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Record number: WCP452

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Annie Wallace (née Mitten)
1 July 1887

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Stockton, California, USA to Annie Wallace (née Mitten), [Nutwood Cottage, Frith Hill, Godalming] on 1 July 1887.

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


Letter enclosed with a letter to Annie's father William Mitten (seeWP1/17/38): re. her success in letting the house; visit to Yosemite and Santa Cruz with his brother John to see big trees; swollen and ulcerated lip confining him to the house, plans to visit Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada when well; ferns from Santa Cruz sent to Miss Jekyll; Mr Marshall; problems with posting items from America; Alfred Russel Wallace's San Francisco lecture on spiritualism well attended and further offer from Chicago, Spiritualism pays better than Natural History; sending ferns from Yosemite; description of Sequoia sempervirens seen in the Redwood forests and exotic plants in California; California as a place to live.

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LETTER (WCP452.452)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/5/36
Copyright owner:
©A. R. Wallace Literary Estate

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July 1st. 1887.

My dear Annie

Your announcing that you have at least let the house duly reached me here 3 days ago as my return from a short journey with John to see some more "Big Trees." I am very glad you have succeeded at last as it will give you & Violet a nice change, and if I should get home while it is still let it will not much matter as we can meet somewhere & have a little holiday. I am delayed here by a very disagreeable and annoying illness. Just a week ago when I & John started for Santa Cruz I had a little swelling on my upper lip which I thought nothing of. It increased however rapidly till the lip swelled to double its size & became very painful besides making me look hideous. Returning here after 3 days it was so bad & as impossible to penetrate[?] - for it was worst on the lower edge of the lip - that I had a doctor & he lanced it, but nothing came out but some dark blood - since then I have been in the house with a large [1 word illeg.] ulcer on the edge of the lip swollen out so as to make it much difficult to eat or drink or to keep away things as it is to [sic] tender and sore [[2]] that nothing can be fastened on it. So I have been holding it in warm milk & water, half the day, & living on slop, and a spiritual friend has mesmerized it, & it is I think getting slowly better, as the size of the inflamed part is much reduced. As they say here, it is the nearest place possible to have anything like a boil. When I am well I am going to Lake Tahoe & the Summit Station on the Sierra Nevada where I hope to get some good plants and ferns. When I got your letter I had a few ferns just brought from the Santa Cruz Big Trees, so I send these to Miss Jekyll instead of to Mr. Marshall, as I thought they might not be attended to when he was away during the holidays. I have parcels now that the American post office people in Country Place do not know the rules as to the Foreign Sample Post, as I have just heard that some of my parcels &c. posted here where we returned from the Yosemite two weeks ago has not been sent "because not stamped sufficiently" - whereas it was fully stamped. I think in the future it will be safer to put double stamps as so as to ensure no [[3]] delay or loss from the cause.

I sent you a "Golden State" with a report of my Spiritual lecture at San Francisco and also one of our "wonderful service[?]" which has converted John and staggered all the family. Having finished my Scientific lectures here, & being offered very liberal terms for one on Spiritualism I thought I might as well accept it & secure it to our audience of over 1000, & received $140 - more than I have ever had for a scientific lecture. This had led to a request to deliver at Chicago on my way home where I shall get paid fully as usual, so that Spiritualism will pay better than not [1 word illeg.] In this place there are 5 doctors who are all Spiritualists, besides lots of other people. I enclose 3 spec. of ferns as samples of which grow in the mountains here. No. 1. I think I sent in the lot from Yosemite with two or three allied to it. No. 3. I sent in the last lot, many [1 word illeg.]--God I fear they will only grow in pots as there is no frost where I grow. The Yosemite lot ought to be hardy. [[4]] They like plenty of sun, and stones[?]. The weather is now fearfully hot and the sun glaring here. When it is only 90° in the house we call it cool! I am now more than ever convinced of California having a wretched country to live in, though with a nice lot of, say, 160 acres of the Redwood Forest looking over near the Pacific, a such[?] lovely and enjoyable. Space might be made where everything would grow, even better than in Germany. At Santa Cruz there are masses of scarlet geraniums 10 feet through and 5 6 high. They grow like weeds, & all the Australian & Cape plant grow as fine as in their native country. The Redwood forests on the Western slope of the Coast range of Mountains are the finest I have seen for beauty and variety. The two layer trees at the entrance to a house above the Country are "Redwoods," I think. They grow 300 feet high and nearly as big as the other "Big Trees." The name is Sequoia sawpervereies.[?] It was too late there for the spring flowers, and those in blossoms were poor. Our blue Canthus[?] [1 word illeg.] are almost exactly like it, formed much of the underwood in the forests.

Your affectionate Husband | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

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