WCP4366

Letter (WCP4366.4603)

[1]

Godalming,

May 28th. 1889

My dear Mr. Poulton

I have just received from Prof[essor] B. Price the totally unexpected offer of the Hon[orary] Degree of D.C.L. at the coming Commemoration, and you will probably be surprised and disgusted to hear that I have declined it. I have to thank you for your kind offer of hospitality during the ceremony, but the fact is, I have at all times a profound distaste for all public ceremonials, and at [2] this particular time that distaste is stronger than ever. I have never recovered from the severe illness I had a year and a half ago, and it is in hopes of restoring my health that I have let my cottage here and have taken another at Parkstone, Dorset, into which I have arranged to move on Midsummer day. To add to my difficulties, I have work at Examination papers for the next two or three weeks, & also a meeting (annual) of our [3] Land Nationalisation Society, so that the work of packing my books and other things & looking after the plants which I have to move from my garden will have to be done in a very short time. Under these circumstances it would be almost impossible for me to rush away to Oxford [word deleted] except under absolute compulsion; and to do so would be to render a ceremony which at any time would be a trial, a positive punishment.

[4]1 Really the greatest kindness my friends can do me is to leave me in peaceful obscurity, for I have lived so secluded a life that I am more and more disinclined to crowds of any kind. I had to submit to it in America, but then I felt exceptionally well, whereas now I am altogether weak and seedy & not at all up to fatigue or excitement.

Pray excuse my weakness and

Believe me| Yours very faithfully| Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

E.B. Poulton Esq.

This is actually the verso of the first sheet of the letter.

Envelope (WCP4366.4604)

Envelope addressed to "E. B. Poulton Esq, F.R.S., Wykeham House, Banbury Road, Oxford", with stamp, postmarked "GODALMING | E | MY 29 | 89"; postmark on back. [Envelope (WCP4366.4604)]

Published letter (WCP4366.6626)

[1] [p. 217]

Godalming

May 28, 1889

My dear Mr. Poulton,—I have just received from Prof. B. Price the totally unexpected offer of the honorary degree of the D.C.L. at the coming Commemoration, and you will probably be surprised and disgusted to hear that I have declined it. I have to thank you for your kind offer of hospitality during the ceremony, but the fact is, I have at all times a profound distaste of all public ceremonials, [2] [p. 218] and at this particular time that distaste is stronger than ever. I have never recovered from the severe illness I had a year and a half ago, and it is in hopes of restoring my health that I have let my cottage here and have taken another at Parkstone, Dorset, into which I have arranged to move on Midsummer Day. To add to my difficulties, I have work at examination papers for the next two or three weeks, and also a meeting (annual) of our Land Nationalisation Society, so that the work of packing my books and other things and looking after the plants which I have to move from my garden will have to be done in a very short time. Under these circumstances it would be almost impossible for me to rush away to Oxford except under absolute compulsion, and to do so would be to render a ceremony which at any time would be a trial, a positive punishment.

Really the greatest kindness my friends can do me is to leave me in peaceful obscurity, for I have lived so secluded a life that I am more and more disinclined to crowds of any kind. I had to submit to it in America, but then I felt exceptionally well, whereas now I am altogether weak and seedy and not at all up to fatigue or excitement. Yours very faithfully,

Alfred R. Wallace

Please cite as “WCP4366,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 28 November 2022, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP4366