To W. B. Tegetmeier [2 December 1855]1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your very kind reception of me, & all the to me really most valuable information, which you gave me. I can assure you it is a long time since I have passed so interesting a morning. But I have, also, an interested motive in writing viz to beg one or two little favours of you; one is to measure for me the length of the upper & lower canine teeth in that very curious skull of the cat: I had intended doing whilst with you, but the amount of interesting talk made me quite forget. I shd like to know the length of the white portion, which was uncovered by the gum, & if the tooth is loose in skull the entire length of the tooth & fang.— What coloured cat was it? & was it very large? All fish come to my net in regard to variation, & I never remember hearing of such a case before. Perhaps your shortest way would be to prick me the length with a pair of compasses, & then I could measure the length carefully to the 1100th of an inch.—2
After being with you I went and ordered some pigeons & brought home two curious Ducks, the hook-billed & tufted.—
I have been thinking that it will give you as you live in country3 much trouble, to send me the less rare breeds of Fowls, & I could get them by payment at Mr Bakers,4 but not quite such good birds, as I have no doubt I shd have got from you. But do you think you could aid me in a few of the rarer breeds: would it be asking too great a favour to get you to supplicate the owner of those wonderful black Turkish Fowls at Anerly Show5 to take the trouble to send the cock, or even Hen (shd one die) to me, addressed “to care of Mr Acton Post Office Bromley Kent.”— And likewise is it in your power to get me a horned Azores Cock? In the course of a year or two some other rare breeds you might possibly hear of, & it would be of the greatest use to me to have the carcases.— You seem so very goodnatured that I think that you will forgive all the many favours which I have asked.
Believe me with very sincere thanks. My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
When you catch your splendid Victoria Runts, please not forget to look at first flight feather.—
I presume the fresh head of Poland was the white Poland, & can you remember whether the prepared skull, on which I marked with pencil (H.) to show it was a Hen, & which you gave me, was, also, a White Poland?—6
I saw & heard so much new to me that my head was quite confused.
Raises queries resulting from their meeting. "All fish come to my net in regard to variation."
Is acquiring pigeons and poultry and would be particularly grateful for any of the rarer breeds that WBT could supply.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1788,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1788