Letter from Charles Darwin to Bernard Peirce Brent, Feb. 7, 1857

Down Bromley, Kent
Feb 7th

My Dear Sir,

I am extremely sorry not to hear better news of your affairs - your case is a most cruel one : it seems extra hard that you sh. not have even your ancient family relics. I most sincerely hope that your London Lawyers may see daylight without [?] expenses.

Very many thanks for the offer of the cock, but as I have a Hen, & as the Bird is not quite full-grown, I think it is not worth sending. If ever you have occasion to write, I should like to hear whether these silk Fowls can fly as well as other Fowls.

Do not trouble yourself at present to send the C[ottage] Gardeners. I certainly should be extremely glad of a German old-fashioned Pouter: By a strange coincidence I was writing to Mr Tegetmeier this morning, and had asked him to apply to Carsteng[?] for one; but I have struck out the passage. If you will be so kind as to enquire, I shd be very much obliged, & Hammond could send the bird & enclosed [?]; sending the Bird alive in a Basket between 12 & 1pm on Thursday to the Nags Head, he shd send account to me direct - I suppose it wd be best to specify that I would give only a few shillings for it. Will Hammond tell you truly whether it is [real]ly a common German or Dutch Pouter?

I am ashamed to ask you in the midst of all your troubles to attend to these trifles; & I am sure that it is uncommonly kind of you to think at all about me and my work under your circumstances. It is more, I fear, than I shd do if placed as you are.

I am beginning to write my Book on Variations; but it will take me some two years to complete.

Let me repeat again my wishes for your success, and believe me

My Dear Sir
Yours sincerely,

Ch. Darwin


Bernard Peirce Brent met Darwin in 1855. There are several letters from Brent to Darwin in Darwin's published correspondence from 1855 to 1867.

The original letter is six pages on two folded sheets of paper. The date 1857 of this letter can be deduced from the date 6 February 1857 of the letter from Darwin to Tegetmeier, mentioned in the third paragraph. (Thanks to Sheila Dean for this observation.)