The Lost Book by Stephen Greig

The Characters in order of appearance

Act 1

[1831 in Scotland in a beautiful apple Orchard with a Forest beyond it. Birdsong audible]

[Alec enters the orchard looking determinedly at the apple trees. He sees someone offstage but not far away and starts to address them]

Alec Ahh Gilroy! There you are! Mr Matthew wants you to collect five hundred acorns. Be sure to collect no more than ten from any one oak and avoid any tree which has gone to seed. In fact the easier it is to collect seeds from a tree the less you should do it. Choose the biggest healthiest trees with straight boles. Don't even look at the trees which have gone to seed they will be the worst to propagate of all. The more difficult it is to obtain acorns the better suited they will be. He doesn't employ you to make your life easy. He has very particular beliefs when it comes to propagating trees. It is a responsible job Gilroy.

Gilroy [from off stage] Yes sir

[Alec turns towards one of the apple trees]

Alec [to himself] Now where is that sport?

[Alec starts to inspect individual branches on the apple trees methodically and with great care.]

[After having inspected a few trees he comes to a branch which he realizes is the one he is looking for]

Alec Ahh! [while paying close attention to the leaves twigs and apples on the branch. He has found the sport]

PM [from offstage] have you spotted it?

Alec Indeed Patrick, I think I have

PM [now onstage. Alec still standing by the branch] Exactly right! Shorter petioles, compact foliage, more fruit on it than any other branch and a little more colour in the fruit too. And the best part? Try one and see what you think.

Alec [picks an apple and takes a bite] It certainly is a taster sir. I concede you are quite right about that. A very promising sport indeed.

PM [takes another apple from the same branch and starts to eat it] It is a gift from mother nature herself. New to the world and yet I wager you that we will be selling these apples in Edinburgh and London in four years time and it could still be eaten in a thousand years if better varieties were not sure to replace it. At the first hint of frost we will make 5 grafts from this branch and 5 cuttings. That will still leave enough for the branch to double in size by this time next year. We will do that together Alec so if they fail I can blame myself not you.

Alec Shouldn't we be planting out these seeds?

PM No. We must propagate it vegetatively. Seeds from this sport would germinate into a very mixed bag but probably none of any value. How is the drainage of the redwoods fairing?

Alec We are halfway done and can already see improvement in the soil for the area we have completed.

PM Great work! I am looking forward to having the acorns planted out. Be sure to use some fine loam for them Alec

Alec I will and I gave good instructions to Gilroy. Good day to you sir

[Alec leaves]

[PM is left alone, deep in thought. He contemplates the apple branch and then the forest beyond and then paces lost in his own thoughts]

[Euphemia ~18 years old arrives in the Orchard carrying posh shopping bags]

PM Ahh Euphemia! How are you, my dearest daughter? Have you any news from our fair capital.

Euphemia I have heard Sir Steuart is taking his neighbour to court for libel. Mrs Jennings has a new maid. I have bought two dresses. Mother has had a miracle cure which has lasted for more than an hour.

PM Steuart and his neighbour are equally ignorant on the matter of their quarrel and will make their lawyers very rich.

Euphemia Oh and Sir Walter Scott no less is wondering if you have any big oak saplings to transplant to the Estate he is landscaping. He thinks they can still take when they are 15 or even 20 foot high.

PM What idiocy. Transplanting a 20 foot tree is more work than planting 500 of the correct size and will not fair near as well. While our great navy cries out for quality timber to build magnificent new ships the fools who inherit our stately homes are grubbing up their woodlands and planting landscaped lawns the size of counties with lakes for their pet fish. Do you know how many oak trees went in to the ship that Nelson beat the Spanish with?

Euphemia 5000 according to what you told me before.

PM 5000! Yes and elm, pine and fir and the ships we need now will take twice as much.

Euphemia I thought you would not be pleased with Sir Walter's request. And is your new sport still to your satisfaction?

PM It tastes as good today as it did yesterday and I wager you that when your children eat them it will be as good then.

