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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [8 November 1873]1

Royal Gardens Kew


Dear Darwin

I shall always be at home from 9–11 am. so pray choose a day most suitable to yourself, you need not write beforehand—& bring Frank or any one you please (who will perhaps stay after you go)— Sunday is the best day, as no one will disturb us then—2

I have had a weeks cessation of all Nepenthes work, owing to having to get out a paper for 1st. meeting of Linnean last Thursday on a very difficult subject.3 I shall now begin again.

I was trying M. albida in the Hot House the other day & found it wonderfully sensitive compared to what it was in my room—.4 I wonder if the damp heat kept it in the “qui vive”, like a pig before rain! It is in our hottest house now.

I am in a state of temporary inflation— a book just published on the Military operation in Sikkim says of my travels “Never was the Officer Commanding a force favored with a fuller, more able, or more lucid report of a country & it’s inhabitants than I was by the study of Dr Hooker”5

I wonder whether Leonard will ever display such military sagacity & acumen as this Commander in Chief exhibits—;6 & he has his reward, by being made “Keeper of Crown Jewels”7 a sort of Lady’s Maid extraordinary you will say—

Ever yours affec | Jos D Hooker


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 6 November 1873. In 1873, the Saturday following 6 November was 8 November.
Hooker refers to Francis Darwin. CD evidently visited Hooker at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on Sunday 9 November (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [9 November 1873].
Hooker had been experimenting on the digestive properties of Nepenthes (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1873] and n. 2). His paper on the parasitic flowering plant Hydnora americana (a synonym of Prosopanche americana) was read at the Linnean Society on 6 November 1873 (J. D. Hooker 1873).
For CD’s interest in Mimosa albida, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November [1873] and n. 5.
Hooker’s Himalayan journals (J. D. Hooker 1854) was praised in John Cox Gawler’s Sikkim, with hints on mountain and jungle warfare (Gawler 1873, p. 3).
Leonard Darwin was in Royal Engineers.
Gawler was keeper of the crown jewels until his death in 1882.


Gawler, John Cox. 1873. Sikhim: with hints on mountain and jungle warfare. Exhibiting also the facilities for opening commercial relations through the state of Sikhim with Central Asia, Thibet, and western China. London: Edward Stanford.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1873. On Hydnora americana R. Br. [Read 6 November 1873.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 14 (1875): 182–8.


Has had a week’s cessation of Nepenthes work.

Had to get out a paper for the Linnean Society on Thursday.

Has tried Mimosa albida in hothouse and found it wonderfully sensitive.

A military report from India praises his travel book.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 184–5
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9150,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

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