RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1896. [Recollections of Darwin and correspondence with Romanes, 1875-1881]. In E. D. Romanes ed., The life and letters of George John Romanes. 6th impression. London: Longmans, 1908.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data, corrections by John van Wyhe 1.2011. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. The recollected words of Darwin are given in bold.

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M.A., LL.D., F.R.S.







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His summers were spent in Ross-shire, and there is no doubt these months were of great use to him. He was perfectly unharassed so far as pecuniary cares or family ambition were concerned, and he had abundant time to think. Years afterwards, Mr. Darwin

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said to him: 'Above all, Romanes, cultivate the habit of meditation,' and Mr Romanes always quoted this as a most valuable bit of advice. His intellectual development was rapid in these Cambridge years, and it is not improbable that his slowly growing mind had not been ill served by being allowed to mature in absolute freedom, although he himself bitterly regretted and, through his whole life, deplored the lack of early training, and of mental discipline.

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Science entirely fascinated him; his first plunge into real scientific work opened to him a new life, gave him the first sense of power and of capacity. Now he read Mr. Darwin's books, and it is impossible to overrate the extraordinary effect they had on the young man's mind.

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It was about this time that a letter of his in 'Nature' (see 'Nature,' vol. viii. p. 101) attracted Mr. Darwin's attention, and caused him to send a friendly little note to the youthful writer.

Probably Mr. Darwin had little idea of the effect his letter produced on its recipient, who was then recovering from his long illness. That Darwin should actually write to him seemed too good to believe. It was a great encouragement to go on with scientific work.


As has been said, a letter in 'Nature' attracted Mr. Darwin's notice, and somewhere about 1874 he invited Mr. Romanes to call on him.

From that time began an unbroken friendship, marked on one side by absolute worship, reverence, and affection, on the other by an almost fatherly kindness

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[...] and a wonderful interest in the younger man's work and in his career. That first meeting was a real epoch in Mr. Romanes' life. Mr. Darwin met him, as he often used to tell, with outstretched hands, a bright smile, and a 'How glad I am that you are so young!'

Perhaps no hero-worship was ever more unselfish, more utterly loyal, or more fully rewarded. As time went on, and intimacy increased, and restraint wore off, Mr. Romanes found that the great master was as much to be admired for his personal character as for his wonderful gifts, and to the youth who never, in the darkest days of utter scepticism, parted with the love for goodness, for beauty of character, this was an overwhelming joy.

In a poem written about 1884 Mr. Romanes has expressed something of what he felt for Mr. Darwin, and in this he has poured out his 'hero-worship' in terms which were to him the expressions of simple truth.

It is interesting to look over the long series of letters from 1874 to 1882 and notice how the formal 'Dear Mr. Romanes' drops into the familiar 'Dear Romanes,' and the letters become more and more affectionate, intimate, personal. [...]

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a Friday evening lecture at the Royal Institution on his work on Medusæ.

He was also at this time working on the subject of 'Pangenesis,'1 and a series of letters to Mr. Darwin and to Professor Schäfer may interest some readers.

1 The following extract from 'An Examination of Weissmannism,' pp. 2,8, will possibly explain the theory of Pangenesis, which assumes:
1. That all the component cells of a multicellular organism throw off inconceivably minute germs, or 'gemmules,' which are then dispersed throughout the whole system.
2. That these gemmules, when so dispersed and supplied with proper nutriment, multiply by self-division, and, under suitable conditions, are capable of developing into physiological cells like those from which they were originally and severally derived.
3. That, while still in this gemmular condition, these cell-seeds have for one another a mutual affinity, which leads to their being collected from all parts of the system by the reproductive glands of the organism; and that, when so collected, they go to constitute the essential material of the sexual elements—ova and spermatozoa being thus aggregated packets of gemmules, which have emanated from all the cells of all the tissues of the organism.
4. That the development of a new organism out of the fusion of two such packets of gemmules is due to a summation of all the developments of some of the gemmules which these two packets contain.
5. That a large proportional number of the gemmules in each packet, however, fail to develop, and are then transmitted in a dormant state to future generations, in any of which they may be developed subsequently, thus giving rise to the phenomena of reversion or atavism,
6. That in all cases the development of gemmules into the form of their parent cells depends on their suitable union with other partially developed gemmules which precede them in the regular course of growth.
7. That gemmules are thrown off by all physiological cells, not only during the adult state of the organism, but during all stages of its development. Or, in other words, that the production of these cell-seeds depends upon the adult condition of parent cells, not upon that of the multicellular organism as a whole.

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18 Cornwall Terraee, Regent's Park, N.W.:
January 14, 1875.

Dear Mr. Darwin,—I should very much like to see the papers to which you allude. A priori one would have thought the bisecting plan the more hopeful, but if the other has yielded positive results, in the case of an eye and tubers, I think it would be worth while to try the effect of transplanting various kinds of pips into the pulps of kindred varieties of fruit; for the homological relations in this case would be pretty much the same as in the other, with the exception of the bud being an impregnated one. If positive results ensued, however, this last-mentioned fact would be all the better for 'Pangenesis.'

You have doubtless observed the very remarkable case given in the 'Gardener's Chronicle' for January 2—I mean the vine in which the scion appears to have notably affected the stock. Altogether vines seem very promising; and as their buds admit of being planted in the ground, it would be much more easy to try the bisecting plan in their case than in others, where one half-bud, besides requiring to be fitted to the other half, has also to have its shield fitted into the bark. All one's energies might then be expended in coaxing adhesion, and if once this were obtained, I think there would here be the best chance of obtaining a hybrid; for then all, or nearly all, the cells of the future branch would be in the state of gemmules. I am very sanguine about the buds growing under these circumstances, for the vigour

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with which bisected seeds germinate is perfectly astonishing.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


P.S.—I have been to see Dr. Hooker, and found h is kindness and courtesy quite what you led me to expect. Such men are rare.

April 21,1875.

In returning you—'s papers, I should like to say that the one on 'Inheritance' appears to me quite destitute of intelligible meaning. It is a jumble of the same confused ideas upon heredity about which I complained when you were at this house. How in the world can 'force' act without any material on which to act? Yet, unless we assume that it can, the whole discussion is either meaningless, or else assumes the truth of some such theory as 'Pangenesis.' In other words, as it must be 'unthinkable' that force should act independently of matter, the doctrine of its persistence can only be made to bear upon the question of heredity, by supposing that there is a material connection between corporeal and germinal cells—i.e. by granting the existence of force-carriers, call them gemmules, or physiological units, or what we please.

Lawson Tait says (p. 60)—'The process of growth of the ovum after impregnation can be followed only after the assumption either expressed or unconsciously accepted of such a hypothesis as is contained in Mr. Darwin's "Pangenesis;"' and it is interesting, as showing the truth of the remark, to compare, for ex-

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ample, p. 29 of the other pamphlet—for, of course, 'Pangenesis' assumes the truth of the persistence of force as the prime condition of its possibility. If ever I have occasion to prepare a paper about heredity, I think it would be worth while to point out the absurdity of thinking that we explain anything by vague allusions to the most ultimate generalisation of science. We might just as well say that Canadian institutions resemble British ones because force is persistent. This doubtless is the ultimate reason, but our explanation would be scientifically valueless if we neglected to observe that the Canadian colony was founded by British individuals.

The leaf from 'Nature' arrived last night. I had previously intended to try mangold-wurzel, as I hear it has well-marked varieties. The reference, therefore, will be valuable to me.

Before closing, I should like to take this opportunity of thanking you again for the very pleasant time I spent at Down. The place was one which I had long wished to see, and now that I have seen it, I am sure it will ever remain one of the most agreeable and interesting of memory's pictures.

With kind regards to Mrs. Darwin, I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


To Professor E. Schäfer.

Dunskaith, Ross-shire.

My dear Schäfer,—I am glad to hear that your rest has been beneficial, and also about all the other news you give.

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positive in describing a chain of cells running round the inner part of the marginal canal. Now, although I sometimes see a thin cord-like appearance here, I should not dare to say it was nervous. Gold certainly stains it, but it also stains many other parts of the tissue, and until I can see cells here I cannot be sure about a visible nervous cord. The cord I do see may be the wall of the marginal canal. I intend to persevere, however, trying your suggestions, also osmic acid.

I can get no indications of electrical disturbance during contraction in the way you suggest—at least not with Sarsia; but I intend to try with some of the larger Medusæ.

Some apparatus is coming from Cambridge to enable me to test for electrotonus and Pflüger's law. I shall apply it to the luminous Medusæ also, whose light, I forgot to say, is seen under the microscope in the dark to proceed not only from the margin alone, but from that particular part of the margin where Agassiz describes his chain of nervous cells.


From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes.

Down, Beckenham, Kent: July 18, 1875.

I have been much interested by your letter, and am truly delighted at the prospect of success. Such energy as yours is almost sure to command victory. The world will be much more influenced by experiments on animals than on plants. But in any case


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I think a large number of successful results will be necessary to convince physiologists. It is rash to be sanguine, but it will be splendid if you succeed. My object in writing has been to say that it has only just occurred to me that I have not sent you a copy of my 'Insectivorous Plants;' if you would care to have a copy, and do not possess one, send me a postcard, and one shall be sent. If I do not hear, I shall understand.

Yours very sincerely,

Dunskaith, Nigg P.O., Ross shire, NB.: July 20,1875.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—Your letter arrived just in time to prevent my sending an order to my bookseller for 'Insectivorous Plants,' for, of course, it is needless to say that I shall highly value a copy from yourself. At first I intended to wait until I should have more time to enjoy the work, but a passage in this week's 'Nature' determined me to get a copy at once. This passage was one about reflex action, and I am very anxious to see what you say about this, because in a paper I have prepared for the 'B.A.' on Medusæ I have had occasion to insist upon the occurrence of reflex action in the case of these, notwithstanding the absence of any distinguishable system of afferent and efferent nerves. But as physiologists have been so long accustomed to associate the phenomena of reflex action with some such distinguishable system, I was afraid that they might think me rather audacious in propounding the doctrine, that there is

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such a thing as reflex action without well-defined structural channels for it to occur in. But if you have found something of the same sort in plants, of course I shall be very glad to have your authority to quote. And I think it follows deductively from the general theory of evolution, that reflex action ought to be present before the lines in which it flows are sufficiently differentiated to become distinguishable as nerves.

I am very glad that you are pleased with my progress so far.

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes

Down, Beckenham, Kent: Sept 24.

I shall be very glad to propose you for Linnean Soc., as I have just done for my son Francis. There is no doubt about your election. I have written for blank form. Please let me have your title, B.A. or M.A., and title of any book or papers, to which I could add 'various contributions to "Nature."' Also shall I say 'attached to Physiology and Zoology' ? When I have signed whole, shall I send a paper to Hooker and others at Kew; or do you wish it sent to some one else for signature? Three signatures are required. The paper will have to be read twice or thrice when Soc. meets in November. But you could get books out of library or out of that of Royal Soc. by my signature or that of any other member.

I am terribly sorry about the onions, as I expected great things from them, the seeds coming, I believe, always true. As tubers of potatoes graft so well,

D 2

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would it not be good to try other tubers as of dahlias and other plants? I have been re-writing a large portion of the chapter on Pangenesis, and it has been awfully hard work. I will, of course, send you a copy when the work is printed. How I do hope that your fowls will survive! F. Galton was here for a few hours yesterday; I see that he is much less sceptical about Pangenesis than he was.

Dunskaith, Nigg, Ross-shire, N.B., Sept. 29,1875.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—Many thanks for your kind letter. I am an M.A. and a fellow of the Philosophical Society of Cambridge, but otherwise I am nothing, nor have I any publication worth alluding to. I suppose, however, this will not matter if I am proposed by yourself, Dr. Hooker, and Mr. Dyer. I think there would be no harm in saying 'attached to Physiology and Zoology.' I may read a paper before the Linnean next November on some new species of Medusæ, but I think it is better not to allude to any contributions in advance.

Your letter about Pangenesis made me long for success more even than does the biological importance of the problem.1 Yesterday I dug up all my potatoes.

1 The experiments in graft-hybridisation were to prove that formative material (or gemmules) was actually present in the general tissues of plants and was capable of uniting with the gemmules of another plant and thus of reproducing the entire organism. For if the hybrid, afterwards produced, presents equally the characters of the acion and the stock, then formative material must have been present in the tissues of the scion, and it is demonstrated that the somatic tissues of the scion have exercised an effect on the germinal elements of the stock, inasmuch as it has caused their offspring In part to resemble it. Such facts Romanes considered to be fully in harmony with the theory of Pangenesis, and Inconsistent with any theory which supposes that no part of the parent organism generates any of the formative material.

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Some of the produce looked suspicious, but more than this I should not dare to say. By this post I send you a box containing some of the best specimens, thinking you may like to see them. The lots marked A and B are sent for comparison with the others, being the kinds I grafted together. If you think it worth while to have the eyes of any of the other lots planted, you might either do so yourself or send them back to me. Lot C is the queerest, and to my perhaps too partial eye looks very like a mixture. In the case of this graft the seed potato was rotten when dug up yesterday, and this may account for the small size of the tubers sent.

I did try dahlias and peonies, but in the former the 'finger and toe' shape of the tubers, with the eyes situated in the worst parts for cutting out clearly, prevented me from getting adhesion in any one case. With the peonies I was too late in beginning. It was also too late in the year when I began Pangenesis to try the spring flowers, but I hope to do so extensively this winter. Next year I shall try grafting beets and mangolds by cutting the young white root into a square shape and placing four red roots all round. In this way the white one will have a maximum surface exposed to the influence of the red ones. I shall also try grafting the crown of the red in the root of the white variety, and vice versd. I have already done this very successfully with carrots—making a little

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hole in the top of the root, and fitting in the crown like a cork in a bottle.

I shall look forward with great interest to the appearance of the new edition of the 'Variation.' I only wish I had begun Pangenesis a year earlier, when perhaps by this time the graft-hybrid question might have been settled. Perhaps, however, it is as well to have this question once more presented in its à priori form, for if it can soon afterwards be proved that a graft hybrid is possible, the theoretical importance of the fact may be more generally appreciated.

A day or two ago I saw on a farm near this a beautiful specimen of striping on a horse. The animal is a dark dun cob, with a very divided shoulder stripe coming off from the spinal one on either side. Each shoulder stripe then divides into three prongs, and each prong ends in a sharp point. All the legs are black as far as the knees (carpi and tarsi), and above the black part for a considerable distance all four legs are deeply marked with numerous stripes. I can get no history of parentage. If you would like a drawing I can send one, but perhaps you have already as many cases as you want in the 'Variation.'

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


To Professor E. Schäfer.

Dunskaith: Sept. 1875.

My dear Schäfer,—I have to apologise for having left your last letter so long unanswered, but there has really been nothing going on here to make it worth while writing.

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of your opinion in a matter with which you are not so fully acquainted as myself should lay me under any obligation to be led by it, after mature consideration seemed to show that the best course for me to follow was the one which I took

Hoping soon to see you, I remain, very sincerely yours,


P.S.—I forgot to say that I acted upon your suggestion about the Linnean, and have been proposed by Darwin, Hooker, and Huxley.

