Letter icon
Letter 9426

Story-Maskelyne, T. M. to Darwin, C. R.

4 May 1874


Reply to CD’s letter in Nature ["Flowers of the primrose", Collected papers 2: 183–4]. She has a canary that eats primroses.


112, Gloucester Terrace, | Hyde Park Gardens. W.

May 4. 1874

Dear Sir

Your letter in “Nature” vol 9. p. 482, leads me to think youmay like to know that we have a Canary which is in the habit offlying about the room, & is as fond of primroses as wild birdsseem to be.f1

I cannot keep a pot of these flowers in the room, for the birdattacks the buds & open flowers directly it is let out, nippingthem off without touching the leaves. I am sorry I made noobservation as to the portion of the flower selected; but I haveenclosed the remains of Cowslips which the bird is very fond ofeating—& which if left long enough in the cage, woulddisappear entirely; the stem being a very quickly disposed ofportion. In each of these heads of flowers the same portion hasbeen taken first—a bite into the bottom of the tube of thecorolla.

No. 2. is the work of a Siskin in another cage; both thebirds would have left nothing, if I had not taken out thespecimens soon after giving them to them.f2

They have plenty of water & often green food—and often trythe leaves in my flower pots—leaving the flowers alone; butit was a remarkable thing to see how the Canary would find out myPrimroses never mind in what corner I hid them.

I remain yours faithfully | Thereza Story Maskelyne

To C. Darwin Esqr.

DAR 177: 263


Maximized viewPrint letter