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getting them drawn, either from my own sketches, from photographs, or from actual specimens, and having obtained the services of the best artists and wood engravers then in London, the result was, on the whole, satisfactory. I would particularly indicate the frontispiece by Wolf as a most artistic and spirited picture, while the two plates of beetles by Robinson, the “twelve-wired” and “king” birds of paradise by Keulemaus, and the head of the black cockatoo by Wood, are admirable specimens of life-like drawing and fine wood engraving. I was especially indebted to Mr. T. Baines, the well-known African traveller, and the first artist to depict the Victoria Falls and numerous scenes of Kaffir life, for the skill with which he has infused life and movement into an outline sketch of my own, of “Dobbo in the Trading Season.”
The book was published in 1869, but during its progress, and while it was slowly passing through the press, I wrote several important papers, among which was one in the Quarterly Review for April, 1889, on “Geological Climates and the Origin of Species,” which was in large part a review and eulogy of Sir Charles Lyell's great work, “The Principles of Geology,” which greatly pleased him as well as Darwin. A considerable part of this article was devoted to a discussion of Mr. Croll's explanation of the glacial epoch, and, by a combination of his views with those of Lyell on the great effect of changed distribution of sea and land, or of differences in altitude, I showed how we might arrive at a better explanation than either view by itself could give us. As the article was too long, a good deal of it had to be cut out, but it served as the foundation for my more detailed examination of the whole question when writing my “Island Life,” twelve years later.
As soon as the proofs of the “Malay Archipelago” were out of my hands, I began the preparation of a small volume of my scattered articles dealing with various aspects of the theory of Natural Selection. Many of these had appeared in little known periodicals, and were now carefully revised,
or partially rewritten, while two new ones were added. The longest article, occupying nearly a quarter of the volume, was one which I had written in 1865–6, but which was not published (in the Westminster Review) till July, 1867, and was entitled “Mimicry, and other Protective Resemblances among Animals.” In this article I endeavoured to give a general account of the whole subject of protective resemblance, of which theory, what was termed by Bates “mimicry,” is a very curious special case. I called attention to the wide extent of the phenomenon, and showed that it pervades animal life from mammals to fishes and through every grade of the insect tribes. I pointed out that the whole series of phenomena depend upon the great principle of the utility of every character, upon the need of protection or of concealment by almost all animals, and upon the known fact that no character are so variable as colour, and that therefore concealment has been most easily obtained by colour modification. Coming to the subject of “mimicry” I gave a popular account of its principle, with numerous illustrations of its existence in all the chief groups of insects, not only in the tropics, but even in our own country. I also showed, I think for the first time, that it occurs among birds in a few wellmarked cases, and also in at least one instance among mammalia, and I explained why we could not expect it to occur more frequently among these higher animals. Two other articles which may be just mentioned are those entitled “A. Theory of Birds' Nests” and “The Limits of Natural Selection applied to Man.” In the first I pointed out the important relation that exists between concealed nests and the bright colours of female birds, leading to conclusions adverse to Mr. Darwin's theory of colours and ornaments in the males being the result of female choice. In the other (the last in the volume) I apply Darwin's principle of natural selection, acting solely by means of “utilities,” to show that certain physical modifications and mental faculties in man could not have been acquired through the preservation of useful variations, because there is some direct evidence to show that they were not and are not useful in the ordinary sense, or, as Professor Lloyd Morgan well puts it, not of “life-preserving value,” while there is absolutely no evidence to show that they were so. In reply, Darwin has appealed to the effects of female choice in developing these characteristics, of which, however, not a particle of evidence is to be found among existing savage races.
Besides the literary and scientific work now described, in the last three years of the period now dealt with I contributed about twenty letters or short papers to various periodicals, delivered several lectures, and reviewed a dozen books, including such important works as Darwin's “Descent of Man” and Galton's “Hereditary Genius.” I also gave a Presidential Address to the Entomological Society in January, 1871, in which I discussed the interesting problems arising from the peculiarities of insular insects as especially illustrated by the beetles of Madeira.
As it was during the ten years of which I have now sketched my scientific and literary work that I saw most of my various scientific friends and acquaintances, and it was also in this period that the course of my future life and work was mainly determined, I will devote the next five chapters to a short summary of my more personal affairs, together with a few recollections of those friends with whom I became most familiar.
HOME LIFE—MY FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES—SIR CHARLES LYELL
SOON after my return home in the spring of 1862, my oldest friend and schoolfellow, Mr. George Silk, introduced me to a small circle of his friends, who had formed a private chess club, and thereafter, while I lived in the vicinity of Kensington, I was invited to attend the meetings of the club. One of these friends was a Mr. L , a widower with two daughters, and a son who was at Cambridge University. I sometimes went there with Silk on Sunday afternoons, and after a few months was asked to call on them whenever I liked in the evening to play a game with Mr. L-. On these occasions the young ladies were present, and we had tea or supper together, and soon became very friendly. The eldest Miss L– was, I think, about seven or eight and twenty, very agreeable though quiet, pleasant looking, well educated, and fond of art and literature, and I soon began to feel an affection for her, and to hope that she would become my wife. In about a year after my first visit there, thinking I was then sufficiently known, and being too shy to make a verbal offer, I wrote to her, describing my feelings and asking if she could in any way respond to my affection. Her reply was a negative, but not a very decided one. Evidently my undemonstrative manner had given her no intimation of my intentions. She concluded her letter, which was a very kind one, by begging that I would not allow her refusal to break off my visits to her father. At first I was inclined not to go again, but on showing the letter to my sister and mother, they thought the young lady was favourably disposed, and that I had better go on as before, and make another offer later on. Another year passed, and thinking I saw signs of a change in her feelings towards me, but fearing another refusal, I wrote to her father, stating the whole circumstances, and asking him to ascertain his daughter's wishes, and, if she was now favourable, to grant me a private interview. In reply I was asked to call on Mr. L–, who inquired as to my means, etc., told me that his daughter had a small income of her own, and asked that I should settle an equal amount on her. This was satisfactorily arranged, and at a subsequent meeting we were engaged. Everything went on smoothly for some months. We met two or three times a week, and after delays, owing to Miss L—'s ill-health and other causes, the wedding day was fixed and all details arranged. I had brought her to visit my mother and sister, and I was quite unaware of any cause of doubt or uncertainty when one day, on making my usual call, I was informed by the servant that Miss L– was not at home, that she had gone away that morning, and would write. I came home completely staggered, and the next morning had a letter from Mr. L–, saying that his daughter wished to break off the engagement and would write to me shortly. The blow was very severe, and I have never in my life experienced such intensely painful emotion. When the letter came I was hardly more enlightened. The alleged cause was that I was silent as to myself and family, that I seemed to have something to conceal, and that I had told her nothing about a widow lady, a friend of my mother's, that I had almost been engaged to. All this was to me the wildest delusion. The lady was the widow of an Indian officer, very pleasant and good-natured, and very gossipy, but as utterly remote in my mind from all ideas of marriage as would have been an aunt or a grandmother. As to concealment, it was the furthest thing possible from my thoughts; but it never occurs to me at any time to talk about myself, even my own children say that they know nothing about my early life; but if any one asks me and wishes to