WCP152

Letter (WCP152.152)

[1]

Parkstone, Dorset.

Feby 1st. 1891

My dear Will

Another week has passed away into eternity, — another month has opened its eyes on the world, and still the illustrious Charles potters about, still the carpenter plies the creaking saw and the stunning hammer, still the plumber plumbs, and the bell-hanger rattles, still the cisterns overflow and the unfinished drains send forth odorous fumes, — still the rains descend and all around the house is a muddle of muck & mire, and still there is so much to do that we look forward to some far distant futurity, when all that we are now suffering will be over, and we may look back upon it as upon some strange yet not altogether [2] uninteresting nightmare!

Briefly to record progress. The new pip-man has finished the bath-room & nearly done the bells, & we have had gas alight the last 3 days. The balcony is finished, the bath & lavatory are closed up & waiting for the varnishers. Charles has finished the roof, & the scaffolding is removed.

But thought two plumbers have tried all their skill the ball-cock in the cistern won’t work, and when the water has been turned on an hour it overflows. The gutters & pipes to roof are not up, & the night before last a heavy flood of rain washed a quantity of muddy water into the back entrance, which flowed right across the kitchen into the back passage & larder, leaving a deposit [3] of alluvial mud that would have charmed a geologist. However we have stopped that for the future by a drain under the door step. The new breakfast roof is being papered and will look tidy soon. A man has been to measure for the stairs. The front porch door is promised tomorrow, & the stairs I suppose in another week. A lot of fresh painting is to be done, & all the rain-water pipes & the rain water cistern with its overflow pipes, & then the greenhouse, & then all the outside painting, — after which we shall rest for a month & then do the inside papering, — but whether that can [4] be done before Easter seems very doubtful.

Sad to say, Charles looked for the coins & could not find them, so he asked "his missus", & she said she had sold a lot of rubbish to a man who came round, & she let these old useless coppers, that wouldn’t go, go with them! So that dream of precious rarities has departed. After that I feel too bad to write more, so farewell, from,

Your affectionate Pa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Published letter (WCP152.6473)

[1] [p. 111]

TO MR. W. G. WALLACE

Parkstone, Dorset. February 1, 1891.

My dear Will,— Another week has passed away into eternity, another month has opened its eyes on the world, and still the illustrious Charles (bricklayer) potters about, still the carpenter plies the creaking saw and the stunning hammer, still the plumber plumbs and the bellhanger rattles, still the cisterns overflow and the unfinished drains send forth odorous fumes, still the rains descend and all around [2] [p. 112] the house is a muddle of muck and mire, and still there is so much to do that we look forward to some far distant futurity, when all that we are now suffering will be over, and we may look back upon it as upon some strange yet not altogether uninteresting nightmare!

Briefly to report progress. The new pipe-man has finished the bathroom and nearly done the bells, and we have had gas alight the last three days. The balcony is finished, the bath and lavatory are closed up and waiting for the varnishers. Charles has finished the roof, and the scaffolding is removed. But though two plumbers have tried all their skill, the ball-cock in the cistern won’t work, and when the water has been turned on an hour it overflows. The gutters and pipes to roof are not up, and the night before last a heavy flood of rain washed a quantity of muddy water into the back entrance, which flowed right across the kitchen into the back passage and larder, leaving a deposit of alluvial mud that would have charmed a geologist. However, we have stopped that for the future by a drain under the doorstep. The new breakfast-room is being papered and will look tidy soon. A man has been to measure for the stairs. The front porch door is promised for to-morrow, and the stairs, I suppose, in another week. A lot of fresh pointing is to be done, and all the rain-water pipes and the rain-water cistern with its overflow pipes, and then the greenhouse, and then all the outside painting — after which we shall rest for a month and then do the inside papering; but whether that can be done before Easter seems very doubtful....

Our alterations still go on. The stairs just up — Friday night we had to go outside to get to bed, and Saturday and Sunday we could get up, but over a chasm, and with alarming creaks. Now it is all firm, but no handrail yet. Painters still at work, and whitewashers. Porch door up, with two birds in stained glass — looks fine — proposed new name, [3] "Dicky-bird Lodge." Bath fixed, but waiting to be varnished — luxurious!...

Please cite as “WCP152,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 25 February 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP152