LETTER 455. TO G.H.K. THWAITES. Down, February 13th [N.D.]

I wrote a little time ago asking you an odd question about elephants, and now I am going to ask you an odder. I hope that you will not think me an intolerable bore. It is most improbable that you could get me an answer, but I ask on mere chance. Macacus silenus (455/1. Macacus silenus L., an Indian ape.) has a great mane of hair round neck, and passing into large whiskers and beard. Now what I want most especially to know is whether these monkeys, when they fight in confinement (and I have seen it stated that they are sometimes kept in confinement), are protected from bites by this mane and beard. Any one who watched them fighting would, I think, be able to judge on this head. My object is to find out with various animals how far the mane is of any use, or a mere ornament. Is the male Macacus silenus furnished with longer hair than the female about the neck and face? As I said, it is a hundred or a thousand to one against your finding out any one who has kept these monkeys in confinement.

LETTER 456. TO F. MULLER. Down, August 28th [1870].

I have to thank you very sincerely for two letters: one of April 25th, containing a very curious account of the structure and morphology of Bonatea. I feel that it is quite a sin that your letters should not all be published! but, in truth, I have no spare strength to undertake any extra work, which, though slight, would follow from seeing your letters in English through the press--not but that you write almost as clearly as any Englishman. This same letter also contained some seeds for Mr. Farrer, which he was very glad to receive.

Your second letter, of July 5th, was chiefly devoted to mimicry in lepidoptera: many of your remarks seem to me so good, that I have forwarded your letter to Mr. Bates; but he is out of London having his summer holiday, and I have not yet heard from him. Your remark about imitators and imitated being of such different sizes, and the lower surface of the wings not being altered in colour, strike me as the most curious points. I should not be at all surprised if your suggestion about sexual selection were to prove true; but it seems rather too speculative to be introduced in my book, more especially as my book is already far too speculative. The very same difficulty about brightly coloured caterpillars had occurred to me, and you will see in my book what, I believe, is the true explanation from Wallace. The same view probably applies in part to gaudy butterflies. My MS. is sent to the printers, and, I suppose, will be published in about three months: of course I will send you a copy. By the way, I settled with Murray recently with respect to your book (456/1. The translation of "Fur Darwin," published in 1869.), and had to pay him only 21 pounds 2 shillings 3 pence, which I consider a very small price for the dissemination of your views; he has 547 copies as yet unsold. This most terrible war will stop all science in France and Germany for a long time. I have heard from nobody in Germany, and know not whether your brother, Hackel, Gegenbaur, Victor Carus, or my other friends are serving in the army. Dohrn has joined a cavalry regiment. I have not yet met a soul in England who does not rejoice in the splendid triumph of Germany over France (456/2. See Letter 239, Volume I.): it is a most just retribution against that vainglorious, war-liking nation. As the posts are all in confusion, I will not send this letter through France. The Editor has sent me duplicate copies of the "Revue des Cours Scientifiques," which contain several articles about my views; so I send you copies for the chance of your liking to see them.

LETTER 457. A.R. WALLACE TO CHARLES DARWIN. Holly House, Barking, E., January 27th, 1871.

Many thanks for your first volume (457/1. "The Descent of Man".), which I have just finished reading through with the greatest pleasure and interest; and I have also to thank you for the great tenderness with which you have treated me and my heresies.

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book