See "Origin," Edition VI., page xvii.)
Farewell: I heartily rejoice in the clear merit of this number. I hope Mrs. Huxley goes on well. Etty keeps much the same, but has not got up to the same pitch as when you were here. Farewell.
LETTER 120. TO JAMES LAMONT. Down, February 25th .
I am extremely much obliged for your very kind present of your beautiful work, "Seasons with the Sea-Horses;" and I have no doubt that I shall find much interesting from so careful and acute an observer as yourself. (120/1. "Seasons with the Sea-Horses; or, Sporting Adventures in the Northern Seas." London, 1861. Mr. Lamont (loc. cit., page 273) writes: "The polar bear seems to me to be nothing more than a variety of the bears inhabiting Northern Europe, Asia, and America; and it surely requires no very great stretch of the imagination to suppose that this variety was originally created, not as we see him now, but by individuals of Ursus arctos in Siberia, who, finding their means of subsistence running short, and pressed by hunger, ventured on the ice and caught some seals. These individuals would find that they could make a subsistence in this way, and would take up their residence on the shore and gradually take to a life on the ice...Then it stands to reason that those individuals who might happen to be palest in colour would have the best chance of succeeding in surprising seals...The process of Natural Selection would do the rest, and Ursus arctos would in the course of a few thousands, or a few millions of years, be transformed into the variety at present known as Ursus maritimus." The author adds the following footnote (op. cit., page 275): "It will be obvious to any one that I follow Mr. Darwin in these remarks; and, although the substance of this chapter was written in Spitzbergen, before "The Origin of Species" was published, I do not claim any originality for my views; and I also cheerfully acknowledge that, but for the publication of that work in connection with the name of so distinguished a naturalist, I never would have ventured to give to the world my own humble opinions on the subject.")
P.S. I have just been cutting the leaves of your book, and have been very much pleased and surprised at your note about what you wrote in Spitzbergen. As you thought it out independently, it is no wonder that you so clearly understand Natural Selection, which so few of my reviewers do or pretend not to do.
I never expected to see any one so heroically bold as to defend my bear illustration. (120/2. "In North America the black bear was seen by Hearne swimming for hours with widely open mouth, thus catching, almost like a whale, insects in the water."--"Origin," Edition VI., page 141. See Letter 110.) But a man who has done all that you have done must be bold! It is laughable how often I have been attacked and misrepresented about this bear. I am much pleased with your remarks, and thank you cordially for coming to the rescue.
LETTER 121. TO W.B. TEGETMEIER.
(121/1. Mr. Darwin's letters to Mr. Tegetmeier, taken as a whole, give a striking picture of the amount of assistance which Darwin received from him during many years. Some citations from these letters given in "Life and Letters," II., pages 52, 53, show how freely and generously Mr. Tegetmeier gave his help, and how much his co-operation was valued.
The following letter is given as an example of the questions on which Darwin sought Mr. Tegetmeier's opinion and guidance.)
Down, March 22 .
I ought to have answered your last note sooner; but I have been very busy. How wonderfully successful you have been in breeding Pouters! You have a good right to be proud of your accuracy of eye and judgment. I am in the thick of poultry, having just commenced, and shall be truly grateful for the skulls, if you can send them by any conveyance to the Nag's Head next Thursday.
You ask about vermilion wax: positively it was not in the state of comb, but in solid bits and cakes, which were thrown with other rubbish not far from my hives.