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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   [19 July 1857]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Sir

I am very sorry to hear of the anxiety about your child which you have undergone, but now over.—

Mr Gilbert has sent me as a present two young Runts one a fine young Cock of apparently the long-winged kind,2 but not so long as some I have seen; so I shd not want the one you purchased for me, & which in any case you had a right to keep.— I will not accept your young Runt, for it is a pity to have so fine a Bird to kill: I will this very day write to Mr Gulliver & beg him to keep me in mind. for a dead Bird.3

Thanks for information on Rumpless—but I am sorry to say that the one mottled chicken of the 3 which I hatched has got a very decided tail.4

On Thursday morning I will send you the following Birds. 2 young Jacobins bred from (2d Prize) Mr H. Weirs Birds:5 they are yellow, but their parents red: I know not whether they will become dark with age.— 2 young Barbs—one red (I had thought both were black): the parents are black & good Birds. 2 white Turbits;—I know not sexes.—

Whether I can send Trumpeters, I am not sure, on account of their having young. Nuns I find I have none at present, & there is only one young in nest at present, but I will not forget.— I have not begun yet to read Poultry Book,6 but I assuredly will some day, but I have my hands very full of work

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. | I wish I could get chicken on point of hatching of a Breed of Fowls positively & certainly rumpless.—

If ever you fall across a man who keeps Penguin Ducks, I wish you wd. remember that I much want to ask some questions about them.

I am sorry to find I have 4 Cock Trumpeters & only 1 Hen! & all are crossed at present, so I cannot send them. I thought I had a white Cock & Hen.—


Dated by the reference to CD’s continuing attempts to acquire a specimen of Mr Gulliver’s runts (see n. 3, below) and the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 23 June [1857].
Henry Gilbert was a dentist and pigeon-fancier.
CD had been trying to acquire one of Mr Gulliver’s runts for some time (see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 21 September [1856], 6 February [1857], and [18 June 1857]).
Harrison William Weir was a noted breeder of fancy pigeons.
Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 25 [June 1857].


Has acquired some runts. Thanks WBT for information. Lists pigeons he is sending.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2115,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6