From Alfred Newton 2 April 1864
Magdalene College, | Cambridge.
2d. April 1864.
My dear Sir,
Pray accept my best thanks for your obliging letter of the 29th.1 which I should have acknowledged sooner had I not been away from home for a few days. I am extremely interested with the results of your examination of the lump of earth attached to the Red-legged Partridge’s foot—and marvel much at the extraordinary fact of so many seeds germinating after having been so long imbedded therein.2
I am very glad to find you agree in thinking that the clay accumulated by degrees—
When I exhibited the specimen at the Zoological Society’s meeting, Dr. Gray was very much inclined to ridicule the whole matter3—and to believe that both Mr. Stevenson and I had been imposed upon concerning it.4
Some time ago Mr. Frank Buckland expressed a wish to examine the bird’s leg.5 I then told him I had placed it in your hands, but if, now that you have done with it, you would let him have it to determine if he can the original cause of the injury—I have no objection to his doing so—but at the same time you might possibly prefer to trust to the skill of some other operator, in which case I hope you will not hesitate to do so—
I was extremely sorry last autumn to hear of your serious illness—and regret now to find that you are still suffering— Allow me to hope that you will speedily be restored to perfect health, and enabled to prosecute your researches—
Believe me, my dear Sir, | Yours very truly and obliged | Alfred Newton
Charles Darwin, Esq. F.R.S.
I have lately been much engaged in compiling an account of the wonderful visitation of Syrrhaptes paradoxus last year— I find but one way of accounting for that extraordinary phenomenon which is on the principles you have been the first to discover—6
Marvels that seeds from the lump of clay on the partridge’s foot have germinated. At Zoological Society [J. E.?] Gray ridiculed him. Now Frank Buckland would like to see the specimen.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4446,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4446