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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles and Francis Darwin to G. J. Romanes   5 December 1877

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Dec 5. 1877

My dear Romanes,

One line to say that my gardener does not even know what the onion worm is.1 The bulbs can moreover be planted in a part of the garden where onions have not been grown for certainly 30 years. I will gladly take charge of any of your experimental plants.

Many thanks for your very pleasant letter. You hugely over estimate me & my works, but long may you remain in this pleasant error

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. | I quite agree with you that it would be absurd in me to change my title & be called Dr2

Have you ever tried Thymol with your Medusæ— I find .05% solution causes contraction of my teasel filaments.


dont answer


The part of Romanes’s letter of 2 December 1877 in which he commented on using the title ‘Dr’ was not included in the printed source. CD was awarded an honorary LLD at Cambridge University on 17 November 1877 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
Francis Darwin, who was CD’s amanuensis, had reported on the application of various chemical compounds to filaments of teasel in F. Darwin 1877b; he did not mention experiments with thymol, a phenolic compound, but did refer to the use of camphor (ibid., p. 254). Francis later reported that thymol dissolved in water and alcohol caused contraction of the filaments (F. Darwin 1878b, p. 79). Romanes was investigating the nervous system in medusae of Aurelia aurita (moon jelly or common jellyfish; see G. J. Romanes 1877a).


Discusses planting onions for experiment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin; Francis Darwin
George John Romanes
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.527)
Physical description
LS 3pp (PS by Francis Darwin)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11270,” accessed on 17 July 2024,