Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Parkstone, Dorset to Violet Isabel Wallace [address not recorded] on 22 May 1899.
Re. planting orchids and blue South African water lilies in garden; geology of East Grinstead and Limpsfield; visit of Mr William Greenell Wallace No 2 and his wife (from America), engineering work in Stockton (California); requests for a description of Miss Clarke and Violet's new school post [in Limpsfield], local German ladies; Mr Stillman; Hudson's book of British Birds; visit to the New Forest with Dora; regards to Mr Hobson.
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
May 22nd. 1899
My dear Violet
Ma will have told you all the news and of my superhuman labours (not yet near over) with a huge case -- bigger far than your trunk! -- full of Indian orchids, and another box of blue water lilies! How the potting of the orchids takes 10 hours a day & fetching bushels of sphagnum, how a warm water pond has been made and now it has to be enlarged to hold more blue water lilies, so that next holidays you may perhaps sit in the summer house & look down upon the azure flowers of the S. African water lily. [] I am glad you like the country so much. East Grimstead is even better than Limpsfield in my recollection, as there are bits of the T. Wells sandstone rock here & there..
You will have heard all about Will Greenell Wallace (no. 2.) and Mrs. W. G.W. They both has very good appetites and were satisfied.. They both had "a right good time" in England., and are now going to do Europe in good style. W.G.W. (no 2.) thinks that he could have got work for W.G.W. (no 1.) all the winter at Stockton, as they are extending all kinds of electrical work there.
Your friends at Limpsfield seem very rural in their tastes with their "labourers cottages" & no servants. You had better join [] somebody in a cottage, they doing the work, you the lying on the sofa -- they the cooking, you the eating -- a delightful arrangement!
The melons are now all out in their frames & are looking well so far. The dreadful cold April has killed many of the "Morning Glories" & I am afraid we shall have more this year. Tell me something about the school when you write next; how many children, what ages, what prospects of increase. Have you a garden at your lodgings &c. &c. &c. Also describe Miss Clarke? (is that her name) your Misses, and what you do at East Grimstead. Have you made friends with the Curate? [] And have you called on the German Fraus & had some "Deutch Sprache" with them? With Hudson’s book you might[?] to learn to know all the commoner British Birds half a mile off, by movements, flight, locality, and note. Poor Mr. Stillman has not found a place to suit him yet. We had a lonely day in the New Forest with Dora, going to Lyndhurst Road, through Lyndhurst Alum Green, & back through woods for miles, to Brockenhurst.
I have no filled up my sheet, & you must not expect another letter for a long time -- till the orchids are all made comfortable. Raff[?], by-the-bye, was most melancholy after Ma left & has not recovered his spirits yet. Kinds regards to Mr. Hobson when you see him.
Your affect[ionate] Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
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