To J. D. Hooker 18 January 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Hooker
Very many thanks for Coral Reefs Book, but before receiving it I got a copy from Lyell, so I return yours by this post, & am not the less obliged.—2 I feared that it was too good luck to see you at luncheon in London.— We had grand fun one afternoon; for George hired a medium, who made the chairs, a flute, a bell & candlestick & fiery points jump about in my Brother’s Dining Room in a manner that astounded everyone & took away all their breaths.3 It was in the dark, but George & Hensleigh Wedgwood held the mediums hands & feet on both sides all the time. I found it so hot & tiring that I went away before all these astounding miracles or jugglery took place. How the man could possibly do what was done, passes my understanding. I came down stairs & saw all the chairs &c &c on the Table which had been lifted over the heads of those sitting round it.—
The Lord have mercy on us all, if we have to believe in such rubbish. F. Galton was there & says it was a good séance.—4
Now will you make a memorandum, or what wd. be better as more trustworthy ask Mrs Hooker5 kindly to make one & remind you. It is, if you ever attend the Balloting meetings of Athenæum Club, to attend the first one early in February & vote for my nephew, Henry Parker, & ask anyone whom you can influence. He is a fellow of Oriel College Oxford, & a most able & accomplished man, & I assure you in every way fitted to be a Member.
Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin
Reports on a séance. "The Lord have mercy on us all if we have to believe in such rubbish."
Asks JDH to vote for his nephew, Henry Parker, for Athenaeum membership.