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes.

Down, Beckenham, Kent: July 12,1875.

I am correcting a second edition of 'Var. under Dom.,' and find that I must do it pretty fully. There-fore I give a short abstract of potato graft hybrids, and I want to know whether I did not send you a reference about beet. Did you look to this, and can you tell me anything about it ? I hope with all my heart that you are getting on pretty well with your experiments; I have been led to think a good deal on the subject, and am convinced of its high importance, though it will take years of hammering before physiologists will admit that the sexual organs only collect the generative elements.

The edition will be published in November, and then you will see all that I have collected, but I believe that you saw all the more important cases. The case of vine in 'Gardeners' Chronicle' which I

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sent you I think may only be a bud-variation, not due to grafting.

I have heard indirectly of your splendid success with nerves of Medusæ. We have been at Abinger Hall for a month for rest which I much required, and I saw there the cut-leaved vine, which seems splendid for graft hybridisation.

Yours very sincerely,

To C. Darwin, Esq.

Dunskaith: July 14,1875.

I was very glad to receive your letter, having been previously undecided whether to write and let you know how I am getting on, or to wait until I got a veritable hybrid.

In one of your letters you advised me to look up the 'beet' case, but I could nowhere find any references to it. Dr. Hooker told me that although he could not then remember the man's name, he remembered that the experimenter did not save the seed, but dug up his roots for exhibition. I forget whether it was Dr. Masters, Bentham, or Mr. Dyer who told me that the experiment had been performed in Ireland, although they could not remember by whom. But if the experimenter did not save the seed, the mere fact of his sticking two roots together would have no bearing on Pangenesis, and so I did not take any trouble to find out who the experimenter was.

As you have heard about the Medusæ, I fear you will infer that they must have diverted my attention from Pangenesis; but although it is true that they

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have consumed a great deal of time and energy, I have done my best to keep Pangenesis in the foreground.

The proximate success of my grafting is all that I can desire, although, of course, it is as yet too early in the year to know what the ultimate success will be. I mean that, although I cannot yet tell whether the tissue of one variety is affecting that of the other, I have obtained intimate adhesion in the great majority of experiments. Potatoes, however, are an exception, for at first I began with a method which I thought very cunning, and which I still think would have been successful but for one little oversight. The method was to punch out the eyes with an electroplated cork-borer, and replace them in a flat-bottomed hole of a slightly smaller size made with another instrument in the other tuber. The fit, of course, was always perfect; but what I went wrong in was not having the cork-borers made of the best steel; for after I got about one hundred potatoes planted out, I found that the inserted plugs did not adhere. I therefore tried some sections with an exceedingly sharp knife that surgeons use for amputating, and the surfaces cut with this always adhered under pressure. The knife, however, must be set up in a guide, in order to get the surfaces perfectly flat. Next year I shall get cork-borers made of the same steel as this knife is made of, and then hope to turn out graft-hybrids by the score. Even this year, however, a great many of my potatoes are coming up, so I hope that some of the eyes may have struck. I think it is desirable to get some easy way of experimenting with potatoes (such as the cork-boring plan), and one

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independent of delicacy in manipulation, for then everybody could verify the results for himself, and not, as now, look with suspicion upon the success of other people.

With beans I get very good adhesion of the young shoots, but the parts which grow after the operation always continue separate. In some cases I am trying a succession of operations as the plant grows

With beetroots and mangold-wurzel of all varieties, adhesion is certain to occur with my method of getting up great pressure by allowing the plants to grow for a few days inside the binding. I have therefore made grafts of all ages, beginning with roots only an inch or two long and as thin as threads.

The other vegetables also are doing well, but with flowers I have had no success. The vine-cuttings were too young to do anything with this year, but I hear from my cousin, who has charge of them, that they are doing well. They certainly have very extra-ordinary leaves.

This year I never expected to be more than one in which to gain experience, for embryo grafting, as it has never been tried by anybody, cannot be learned about except by experiments. But as I am a young man yet, and hope to do a good deal of 'hammering,' I shall not let Pangenesis alone until I feel quite sure that it does not admit of being any further driven home by experimental work; and even if I never get positive results, I shall always continue to believe in the theory.

I am very sorry to hear that you 'much needed rest,' and do earnestly hope that you will not work

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too hard over the new edition of one of the most laborious treatises in our language—a treatise to which we always refer for every kind of information that we cannot find anywhere else.

Dunskaith: November 7.

I have to-day sent you a beautifully successful graft. It is of a red and white carrot, each bisected longitudinally, and two of the opposite halves joined. You will see that the union is very intimate, and that the originally red half has become wholly white. The graft was made about three months ago, at which time the carrots were very small, but the colours very decided. I think, therefore, that unless red carrots ever turn into white ones—which, I suppose, is absurd—the specimen I send is a graft-hybrid so far as the parts in contact are concerned. It will be of great importance, as you observed in your last letter, in a case like this, to see if the other parts are affected— i.e. to get the plant to seed if possible. This, I suppose, can only be done at this late season with so young a plant by putting it in a greenhouse. Perhaps, therefore, you might pot it, as soon as it arrives, and keep it till I go up. If you do not care to take charge of it altogether, I can then get a home for it somewhere in the South. It will not require a deep pot, for I see that I have cut through the end of one of the roots. It would be as well, before potting, to cut off the end of the other root also, so that the one half may not grow longer than the other, and thus perhaps assert an undue amount of influence during the subsequent history of the hybrid. If the plant

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when you get it, or after potting, shows signs of drooping, I should suggest clipping off the older leaves to check evaporation: having found this a good plan with beets, &c.

In the same box with the hybrid there is another carrot. This is for comparison, it having been from the same seed and grafted (upon the crown) at the same time as the originally red half of the hybrid.

I am doubtful about the potatoes I sent. On looking over a number of 'red flukes,' I find some here and there are mottled. At any rate, I shall try other varieties next year, and not say anything about this doubtful case.

I forgot to say that the hybrid carrot is the only specimen of longitudinal grafting which I tried with carrots, having been somewhat disheartened with this method by the persistent way in which beets and mangolds refuse to blend when grafted longitudinally. There have thus been no failures with carrots grafted in this way.

If it is not too late, I may suggest that the passage in the 'Variation' about the deformity of the sternum in poultry had better be modified. I have this year tried some experiments upon Brahma chickens, and find that the deformity in question is caused by lazy habits of roosting—the constantly recurring pressure of the roost upon the cartilaginous sternum causing it to yield at the place where the pressure is exerted. The experiments consisted merely in confining some of a brood of young chickens in a place without any roost, and allowing the others to go about with all the March chickens.

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The former lot have the sternum quite straight, and the latter lot have it deeply notched.

I write to thank you for the copy of the new edition of the 'Variation' which I received a few days ago. I am very glad to see that you have thought my views about rudimentary organs worth a place, and that you speak so well of them.

The chapter on Pangenesis is admirable. The case is so strong, that it makes me more anxious than ever to get positive results in this year's experiments. I mean there seems less doubt than ever that such results must be obtainable if one hammers long enough. I did not know that there were so many cases of graft-hybridisation in potatoes. Perhaps it will be better this year to give one's main energies to other vegetables.

I find that a German, Dr. Eimer, is on the scent of the jelly-fish, but he does not seem to have done much work as yet. It is arranged that I am to have a Friday evening at the Institution soon after Easter, to tell the people about my own work.

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes.

6 Queen Anne Street: April 29,1876.

I must have the pleasure of saying that I have just heard that your lecture was a splendid success in all ways. I further hear that you were as cool as the Arctic regions. It is evident that there is no occasion for you to feel your pulse under the circumstances which we discussed.

Yours very sincerely,

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To C. Darwin, Esq.

I write to thank you for the slip about graft hybrids, and to say that as yet I have obtained no results myself. This place is too far north to admit of the seeds ripening properly after the plants have been thrown back several weeks by the operation. This applies especially to onions, so next year—the neck of Medusæ having now been broken—I intend to wait in London till all the grafting and planting out is finished. I do not think you will regret my not having followed such a course this year when you come to read the paper I am now writing. I never did such a successful four months' work, and if as many years suffice to answer all the burning questions that are raised by it, I think they will require to be years well spent.

And this makes me remember that I have to apologise for the inordinate time I have kept your copy of Professor Häckel's essay on Perigenesis. Since you sent it I have scarcely had any time for reading, and as you said there was no hurry about returning it, I have let it stand over till this paper is off my hands.

Lankester seems to have doubled up Blade in fine style. I suppose the latter has always trusted to his customers not liking to resort to violent methods. His defence in the 'Times' about the locked slates was unusually weak. 'Once a thief always a thief' applies, I suppose, to his case; but it is hard to understand how Wallace could not have seen him inverting

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the table on his head. In this we have another of those perplexing contradictions with which the whole subject appears to be teeming. I do hope next winter to settle for myself the simple issue between Ghost versus Goose.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


To C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace.

Professor Häckel's paper on the Medusæ is called 'Beitrag zur Naturgeschichte der Hydromedusen' (Leipzig, 1865). Professor Huxley has lent me his copy, but says he wants it returned in a week or two. I ought certainly to have the work by me next summer, so I thought that if you happen to have it and can spare it till next autumn, I need not send to Germany for it, remembering what you said when I last saw you. I should also much like to see the other paper of Häckel's about cutting up the ova of Medusæ.

I have an idea that you are afraid I am neglecting Pangenesis for Medusæ. If so, I should like to assure you that such is not the case. Last year I gave more time to the former than to the latter inquiry; and although the results proved very disproportionate, this was only due to the fact that the one line of work was more difficult than the other. However, I always expected that the first year would require to be spent in breaking up the ground, and I am quite satisfied with the experience which this

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work has brought me. I confess, however, that but for personal reasons I should have postponed Pangenesis and worked the Medusæ right through in one year. There is a glitter about immediate results which is very alluring.

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes.

I will send the books off by railway on Monday or Tuesday. You may keep that on Medusæ until I ask for it, which will probably be never. That on Siphonophora I should like to have back at some future time.

So far from thinking that you have neglected Pangenesis, I have been astonished and pleased that your splendid work on the jelly-fishes did not make you throw every other subject to the dogs. Even if your experiments turn out a failure, I believe that there will be some compensation in the skill you will have acquired.

P.S.—I have been having more correspondence with Galton about Pangenesis, and my confusion is more confounded with respect to the points in which he differs from me.

About this time Mr. Romanes made the acquaintance of Mr. Herbert Spencer and also that of Mr. G. H. Lewes, and of the wonderful woman known to the outer world as George Eliot, and to a small circle of friends as Mrs. Lewes.

Mr. Romanes was one of the favoured few who were allowed to join the charmed circle at the Priory on Sunday afternoons. He enjoyed the few talks he had with George Eliot, and, amongst other reminiscences,


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he told a characteristic story of Lewes. One afternoon, when there were very few people at the Priory, the conversation drifted on to the Bible, and George Eliot and Mr. Romanes began a discussion on the merits of the two translations of the Psalms best known to English people—the Bible and the Prayer Book versions. They 'quoted' at each other for a short time, and then Lewes, who had not his Bible at his finger ends to the extent the other two had, exclaimed impatiently, 'Come, we've had enough of this; we might as well be in a Sunday school.' Both George Eliot and Mr. Romanes, by the way, preferred the Bible version.

In one of the letters to Mr. Darwin, Mr. Romanes alludes to the question of spiritualism, and his own determination to investigate the question so far as in him lay for himself.

He worked a good deal at spiritualism for a year or two, and he never could assure himself that there was absolutely nothing in spiritualism, no unknown phenomena underlying the mass of fraud, and trickery, and vulgarity which has surrounded the so-called manifestations.

He was always willing to investigate such subjects as hypnotism, thought reading, &c., and in 1880 he wrote an article for the September number of the 'Nineteenth Century,' in which he pleads for a candid and unprejudiced investigation of the facts. The article was a review of Heidenhain's 'Der sogenannte thierische Magnetismus.'

The work on Pangenesis and on Medusæ went on through 1876, and some letters to and from Mr. Darwin are here inserted.

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From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. Romanes.

Dear Romanes,—As you are interested in Pangenesis, and will some day, I hope, convert an 'airy nothing' into a substantial theory, therefore I send by this post an essay by Häckel, attacking 'Pan.,' and substituting a molecular hypothesis. If I understand his views rightly, he would say that with a bird which strengthened its wings by use, the formative protoplasm of the strengthened parts becomes changed, and its molecular vibrations consequently changed, and that their vibrations are transmitted throughout the whole frame of the bird. How he explains reversion to a remote ancestor I know not. Perhaps I have misunderstood him, though I have skimmed the whole with some care. He lays much stress on inheritance being a form of unconscious memory, but how far this is part of his molecular vibration I do not understand. His views make nothing clearer to me, but this may be my fault. No one, I presume, would doubt about molecular movements of some kind. His essay is clever and striking. If you read it (but you must not on my account), I should much like to hear your judgment, and you can return it at any time.

We have come here for rest for me, which I much needed, and shall remain here for about ten days more, and then home to work, which is my sole pleasure in life. I hope your splendid Medusæ work and your experiments on Pan. are going on well. I heard from my son Frank yesterday that he was feverish with a cold, and could not dine with the Physiologists,

E 2

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which I am very sorry for, as I should have heard what they think about the new Bill.1 I see that you are one of the secretaries to this young society. I was very much gratified by the wholly unexpected honour of being elected one of the hon. members. This mark of sympathy has pleased me to a very high degree.

Believe me, yours very sincerely,

Häckel gives reference to a paper on Pan. of which I have never heard.

I fear that you will have difficulty in reading my scrawl.

Do you know who are the other hon. members of your Society?

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin.

Dunskaith, Nigg. Ross-shire, N.B.: June 1, 1876.

Many thanks for your long and kind letter. Also for the accompanying essay. It seems to me, from your epitome of the latter, that if Pangenesis is 'airy,' Perigenesis must be almost vacuous. However, I anticipate much pleasure in reading the work, for anything by Häckel on such a subject cannot fail to be interesting.

I am sorry to hear that you 'much needed rest,' and also about Frank. I had hoped, too, that you would have mentioned Mrs. Litchfield.

Having been away from London for several weeks,

1 For the Suppression of Vivisection.

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I cannot say anything about the feeling with regard to the Bill. Sanderson and Foster think it 'stringent,' and so I suppose will all the Physiologists. The former wants me to write articles in the 'Fortnightly,' 'to make people take more sensible views on vivisection:' but I cannot see that it would be of any use. The heat of battle is not the time for us to expect fanatics to listen to 'sense.' Do you not think so?

I am sure the Physiological Society will be very pleased that you like being an hon. member, for it was on your account that honorary membership was instituted. At the committee meeting which was called to frame the constitution of the Society, the chairman (Dr. Foster) ejaculated with reference to you—'Let us pile on him all the honour we possibly can,' a sentiment which was heartily enough responded to by all present; but when it came to considering what form the expression of it was to take, it was found that a nascent society could do nothing further than make honorary members. Accordingly you were made an hon. member all by yourself; but later on it was thought, on the one hand, that you might feel lonely, and on the other that in a Physiological Society the most suitable companion for you was Dr. Sharpey.

