Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP318

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Violet Isabel Wallace
1 December 1898

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset, to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 1 December 1898.

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


Re. a melancholy letter [from Germany] from her; news of William in America; reading "On the face of the waters" and "The Red badge of courage"; visit from Mr Hudson who is staying with Dr Geikie, talks with him about insects, sense of direction in migrating birds, his article in "Saturday Review" on behaviour of young vipers; Mr Ackland; the "Clarion".

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP318.318)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/2/117
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Item notes

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset.

Dec[ember] 1st. 1898

My dear Violet

The enclosed was sent to us to direct, & open, for us to enclose another, so as yours, so melancholy! has arrived this morning I will write a few words. First I congratulate you on having a week or two of quiet free from the irresponsible and frivolous? chatter of Frau Rektor. It will be quite a rest, and you will be able to go where you like, do what you like, write articles and skin heasteses[?]. We had a letter from Will today. He seems to have had no luck shooting or trapping yet, and most of his time is spent in wood-cutting, cooking, going to the P. Office &c. &c.

We have just read "On the Face of the Waters" and have found it very long & wearisome with the long long conversations of the natives about nothing intelligible. I call it greatly over-praised. "The Red Badge of Courage" on the other hand, though only an account of one battle lasting two days, is a marvelously [[2]] realistic work -- almost a work of genius I have not a "Wonderful Century" to spare and it is very heavy, but we will send you some other books for Xmas.

Mr. Hudson has been staying a day or two with Dr. Gickie[?] and yesterday afternoon he called, and we had a two hours talk. He is very talk dark and grizzly, something like Dr. Spruce but more hawk-faced, very quiet, but pleasant & free in speech. We got on well directly, and talked about his books, and birds, snakes, spiders &c. He is a strong antivaccionationist since he came to England, and has seen sever bad results on children of his friends. He appears to be badly off and writes for a living, & has written several novels and tales under another name. We talked a good deal about migration as to which he is rather shaky, believing in birds having a "sense of direction", travelling accurately N. & S. &c. &c.! I asked him to come again when he comes to this [[3]] part which he does often. He also believes (as I do) in vipers running down their mothers throats, and has written about it in the "Saturday Review". I suppose Mr. Ackland is gone or going as you say nothing more about him. You have told us nothing yet about the schools and where the children come from!

I will send you the last "Clarion" tomorrow. Keep up your spirits & consider Wills loneliness, in the dismal wilds with coyotes howling around at night!

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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