Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Quincy House, Boston, USA to William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace, [Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming] on 29 October 1886.
Re. sea voyage from England, a week of rough weather and seasickness followed by five days of calm; ships food; passengers, one the brother of a pupil at William's school, Cranleigh, William can tell him that his brother was not seasick and has a good appetite; charades, concerts, deck quoits and chess on board; description of Statue of Liberty, New York harbour and ships, with small ink sketch of a paddle steamer; visit to Central Park with Mr Browne; autumn colours; country between New York and Boston, painted wooden houses like toys; Boston hotel and food; has telegraphed family at Hurst, will write to Violet next week.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 4
Transcriber: Cooper, Rod
Transcription date: September 26, 2013
Scrutiny: 26/09/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Quincy House Hotel, Boston
October 29th. 1886
My dear Willie
I got to New York all right exactly a fortnight after leaving Gravesend. We had a bad storm and head winds for a week & then fine weather. I was sick and obliged to stay almost all day in my berth the first week. The waves came up over the deck on the two worst days but the ship did not roll very much. The second week we had theatricals & concerts to amuse us, and played quoits on deck, and I played at chess with the doctor and an American gentleman & beat them both. There was a young fellow on board who had been at Cranleigh School, and has a brother there now 2 []3 I think in your form. His name is Brereton and he says he was at the last sports there. You can tell his brother (who is 13 and in the lower 5th. form ) that he was not sick and had a tremendous appetite.
New York harbour is very fine like a great lake and very irregular with islands, and hills with wood on them. It is full of all kinds of queer steamboats cutting about, some with houses and some with towers on them, and about all with the Engine on deck something like this4
We saw the great Statue of Liberty 70 feet high on a pedestal about the same height standing on an island in the middle of the Harbour. We stayed 4 days []5,6 in New York with Mr. Browne who called on us in the summer, and he took me to the Central Park which is something like Epping Forest & something like Wales -- small hills and rocks everywhere with trees & flowers, and lakes in the hollows. We also went up the Hudson river which is bordered with rocks, woods, & mountains & is very pretty, the woods being red and yellow & purple much brighter than our woods in Autumn. All the way from New York to here the country was rocky but not very hilly, with numbers of villages and little []7 towns with all wooden painted houses, looking like toy houses. In the hotel where I am stopping now there are more than 600 rooms. Mine is 5 stories up, but the lift, called here elevator, is going up and down all day and makes it as easy as going up to my bedroom at home. At breakfast, dinner and supper here we have about 20 or 30 dishes to choose from, and can have as many of them as we like.
I sent a telegram to Hurst as soon as I got to New York to tell them I had arrived. I sent it off at 6. ‘o’clock in the evening, and I believe they got it about 3 ‘o’clock the same afternoon. Next week I shall write to Violet.
Your affectionate Father | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]
P.S. When you write home enclose a short letter for me, for Ma to send with hers.
1. There is a catalogue/reference number written in the top left-hand corner of the page. Its reads [WP1/5/2]. It is not in Wallace’s hand-writing.
2. A previous, since expired, catalogue number is recorded at the bottom of the page, below the text. It reads [old Ref WP1/17/2].
3. Wallace has written the page number at the top of the page.
4. At the end of this sentence, and within the body of the text, Wallace has sketched a pen and ink drawing of the type of vessel described to his son.
5. Wallace has written the page number at the top of the page.
6. Wallace’s third page of correspondence is written on the reverse side of his first page. The page has also been turned on its side and the text written at right angles to that on the front of the sheet.
7. The fourth page of correspondence is written on the reverse side of the second page. The page has also been turned on its side and the text written at right angles to that on the front of the sheet. Wallace has written the page number at the top of the page.
Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.