 1871, and letter to Archibald Geikie,27 December [1871], and this volume, letter from W. E. Darwin, [1January 1872], and letter from Amy Ruck to Horace Darwin, [20 January 1872]).
Elizabeth Darwin. The enclosure has not been found.
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