Sent by Herbert Edward Wallace, Santarém, Pará, Brazil to Mary Ann Wallace (née Greenell) [none given] on 12 November 1849.
No summary available at this time.
A transcription handwritten by other in English and signed by unsigned.
A contemporary copy of the letter possibly in the hand of Mary Ann Wallace. It occupies pages 22 - 31 of notebook WP3/6. The notebook also contains notes, poems and a transcript of a letter from Alfred Russel Wallace to Wallace's mother, which is dated February 1849.
An original MS
Pages with text: 10
Pages 8-10 of the letter translate to pages 22-24 in the notebook and pages 1-7 of the letter translate to pages 25-31 in the notebook.
Transcriber: Lord, Annette
Transcription date: September 17, 2012
Scrutiny: 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Nov[embe]r 12th 1849
You will see by this we are still at Santarem preparing for the voyage to the Rio Negro. We have just returned from an Excursion to the Village of Monte Alegre or (Healthy Mountains) situated about two days Sail down the Amazon, it is approached by a small tributary stream, and being rather out of the way no vessels trading up the Amazon touch there, the consequence is that we are I believe the first English travellers who have climbed Monte Alegre. The village is situated on the crown of the hill and so enveloped in trees as not to be distinguished from the beach, in fact it is only on entering the village that a stranger would know one existed[.] -- The first thing (and it strikes you with some degree of surprise) the eye rests upon on gaining the top of the hill is the unfinished walls of [] a handsome building of stone rearing proudly above the one story[sic] mud cottages which surround the large square in which it stands, on enquiry we found it was a Church begun some 20 years ago when the place was of more note and richer than it now is -- but was discontinued for want of funds. -- There is a high chain of mountains about 15 miles from Monte Alegre and hearing from the villagers marvellous accounts of a wonderful cave and curious writings on the rocks we started one fine morning on a journey of discovery. We went with our Indian guide and a small canoe (with a Sail made of thin strips of Bamboo and put together something like a Venetian blind) to Belhem[?] about five miles of the mountain where was a Cattle Estate to the owner of which we had a letter. [] We stopped there three days, climbed up the mountains, grazed our shins over the broken rocks, copied the curious figures that were drawn on them -- in short performed all those wonderful feats of arms with our legs & hands which wonder seeking travellers generally do. On the third day -- wishing farewell to our kind entertainers -- we launched our canoe and paddled to homewards. On our way the Indian saw the sign of the water tortoises nest on the bank and leapt out to seek after eggs -- he knelt down, took off his hat and began scratching up the ground with his hands -- in about 5 minutes he returned with a cap full of Eggs which boiled and mixed up with some milk (we brought from the Cattle Estate) and a little farinia made a very excellent meal.
[] As we paddled on several immense aligators [sic] swam across our bows within gunshot. I fired at one about 15 feet long but they are so tenacious of life that a bullet shot through their brain is their only death blow[.] We have since killed a small one and skinned it. I have not yet tasted monkey; parrot, tortoise and turtle I have and find them very good eating -- a lizard here is reckoned a very delicate dish and we do not despise roasted Aligators [sic] tail. Here at Santarem we get some good fruits. Water mellons [sic] oranges and bandannas are the three best and commonest, here you need not vainly pine for the pine apple as you can buy them large and ripe for d3 each almost every mud cottage has a patch of them. The Castor oil [] tree grows luxuriantly here but it is only used for home consumption.
Beef (the only meat) is three half pence per lb[?]. There’s no such thing as joints or prime pieces. It is all cut up as soon as killed -- and you must take a fair allowance of bone & meat together at one price. There is no good butter to be had so every one eats meat for breakfast. We got very fair milk & coffee which is a great luxury. Mr Spruce an English botanist and his companion are now here just arrived from Pará. They came over in the "Britania["] from Liverpool with me. Our house here consists of two rooms on the (ground) floor with the tiles above our heads. I have got pretty well used to sleeping in a Reidee (hammock) now, every body uses them. There is no such thing as Bedsteads or beds you may imagine the sun is pretty [] hot here when I tell you that if you happen to have a hole in your shirt or leave any part of your body exposed to the sun it will scorch it that the skin will peel off in a very short time +. I send a new Enigma if you like to insert it in one of the Cambrian[?] papers.
This is placed in this book before the letter just copied.
+ a part omitted
I suppose the Railway is getting on rapidly at Neath, and ere long the Engines shrill whistle will awake an echo in the Cambrian Vales.
I have now nothing else to suppose we are now on our ready for our voyage to the Rio Negro [] and shall start in a few days we expect it will be about a week[‘]s passage if we have good winds.
remember me to my Hostess Mrs Peters and family[.] I suppose they have taken up their residence on the road to Bretton ferry[.]
We met, and loved in days gone by
O She was young and very fair!
And o’er a neck as white as milk
Fell down her chestnut hair
But on my first I lov’d to gaze
Her Soul lay mirror’d there
Cursed be the pride of Gold and birth
(For I alas was nobly born)
A Father’s lineal pride look’d down
Upon my choice with scorn
He parted us -- her broken heart
Hath ceased to beat -- She’s gone!
+ + + + + + + + + +
I stood within death’s chamber, where
She lay -- my virgin bride! --
I softly stole the coffin near
My second turned aside
And gazed -- O can I e’re forget
For love of me she died,
[] Those eyes will no more speak to mine
With language of the Soul
Nor never more at pity’s tale
Tears from their fountains roll
Forever dry -- their sources lie
Beneath my silken whole
Answer -- Eye-lid
the whole Eyelid
Verses written at Santarem in the Brazils
I stand within a City
A City strangely small
T’is not at all like Liverpool
Like London not at all
The blue waves of the Tapojoz
Are rippling at its feet
Where anchor’d lie the light canoes
A Liliputian fleet
[] The scream of Parrots over head
The cry of "Whip poor Will"
All tell me you’re in England
And I am in Brazil
I saunter through the city
Where every thing is new
The grinning white tooth nigger
The pig with skins of blue
The naked little children
With skins of every dye
Some black, some brown, some lighter
Some white as you or I
A dozen such in family
With belly’s[sic] all to fill
Would be no joke in England
~ Tis common in Brazil
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