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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Wallis Nash   9 September 1871

Downswood, | Beckenham

9th. Septr. 1871

Sir,

I do not know whether you will consider the points which I venture to trouble you with worthy of notice, but as they seem to me to shew a marked exception to the law of inherited qualities being developed at maturity in the sex of the parent, I thought I would trouble you with a note of them, without any introduction beyond a careful reading of your books.1

I have a pure breed of Gordon setters in Devonshire; the father of the strain is a very fine bred, small, keen, dog, with marked traits in finding birds, having a peculiar action of the tail, and a curious gesture in pointing: the mother is a larger limbed, sedate, quiet bitch, with a much more commonplace style in the field: Coll. Wigsell of Saunderstead Court,2 had a brace of puppies, dog & bitch, from me this spring, born on Valentine’s day, & having left their mother at six weeks old—

I saw them at work today in the field: the Keeper,3 who knows my dogs well, asked me if I noticed any peculiarity about them: the bitch puppy was just finding birds; her action, even to the peculiar wave of the tail, & the attitude of pointing was exactly that of the old dog, whom she most markedly resembles in appearance, & shortly afterwards we observed the dog puppy, which is exceedingly like his mother in appearance, finding birds in her style—

I should not have troubled you with this note were it not that I have several times before noticed in sporting dogs that a resemblance in appearance to one parent, no matter of which sex, generally carries with it a similarity in character

I must apologize for taking up your time with this note, which of course needs no reply;

I am Sir | Yours faithfully | Wallis Nash

Charles Darwin Esqre. | &c &c

Footnotes

Nash probably refers in particular to Origin and Variation.
Atwood Dalton Wigsell. Sanderstead Court is in Surrey.
George Francis.

Bibliography

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Summary

In hunting dogs behavioural and physical traits are often inherited together and from either male or female parent.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7928
From
Wallis Nash
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Beckenham
Source of text
DAR 172: 3
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7928,” accessed on 4 August 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-7928.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19

letter