Euphemia Father, how many times have I told you that I will never have children?

PM Well if you do you can be sure they will be alike and different from you in equal measure. Nature keeps constant to her cause but always brings some novelty too.

Euphemia Have you been reading my copy of Milton father?

PM Yes and thinking hard on it.

Euphemia I will see you later father.

[Euphemia walks towards the house. PM left deep in concentration first looking at his new sport and then at the redwood forest behind]

PM When one sees all the variety of organic life from the tiniest gradations to the most startling differences of shape, habit and form shifting endlessly with each rebirth can we think otherwise than that there is a connectedness between it all? If I can select a sported apple or the finest oaks and so improve those growing on my humble estate, how much more could nature achieve given thousands, or millions, if the geologists are right, years? My artificial selections of apples and oaks must be as nothing to a natural process of selection operating unceasingly to favour the few best suited to their circumstances while countless others die without issue. If time allowed it an apple tree could become an oak tree through innumerable gradations without recourse to any other mechanism than those us gardeners see in our short lives. If a catastrophe were to wipe out existing forms and we know they have over the eons the new circumstances would favour those individuals best suited to them accelerating the emergence of new species.

Christian Have you taken to talking to the apple trees?

PM No but I suspect they would have a great deal to say if I could. I do worry that Euphemia seems so set against marriage and children. I hope it is not us who have put her off.

Christian Of course not. It is just her age.

PM It pains me to say but when I see so many contrivances in nature to stop related individuals from breeding I wonder if starstruck cousins like us should ever have married. Half the royalty of europe seem to be suffering from it and perhaps us too.

Christian Away with you! I will hear no more of your talking of people as if they were wild animals. You will have grandchildren before you are completely bald Patrick. [She hands him a magazine] There is a new Gardener's Chronicle and I am afraid there is some nonsense in it about your redwoods.

PM [opens the magazine searching for the article on redwoods finally finds it and reads it] Nonsense nonsense. People will soon know who first grew redwoods in this country now my book is out. Lindsley Indeed!

[Robert walks on stage wheeling a cart loaded with small redwood trees (about 1 foot tip to tip).]

Robert Hello Mother

Christian Good day to you and please both of you don't keep us all waiting for lunch.

[Christian leaves]

[Robert takes one of the young trees out and shows PM the roots]

Robert Very healthy don't you think?

PM Do you know that malevolent old fool Lindsley writes here that Cambell was first to introduce redwoods. No more than a common lie and have you seen Cambell's trees lately? Standing in a foot of water and getting smaller each month as the needles and twigs fall off them. They are 20 foot shorter than mine and planted only 3 years after mine.

Robert Well now you can claim to be the first to propagate them as well as first to introduce them into the country. Everyone between here and Edinburgh will know it Lindsley or no Lindsley. It does worry me though how much it all cost. We may have the best trees and the best fruit in Scotland but we certainly do not have the best income. I have been looking at the figures for digging the drainage and can not see how it will give us a return in your of even my lifetime. Also father I see more costs with your book. And how many people will buy a book on Naval Timber and Arboriculture? Our navy may be the wonder of the world but only a few people are actually supplying timber for it. You have a bill of £9 for an advertisement in the Encyclopedia Britannica just this morning.

PM I know, I know. We will make economies but now I want to solidify our reputation as the best estate in all of Scotland. As for the advertisement, the publishers agreed it but they insist I pay for it and I write the content. I have used it to tell the world that I have deciphered one of nature's greatest secrets. It must go into my Naval Arboriculture book because I can not write another book. There is no time for that when so much is needed here. The Encyclopedia Britannica is read by all the curious minds in the country and they will see that the question of species has finally sucumbed to reason. If they buy the book they will also see what a treacherous old fool Lindsley is which will give me considerable satisfaction. I have quite a few words on him in there.

Robert I hear Sir Walter Scott is after some big oaks for the works at Glenny Hall. They will pay very good money and we have as many as they can take. I am sure of that.

