From Alfred Russel Wallace 20 January 1865
5 Westbourne Grove Terrace | W.
January 20th. 1865
My dear Darwin
I was pleased to hear a few weeks since that you were a little better in health & were again working, & I sincerely hope you are now getting over your severe illness.
For the last six months I have been doing absolutely nothing, & fear I shall not be inclined for work for some time to come. The reason is that I have suffered one of those severe disappointments few men have to endure. I was engaged to be married at ’Xmas, & had every reason to look forward to happiness, when at the last moment, when every thing was arranged, & even the invitations sent out by the lady’s father, all was suddenly broken off! No cause has been given me except mysterious statements of the impossibility of our being happy, although her affection for me remains unchanged. 1
Of course I can only impute it to some delusion on her part as to the state of her health. You may imagine how this has upset me when I tell you that I never in my life before had met with a woman I could love, & in this case I firmly believe I was most truly loved in return.
Scarcely any of my acquaintances know of this, but though we have met so little yet I look upon you as a friend, & as such hope you will pardon my boring you with my private affairs.
I send you two papers of mine of which I have lately got copies,2 & with best wishes for your speedy restoration to perfect health | Believe me | Dear Darwin | Yours very sincerely | Alfred R. Wallace
Charles Darwin Esq—
His distress that his engagement has been broken off.
Sends copies of two papers ["On the parrots of the Malayan region", Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. (1864): 279–97;
"On the physical geography of the Malay Archipelago", J. R. Geogr. Soc. 33 (1863): 217–34].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4750,” accessed on 27 August 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4750