Perhaps a 'secretary' ought not to be giving all the details about committee meetings, but if not, I know you will take it in confidence. It seems to me that you never fully realise the height of your pedestal, so that I am glad of any little opportunity of this kind to show you the angle at which the upturned faces are inclined. I am glad, too, to see

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from the inscription in Häckel's essay, that he is still doing his best to show that in Germany this angle is fast being lost in horizontality.

As the spring was so backward, the plants at Kew were too small to graft before I had to leave for the Medusæ. But this does not much matter, as I had a lot of vegetables planted down here also, which are doing well. Pangenesis I always expected would require a good deal of patience, and one year's work on such a subject only counts for apprenticeship. If, by the time I am a skilled workman, I am not able to send anything to the international exhibitions, I shall not envy any one else who may resolve to enter the same trade.

I am working hard at the jelly-fish just now, and have succeeded in extracting several new confessions. The nerve-plexus theory, in particular, is coming out with greater clearness. The new poisons, too, are giving very interesting results. I suppose you do not happen to know where I could get any snake poison. The 'Phil. Trans.' seem very long in coming out. I have not yet got the proofs of my paper.

June 6, 1877.

I am very glad you sent me the extract from Lamarck, for I had just been to the R.S., hunting up several of the older authors to see whether any mention had been made of the theory before Spencer wrote.

While at Down I forgot my speculations about inter-crossing, and, therefore, although I do not

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think they are much worth, I send you a copy of my notes. The ideas are not clearly put—having been jotted down a few years ago merely to preserve them—but no doubt you will be able to understand them. Do not trouble to return the MS.

I had intended to ask you while at Down if you happen to know whether stinging nettles are endemic plants in South America. The reason I should like to know is, that last year it occurred to me that the stinging property probably has reference to some widely distributed class of animals, and being told—rightly or wrongly, I do not know—that ruminants do not object to them, I tried whether my tame rabbits would eat freshly plucked nettles. I found they would not do so even when very hungry, but in the same out-house with the rabbits there were confined a number of guinea-pigs, and these always set upon the nettles with great avidity. Their noses were tremendously stung, however, so that between every few nibbles they had to stop and scratch vigorously. After this process had been gone through several times, the guinea-pig would generally become furious, and thinking apparently that its pain must have had some more obvious cause than the nettles, would fall upon its nearest neighbour at the feast, when a guinea-pig fight would ensue. I have seldom seen a more amusing spectacle than twenty or thirty of these animals closely packed round a bunch of nettles, a third part or so eating with apparent relish, another third scratching their noses, and the remaining third fighting with one another. But what I want to ask you is this. Does it not seem that

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the marked difference in the behaviour of the rabbits and the guinea-pigs points to inherited experience on the part of the former which is absent in the case of the latter? If nettles are not endemic in South America, this inference would seem almost irresistible. Dr. Hooker tells me nettles grow there now, but he does not know whether they did so before America was visited by Europeans. Possibly there might be some way of ascertaining.

I have now made a number of grafts at Kew. In about a month, I should think, one could see which are coming up as single and which as double sprouts. If, therefore, Frank is going to work in the laboratory in July, he might perhaps look over the bed (which is just outside the door), and reject the double-stalked specimens. I could trust him to do this better than any one at Kew, and if the useless specimens were rejected, there would afterwards be much less trouble in protecting the valuable ones. But do not suggest it unless you think it would be quite agreeable to him. If he is in town within the next fortnight, I wish he would look me up.

June 16.

I have deferred answering your letter until having had a talk with Mr. Galton about rudimentary organs. He thinks with me that if the normal size of a useful organ is maintained in a species, when natural selection is removed, the average size will tend to become progressively reduced by inter-crossing, and this down to whatever extent economy of growth remains operative in placing a premium on variations

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below the average at any given stage in the history of reduction.

I think I thoroughly well know your views about natural selection. In writing the manuscript note, so far as I remember, I had in view the possibility which Huxley somewhere advocates, that nature may sometimes make a considerable leap by selecting from single variations. But it was not because of this point that I sent you the note; it was with reference to the possibility of natural selection acting on organic types as distinguished from individuals—a possibility which you once told me did not seem at all clear, although Wallace maintained it in conversation.

I do not myself think that Allen1 made out his points, although I do think that he has made an effort in the right direction. It seems to me that his fundamental principle has probably much truth in it, viz. that æsthetic pleasure in its last analysis is an effect of normal or not excessive stimulation.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


From C. Darwin, Esq.

Down, Beckenham, Kent: August 9.

My dear Romanes,—I have read your two articles in 'Nature,' and nothing can be clearer or more interesting, though I had gathered your conclusions clearly from your other papers. It seems to me that unless you can show that your muslin (in your

1 Mr. Grant Allen.

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simile) is rather coarse, the transmission may be considered as passing in any direction from cell or unit of structure to cell or unit; and in this case the transmission would be as in Dionæa, but more easily effected in certain lines or directions than in others. It is splendid work, and I hope you are getting on well in all respects. The Mr. Lawless to whom you refer is the Hon. Miss Lawless, as I know, for she sent me a very good manuscript about the fertilisation of plants, which I have recommended her to send to 'Nature.'

As for myself, Frank and I have been working like slaves on the bloom on plants, with very poor success; as usual, almost everything goes differently from what I had anticipated. But I have been absolutely delighted at two things: Cohn, of Breslau, has seen all the phenomena described by Frank in Dipsacus, and thinks it a very remarkable discovery, and is going to work with all reagents on the filaments as Frank did, but no doubt he will know much better how to do it. He will not pronounce whether the filaments are some colloid substance or living protoplasm; I think he rather leans to latter, and he quite sees that Frank does not pronounce dogmatically on the question.

The second point which delighted me, seeing that half of the botanists throughout Europe have published that the digestion of meat by plants is of no use to them—(a mere pathological phenomenon as one man says!)—is that Frank has been feeding under exactly similar conditions a large number of plants of Drosera, and the effect is wonderful. On

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the fed side the leaves are much larger, differently coloured, and more numerous—flower stalks taller and more numerous, and, I believe, far more seed-capsules, but these not yet counted. It is particularly interesting that the leaves fed on meat contain very many more starch granules (no doubt owing to more protoplasm being first formed), so that sections stained with iodine of fed and unfed leaves are to the naked eye of very different colour.

There, I have boasted to my heart's content; and do you do the same, and tell me what you have been doing.

Yours very sincerely,

From G. J. Romanes.

Dunskaith, Ross-shire: August 11, 1877.

I was very pleased to get your long and genial letter, which I will answer seriatim.

The 'muslin' in the hypothetical plexus seems to be very coarse in some specimens and finer in others—the young and active individuals enduring severer forms of section than the old. And in exploring by graduated stimuli, areas of different degrees of excitability may be mapped out, and these areas are pretty large, averaging about the size of one's finger-nails. I am rather inclined to think that these areas are determined by the course of well-differentiated nerve-tracts, while the less-differentiated ones are probably more like muslin in their mesh. But the only reason why I resort to the supposition of nerve-tracts at all is because of the sudden blocking of contractile waves

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by section, and the fact that stimulus (tentacular) waves very often continue to pass after the contractile ones have been thus blocked.

I am sorry I made the ungallant mistake about Miss Lawless, but I had no means of knowing. If I had known I should not have written the letter, because I am almost sure the movements of the Medusa were accidental, and my pointing out this source of error may be discouraging to a lady observer.

I remember thinking you were too diffident about the bloom, but I suppose that is the advantage of experience; it keeps one from forming too high hopes at the first.

The rest of your letter contains glorious news. Cohn, I suppose, is about the best man in Europe to take up the subject, and although I cannot conceive what else he can do than Frank has done already, it is no doubt most desirable that his opinion should be formed by working at the problems himself.

The other item about the effects of feeding Drosera is really most important, and in particular about the starch. I have heard the doubts you allude to expressed in several quarters, but this will set them all at rest. It was just the one thing required to cap the work on insectivorous plants. What capital work Frank is doing!

I have nothing in the way of 'boasting' to set off against it. The year has been a very bad one for jelly-fish, so that sometimes I have not been able to work at them for several days at a time. The most important new observation is perhaps the following.

Suppose a portion of Aurelia to be cut into the

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form of a pair of trousers, in such a way that a ganglion, a, occupies the bottom of one of the legs. Usually, of course, contractile waves starting from a course along to b, and thence round to c and backwards to d. But in one specimen I observed that every now and then the exact converse took place—viz. the contractile wave starting at d to course to c, b, and a. On now excising the ganglion at a both sets of contractile waves ceased—thus showing that even in the case where they started from d it was the ganglion at a which started them. This power on the part of Medusoid

ganglia to discharge their influence at a distance from their own seat I have also observed in other forms of section, and it affords the best kind of evidence in favour of nerves.

On the days when I could get no jelly-fish I took to starfish. I want, if possible, to make out the functions of the sand-canal and the aviculæ; but as yet I have only discovered the difficulties to be overcome. I had intended to make a cell to cover the calcareous plate at the end of the sand-canal, and to fill the cell with dye, in order to test Siebold's hypothesis that the whole apparatus is a filter for the

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ambulacral system; but Providence seems to have specially designed that no substance in creation should be adapted for sticking to the back of a starfish.

The aviculæ are very puzzling things. I am sure Allen is wrong in his hypothesis of their function being to remove parasitical growths; for, on the one hand, parasites are swarming around them unheeded, and on the other, they go snapping away apparently at nothing. It is more easy, however, to say what they are not than what they are.

I went a few days ago to see the vine. It is now five feet high and vigorous, but I believe spring is the proper time for grafting.

With best thanks for your 'boasting' and good wishes, I remain very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


From C. Darwin, Esq.

Down: June 4.

Sir Joseph Fayrer supplied me with cobra poison. It is very precious, but I have no doubt that by explaining your motive he would give you a little, and your best plan of applying would be through Lauder Brunton.

Your letter has made me as proud and conceited as ten peacocks. I am inclined to think that writing against the bigots about vivisection is as hopeless as stemming a torrent with a reed. Frank, who has just come here, and who speaks with indignation on the subject, takes an opposite line, and perhaps he is

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right; anyhow he had the best of an argument with me on the subject. By the way, I think Frank has made a fine discovery, but I won't say what, for fear it should break down. It seems to me the Physiologists are now in the position of a persecuted religious sect, and they must grin and bear the persecution, however cruel and unjust, as well as they can.

I shall be very glad to hear what you think about Häckel; perhaps I have shamefully misrepresented him. About the other subject (never mentioned to a human being) I shall be glad to hear, but I fear that I am a wretched bigot on the subject.1

Yours very sincerely,

The rest has done me much good. We return on the 10th. My daughter is certainly better a good deal, but not up to her former poor standard.

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

Dunskaith, Nigg, Ross-shire: June 11.

We had a good laugh over some parts of your letter. I have not, as yet, had time to read any of Häckel's book.

I am delighted to hear about the discovery, and hope, if it turns out well, to have my stimulated curiosity satisfied with regard to it. If it is as interesting as the observations about the seeds, people will think Frank a very lucky fellow to hook so many good fish in such a short time.

1 Spiritualism.

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Not having heard his arguments about the article-writing, I am still strongly of your opinion, and, being besides ill able to afford any time just now, I shall not bother with it. When I think that in this one county (Ross, and still more in Cromarty) there are more rabbits expressly bred every year for trapping than could be vivisected in all the physiological laboratories in Europe during the next thousand years, it seems hopeless to reason with people who, knowing such facts, expend all their energies in straining at a wonderfully small gnat, while swallowing, as an article of daily food, such an enormously large camel.

From C. Darwin, Esq.

Down: August 10.

Dear Romanes,—When I wrote yesterday, I had not received to-day's 'Nature,' and I thought that your lecture was finished. This final part is one of the grandest essays which I ever read.

It was very foolish of me to demur to your lines of conveyance like the threads in muslin, knowing how you have considered the subject, but still I must confess I cannot feel quite easy. Every one, I suppose, thinks on what he has himself seen, and with Drosera, a bit of meat put on any one gland on the disc causes all the surrounding tentacles to bend to this point; and here there can hardly be differentiated lines of conveyance. It seems to me that the tentacles probably bend to that point whence a molecular wave strikes them, which passes through the cellular tissue with

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equal ease in all directions in this particular case. But what a fine case that of the Aurelia is!

Forgive me for bothering you with another note.

Yours very sincerely,

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

Dunskaith, Ross-shire, N.B.: August 13, 1877.

I thought you had given me quite enough praise in your first letter, but am not on that account the less pleased at the high compliment you pay me in the second one. The ending up was what the people at the Institutionl seemed to like best.

Pray do not think that I have yet made up my mind about the 'muslin.' On the contrary, the more I work at the tissues of Aurelia the more puzzled I become, so that I am thankful for all criticisms. If Aurelia stood alone, I should be inclined to take your view, and attribute blocking of contractile waves in spiral strips, &c., to some accidental strain previously suffered by the tissue at the area of blocking. But the fact that in Tiaropsis the polypite is so quick and precise in localising a needle prick, seems to show that here there must be something more definite in the way of conducting tissue than in Drosera, although I confess it is most astonishing how precise the localising function, as described by you, is in the latter. In 'Nature' I did not express my doubts, but it was because I feared there may yet turn out to be a skeleton in the cupboard that I kept all these

1 He had just lectured at the Royal Institution.


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more or less fishy deductions out of the R.S. papers. Further work may perhaps make the matter more certain one way or another. Possibly the microscope may show something, and so I have asked Schäfer to come down, who, as I know from experience, is what spiritualists call 'a sensitive'—I mean he can see ghosts of things where other people can't. But still, if he can make out anything in the jelly of Aurelia, I shall confess it to be the best case of clairvoyance I ever knew.

I am very glad you have drawn my attention prominently to the localising function in Drosera, as it is very likely I have been too keen in my scent after nerves; and I believe it is chiefly by comparing lines of work that in such novel phenomena truth is to be got at. And this reminds me of an observation which I think ought to be made on some of the excitable plants. It is a fact not generally known, even to professed physiologists, that if you pass a constant current through an excised muscle two or three times successively in the same direction, the responses to make and break become much more feeble than at first, so that unless you began with a strong current for the first of the series, you have to strengthen it for the third or fourth of the series in order to procure a contraction. But on now reversing the direction of the current, the muscle is tremendously excitable for the first stimulation, less so for the second, and so on. Now this rapidly exhausting effect of passing the current successively in the same direction, and the wonderful effect of reversing it, point, I believe, to something very fundamental in

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the constitution of muscular tissue. The complementary effects in question are quite as decided in the jelly-fish as in frog's muscle; so I think it would be very interesting to try the experiment on the contractile tissues of plants. But there are so many things to write about that I am afraid of 'bothering you,' and this with much more reason that you can have to be afraid of 'bothering,' me.

Aurelia is, as you say, 'a fine case,' and I often wish you could see the experiments.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


The leading Physiologists felt the importance of co-operation and of alliance, and a society entitled the Physiological Society was formed of which Mr. Romanes and Professor Gerald Yeo were the first honorary secretaries.