PM I won't hear of it. Transporting our beautiful soil halfway across Scotland leaving holes for us to fall into and losing trees which are now growing as straight and as fast as any you could find. In 60 years time those young oaks will be planked and used to build ships that will take brave men to colonize parts of the world presently thinly populated by a few savages who could be brought into useful occupations for the empire. I will have no part in Sir Walter Scott's playground.

Robert That sounds very fine but we need more income and we can not wait until trees mature.

PM We have the finest orchard in Scotland and are selling plenty of fruit and now have a new apple which is as good as any variety I have ever known. There will be enough money in that and more importantly our estate will continue to improve.

Robert We can but hope so. I will be getting on with planting these out before their roots get any drier.

[Robert wheels barrow off one way and PM walks off the other way]

Act 2

[18 June 1858 at Charles Darwin's house in Kent. Emma dressed in black is sitting in the drawing room with a small coffin on a table]

[CD enters the room distracted]

CD He has my theory! he has my theory!

Emma Who has your theory?

CD A man from Borneo

Emma From Borneo?

CD No no from Wadebridge . He is in Borneo. He has my theory. He is a collector. Wallace. A specimen hunter.

Emma How can we think of theories when our poor darling child lies dead?

CD My darling you are right

[CD kneels to embrace Emma and they sob. CD stands up]

CD You shall hear no more of this. Wallace's letter will be sent to Lyell and I will put everything in the hands of Hooker. He always knows what to do. Forgive me darling.

Emma Why has God punished us again. Have we not lived good virtuous lives?

CD We can not know the ways of the Lord. Only that they are forever mysterious to us although we may glimpse them dimly at times. If there is a heaven then we know little Charles is there now. If not then he knows nothing and it is only us that feels the pain.

Emma How can you doubt our merciful Lord? You walk with me to the church and then leave me there while you go to tend your orchids and earth worms. I trust you will not abandon me at dear Charles' funeral.

CD Of course I shall be there with you my darling Emma and I will pray for Charles with you.

[switches to CD's study]

CD [Reads parts of Wallace's letter aloud puts into an envelope for Lyell. Reads his own letter to Hooker aloud and puts into an envelope rings bell for his butler, Parslow. CD stares into space and finally footsteps and then door opens and Parslow enters].

Parslow yes sir?

CD If you could take the post a little early today I would be very grateful as it is rather vital these letters should not miss the mail. Is everything ready for tomorrow?

Parslow Yes a parson has been found to stand in for Wilmslow and he will visit the house before the service to go through the order of service.

CD It is so hard to be jolted back to work after all we have been through but I have had word from a competitor who seems to have apprehended my theory. I think all the work we have done here at Down and the work on my great voyage may have come to naught as this man has written up his own ideas in a form ready to be published. On top of losing dear young Charles this has hit me very hard. All my efforts may amount to so many footnotes to someone else's theory and yet I have been thinking on it so hard and long. Always trying to form it into words but always led into new directions away from the main goal. I wanted you to know and also know how much you have helped us here with the house and my experiments.

Parslow that is a bitter blow indeed. For my part it has been a great pleasure to help you in your diverse pursuits and to hear of all your insights into the workings of nature. I could not wish for better employment anywhere else. All the staff at Down are deeply affected by your tragic loss.

CD Parslow, you are too good to me. I hope we can resume our experimenting soon and perhaps billiards one day but for now I am too wretched. It will be some consolation to mourn tomorrow at the church I hope. Please do make sure those letters make the afternoon mail I cannot afford to postpone that.

Parslow yes sir. [Parslow leaves]

CD [alone and wretched] I have worked so hard. I have read so many books. So many books!..

Act 3

1859 at Charles Darwin's House. A small gathering to celebrate the publication of the Origin of Species. CD, Emma, Huxley, Henrietta Huxley, Hooker]

Henrietta Ahh here it is! [Picks up an impressive book and admires it and then opens to the first page and reads] On The Origin Of Species By Means Of Natural Selection, Or The Preservation Of Favoured Races In The Struggle For Life by Charles Darwin [carefully replaces the book and walks to join CD and Hooker]

[Emma and Huxley standing apart from the other group]

Emma My dear Thomas I must congratulate you. Am I right that you have persuaded parliament to build a museum to Natural History?

