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Advice to Violet on writing articles

Full transcription

                                   Parkstone, Dorset.
                                       Sept[embe]r. 30th. 1898

My dear Violet

I am glad you are at Dresden as it will be something to think about & talk about the rest of your life, and in 2-3 weeks you can see everything worth seeing. The Paintings are said to be the finest out of Italy, Raphael's Sistine Madonna being the gem of all, so you must study that, again & again, till it is never to be forgotten. The engravings and drawings are also wonderful. In the "Johanneum" are 15,000 specimens of Porcelain, and I want you to see if you can find the fellows to our pair of flower-vases, & if so find out the date and whether rare. In the "Green Vault" in the Royal Palace, is a collection of jewels, gold, ivory &c., I suppose open to the public. The Augustus Bridge & the Bruhl Terrace are said to be fine, with parks, gardens &c. ad libitum. (All this from Chambers' Encyclopaedia!)

As you only pay 5 marks a week more than at the Schultz house, that need not trouble you much. I do not see why you should not write two or three articles on German Schools & methods of teaching. Make copious notes at every school you go to, with illustrative questions and answers in the verbal lessons, so as to give life & reality to the account. Then when you go to Possneck and have seen their methods for a month or two, and any other schools & k.g.'s in the neighbourhood, you can begin to write.

First arrange a plan. Teachers & their qualifications, salaries, - hours of school in each grade &c. &c. then begin with K.G.'s, & on, successively, to each higher grade, - illustrating all with actual lessons, experiences of teachers, you may hear &c. &c. Do not trouble at first about style, but write it all, just as if it was a letter to me, giving me all this information for my instruction. Write wide on ruled paper, & send it to me (as MSS. By book-post) and I will read, & criticise, & suggest expansion, corrections &c. where needed. Then I will send it back to you, and, with further experience & knowledge, you can correct, amplify, & then rewrite the whole lot, and I will try & get it into the "Fortnightly", - or some other Mag.[azines] that will pay well.

[written vertically at the left hand side of the page, at the top]
This is a suggestion only - but follow some plan.

[written vertically at the left hand side of the page, at the bottom]
This is essential, & the labour will be well spent.

I am almost sure Harris would have them for the "Saturday Review". At the same time keep a separate Notebook for German manners & family life, noting everything that is characteristic & different from English. Also write down, every day, some answer or remark of Frau or Herr Rector, or any other Germans, that is in any way amusing or illustrative of their character or modes of thought. This will give you a store of actual live illustrations, with which to enliven your articles, & the greater part of which you will otherwise forget. If you once seriously begin this collection of materials you will find it very interesting, besides being of the greatest value when you come to write.   

There is no special news here. The wonderful autumn has at last broken up and yesterday afternoon and night we had a fine rain. I have been much interested in De Rougemont's adventures in Australia, living 30 years with savages. There has been a long correspondence& criticism & interviews in the "Chronicle", many people thinking him an impostor, while I am convinced he is genuine. His story is being published in the "Wide World Magazine", and he gave two papers at the British Association.

We have not had another letter from Will since the one sent you, so I suppose he is too much out of the way of Post Offices in his hunting ground, & we shall not hear from him again till he gets back to Denver.    I send a "Clarion", and also the inside sheets of the last 2 Chronicles containing a long reply of De Rougement to a lot of foolish criticisms by Hon. Mr. Carnegie, an American, I suppose son of the Millionaire. The Ed. of "Chronicle" is dead against him &, I think, unfair & prejudiced.

I had a letter 2 weeks back from Lord Grimthorpe saying he was converted to be an antivaccinationist by my book! But perhaps I told you this before. Is there a stove in your room? but of course there must be. If cold, ask to sit somewhere where there is a stove. Perhaps you can buy wood & light your own stove when wanted. Above all do not be cold! Tell the Frau I say so.  

Your affectionate Pa

[signed]      Alfred R. Wallace



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