August 13th. 1898
My dear Violet,
We are very glad to get your two letters with all your adventures between Parkstone & Blankenhain. It is a wonder you were not taken before the Police magistrate as a Spy or nihilist or lady burglar, trying to get somebody else's baggage with no passport, no introduction, nothing to show you had not murdered Miss Violet Wallace en route in order to possess yourself of her valuable "bagages"! You have had a narrow escape! Let it be a warning! But although your letters leave nothing to be desired as an exposition of your own extraordinary goings on - and off-they are woefully deficient in matters of far more vital importance to us, to the German Empire, perhaps even to yourself. One never knows!
For example, in the 16 closely written pages of your adventures, the honourable house of "Schultz" is barely mentioned; the Frau Rector is just alluded to, but the Herr Rector apparently does not exist!! We are left in Stygian darkness as to the figure, altitude, features, character, and habits of the never-too-much-to-be-admired Frau Rector -Whether she is tall or short, fat or thin, dark or fair, sever or mild, cross or smiling, active or lazy, plain or pretty, well-dressed or dowdy - we are left in complete and lamentable ignorance!
And as for the Herr Rector himself we know not whether he is a myth of a man, whether he is tall or short, fat or thin, dark or fair, bearded or shaven, ponderous or active, polite or glum. And we also wish to learn who are the other inhabitants of the "maison Schultz", - where is school, how many boys & girls there are in it, what are their ages & what are they taught. A programme of the meals would be interesting.
Is there anything eatable to eat, and drinkable to drink. is unlimited beer included, have you tried the raw ham & sausages, is there anything else for breakfast, - &c. &c. &c. - Then you can describe Blankenhain, -compare it with Godalming, Parkstone, Thurn or Adelboden, and you might send us a few sketches or local photographs so that we may correctly visualise it.
Here, we go on the even tenor of our way. Weather hot and melting. By last letter Will was starting for the mountains 60 miles away on a camping out expedition with Hicks and another man and six ladies & children! for a week or two. Then he is coming back and going with Mac and two other friends, and a covered wagon, right away in the mountains about 200 miles where there are deer, bears, and pumas & other wild beasts! They expect to be away 6 weeks, & he says that will be "gol-lorious"!
Your brush and comb cannot be found here. You must have left them at Miss Armstrong's, or at Eisenach, or in the train. The vaccination bill has been finally accepted by the H.[ouse] of Lords, with the conscience-clause. I have more reviews, good bad or abusive, & some interesting letters from sympathisers. I have had a letter from Ian Maclaren: he has "considerable sympathy" with my views, and my "Darwinism" is near his writing table.
Mrs. Archer called yesterday with her 3 children to tea, in the
summer house,& Mrs. Scott came at the same time. The Wallaces
are coming back to London on Monday & will try and see us again
before they leave for home. That is all the news from,
Your affectionate Pa
[signed] Alfred R. Wallace
[inserted at the left hand side]
I send Tuesday's Chronicle with final passing of Vacc[ination]. Bill.
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View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.