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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   2 July 1862


July 2/62

My dear Darwin

One line to say, that I have given instructions to Gower about Masdevallia,1 & will write to the Cape for Bonatea-roots.2

We have got a Cook, who I hope will suit, she was Sir F. Palgrave’s, during all his widowerhood & is a most trustworthy person, too old, but that is a fault on the right side in our case:3 & at any rate she will enable me to get things belowstairs put on a proper footing— you cannot conceive the relief it is to us to have found a suitable person! Children & Governess go to Worthing tomorrow—we on Friday to Dover, we shall travel slowly. I also fear length &c of journey to Switzerland, but her heart is there, & just see what weather we have here!4 I saw Dr Walshe yesterday who examined her & assures me she has no organic complaint & that it is all functional5

I saw Lady Bell6 on Monday who gave a very poor account of Lyell I am grieved to say. I called in Harley street yesterday (of course did not ask to see anyone). the servant told me he was not so well that day, but that he & all would go to Eastbourne on Saturday.7

I heard of Lyell having had to be put in a warm bath after arrival in England.8

I do hope you will unravel the Melastoma mystery.9

Your Eczema must be very different from my father’s, which gives little or no pain.10 Paget told me that Eczema was a sort of nom de guerre for any skin complaint that had no other recognized name,—a sort of “suppressed gout:” I suppose, wh. means any thing but Gout!.11

Ever yrs affec | J D Hooker

P.S. We have just heard from Lady Lyell— Sir Charles is not well enough to go to Eastbourne on Saturday— she says she sees no one


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 [June 1862] and n. 14; William Hugh Gower was a foreman at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 [June 1862] and n. 15; CD was hoping to obtain a specimen of Bonatea speciosa, an orchid found in the Cape of Good Hope (Orchids, p. 87).
Hooker refers to his uncle, the historian, Francis Palgrave. For Hooker’s concern about the state of his household, see the letters from J. D. Hooker, [5 May 1862], 9 June 1862, 19 [June 1862], and 28 June 1862.
The Hookers were planning a trip to Switzerland in the hope that Frances Harriet Hooker might recover her health (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 28 June 1862, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 [June 1862]).
Walter Hayle Walshe was professor of the principles and practice of medicine at University College London (DNB). For Hooker’s account of his wife’s ill health, see the letters from J. D. Hooker, 9 June 1862 and 19 [June 1862].
Charles and Mary Elizabeth Lyell resided at 53 Harley Street, London.
The Lyells had travelled to Florence in May 1862, following the death there of Mary Lyell’s mother, Anne Susan Horner (K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 343).
James Paget was a leading London surgeon. In 1849, Henry Holland had diagnosed CD as suffering from ‘suppressed gout’ (see Correspondence vol. 4, letter to W. D. Fox, 6 February [1849] and n. 2).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Will see to Masdevallia and Bonatea.

Domestic matters.

Lyell’s health.

CD’s eczema.

Hopes CD will solve the mystery of Melastoma.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 101: 44–5
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3636,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10