From J. D. Hooker 9 [March] 18641
Dear Old Darwin
I am worthy of death, for so long delaying to answer your capital long letter,2 which I shall now proceed to categorically.
If H. C. Watson does publish I shall surely let you know, but if he has any sense of shame, he can only do it by taking up the subject; & that I do wish he would, & treat me as he thinks fit in the course of it—3 he will no more make me angry than Owen did.4
Scott’s paper is ordered for printing in Linnæan Journal.5 I have not seen it, but Thomson, who heard it, thought it most valuable.6 I think Thomson is beginning to nibble at Darwinism— Bentham is in for it, but will not own it.—7
I wrote that little notice of Boott for Gardeners Chronicle & 3 others—all different,—for the Medical papers,—8 I never was so put to in my life, but what could I do, when the Ladies9 asked me? There were absolutely no data of any consequence, & I had heard that he had some bitter feuds, of which I truly knew nothing—so I bargained that they must give me all the heads of topics & ratify all I said—but I never was so put to to cook them up. I absolutely refused to go into his religious character.10
On the other hand I felt & feel, that I could not do too much for dear old Boott’s memory—if only there was any-thing to do!
You surely can recognize that old frump Phillips hand in the Quarterly Review of Lyell.11
I was very near printing an exposé of Franklands glacial theory, which cost me a sleepless night, to concoct, but F. begged me to wait till he published at length.12 I never read anything so wrong, geologically & meteorologically, nor more contradicted by Existing facts in Physical Geography.
I have not seen ADCs. pamphlet on sexes.13
Falconer is no nearer the Lake origin than Ramsay,14—but my objection to the whole argument is, that we have no data— we do not know the rock outline of any lake bottom—nor whether its longitudinal section is a rock basin, or a rock canal blocked up at the lower end by detritus or sediment or moraine till we know that what is the use of speculating?
Crugers letter excited great interest the other night— Oliver read it & demonstrated with chalk sketches on board.15
There was an old story that plants in S. Hemisphere twined the opposite way, but it was exploded long ago.16
I can send you Norantea from Kew, without waiting for Crugers, & will with some other climbers.17 We have never succeeded in flowering it. I hope you may It is wonderful how many twining plants there are: & I do not doubt the truth of your remark as to potentiality of climbing power throughout V.K.—18 There is no true climbing Umbellifer known to me.— a New Zealand Angelica may be so— I think a Chilian genus of Cruciferæ (Cremolobus Gen. Pl. 90) twines or approaches that condition I know no Labiate that climbs.19
Get Lapageria rosea,20 from Hendersons, Wellington Road, St. John’s wood—21 they have lots of it— our plants are exhausted by constant subdivision.
How does Nepenthes climb?22
I wish Huxley would not go out of his way to pick quarrels with such cattle as Carter Blake & Hunt.—who he thus magnifies greatly.23
I spent last Sunday with my wife at Lubbocks,24 & I yearned to go over & see Mrs Darwin, but it would have been too great a punishment to both of us (you & me). I cannot tell which I crave for most, another little girl,25 or for you to get well— Poor dear little Charlie,26 I have just heard this evening that he has ring-worm (caught at school) & must be removed— do you know any thing of that complaint?— I have told my wife to ask Paget tomorrow what we had best do.27 I should like to have him home and keep him apart here. A hospital for contagious diseases amongst the upper classes is greatly wanted. Harriette is growing up nicely, & dear old Willy seems to be in “statu quo” in point of progress.28 Brian29 is a powerful urchin, mentally & bodily—
Ever yr. affec | J. D. Hooker
Reception of Scott’s paper.
Difficulty of writing Boott’s obituary.
Critical of Edward Frankland’s glacial theory.
Falconer’s and Ramsay’s views on Himalayan lakes lack support of basic evidence.
Taxonomic distribution of climbing plants.
Huxley picks quarrels with minor figures and thus magnifies them.