In 1876 Mr. Romanes made his first appearance at the British Association; he recounts his experiences in the following letter.

To Miss C. E. Romanes.

British Association, Glasgow: Monday, 1876.

My dearest Puffin,—I have received all your letters, and had a good laugh over them; it is evident that I must get hack soon to pilot the way. We shall indeed have a jolly time.

I have just got out from the section room, and my work is over. I had a splendid audience both as to number and quality.

F 2

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When I had finished, all the great guns had their say, Professor Häckel leading off with a tremendous eulogium on the work, laying special stress on the great difficulty of conducting an inquiry of the kind, and complimenting me highly on the success obtained. Sanderson then made a long speech, and then Stirling and Balfour, &c.

The latter stated it as his opinion that my investigation is the most important that has as yet been conducted in any department of invertebrate physiology. The discussion was then cut short by the president to leave time for the other papers, my own exposition having taken so long. I replied briefly.

Shortly after this, Mr. Romanes delivered a lecture on the Evidences of Organic Evolution, which he reprinted in the 'Fortnightly,' and afterwards worked up into a little book called 'The Scientific Evidences of Organic Evolution.' About this lecture Mr. Darwin wrote:—


My dear Romanes,—I have just finished your lecture. It is an admirable scientific argument and most powerful. I wish that it could be sown broadcast throughout the land. Your courage is marvellous, and I wonder that you were not stoned on the spot. And in Scotland! Do please tell me how it was received in the Lecture Hall. About man being made like a monkey (p. 37) is quite new to me; and the argument in an earlier place on the law of parsimony admirably put. Yes, p. 21 is new to me. All strikes me as very clear, and considering small

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space you have chosen your lines of reasoning excellently.

But I am tired, so good night!

The few last pages are awfully powerful in my opinion.

Sunday Morning.—The above was written last night in an enthusiasm of the moment, and now this dark, dismal Sunday morning I fully agree with what I said.

I am very sorry to hear about the failure in the graft experiments, and not from your own fault or ill-luck. Trollope, in one of his novels, gives us a maxim of constant use by a brick-maker, 'It is dogged as does it!' and I have often and often thought this is the motto for every scientific worker. I am sure it is yours if you do not give up Pangenesis with wicked imprecations. By the way, G. Jäger has just brought out in 'Kosmos' a chemical sort of Pangenesis, bearing chiefly on inheritance.

I cannot conceive why I have not offered my garden for your experiments. I would attend to the plants, as far as mere care goes, with pleasure, but Down is an awkward place to reach.

C. D.

(Would it be worth while to try if the 'Fortnightly' would publish it?)

To this Mr. Romanes replied:

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18 Cornwall Terrace : Dec. 2, 1877.

It was most kind of you to write me such a long and glowing letter. In one way it is a good thing that all the world are not so big-hearted as yourself—it would make young men awfully conceited. Yet I value your opinion more than the opinion of anybody, because in other things I have always found your judgment more deep and sound than anybody's. However, I will go to Huxley next Saturday for an antidote, as it is quite true what he said about himself at Cambridge, that he is not given to making panegyrics.

On the whole, as I have said, I was surprised how well it was taken. And still more so in Yorkshire last week—where I was lecturing at Leeds and Halifax on Medusæ, and took occasion to wind up about you and your degree. I was perfectly astonished at the reception you got among such popular audiences. What a change you have lived to see! If ever human being had a right to cry 'Vici'—but you know it all better than I do.

About the grafts, I thought it most natural that you should not like the bother of having them done at Down, when there are such a multitude of other gardens belonging to do-nothing people. But as you have mentioned it, I may suggest that in the case of onions there is a difficulty in all the gardens I know—viz., that they are more or less infested with onion worms. If, therefore, you should know any part of your garden where onions have not grown for some years, I might do the grafts here in pots, and bring

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the promising ones to plant out at Down in May. Seed could then be saved in the following autumn. All the other plants could be grown in the other gardens, and well attended to.

That is a very interesting letter in 'Nature.' What do you think of Dr. Sanderson's paper in the same number, as to its philosophy and expression? I have sent a letter about animal psychology which I think will interest you.

With kind regards to all, I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully (this is a bow which I specially reserve for you, and would make it lower, but for the fear of making myself ridiculous),


P.S.—I fear Mr. Morley would think my lecture too long, and not original enough for the 'Fortnightly.'1

Early in the year 1878, a great sorrow fell on the Romanes family. The elder of the two sisters, Georgina, died in April, and to her brother, her junior by two or three years, her loss was very great. She was a brilliant musician, and had done much to prevent her young brother from becoming too entirely absorbed in science, and in keeping alive in him the passionate love for music which was always one of his characteristics.

They went much together to concerts, and the house was the centre of a good deal of musical society. Among the many musicians who came and went may be mentioned Gounod. He had a great admiration and liking for Miss Romanes, and used to make her

1 It was subsequently published in the Fortnightly.

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sing to him. And also there was Dr. Joachim, who with characteristic kindness came in the last days of Georgina's life and played, as only he can play, to her.

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace: April 10, 1878.

Many thanks for your kind expressions of sympathy. When the sad event occurred I had some thoughts of sending you an announcement; but as you had scarcely ever seen my sister, I afterwards felt that you might think it superfluous in me to let you know.

The blow is indeed felt by us to be one of dire severity, the more so because we only had about a fortnight's warning of its advent. My sister did not pass through much suffering, but there was something painfully pathetic about her death, not only because she was so young and had always been so strong, but also because the ties of affection by which she was bound to us, and we to her, were more than ordinarily tender. And when in her delirium she reverted to the time when our positions were reversed, and when by weeks and months of arduous heroism she saved my life by constant nursing—upon my word it was unbearable.1 The blank which her death has created in our small family is very distressing. She always used to be so proud of my work that I feel that half the pleasure of working will now be gone—but I do not know why I am running on like this. Of course it will give me every pleasure to go to Down before

1 He refers to the attack of typhoid fever 1878.

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leaving for Scotland. If you have no preference about time, I suppose it would be best to go when you return home in May, as the onions might possibly be then ready for grafting. Unless, therefore, I hear from you to the contrary, I shall write again some time between the middle and end of May.

Then came a second appearance at the British Association. Mr. Romanes was asked to deliver one of the evening lectures at the meeting of 1878, which took place at Dublin.

The subject was animal intelligence, and seems to have excited a good deal of attention. The following letters relate to the lecture and to his book on Animal Intelligence:

To C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: June 18.

Very many thanks for your permission to use your observations, as well as for the additional information which you have supplied. If all the manuscript chapter on instinct is of the same quality as the enclosed portion, it must be very valuable. Time will prevent me from treating very fully of instinct in my lecture, but when I come to write the book for the International Science Series on Comparative Psychology, I shall try to say all that I can on instinct. Your letter, therefore, induces me to say that I hope your notes will be published somewhere before my book comes out (i.e. within a year or so), or, if you have no intention of publishing the notes, that you would, as you say, let me read the manuscript, as the references, &c, would

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be much more important for the purposes of the book than for those of the lecture. But, of course, I should not ask to publish your work in my book, unless you have no intention of publishing it yourself. I do not know why you have kept it so long unpublished, and your having offered me the manuscript for preparing my lecture makes me think that you might not object to lending it me for preparing my book. But please understand that I only think this on the supposition that, from its unsuitable length, isolated character, or other reason, you do not see your way to publishing the chapter yourself.

From C. Darwin, Esq.

Down: June 19.

My dear Romanes,—You are quite welcome to have my longer chapter on instinct. It was abstracted for the Origin. I have never had time to work it up in a state fit for publication, and it is so much more interesting to observe than to write. It is very unlikely that I should ever find time to prepare my several long chapters for publication, as the material collected since the publication of the Origin has been so enormous. But I have sometimes thought that when incapacitated for observing, I would look over my manuscripts, and see whether any deserved publication. You are, therefore, heartily welcome to use it, and should you desire to do so at any time, inform me and it shall be sent.

Yours very sincerely,

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From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace: June 21, 1878

I am of course very glad to hear that you have no objection to letting me have the benefit of consulting your notes.

Most observers are in a frantic hurry to publish their work, but what you say about your own feelings seems to me very characteristic. Like the bees, you ought to have some one to take the honey, when you make it to give to the world—not, however, that I want to play the part of a thieving wasp. I will send you my manuscript about instinct (or the proofs when out), and you can strike out anything that you would rather publish yourself.

I shall not be able to begin my book till after the jelly-fish season is over. This will be in September or October; but I will let you know when I want to read up about instinct.

With very many thanks, I remain, yours very sincerely and most respectfully,


The Palace, Dublin: August 17, 1878.

Your letter and enclosure about the geese arrived the day after I left Dunskaith, but have been forwarded here, which accounts for my delay in answering, for I only arrived in Dublin a few days ago.

I am sorry to hear about the onions, and can only quote the beatitude which is particularly applicable

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to a worker in science. Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.

But I am still more sorry to hear of your feeling knocked up. I meet your son here, who tells me about you.

Yesterday was the evening of my big lecture, and I send you a copy as well as a newspaper account. (The latter was in type before delivery, and so no 'applauses,' &c. are put in.) The thing was a most enormous success, far surpassing my utmost expectations. I had a number of jokes which do not appear in the printed lecture, and I never saw an audience laugh so much. The applause also was really extraordinary, especially at some places, and most of all at the mention of your name at the grand finale. In fact, it was here tremendous, and a most impressive sight to see such a multitude of people so enthusiastic. I expected an outburst, but the loud and long-continued cheering beat anything that ever I heard before. I do not know whether your son was there, but if so he will tell you.

Hooker, Huxley, Allen, and Sir W. Thomson, Flower, D. Galton, and a lot of other good men were present, and had nothing but praise to give, Captain Galton going so far as to say that it was the most successful lecture he had ever heard. So I am quite conceited.

Ever your devoted worshipper,

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From C. Darwin, Esq.

August 20, 1878.

My dear Romanes,—I am most heartily glad that your lecture (just received and read) has been so eminently successful. You have indeed passed a most magnificent eulogium on me, and I wonder that you were not afraid of hearing 'Oh! Oh!' or some other sign of disapprobation. Many persons think that what I have done in science has been much overrated, and I very often think so myself; but my comfort is that I have never consciously done anything to gain applause. Enough and too much about my dear self. The sole fault that I find with your lecture is that it is too short, and this is a rare fault. It strikes me as admirably clear and interesting. I meant to have remonstrated that you had not discussed sufficiently the necessity of signs for the formation of abstract ideas of any complexity, and then I came on to the discussion on deaf mutes. This latter seems to me one of the richest of all the mines, and is worth working carefully for years and very deeply. I should like to read whole chapters on this one head, and others on the minds of the higher idiots. Nothing can be better, as it seems to me, than your several lines or sources of evidence, and the manner in which you have arranged the whole subject. Tour book will assuredly be worth years of hard labour, and stick to your subject. By the way, I was pleased at your discussing the selection of varying instincts or mental tendencies, for I

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have often been disappointed by no one ever having noticed this notion.

I have just finished La Psychologie, son présent et son avenir, 1876, by Delbœuf (a mathematician and physicist of Belgium), in about one hundred pages; it has interested me a good deal, but why I hardly know; it is rather like Herbert Spencer; if you do not know it, and would care to see it, send me a post-card.

Thank Heaven we return home on Thursday, and I shall be able to go on with my humdrum work, and that makes me forget my daily discomfort.

Have you ever thought of keeping a young monkey,1 so as to observe its mind? At a house where we have been staying there were Sir A. and Lady Hobhouse, not long ago returned from India, and she and he kept three young monkeys, and told me some curious particulars. One was that the monkey was very fond of looking through her eyeglass at objects, and moved the glass nearer and further so as to vary the focus. This struck me, as Frank's son, nearly two years old (and we think much of his intellect!), is very fond of looking through my pocket lens, and I have quite in vain endeavoured to teach him not to put the glass close down on the object, but he will always do so. Therefore I conclude that a child just under two years is inferior in intellect to a monkey.

Once again I heartily congratulate you on your

1 Mr. Romanes carried out this suggestion, or rather his sister, Miss C. E. Romanes, did; she kept a monkey for observation for several months, as is recorded at p. 484 of 'Animal Intelligence.'

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well-earned present and I feel assured grand future success.

Yours very truly,

P.S. 28th.—Can you spare time to come down here any day this week, except Saturday, to dine and sleep here? We should be very glad indeed if you can come. If so, I would suggest your leaving Charing Cross by the 4.12 train, and we would send a carriage to Orpington to meet you, and send you back next morning. In this case let us have a line fixing your day. It will be dull for you, for none of my sons except Frank are at home.

The extraordinary modesty, the absolute simplicity, the fatherly kindness, which breathe in this letter, cannot but give some idea of what Mr. Darwin was and why he was so much loved.

Dunskaith, Ross-shire: August 29, 1878.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—I only returned here yesterday and found your letter awaiting me.

Your letter has made me as proud as Punch, and as you have such a good opinion of the line of work, I think I shall adopt your plan of working up the subject well before I publish the book. The greatest difficulty I had in writing the lecture was to make it short enough, but it will be splendid to be able to spread oneself over the whole subject in a book. I was at one time in doubt whether it would be better to spend time over this subject or over something

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more purely physiological, but of late I had begun to incline towards the former, and your opinion has now settled mine.

I have not previously heard of the book by the Belgian physicist, and should much like to read it. I have already such a number of your books that I fear you must sometimes miss them; but I can return any of them at a minute's notice.

I had thought of keeping a monkey and teaching its young ideas how to shoot, and wrote to Frank Buckland for his advice as to the best kind to get, but he has never answered my letter. The case about the lens is a capital one.

I have such a host of letters to answer, which have accumulated during my absence, that I must make this a short one. Your 'congratulations' are of more value to me than any of the others, and I thank you for them much.

Ever your devoted disciple,

P.S.—Science is not a world where a man need trouble himself about getting more credit than is due.

From C. Darwin.

Down: Sept. 2, 1878.

My dear Romanes,—Many thanks for your letter. I am delighted to hear that you mean to work the comparative psychology well. I thought your letter to the 'Times' very good indeed. Bartlett, at the Zoological Gardens, I feel sure, would advise you

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infinitely better about hardiness, intellect, price, &c., of monkeys than F. Buckland, but with him it must be vivâ voce.

Frank says you ought to keep an idiot, a deaf mute, a monkey, and a baby in your house!

Ever yours sincerely,


Dunskaith, Boss-shire, N.B.: Sept. 10, 1878.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—Having been away for a week's deer-stalking in the hills, I have only to-day received your letter together with the book. Thank you very much for both, and also for the hints about Espinas and Bartlett. I am glad you thought well of the letter to the 'Times.' In a book I shall be able to make more evident what I mean.

Frank's idea of 'a happy family' is a very good one; but I think my mother would begin to wish that my scientific inquiries had taken some other direction.

The baby too, I fear, would stand a poor chance of showing itself the fittest in the struggle for existence.

I am now going to write my concluding paper on Medusæ, also to try some experiments on luminosity of marine animals.

