From Asa Gray 14 April 1871
Botanic Garden, | Cambridge, Mass.
14. April 1871
My Dear Darwin.
You have such a way of putting things, and you write in such a captivating way. One can only say.
Almost thou persuadest me to have been “a hairy quadruped, of arboreal habits, furnished with a tail and pointed ears” &c.1
But I have read only the first part of the book, and the closing chapters—have left all the sexual selection till I can read it leisurely next summer, and have lent it to a judicious friend who has just returned it.
I have been besought to write notices of the book, But I decline. You don’t know how distracted I am in these days—doing the work of Professor, gardener, builder, financier, & what not all at once—2
But I must not let this mail pass without sending you the little I could get as to Laura Bridgman3
Thro’ Dr. Jarvis—a medical man &c—I got the queries put to the woman who has now the personal charge of Laura, & he brought me the enclosed,—which I think I should not much rely on.4
When Dr. Howe is on hand, some day, I will see if I can get anything authentic & particular,—not, I fear in time for you.5
My wife6 joins in kindest regards— In great haste, Ever Yours sincerely | Asa Gray
P.S. My wife asks—Have you read “The Innocents Abroad’, by your favorite author—i.e. the author of The Jumping Frog.’7 Apropos to Californian literature—& science, she sends you—by this post—Bret Harte’s poems—which she admires, & thinks will amuse you.8 | A.G.
After observing the expression of Laura Bridgman’s face, on conversing with her at different times, I can only give the following information.
Query first— The eyebrows were invariably raised
Query thirteenth. The shoulders were shrugged, the elbows drawn inwards, also the hands were drawn inwards and the eyebrows raised.9
Is reading Descent.
Encloses some answers to CD’s queries about expressions of Laura Bridgman.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7683,” accessed on 26 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7683