The Life and Letters of Darwin, Volume 2 HTML version
I have now relieved my mind and will tell the purport of this note--viz. if any other
species of Thalia besides T. dealbata should flower with you, for the love of heaven and
all the saints, send me a few in TIN BOX WITH DAMP MOSS.
Your insane friend,
[In 1878 Dr. Ogle's translation of Kerner's interesting book, 'Flowers and their Unbidden
Guests,' was published. My father, who felt much interest in the translation (as appears in
the following letter), contributed some prefatory words of approval:]
CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE.
Down, December 16 .
...I have now read Kerner's book, which is better even than I anticipated. The translation
seems to me as clear as daylight, and written in forcible and good familiar English. I am
rather afraid that it is too good for the English public, which seems to like very washy
food, unless it be administered by some one whose name is well-known, and then I
suspect a good deal of the unintelligible is very pleasing to them. I hope to heaven that I
may be wrong. Anyhow, you and Mrs. Ogle have done a right good service for Botanical
Science. Yours very sincerely,
P.S.--You have done me much honour in your prefatory remarks.
[One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in a letter to Mr. Bentham,
February 16, 1880. It shows the amount of pleasure which this subject gave to my father,
and (what is characteristic of him) that his reminiscence of the work was one of delight in
the observations which preceded its publication. Not to the applause which followed it:--
"They are wonderful creatures, these Orchids, and I sometimes think with a glow of
pleasure, when I remember making out some little point in their method of fertilisation."]
The 'Effects Of Cross - And Self-Fertilisation In The
[This book, as pointed out in the 'Autobiography,' is a complement to the 'Fertilisation of
Orchids,' because it shows how important are the results of cross-fertilisation which are
ensured by the mechanisms described in that book.
By proving that the offspring of cross-fertilisation are more vigorous than the offspring of
self-fertilisation, he showed that one circumstance which influences the fate of young