Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP280

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
2 December 1896

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 2 December 1896.

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


Re. request from her brother William for aid to an unemployed schoolmaster; gardening; orchids; MS demanded by Violet sent; articles by Nansen sent.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP280.280)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/79
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Decr. 2nd. 1896

My dear Violet

I have come to the conclusion that I was intended <by> nature for a Veterinary Surgeon <.> Do you know Why? Do you give <it> up? Because, the bible tells us, "the daughter of the horse-leech (= Vet.) <cried> for more! more! I think it was "Giye God"! This is perfectly awful! Now let me tell you what happened yesterday morning!!! Your most ferocious letter-card arrived -- (2) Another from Will (yellow instead of green) asking for immediate despatch of books -- "Merrie England" & "Bad Timeses" -- to be sold about the streets of Southampton by an out-of-work Schoolmaster, in order to get him bread & butter, he being a Socialist & Spiritualist as well as a [[2]] a man and a brother. So of course I had to hunt up the books, to pack them, to take them to the Post Office, to pay 10 1/2d for stamps, and to stick the stamps on myself, according to the wise and benevolent arrangements of the best of all impossible governments. Coming home I had to rush to the orchid-house, to read some other letters, to write to Mr. Sharpe to ask for an old suit of clothes for said out-of-work Schoolmaster, -- & then, without a moments [sic] relaxation, I sat down and scribbled off the first four pages to satisfy your most outrageous demand. Then, with weary brain & aching brow, from the effort, I rushed to the garden, and devoted my whole energies to the proper arranging [[3]] and planting of 30 hyacinths bulbs of white, pink, yellow, red, light blue, & dark blue, colours, so as to produce a pleasing effect. Having nearly finished this, the dinner bell rang & it began to drizzle. Now remember that, all this time I had not looked at the Newspaper! A hasty glance during dinner, -- 5 minutes afterwards, & then I rushed out again & on bended knees completed my horticultural performances. Then, nature signalised the deed of my superhuman efforts by sending down a steady rain. Then I read the paper with the satisfaction of conscious rectitude; and orchidised[sic] till tea. Then, again to my desk, I rattled off the rest of the preposterous [[4]] propositions which no doubt all managers of schools & kindergartens will scout as wild, impossible, impractical, and perhaps subversive of constituted authorities. Then at last, I rested from my labours, banished the poor horse-leech & his daughters from my mind, and solaced myself with a solitary game of chess and a rather weak novel for the rest of the evening.

N.B. Mss. enclosed will make one or two papers as you like. Proof must be sent. Fee two guineas a page! Checque due on day of publication!! Please dont[sic] ask for more!!! I finished up all my sermon paper, & now it is raining so hard I cannot get more! Now exercise your asking-for-more powers on the Directors!

That is the solemn advice of | Your affectionate though persecuted Pa -- A.R.W. [signature]

P.S. I suppose you have at length found out that I did send you the whole of Naurens articles!!!

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