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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   21 November [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Nov. 21.

My dear Hooker

I heard yesterday & today of your safe arrival & that you are rosy, jolly & fat; & most heartily do I rejoice at it. I wish I were a despot, for I would punish you most severely if ever you again worked so hard as you did for months previous to your Expedition.—1 In a week or two’s time you must be a good man & write to me; for some time you will of course have much to do.—   Will you give enclosed scrap to Oliver:2 He has been extraordinarily kind & has helped me in all manner of ways.—

Since your absence we have had a miserable time & poor Etty has been fearfully ill; but she is now rallying very slowly. I have nothing to say & I need not have written; only I could not resist saying how heartily glad I am of your safe & prosperous return.—

Yours affectionately | C. Darwin

I have been working like a madman at Drosera.

Here is a fact for you, which is as certain as you stand where you are, though you wont believe it, that a bit of Hair 1/78,000 of one grain in weight placed on gland will cause one of the gland-bearing hairs of Drosera to curve inwards, & will alter the condition of contents of every cell in the footstalk of the gland.3

P.S. I have just received your most kind note. I send the enclosed note though not worth sending, as I am very busy this morning. Hearty thanks about Donkeys.4 Etty had bad night. My wife very poorly, so not up to write another word. It is somehow a real pleasure to me to know you are at Kew.—

God Bless you.—


Hooker had just returned from a botanical expedition to Syria.
See following letter.
See letter from Trenham Reeks, 15 November 1860. In Insectivorous plants, p. 28, the weight is given as 178740 of a grain.
CD had asked Hooker to report on any striped donkeys that he might encounter in Syria (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 2 September [1860] and 6 September [1860]). Hooker’s note to CD on this topic has not been located, but Hooker’s diary records two observations: in Syria, he saw ‘4 asses with banded legs both fore and hind down nearly to hoof’, and during the journey back to Beirut, ‘Saw two asses with forked end to shoulder stripe’ (L. Huxley ed. 1918, 1: 530).


Welcomes JDH home from Middle Eastern expedition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 75
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2991,” accessed on 21 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8