To J. D. Hooker 19 June 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
I send by this post Journal of Hort. on account of strange little fact about position of flower causing variability, with my comment on it, which Editor has placed foolishly conspicuous.—2 Please return the Paper.—
I suppose you have hardly yet got up your arrears of work; but in a week or two screw out time & let me hear a little news about yourself & your doing & about poor dear Henslow’s family.—3 I hope & suppose that Jenyns keeps his intention of Biograph. notice.—4 The notices in G. Chronicle on Henslow have been, I think, very well done & bring out capitally his noble character & doings.—5 By the way how frightfully dull the old Chronicle has become: I really think I must give it up.— Your suggestion of London Review has answered admirably: several of the scientific articles have been capital: & I gloat over not having that extra stupid Athenæum to read.—6 I have been indexing for self Linn. Journal & I foresee great trouble in the complex arrangement of Bot. & Zoology & in those Supplements. Why on earth cannot they be worked into regular series?— What confounded wrong references will arise!7 I am glad to see that Bentham is new President.—8
Etty has been going on very well, though just at present having a drawback.— Some gain of strength has certainly been coincident with rubbing in the oil, which my wife has steadily continued since February.9
In about a fortnight we go to sea, to Devonshire, & when there I will tell you my address. We shd. have started more than a week ago; but have been delayed owing to troublesome business, viz offer of partnership in a small country Bank for William, which I now think will be arranged & will be a small, but pretty safe provision for him.— It was started by John Lubbock.10 I have leaned for him to accept partly for leisure for other occupations.— He is getting very fond of Botany & of dissecting plants;11 but I am dreadfully puzzled what to recommend him to do or what Books to get.— I hope that your & Bentham’s book will give characters of Families & Synopsis of Families.—12 Can you give me any suggestions for Willy? I have told him to get Lindleys Vegetable Kingdom & dissect plants of as many orders as he can get.13
I have, owing to many interruptions, not been going on much with my regular work (though I have done the very heavy jobs of variation of Pigeons, Fowls, Ducks, Rabbits Dogs &c) but have been amusing myself with miscellaneous work.—14 I have been very lucky & have now examined almost every British Orchid fresh, & when at sea-side shall draw up rather long paper on the means of their fertilisation for Linn. Socy & I cannot fancy anything more perfect than the many curious contrivances.—15 I shall never rest till I see a Catasetum eject pollen-masses,16 & a Mormodes twist its column.17 Can you tell me what would be best nursery to apply to for a plant just coming into flower; & secondly in summer do you think they would travel in safe state for me to examine?— Please answer this, if you can. For I am got intensely interested on subject & think I understand pretty well all the British species.—18
Farewell my dear old friend | Your affect | C. Darwin
I daresay you never had time to glance at flies caught by Saxifrages:19 I must some time get a set of species to examine; for I find that the hairs of S. rotundifolia have much prompter power of absorption of C. of Ammonia, than those of S. umbrosa.—
CD’s changing taste in periodical literature.
William Darwin’s partnership in bank.
Work: variation and orchids.