Inquires about the structure and formation of bees' comb; is interested in seeing its form at the commencement of building.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
Very many thanks about Owls' eggs, for your note,
& nice little Treatise.— I am sorry to hear
that the cylindrical cells are mislaid, for I
My object in writing now is to know whether you often examine your Hives &
slides.— If you do, &
Now what I what I want so much to see is this rudiment of the comb in this state. I believe when the arched bases of the cells are made angular, the bases of other adjoining cells have just been commenced. The hexagonal tube or prism has not been at this period hardly been begun; & all must be very minute. Will you kindly aid me if you can, in this respect; though I can plainly see that it is very improbable that you can, for it wd require incessant watching or a rare piece of good luck.
I shall not be able to begin on my M.S on Pigeons for a fortnight yet.— This note requires no answer, & I know how busy you are.
My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 2271.f1Dated by the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858].
- f2 2271.f2See letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 April  and [21 April 1858]. CD refers to the eggs of the owl-pigeon.
- f3 2271.f3Probably Tegetmeier 1858a.
- f4 2271.f4See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858] and n. 6.
- f5 2271.f5Tegetmeier's modified beehive, described in Cottage Gardener, 20 (1858): 59, was partly devised to ‘permit any single bar of comb to be extracted, without disturbing the others’.
- f6 2271.f6F. Huber 1814, pp. 141–3. CD's annotated copy of the work is in the Darwin Library–CUL. CD made many notes on these pages, questioning François Huber's description of the construction of bees' cells. See also letter to W. E. Darwin, [26 May 1858].
- f7 2271.f7CD apparently intended to write ‘on one’ and inserted ‘one’ instead of ‘on’ (see MS alterations and comments).
- f8 2271.f8In a note headed ‘May 8/1858 Opened Straw Hive of Mr Innes.’ (DAR 48 (ser. 2): 22), CD described his observations of the shape of the bases of bees' cells, stating, in part: ‘The attachment of comb very irregular to Hive: I cd detect the pentagonal upper cells: but the bases were in all cases *slightly concave, or sub-angular or [interl] flat & irregular. *They are not perfectly angular. [added]’.
- f9 2271.f9See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858].