To Francis Darwin [28 February 1871]1
6 Q. A. St
My dear Backy.
As you are interested about my book, you will like to hear that it is selling like mad.— Murray chuckles that Longmans wants twice as many copies as he bought at the auction. Murray says he is “torn to pieces” by people wanting copies. He has settled to print 1500 or perhaps 2000 more—2 Lastly I have received £630 for the 2500—so this is all v. good.3 On the other there have been detected for me several horrid blunders. I went & saw Mivart on Monday morning—4 He is really a charming man & we were the best of friends. I mentioned some of the points v. briefly which I wrote to you & as far as I could judge they had never occurred to him. When I alluded to the larynx point & asked how the adult animals cd. exert their voices he seemed taken quite aback & said meekly perhaps through their noses.5 With respect to the giraffe it was evidently quite a new idea to him that the biggest animal with a somewhat elongated neck wd. make it impossible for any smaller animal to acquire an elongated neck. Nor had it occurred to him that in thick forests the trees do not bear branches low down & animals must become arboreal. I alluded to some other points but not to the whale & I think not to the mammary glands.6 If I did he had nothing to say in answer
He seemed to have entirely forgotten my argument from the formation of the greyhound that there is no necessity for a number of coadapted variations to arise simultaneously7 by the way I must just add with respect to the larynx that he seemed still more taken aback when I asked him whether the silence of the Cetaceans did not agree well with the structure of the larynx8
If you mentioned anything in this note to Pryor9 beg him not to tell any one else, as it is perhaps rather a breach of confidence to repeat even to friends private conversation. I am tired & so no more—
Yours affectly | Ch Darwin
Says Descent is "selling like Mad.––" Murray will print another 1500 or 2000 copies. Has received £630 for the 2500.
On Monday he visited Mivart, who is a charming man.
He seemed to be taken aback by CD’s points about the larynx and giraffe.
[See 7507 and 7519.]
He seemed to have forgotten CD’s argument regarding the formation of the greyhound.
Discussed the larynx and the silence of the Cetaceans.
If FD mentions any of this to [Marlborough Robert] Pryor, ask him not to mention it to anyone else "as it is perhaps rather a breach of confidence to repeat even to friends private conversation."