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A trip up the Hudson River

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[folio 1, page 1]
                  [Headed notepaper from The Quincy Hotel, Boston]
                                                                 Tuesday Nov. 2. 1886
My dear Violet
                          I gave my first lecture last night
to a crowded audience every seat full & many standing.
I was not a bit nervous and got on first rate, as the
paper I have sent you this morning & enclosed
cuttings from another paper will show. My rehearsals
at Loughton and Farmcombe were great use to me
as they gave me confidence, and I altered the beginning
and cut out the parts suggested by Mr. Marshall, &
even then it took an hour and 10 minutes, but they
all stopped to the end. I was rather excited after it
& did not sleep much. Before I left New York
Mr. Browne took me for a days excursion up the Hudson
River to West Point where the American Military College is, in a
most beautiful & romantic situation among mountains, but

[folio 1, page 2]

on a small plateau with the river winding round
it and a magnificent view up the river with rocky
islands and mountains in the distance. A few
few miles above New York and extending for 20 miles
on the S. bank of the river are what are called the
"palisades.", which are a row of cliffs quite vertical
and looking exactly like a huge fence made of
split trees - something like this - The cliffs are about

[pen sketch of the palisades]

200 feet high and below for about the same height
is <...> slope of loose rocks covered with trees.
The palisades are really formed of basaltic columns like
those of the giants Causeway in Ireland. In some places
the colours of the autumn foliage were very fine, much
more bright reds, purples and yellows than in England
but everybody says they are not nearly so bright this year
as usual owing to the long drought. I came on here last
Thursday in a drawing room car which is very comfortable,
and I had a very good dinner in a dining car. But
you ought to see the meals at this hotel! The bill of fare
at dinner (1 to 3) has generally 2 kinds of soup, 2 of fish
about 30 different dishes of meat poultry and game, a dozen
sorts of pastry, a dozen of vegetables, besides ices and fruit.
You can have just as many dishes as you like brought
you in little dishes each holding about enough for two persons.
I am trying most of the dishes, and find them mostly
good and some splendid. The apple pies and puddings

[folio 2, page 1]

are grand, and there is a lovely "shaker apple sauce" I tried
today with turkey and tongue. At breakfast and supper
there is about half as much variety. If I had but
any friend to take meals with me it would be delicious
but sitting alone at a little table is not lively. There is unlimited
milk cream and fruit. I generally begin breakfast
with a few grapes and finish with grapes & a pear - most
splendid juicy pears they are. I have splendid cocoa
for breakfast & excellent tea at 6, and some
supper from 9 to 10. Till Sunday it was very wet but
now it is clear, with bright sun all day and I expect
the fine autumn weather has set in . To day is
election day here, and that is the reason the papers have
given only a short notice of my lecture. Boston
is very lively with scores of tramcars running about in
every direction. I forgot to say the audience at my
lecture were very attentive. They cheered when I came in

[folio 2, page 2]

and then not a sound was heard till I came
to the Partridges, & that fetched them just as it
did at Godalming. And again at the end
they cheered heartily.
   I begin to find it rather a nuisance to have
so many things, and I wish I had only brought
half, & got what I wanted here where most
things seem to be not much dearer. I
met a very nice old gentleman today who is
a Spiritualist & has been so 40 years, &
he has invited me to go to his house in
the country next week. His name is Dr. Nichols -
a medical doctor & a chemist as well as
a Spiritualist - I am going tomorrow to se Dr.
Asa Gray the Botanist at Cambridge which is only 2
or 3 miles from Boston. I wrote a letter to Willie
from New York telling him the name of the boy whose
brother was my fellow passenger. Let me know
what o'clock the telegram reaches Hurst. You
or Ma must write to me once a fortnight
at least & tell me how things go on. I have
just discovered a chess-club here so after
tea I am going to see if I can get thoroughly
beaten & learn something. With love to Ma and
Willie  Hoping you are all quite well, I remain
       Your affectionate Papa
[signed]                                Alfred R. Wallace

[written vertically at the left hand side of the page]

I have now quite recovered from my illness & weakness

on board. The weather here is no colder yet than at home.

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