Letter (WCP4006.3949)


5, Westbourne Grove Terrace W.

Feb. 19th. 1865

Dear Newton

Many thanks for your kind note1, & for the first of the new brood of Ibises2, which I think first rate. I detect a little of the Newtonian humour cropping out here & there, & expect the "Ibis" to be now quite a jolly bird, less dignified & stately than during the Sclaterian Epoch3, but equally instructive as the ornithologists literary organ.

I shall be most happy to contribute my mite to its support & will promise you that the first time I work at birds again [2] it shall be with the Ibis in my eye! The fact is however I have done nothing for the last six months, — having met with that "tide"4 Shakespear5 [sic] speaks of, which I had thought to have taken at the flood & been carried on, not to fortune but to happiness, — when a wave came & left me high & dry, — & here I am like a fish out of water.

To descend from metaphor I have been considerably cut up. I was to have been married in December, — everything appeared serene, — invitations were [3] sent out, wedding dresses ordered & all the programme settled, when almost at the last moment without the slightest warning the whole affair was broken off.6

I am now getting over it a little, but am not very bright, & cannot tell when I shall go at birds again. I am now working a little at insects, & am also preparing for moving, as I leave here in March & do not yet [4]7 know where I am going.

I will let you know my new address as soon as I have one.

In the mean time | Believe me | Dear Newton | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

A[lfred]. Newton Esq.

This has not been found.
Newton was the editor of Series 2 of the ornithology journal The Ibis from 1865 to 1870.
Sclater, Philip Lutley (1829-1913). British lawyer, zoologist and ornithologist, secretary to the Zoological Society of London. He was the editor of Series 1 of The Ibis from 1859-1864.
Reference to the play Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare. Brutus tells Cassius to act while everything is going his way, or be left with nothing but regrets: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, | Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616). British poet, playwright and actor.
ARW's engagement to marry was abruptly broken by his fiancé Marion Leslie in the Autumn of 1864. See Raby, P. 2001. Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 180-1.
An annotation in the top left margin, continued under the first line of text reads "A. R. Wallace, London, Feb.19 -21/65" "Answered Feb. 21/65".

Please cite as “WCP4006,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 22 May 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4006