Your Moss, Dear Sir, is Dicranum varium; – very common in both Spring & Autumn. As to Smith’s D. rigidulum, as my stars have never thrown it in my way, & my faith in both him & Dickson is very shallow, I am more than half disposed to doubt the species altogether. The moss (unnamed) is Neckera centipendula – very common [sic] without fruit, & I believe, still more rare with it. I wait with great impatience for Hooker’s <1> work; – for, the nullius addictus jurare in verba magister, I think his Botanical genius very acute indeed, & his perseverance equally great. Your Botanical difficulties I shall always be happy to relieve, to the best of my declining powers; – for I am a sad truant to the study, & find a miraculous facility of forgetting the little I ever knew.
I thank you for yr offer of Phascum rectum. I have found it abundantly, formerly; – but whether it is to be found here or not, I am really perfectly ignorant: – probably it may be so, as being by no means uncommon. I shd think you wd find Gymnostomum Heimii upon the ditch-banks, in yr Limestone country. I once gathered it between this place and Durham, where it grew in great abundance, & may be known at first sight. [illustration] This may give you some idea of the plant, if you have it not in yr collection, & also point out the method I adopted, of wh I spoke in my last. The plant shd be attached to the black leaf, & the drawings opposite to it – Gymnost: obtusum is the same plant.
Our weather, I fear, is much upon a par with what you have experienced, & our corn in a most deplorable state. I anticipate great misery for the poor during the winter, – but trust to a kind Providence for support. Charity is certainly the reigning virtue of the day, & never was it more needed!
I cannot dispatch this without inclosing [sic] you a moss. I believe I was the first to ascertain it as British, but never saw it in fruit. Specimens of it I gave to Sir Joseph Banks <2> &c &c. As it may not appear in your Books I will tell you it is [soghnum fallić?].
Dear Sir, very truly yours
W. H. F. Talbot Esqre
1. Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865), Prof & botanist.
2. Sir Joseph Banks (1743–1820), botanist, president of the Royal Society.