Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 31 March 1898.
Re. her proposal to bring a child to stay at Parkstone; instructions for packing goods for rail transport; proposed trip to Germany and learning the German language; letter from her brother William in Denver; aunt Wallace (Mary Wallace, wife of John) and cousin May coming (from America) for a month; joke about a child's view of God.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Murphy, Will
Transcription date: July 8, 2011
Scrutiny: 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
March 31st. 1898
My dear Violet
Having got rid of my first proofs, & having only the second set to go over, leisurely, I am at length able to write letters. First, as to the boy. If you really wish to, &[?] have "counted the Cost" you can bring him, -- but I suppose you are prepared to wash & dress him, put him to bed, and do all the other necessary duties. Then, when you go out with Miss Harrison, or to tea, or supper, he will of course cry all the time, & be very miserable, & want his granny &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. & want his brothers & sisters to play with -- & want his dear Governess! &c. &c. &c. So now you & Miss H. can decide!
I told you before all about packing cases for books &c. As for the aquarium you might get a strong packing case to just hold it, or if bigger fill in with clothes or paper, & also fill the inside with light clothes. The lid [] must be strong & well fastened, & outside marked all across --
GLASS - This side up.
By MIDLAND RAIL..GOODS TRAIN.
You should get the packing cases, if (you have not got them already) from a grocer & ironmonger -- at about 1/- each. The lids will generally be broken, and it will be well, when they are packed, to have a carpenter for a couple of hours to put new lids on if required, and put strong cords round, & nailed on.
I should tink the two packing cases -- Aquarium, & Books &c. will come to almost 6/- or 7/- each. but I will pay that on delivery. But be sure you mark them as above -- or they [] will go by some other line, or by Passenger train, & cost twice as much.
With regard to your journey to Germany, I think it would be for better for you to go earlier, say about Midsummer. Then you would, by October, have got some command of the language, which would be necessary before you can give lessons in English, & very much more pleasant. Besides, "The School" may be open next Spring, & you will have to come back or lose it, & to get any real mastery of German you will want all the time you can possibly get. Two years are considered unnecessary.
I enclose a letter from Will, for you, which came this morning. Our last, he was at Denver, waiting for a job - one promised in the South - if he has got it, let us know, or send back the letter when read. Now for a great, even amazing piece of news. Your aunt [] Wallace & cousin May are coming about middle of May, or a few days earlier, to stay with us a month, & then see England &c! May says she will bicycle with you. So we can do all our excursions when they are here!
The other day in one of the Mag[azine]s was a child-story I have laughed at ever since. A little girl & her Mamma at dinner.
Little Girl -- thoughtfully -- "What does God have for dinner Momma?"
Mamma -- "Oh! dear -- God doesn’t have dinner!"
Little Girl - after a pause for thought -- "Then perhaps he has an egg with his tea."
After that I must shut up. Write & let us know, as soon as possible, what we should know.
Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
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