To J. D. Hooker 25 November 
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
I was heartily glad to get your letter, & to hear of your doings, which are so multifarious as to stun one: so many jobs on hand would fairly distract me.—1
We go to London to Erasmus’es (6. Q. Anne St) on the 28th & return home on Decr. 7th.—2 Woolner comes here, I believe, on Dec. 9th & I suppose & fear will be above a week about his work; so, if you possibly can, do pray come here any time after the 9th.—3 I thought that you had given up all idea about my bust—4 —pray excuse plain language, but you cannot be such an ass as to think of a marble bust.— I shall be proud & glad to give you a cast, & surely that will do.5 The bust is making for Erasmus; & we are fighting here, for Emma votes for a marble copy & I maintain it is absurd, & plaister of paris just as good, or any good enough.—
I am very sorry to hear about poor Smith’s health; for I took a great fancy for him, the day we walked round the gardens: it must be a fearful evil for you.—6
That is a very curious fact which you mention about the St. Helena Umbellifer; but can the “palm-like” growth be due to similar conditions? ought it not rather to be said that there is something in the constitution of the whole order, which leads them to take this form of growth, when the conditions favour their growth to a great size; for I presume they do grow very big?—7
I knew about the Brambles; & they excited in me a few years ago much just indignation; for when I found that stems, placed obliquely in a glass of water, bent upwards in absolute darkness, apparently guided in opposition to the force of gravity, I felt convinced that the ends of Bramble-shoots would bend downwards; but they bent neither up nor down; their flexibility & weight apparently guiding them to the ground.8 I have often seen grey roots protruding before the end of the shoots had reached the ground.—
My dear old friend | Yours affectionately | C. Darwin
St Helena Umbelliferae.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5696,” accessed on 28 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5696