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Record number: WCP288

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
9 April 1897

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 9 April 1897.

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


Re. the "Brotherhood"; news from her brother William in New York; poem relevant to situation in Crete and Greece sent to the "Clarion" by Alfred Russel Wallace; book going slowly; Mrs Fisher; the Sharpes, Madame Greck.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP288.288)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/87
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset

April 9th 1897

My dear Violet

I suppose you got the copy of "Brotherhood"2 after you sent off your letter. We had a Post Card from Will today, from New York! Where he & Mae had gone to deliver introductions & try & get work & intend to return to Boston in 2 or 3 days unless something remarkable turns up. The catechising of steerage & 2nd. class passengers is to ascertain that they are not paupers, & also that they are not workmen come over on an engagement. That is forbidden I suppose in the interests of American work men. 3I send you now [[2]] the last "Clarion", in which you will see a poem4 that is haunting me. It is by the author of "The Peacocks Feather", & it is so appropriate to the present situation in Crete & Greece that I sent it -- all but one verse to the "Clarion". The language & rhythm are grand, and I keep thinking of it all night and am gradually learning it by heart. It wants to be read slowly and impressively. The classical allusions you will get in any Classical Dictionary or Encyclopedia. The first & second [[3]] verses are superb. The first line of the 2nd vers -- "Through the dark and desolation of the Centuries between" -- makes me shiver at the thought of the horrible Roman Empire & Middle Ages, of which is sums up the history in two words.

"The book" gets on very slowly. I am so hard worked even with orchid-potting, & with answering letters &c. &c. &c. &c. -- & visitors. But I have written a chapter or two since you left.5

[[4]] The Sharpes have been ordered by Madame Grecks Spirits, to go to Switzerland this year for 3 months or more! & have had (given?) the place "Les Avants"6 -- above Montreux and the "Chalet" they are to have -- & have, also The spirits have provided the money in a most unexpected way! It is one of the most wonderful tests I ever heard of, but too long a story to tell here.

I enclose a note for Mrs. Fisher.

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Marked in blue archival pencil, the word poems is written.

2. Wallace mentions including a copy of "Brotherhood" in his April 4 letter to Violet (WCP287)

3. Parenthesis inserted here, in blue archival pencil.

4. Dell, J. H. The Dawning Grey. Wallace includes the entirety of this poem and an explanation of the poems allusions in his "Social environment and moral progress", (1913).

5. End parenthesis inserted in blue archival pencil.

6. Les Avants is a village located in the canton of Vaud, near Lake Geneva in the western region of Switzerland.

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