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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. W. Wood   [after 26 June 1870]1

I was greatly surprised & disappointed to find by your last letter that you cannot see the Argus as I and some others do.2 Mr Blyth3 has just called on me & when I asked him whether he had thought at all on the subject he said he perfectly agreed with me about the markings alluded to. Mr Blyth also said he has had many through his hands while in India alive & dead although he never saw one display his wings. There are he informs me three specimens now living in Europe—1 male & 2 females but all separated. I looked at the Museum specimen on Saturday in company with a young friend who is an amateur artist & when we stood a few yards away from the bird we both saw very distinctly the art wonder in nature   Still I greatly admire your extrem〈  〉 〈    〉 〈  〉ness in not admitting what you do 〈    〉 You do not say how you like my 〈    〉 Student4 nor anything about the c〈  〉 〈    〉 pheasant, the peculiarity in which, to 〈    〉 your attention, may be seen in any 〈    〉 period of courtship, & I have made 〈    〉 life shewing the unbroken stripes.

I was at the Gardens on a Sunday morning & saw your name in the book but was disappointed to hear, that you had just left.5 May I ask the favour of an interview with you when you are in Town again?

& believe me to remain, | Dear Sir, | Very faithfully yours, | T. W. Wood.

C. Darwin Esq. F.R.S.

P.S. Is not this matter one of those things which have been hidden from the wise & prudent & revealed unto babes?


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters from T. W. Wood, 14 June 1870 and 16 June 1870, and by the mention of Wood’s missing CD at the Zoological Gardens on Sunday. CD was in London from 24 June to 1 July 1870 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)); the only Sunday in that period was 26 June.
See letters from T. W. Wood, 14 June 1870 and 16 June 1870.
Edward Blyth.
Wood refers to his article on the courtship of birds in the Student and Intellectual Observer (Wood 1870; see letter from T. W. Wood, 14 June 1870).
Wood refers to the gardens of the Zoological Society of London at Regent’s Park.


Wood, Thomas W. 1870. The courtship of birds. Student and Intellectual Observer 5 (1870–1): 113–25.


Is surprised to find CD disagrees about the argus [see 7229]. TWW finds others he has consulted, including Edward Blyth, agree with him.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas William Wood
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 146
Physical description
4pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7211,” accessed on 13 May 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18