From B. P. Brent [May–June 1860?]1
I have to apolo〈gise for〉 not answering your enquiry 〈about〉 Canaries, throwing back, I 〈am〉 sorry I cannot furnish yo〈u〉 any authentic case, thoug〈h I〉 do not doubt but such of〈ten〉 do occur.2
You express a wish to see some of the latter volu〈m〉es of The Cottage Gardener.3 I have 〈 〉s by me 〈 〉 〈w〉hich 〈 〉 lend you 〈 〉 but 〈 〉 not bound. Should you 〈wish it〉 I would ta〈ke o〉ff the 〈adver〉tisment sheets, and forward 〈 〉 as you may direct.
〈I ha〉ve just read your work on 〈the〉 Origin of Species through a second time, in your chapter on instinct you refer to the Cuck〈oo〉 laying in other birds nest4 I thought 〈 〉 Pige〈on〉 〈 〉 interested 〈 〉 notice that when a 〈 〉 lays only a single egg, 〈and〉 the first has been broken, or she 〈has〉 been much disturbed, she 〈w〉ill frequently lay in another’s nest, a case in Point. A Scotch house Tumbler hen was about to lay having built and the cock was driving her to nest; April 24th. could feel the egg hard and ready to be deposited, toward evening 〈 〉 〈t〉he nest, 〈 〉 laid 〈 〉 and it 〈 〉 with 〈 〉 of young 〈 〉 different part of the 〈 〉 house, I immediately 〈conc〉luded she would not lay a se〈cond〉, which proved correct. She laid again on the 3rd & 5th. of May, sat and hatched a pair, I sat the odd egg under another pair but it did not hatch, I had kept it too long or perhaps it was never fertile—
I am | Dear Sir | Yours respectfully | B P Brent
To C Darwin Esqe
Cannot supply a case of atavism in canaries.
Will lend CD back issues of Cottage Gardener.
Cites case of bird (tumbler hen) laying egg in another’s nest.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2778,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2778