To J. D. Hooker 22 December 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
I take pride & credit to myself at not having written to you for so long a time, as you must still be very busy; but I want much to hear how you are.1 Yet I shd not have written now, had not Haast urged me to help him for Royal Soc.2 Can you send me the certificate to sign? As I cannot go to the Soc. to sign it. I was wonderfully well in London & had long talks with Lyell & Huxley;3 but I then caught a cold which threw me back a whole month. I am now getting stronger & am actually able to write about an hour on most days.4
I have been summing up the facts on the sterility & dwarfness &c of the illegitimate seedlings of Lythrum & Primula. I can prove that they are in all respects like hybrids, & this seems to me extremely curious, for I have in fact made hybrids within the limits of the same undoubted species.5 I have at the same time tested the characters of seedlings which inherited all the external characters from John Scott’s sterile Primrose & red Cowslip; but functionally they behaved very differently, & I begin to doubt his accuracy.6
I must ask a question or two. I have just read in the Annals Karsten’s paper against the Parthenogenesis of Cœlobigyne. Do you believe in him? I really want to know. I hardly can believe, as the seedlings have all turned out females.7 It is a shame that some of you Kew men do not examine some flowers with a lens, mark them with a thread, & enclose them in a gauze bag. 2ndly Do you still wish me to subscribe (you asked me just before yr illness) to the Palestine explo. fund?8 If so tell me how much & to whom. I know nothing of the subject.
I was glad to see yr letter in Gard. Chron. about Naudin.9 Here is a really curious thing, considering that Brewster is President & Balfour secretary, I have been elected Hon. member of Royal Soc. of Edin.10 And this leads me to a 3rd question. Does the Berlin Acad. of Sciences send their proceedings to Hon. members? I want to know, to ascertain whether I am a Member. I suppose not for I think it wd have made some impression on me, yet I distinctly remember receiving some diploma signed by Ehrenberg.11 I have been so careless I have lost several diplomas & now I want to know what Socs I belong to, as I observe every tacks their tittles to their names in the Catalogue of the Royal Soc.12
Nothing in this letter requires any immediate answer, excepting indeed Haast’s Cert. if you can send it & about your own health. Is there any chance of your being able to spend a Sunday & wd Mrs Hooker come with you?13 It wd give us extreme pleasure. I shd be able to have 2 or 3 half hours conversation with you—
yours affectionately | Ch Darwin
Is working one hour a day now, on illegitimate seedlings of Lythrum and Primula.
Begins to doubt John Scott’s accuracy about primrose and cowslip.
Does JDH believe in Karsten’s denial of parthenogenesis of Coelebogyne?
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4953,” accessed on 27 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4953