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interesting were the charming little alpine plants in the patches of turf and the crevices in the rocks, among which were two species of the exquisite Androsaces, the true gems of the primrose tribe. I also one day took a lonely walk up a wild valley which terminated in the glacier that descends from Mount Emilius; and on another day we drove up the main valley to Villeneuve, and then walked up a little way into the Val Savaranches. This is one of those large open valleys which have been the outlet of a great glacier, and in which the subglacial torrent has cut a deep narrow chasm through hard rocks at its termination, through which the river now empties itself into the main stream of the Dora Baltea. This was the first of the kind I had specially noticed, though I had seen the Gorge of the Trient on my first visit to Switzerland at a time when I had barely heard of the glacial epoch.
Returning over the St. Bernard we went to Interlachen and Grindelwald, saw the glaciers there, and then went over the Wengern Alp, staying two days at the hotel to see the avalanches and botanize among the pastures and moraines. Then down to Lauterbrunnen to see the Staubbach, and thence home.
As I had found that amid the distractions and excitement of London, its scientific meetings, dinner parties and sightseeing, I could not settle down to work at the more scientific chapters of my “Malay Archipelago," I let my house in London for a year, from Midsummer, 1867, and went to live with my wife's family at Hurstpierpoint. There, in perfect quiet, and with beautiful fields and downs around me, I was able to work steadily, having all my materials already prepared. Returning to London in the summer of 1868, I was fully occupied in arranging for the illustrations and correcting the proofs. The work appeared at the end of the year, and my volume on “Natural Selection" in the following March,
I may here state that although the proceeds of my eight years' collecting in the East brought me in a sufficient income to live quietly as a single man, I was always on the lookout for some permanent congenial employment which would yet leave time for the study of my collections. The possibility of ever earning anything substantial either by lecturing or by writing never occurred to me. My deficient organ of language prevented me from ever becoming a good lecturer or having any taste for it, while the experience of my first work on “The Amazon " did not encourage me to think that I could write anything that would much more than pay expenses. The first vacancy that occurred was the assistant secretaryship of the Royal Geographical Society, for which Bates and myself were candidates. Bates had just published his “Naturalist on the Amazon,” and was, besides, much better qualified than myself by his business experience and his knowledge of German, which he had taught himself when abroad. Besides, the confinement and the London life would, I am sure, have soon become uncongenial to me, and would, I feel equally certain, have greatly shortened my life. I am therefore glad I did not get it, and I do not think I felt any disappointment at the time ; and as it brought Bates to live in London, I was able to see him frequently in his private room and occasionally at his home, and talk over old times or of scientific matters that interested us both, while we frequently met at the Entomological or other societies' evening meetings. This was in 1864, and I was too busy with my descriptive work and writings to think much more on the subject till 1869, when it was decided by the Government to establish a branch museum in Bethnal Green which should combine art and natural history for the instruction of the people. I thought this would suit me very well if I could get the directorship. Lord Ripon, then Lord President of the Council, was a friend of Sir Charles Lyell, and after an interview with him he promised to help me with the Government, while Huxley (I think) introduced me to Sir Henry Cole, then head of the Science and Art Department at South Kensington. I also had the kind assistance of several other friends, but though the museum was built and opened, I think, in 1872, it was managed from South Kensington and no special director was required. Partly because (in my inexperience of such matters) I felt rather confident of getting this appointment, and also because I was becoming tired of London and wished for a country life, I took a small house at Barking in 1870, and in 1871 leased four acres of ground at Grays, including a very picturesque well-timbered old chalk-pit, above which I built a house having a very fine view across to the hills of North Kent and down a reach of the Thames to Gravesend.
