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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Nevil Maskelyne   8 December 1871

Mineral Departt. | British Museum

Decr. 8. 1871.

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for your kind response to my request made on behalf of my wife to you through Sir John Lubbock.1

Your paper on the Dimorphism of Linum2 which was one my Wife much wished to get I hope to find among the papers that may be spared by one or other of my Linnæan3 friends.

Her other desiderata thanks to your letter and to the memoirs you have been so kind as to send by the post are now in her hands.4

It may perhaps give gratification to you as it adds to my gratitude for your kindness, that my wife is I fear for another year or two doomed to be more or less of an invalid and that the reading of papers and works like your’s and working a little on the subjects they treat of, with the microscope are among her most pleasant and refreshing occupations of hours that otherwise would be weary.5

Believe me to be Dear Sir with my best thanks | very faithfully your’s | Nevil Story Maskelyne

Ch: Darwin Esqr. | &c &c &c


See letter from Nevil Maskelyne to John Lubbock, 3 December [1871]. Maskelyne’s wife was Thereza Mary Dillwyn Maskelyne.
‘Two forms in species of Linum’.
Maskelyne himself was not a member of the Linnean Society.
The other works requested by Nevil Maskelyne were ‘Climbing plants’ and ‘Fertilization of orchids’. CD’s letter has not been found.
Thereza Maskelyne was an expert botanist (Morton 1987, p. 127).


‘Climbing plants’: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 2 February 1865.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 9 (1867): 1–118.

‘Fertilization of orchids’: Notes on the fertilization of orchids. By Charles Darwin. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4th ser. 4 (1869): 141–59. [Collected papers 2: 138–56.]

Morton, Vanda. 1987. Oxford rebels. The life and friends of Nevil Story Maskelyne, 1823–1911, pioneer Oxford scientist, photographer and politician. Gloucester: Alan Sutton.


Thanks CD for papers he sent his wife. They will help her pass her time as an invalid.

Letter details

Letter no.
Mervyn Herbert Nevil (Nevil) Story/Mervyn Herbert Nevil (Nevil) Story-Maskelyne
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Dept of Mineralogy, British Museum
Source of text
DAR 177: 261
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8100,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19