Huxley Yes in Kensington no less.

Emma I do hope you will be able to exhibit my husband's earth worms there.

[they laugh]

Huxley No no. But I do have a team piecing together a dinosaur which was shipped from South America and is an almost complete specimen. Taller than your lovely house I have no doubt. It will fill the main atrium. Emma you really have made a lovely home and now I know why we see so little of Charles in London. He is far too comfortable here.

Emma And far too hard working. I had hoped that publishing the "Origin" would give him more time but it seems to have had the opposite effect. His experiments are encroaching into the house. He has been putting jam jars with earth worms in them on the piano and observing them while the children play tunes. Surely there is no sense in that?

Huxley I would have thought not if it were anyone other than Charles. Do you know I can not believe that I did not think up his great theory myself? Once you have heard it, it seems so obvious.

Emma I confess that I do not read his works. I worry that they do not bring him the happiness that he might have found if he had obtained a living as a parson as I thought he would when we were young and first married.

[CD joins Emma and Huxley]

CD Huxley my dear man!

[they shake hands]

CD I trust your journey was comfortable.

[Emma walks away to join Hooker and Henrietta]

Huxley Congratulations Charles. I hear the Origin is already being reprinted. Never has a scientist worked harder and more meticulously and been more deserving of their success. Yours is an achievement that will change the world. It already has. Building work at Kensington proceeds very well and I must warn you that you will be asked once again to sit for a sculptor to take your likeness. You will be exhibited with the dinosaur in the main atrium. In fact you may have to suffer the indignity of being exhibited together with a likeness of myself as pressure is mounting on me, much against my will I assure you, to agree to it.

CD I can think of no greater honour Thomas.

Huxley Tell me Charles. How is your health? I have heard worrying reports. Emma tells me you are still working too hard. You must live comfortably now your theory is safe and accepted and your name indelibly printed on it. I hear of more and more clergymen who have given up all opposition to it. In time it will sit as comfortably with the teachings of the church as do the findings of the astronomers.

CD I do hope so. I cannot help myself sometimes thinking that Wallace may have been badly treated over the whole affair.

Huxley Badly treated? He is delighted to be associated with such an illustrious character as you Charles and he shares some of the credit. A lesser part but justifiably so. Moreover we have found a very satisfactory stipend for him far beyond what he could have hoped from selling specimens. It will pay out until he dies.

CD I am so glad to hear that and very much indebted to you. He is a difficult man to fathom. I never know if he can be quite as grateful as he insists. [CD looks uncomfortable] Another most remarkable turn of events is that a man writing in the Gardener's Chronicle...

Huxley The Gardener's Chronicle? Charles you do read the most obscure literature. Is that really a great source of enlightenment?

CD I assure you Thomas I have learnt many remarkable things from the Gardener's Chronicle. But I was most disturbed to read a letter from a certain Patrick Matthew, a fruit farmer, who claimed to have anticipated my theory and published it in a book on Naval Arboriculture.

Huxley Naval Arboriculture? This sounds like a prank Charles. Think no more of it.

CD The worst of it is I now have a copy of the book arrived from London today and there it all is in black and white spread out in different parts of the book and even in the appendix. It is mixed up with all sorts of extraneous diversions but it is unmistakably mine and Wallace's theory. There is no avoiding it. Published in 1831. I can not recollect ever seeing it but I read so many books.

Huxley This is preposterous Charles. If he had the theory why didn't he tell you? Why didn't he tell anyone? I can assure you that no one will be interested in this mad fruit farmer. You are quite wrong to even think about the matter.

CD I hope you are right Thomas but I fear some response will be required from me. I am hoping to talk to Hooker on it. He always knows what to do.

