Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP297

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
24 November 1897

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 24 November 1897.

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


Re. "Clarion" article on the Pantheon; the Marshall's; Alfred Russel Wallace drawing diagrams for engravings on anti-vaccination; Annie learning to ride tricycle; bicycles; books, author Ian Maclaren, Poole Library; news of Violet's brother William in America; family cats; new neighbours including Mr Oakley; interview for "Bookman"; Alfred Russel Wallace's head read by a phrenologist who also read the photographs of William, Mac, Nunquam (Robert Blatchford), and Mr Swinton; orchids from Burrell; new Argand candle; regards to Eleanor.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP297.297)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/96
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Nov. 24th. 1897

My dear Violet

I sent you a "Clarion" for the nice article on the "Pantheon" which I suppose you saw in Paris.

I do not think the Marshalls will come, but I will ask them. I have been dreadfully busy, & the days are now too short to do any work, as besides Orchids & letters, & newspapers & magazines &c. I have 12 Diagrams to draw out for Engraver (Antivaccination) except which can only be done in daylight. Ma is learning to bicycle & I want you to bring your bicycle & teach her that, so that she may know which she will really like best, after I am going to buy her one. it will give her exercise with less fatigue & I am [[2]] sure will do her good. We have a fair lot of books now in, but may get another lot before ‘Xmas. You will perhaps be horrified to hear that I actually could not get on with your favorite Ian Maclaren’s Kate Carnagie!1 I read Brigadier Gerard2 as it came out & it was very good. I cannot get those old books again where ten to one you will not have time to read them. Very likely they may be had (some of them) from the Poole Library. The Sharpes have been home a long time. I sent you Wills last Post-card. His address is Post office, Denver, Col. U.S.A

We are expecting a letter on the way there soon. The cats are all right. Cats always are. They never want enquiring about till they get over [[3]] 12 years old.

General Dunn is building a fine new orchid house & is going in for them largely. Mr. Oakley has cause to live in Castle Eve3 also a Captain and a Colonel, the Captain half cracked from sunstroke. We had our interviews a week or two back for the "Bookman" -- Also a Phrenological interviewer, who not only read my "nob", but read Nunquams photo., also Wills & Maes, and Mr. Swinton’s, without knowing the least who any of them were. All wonderful, considering the difficulty of detecting the minute details of form of head, on which character depends, from a photo. [[4]] You shall see them when you come. A fortnight back I received by parcel post from Plymouth a basket of orchids, & by soaking the Postage label off the luggage label I found "Burrel, Cabin". Last week I had a letter from him only saying he had brought me a few at Wills request, but not a word about himself. So I wrote asking thanking him and asking for some account of his adventures, which I could send on to Will. At intervals I have been experimenting at the Argand candle4 but cannot get it right yet. If I had a mechanic to make the candle holder as I wanted it I could soon find out what was needed, but Cox has done it wrong, so I must get some other mean. Kind regards to Eleanor. The sheet is filled, so farewell for the present hour.

Your affect[iona] te Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Ian Maclaren (pseud. of John Watson), Kate Carnegie and those Ministers (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896).

2. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard (London, 1896). The story was originally serialised in the Strand Magazine between December 1894 and December 1895. The above book was published in February 1896. It is not clear whether he was referring to the collected volume or the serialised articles.

3. Parkstone, Dorset.

4. A highly effective and efficient oil lamp invented by Aimé Argand in 1780.

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