Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP278

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
27 November 1896

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 27 November 1896.

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


Re. his voluminous correspondence, Percy Burell; lime tree blight; gas leak in house; new patent fire mantel; Professor Poulton and proposed statue of Darwin in Oxford; Violet's salary.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP278.278)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/77
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Novr. 27th. 1896

My dear Violet

If you had letters almost every day about Darwinism, Spiritualism, Vaccination, Socialism, Travelling, Dogs tails, Cats-whiskers, Glaciers, Orchids, etc -- & had books sent you on all these subjects to acknowledge & read, & requests for information on other subjects, & other subjects, and other subjects -- and a book to write, and a garden to attend to, & 4 orchid houses, and chess to play, & visitors to see, & calls to make, and plants to name, -- and -- and, and, and, &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. perhaps you would be a "miserable" [[2]] letter-writer too! Perhaps also, not! Yesterday, for instance, I had a long letter from Percy Burrell, who is going next week to manage a Lime juice manufactory in Montserrat (W. Indies -- in case your geography is weak) & to cure the "blight" that is destroying the trees, -- & of course he writes to me, to tell him how to destroy the "blight", and I write him 4 pages of wise advice! How to find out what the blight is, what causes it, how to cure it, &c. &c. &c. about all of which things I know nothing - except general principles, & these go a long way with the ignorant. [[3]] Then we have had a double gas bill on account of a leak; & had Sellers man three times to find it, & 2 times he said there was no leak, except in the water; & then the gas company put a new meter, & told us the leak was as bad as ever, and at last the leak was discovered, in the roof where no leak ought to be. Then we have tried a new patent "Incandescent Fire Mantel," warranted to give double the heat with half the coal or coke, & got it fixed in the Drawing Room with the result that the fire burns rather worse than before! Such are the varieties of human expectations! [[4]] And then you say I am a miserable correspondent! And then, yesterday, Professor Poulton writes begging me on his knees -- (metaphorically) -- to promise to go to Oxford next year, to make a speech on the putting up of a statue to Darwin! And to him also I have to write, a kind, careful, but positive refusal, -- requiring much thought, & an additional gray hair or two to my already totally gray head! And still I am a miserable sinner -- no -- correspondent!

Now its your turn to write a firm demand for an increase of Salary, showing your Governors or Directors that you will stand no nonsense. You must shed tears -- also metaphorically.

Your affectionate, much abused Pa | A.R.Wallace [signature]

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