Wallace Letters Online

Share this:

Record number: WCP276

Add to My list
Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
18 October 1896

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 18 October 1896.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.


Re. books and the "Clarion"; chess; Violet's new bicycle; Mrs Fisher's new book; beetles and snails; explanation of the movement of a free pendulum relative to the movement of the earth with suggestions for classroom experiment; Mrs Julia Dawson of the "Clarion".

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP276.276)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/75
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Octr. 18th. 1896

My dear Violet

I send you the books you want, also two "Centuries" & Wills Joan of Arc. There are no more O.P. articles in Fortnightly. I am & have been very busy, & no news except a new chess-player, good I believe. As you are to have your "bike" soon I send you a cheque for the Amount. Mrs. Fiskes has been here last Saturday to Monday discussing about her new book. No beetles to be found now. Cannot send snails with books.

As to the pendulum experiment -- [[2]] the reason is, that any heavy object either rotating, as a wheel, or swinging, as a pendulum, keeps in one place, & requires considerable force to move it angularly out of that plane. The plane a heavy pendulum swings in, if the ball is suspended by a very long thin wire, is a plane in space. But as the whole pendulum & room in which it swings is carried round with the earth, the plane would have to change if it kept in one apparent plane as in the pendulum of a clock. The free pendulum does not change its [[3]] plane, but the room & floor do revolve, therefore the fixed plane of the pendulum-swing appears to revolve around the room. If you have any of your school rooms with a hook in the ceiling you can try it. get a round or cylindrical weight, about 28lbs. suspend it by a very thin piece of steel wire, draw it about 3 or 4 feet out of the perpendicular & fasten it by a thin string. Get the room closed so that there is no draught, & burn the string [.] Then the pendulum [begins] to [[4]] swing in a certain line which you can mark. In an hour it will be found to be swinging in a different plane, moving opposite to the hands of a watch. It can be seen to have moved I think in a quarter of an hour.

Wills address is -- He says he will be here every week as long as he is at Southampton so you can write here. Mrs. Julia Dawson of "The Clarion" would like you to call on her. She is an invalid and cannot walk much. Her address is 33 Gresford Avenue, Sefton Park. I think you will like her.

The Bike makers will take the cheque. If you are to have discount for cash ask them to give it you.

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.