From H. W. Bates 29 September 1863
22 Harmood St. Haverstock Hill. N.W.
29 Sept 1863
My dear Mr Darwin
I am very much concerned to hear of your increased illness; but I expected it having been told by various persons throughout the summer that you were not so well this year.1 Let us hope that Malvern wells will give you a little relief so as to enable you to work cheerfully & correspond with your friends again. If it would not be annoying I should like to send you a letter with Natural History chit chat now & then, regardless of your answering me punctually.
Many thanks for the loan of Asa Gray’s reviews.2 Really my little paper in the Linnean has been greatly honoured to be reviewed by Darwin & Asa Gray.3 How capitally Gray has done it. I did not think it possible that the complex details of variation &c which I gave could be so briefly & luminously brought to a focus. I think I must write to him to thank him.
The review in the Times of my book has caused quite a commotion.4 I consider it the best that has yet been written. It is also of great general importance because it is a public concession on the part of the highest literary tribunal, of the claims of philosophical natural history to the attention of the public. My old Father happens to be on a visit to me & the review came very apropos, causing great elation in our little family circle.5 My Father is an old man of business who thinks everything right that is said by the Times; & who begins now to see that his son really has written a goodish book.
The longest review that has yet appeared is in the Revue des deux mondes by Forgues.6 It is also most excellently done & I think shows a closer examination & higher appreciation of the book than any that has yet appeared in England except that of the Times.
You ask me what I am doing. I have been commissioned by Mr W. Wilson Saunders to write a monograph of the Mantidæ (a remarkable family of Insects).7 The work is to appear in the Ray Society series, in 4to illustrated by 20 plates by Westwood.8 This has occupied me the last 4 months & will continue to occupy me for 18 months longer. Mr Saunders pays me (moderately) for the work & leaves me all the credit. This work leaves me time for other things, such as short articles & I had commenced one on the whole subject of local variation, intending to incorporate details of facts of new varieties interbreeding with counterparts, which you require.9 But the monograph is so much pleasanter work just now that I have laid this paper aside for the present.
I will not write more just now | Yours sincerely | H W Bates
HWB’s concern over CD’s poor health.
Gives accounts of reviews of his book in the Times and in the Revue des Deux-Mondes by E.-D. Forgues ["Un naturaliste sous l’équateur", Rev. Deux-Mondes 46 (1863): 703–37].
Thanks CD for the A. Gray review of his paper [see 4022].
Reports his current work is a monograph on Mantidae.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4313,” accessed on 30 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4313