To A. R. Wallace 17 [March 1868]1
4 Chester Place | Regents Park. | N.W. | (address for next 14 days)
My dear Wallace
Many thanks about Pieridæ.2 I have no photographs up here, but will remember to send one from Down.—3 Should you care to have a large one, of treble or quadruple common size, I will with pleasure send you one under glass cover, to any address you like in London, either now or hereafter.— I grieve to say we shall not be here on April 2d. as we return home on 31st.—4 In summer I hope that Mrs Wallace & yourself will pay us a visit at Down, soon after your return to London; for I am sure you will allow me the freedom of an invalid.—5
My paper tomorrow at Linn. Soc. is simply to prove alas! that Primrose & Cowslip are as good species as any in the world, & that there is no trustworthy evidence of one producing the other. The only interesting point is the frequency of the production of natural hybrids, i.e. oxlips & the existence of one kind of oxslip, which constitute a third good & distinct species. I do not suppose that I shall be able to attend at Linn. Soc. tomorrow.—6
I have been working hard in collecting facts on sexual selection every morning in London, & have done a good deal; but the subject grows more & more complex & in many respects more difficult & doubtful.— I have had grand success this morning in tracing gradational steps by which Peacocks tail has been developed: I quite feel as if I had seen a long line of its progenitors.—7
I do not feel that I shall grapple with the sterility argument till my return home; I have tried once or twice & it has made my stomach feel as if it had been placed in a vice.— Your paper has driven 3 of my children half-mad—8 One sat up to 12 oclock over it— My second son, the mathematician,9 thinks that you have omitted one almost inevitable deduction which apparently could modify the result. He has written out what he thinks, but I have not tried fully to understand him. I suppose that you do not care enough about subject to like to see what he has written.—
I hope your Book progresses. I am intensely curious to see your paper in Murray’s Journal.10
My dear Wallace | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
On his Primula paper for the Linnean Society ["On the specific difference between Primula veris, Brit. Fl. (var. officialis, Linn.), P. vulgaris, Brit. Fl. var. acaulis, Linn.), and P. elatior, Jacq.; and on the hybrid nature of the common oxlip; with supplementary remarks on naturally produced hybrids of the genus Verbascum", [officinalis!?] J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 10 (1869): 437–54].
Peacocks and sexual selection.
ARW’s sterility argument has driven CD’s sons half-mad.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6018,” accessed on 29 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6018