The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 170 of 188

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

Down, March 5th [1859].

My dear Hooker,

Many thanks about the seed…it is curious. Petrels at St. Kilda apparently being fed by seeds raised in the West Indies. It should be noted whether it is a nut ever imported into England. I am very glad you will read my Geographical MS.; it is now copying, and it will (I presume) take ten days or so in being finished; it shall be sent as soon as done…

I shall be very glad to see your embryological ideas on plants; by the sentence which I sent you, you will see that I only want one sentence; if facts are at all, as I suppose, and I shall see this from your note, for sending which very many thanks.

I have been so poorly, the last three days, that I sometimes doubt whether I shall ever get my little volume done, though so nearly completed…

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

Down, March 15th [1859].

My dear Hooker,

I am pleased at what you say of my chapter. You have not attacked it nearly so much as I feared you would. You do not seem to have detected many errors. It was nearly all written from memory, and hence I was particularly fearful; it would have been better if the whole had first been carefully written out, and abstracted afterwards. I look at it as morally certain that it must include much error in some of its general views. I will just run over a few points in your note, but do not trouble yourself to reply without you have something important to say…

…I should like to know whether the case of Endemic bats in islands struck you; it has me especially; perhaps too strongly.

With hearty thanks, ever yours,
C. Darwin.

P.S. You cannot tell what a relief it has been to me your looking over this chapter, as I felt very shaky on it.

I shall to-morrow finish my last chapter (except a recapitulation) on Affinities, Homologies, Embryology, etc., and the facts seem to me to come out very strong for mutability of species.

I have been much interested in working out the chapter.

I shall now, thank God, begin looking over the old first chapters for press.

But my health is now so very poor, that even this will take me long.

Charles Darwin to W.D. Fox.

Down [March] 24th [1859].

My dear Fox,

It was very good of you to write to me in the midst of all your troubles, though you seem to have got over some of them, in the recovery of your wife’s and your own health. I had not heard lately of your mother’s health, and am sorry to hear so poor an account. But as she does not suffer much, that is the great thing; for mere life I do not think is much valued by the old. What a time you must have had of it, when you had to go backwards and forwards.

We are all pretty well, and our eldest daughter is improving. I can see daylight through my work, and am now finally correcting my chapters for the press; and I hope in a month or six weeks to have proof-sheets. I am weary of my work. It is a very odd thing that I have no sensation that I overwork my brain; but facts compel me to conclude that my brain was never formed for much thinking. We are resolved to go for two or three months, when I have finished, to Ilkley, or some such place, to see if I can anyhow give my health a good start, for it certainly has been wretched of late, and has incapacitated me for everything. You do me injustice when you think that I work for fame; I value it to a certain extent; but, if I know myself, I work from a sort of instinct to try to make out truth. How glad I should be if you could sometime come to Down; especially when I get a little better, as I still hope to be. We have set up a billiard table, and I find it does me a deal of good, and drives the horrid species out of my head. Farewell, my dear old friend.

Yours affectionately,
C. Darwin.

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