When a person is very good-natured he gets much pestered--a discovery which I daresay you have made, or anyhow will soon make; for I do want very much to know whether you have sown seed of any moss-roses, and whether the seedlings were moss-roses. (196/2. Moss-roses can be raised from seed ("Variation under Domestication," Edition II., Volume I., page 405.) Has a common rose produced by SEED a moss-rose?
If any light comes to you about very slight changes in the buds, pray have the kindness to illuminate me. I have cases of seven or eight varieties of the peach which have produced by "bud-variation" nectarines, and yet only one single case (in France) of a peach producing another closely similar peach (but later in ripening). How strange it is that a great change in the peach should occur not rarely and slighter changes apparently very rarely! How strange that no case seems recorded of new apples or pears or apricots by "bud-variation"! How ignorant we are! But with the many good observers now living our children's children will be less ignorant, and that is a comfort.
LETTER 197. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, January 7th .
Very many thanks for your letter, which has told me exactly what I wanted to know. I shall give up all thoughts of trying to get the book (197/1. Hackel's "Generelle Morphologie," 1866. See "Life and Letters," III., pages 67, 68.) translated, for I am well convinced that it would be hopeless without too great an outlay. I much regret this, as I should think the work would be useful, and I am sure it would be to me, as I shall never be able to wade through more than here and there a page of the original. To all people I cannot but think that the number of new terms would be a great evil. I must write to him. I suppose you know his address, but in case you do not, it is "to care of Signor Nicolaus Krohn, Madeira." I have sent the MS. of my big book (197/2. "The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication," 1868.), and horridly, disgustingly big it will be, to the printers, but I do not suppose it will be published, owing to Murray's idea on seasons, till next November. I am thinking of a chapter on Man, as there has lately been so much said on Natural Selection in relation to man. I have not seen the Duke's (or Dukelet's? how can you speak so of a living real Duke?) book, but must get it from Mudie, as you say he attacks us. (197/3. "The Reign of Law" (1867), by the late Duke of Argyll. See "Life and Letters," III., page 65.)
P.S.--Nature never made species mutually sterile by selection, nor will men.
LETTER 197. TO E. HACKEL. Down, January 8th .
I received some weeks ago your great work (198/1. "Generelle Morphologie," 1866.); I have read several parts, but I am too poor a German scholar and the book is too large for me to read it all. I cannot tell you how much I regret this, for I am sure that nearly the whole would interest me greatly, and I have already found several parts very useful, such as the discussion on cells and on the different forms of reproduction. I feel sure, after considering the subject deliberately and after consulting with Huxley, that it would be hopeless to endeavour to get a publisher to print an English translation; the work is too profound and too long for our English countrymen. The number of new terms would also, I am sure, tell much against its sale; and, indeed, I wish for my own sake that you had printed a glossary of all the new terms which you use. I fully expect that your book will be highly successful in Germany, and the manner in which you often refer to me in your text, and your dedication and the title, I shall always look at as one of the greatest honours conferred on me during my life. (198/2. As regards the dedication and title this seems a strong expression. The title is "Generelle Morphologie der Organismen. Allgemeine Grundzuge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft mechanisch begrundet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie." The dedication of the second volume is "Den Begrundern der Descendenz-Theorie, den denkenden Naturforschern, Charles Darwin, Wolfgang Goethe, Jean Lamarck widmet diese Grundzuge der Allgemeinen Entwickelungsgeschichte in vorzuglicher Verehrung, der Verfasser.")
I sincerely hope that you have had a prosperous expedition, and have met with many new and interesting animals. If you have spare time I should much like to hear what you have been doing and observing. As for myself, I have sent the MS. of my book on domestic animals, etc., to the printers. It turns out to be much too large; it will not be published, I suppose, until next November. I find that we have discussed several of the same subjects, and I think we agree on most points fairly well. I have lately heard several times from Fritz Muller, but he seems now chiefly to be working on plants. I often think of your visit to this house, which I enjoyed extremely, and it will ever be to me a real pleasure to remember our acquaintance. From what I heard in London I think you made many friends there. Shall you return through England? If so, and you can spare the time, we shall all be delighted to see you here again.