Letter (WCP442.442)


Cincinnati, Ohio

April 17th. 1887.

My dear Violet1,

I enclose a letter for Willie2 which please send to him. I am glad you are reading Shakespeare & hope you will go on till you have read them all or nearly all. I have just had "She" sent me. It is more strange & improbable than King Solomon's Mines, but hardly any better. Have you read "Rudder Grange" — and — "The Late Mrs. Null" — and, —"The Casting Away of Mrs. ? and Mrs. Aleshine" — and — The Lady & the Tiger. They are all by Frank Stockton, a wonderfully clever American writer all the rage now. When I was at Coalburg, W. Virginia, the other day at Mr. Edwards' I sent a few more plants to Miss Jekyll, a lot of a pretty bulbous American Anemone like our wood anemone but with numbers of flowers on each plant, and a few "walking ferns" which grow there abundantly on the rocks — Mr. Edwards' orchard & the forest behind his house are full of [2] the beautiful white flowers of the bloodwort (Sanguinaria) which are like the flowers of the Japan anemone. I also saw the first flowers of the yellow American Dog's Tooth Violet, which all gardens was full of peach trees in blossom looking lovely. Here the Woods are full of Judas trees in full blossom, and I have at last got into a country where there is some green grass! Actually grass as good as in England the first I have seen. This is a dreadfully smoky city as bad as Glasgow or Newcastle, but all around are hills covered with pretty villas each with grass all round planted with trees & shrubs & no fences at all either between the houses or the roads, which looks quite Charming and rural just like a lot of nice houses in an extensive park. In some of the pretty villages near I have seen the same thing. it saves the expense of fences and looks very nice. Hardly any [3] body seems to have flower or vegetable gardeners here so it does not matter being open. Gardeners I suppose are dear & scarce & people buy their vegetables & flowers. In the grass & woods are great patches of a pretty little white flower striped with pink called "Spring-beauty" (Claytonia virginica) and the people here greatly admire our common dandelions as a beautiful flower! In the woods in Virginia I saw the lovely little blue Houstonia ceruba in patches looking very charming. We have the white variety only in the gardens which is not nearly so pretty. I am going to give two lectures here, and am then going on west to Iowa and Kansas, and if I do not get any lectures in California I have asked John to meet me in the Rocky Mountains, — but anyhow I cannot be back before July. I think it is not impossibly I may go to America again each year if I can get a good lot of engagements beforehand under better [4] management. I have seen a gentleman who has had a great deal of experience and he thinks I might get as many lectures as I can give, so I shall see what can be done. This country is fine for summer but very hot while the winter is quite as long as ours or even longer. California or Florida are the only places where there are flowers all the winter, which is what I should like. There do not seem to be any nice walks about this country there being no footpaths, so that you must either walk along roads or through rough woods & rocks. At present there are no spring flowers in the fields or woods at all so abundant or pretty as our wood anemones & bluebells & primroses, which there is hardly a sign of green leaf on the trees yet except one or two sorts. I enclose a letter for Ma to send to Mr. Stanford. His address is Long Acre. I forgot the number. Tell me exactly what flowers are out when you write as I forgot. It snowed at Washington & about all over America April 1 & 2 just as in England.

Your affectionate Papa | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

Violet Wallace (1869-1945), Wallace's daughter
William Greenell Wallace (1871-1951), Wallace's son

Please cite as “WCP442,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 2 March 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP442