To Asa Gray 25 February 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Gray
You have been so kind & good a friend to me, that I think you will like to have a note in pencil to hear that I am better. The vomiting is not now daily & on my good days, I am much stronger. My head hardly now troubles me, except singing in ears— It is now six months since I have done a stroke of work;2 but I begin to hope that in a few more months, I may be able to work again.— I am able most days now to get to my Hot-house I amuse myself a little by looking at climbing plants. The first job which I shall do is to draw up result of Lythrum crosses3 & on movements of climbing plants.—4
I have of course seen no one & except good dear Hooker,5 I hear from no one. He like a good & true friend, though so overworked, often writes to me.—
I have had one letter which has interested me greatly with a paper which will appear in Linn. Journal by Dr. Cruger of Trinidad,6 which shows that I am all right about Catasetum. Even to spot where pollinia adhere to Bees, which visit flower, as I said, to gnaw the labellum.—7 Cruger’s account of Coryanthes & the use of the bucket-like labellum full of water beats everything: I suspect the Bees being well wetted flattens hairs & allows viscid disc to adhere.8
I have given up hearing the newspaper read aloud as Books are more amusing & less tiring. Good Heavens the lot of trashy novels, which I have heard is astounding.— I have heard little about America.— You wrote me some little time ago a pleasant letter,9 which for a month I have been wishing to answer & thank you for.— Sometime let me hear what you are doing & what you expect for your country.10
Your poor broken down brother naturalist & affetiont friend, | C. Darwin
I wish Dana was not so imaginative & speculative in his writings.—11
Has not worked for six months due to illness.
Has been looking at climbing plants.
Hermann Crüger’s paper shows that CD was right about Catasetum pollination. Crüger’s account of pollination of Coryanthes "beats everything".