Re. sending insect specimens, shells, Natal spider and its nest, and a live beetle to Violet for teaching purposes; Miss Heath; books for Violet's exams; plans for her "K.G." [kindergarten], selling "Nutwood" impossible as it brings in £50 a year, income and housing for the family after his death; bad news from California of Alfred Russel Wallace's brother (John) who has cancer, Alfred Russel Wallace suspects vaccination the cause; Alfred Russel Wallace's eyesight.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Tew, Alison
Transcription date: July 8, 2006
Scrutiny: 23/11/2011 - Catchpole, Caroline; 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Nov[embe]r. 5th 1894
My dear Violet1
I cannot risk the insects in the two show boxes by post. I had rather you took one of them back with you at ‘Xmas for a term. I send you however the some of the shells, showing the chief varieties of form. Also a live beetle in the chip box. It is a very pretty burying beetle & you will find the account of its habits in Wood. It was on a creeper on the House, perhaps looking [] for a place to hibernate. I think it buries things only in spring. The trap-door nest is large & heavy & wants careful packing, & the spider is dried & broken & wants carefully relaxing & mending to show anything. This you can do at ‘Xmas. Miss Heaton is very thin & parchment looking. I had only a few minutes as I was in the midst of a game at chess when she called. You can write & thank her [] at ‘Xmas as the Usherwoods will know her address.
The books you want for the Examination you can surely get, as a teacher, at reduced price. Ask Eleanor about it. Then I will pay for them. As to your K.G. you must pass your final exam first, & not be in a hurry. Selling "Nutwood"2 is now out of the question except to buy another house of as good or better value, as it brings in an income of say £.50 clear, & these two houses form the chief part [] of what Ma will have to live on after I am gone "to the land of life and beauty",-- & then there will be a house each for you & Will, at all events.
I have had dreadful news from California. My poor brother, about 6 months back, had tumours on the face & neck, which were cancerous. They had to be cut out at a hospital at San Francisco, & either it had been left too long or was badly done, but they cut the nerves so that he can not open one eye & can hardly move his jaw to eat, & besides all this the cancer is not got rid of but will grow again. He has only had one illness before all his life. None of our family ever had cancer that I ever heard of, so I impute it to that horrid vaccination. My eyes are better, but I cannot read at night yet. Be very careful in your diet.
Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
1. ARW’s daughter, Violet Isabel Wallace (1869-1945).
2. Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming, Surrey; Wallace designed the cottage and lived here May 1881 -- June 1889
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