DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882.
Autograph Letter Signed ("C. Darwin"), 4 pp recto and verso, 12mo (conjoined leaves), [London], 12 Up[per] Gower St], Saturday [February 19th, 1842] to John Maurice Herbert, creases where previously folded with a few small and nearly invisible repairs, small bit of paper loss due to removal of wax seal.
"TELL THAT TO THE MARINES, AS WE USED TO SAY ON BOARD THE BEAGLE"
A warmly written letter signed "Farewell my ancient amigo" to Darwin's close friend from their student days at Cambridge. While the two last saw each other just before Darwin left for his voyage on the Beagle, they maintained a regular correspondence, with Darwin even writing Herbert a couple of times from South America. The letter not only makes mention of Darwin's time on the HMS Beagle, but also of several of his scientific pursuits and interests, including his participation in the Geological Society, the preservation of birds, and the controversial display by Prof. Richard Owen of the skeleton of a Mastodon. Letters in which Darwin mentions the Beagle by name are very rare.
"I believe that the two best bird-preservers are 'Leadbeater 19 Brewer St. Golden Square,' and 'Gould, 20 Broad St Golden Square'-which is best I do not know.- I should recommend your friend to call herself &
see explain in which styles she wants them mounted- and ask to see specimens [added later in pencil]. I fancy price varies according to care taken. As for Birds of Paradise from the West Indies, tell that to the Marines, as we used to say on board the Beagle.- I am very obliged for your enquiries about houses.- I am getting desperate & expect next year I shall have to build. Barkham is rather too far from a railway station.- I was not able to go [to] the Geoly. Anniversary yesterday as I have not been so well as usual during the last fortnight.- Next Wednesday Owen gives an account of the great Mastodon now exhibiting at the Egypt. Hall.- I mention it, as possibly you like others may feel interested about it- I fear I shall not be there.- Farewell my ancient amigo / Ever yours / C. Darwin."