From T. H. Farrer 26 October 1868
26 Oct | 68
My dear Mr Darwin
Hildebrands book, which I have just got, is exactly what I want.1 But I dont think I should have been impertinent enough to send you the paper—of which I inclose the print—if I had seen the book.2
I found a Salvia, the last Salvia of summer—a few days since on the banks of the Moselle and was delighted with its mechanism.3 But hardly more so than with that of Viola— How any one could compare the wonderfully perfect & efficient contrivances of Viola Cornuta with the same structures but degraded & functionless, in the common Violet,4 & still suppose the two species to be separate creations, passes belief.
During an idle three weeks abroad I have been struggling to take in your second volume, and am still in the struggle.5 With my ignorance of nine tenths of the facts known—with the admitted limitation of what anybody knows—with the excessive caution with which you admit general propositions—and with the astounding vastness of the speculations, it is like straining to catch the dim perspectives of a sunless forest by the light of a farthing candle— N.B. the farthing candle means my brains, not your book—
I cannot yet quite take in the gemmules.6 There is a difficulty about the conception something like that one feels about the conception of ultimate atoms of matter. But I mean to have another try—
Believe me | Sincerely yours | T H Farrer
C Darwin Esqr
Thank you very much for putting down your name for me at the Linnean7
Delighted with mechanisms of Salvia and Viola. How can anyone who compares structure of Viola cornuta and common violet still suppose them to be separate creations?
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6432,” accessed on 22 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6432