Huxley I am sure it will come to nothing Charles and it certainly won't prevent us from enjoying ourselves this evening. Let Lyell know about it but mention it casually. Charles this is a great occasion. I order you to enjoy it!

[Huxley and CD walk towards Hooker and the lights move to Emma and Huxley's wife, Henrietta, sitting on a sofa with their glasses of sherry]

Henrietta Thomas spends almost no time at home at all. He is on every committee in London and the rest of the time he spends berating Members of Parliament and when he does come home quite often he has one in tow.

Emma Oh it is quite the opposite here. Charles only leaves his study to go into the garden with Parslow. The only visitors we get are pigeon fanciers and such like. Charles finds them irresistible. Does Huxley accompany you to church?

Henrietta Oh yes he does make a point of doing that. Fortunately the vicar of St Johns Wood is a very reasonable man. The hostility of some clergymen is quite frightening but we manage to avoid them, at least socially, as best we can.

Emma It is too bad to be embroiled in these things. That is something Charles was always afraid of. We need the church so much given the tragedies that have struck us so horribly. We have been very worried about dear Elizabeth but she is pulling through. Charles has some horrible theory that it is all the fault of related people breeding and that we should never have married because we are cousins.

Henrietta What a horrible thought.

Emma It is and he seems as upset about it as I am. He is very kind but so absent and now turning his back on religion. Still we really are very happy here and the children have a marvellous time. I just wish Charles would work less. Even today he has been searching the house top to bottom for a book on Naval Arboriculture even though he has a new copy just sent from London. I can't understand it. He got terribly excited because he found a new variety of spider he has never seen before under the stairs.

Henrietta we have some terrifying spiders at Marlborough Place. They are impossible to get rid of.

Emma don't you have a hedgehog?

Henrietta a hedgehog?

Emma yes a little prickly animal. They eat all sorts of creepy crawlies. We keep one in the pantry and the children have fallen in love with it. Take one back with you. Parslow can always lay his hands on these things. They really do help. [Emma, seeing Parslow] Ahh Parslow! Do you have a hedgehog that the Huxleys could take with them back to London?

Parslow Yes Maam I have quite a supply.

Emma Oh do bring one here. Henrietta would love to see it.

[Henrietta looks unsure]

[Lights fade from the wives and back on to Hooker and Huxley]

Hooker It is a terrible blow to hear of Fitzroy doing himself in. Poor Charles must be distraught over it. From what I gather they were good companions if not always in agreement on the Beagle.

Huxley Yes it is a shocking business. Charles must have known him better than anyone cooped up as they were. Of course Fitzroy was always fighting the Admiralty. They wouldn't give him a penny. There were 11 chronometers on the Beagle and 8 of them belonged to Fitzroy and the same went for the ship's boats. The good ones were his. And how could he possibly govern New Zealand without a police force? Our government is just as short sighted now as it was then.

Hooker On a brighter subject how is your museum progressing?

Huxley Very well. I am really excited by it. What you have for plants at Kew we will have for animals in Kensington.

Hooker I trust you will allow some plants in.

Huxley Of course of course! and I need to talk to you about that in detail. It will be the greatest collection of zoology, botany, paleontology and geology ever assembled. The Museum of Natural History will be as much a testimony to Britain's greatness as the Battle of Trafalgar. It must project a grand history of intellectual pursuit at the heart of empire and Charles' great work binds it all together into a great edifice. It is vitally important to get the message right. There are suggestions we include a portrait of Wallace but I am dead against it. He may have pushed Charles to publish which was a great service but he is absolutely second rate. Charles is right for this in every way one of the most illustrious families in the country, University of Cambridge escorted around the world by the Her Majesty's Navy and Charles himself as solid as a rock.

Hooker Yes I do see all that. Of course Charles does seem to stop short of total commitment to natural selection. He kept the idea of Use and Disuse alive in the Origin and now he tells me is thinking about pangenes.

Huxley Yes that is far from ideal but we will never find anyone more suitable than Charles and it is surprising how readily the public will ignore irrelevant truths if the situation is properly put to them. Do try and talk him out of the pangene nonsense.

