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Darwin Correspondence Project

From P. F. Perfil’eva1   22 February 1874

Moscou

Fevr. 22/6. 1874.2

Monsieur!

Ayant eu le plaisir de lire plusieurs de vos ouvrages et venant d’achever (dans la traduction russe, je n’ai pu l’avoir en anglais) celui de “l’expression des sensations” qui m’a plus que charmée,3 je me décide à vous importuner par une prière qui peut être vous paraîtra un peu excentrique, mais vous dépeignez si bien et si compréhensiblement pour nous autres amateurs, non Savants, les “mouvements involontaires” que vous me comprendrez et serez indulgent, au point de m’envoyer votre carte photographique, que je désire posseder ardemment.

Aimant les animaux à la passion, surtout les bull-dogs dont j’ai beaucoup étudié le caractère, habitudes et attache pour leur maître (attachement qui ne les quitte pas même dans un état de rage, que j’ai eu malheureusement l’occasion d’observer de bien près, car j’ai perdu de cette affreuse maladie, à différentes époques, trois de mes chiens favoris) je suis, pardo[nmacr]ez le moi, étonnée de ne pas avoir trouvé, parmi vos remarques quelque chose, concernant, cette race interessante, qui certes mériterait toute votre attention, vu la mobilité et la variété de leurs expressions. Chez nous en Russie, on en a fait des chiens de salons et on ne s’est pas trompé, grâce à leur intelligence, humeur, espièglerie et fidélité. Il n’y a pas d’animal, plus amusant.— Le bulldog, cet clown, par vocation le singe, seul peut rivaliser le comisme.

Demandant encore une fois, votre aimable indulgence, et ne perdant pas l’espoir de recevoir un petit mot de réponse je vous prie, Monsieur, de croire aux sentiments distingués, d’une des plus assidues, de vos sectrices.

Pauline Perfilieff | née Cess Tolstoy.4

Russie. Moscou.

A Son Excellence, Mr. Basile de Perfilieff.5

Vice gouverneur de Moscou

Pr remettre à Madame.

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
Perfil’eva gives both the Gregorian (22 February) and the Julian (6 February) calendar dates.
[V. O. Kovalevsky] trans. 1872.
Perfil’eva was the daughter of the second cousin (once removed) of Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (Leo Tolstoy; Tolstaya 2010, p. 56 n. 243).
Vasilij Stepanovich Perfil’ev.

Translation

From P. F. Perfil’eva1   22 February 1874

Moscow

Febr. 22/6. 1874.2

Sir!

Having had the pleasure of reading several of your works and having just finished (in the Russian translation, I could not get it in English) the one on “the expression of feelings”, which more than charmed me,3 I have made up my mind to importune you with a request which may seem a little eccentric to you, but you depict the “involuntary movements” so well and so comprehensibly for us amateurs who are not men of Science that you will understand me and be indulgent, to the point of sending me your carte de visite, which I ardently long to possess.

As I love animals with a passion, especially bulldogs, whose character, habits and attachment to their master (an attachment which does not vanish even in a rabid state, which I have unhappily had the opportunity to observe very closely, since I have lost three of my favourite dogs to it at different times) I have studied thoroughly, I am, begging your pardon, astonished that among your remarks I have not found anything on that interesting breed, which to be sure merited all your attention, given the mobility and variety of their expressions. Here in Russia, they have been made into companion dogs and have not been disappointing, thanks to their intelligence, temperament, mischievousness and fidelity. There is no animal more amusing.— The bulldog, that clown, a monkey by vocation, is the only one who can compete with comedy.

Requesting your amiable indulgence yet again, and without giving up hope of receiving a brief word in reply, I beg you will believe me, Sir, to be one of your most assiduous followers.

Pauline Perfilieff | née Cess Tolstoy.4

Russie. Moscou.

His Excellency, Mr. Basile de Perfilieff.5

Vice governor of Moscow

For delivery to Madame.

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see p. QQQQ.
Perfil’eva gives both the Gregorian (22 February) and the Julian (6 February) calendar dates.
[V. O. Kovalevsky] trans. 1872.
Perfil’eva was the daughter of the second cousin (once removed) of Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (Leo Tolstoy; Tolstaya 2010, p. 56 n. 243).
Vasilij Stepanovich Perfil’ev.

Summary

Asks for CD’s photograph.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-9337
From
Perfil’eva, P. F.
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Moscow
Source of text
DAR 174: 36
Physical description
4pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9337,” accessed on 18 June 2019, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-9337

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22

letter