To William Henry Benson 7 December 1
Down Bromley Kent.
My dear Sir,
I thank you cordially for the very kind manner with which you have answered my note,2 & for the very great trouble you have taken in answering it so fully & so very clearly.
The facts which you give are the very thing which I wanted.
The range of shells over the land seems to me in many cases much more confined than plants: on the other hand what a curious case that of Madeira & St Helena shells!3 I collected several semi-fossil shells at St Helena, which were described by Mr Sowerby:4 I cannot remember whether any are left, but if they would interest you I would look: I know I gave away many but forget whether I gave all. I am particularly obliged to you for mentioning the case of Bulimus Bengalensis, which is so curious; I am very glad to hear of it, for it is so exactly parallel to what, as is so well known, sometimes occurs with plants.— I presume such cases are not common with land Mollusca.5 The whole subject of the distribution of pulmoniferous6 Mollusca seems to me very interesting. Am I not right in believing that many fresh-water species have very wide ranges?7 Though I ask this, I am not so unreasonable as to expect you again to take the trouble to answer me in full.8
Thank you much for saying that you will keep in mind my very strong wish for information in regard to distribution of alpine or semi-alpine shells.
You kindly enquire about my health: though I appear a strong man, I am far from being so, & shall never be so again; but I contrive to do some Nat. History work every day in my life.
Dr Gully did me much good.9
I sincerely hope that you profited by the water cure, & are now stronger.—
With many thanks pray believe me in haste | yours sincerely | CH. Darwin
Discusses distribution of shells.
"Dr Gully did me much good." Hopes WHB profited by water cure.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4354,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4354