The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 155 of 188

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

February 8th [1858].

…I am working very hard at my book, perhaps too hard. It will be very big, and I am become most deeply interested in the way facts fall into groups. I am like Croesus overwhelmed with my riches in facts, and I mean to make my book as perfect as ever I can. I shall not go to press at soonest for a couple of years…

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

February 23rd [1858].

…I was not much struck with the great Buckle, and I admired the way you stuck up about deduction and induction. I am reading his book (‘The History of Civilisation.’), which, with much sophistry, as it seems to me, is wonderfully clever and original, and with astounding knowledge.

I saw that you admired Mrs. Farrer’s ‘Questa tomba’ of Beethoven thoroughly; there is something grand in her sweet tones.

Farewell. I have partly written this note to drive bee’s-cells out of my head; for I am half-mad on the subject to try to make out some simple steps from which all the wondrous angles may result. (He had much correspondence on this subject with the late Professor Miller of Cambridge.)

I was very glad to see Mrs. Hooker on Friday; how well she appears to be and looks.

Forgive your intolerable but affectionate friend,
C. Darwin.

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

Down, April 16th [1858].

My dear Fox,

I want you to observe one point for me, on which I am extremely much interested, and which will give you no trouble beyond keeping your eyes open, and that is a habit I know full well that you have.

I find horses of various colours often have a spinal band or stripe of different and darker tint than the rest of the body; rarely transverse bars on the legs, generally on the under-side of the front legs, still more rarely a very faint transverse shoulder-stripe like an ass.

Is there any breed of Delamere forest ponies? I have found out little about ponies in these respects. Sir P. Egerton has, I believe, some quite thoroughbred chestnut horses; have any of them the spinal stripe? Mouse-coloured ponies, or rather small horses, often have spinal and leg bars. So have dun horses (by dun I mean real colour of cream mixed with brown, bay, or chestnut). So have sometimes chestnuts, but I have not yet got a case of spinal stripe in chestnut, race horse, or in quite heavy cart-horse. Any fact of this nature of such stripes in horses would be most useful to me. There is a parallel case in the legs of the donkey, and I have collected some most curious cases of stripes appearing in various crossed equine animals. I have also a large mass of parallel facts in the breeds of pigeons about the wing bars. I suspect it will throw light on the colour of the primeval horse. So do help me if occasion turns up…My health has been lately very bad from overwork, and on Tuesday I go for a fortnight’s hydropathy. My work is everlasting. Farewell.

My dear Fox, I trust you are well. Farewell,
C. Darwin.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)