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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. J. Romanes   10 August [1877]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Aug. 10th

Dear Romanes

When I wrote yesterday, I had not received todays Nature & I thought that your Lecture was finished.— This final part is one of the grandest essays which I ever read.2 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.3 Everyone I suppose thinks on what he has himself seen & with Drosera, a bit of meat put on any one gland on the disc causes all the surrounding tentacles to bend to this point; & 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 equal ease in all directions in this particular case.— But what a fine case that of the Aurelia is!4

Forgive me for bothering you with another note—, | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to G. J. Romanes, 9 August [1877].
See letter to G. J. Romanes, 9 August [1877] and n. 2. CD had commented on the first two parts of Romanes’s article ‘Evolution of nerves and nervous systems’ (G. J. Romanes 1877b).
CD described the inflection of the tentacles of Drosera rotundifolia (common or round-leaved sundew) in Insectivorous plants, pp. 19–37. Aurelia aurita (moon jelly or common jellyfish) was the principal organism that Romanes had studied.


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Comments on GJR’s paper in Nature.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George John Romanes
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.519)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11099,” accessed on 5 December 2021,