Discusses bees' cells. Wants hive and swarm; would be glad to have WBT's box with commenced cells. "I am partly a disciple of Waterhouse, but not wholly."
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I am confined to sofa, so will you excuse my writing with pencil.— That is
capital idea of fixing piece of wax & I will also try it; for I
I certainly sh
I do not know what L. B. has been at.—
I am partly a disciple of Waterhouse, but not wholly. Perhaps
I may see more yet to change my opinions. I hope you will publish on subject. I shall
not for about 2 years, so I c
Very many thanks about the owl; sometime I sh
With very many thanks | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
I fear you will hardly read this.
P.S. | I have got some excavated hemispherical bases in artificial wax—hurrah! I thank you cordially for this capital suggestion.
- f1 2281.f1Dated by the relationship to the letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 5 June  and 22 June .
- f2 2281.f2See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858].
- f3 2281.f3Probably a reference to Lord Brougham. Henry Peter Brougham had discussed the instincts of social insects and the cell-making habits of bees at great length in Brougham 1839. CD owned a copy of the work (Darwin Library–CUL) and recorded having read it in 1840 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 119: 7a). He discussed Brougham 1839 in Natural selection, pp. 468 n. 2 and 513 n. 1. In May 1858, Brougham had read a paper at the Académie des sciences in Paris (Brougham 1858) in which he again stated his belief that the cell-making instincts of bees illustrated the marvellous operation of God's design in nature. See also letter to W. H. Miller, [15 April 1858], and letter from E. A. Darwin, [19 June 1858].
- f4 2281.f4In Origin, p. 225, CD stated: ‘I was led to investigate this subject by Mr. Waterhouse, who has shown that the form of the cell stands in close relation to the presence of adjoining cells; and the following view may, perhaps, be considered only as a modification of his theory.’ For CD's ‘modification’ of George Robert Waterhouse's theory, see letter to W. H. Miller, [15 April 1858], and Origin, pp. 225–8.
- f5 2281.f5Tegetmeier delivered a paper on the construction of bees' cells at the 1858 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (Tegetmeier 1858b). A report of the paper was printed in the Athenæum, 16 October 1858, p. 492. CD's copy of the report is in DAR 48 (ser. 2): 47.
- f6 2281.f6In DAR 48 (ser. 2): 62, there is a note headed ‘Bees Cells (?)’ which reads in part:
If I c‘M dget Tegetmeiers 3 cells to see size of cylinder compared with Hexagon. & length of the one intermedial *wall is [above del ‘was’] (& so with Hornets cell of M rW.) longer, than ordinary side of hexagon: it ought to be so.— rW.’ refers to Waterhouse.
- f7 2281.f7See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 April .
- f8 2281.f8An account of this experiment, performed at Tegetmeier's suggestion, is given in Origin, p. 228. Notes on his experiments, which involved giving bees variously shaped pieces of coloured wax and observing the stages in cell construction, are in DAR 48 (ser. 2): 23–31.