My dear Mother,—I last wrote to you from Malacca in July. I have now just returned to Singapore after two months’ hard work. At Malacca I had a pretty strong touch of fever with the old Rio Negro symptoms, but the Government doctor made me take a great quantity of quinine every day for a week together and so killed it, and in less than a fortnight I was quite well and off to the jungle again. I see now how to treat the fever, and shall commence at once when the symptoms again appear. I never took half enough quinine in America to cure me. Malacca is a pretty place, and I worked very hard. Insects are not very abundant there, still by perseverance I got a good number and many rare ones. Of birds, too, I made a good collection. I went to the celebrated Mount Ophir and ascended to the top. The walk was terrible—thirty miles through jungle, a succession of mud holes. My boots did good service. We lived there a week at the foot of the mountain, in a little hut built by our men, and I got some fine new butterflies there and hundreds of other new and rare insects. We had only rice and a little fish and tea, but came home quite well. The height of the mountain is about 4,000 feet.... Elephants and rhinoceroses, as well as tigers, are abundant there, but we had our usual bad luck in not seeing any of them.
On returning to Malacca I found the accumulations of two or three posts, a dozen letters and fifty newspapers....
I am glad to be safe in Singapore with my collections, as from here they can be insured. I have now a fortnight’s work to arrange, examine, and pack them, and then in four months hence there will be some work for Mr. Stevens.
Sir James Brooke is here. I have called on him. He received me most cordially, and offered me every assistance at Sarawak. I shall go there next, as the missionary does not go to Cambodia for some months. Besides, I shall have some pleasant society at Sarawak, and shall get on in Malay, which is very easy, but I have had no practice—though still I can ask for most common things. My books and instruments arrived in beautiful condition. They looked as if they had been packed up but a day. Not so the unfortunate eatables....—I remain your affectionate son,
ALFRED R. WALLACE.
* * * * *
Singapore. October 15, 1854.
Dear G.,—To-morrow I sail for Sarawak. Sir J. Brooke has given me a letter to his nephew, Capt. Brooke, to make me at home till he arrives, which may be a month, perhaps. I look forward with much interest to see what he has done and how he governs. I look forward to spending a very pleasant time at Sarawak....
Sir W. Hooker’s remarks are encouraging, but I cannot afford to collect plants. I have to work for a living, and plants would not pay unless I collect nothing else, which I cannot do, being too much interested in zoology. I should like a botanical companion like Mr. Spruce very much. We are anxiously expecting accounts of the taking of Sebastopol.