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looked over my chapter, except the third part returned. I am very sorry Mrs. Hooker took the trouble of copying the two pages.”
C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.
(April or May, 1859] Please do not say to any one that I thought my book on Species would be fairly popular, and have a fairly remunerative sale (which was the height of my ambition), for if it prove a dead failure, it would make me the more ridiculous.
I enclose a criticism, a taste of the futureRev. S. Haughton's Address to the Geological Society, Dublin.*
" This speculation of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace would not be worthy of notice were it not for the weight of authority of the names (i.e. Lyell's and yours), under whose auspices it has been brought forward. If it means what it says, it is a truism ; if it means anything more, it is contrary to fact.”
Q. E. D.
C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.
Down, May 11th (1859). MY DEAR HOOKER, — Thank you for telling me about obscurity of style. But on my life no nigger with lash over him could have worked harder at clearness than I have done. But the very difficulty to me, of itself leads to the probability that I fail. Yet one lady who has read all my MS. has found only two or three obscure sentences, but Mrs. Hooker having so found it, makes me tremble. I will do my best in proofs. Yo: are a good man to take the trouble to write about it.
With respect to our mutual muddle, † I never for a moment
* Feb. 9, 1959.
+ “ When I go over the chapter I will see what I can do, but I hardly know how I am obscure, and I think we are somehow in a mutual muddle with respect to each other, from starting from some fundamentally different notions.”—Letter of May 6, 1859.
thought we could not make our ideas clear to each other by talk, or if either of us had time to write in extenso.
I imagine from some expressions (but if you ask me what, I could not answer) that you look at variability as some necessary contingency with organisms, and further that there is some necessary tendency in the variability to go on diverging in character or degree. If you do, I do not agree. “Reversion " again (a form of inheritance), I look at as in no way directly connected with Variation, though of course inheritance is of fundamental importance to us, for if a variation be not inherited, it is of no significance to us. on such points as these I fancied that we perhaps started differently.
I fear that my book will not deserve at all the pleasant things you say about it; and Good Lord, how I do long to have done with it!
Since the above was written, I have received and have been much interested by A. Gray. I am delighted at his note about my and Wallace's paper. He will go round, for it is futile to give up very many species, and stop at an arbitrary line at others. It is what my grandfather called Unitarianism, "a feather bed to catch a falling Christian.”
C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.
Down, May 18th (1859). MY DEAR HOOKER,--My health has quite failed. I am off to-morrow for a week of Hydropathy. I am very very sorry to say that I cannot look over any proofs * in the week, as my object is to drive the subject out of my head. I shall return to-morrow week. If it be worth while, which probably it is not, you could keep back any proofs till my return home.
In haste, ever yours,
* Of Sir J. Hooker's Introduction to the 'Flora of Australia.'
[Ten days later he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker :
...I write one word to say that I shall return on Saturday, and if you have any proof-sheets to send, I shall be glad to do my best in any criticisms.
I had . . . great prostration of mind and body, but entire rest, and the douche, and 'Adam Bede,' have together done me a world of good.”]
C. Darwin to J. Murray.
Down, June 14th (1859). MY DEAR SIR, -The diagram will do very well, and I will send it shortly to Mr. West to have a few trifling corrections made.
I get on very slowly with proofs. I remember writing to you that I thought there would be not much correction. I honestly wrote what I thought, but was most grievously mis
I find the style incredibly bad, and most difficult to make clear and smooth. I am extremely sorry to say, on account of expense, and loss of time for me, that the corrections are very heavy, as heavy as possible. But from casual glances, I still hope that later chapters are not so badly written. How I could have written so badly is quite inconceivable, but I suppose it was owing to my whole attention being fixed on the general line of argument, and not on details. All I can say is, that I am very sorry.
Yours very sincerely,
P.S. I have been looking at the corrections, and considering them. It seems to me that I shall put you to a quite unfair expense. If you please I should like to enter into some such arrangement as the following: When work completed, you to allow in the account a fairly moderately heavy charge for corrections, and all excess over that to be deducted from my profits, or paid by me individually.
C. Darwin to C. Lyell.
Down, June 21st (1859). I am working very hard, but get on slowly, for I find that my corrections are terrifically heavy, and the work most difficult to me. I have corrected 130 pages, and the volume will be about 500.
I have tried my best to make it clear and striking, but very much fear that I have failed--so many discussions are and must be very perplexing. I have done my best. If you had all my materials, I am sure you would have made a splendid book. I long to finish, for I am nearly worn out. My dear Lyell, ever yours most truly,
Down, 22nd [June, 1859). MY DEAR HOOKER, -I did not answer your pleasant note, with a good deal of news to me, of May 30th, as I have been expecting proofs from you. But now, having nothing par. . ticular to do, I will fly a note, though I have nothing particular to say or ask. Indeed, how can a man have anything to say, who spends every day in correcting accursed proofs ; and such proofs ! I have fairly to blacken them, and fasten slips of paper on, so miserable have I found the style. You say that you dreamt that my book was entertaining ; that dream is pretty well over with me, and I begin to fear that the public will find it intolerably dry and perplexing. But I will never give up that a better man could have made a splendid book out of the materials. I was glad to hear about Prestwich's paper.* My doubt has been (and I see Wright has inserted the same in the 'Athenæum ') whether the pieces of fint are really tools; their numbers make me doubt, and when I formerly looked at Boucher de Perthe's drawings, I
* Mr. Prestwich wrote on the occurrence of flint instruments associated with the remains of extinct animals in France.-- (Proc. R. Soc., 1859.)
came to the conclusion that they were angular fragments broken by ice action.
Did crossing the Acacia do any good? I am so hard worked, that I can make no experiments. I have got only to 150 pages in first proof. Adios, my dear Hooker, ever yours,
C. Darwin to J. Murray.
Down, July 25th (1859). MY DEAR SIR,- I write to say that five sheets are returned to the printers ready to strike off, and two more sheets require only a revise ; so that I presume you will soon have to decide what number of copies to print off.
I am quite incapable of forming an opinion. I think I have got the style fairly good and clear, with infinite trouble. But whether the book will be successful to a degree to satisfy you, I really cannot conjecture. I heartily hope it may.
. My dear Sir, yours very sincerely,
C. Darwin to A. R. Wallace.
Down, Aug. 9th, 1859. MY DEAR MR. WALLACE,– I received your letter and memoir on the 7th, and will forward it to-morrow to the Linnean Society. But you will be aware that there is no meeting till the beginning of November. Your paper seems to me admirable in matter, style, and reasoning; and I thank you for allowing me to read it. Had I read it some months ago, I should have profited by it for my forthcoming volume. But my two chapters on this subject are in type, and, though not yet corrected, I am so wearied out and weak in health, that I am fully resolved not to add one word, and merely improve the style. So you will see that my views are nearly
* This seems to refer to Mr. Wallace's paper, "On the Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago," 'Linn. Soc. Journ,' 1860.