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 It turns out to be much too large; it will not be published, I suppose, until next November.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.
LETTER 199. TO T. RIVERS. Down, January 11th [1867?].
How rich and valuable a letter you have most kindly sent me! The case of Baronne Prevost (199/1. See "Variation under Domestication," Edition II., Volume I., page 406. Mr. Rivers had a new French rose with a delicate smooth stem, pale glaucous leaves and striped flesh-coloured flowers; on branches thus characterised there appeared "the famous old rose called 'Baronne Prevost,'" with its stout thorny stem and uniform rich-coloured double flowers.), with its different shoots, foliage, spines, and flowers, will be grand to quote. I am extremely glad to hear about the seedling moss-roses. That case of a seedling like a Scotch rose, unless you are sure that no Scotch rose grew near (and it is unlikely that you can remember), must, one would think, have been a cross.
I have little compunction for being so troublesome--not more than a grand Inquisitor has in torturing a heretic--for am I not doing a real good public service in screwing crumbs of knowledge out of your wealth of information?
P.S. Since the above was written I have read your paper in the "Gardeners' Chronicle": it is admirable, and will, I know, be a treasure to me. I did not at all know how strictly the character of so many flowers is inherited.
On my honour, when I began this note I had no thought of troubling you with a question; but you mention one point so interesting, and which I have had occasion to notice, that I must supplicate for a few more facts to quote on your authority. You say that you have one or two seedling peaches (199/2. "On raising Peaches, Nectarines, and other Fruits from Seed." By Thomas Rivers, Sawbridgeworth.--"Gard. Chron." 1866, page 731.) approaching very nearly to thick-fleshed almonds (I know about A. Knight and the Italian hybrid cases). Now, did any almond grow near your mother peach? But especially I want to know whether you remember what shape the stone was, whether flattened like that of an almond; this, botanically, seems the most important distinction. I earnestly wish to quote this. Was the flesh at all sweet?