On reading Descent was reminded of having seen, on a visit to an idiot asylum with her father [J. S. Henslow], a woman with long pointed ears.
Bartlow | Leckhampton | Cheltenham
March 30 th. 1871—
Dear Mr. Darwin
Though I have not seen you since I was a child, the only excuse Ishall make for troubling you with a letter, is that your “Descent ofMan” has recalled to my mind something which I think may interest you.f1On Octr. 20th. 1852, I visited the Idiot Asylum at Colchester,f2 with myfather, Prof: Henslow— In the room of “Incurables”, a girl waspointed out to us, who had very remarkable ears—“like a donkey’s”—theattendant said, but that was an exaggeration. After the lapse ofso many years, I cannot pretend to describe them very accurately,especially as the sights in the room were too horrid for us to care toremain there many minutes The impression left on my mind is, thatthe ears rose to an unusual height, and were pointed somewhatlike thisf3
It is possible that there may be doctors or attendants still at theAsylum, who may remember her, and be able to give you more accurateinformation about her, if you think it worth while to enquire, it isnot impossible that she may be still alive.
I fear however, that there is—or was then, a limit to thenumber of years spent by any patient in the Asylum, and it is thereforevery unlikely that you would find her there now—
Believe me to remain | Yrs. truly | Anne Barnard