Ever sincerely and most respectfully yours,


In addition to other scientific and purely philosophical work, Mr. Romanes had, even while writing his Burney Prize, entered on that period of conflict


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between faith and scepticism which grew more and more strenuous, more painful, as the years went on, which never really ceased until within a few weeks of his death, and which was destined to end in a chastened, a purified, and a victorious faith. His was a religious nature, keenly alive to religious emotion, profoundly influenced by Christian ideals, by Christian modes of thought. As time went on he felt, like all philosophically minded men, the impossibility of a purely materialistic position, and as he pondered on the final, ultimate mysteries, on1 'God, Immortality, Duty' he arrived very slowly, very painfully, but very surely, at the Christian position.

But these years were, to him and to many, years of peculiar and of extraordinary difficulty. Roughly speaking, the time between 1860 and 1880 was a time of great perplexity to those who wished to adhere to the faith of Christendom.

It is impossible to exaggerate the influence which Mr. Darwin's great work has had on every department of science, of literature, and also of art. Thirty-six years have passed away since the publication of the 'Origin of Species,' and we have lived to see that again tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. Now we see that a man can fully accept the doctrine of evolution, and yet can also believe in a personal God and in the doctrines which logically follow on such a belief. But it was not so at first. To many on both sides the new teaching seemed to threaten destruction to Theism, at least to Theism as understood either by Newman or by Martineau.

Again, in philosophy Herbert Spencer seemed to many to have constructed a lasting system of philo-

1 Of. F. Myers's 'Essay on George Eliot,' Modern Essays, p. 269.

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sophy, a system sufficient to account for all things in heaven, in earth, and under the earth. And German criticism seemed to many to be rapidly destroying the credibility of the early documents of Christianity.

Many a noble soul made shipwreck of its faith, nor is this disaster wonderful. For popular theology had made many unwise, many untenable claims, and the ground had to be cleared before the battle could be fought out on its real issues. There were some who, amidst all the strife of tongues, kept their heads, remembered bygone storms, and did not lose their courage, their whole-heartedness, but they were few, and were not over much heard or heeded.1 For the most part, those on the Christian side adopted the line taken by the Bishop of Oxford in his review of Mr. Darwin's 'Origin of Species' in the 'Quarterly Review,' and in his famous speech at Oxford during the British Association of 1860.

Certainly the outlook now is more encouraging than it was twenty years ago.

It has been well and eloquently said by one than whom none is more qualified to speak on this subject:2 'It is quite certain that this scientific obstacle has been, in the main, removed. In part, it has been through the theologians abandoning false claims, and learning, if somewhat unwillingly, that they have no "Bible revelation" in matters of science; in part, it has been through its becoming continually more apparent, that the limits of scientific "explanation" of nature are soon reached; that the ultimate causes, forces, conditions of nature are as unexplained as

1 Of. 'Life and Letters of Dean Church,' p. 154.

2 'Buying up the Opportunity,' a sermon by the Rev. C. Gore, now Bishop of Worcester, preached before the University of Oxford, and published by the S.P.C.K.

G 2

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ever, or rather postulate as ever for their explanation a Divine mind. Thus, if one "argument from design" was destroyed, another was only brought into prominence. No account which science can give, by discovery or conjecture, of the method of creation, can ever weaken the argument which lies from the universality of law, order, and beauty in the universe to the universality of mind. The mind of man looks forth into nature, and finds nowhere unintelligible chance, but everywhere an order, a system, a law, a beauty, which corresponds, as greater to less, to his own rational and spiritual intuitions, methods, and expectations. Universal order, intelligibility, beauty, mean that something akin to the human spirit, something of which the human spirit is an offshoot and a reflection, is in the universe before it is in man.

'Or, again, a prolonged period of controversy and reflection has resulted in making it fairly apparent that no scientific doctrine or conjecture about the dim origins of the spiritual life of man can affect the argument from its development and persistence. It has developed and persisted, as one of the most prominent features of human life, solely on the postulate of God. And is it not out of analogy with all that science teaches us to imagine that so important, continuous, and universal a development of human faculty could have arisen and persisted unless it were in correspondence with reality?

'In fact we may almost say that the obstacles to belief on the side of science were gone when once it was admitted that God Who has revealed to us His nature and ours, and made this revelation in part through an historical process and in the literature of a nation, has yet, and for obvious reasons, given us

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no revelation at all on matters which fall within the domain of scientific research.

'A similar removal of obstacles must be claimed in the region of historical criticism. There, again, it has become apparent that, whatever turns out true about this or that Old Testament narrative, no question really vital to the Christian religion can he said to be at stake in this field; while in the region of the New Testament the most sifting criticism has had a result emphatically reassuring. The critical evidence justifies, or more than justifies, the belief of the Church which is expressed in her Creeds.'

But this has been a hard-won fight for most—

'Friends, companions, and train
The avalanche swept from our side,'1

and no one felt the strain, the positive agony of soul, in greater degree than did George Romanes. Step by step he abandoned the position he had maintained in his Burney Prize, with no great pauses, rather, as it seems, with startling rapidity, and with sad and with reluctant backward glances he took up a position of agnosticism, for a time almost of materialism. He wrote a book, published in 1876, which was entitled 'A Candid Examination of Theism.' It is almost needless to discuss the work, as it has been dealt with by its author in his posthumous 'Thoughts on Religion.' It is an able piece of work, and is marked throughout by a lofty spirit, a profound sadness, and a belief (which years after he criticised sharply) in the exclusive light of the scientific method in the Court of Reason.

His education had been on strictly scientific

1 'Rugby Chapel,' M. Arnold.

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lines, and the limitations of thought produced by such education are clearly seen in that essay; 'limitations' which the philosophical and the metaphysical tendencies of his mind soon led him to overstep.

The reaction against the conclusions of the essay set in far sooner than has been at all suspected. Perhaps the first published mark of reaction is the Rede Lecture1 of 1885.

Yet anyone who reads carefully the conclusion of the 'Candid Examination' will see the note of 'longing and thirsting for God.'

And forasmuch as I am far from being able to agree with those who affirm that the twilight doctrine of the 'new faith' is a desirable substitute for the waning splendour of 'the old,' I am not ashamed to confess that with this virtual negation of God the universe to me has lost its soul of loveliness; and although from henceforth the precept to 'work while it is day' will doubtless but gain an intensified force from the terribly intensified meaning of the words that 'the night cometh when no man can work,' yet when at times I think, as think at times I must, of the appalling contrast beween the hallowed glory of that creed which once was mine, and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it, at such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of which my nature is susceptible. For whether it be due to my intelligence not being sufficiently advanced to meet the requirements of the age, or whether it be due to the memory of those sacred associations which to me at least were the sweetest that life has given, I cannot but feel that for me, and for others who think as I do, there is a dreadful truth in those words of Hamilton, philosophy having become a meditation not merely of death but of annihilation,

1 Now republished in a book called 'Mind and Motion.'

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the precept know thyself has become transformed into the terrific oracle to Œdipus—

'Mayest thou ne'er know the truth of what thou art.'

There are many who abandon belief for various reasons, and who in various methods stifle regret and call in stoicism to their aid. There are those who really care very little about the 'ultimate problems,' and who find the world of sense quite enough to occupy them. And there are souls who seem to be constantly crying out in their darkness for light, the burden of whose cry seems to be: 'Fecisti nos ad te, Domine et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te. These last have within them the capacity for holiness, the capacity for a real and tremendous power to witness for the truth, to do and to suffer pro causâ Dei. To this class George Romanes belonged. By nature he was deeply and truly religious, and interested and absorbed as he was in science, it is no exaggeration to say he was just as keenly interested in theology, that is to say, in the deepest and ultimate problems of theology. By the questions which divide Christians he was not I greatly attracted, and he never could see any reason for the bitterness which exists between e.g. Roman and Anglican.

This is anticipating. In 1878 he had touched the very depths of scepticism, and he would have rejected the idea of a possibility of return, and would have rejected it in terms of unmeasured regret.

A letter from Mr. Darwin is interesting.

Down: December 5, 1878.

My dear Romanes,—I am much pleased to send my photograph to the future Mrs. Romanes.

I have read your anonymous book—some parts twice over—with very great interest; it seems admir-

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ably, and here and there very eloquently written, but from not understanding metaphysical terms I could not always follow you. For the sake of outsiders, if there is another edition, could you make it clear what is the difference between treating a subject under a 'scientific,' 'logical,' 'symbolical,' and 'formal' point of views or manner? With regard to your great leading idea, I should like sometimes to hear from you verbally (for to answer would be too long for letters) what you would say if a theologian addressed you as follows:

'I grant you the attraction of gravity, persistence of force (or conservation of energy), and one kind of matter, though the latter is an immense admission; but I maintain that God must have given such attributes to this force, independently of its persistence, that under certain conditions it develops or changes into light, heat, electricity, galvanism, perhaps even life.

'You cannot prove that force (which physicists define as that which causes motion) would inevitably thus change its character under the above conditions. Again I maintain that matter, though it may in the future be eternal, was created by God with the most marvellous affinities, leading to complex definite compounds and with polarities leading to beautiful crystals, &c. &c. You cannot prove that matter would necessarily possess these attributes. Therefore you have no right to say that you have "demonstrated" that all natural laws necessarily follow from gravity, the persistence of force, and existence of matter. If you say that nebulous matter existed aboriginally and from eternity with all its present complex powers

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in a potential state, you seem to me to beg the whole question.'

Please observe it is not I, but a theologian who has thus addressed you, but I could not answer him. In your present 'idiotic' state of mind, you will wish me at the devil for bothering you.1

Yours very sincerely,

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park: Sunday, Dec. 1878.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—Many thanks for your portrait—not only from myself but also from the 'future Mrs. Romanes.'

I am glad that you think well of the literary style of the book on Theism. As regards the remarks of the supposed theologian, I have no doubt that he is entitled to them. The only question is whether I have been successful in making out that all natural cases must reasonably be supposed to follow from the conservation of energy. If so, as the transmutations of energy from heat to electricity &c. all take place in accordance with law, and as the phenomena of polarity in crystals &c. do the same, it follows that neither these nor any other class of phenomena afford any better evidence of Deity than do any other class of phenomena. Therefore, if all laws follow from the persistence of force, the question of Deity or no Deity would simply become the question as to whether force requires to be created or is self-existent. And if we say it is created, the fact of self-existence still requires to be met in the Creator.

1 He was engaged to be married.

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Of course it may be denied that all laws do follow from the persistence of force. And this is what I mean by the distinction between a scientific and a logical proof. For in the last resort all scientific proof goes upon the assumption that energy is permanent, so that if from this assumption all natural laws and processes admit of being deduced, it follows that for a scientific cosmology no further assumption is required; all the phenomena of Nature receive their last or ultimate scientific explanation in this the most ultimate of scientific hypotheses. But now logic may come in and say, 'This hypothesis of the persistence of force is no doubt verified and found constantly true within the range of science (i.e. experience), so that thus far it is not only an hypothesis but a fact. But before logic can consent to allow this ultimate fact of science to be made the ultimate basis of all cosmology, I must be shown that it is ultimate, not merely in relation to human modes of research, but also in a sense absolute to all else.'

But the more I think about the whole thing the more am I convinced that you put it into a nutshell when you were here, and that there is about as much use in trying to illuminate the subject with the light of intellect as there would be in trying to illuminate the midnight sky with a candle. I intend, therefore, to drop it, and to take the advice of the poet, 'Believe it not, regret it not, but wait it out, O Man.'

G. J. R.

I return the papers, having taken down the references. The books I shall return when read, but honey-mooning may prolong the time.

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Here is an affectionate outburst to his mother, written about this time:

'When thou art feeble, old, and grey,
My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
My mother.'

When. But you are not yet either so feeble, old, or grey as to make me imagine that you have lost a needful prop in the absence of your 'peerless son!' And I am sure you are not more proud of him than he is of you. With your eyes as bright as the bright starlight, and your face as ruddy as the morning, I am glad you are my mother.

In 1881 Mr. Romanes was at Garvock, Perthshire. And he was for a short time also at Oban, working with his friend Professor Ewart on Echinodermata, and their joint paper was made the 'Croonian Lecture.'1

This was the last bit of work on marine zoology, excepting a trifling research on the smelling power of anemones, at which he worked with Mr. Walter Herries Pollock, who had been tempted to make a temporary excursion from the paths of literature into the walks of science. They contributed a joint paper to the Linnean Society on indications of smell in Actinia, and it is greatly to be feared, such is the frivolity of literary men, that Mr. Pollock regarded the whole affair as a very good joke.

The following letters describe the work of the years 1880 and 1881. The summer of 1879 and 1880 had been spent at Westfield.2

1 His book entitled 'Jelly-Fish, Star-Fish, and Sea Urchins,' gives a full account of Mr. Romanes' researches on these primitive nervous systems.

2 The name 'Westfield' has been dropped and the original name 'Pitcalzean' restored.


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From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

By this post I return you Häckel's essay on Perigenesis. Although I have kept it so long, I have only just read it, as you said there was no need to return it at any particular time.

To me it seems that whatever merit Häckel's views may have in this matter, they certainly have no claim to be regarded as original; for I cannot see that his 'Plastidules' differ in anything but in name from Spencer's 'Physiological Units.' Why he does not acknowledge this, it is difficult to understand. Anyhow, the theories being the same, the same objections apply; and to me it has always seemed that this theory is unsatisfactory because so general. As you observe in your letter, everyone believes in molecular movements of some kind; but to offer this as a full explanation of heredity seems to me like saying that the cause, say, of an obscure disease like diabetes, is the persistence of force. No doubt this is the ultimate cause, but the pathologist requires some more proximate causes if his science is to be of any value. Similarly, I do not see that biology gains anything by a theory which is really but little better than a restatement of the mystery of heredity in terms of the highest abstraction. Pangenesis at least has the merit of supplying us with some conceivable carriers, so to speak, of the modified protoplasm from the various organs or parts of the parent to the corresponding organs or parts of the offspring, and the multiplication of gemmules seems to me to

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avoid a difficulty with which Perigenesis (as stated by Häckel) is beset, viz. that atavism sometimes occurs over too large a gap to be reasonably attributed to what remains of the original 'stem-vibrations' after their characters have been successively modified at each 'bifurcation.' But it would be tedious to enter into details. Perigenesis, in my opinion, is 'more simple' than Pangenesis, only because its terms are so much more general.

P.S.—I forgot to tell you, when we were at lunch, that the seed of the grafted beets is ready for sowing; also that the vine is now four feet high, and so, I should think, might be grafted next spring.

From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. Romanes.

Down: February 3, 1880.

I will keep your diagram1 for a few days, but I find it very difficult now to think over new subjects, so that it is not likely that I shall be able to send any criticisms; but you may rely on it that I will do my best.

I am glad you like Guthrie's book. If you care to read a little book on pure instinct, get Fabre, 'Souvenirs Entomologiques,' 1879. It is really admirable, and very good on the sense of direction in insects. I have sent him some suggestions such as rotating the insects, but I do not know whether he will try them.

