To J. D. Hooker 30 [June 1862]1
My dear old friend.
You speak of my “warming the cockles of your heart”, but you will never know how often you have warmed mine.2 It is not your approbation of my scientific work (though I care for that more than for any one’s); it is something deeper. To this day I remember keenly a letter you wrote to me from Oxford, when I was at the water-cure, & how it cheered me, when I was utterly weary of life.—3 Well my orchis-book is a success (but I do not know whether it sells) after cursing my folly in writing it. I saw that the London R. was not written by a common Reviewer; but by Jove I must now read it again.—4 I am better today than I have been for 3 weeks: the doctors told me it was eczema that I have had; so Sir William & I are fellow sufferers; & suffering it is.—5
I am grieved at the poor account of Mrs. Hooker. I shd. think it could be a great rest to get the children away; but there certainly is a strange influence in change of place for a patient. It is folly in me to have an opinion; but is not Switzerland too great an exertion? Does not Mrs. Hooker rely too much on it having done her good formerly? it seems to me a frightful thing to go so far as Switzerland.6
How marvellous it is about the European forms in Fernando Po!—7 Do try & have some rest after you have printed 1st. vol. of Genera.—8 No one can stand such wear & tear as you.— I hear Huxley is failing.9 Why on earth should Brain-work take so much out of every man? I had a note from Naudin yesterday; he is going to publish a Book this autumn on Hybridity.10 From some of his paper I have much fear that he has underrated the distribution of pollen by insects.11
Your Melastomatous plants are setting pods splendidly, & if I can make out the meaning of the two sets of anthers, I have every chance.12 You may remember about complexion & Tropical diseases, & your & Busks aid; well, they are printed & gone to all quarters of world, through Dr. Parkes kindness—13
I long to hear of your schemes being settled & of Mrs. Hooker being stronger.—
Yours affet. | C. Darwin
P.S. | Could you not give H. Gower a memorandum about Masdevallia, to let me know when near flowering & I could write to him how to send it.—14 It would be off your mind & mine.— I am more curious about it than any other Orchis. Have you Bonatea speciosa— I cannot buy it at Veitchs.15 When I have seen these two, I will not be seduced to look into more.— By the way my son George has been doing splendid work in watching Orchids. The case of Herminium beats in close adaptation almost every other orchid: in 24 insects the pollinia were attached to one point on one limb!—16
Remembers JDH’s encouragement when he was "utterly weary of life".
Marvellous about European forms in Fernando Po.
C. V. Naudin will publish a book on hybridity ["Nouvelles recherches sur l’hybridité dans les végétaux", Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 1 (1865): 25–176; part also in Ann. Sci. Nat. (Bot.) (1863)].
CD fears Naudin has underestimated distribution of pollen by insects.
Melastomatous plants are ready for his work on meaning of two sets of anthers.
Very curious about Masdevallia.
George [Darwin] observing orchids.
Adaptation of Herminium beats almost every other orchid.
- experiment, scientific observation
- geographical distribution
- isolation, islands
- negative attitude/assessment
- relation of organism to organism
- structural characters
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3628,” accessed on 30 April 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3628