To Charles Lyell 1 June 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. June 1st My dear Lyell
I do not think H. Parker ever reviewed the Origin: perhaps you are thinking of an article on the D. of Argyll, which I remember praising, perhaps over-praising, to you.— I now enclose it, & you can look at it or not as you like, & please return it.—2 I am at present reading the Duke & am very much interested by him; yet I cannot but think, clever as the whole is, that parts are weak, as when he doubts whether each curvature of beak of Humming Birds is of service to each species. He admits, perhaps too fully, that I have shown use of each little ridge & shape of each petal in Orchids, & how strange he does not extend the view to Humming Birds. Still odder, it seems to me, all that he says on Beauty, which I shd have thought a non entity except in the mind of some sentient being: he might have as well said that Love existed during the Secondary or Palæozoic periods.3
I hope you are getting on with your Book, better than I am with mine, which kills me with the labour of correcting & is intolerably dull, though I did not think so when I was writing it.4 A naturalist’s life wd. be a happy one, if he had only to observe & never to write.—
We shall be in London for a week in about a fortnights time, & I shall enjoy having a break-fast talk with you.—5
Yours affectionately | C. Darwin
Comments on a discussion of humming-birds by the Duke of Argyll [in The reign of law (1867)].
Encloses article by Henry Parker on the Duke’s book [Saturday Rev. 23 (1867): 82–4].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5558,” accessed on 30 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5558