[CD joins Huxley and Hooker they look slightly guilty]

CD Joseph I was telling Thomas that I have had unwelcome news of another competitor. A man called Patrick Matthews published this book in 1831. I swear I have never heard of it at all.

[CD passes the book to Hooker open at a particular page. Hooker takes the book and first reads the cover]

Hooker "On Naval Timber and Arboriculture: With Critical Notes on Authors who Have Recently Treated the Subject of Planting. By Patrick Matthew".

[Hooker turns to the opened page and reading initially more to himself but then audibly]

Hooker "under great difference of circumstance, might, in several generations, even become distinct species, incapable of co-reproduction.


CD It is quite unavoidable. His mechanism is precisely mine: natural selection. He even coins the term. Look here.

[CD indicates a section in the book (in a completely different part of the book) where there was a book mark. Hooker reads that section to himself]

Hooker He does seem to have it I must agree and put very succinctly Charles.

Huxley No no he really has not apprehended it at all adequately and put into a book designed to supply the Navy with timber invalidates it entirely. No fruit farmer will have a place in this great matter. Wallace will have a foot note and you Charles will take the glory. I shall see to it.

[Parslow walks on stage with a small container with holes in]

CD Ahh Parslow! What have you got there?

Parslow A hedgehog sir.

CD Marvellous. Do let me show it to Hooker.

[Hooker peers in, fascinated]

CD I have been intrigued by these things. I have observed them rolling about on small fruits strewn under a tree. The fruits become impaled on their spines which are thus transported by the hedgehogs some distance into their burrows from where I have no doubt they have a very fair chance of germinating as the hedgehogs only eat the fleshy part of the fruits. I omitted it from my chapter on dispersal but it should not be ignored. Parslow has seen a hedgehog fighting with an adder which may even be a food source for them. They are true omnivores. The viper's teeth are held away from the body by the spines. It is a good case of an adaptation leading to another one. The spines no doubt originally for defence now utilized in diversifying their diet.

Emma Really that is enough wild life. Please Parslow put it in the hall with the Huxleys' things.

class="direction">[Parslow takes the box from CD and walks off stage to the hall]

class="direction">[Conversations continuing but not distinct. Hooker absent mindedly puts PM's (small) book on top of the (big) Origin of Species while continuing in the conversation. The lights all fade except for a pool of light remaining on the 2 books]

Act 4

[the stage is split into 2. On one side PM and Euphemia are sitting on a sofa in a room with obvious signs of lack of money. Euphemia is spinning wool with a distaff. On the other side CD and Emma are sitting on a sofa in their drawing room showing signs of wealth. Emma is doing her special form of knitting. All the actors are obviously somewhat older. Both sofas are facing the audience and both are lit]

[PM starts to talk and CD and Emma are now in darkness]

PM I am writing to Mr Darwin

Euphemia I thought you had forgotten all that.

PM It always comes back to me. My mind was so full of ideas back then. I was ready to pounce on every sign nature offered to me. I thought I could explain everything and build an empire from the forests we managed. If I had thought less I would have achieved more. I should have listened to Robert. He knew the estate was failing but he still worked as hard as anyone. At least he is prosperous in Schleswig now.

Euphemia But not so prosperous that he can take time to visit us here.

PM I know. It has been hard on you and now you are cooped up here waiting for the estate to sell and then what? It hurts me greatly that I encouraged young Callum to emigrate to New Zealand. I believed in it then but not now. I thought you might join him on a farm and maybe see you there myself one day but the riff raff who emigrated with him turned out more savage than any natives. The weasels in London would not send a butter knife to help Fitzroy control them as they murdered the aboriginals on their land and stole it from them. It is not the empire I dreamed of Euphemia.

Euphemia Father you should not dwell on such things. Callum was a good man and suffered for it. I take heart in knowing that he was fighting with Fitzroy when the end came. I am honoured to have been his friend.

PM I feel I have held you back...

