"It is a pretty experiment"

Darwin, Charles, English naturalist (1809-1882). Autograph letter signed ("Ch. Darwin").

Down, Beckenham, Kent, 7 Sept. [1874].

8vo. 2 pp. on bifolium.


To the British architect William Cecil Marshall (1849-1921), whom Darwin engaged to build an extension to Down House on the north side (a billiard room with dressing room and bedroom above) in 1876, thanking him for some Pinguicula leaves, from which he has picked off sixteen seeds: "My dear Mr Marshall, I am very grateful to you. Your observations are excellent, & are put most clearly & will be very useful to me. I have picked off 16 seeds from this lot! The plant is certainly to a certain extent graninivorous also somewhat graminivorous, though mainly insectivorous. The rain, I know washes off the secretion & with it captured insects (& as you say seeds), which are retained by the incurved edges, which then become more incurved. It is a pretty experiment to put a row of flies or cabbage seeds on one margin of a flat leaf & see how the edge of the side curls over in from 12 to 24 hours. With cordial thanks, Yours very sincerely [...]".

Traces of folds; professionally repaired. On stationery with printed address.

Darwin Correspondence Project no. 9627F.

Stock Code: BN#45467 Tags: ,