Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 27 November 1896.
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.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Lang, Ben
Transcription date: February 16, 2012
Scrutiny: 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
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" [] 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. [] Then we have had a double gas bill on account of a leak; & had Seller’s 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! [] 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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