To A. R. Wallace [12–17] March 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Wallace
I thank you much for your two notes.2 The case of Julia Pastrana is a splendid addition to my other cases of correlated teeth & hair, & I will add it in correcting the proofs of my present volume.—3 Pray let me hear in course of summer if you get any evidence about the gaudy caterpillars. I shd. much like to give (or quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way supported, as suggested by you.4 It will, however, be a long time hence, for I can see that sexual selection is growing into quite a large subject, which I shall introduce into my essay on man, supposing that I ever publish it. I had intended giving a chapter on man, in as much as many call him (not quite truly) an eminently domesticated animal; but I found the subject too large for a chapter. Nor shall I be capable of treating the subject well, & my sole reason for taking it up is that I am pretty well convinced that sexual selection has played an important part in the formation of races, & sexual selection has always been a subject which has interested me much.5
I have been very glad to see your impression from memory on the expression of Malays.6 I fully agree with you that the subject is in no way an important one: it is simply a “hobby-horse” with me about 27 years old; & after thinking that I would write an essay on man, it flashed on me that I could work in some “supplemental remarks on expression,”— After the horrid tedious dull work of my present huge & I fear unreadable book, I thought I would amuse myself with my hobby-horse.7 The subject is, I think, more curious & more amenable to scientific treatment, than you seem willing to allow. I want anyhow to upset Sir C. Bell’s view, given in his most interesting work “the anatomy of Expression” that certain muscles have been given to man solely that he may reveal to other men his feelings. I want to try & show how expressions have arisen.—8
That is a good suggestion about newspapers;9 but my experience tells me that private applications are generally most fruitful.— I will, however, see if I can get the queries inserted in some Indian paper.— I do not know name or address of any other papers.—
I have just ordered, but not yet received Murray’s book: Lindley used to call him a blunder-headed man.—10 It is very doubtful whether I shall ever have strength to publish the latter part of my materials.11
My two female amanuenses are busy with friends, & I fear this scrawl will give you much trouble to read.—12
With many thanks | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Asks to be kept informed on gaudy caterpillars.
Problems of his work on man; scope and role of sexual selection.
Indulgence of interest in expression is simply a "hobby-horse". Will see whether he can get queries inserted in an Indian newspaper.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5440,” accessed on 21 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5440