To J. D. Hooker 27 January 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Hooker.
You have been very good about Drosophyllum: the plant arrived in very fair state & after a week got into very good working condition.—2 As is always my fate no one of the unobserved points turned out as I expected; nevertheless I have made a great advance, & understand its habits far better than I did.3
It represents a very simple & primordial form, such as might have given birth to Drosera & Dionæa.—4 I suppose I may keep the specimen for a time, as I shd. like to observe it again in the summer.
Can you give me seed of Oxalis senitiva or lend me a plant?5 Perhaps seedlings wd. not be of good size in the summer.— I do not think I shd. hurt a borrowed plant, though I might have to etherise it.
Secondly can you lend me some time the Jany. nor of the Journal of Botany, as I shd. like to read a paper on Geograph. Distrib. of Plants in relation to insects.—6
I am a bothering old sinner.—
Please tell Prof. Dyer, that I have been looking again at secreting hairs, & I suspect that what I have seen & what certainly occurs when C. of Ammonia is given them, may be a very different phenomenon from what takes place with Drosera: it is perhaps some mere chemical reaction.— I shall be grateful for his notes; for I see I must look again to these hairs, or hold my tongue entirely on the subject, which perhaps wd. be the wisest course.7
Have you read Saporta in Ann. des Sc. Nat. on fossil plants of Gypsum beds of S. France: it is, I think, interesting but too long.—8
I am reading Moggridge’s book on Ants & Trap-door Spiders, & it seems to me capital: I have formed a wild-goose theory on the seeds not germinating in the ant’s nest, & must test my theory.9
We have had Moncure Conway here for a night & were greatly interested by him; & today Miss Norton is here & is very agreeable as are all Yankees, as I begin to think.10
What on earth took you down to Cheshire?11
Ever yours affecty | C. Darwin
I was delighted at news in your last note about Pres. R. Soc. & I don’t care about your hating it!—12
Drosophyllum arrived; none of his observations turned out as he expected, but nevertheless he understands its habits better than he did. The secreting hairs that he observed may be explained as a mere chemical reaction.
Comments on various articles he has read.
Asks for Thiselton-Dyer’s notes.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8185,” accessed on 2 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-8185