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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gerard Krefft   12 July [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

July 12th.

My dear Sir

I write merely to thank you for your letter of May 3d, enclosing several curious photographs. I received, also, a little time ago the wonderful photograph of the natives of Queensland, & I never saw such hideous wretches.— The natives of New Guinea are Apollos in comparison.2

As Mr Wallace is the great authority on protective imitation, I sent him the Photo of the cocoon with your account, as it seems a very remarkable case.—3

Prof. Huxley was here the other day, but has just gone abroad for two months, as he has been much out of health: on his return I will tell him about the hopping Lizards.4

Pray believe me | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. As you are so kind as to offer me information, will you observe & tell me, whether during rainy weather, (or at other times in damp & shady valleys) the worms throw up on the grass-lawns or plains, or in the woods many vermiform castings or little heaps of their earthy excrement? You will remember the appearance of lawns in the Spring & autumn in Europe.— In India I hear that the ground is covered during the rainy season with gigantic castings.— Is Australia too dry for the worms thus to act?

I have opened my letter to insert this, & shd. be grateful for an answer—


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Gerard Krefft, 3 May 1873.
Krefft enclosed photographs of a group of New Guinea men with his letter of 3 May 1873. The letter enclosing the photograph of the natives of Queensland has not been found, but they are mentioned in Krefft’s letter of 3 May 1873. Neither of these sets of photographs has been found.
Krefft had written to Thomas Henry Huxley about hopping lizards and had sent Huxley a skeleton of Chlamydosaurus kingii (see letter from Gerard Krefft, 3 May 1873 and n. 4). Huxley visited Down from 27 to 28 June 1873 (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 28 June 1873).


Thanks JLGK for photos of natives of Queensland.

Asks if he can observe whether worms throw up castings in wet weather.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Louis Gerard (Gerard) Krefft
Sent from
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney (MLMSS 5828)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8975,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21