To A. R. Wallace 20 August 
1. Carlton Terrace | Southampton
My dear Mr Wallace
You will not be surprised that I have been slow in answering, when I tell you that my poor [boy] became frightfully worse after you were at Down;1 & that during our journey to Bournemouth he had a slight relapse here & my wife took the Scarlet Fever rather severely.2 She is over the crisis. I have had a horrid time of it & God only knows when we shall be all safe at home again. Half my Family are at Bournemouth.—3
I have given a piece of the comb from Timor to a Mr Woodbury,4 (who is working at subject) & he extremely interested by it (I was sure the specimen would be valuable) & has requested me to ascertain whether the Bee (A. testacea) is domesticated & when it makes it combs? Will you kindly inform me?
Your remarks on ostriches have interested me, & I have alluded to case in 3d. Edition.—5 The difficulty does not seem to me so great as to you.— Think of Bustards which inhabit wide open plains, & which so seldom take flight: a very little increase in size of body would make them incapable of flight.— The idea of ostriches acquiring flight is worthy of Westwood;6 think of the food required in these inhabitants of the Desert to work the Pectoral muscles! In the Rhea the wings seem of considerable service in the first start & in turning. The distribution & whole case of these birds is, however, very interesting: considering their apparently real affinities to mammals, I have sometimes speculated whether we do not here get an obscure glimpse of
On disposition of wild honeycomb gift.
Discounts the difficulty presented by ostrich wings.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3689,” accessed on 7 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3689