From A. R. Wallace 18 September 1865
9, St. Mark’s Crescent, | Regent’s Park, N.W.
Septr. 18th. 1865
I should have written before to thank you for the copy of your paper on climbing plants, which I read with great interest;1 I can imagine how much pleasure the working out must have given you. I was afraid you were too ill to make it advisable that you should be bothered with letters.
I write now in hopes you are better, to communicate a curious case of variation becoming at once hereditary, which was brought forward at the Brit. Assn.2
I send a note of it on the other side, but if you would like more exact particulars, with names & dates and a drawing of the bird, I am sure Mr. O’Callaghan3 would send them you.
I hope to hear that you are better & that your new book is really to come out next winter.4
Believe me | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace
C. Darwin Esq.
Last spring Mr. O’Callaghan was told by a country boy that he had seen a blackbird with a topknot; on which Mr. O’C. very judiciously told him to watch it & communicate further with him. After a time the boy told him he had found a blackbird’s nest & had seen this crested bird near it & believed he belonged to it— He continued watching the nest till the young were hatched. After a time he told Mr O’C. that two of the young birds seemed as if they would have topknots. He was told to get one of them as soon as it was fledged. However he was too late and they left the nest, but luckily he found them near & knocked one down with a stone, which Mr. O’C. had stuffed & exhibited. It has a fine crest, something like that of a Polish fowl but larger in proportion to the bird, & very regular & well formed. The male must have been almost like the Umbrella bird in miniature, the crest is so large & expanded.
Thanks CD for paper ["Climbing plants"].
Reports case of variation becoming at once hereditary – a crested blackbird with crested young.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4894,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4894