Yours very sincerely,


1 Diagram for a lecture on 'Mental Evolution.'

H 2

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From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

February 6, 1880.

I have to thank you very much for your two letters, and also for the enclosures from—, which I now return. The latter convey exactly the criticism that I should have expected from—, for while writing my essay on Theism I had several conversations with him upon the subject of Spencer's writings, and so know exactly what he thinks of them. But in none of these conversations could I get at anything more definite than is conveyed by the returned letters. In no point of any importance did he make it clear to me that Spencer was wrong, and the only result of our conversation was to show me that in — opinion it was only my ignorance of mathematics that prevented me from seeing that Mr. Spencer is merely a 'word philosopher.' Upon which opinion I reflected, and still reflect, that the mathematicians must be a singularly happy race, seeing that they alone of men are competent to think about the facts of the cosmos. And this reflection becomes still more startling when supplemented by another, viz. that although one may not know any mathematics, everybody knows what mathematics are: they are the sciences of number and measurement, and as such, one is at a loss to perceive why they should be so essentially necessary to enable a man to think fairly and well upon other subjects. But it is, as you once said, that when a man is to be killed by the sword mathematical, he must not have the satisfac-

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tion of even knowing how he is killed. Of course, in a general way I quite understand and agree with — that Spencer has done but little service to science. But I believe that he has done great service to thinking, and all the mathematicians in the world would not convince me to the contrary, even though they should all deliver their judgment with the magnificent authority of a —.

Coming now to the diagram, I am much obliged to you for your suggestions. The 'Descent of Man,' with all its references upon the subject, and also your paper on the 'Baby,' were read, and the results embodied in the diagram, so I am very glad you did not take the needless trouble of consulting these works. By 'Love' I intend to denote the complex emotion (dependent on the representative faculties) which, having been so lately smitten myself, I am perhaps inclined to place in too exalted a position. But you did not observe that I placed 'Parental Affection' and 'Social Feeling' very much lower down.

In my essay I carefully explain the two cases of Drosera and Dionæa as being the best hitherto observed for my purpose in establishing the principle of discrimination among stimuli, as a principle displayed by non-nervous tissues.

April 22, 1880.

As soon as I received your first intimation about Schneider's book I wrote over for it, and received a copy some weeks ago. I then lent it to Sully, who wanted to read it, so do not yet know what it is worth. I, together with my wife—who reads French

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much more quickly than I can—am now engaged upon all the French books on animal intelligence which you kindly lent me. I am also preparing for my Royal Institution lecture on the 7th of May. I will afterwards publish it in some of the magazines, and, last of all, in an expanded and more detailed form, it will go into my book on Animal Intelligence.

I went to see — the other day on Spiritualism.

He answered privately a letter that I wrote to 'Nature,' signed 'F.R.S.,' which was a feeler for some material to investigate. I had never spoken

to — before, but although I passed a very

pleasant afternoon with him, I did not learn anything new about Spiritualism. He seemed to me to have the faculty of deglutition too well developed. Thus, for instance, he seemed rather queer on the subject of astrology! and when I asked whether he thought it worthy of common sense to imagine that, spirits or no spirits, the conjunctions of planets could exercise any causative influence on the destinies of children born under them, he answered that having already 'swallowed so much,' he did not know where to stop!!

My wife and baby are both flourishing. I noticed that the latter, at four days old, could always tell which hand I touched, inclining its head towards that hand.

From C. Darwin to G. J. Romanes.

September 14, 1880.

We send you our best thanks for your magnificent present of game. I have not tasted black-game for

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nearly half a century, when I killed some on my father-in-law's land in Staffordshire.

I hope that you are well and strong and do not give up all your time to shooting. Pray tell Mrs. Romanes, if you turn idle, I shall say it is her fault, and being an old man, shall scold her. But you have done too splendid work to turn idle, so I need not fear, and shall never have audaciously to scold Mrs. Romanes. But I am writing great rubbish. You refer to some Zoological station on your coast, and I now remember seeing something about it, and that more money was wanted for apparatus, therefore I send a cheque of 5l. 5s. just to show my goodwill.

Yours very sincerely,


We went to the Lakes for three weeks to Coniston, and the scenery gave me more pleasure than I thought my soul, or whatever remains of it, was capable of feeling. We saw Ruskin several times, and he was uncommonly pleasant.

To C. Darwin, Esq.

November 5, 1880.

I was sorry to hear on my return from Scotland that I had missed the pleasure of a call from you, and also to hear from Mr. Teesdale to-day that you had returned to Down, owing, he fears, to the alarming condition of Miss Wedgwood. I trust, however, that her state of health may not be so serious as he apprehends.

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On my way South I stayed for a couple of days at Newcastle, to give two lectures on Mental Evolution, and hence my absence when you called. I stayed with Mr. Newall, who has the monster telescope, and 'as good luck would have it, Providence was on my side,' in the matter of giving us a clear sky for observing, rather a rare thing at Newcastle.

You will be glad to hear that our season's work at the 'Zoological station' has been very successful. A really interesting research has been conducted by Ewart and myself jointly on the locomotor system of Echinoderms, he taking the morphological and I the physiological part. When next I see you I shall tell you the principal points, but to do so in a letter would be tedious.

I think it is probable that Mivart and I shall have a magazine battle some day on Mental Evolution, as I think it is better to draw him in this way before finally discussing the whole subject in my book.

18 Cornwall Terrace: November 18, 1880.

I am grieved to hear from Mr. Teesdale that his fears were only too well founded. Although I had not myself the privilege of Miss Wedgwood's acquaintance, I know, from what I have been told by those who had, how greatly your household must feel her loss.

I should not, however, have written only to trouble you with expressions of sympathy. I desire to ask you one or two questions with reference to an article on Hybridism which I have written for the 'Encyclopædia Britannica,' and the corrected proof of which

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I send. It is in chief part an epitome of your own chapters upon the subject, and therefore you need not trouble to read the whole, unless you care to see whether I have been sufficiently clear and accurate. But there are two points on which I should like to have your opinion, both for my own benefit and for that of my readers. First, I think it is desirable to append a list of the more important works bearing upon the subject, and if I make such a list I should not like to trust to my own information, lest I should do unwitting injustice to some observing writers. If, therefore, you could, without taking any special trouble, jot down from memory the works you think most deserving of mention, I think it would be of benefit to the reading public.

From C. Darwin, Esq.

Down: November 14, 1880.

My dear Romanes,—Many thanks for your kind sympathy. My wife's sister was, I fully believe, as good and generous a woman as ever walked this earth.

The proof-sheets have not arrived, but probably will to-morrow. I shall like to read them, though I may not be able to do so very quickly, as I am bothered with a heap of little jobs which must be done. I will send by to-day's post a large book by Focke, received a week or two ago, on Hybrids, and which I have not had time to look at, but which I see in Table of Contents includes full history of subject and much else besides. It will aid you far better than I

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can; for I have now been so long attending to other subjects, and with old age, I fear I could make no suggestions worth anything. Formerly I knew the subject well.

Kölreuter, Gärtner, and Herbert are certainly far the most trustworthy authorities. There was also a German, whose name I mention in 'Origin,' who wrote on Hybrid Willows. Naudin, who is often quoted, I have much less confidence in. By the way, Nägeli (whom many think the greatest botanist in Germany) wrote a few years ago on Hybridism; I cannot remember title, but I will hunt for it if you wish. The title will be sure to be in Focke.

I quite agree with what you say about Passiflora. Herbert observed an analogous case in Crinum.

November 15, 1880.

I have just read your article. As far as my judgment goes it is excellent and could not be improved. You have skimmed the cream off the whole subject. It is also very clear. One or two sentences near the beginning seem rather too strong, as I have marked with pencil, without attending to style. I have made one or two small suggestions. If you can find my account in 'Nature' (last summer I think)1 about the hybrid Chinese geese [being fertile] inter se, it would be worth adding, and would require only two or three lines. I do not suppose you wish to add, but in my paper on Lythrum, and I think requoted in 'Var. under Dom.' vol. ii. 2nd edit. bottom of

1 See Nature, vol. xxi. p. 207.

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page 167, I have a good sentence about a man finding two vars. of Lythrum, and testing them by fertility, and coming to egregiously wrong conclusion.

I think your idea of reference to best books and short history of subject good. By the way, you have made me quite proud of my chapter on Hybridism, I had utterly forgotten how good it appears when dressed up in your article.

Yours very sincerely,

I have had a hunt and found my little article on Geese, which please hereafter return.

To C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace: November 18, 1880.

Very many thanks for your kind assistance and expressions of approval. It was stupid of me to forget your article in 'Nature' about the geese. I now quite well remember reading it when it came out.

Focke's book is just the very thing I wanted, as it supplies such a complete history of the subject. If I do not hear from you again, I shall keep it for a few days to refer to when the proof which I have sent to press shall be returned with my historical sketch added.

I have now nearly finished my paper on the physiology of the locomotor system in Echinoderms. The most important result in it is the proof, both morphological and physiological, of a nervous plexus, external to everything, which in Echinus serves

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to co-ordinate spines, feet, and pedicellariæ in a wonderful manner. By the way, I remember once talking with you about the function of the latter, and thinking it mysterious. There is no doubt now that this function is to seize bits of seaweed, and hold them steady till the sucking feet have time to establish their adhesions, so assisting locomotion of animal when crawling about seaweed-covered rocks.

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: December 10, 1880.

I return by this post the book on Hybridism, with many thanks. It has been of great use to me in giving an abstract of the history.

I have read your own book with an amount of pleasure that I cannot express.

One idea occurred to me with reference to luminous stimulation, which, if it has not already occurred to you, would be well worth trying. The suggestion suggests itself. How about the period of latent stimulation in these non-nervous and yet irritable tissues? And especially with reference to luminous stimulation it would be most interesting to ascertain whether the tissues are affected by brief flashes of light. If you had an apparatus to give bright electrical sparks in a dark room, and were to expose one of your plants to flashes of timed intervals between each other, you might ascertain, first, whether any number of sparks in any length of time would affect the plants at all; and second, if so, what number in a given time. I should not wonder (from some of my experiments on

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Medusæ, see 'Phil. Trans.' vol. clxvii. pt. ii. pp. 683—4) if it would turn out that a continuous uninterrupted series of sparks, however bright, would produce no effect at all, owing to the plant tissues being too sluggish to admit of being affected by a succession of stimuli each of such brief duration. But if any effect were produced, it would still be interesting to make out whether this interrupted source of flashing light were considerably less effective than a continuous source of the same intensity.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piocadilly, London, W.:

December 14, 1880.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—I am glad that you think the experiment worth trying. As you say you have not got the requisite apparatus for trying it, I have written to Professor Tyndall to see if he would allow it to be carried through at the Royal Institution.

If I had known you were in town I should have called to tell you about the Echinoderms. My paper on them is now written (70 pages), so I have begun to come here (Burlington House) to read up systematically all the literature I can find on animal intelligence. Hence it is that, having left your letter at home, and not remembering the address upon it, I have to send this answer to Down.

— is a lunatic beneath all contempt—an

object of pity were it not for his vein of malice.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


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18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: December 17, 1880.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—Just a line to let you know that Professor Tyndall has kindly placed at my disposal the apparatus required to conduct the experiment with flashing light.

Frank's papers at the Linnean were, as you will probably have heard from other sources, a most brilliant success, as not only was the attendance enormously large and the interest great, but his exposition was a masterpiece of scientific reasoning, rendered with a choice and fluency of language that were really charming. I knew, of course, that he is a very clever fellow, but I did not know that he could do that sort of thing so well.

I have now got a monkey. Sclater let me choose one from the Zoo, and it is a very intelligent, affectionate little animal. I wanted to keep it in the nursery for purposes of comparison, but the proposal met with so much opposition that I had to give way. I am afraid to suggest the idiot, lest I should be told to occupy the nursery myself.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


Down, Beckenham, Kent: January 24.

My dear Romanes,—I have been thinking about Pompilius and its allies. Please take the trouble to read on 'Perforation of the Corolla by Bees,' p. 425 of my Cross Fertilisation to end of chapter. Bees show so much intelligence in their acts, that it seems not improbable to me that the progenitors of Pompilius

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originally stung caterpillars and spiders, &c., in any part of their bodies, and then observed by their intelligence that if they stung them in one particular place, as between certain segments on the lower side, their prey was at once paralysed. It does not seem to me at all incredible that this action should thus become instinctive, i.e. memory transmitted from one generation to another. It does not seem necessary to suppose that when Pompilius stung its prey in the ganglion that it intended or knew that the prey would long keep alive. The development of the larvæ may have been subsequently modified in relation to their half-dead instead of wholly dead prey, supposing that the prey was at first quite killed, which would have required much stinging. Turn this notion over in your mind, but do not trouble yourself by answering.

Yours very sincerely,


N.B. Once on a time a fool said to himself that at an ancient period small soft crabs or other creatures stuck to certain fishes; these struggled violently, and in doing so, discharged electricity, which annoyed the parasites, so that they often wriggled away. The fish was very glad, and some of its children gradually profited in a higher degree and in various ways by discharging more electricity and by not struggling. The fool who thought thus persuaded another fool to try an eel in Scotland, and lo and behold electricity was discharged when it struggled violently. He then placed in contact with

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the fish, or near it, a small medusa or other animal which he cleverly knew was sensitive to electricity, and when the eel struggled violently, the little animals in contact showed by their movements that they felt a slight shock. Ever afterwards men said that the two fools were not such big fools as they seemed to be.


From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: Sunday, March 1861.

I have got a lot of cats waiting for me at different houses round Wimbledon Common, and some day next week shall surprise our coachman by making a round of calls upon the cats, drive them several miles into the country, and then let them out of their respective bags. If any return, I shall try them again in other directions before finally trying the rotation experiment.

I am also getting the experiment on flashing light agoing. The first apparatus did not answer, so now I have invested in a large eight-day clock, the pendulum of which I intend to make do the flashing.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: March 24, 1881.

I write to ask you what you think of the following idea as to a possible method of attacking Pangenesis. Why not, I mean, inarch, at an early period of their growth, the seed-vessels or ovaries of plants belonging to different varieties? If adhesion takes place, the ovary might then be severed from its parent plant, and left to develop upon the foreign one.

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If you think this a possible experiment, now would be the time of year to try it. Therefore I write to ask whether you do think it possible, and if so, what plants you may think it would be best to try it with. All the cats1 I have hitherto let out of their respective bags have shown themselves exceedingly stupid, not one having found her way back.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. Romanes.

Down, Beckenham, Kent: March 26, 1881.

You are very plucky about Pangenesis, and I much wish that you could have any success. I do not understand your scheme. Do you intend to operate on an ovarium with a single ovule, and to bisect it after being fertilised? I should fear that this was quite hopeless. If you intend to operate on ovaria with many seeds, whether before or after fertilisation, I do not see how you could possibly distinguish any effect from the union of the two ovaria. Any operation before fertilisation would, I presume, quite prevent the act; for very few flowers can be fertilised if the stem is cut and placed in water. Gärtner, however, says, that some Liliaceæ can be fertilised under these circumstances.