Seven years later, in 1878, when Epping Forest had been acquired by the Corporation of London, a superintendent was to be appointed to see to its protection and improvement while preserving its "natural aspect " in accordance with the Act of Parliament which restored it to the public. This position would have suited me exactly, and if I had obtained it and had been allowed to utilize the large extent of open unwooded land in the way I suggested in my article in the Fortnightly Review (“Epping Forest, and how best to deal with it "), an experiment in illustration of the geographical distribution of plants would have been made which would have been both unique and educational, as well as generally interesting. I obtained recommendations and testimonials from the presidents of all the natural history societies in London, from numerous residents near the forest and in London, from many eminent men and members of Parliament-seventy in all; but the City merchants and tradesmen with whom the appointment lay wanted a "practical man" to carry out their own ideas, which were to utilize all the open spaces for games and sports, to build a large hotel close to Queen Elizabeth's hunting lodge, and to encourage excursions and school treats, allowing swings, round-abouts, and other such amusements more suited to a beer-garden or village fair than to a tract of land secured at enormous cost and much hardship to individuals in order to preserve an example of the wild natural woodland wastes of our country for the enjoyment and instruction of successive generations of nature-lovers.
I still think it is much to be regretted that no effort is
made to carry out my suggestion in the article above referred to (reprinted in my“Studies,” vol. ii., under the title, “ Epping Forest and Temperate Forest Regions"). There still remains in the open moors and bare wastes, forming outlying parts of the New Forest, ample space on which to try the experiment, and at all events to extend the forest character of the scenery.
My failure to obtain the post at Epping Forest was certainly a disappointment to me, but I am inclined to think now that even that was really for the best, since it left me free to do literary work which I should certainly not have done if I had had permanent employment so engrossing and interesting as that at Epping. In that case I should not have gone to lecture in America, and should not have written “Darwinism," perhaps none of my later books, and very few of the articles contained in my "Studies.” This body of literary and popular scientific work is, perhaps, what I was best fitted to perform, and if so, neither I nor my readers have any reason to regret my failure to obtain the post of superintendent and guardian of Epping Forest.
Among the eminent men of science with whom I became more or less intimate during the period of my residence in London, I give the first place to Sir Charles Lyell, not only on account of his great abilities and his position as one of the brightest ornaments of the nineteenth century, but because I saw more of him than of any other man at all approaching him as a thinker and leader in the world of science, while my correspondence with him was more varied in the subjects touched upon, and in some respects of more general interest, than my more extensive correspondence with Darwin. My friend, Sir Leonard Lyell, has kindly lent me a volume containing the letters from his scientific correspondence which have been preserved, and I am therefore able to see what subjects I wrote about, and to give such portions of the letters as seem to be of general interest.
Early in 1864 Sir Charles was preparing his presidential address for the meeting of the British Association at Bath, VOL. I.
and wishing to introduce a paragraph as to the division of the Malay Archipelago into two regions, and the relation of this division to the races of man, and also as to the probable rate of change of insects, he asked me for a short statement of my conclusions on these subjects. On the latter point I wrote :
“As regards insects changing rapidly, I see nothing improbable in it, because, though in a totally different way, they are as highly specialized as are birds or mammals, and, through the transformations they undergo, have still more complicated relations with the organic and inorganic worlds. For instance, they are subject to different kinds of danger in their larva, pupa, and imago state; they have different enemies and special means of protection in each of these states, and changes of climate may probably affect them differently in each state. We may therefore expect very slight changes in the proportions of other animals, in physical geography, or in climate, to produce an immediate change in their numbers, and often in their organization. The fact that they do change rapidly is, I think, shown by the large number of peculiar species of insects in Madeira as compared with the birds and plants ; the same thing occurs in Corsica, where there are many peculiar species of insects; also, we see the very limited of range of many insects as found by Bates and myself. Again, your rule of the slow change of mollusca applies to aquatic species only. The land-shells, I presume, change much more rapidly; or why are almost every species in Madeira and in each of the West Indian islands peculiar ? Being terrestrial, they are affected as insects are by physical changes, and more still by organic changes. Such changes are certainly much slower in the sea.”
Later on, in May, after reading my article on "The Races of Man and Natural Selection,” which Darwin thought so highly of, though at the same time he was quite distressed at my conclusion that natural selection could not have done it all, Sir Charles objected (May 22, 1864)—very naturally for a geologist, and for one who had so recently become a convert to Darwin's views—that my suggestion of man's