A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 3
Transcriber: Brunnen, Claire
Transcription date: March 2, 2012
Scrutiny: 13/04/2012 - Jenkins, Helen; 17/04/2012 - Hill, Jenny; 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Pavilion Hotel, Folkstone.
March 31st. 1862
My dear Dr.. Sclater1
I have great pleasure in announcing to you the prosperous termination of my journey & the safe arrival in England (I suppose for the first time) of the Birds of Paradise.
I did not get any reply to my telegram from Marseilles so after 26 hours waiting came on by express train, slept one night in Paris & on here today. I shall leave by the 9 o’clock train tomorrow arriving at London Bridge at noon, & shall expect to meet you or some one from you with a van to receive the Birds. The cages they are now in are about 3 feet by 2ft.. 2in & 3 feet high, so I suppose the two would hardly go in a cab.
I had them in much larger cages as far as Malta & had these made there to get better accommodation on board ship & on Railways. I assure you that during the seven weeks since I left Singapore I have had endless trouble & great anxiety with them. The stay of a week each at Bombay & Malta was of great use in obtaining supplies of food & good accommodation for them. My principal difficulty has been just in getting regular supplies of soft mucilaginous fruits & living insects for them, without [] which I do not think they will long remain in health. Bananas they had till Suez & Melons at Malta, but now nothing. Cockroaches they are excessively fond of & I managed to get them pretty regularly till leaving Bombay but could never get enough to lay in a stock, & from Bombay to the Red sea had to catch them of an evening on the beams of the ship no other method succeeding. In the middle of the red sea it turned cold & no more were to be had till I reached Malta, & I was rather nervous having to give them hard boiled egg instead which they are very fond of but which I doubt agreeing with them for long. At Malta I got a stock of cockroaches which lasted me to Paris & I hope you will immediately take steps to get a supply. They will also eat dry bread but I do not like to give them much of it. They make an immense deal of dirt & I have had trouble to get them well cleaned. The places where I could put them on board most of the ships was either too cold or too dark. Crossing the desert I had to travel with them myself all night in the baggage train. In the numerous changing of vessels & going on shore to hotels (sometimes in the middle of the night) I have had plenty of trouble, & travelling through France with them going as baggage I have had no end of work to get permission to look after them, as the railway officials would insist upon applying to them the rules & [] regulations of ordinary baggage.
They have stood the cold wonderfully, having been in a temperature below 62o [1 word illeg.] since we left Suez, corroborating my opinion expressed before leaving Singapore that cleanliness & pure air are of more necessity than a high temperature.
Their side plumes are about half grown. When I left Singapore they were hardly visible having just moulted; they grew rapidly as far as Suez, then the cold seemed to check them & I doubt if they will obtain their full development this year. Another year with a genial temperature, flying room, foliage, & abundance of food, I hope they will be glorious.
I must now conclude | Remaining till tomorrow My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
P. L. Sclater Esq.
1. Sclater, Philip Lutley, 1829-1913, ornithologist
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