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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   5 June 1868

Down, Bromley, Kent. S.E.

June 5, 1868.

My dear Sir

You have answered all my questions spendidly. It was very kind, almost heroic, in you to sacrifice your hair and pay 3d in the cause of science. But I am really very much obliged, for I never could understand “the London Fancy”.1 I am very sorry to hear that you cannot pay us a visit at present, but as soon as you can I beg you to let me hear from you. Our plans at present are to go at the end of July to the seaside for about 5 weeks and I shall probably be here the whole rest of the year.2 You will now have a long holiday from my everlasting letters, but I am thankful to say that I have got a rich harvest in the thick bundle of your answers on my table. I enclose my signature as you require3 and remain with sincere and cordial thanks

Yours very truly4

P.S.— If you have time will you answer me one other question.— Has the Vidua a regular and complete double annual moult, like so many grallatores, or do the long tail-feathers alone appear before breeding season, & afterwards cast off?— If, as I suspect, this is the case, do you know of any analogous cases of certain plumes alone appearing at one season without any complete moult.—5


CD invited Weir to Down in his letter to Weir of 30 May [1868]. Weir may have declined the invitation in his letter of 3 June 1868, which is incomplete. Weir visited on 12 September 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). The Darwins visited Freshwater on the Isle of Wight from 17 July to 20 August 1868.
There is a note on the copy saying that the signature was cut off by Weir.
Vidua: the wydah bird. No reply from Weir to these questions has been found.


Sorry JJW cannot visit.

Will go to sea-side for five weeks at end of July.

Does Vidua have double annual moult? [See Descent 2: 181.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 317; Duke University, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RL.10387)
Physical description
2pp, AL 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6232,” accessed on 29 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16