If Hooker is correct, he found that cutting off or

1 Mr. Romanes used to describe with much amusement the ludicrous nature of the experiment as seen by passers-by. He drove in a cab well into the country, released the cats, and mounted the roof of the cab in order to get a good view of the cats speeding away in different directions.


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making a hole into the summit of the ovarium and then inserting pollen caused the fertilisation of the ovules. This has always stretched my belief to the cracking point. I think he has published a notice on this experiment, but forget where, and I think it was on 'Papaver.' Dyer could probably tell you about it. Perhaps your plan is to remove one half of the ovarium of a one-seeded plant and join it on to the ovary of another of a distinct var., with its ovule removed; but this would be a frightfully difficult operation.

I am very sorry to hear about your ill success with cats, and I wish you could get some detailed account of the Belgium trials.

Yours very sincerely,


April 16, 1881.

My manuscript on Worms has been sent to printers, so I am going to amuse myself by scribbling to you on a few points; but you must not waste your time in answering at any length this scribble. Firstly, your letter on intelligence was very useful to me, and I tore up and rewrote what I sent you. I have not attempted to define intelligence, but have quoted your remarks on experience, and have shown how far they apply to worms. It seems to me, that they must be said to work with some intelligence, anyhow, they are not guided by a blind instinct.

Secondly, I was greatly interested by the abstract in 'Nature' of your work on Echinoderms; the complexity, with simplicity, and with such curious co-

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ordination of the nervous system, is marvellous; and you showed me before what splendid gymnastic feats they can perform.

Thirdly, Dr. Roux has sent me a book just published by him, 'Der Kampf der Theile,' &c., 1881 (240 pages in length). He is manifestly a well-read physiologist and pathologist, and from his position a good anatomist. It is full of reasoning, and this in German is very difficult to me, so that I have only skimmed through each page, here and there reading with a little more care. As far as I can imperfectly judge, it is the most important book on evolution which has appeared for some time. I believe that G. H. Lewes hinted at the same fundamental idea, viz. that there is a struggle going on within every organism between the organic molecules, the cells, and the organs. I think that his basis is that every cell which best performs its function is as a consequence at the same time best nourished and best propagates its kind. The book does not touch on mental phenomena, but there is much discussion on rudimentary or atrophied parts, to which subject you formerly attended. Now if you would like to read this book, I will send it after Frank has glanced at it, for I do not think he will have time to read it with care. If you read it and are struck with it (but I may be wholly mistaken about its value), you would do a public service by analysing and criticising it in 'Nature.' Dr. Roux makes, I think, a gigantic oversight in never considering plants; these would simplify the problem for him.

Fourthly, I do not know whether you will discuss

I 2

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in your book on the 'Mind of Animals' any of the more complex and wonderful instincts. It is unsatisfactory work, as there can be no fossilised instincts, and the sole guide is their state in other members of the same order and mere probability. But if you do discuss any (and it will perhaps be expected of you) I should think that you could not select a better case than that of the sand-wasps, which paralyse their prey, as formerly described by Fabre in his wonderful paper in 'Annales des Sciences,' and since amplified in his admirable 'Souvenirs.' Whilst reading this latter book, I speculated a little on the subject. Astonishing nonsense is often spoken of the sand-wasp's knowledge of anatomy. Now will anyone say that the Gauchos on the plains of La Plata have such knowledge, yet I have often seen them prick a struggling and lassoed cow on the ground with unerring skill, which no mere anatomist could imitate. The pointed knife was infallibly driven in between the vertebræ by a single slight thrust. I presume that the art was first discovered by chance, and that each young Gaucho sees exactly how the others do it, and then with a very little practice learning the art. Now I suppose that the sand-wasps originally merely killed their prey by stinging them in many places (see p. 129 of Fabre, 'Souvenirs,' and page 241), on the lower and softer side of the body, and that to sting a certain segment was found by far the most successful method, and was inherited, like the tendency of a bull-dog to pin the nose of a bull, or of a ferret to bite the cerebellum. It would not be a very great step in advance to prick the ganglion of

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its prey only slightly, and thus to give its larvæ fresh meat instead of old dry meat. Though Fabre insists so strongly on the unvarying character of instinct, yet it shows that there is some variability, as on pp. 176, 177.

I fear that I shall have utterly wearied you with my scribbling and bad handwriting.

My dear Romanes,

Yours very sincerely,


From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: April 17, 1881.

Your long letter has been most refreshing to me in every way.

I am looking forward with keen interest to the appearance of your book on Worms, and am unexpectedly glad to hear that my letter was of any use.

I should very much like to see the book you mention, and from what you say about sending it I shall not order it. But there is no need to send it soon, as I have already an accumulation of books to review for 'Nature.'

I am very glad that you think well of the Echinoderm work. Several other experiments have occurred to me to try, and I hope to be able to do so next autumn, as also the interesting experiment suggested by Frank of rotating by clockwork (as you did the plants) an Echinus inverted upon its aboral pole, to see whether it would right itself when the influence of gravity is removed.

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No doubt I must in my second book deal with instincts of all kinds, complex or otherwise. Your 'speculations' on the sand-wasp seem to me very pithy—excuse the pun suggested by the analogy of the cattle—and I think there can be little doubt that such is the direction in which the explanation is to be sought. I also think that the difficulty is mitigated by the consideration that both the ganglion of the spider and the sting of the wasp are organs situated on the median line of their respective possessors, and therefore that the origin of the instinct may have been determined or assisted by the mere anatomical form of the animals—the wasp not stinging till securely mounted on the spider's back, and when so mounted the sting might naturally strike the ganglion. But I have not yet read Fabre's own account, so this view may not hold. Anyhow, and whatever determining conditions as to origin may have been, it seems to me there can be little doubt that natural selection would have developed it in the way you suggest.

I have now grown a number of seeds exposed to the flashing light, but am not yet quite sure as to the result. About one seedling out of ten bends towards the flashing source very decidedly, while all the rest, although exposed to just the same conditions, grow perfectly straight. But I shall, no doubt, find out the reason of this by further trials. It is strange that the same thing happens when I expose other seedlings to constant light of exceedingly dim intensity. It looks as if some individuals were more

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sensitive to light than others. I do not know whether you found any evidence of this.

I have just found that this year again I have been too late in asking them to send me cuttings of the vine for grafting. I did not know that the sap in vines began to run so early.

I remain ever yours, very sincerely and most respectfully,


From C. Darwin, Esq., to G. J. Romanes.

Down: April 18, 1881.

I am extremely glad of your success with the flashing light. If plants are acted on by light, like some of the lower animals, there is an additional point of interest, as it seems to me, in your results. Most botanists believe that light causes a plant to bend to it in as direct a manner as light affects nitrate of silver.

I believe that it merely tells the plant to which side to bend, and I see indications of this belief prevailing even with Sachs. Now it might be expected that light would act on a plant in something the same manner as on the lower animals. As you are at work on this subject, I will call your attention to another point. Wiesner, of Vienna (who has lately published a good book on Heliotropism) finds that an intermittent light during 20 m. produces same effect as a continuous light of same brilliancy during 60 m. So that Van Tieghem, in the first part of his book, which has just appeared, remarks, the light during 40 m. out of the 60 m. produced no effect.

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I observed an analogous case described in my book. Wiesner and Tieghem seem to think that this is explained by calling the whole process 'induction,' borrowing a term used by some physico-chemists (of whom I believe Roscoe is one), and implying an agency which does not produce any effect for some time, and continues its effect for some time after the cause has ceased. I believe (?) that photographic paper is an instance. I must ask Leonard whether an interrupted light acts on it in the same manner as on a plant. At present I must still believe in my explanation that it is the contrast between light and darkness which excites a plant.

I have forgotten my main object in writing, viz. to say that I believe (and have so stated) that seedlings vary much in their sensitiveness to light; but I did not prove this, for there are many difficulties, whether time of incipient curvature or amount of curvature is taken as the criterion. Moreover, they vary according to age and perhaps from vigour of growth; and there seems inherent variability, as Strasburger (whom I quote) found with spores. If the curious anomaly observed by you is due to varying sensitiveness, ought not all the seedlings to bend if the flashes were at longer intervals of time? According to my notion of contrast between light and darkness being the stimulus, I should expect that if flashes were made sufficiently slow it would be a powerful stimulus, and that you would suddenly arrive at a period when the result would suddenly become great. On the other hand, as far as my experience goes, what one expects rarely happens.

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I heartily wish you success, and remain, yours ever very sincerely,


Do you read the 'Times'? As I had a fair opportunity, I sent a letter to the 'Times' on Vivisection, which is printed to-day. I thought it fair to bear my share of the abuse poured in so atrocious a manner on all physiologists.

From G. J. Romanes to C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace: April 22.

I have left your last letter so long unanswered in order that I might be able to let you know the result of the next experiment I was trying on the seeds with flashing light. I think in the end the conclusion will be that short flashes, such as I am now using, influence the seedlings, but only to a comparatively small degree, so that it is only the more sensitive seedlings that perceive them.

Your letter in the 'Times' was in every way admirable, and coming from you will produce more effect than it could from anybody else. The answer to-day to —— is also first-rate—just enough without being too much. It would have been a great mistake to have descended into a controversy. I

thought —— had more wit than to adopt such a tack and tone, and am sure that all physiologists will be for ever grateful to you for such a trenchant expression of opinion.

I have a little piece of gossip to tell. Yesterday

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the Council of the Linnean nominated me Zoological Secretary, and some of the members having pressed me to accept, I have accepted. I also hear that your son is to be on the same Council, and that Sir John Lubbock is to be the new President.

I have at length decided on the arrangement of my material for the books on Animal Intelligence and Mental Evolution. I shall reserve all the heavier parts of theoretical discussion for the second book—making the first the chief repository of facts, with only a slender network of theory to bind them into mutual relation, and save the book as much as possible from the danger that you suggested of being too much matter-of-fact. It will be an advantage to have the facts in a form to admit of brief reference when discussing the heavier philosophy in the second book, which will be the more important, though the less popular, of the two.

Just then some correspondence had been going on in the 'Times' on the subject of Vivisection, and Mr. Darwin wrote to Mr. Romanes as follows:—

Down, Beckenham, Kent: April 25, 1881.

My dear Romanes,—I was very glad to read your last notes with much news interesting to me. But I write now to say how I, and indeed all of us in the house, have admired your letter in the 'Times.'1 It was so simple and direct. I was particularly glad about Burdon Sanderson, of whom I have been for several years a great admirer. I was, also, especi-

1 A letter written at the end of April 1881.

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ally glad to read the last sentences. I have been bothered with several letters, but none abusive. Under a selfish point of view I am very glad of the publication of your letter, as I was at first inclined to think that I had done mischief by stirring up the mud, now I feel sure that I have done good…..

The following letters relate to the portrait of Mr. Darwin which was painted by the Hon. John Collier for the Linnean Society.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: May 25.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—When at the Linnean this afternoon, I was told by Dr. M—— that he had obtained your consent to sit for a portrait for the Society. Now, as it appears to me a great favour to ask of you to sit for yet another portrait, the least we can do, if you consent, is to employ a thoroughly good man to paint it. Therefore, if you have not already entered into any definite agreement, I write to suggest a little delay (say of a month), when, as Secretary, I might ascertain the amount of the subscription on which we might rely, and arrange matters accordingly. John Collier (Huxley's son-in-law) told me some time ago that he would dearly like to have you to paint, and I doubt not that he would do it at less than his ordinary charges if necessary. He would be sure to do the work well, and so I write to ascertain whether you would not prefer him, or some other artist of known ability, to do the work, if I were to undertake to provide the needful.

Please give to Mrs. Darwin, and take to yourself,

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our best thanks for your kind congratulations on the opportune arrival of another baby—just in time to be worked into the book on Mental Evolution. Everything is going well.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


To C. Darwin Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: July 1.

I have told Collier that he had now better write to you direct at whatever time he intends to make his final arrangements with you as to place and time of sitting. He has just finished a portrait of me, which my mother had painted as a present to my wife. It is exceedingly good, and as all his recent portraits are the same—notably one of Huxley—I am very glad that he is to paint you. Besides, he is such a pleasant man to talk to, that the sittings are not so tedious as they would be with a less intelligent man.

I shall certainly read the 'Creed of Science' as soon as I can. The German book on Evolution I have not yet looked at, as I have been giving all my time to my own book. This is now finished. But talking of my time, I do not see how the two or three hours which I have spent in arranging to have a portrait, which will be of so much historical importance, taken by a competent artist, could well have been better employed.

You will see that I have got into a row with Carpenter over the thought-reading. Everybody

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thinks he made a mistake in lending himself to Bishop's design of posing as a scientific wonder. Bishop is a very sly dog, and has played his cards passing well. In an article which he published two years ago in an American newspaper, he explains the philosophy of advertising, and says the first thing to attend to is to catch good names. He has now succeeded well.

Very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


Down: August 7.

My dear Romanes,—I received yesterday the enclosed notice, and I send it to you, as I have thought that if you notice Dr. Roux's book in 'Nature' or elsewhere the review might possibly be of use to you. As far as I can judge the book ought to be brought before English naturalists. You will have heard from Collier that he has finished my picture. All my family who have seen it think it the best likeness which has been taken of me, and, as far as I can judge, this seems true. Collier was the most considerate, kind, and pleasant painter a sitter could desire.

My dear Romanes,

Yours very sincerely,

To C. Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: August 8, 1881.

Many thanks for the notice of Roux's book. I have not yet looked at the latter, but Preyer, of Jena

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(who has been our guest during the Congress meeting,1 and who knows the author), does not think much of it.

I am delighted that the portrait has pleased those who are the best judges. I saw it the day it came up, and feel no doubt at all that it is far and away the best of the three. But I did not like to write and venture this opinion till I knew what you all thought of it.

I have been very busy this past week with the affairs of the Congress in relation to Vivisection. It has been resolved by the Physiological Section to get a vote of the whole Congress upon the subject, and I had to prepare the resolution and get the signatures of all the vice-presidents of the Congress, presidents and vice-presidents of sections, and to arrange for its being put to the vote of the whole Congress at its last general meeting to-morrow. The only refusal to sign came appropriately enough from the president of the section 'Mental Diseases.'

We leave for Scotland to-morrow, when I shall hope to get time to read Roux's book, though I shall first review 'The Student's Darwin.'

I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


The following letters relate to the burning question of Vivisection:—

Garvock, Perthshire: August 81, 1881.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—It is not often that I write to dun you, and I am sorry that duty should now

1 International Medical Congress.

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impose on me the task of doing so, but I have no alternative, as you shall immediately see.

The Physiological Society was formed, as you may remember, for the purpose of obtaining combined action among physiologists on the subject of Vivisection. The result in the first instance was to resolve on a tentative policy of silence, with the view of seeing whether the agitation would not burn itself out. It is now thought that this policy has been tried sufficiently long, and that we are losing ground by continuing it. After much deliberation, therefore, the society has resolved to speak out upon the subject, and the 'Nineteenth Century' has been involved as the medium of publication. Arrangements have been made with Knowles for a symposium-like series of short essays by all the leaders of biology and medicine in this country—each to write on a branch of the subject chosen by himself or allotted to him by the society. In this matter of organising the contributions, the society is to be represented by Dr. Pye Smith, who combines science, medicine, and literary culture better than any other member of our body.

