From Charles Lyell [22 November 1859]1
201 Rattle of snake
The reader is here tantalized to enquire what can be your explanation of the rattle2
It would relieve him if you have no guess could you say so—
Qy. Why do moths & certain gnats fly into candles & why are they not all on their way to the moon, at least when the moon is in the horizon—
I formerly observed that they fly very much less at candles on a moon-light night. Let a cloud pass over & they are again attracted to the candle—
211. l. 7 from bottom
The passing over imperfect instincts tantalizing—
qy flies mistaking the odour of the (Drossera?) for carrion & getting caught— one or two sentences might do—an example wanted because the ignorance so great & the optimists sure to be up in arms—
Afterwards at p. 218 the ostrich is given—but an earlier example would interest.
Comments on pp. 201, 211, and 218 [of Origin].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2551,” accessed on 24 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2551