To Thomas Campbell Eyton 29 December [1864?]1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
I want very much to beg a bit of information from you & to be allowed to quote answer on your authority. I have seen it stated that Otter Hounds have more skin between their toes than other Hounds. Now you used to keep Otter-hounds (how well I remember one morning with your hounds!)2 or if you do not keep them perhaps you could see one in the course of a few months, & if so, would you have the kindness to examine their feet in comparison with other hounds, & see whether the skin extends further up the toes or is wider &c; & give me some precise statement that I could quote on your authority which would be decisive on such a point.3 It might be well to look at Greyhounds foot also in comparison. Newfoundland dogs, at least 2 or 3 which I have looked at, seemed considerably more palmated than Terriers.
Will you grant me this favour & believe me | Dear Eyton | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin
PS. | As I am writing, & as you have been a great Breeder of animals of all sorts, I will ask one other question, which I can explain best by an illustration. A man, not impotent, has married a woman, & she has remained childless; the man died & the woman married again & had plenty of children. This seems to show some sexual dissimilarity between the first man & woman.— Now will you turn in your mind, whether you have known anything analogous with any domestic quadruped or Bird; namely that a certain male, known not to be impotent, has been put twice or thrice to a certain female & she did not conceive, but did conceive on being put to another male.4
Asks TCE to verify whether otter-hounds have more skin between their toes than other hounds. Also interested in cases of infertile matings between normally fertile individuals.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Eyton, T. C.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Wellcome Trust Library (Charles Darwin autograph letters)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4724,” accessed on 26 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4724