As secretary I am directed to write to all the men whose names are mentioned in a resolution passed by the society in accordance with the report of a committee appointed by the society to consider the subject. Hence these tears.

Of course, your name in this matter is one of the most important, and as the idea is to get a body of great names, it would be a disappointment of no small magnitude if yours should fail. It does not matter mo much that you should write a long dissertation, so

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long as you allow yourself to stand among this noble army of martyrs. Two or three pages of the 'Nineteenth Century' on one, say, of the following topics would be all that we should want:—

'The limits and safeguards desirable in carrying on scientific experiments on animals.'

'Mistaken humanity of the agitation: real humanity of vivisection.'

'The Royal Commission and its report.'

Or any other topic connected with Vivisection on which you may feel the spirit most to move you to write.

Any further information that you may desire I shall be happy to give; but please remember how much your assistance is desired.

This is a very delightful place, though not very conducive to work. If any of your sons are in Scotland and should care for a few days' sport with other scientific men on the spree, please tell them that they will find open house and welcome here.

The proofs of my book on Animal Intelligence are coming in. I hope your work on Worms will be out in time for me to mention it and its main results.

Ewart has pitched his zoological laboratory at Oban, so as to be as near this as possible. I shall go down when I can to keep his pot of sea-eggs upon the boil.

I remain, very sincerely and most respectfully yours,


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Down, Beckenham, Kent: September 2, 1881.

My dear Romanes,—Your letter has perplexed me beyond all measure. I fully recognise the duty of everyone, whose opinion is worth anything, expressing his opinion publicly on vivisection, and this made me send my letter to the 'Times.' I have been thinking at intervals all morning what I could say, and it is the simple truth that I have nothing worth saying. You, and men like you, whose ideas flow freely, and who can express them easily, cannot understand the state of mental paralysis in which I find myself. What is most wanted is a careful and accurate attempt to show what physiology has already done for man, and even still more strongly what there is every reason to believe it will hereafter do. Now I am absolutely incapable of doing this, or of discussing the other points suggested by you.

If you wish for my name (and I should be glad that it should appear with that of others in the same cause), could you not quote some sentence from my letter in the 'Times,' which I inclose, but please return it? If you thought fit you might say that you quoted it with my approval, and that, after still further reflection, I still abide most strongly in my expressed conviction. Far Heaven's sake, do think of this; I do not grudge the labour and thought, but I could write nothing worth anyone's reading.

Allow me to demur to your calling your conjoint article a 'symposium,' strictly a 'drinking-party;' this seems to me very bad taste, and I do hope everyone of yon will avoid any semblance of a joke on the


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subject. I know that words like a joke on this subject have quite disgusted some persons not at all inimical to physiology. One person lamented to me that Mr. Simon, in his truly admirable address at the Medical Congress (by far the best thing which I have read), spoke of the 'fantastic sensuality'1 (or some such term) of the many mistaken, but honest men and women who are half mad on the subject.

Do pray try and let me escape, and quote my letter, which in some respects is more valuable, as giving my independent judgment before the Medical Congress. I really cannot imagine what I could say.

I will now turn to another subject: my little book on Worms has been long finished, but Murray was so strongly opposed to publishing it at the dead season, that I yielded. I have told the printers to send you a set of clean sheets, which you can afterwards have stitched together. There is hardly anything in it which can interest you.

Two or three papers by Hermann Müller have just appeared in 'Kosmos,' which seem to me interesting, as showing how soon, i.e. after how many attempts, bees learn how best to suck a new flower; there is also a good and laudatory review of Dr. Roux. I could lend you 'Kosmos' if you think fit.

You will perhaps have seen that my poor dear brother Erasmus has just died, and he was buried yesterday here at Down.

Garvock, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire: September 4.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—I hasten to relieve your mind about writing on vivisection, as I am sure that

1 See 'Life &c. of C. Darwin,' vol. iii. p. 210.

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none of the physiologists would desire you to do so if you feel it a bother. After all, there are plenty of other men to do the writing, and if some of them quote the marked sentences in your letter (which I return), with the statement that you still adhere to them, the chief thing will be done—viz. showing again and emphatically on which side you are.

It is not intended to call the article a 'Symposium.' I only used this word to show that they are to be of the same composite kind as those which the 'Nineteenth Century' previously published under this designation.

Your letter gives me the first news of your brother's death. I remember very well seeing him one day when I called on you at his house. It must make you very sad, and I am sorry to have written you at such a time.

I have already sent in a short review of Roux's book, but should like to see about the bees in 'Kosmos.' I am trying some experiments with bees here on way-finding; but, contrary to my expectations, I find that most bees, when marked and liberated at one hundred yards from their hive, do not get back for along time. This fact makes it more difficult to test their mode of way-finding, as the faculty (whatever it is) does not seem to be certain.

Many thanks for sending me the book on Worms so early. As yet I have only had time to look at the table of contents, which seems most interesting.

Lockyer is staying here just now, and has given me the proofs of his book. It seems to me that he has quite carried the position as to the elements being products of development.

K 2

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Down: October 14.

My dear Romanes,—I have just read the splendid review of the Worm book in 'Nature.' I have been much pleased by it, but at the same time you so over-estimate the value of what I do, that you make me feel ashamed of myself, and wish to be worthy of such praise. I cannot think how you can endure to spend so much time over another's work, when you have yourself so much in hand; I feel so worn out, that I do not suppose I shall ever again give reviewers trouble.

I hope that your opus magnum is progressing well, and when we meet later in the autumn I shall be anxious to hear about it.

In a few days' time we are going to visit Horace in Cambridge for a week, to see if that will refresh me.

Pray give my kind remembrances to Mrs. Romanes, and I hope you are all well.

Garvock, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire: October 16, 1881.

My dear Mr. Darwin,—If I did not know you so well, I should think that you are guilty of what our nurse calls 'mock modesty.' At least I know that if I, or anybody else, had written the book which I reviewed, your judgment would have been the first to endorse all I have said. I never allow personal friendship to influence what I say in reviews; and if I am so uniformly stupid as to 'over-estimate the value of all you do,' it is at any rate some consolation to know that my stupidity is so universally shared by all the

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men of my generation. But your letters are to me always psychological studies, and especially so when, as in this one, you seem without irony intentionally grim to refer to my work in juxtaposition with your own.

The proof-sheets are coming in, and I suppose the book will be out in a month or two. I do not know why they are so slow in setting up the type. But, as I said once before, this book will not be so good (or so little bad) as the one that is to follow.

Ewart and I have been working at the Echinoderms again, and at last have found the internal nervous plexus. Also tried poisons, and proved still further the locomotor function of the pedicellariæ.

I observed a curious thing about anemones. If a piece of food is placed in a pool or tank where a number are closed, in a few minutes they all expand: clearly they smell the food.

I am deeply sorry to hear that you feel 'worn out,' but cannot imagine that the reviewers have done with you yet.

The vivisection fight does not promise well. Like yourself, most of the champions do not like the idea.


There are many other letters, but care has been taken only to select the most interesting. In 1881 came the last visit to Down, full of brightness. Mr. Darwin was most particularly kind, and gave Mr. Romanes some of his own MSS., including a paper on 'Instinct,' which is bound up with Mr. Romanes' own book, 'Mental Evolution in Animals.' It transpired that Mr. Darwin was extremely fond of novels

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and had the most delightful way of offering his guests books to take to bed with them. In fact, Down was one of the few houses in which readable books adorned the guest-chambers.

It came out on this occasion that Mr. Darwin had an especial love for the books written by the author of 'Mademoiselle Mori.' He offered one of his guests 'Denise,' saying it was his favourite tale, or words to that effect.

Down was indeed one of the most delightful of houses in which to stay, and that snowy January Sunday of 1881 was a very real red letter day.

To Miss C. E. Romanes.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: July 24, 1881.

My dearest Charlotte,—There have been no letters from you for two days, so I have nothing to answer.

I did not write yesterday because we were spending the day with Mr. Teesdale, in his house at Down, and did not get back again till past the post hour. We went over to pay a call upon Darwin. He and his wife were at home, and as kind and glad to see us as possible. The servant gave our names wrongly to them, and they thought we were a very old couple whom they know, called Norman. So old Darwin came in with a huge canister of snuff under his arm—old Norman being very partial to this luxury—and looked very much astonished at finding us. He was as grand and good and bright as ever.

In to-day's 'Times' you will see a letter by 'F.R.S.' which is worth reading, as are all the productions of his able pen.

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I have been applied to by the Editor of the 'Encyclopædia Britannica' to supply an article on 'Instinct.' This I am writing.

We are all quite well, except that I have had a cold, which is now going away.

With united love to all, yours ever the same,


One evening Mr. Romanes personally 'conducted' Mr. Darwin to the Royal Institution to hear a lecture by Dr. Sanderson on 'Dionæa.' A burst of applause greeted Mr. Darwin's entrance, much to that great man's surprise. Earlier in the day he had half timidly asked Mr. Romanes if there would be room at the Royal Institution for him.

In 1882 came the great sorrow of Mr. Darwin's death. The following letters show something of what the loss was to the ardent disciple, the loyal-hearted friend.

To Francis Darwin Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: April 22, 1882.

My dear Darwin,—I did not write because I thought it might trouble you, but I sent some flowers yesterday which did not require acknowledgment.

Even you, I do not think, can know all that this death means to me. I have long dreaded the time, and now that it has come it is worse than I could anticipate. Even the death of my own father—though I loved him deeply, and though it was more sudden, did not leave a desolation so terrible. Half the interest of my life seems to have gone when I

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cannot look forward any more to his dear voice of welcome, or to the letters that were my greatest happiness. For now there is no one to venerate, no one to work for, or to think about while working. I always knew that I was leaning on these feelings too much, but I could not try to prevent them, and so at last I am left with a loneliness that never can be filled. And when I think how grand and generous his kindness was to me, grief is no word for my loss.

But I know that your grief is greater than mine, and that, like him, I should try to think of others before myself. And I do feel for you all very much indeed. But although I cannot endure to picture your house or your household as the scene of such a death, I can derive some consolation from the thought that he died as few men in the history of the world have died—knowing that he had finished a gigantic work, seeing how that work has transformed the thoughts of mankind, and foreseeing that his name must endure to the end of time among the very greatest of the human race. Very, very rare is such consolation as this in a house of mourning.

I look forward to hearing more about the end when we meet. I feel it is very kind of you to have written to me so soon, and I hope you will convey our very sincere sympathy to Mrs. Darwin and the other members of your family.

Yours ever sincerely,


After 'Mr. Darwin's Life' appeared, Mr. Romanes writes:—

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To Francis Darwin Esq.

Geanies, Ross-shire, N.B.: November 21, 1887.

Dear Darwin,—In this far-away place I have only to-day seen the 'Times' review, and sent for the book. But from what the review says I can see that all the world has to thank you. Therefore I write at once to say how more than glad I feel that you have carried so great a work to so successful a termination. How glad you must be that the immense labour and anxiety of it all is over. Do not trouble to answer, but believe in the genuine congratulations of

Yours very truly,


November 26, 1887.

I write again to thank you—this time for the presentation copy of the Life and Letters. I had previously got one, but am very glad to have the work in duplicate. It is indeed splendidly done.

I send you the enclosed to post or not, as you think best. On reading—'s letter yesterday it occurred to me that if any answer were required, it might be better for somebody other than yourself to supply it. But I do not know how you may think it best to treat this man, therefore post the letter or not, according to your judgment.

Yours very sincerely,


Geanies: December 1, 1887.

I have now nearly finished the 'Life and Letters,' and cannot express my admiration of your work.

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What a mercy it is that you were so wonderfully qualified to do it.

Yours ever indebtedly,


Mr. Romanes wrote one of the memorial notices in the little volume 'Charles Darwin,' published by Messrs. Macmillan.

Thus closed a very significant and important chapter in his life.

The relationship of disciple to master ceased for him, no one else exactly held the place Mr. Darwin had held, to no one else did he so constantly refer; and dear as were other friends, notably Dr. Burdon Sanderson, no one stood in the position to Romanes of 'The Master.'

There was no exaggeration in his expressions of grief, or in the verses in which he poured out his soul:—

'I loved him with a strength of love 1
Which man to man can only bear
When one in station far above
The rest of men, yet deigns to share
A friendship true with those far down
The ranks: as though a mighty king,
Girt with his armies of renown,
Should call within his narrow ring
Of counsellors and chosen friends
Some youth who scarce can understand
How it began or how it ends
That he should grasp the monarch's hand.'

To all those to whom a great friendship has been given, a friendship, not on equal terms, but one in which the chief elements on one side have been reverence and gratitude, on the other affectionate

1 Charles Darwin: a memorial poem.

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approval and esteem, to all such fortunate souls these letters and verses will appeal. For it is no small matter in a man's life that he should have had a passionate friendship for a great man, a real leader; and it is a still greater matter that the younger man should have found his confidence, his devotion, his reverence worthily bestowed.

To Francis Darwin, Esq.

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent's Park, N.W.: January 13, 1885.

Dear Darwin,—I will think over the conversations and write you again whether there is anything that would do for publishing.

Meanwhile I send for your perusal some verses which I have written at odds and ends of time since he died. This was only done for my own gratification, and without any view to publishing. But having recently had them put together and copied out, I have sent them to two or three of the best poetical critics for their opinion upon the literary merits of the poem as a whole. The result of this has been more satisfactory than I anticipated; and as one of them suggests that I should offer the verses as an addendum, to the biography, I act upon the coincidence of receiving your letter and his at about the same time.

It seems to me there are two things for you to consider: first, whether anything in the way of poetry, however good, is desirable; and next, if so, whether this poetry is good enough for the occasion. The first question would be answered by your own

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feelings, and the second, I suppose, by submitting the verses to some good authority for an opinion—say one to whom I have not sent them. Only, if the matter were to go as far as this, I should like you to explain to the critic that as it stands the poem is only in the rough. If it were to be revised for publication I should spend a good deal of trouble over the process of polishing, and some of the lines expressive of passionate grief would be altogether changed.

In sending you the MS. I rely upon you not to let the authorship be known to anyone without first asking me, because, although I have published poetry already,1 it has been anonymous, and I do not want it to be known that I have this propensity. And on this account, if these verses were to appear in the biography, it would require to be without my name, or headed in some such way as 'Memorial verses by a friend.' In this case I should modify any of the lines which might lead to the author being spotted.

Should you decide against admitting them, I do not think that I should publish them anywhere else, because where such a personality is concerned, independent publication (without the occasion furnished by the appearance of a biography) might seem presumptuous even on the part of an anonymous writer.

Yesterday I received a letter from the Frenchman who translated my book on 'Mental Evolution,' asking me to let him know whether he might apply for the translation of the biography. His name is De Varigny, and he does some original work in verte-

1 A few stray poems in magazines.

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brate physiology. I think he has done my book very well

Yours ever sincerely,


Can you suggest a subject for a Rede lecture which I have to give in May?

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