From Hugh Browne June 1871
〈 〉 J〈un〉e 1871
I sent you my letter of 17 April (copied on account of bad writing) as it stands & as it was written & I think it maybe worth conside〈r〉ation perhaps as bearing on some parts of your first volume which when writing I had not read—1 I refer specially to what I said about moving my ear.
My father self & all or nearly all of my brothers & sisters have the power of moving the scalp (as described in your first vol)—2
Yesterday I noticed it in my son aged 4 months & it exists in some of our distant relatives.3 My doubt is whether the power is not too general to prove anything.—
Have you noticed that the likeness to the gorilla foot continues after the fœtal stage?4 My boy’s great toe is quite separate from the others & the foot would be quite prehensile if it were to escape boots & shoes. Indeed I fear that if all children’s brute likenesses were noted your next work might prove that the descent of man from monkey is not yet complete.—
My brother Walter says that he has seen the bower of the satin bower bird adorned not with shells but with fresh flowers.—5 On the passage to Sydney he caught a butterfly which he believes was 800 miles from land. He has the long. & lat. somewhere in his log & he thinks he has the butterfly.— In returning per Gr Britain Steamer something similar occurred but the distance from land was less & the man who caught this butterfly would not let him have it.—
Yours faithfully | Hugh Browne
P.S. I r〈 〉 this on seeing your name among the visitors to the Horticl.— I have placed a bed &c. at disposal for a visitor & if you will accept it shall be heartily glad.—6 If you are a wealthy luxurious man we shall hardly suit but I think you could hardly be such a genius without being poor, so if you will not be ashamed of a 35£ house with only two servants & if you can enjoy a bottle of good French light wine & a good cigar, my wife & I will make you as comfortable as we can & you shall be at liberty to go in & come out of the house as you please.—
C Darwin Esq | Down | Bromley | Kent | S.E.
Believes his letter of 17 Apr bears also on vol. 1 of Descent.
Ability to move ears is common in his family.
Similarity of foot of man to that of gorilla continues beyond foetal stage.
Invites CD to stay overnight if visiting the area.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7696,” accessed on 28 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7696