Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP16

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace
8 November 1891

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace [none given] on 8 November 1891.

Record created:
01 June 2002 by Lucas, Paula J.
Verified by:
24/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline (All except summary checked);


Writes about his visits to London and Sevenoaks (Kent); meeting of Psychical Research Society.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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

Held by:
Natural History Museum
Finding number:
NHM WP1/1/16
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
24/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




Nov[ember]. 8th. 1891

Corfe View



My dear Will

I had to be in London last week (that is last Friday week) and stayed Thursday & Friday right with Aunt Fanny & from Saturday to Tuesday at Mr. Swinbons at Sevenoaks. Violet came to Aunt Fannys on Thursday evening & Mr. Jouck was there and we had an amusing time. She says you never answered her letter about going to Grags, so of course she could not go to meet you on the chance. It is worth a post-card to avoid such a misunderstanding. On Friday I went to a meeting of the Physical Research Society & met Prof. [[2]] Oliver Lodge. I find he is not Meldolas friend we met at Lyme Regis. Mr. Myers read an interesting paper about bits of wood flying about a Carpenters workshop in broad daylight, nobody tonaling there. Mr. Swinbon is now in a new home looking on the Green where they play football & cricket, and much pleasanter & more warm & airy than where he was before. We walked across Knole park, which is I think the finest park I have ever seen, and on Sunday walked about other parts of Sevenoaks. On Monday we went to Ightham by rail, to see a wonderful collection of old fluid implements found by a very clever man, a grocer [[3]] in the village. They are older & ruder than any yet found in England and are very curious and interesting.

You remember Uncle Johns letter about the wonderful lady who could not be pushed down by four men though standing on one leg only. She is now in London, and last Thursday a party consisting among other of Prof. Oliver Lodge, Mr. Crookes and your Prof. Perry had a sitting (or standing) with her. There is an article in it in the Daily News and no doubt in other papers. Four of them got on to one chair (two are sixfooters) and when she put one hand under the back rail of the chair it rose off the ground. That she did not lift it was shown by one of the gentlemen [[4]] putting his hand between the chair & her hand, & when it rose he left no pressure. I expect Prof. Perry was flabbergasted! Where did the energy come from that lifted up four of them, that prevented four of them from moving her an inch when she stood on one leg, and the billiard cue she held in her hand for them to push against bent almost to a semicircle?

I have at last got the peat and the clay, & we are hard at work at the bog and the pond, but as Monk can come only 2 days a week we shall not finish much before Xmas. Yet we know if you would like Drawing Instruments or any other useful article for a birthday present? And if so make enquiries what a really good set will cost. The college ought to get such things for you at cost--price. Ask Prof. Thompson about it. I did not like to get any when in London as I did not know what you wanted most.1

Your affec[tionate]. Papa | A.R. Wallace.

P.S. I have had no application for the College fee this year. Enquire how much it is and I will send it.2


1. This final sentence was written vertically, in the left-hand margin of this page (i.e., page 4).

2. The post script was written vertically, in the left-hand margin of the first page of the letter.

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