Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP17

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace
18 November 1892

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Corfe View, Parkstone, Dorset to William Greenell [ARW's son] Wallace [none given] on 18 November 1892.

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


Talks about William starting work at Woolwich, advising him on type and cost of lodgings, behaviour at work and need to thank Davis, Meldola and Professor Thompson for help; orchids from Natal received from Canon Usherwood; work on index to Australia book (presumably Stanford's Compendium of Geography and Travel. Australasia, Vol.1, Australia and New Zealand. New Issue, London 1893); Prof Perry's book on spinning tops; Ma's (William's mother Annie Wallace) visit to Malvern; Mr Ponton's pin-hole photography in France; Mrs Crump; Aunt Fanny.

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 WP1/1/17
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate
Record scrutiny:
24/01/2012 - Catchpole, Caroline;

Physical description

Transcription information




Parkstone, Dorset

Nov[ember]. 18th. 1892

My dear Will

Your postscript was very acceptable, but you do not say whose works they are at Woolwich. Are they a bunch of Siemens works, or whose? The lodgings etc. seem very cheap, if nice, & respectable people. Of course you must have a sitting room, as you may have drawings or calculations to make in the evening for your work & to receive visitors etc. But as you have plenty of time do not take them till you have looked about more. Take a day on purpose, tomorrow or Monday1, and as Woolwich is a low & smoky place, try & get lodgings on high ground away from the river. This [[2]] is important for your health, besides being much pleasanter to be nearer the country, & there is some very nice country south of Woolwich or S[outh].East. A little under A mile walk in the morning in which you will do in about 12 m[inutes]. will be wholesome if you have office or shop work. 2 You may go to £1. -- or a guinea a week for board & lodging, if for the extra 3 s[hillings]. you get a better situation and accommodation. Enquire about fires.

As your staying at these works, & general success, will depend in part on the Manager, you must try and make friends with him being very polite, and always asking his advice about anything you dont quite know. As soon as you have got your lodging fixed you had better call on him, give him [[3]] your address, and ask him how many days holiday you will have at Xmas, - making him understand that you do not ask for any holiday now, but if there is usually only a day or two you had better come here at once & take back your things, & then you need not come at Xmas. You might ask the Manager also, what kind of work you will be set on at first, whether you will want working clothes etc.

You had better call on Davis at once, telling him of your engagement & thanking him for all the trouble he had taken. Also tell Meldola. [[4]] The orchids came from Natal to Canon Usherwood, & he gave them to me. Those I sent Grandpa with the moss were the smallest, but all are small. There is not a large manufacture of news here. I am giving grinding away at a large [some text] to my Australia book. I wrote to Prof. Perry the other day to ask a scientific question, & he sent me his book on Spinning Tops. Call on the Dr. too (Prof. Thompson) & tell him of your engagement & thank him. Be sure to get his testimonial back. He seems pretty cheerful at Malvera. Mr. Ponton is come back from France & has thoroughly worked out pin-hole photography!

Mrs. Crump has not sent her account. Let her know how many weeks you were there. Also how many weeks at Aunt Fannys.3

Write soon again & give us details.

Your affectionate Papa | Alfred R. Wallace -- [signature]


1. This insertion is written vertically, in the right-hand margin of the page.

2. This sentence was written vertically, in the left-hand margin of the page. There is no clear indication where it should be inserted in the text and it has been placed here on the basis of its context.

3. The final three sentences of the letter, commencing "Mrs Crump.", were written vertically in the left-hand margin of this page.

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