Collecting insects in Singapore
Bukit Tima, Singapore
May 28th. 1854
My Dear Mother
I send you a few lines through G.[eorge] S.[Silk] as I thought you
would like to hear from me. I am very comfortable here living with
a Roman Catholic Missionary a Frenchman who speaks Chinese Malay
& English. I & Charles go into the jungle every day for
insects we have seen no tigers in fact they are getting scarcer
every day as the jungle is more cleared away. I shall probably stay
here another month & then go to Borneo. I send by this mail a
small box of insects for Mr Stevens. I think a very valuable one
& I hope it will go safely. I expected a letter from you by the
last mail but received only two Athenaeums of March 18. & 25.
Did not you send the 11th. & April 2nd.-
I expect to receive some invoice of the good[s] I sent by the
"Eliza Thornton" Did not you receive any? Tell Thomas I wish he
would send me a copy of each of the pictures he took of me in the
next letter. Address as before. I hope there is plenty of business.
I do not think there is a daguerreotypist in Singapore but it would
not I think answer for long as living is very expensive I saw a
report of Mr. Wilson's paper at the Geolog. Soc. in the Athenaeum.
Is he gone yet? Send John's letters or a copy of them to me.
The forest here is very similar to that of S. America - Palms are
very numerous but they are generally small & hardly spiny.
There are more of the large & majestic species so abundant on
the Amazon. I am so busy with insects now that I have no time for
any[thing] else. I send now about a thousand beetles to Mr Stevens,
& I have as many other insects still on hand which will form
part of my next & principal consignment.
Singapore is very rich in beetles & before I leave I think I
shall have a most beautiful collection - I will tell you how my day
is now occupied. Get up at half past 5. Bath & coffee. Sit down
to arrange & put away my insects of the day before, & set
them safe out to dry. Charles mending nets, filling pincushions
& getting ready for the day. Breakfast at 8. Out to the jungle
at 9. We have to walk up a steep hill to get to it & always
arrived ripping with perspiration. Then we wander about till two or
three generally returning with about 50 - 60 beetles some very rare
& beautiful Bathe, change clothes & sit down to kill &
pin insects. Charles d[itt]o. with his bugs & wasps, I do not
trust him yet with beetles. Dinner at 4. Then work again till six.
Coffee - Read - if very numerous work at insects till 8-9 then to
Adieu with love to all
Your affectionate Son
[signed] Alfred R
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