From J. D. Hooker 16 September 1864
Dear Old Darwin
Your letter1 rejoices me beyond any I have had for a 12 month, because you appear so well—because your climbing paper is finished,2 & because you are actually about to begin preparing the book of books.3
I am quite ashamed of not having read Scotts paper,4 I took it up, found it obscure & have kept it beside me ever since waiting leisure. I have spoken to Oliver about noticing it & he certainly will do so,5 availing himself thankfully of your promised marks & hints. I can quite appreciate the value & extraordinary interest of the facts you indicate—6 May it not be assumed that a violent change of color—yellow to red—signifies a great change in requirement for fecundation—a very different Insect to wit— Hence may not a variation in pollen or stigma in the case of the Cowslip require a different insect to ensure fertilization, & the variation of corolla to red be the one that attracts the right insect.
By all means quote Spruce’s observation— I saw him the other day for first time, he is a most able man—7 He tells me of Indians who hardly know the use of fire. I think Bates alludes to them.8
The Nepenthes is I think N. phyllamphora but I will look before writing again, & let you know.9
I will agitate the subject of a translation of Gærtner, for Ray Society— if you will write & propose it I will back it.—10 I much wish it were translated.
I have just finished Lyells address,11 the commencement is good, the middle dull, the latter part very interesting— on the whole it appears to me a feeble affair, & I seem to see in it (with great sorrow) that Lyell is getting old. He should have alluded to Franklands theory,12 whether to discuss or no. Tyndall13 came out last Sunday, he altogether despises Murchison’s discussion of Ramsays theory of Ice scooping,14 is writing himself on the physical structure of the Alps, I understand.15
I enclose an interesting note from A Gray for you—16 when done with, if you do not object I should like to send it to Dr. Masters, who is writing a book on Teratology.17
Do you take Bentham’s address as swallowing progressive developement whole? I do.— life, he says, has been one & continuous, without renewal & without break.18 He has to thank you for the caution about Naudin,19 which he introduced on my assuring him how strongly you felt the necessity of it.
Müller of Geneva20 is here (DeCandolles21 assistant) he says that Thurys later experiments are not so favorable as his first. Muller makes one good objection to Thurys theory22—viz that it makes the production of sex a function of the female alone which is an a-priori extreme improbability.
I go to Bath tomorrow for 2 or 3 days,23 I am glad to do so though I go with a very heavy heart— on principle I think we should not keep anniversarys of great sorrows, but as the day draws nearer I feel all the misery of last year crawling over me & my lost child’s face & voice accompany me everywhere by day & by night:24 So that I now dread an attack of what were more the horrors of delirium tremens than the chastened sorrows of a sensible man. I am sure however that there is no fear of that now; time, as you told me it would, has done its inevitable work.
What queer mortals we are! poor Grove’s25 far more dreadful blow, reconciles me to my loss, in a real though irrational manner. I have felt for him exceedingly— It is too bad of me to write on such selfish subjects to you, & I am sure Mrs Darwin26 must be angry with me for doing so—but your affection for your children has been a great example to me, & there is no other living soul with whom I can talk of the subject.— it would make my wife27 ill if I went on so to her. She is wonderfully different from me, the loss simply made her very ill, almost dangerously so— I am of tougher coarser material, & like Rawdon Crawley,28 have greater capacity for feelings, which when once aroused, run riot, without deranging
Rejoices that CD is beginning "the book of books", Variation.
Suggests that changes in colour of pollen, stigma, and corolla, as Scott reports in his Primula paper, may be related to changes in the insects required for pollination.
Supports Gärtner translation by Ray Society.
Comments on recent addresses by Lyell [Rep. BAAS 34 (1864): lx–lxxv], Bentham [Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 8 (1864): ix–xxiii], and Murchison [Rep. BAAS 34 (1864): 130–6].
- experiment, scientific observation
- fertilisation and generation
- flowers and buds
- physical ‘external’ characters
- positive attitude/assessment
- relation of organism to organism
- wild vs domestic forms
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4614,” accessed on 12 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4614