To Albany Hancock 10 January 1
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
I am uncommonly obliged to you for taking so much trouble as to write at such length to me; though in truth when I think of your many important pursuits in Nat. History, I am ashamed to have lost you more than one good hour of time.— Your cautions & suggestions will be of considerable service to me, as leading to fresh observations & making me explain some points more clearly. I will not take up your time in going into several points you notice in this letter, but they shall all be more or less attended to in my Book.2 I may just inform you, that when a ribbed shell is cut through, it can be seen that the marginal erosion does not graduate into the central hollow: [DIAGRAM HERE] ligament a a a indeed if whole base was simultaneously being eroded it is hard to see how basals membrane & shell cd be firmly attached. I quite agree that more specimens on calc: & non calc: supports shd. be examined, & I will write to a naturalist in Devonshire3 to collect for me: I think, however, you did not understand that there were several specimens on the two slate-rocks & hundreds on the Laminariæ.—
I am quite delighted at what you say about my little friends, the complemental males; I greatly feared that no one wd believe in them; & now I know that Owen, Dana & yourself are believers, I am most heartily content. I entirely agree with you on your remarks on cross-impregnation— some years ago I set to work to collect facts on this head, but I have as yet done nothing with them:4 such view as yours is the only foundation, I am well convinced, to Steenstrup’s rather wild Memoir5 on the non-existence of Hermaphroditism in Nature,—though he extends the doctrine to mere physical organs!6
Many thanks for the wretched M.S. returned:7 I am quite sorry I asked for it, for I never dreamed that you had not long ago got what little good you could out of it: I 〈 〉 be pleased at your doing whate〈ver〉 you 〈 〉 with my specimens, &c. You sha〈ll〉 hear, when I have gr〈 〉 with Alcippe:8 the other evening I read over your Paper9 & could not get to sleep for hours, from thinking of its curious & anomalous structure: I have some other specimens of yours.—
With my sincere thanks | Believe me, my dear Sir, Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
Grateful for AH’s long letter and suggestions. Delighted at what he says about "complemental males". CD feared no one would believe in them but now that Owen, Dana, and AH accept them, he is content.
Agrees with AH on cross-impregnation; has collected facts on this head but has done nothing with them.
AH’s paper on Alcippe [Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 2d ser. 4 (1849): 305–14] caused him to lose sleep over its anomalous structure.