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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edouard Bergson   12 November 18781

Varsovie,

le 12 Novembre 1878.

Monsieur,

Si j’ose Vous importuner cette fois encore, c’est uniquement pour Vous communiquer un fait, depuis longtemps publié par moi et qu’une discussion avec mes collègues a fraîchement évoqué dans ma mémoire.2

Un soir pour accrocher un tableau, je me suis approché d’un mur et tout occupé de mon travail j’ai tout-à-coup aperçu le ver appelé Cimex lectularius.3 Ne sachant pas, au premier abord, comment m’en débarasser, j’ai saisi une bougie et la plaçant sous le ver, j’attendis que ce dernier tombât. Durant le petit espace de temps qu’a duré cet autodafé, je remarquais avec surprise que le ver changeait de forme, en s’élargissant, à devenir presque oblong, diagram —du rond, diagram qu’il était auparavant; une fois tombé, je ne l’ai plus observé.

Voilà le fait; me l’ayant rappelé, je m’empresse de Vous en faire part, dans la supposition qu’il peut Vous être utile à quelque chose.

En Vous priant, Monsieur, de vouloir bien me faire connaître Votre opinion là-dessus, je Vous présente mes salutations les plus distinguées. | Edouard Bergson. | (Dzika 5.)

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Appendix I.
Bergson had written previously asking for CD’s opinion on whether there was a fundamental difference between plants and animals (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from Edouard Bergson, 10 October 1875, and letter to Edouard Bergson, 13 October 1875).
Cimex lectularius: bed bug.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Translation

From Edouard Bergson   12 November 18781

Warsaw,

12 November 1878.

Sir,

If I dare to bother You yet one more time, it is solely to communicate to You a fact, long since published by me and newly evoked in my memory by a discussion with my colleagues.2

One night, in order to hang a picture, I approached a wall and completely occupied in my work, I suddenly perceived the worm called Cimex lectularius.3 Not knowing, at first, how to get rid of it, I grabbed a candle and, placing it under the worm, I waited for the latter to fall. During the short span of time it endured this auto-da-fé, I remarked with surprise that the worm was changing form, by growing bigger, to become almost oblong, diagram —from round, diagram as it had been beforehand; once it fell, I no longer observed it.

There it is; having remembered it, I hasten to tell you on the supposition that it may be useful to you for something.

Praying, Sir, that You will wish to make Your opinion on this known to me, I present to You my most respectful greetings. | Edouard Bergson. | (Dzika 5.)

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see p. QQQQ.
Bergson had written previously asking for CD’s opinion on whether there was a fundamental difference between plants and animals (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter from Edouard Bergson, 10 October 1875, and letter to Edouard Bergson, 13 October 1875).
Cimex lectularius: bed bug.

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Summary

Describes the change in shape of a worm over a candle-flame.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-11743
From
Edouard Bergson
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Warsaw
Source of text
DAR 201: 4
Physical description
1p (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11743,” accessed on 27 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-11743.xml

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