Euphemia well we will both have to leave here soon when the estate is sold but I have not suffered. Where else could I have read and written poetry and breathed the cleanest air and drank the clearest water the world can offer. I am free to pursue whatever whims take my fancy? Once Callum died I had no wish to ever leave Scotland. And what did you say to Mr Darwin?

PM I am not finished yet. Perhaps you could help me there. One thing I want to tell him is that there is a principle of beauty in nature that is clearly from design & cannot be accounted for by natural selection. Could any fitness of things contrive a rose, a lily, or the perfume of the violet. I can tell you now Euphemia that there are birds amongst the fruit trees that are the spirits of those who have gone before us. That is why I won't have them shot no matter how much fruit they take.

[Lights fade from PM and Euphmia and now on CD and Emma]

CD I have a letter from that old Scottish fruit farmer, Patrick Matthew. He now believes there is a maker because flowers are too beautiful. Here it is "a principle of beauty in nature that is separate from natural selection". It appears he has found God in his old age.

Emma I am sure it is never too late for that.

CD No no he lacks imagination. If an ugly thing can be made by natural selection then why not a beautiful one. I can never give up the search for mechanisms. I have long thought natural selection is just one of the forces creating new species. Lamarck was dismissed far too easily. I am now uncovering the particles that travel from our bodily organs to our reproductive organs so that the changes that happen to us in life can be passed on to our progeny. I must tell you about some microscopical work which may well have confirmed it....

[Emma looks bored]

Emma Charles you have worked on that for so long and you do not seem to be supported in it. I thought Thomas told you it would go nowhere.

CD Huxley knows nothing of it. He is a great administrator but he would never have grasped my great theory if he had not read it and nor will he apprehend this one until it is published. It is to be called "The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication" and the chapter on my pangenes is what I am most excited by. I am determined to keep struggling towards the light. Everything must yield to mechanism. Patrick Matthew's notions on beauty are no more than surrender.

Emma I fear we draw further and further apart Charles. I have no need of mechanisms and I am happy to surrender to the good Lord who has been with me when tragedy has struck us so hard and so often and who is with us in good times as well.

CD Tragedy and triumph, beauty and ugliness are nothing more than the outcome of unceasing blind chance. That is all there is but there is some joy to be had in unravelling it. It is the only real consolation we might find.

Emma And that we have each other.

CD That too darling.

[The light fades on CD and Emma and lights on PM and Euphemia]

Euphemia You have changed so much father. I remember when you would shoot the blackies while still at breakfast from the window. Now you can not bear to pick a flower in case it feels pain.

PM you are right. What is there but change in this world? We must flow with it or stagnate. I still feel pain when I see Darwin's book. What is right in it is mine and what is his is wrong. Listen to the first sentence Euphemia: [PM picks up the Origin and reads from start of Chapter 1] "When we look to the individuals of the same variety or sub-variety of our older cultivated plants and animals, one of the first points which strikes us," so verbose! "is, that they generally differ much more from each other, than do the individuals of any one species or variety in a state of nature." more and more words signifying very little and then " we are driven to conclude that this greater variability is simply due to our domestic productions having been raised under conditions of life not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those to which the parent-species have been exposed under nature." I am **driven to conclude** nothing of the sort! Domestic plants and animals show more variability because they are less subject to the natural process of selection. How can Mr Darwin attribute it to "conditions of life not so uniform" or "somewhat different from". Take the mistakes out of this book and it would be the same length as mine and say very little more.

Euphemia He did elaborate into some novel areas too. I thought his Sexual Selection was most ingenious.

PM Yes I do admit to not anticipating that and wish I had.

Euphemia and he did consider vestigial organs, missing fossil evidence and a miriad of other topics which bear on the main argument.

PM But the germ of the idea originated here in our orchards and first germinated in my book.

Euphemia It did indeed father and everytime the book was read the seeds were dispersed more widely. The one that landed in Mr Darwin's garden grew the biggest and blotted out all the others, even its own parent.

[The End]