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Wallace encourages Violet's social views and plans for Christmas

Full transcription

                                       Parkstone, Dorset.
                                          Novr. 8th. 1893

My dear Violet,

No doubt you mentioned and described going to a club for work-girls, but we thought that was a single visit only, & had no idea it was the club you talked of going to afterwards. I am very glad you go there as it will give you some real personal knowledge of how the poor live & work in our great cities. Do you ever talk with the girls & ask them about their work, their earnings &c. You might get some very interesting information if you make friends with some of them. Tell them how hard you work, teaching! That will give them a fellow-feeling for you.         

A £.5 note if detected in a letter can be taken out & changed directly at any shop. It is money & cannot be refused. A cheque is not easily changed as you know! therefore it is no good stealing it.   

I am glad you have met Dr. Herdman. I forgot that I had met him. It will be good to go to the museum with him. As to your shelves if you can get a working carpenter to do them it will not cost much. If the wall is pretty solid the best way would be to have a back board connecting the two shelves, and this could be nailed strongly to the wall The upper shelf should be widest & you could put a little border to it. Something like this. The top shelf w[oul]d be 11 in. the bottom 9 in. about. Every 3 feet, or 31/2 feet there would have to be a bracket under lower shelf and a partition above it to upper shelf to support weight of books &c. The only other safe way would be to have the partitions come down to the floor supporting the shelves. Then it need not be fastened to the wall.

[a pen sketch of shelf cross section is drawn on the right of the page, with text around it]

Of course it could be black-stained if you liked, & either varnished or kept rubbed. I should think, either way, it would cost about 30/- or £2. if the room is 10-12 feet wide. But at old furniture shops in Liverpool you would perhaps find some low bookshelves that would do as well and be cheaper, and more useful if you moved. We shall be glad to have Eleanor at Christmas. You had better get your list of wants neatly printed & enclose in all your letters to friends. My wants are few and simple. I have a sponge. Whittaker's Almanack, or a Fifty guinea telescope, will be acceptable, or any similar trifle. With kind regards to all enquiring friends. Believe me       

Your affectionate Pa
[signed]          Alfred R. Wallace



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