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Letter 8171

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

21 Jan [1872]

Summary

Thanks for observations on angles of worm-holes on slopes. William Darwin is observing at Stonehenge. She is worth her weight in gold.

Transcription

Down.—

Jan 21st

My dear Lucy

You are worth your weight in Gold.— I looked at a good manyholes, but kept no account, & it tires my head stooping. It seemsnatural they shd come on average more often at right angles thanoblique, to surface; but whether I shall be able to form a judgmentI know not.—f2 I shall be very glad to hear any further observation,& about furrows. It is at present all working in the dark.— I amnow getting more inclined to trust the result of trenches cut acrossold furrows on nearly level surface; or to upper & lower part ofgrass-slope with no old furrows.

I have had some curious observations from Wroxeter, & William isworking at Stonehenge for me.—f3 I hope in time to come to someapproximately safe conclusion.

If worms would be so good as to come up generally at right anglesto slope, it would bring the earth down grandly. By the way I supposewhen you say “vertical to the slope” you mean perpendicular orat right angles to the slope. The Mathematician Georgef4 says verticalalways relates to the horizon, so you ought to hide your diminishedhead.

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin

I find after the late heavy wind & rain the soft subsided castingsare much ‘blown over to leeward, even on level grass-field; thesections of all the recent castings were thus

[DIAG HERE]

Would you visit the common on Leith Hill when you go home, & lookat castings; the late storms must have blown there with terrificforce.—f5

Cambridge University Library (Add 4251: 332)

true

Footnotes

f1
The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe postcard from L. C. Wedgwood, 20 January [1872].
f2
See postcard from L. C. Wedgwood, 20 January [1872].
f3
See Correspondence vol. 19, letter to Henry Johnson, 23 December1871, and Earthworms, pp. 221–8. Johnson, a Shrewsbury schoolfriendof CD’s, was in charge of the excavation of the Roman ruins atWroxeter, and offered to make observations for CD. CD also refers toWilliam Erasmus Darwin; see letter from W. E. Darwin, [1 January 1872].
f4
George Howard Darwin.
f5
Wedgwood lived at Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, Surrey.
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