Will you send me one line to say whether I must strike out about the secondary whale (The passage was omitted in the second edition.), it goes to my heart. About the rattle-snake, look to my Journal, under Trigonocephalus, and you will see the probable origin of the rattle, and generally in transitions it is the premier pas qui coute.
Madame Belloc wants to translate my book into French; I have offered to look over proofs for SCIENTIFIC errors. Did you ever hear of her? I believe Murray has agreed at my urgent advice, but I fear I have been rash and premature. Quatrefages has written to me, saying he agrees largely with my views. He is an excellent naturalist. I am pressed for time. Will you give us one line about the whales? Again I thank you for never- tiring advice and assistance; I do in truth reverence your unselfish and pure love of truth.
My dear Lyell, ever yours, C. DARWIN.
[With regard to a French translation, he wrote to Mr. Murray in November 1859: "I am EXTREMELY anxious, for the subject's sake (and God knows not for mere fame), to have my book translated; and indirectly its being known abroad will do good to the English sale. If it depended on me, I should agree without payment, and instantly send a copy, and only beg that she [Mme. Belloc] would get some scientific man to look over the translation...You might say that, though I am a very poor French scholar, I could detect any scientific mistake, and would read over the French proofs."
The proposed translation was not made, and a second plan fell through in the following year. He wrote to M. de Quatrefages: "The gentleman who wished to translate my 'Origin of Species' has failed in getting a publisher. Balliere, Masson, and Hachette all rejected it with contempt. It was foolish and presumptuous in me, hoping to appear in a French dress; but the idea would not have entered my head had it not been suggested to me. It is a great loss. I must console myself with the German edition which Prof. Bronn is bringing out." (See letters to Bronn, page 70.)
A sentence in another letter to M. de Quatrefages shows how anxious he was to convert one of the greatest of contemporary Zoologists: "How I should like to know whether Milne Edwards had read the copy which I sent him, and whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion I have so profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to change his opinion."]
CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, [November 26th, 1859].
My dear Lyell,
I have received your letter of the 24th. It is no use trying to thank you; your kindness is beyond thanks. I will certainly leave out the whale and bear...
The edition was 1250 copies. When I was in spirits, I sometimes fancied that my book would be successful, but I never even built a castle in the air of such success as it has met with; I do not mean the sale, but the impression it has made on you (whom I have always looked at as chief judge) and Hooker and Huxley. The whole has infinitely exceeded my wildest hopes.
Farewell, I am tired, for I have been going over the sheets.
My kind friend, farewell, yours, C. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, Yorkshire, December 2nd .
My dear Lyell,
Every note which you have sent me has interested me much. Pray thank Lady Lyell for her remark. In the chapters she refers to, I was unable to modify the passage in accordance with your suggestion; but in the final chapter I have modified three or four. Kingsley, in a note (The letter is given below) to me, had a capital paragraph on such notions as mine being NOT opposed to a high conception of the Deity. I have inserted it as an extract from a letter to me from a celebrated author and divine. I have put in about nascent organs. I had the greatest difficulty in partially making out Sedgwick's letter, and I dare say I did greatly underrate its clearness. Do what I could, I fear I shall be greatly abused.