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?
Have you kept these seedling peaches? if you would give me next summer a fruit, I want to have it engraved.
LETTER 200. TO I. ANDERSON-HENRY. May 22nd .
You are so kind as to offer to lend me Maillet's (200/1. For De Maillet see Mr. Huxley's review on "The Origin of Species" in the "Westminster Review," 1860, reprinted in "Lay Sermons," 1870, page 314. De Maillet's evolutionary views were published after his death in 1748 under the name of Telliamed (De Maillet spelt backwards).) work, which I have often heard of, but never seen. I should like to have a look at it, and would return it to you in a short time. I am bound to read it, as my former friend and present bitter enemy Owen generally ranks me and Maillet as a pair of equal fools.
LETTER 201. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, April 4th .