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Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1871
William Dean Howells to SOJ
Boston March 5th 1871
We have just been reading your Story of the Shore House* with the pleasure which all your sketches give us, and yet we have felt that it is worth[y] of a better story than you have set in it. Can't you think of something else to place in that charming house -- something a little more picturesque and romantic? As it [is] the descriptive character of the paper altogether overbalances the narrative, and the reader who has somehow been led to expect incident feels a disappointment in the end. You could make more of your present plot; introduce the Kews practically, and the Dockums and expand the facts to dramatic proportions. Pray let us hear from you.
Story of the Shore House: Jewett's second piece to appear in Atlantic Monthly was "The Shore House" in September 1873. This story later became part of Deephaven (1877).
A note on this transcription reads: [copy made by MRJ for WDH]. This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, folder 63, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.
William Dean Howells to SOJ
[Atlantic to SOJ]
Boston March 11, 1871
By all means make a sketch of your story* if you don't feel secure of your powers of invention. But in doing this pray remember that you will have to develop character very fully. -- much more fully than you have done in the piece as it stands. Perhaps also it would be well to curtail some of the preliminary passages. Give ample accounts of the old house, the seafaring and lighthouse people as you propose. I return you the manuscript by this post for your revision. When you come next to Boston, pray let me know, and I will try to call upon you. Or if you have not time to send me your address and in your leisure feel compassion enough for a busy man to waive ceremony will you come out to Cambridge to see me? I live in Berkeley St. one door from Phillips Place (Garden St. car) and my name is that of your obedient servant
W. D. Howells --
sketch of your story: It appears Jewett has queried Howells about a new approach to the story that would be her second piece to appear in Atlantic Monthly, "The Shore House" in September 1873. This story later became part of Deephaven (1877).
A note on this transcription reads: [copies of 2 letters by MRJ for Miss WDH]. This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, folder 63, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.
SOJ to William Dean Howells
[ 17 October 1871 ]
My dear Mr. Howells
I cannot wait any longer before writing you a note to thank you for "Their Wedding Journey."* I am enjoying it so much and this last number is so good! It seems unnecessary, though, for you to improve, for people were so satisfied before -- and there are so many dear stupid writers who will go on and on in the same fashion till they die. I have taken great pleasure in the November number for I had been quite low-spirited! Berwick has grown quite uninteresting to me for once in its life, and everybody is distressingly grown-up and I have 'nobody to play with.' I have been writing some children's stories for the Independent, and the state of my mind is shadowed forth in the last one, "Half-done Polly,"* which is severely moral. I daresay you will not be able to account for my telling you this, but I suppose it is another illustration of your "pleasures of autobiography so dear to all of us"* -- I don't know if I have quoted it right but it made a great impression upon me. I once went over part of the "Wedding Journeyin'" route myself and I have enjoyed that part particularly. I have grown very ambitious of late and wonder continually if by any possibility I shall write so charmingly by and by. I am diverting myself at present by reading Froude' s History* but I find myself planning my 'fall campaign' in the midst of important acts of Parliament and it goes off slowly!
Sarah O. Jewett
17th Oct. 1871
"Their Wedding Journey": Howells's first novel, Their Wedding Journey, began to appear serialized in Atlantic Monthly 28, in July 1871.
"Half-done Polly": Jewett's story appeared in The Independent 23 (October 5, 1871), and was collected in Play Days (1878).
"pleasures of autobiography so dear to all of us": This phrase appears in Part 3 of Their Wedding Journey: Atlantic Monthly 28 (September 1871), p. 348.
Froude' s History: In a letter of May 12, 1872, Jewett reports reading History of Elizabeth in James Anthony Froude, History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth (London, 1856-1870, 12 vols.
This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, folder 63, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.
Georgina Halliburton to SOJ
28 November 1871*
------- And I ask you with me to look back often during this week upon the past and let us close the old year with devout thankfulness for past mercies -- and prepare for the new with prayer and strong resolve to meet and perform all that is given us to do, so ere another twelve-month passes by, we may be more ready, reliable and faithful: let us do all the little things so well that that God may find us ready to bear heavier burdens, perhaps those of others or whatever He sees fit to send. If joy, may we give it to others, if sorrow we may carry it to Him. Let us strive with all this "Pride of Life" to remain humble, and to feel we are children of God, and for every treasure we possess here let us lay up double that treasure in Heaven, so when God calls us. it will not be hard to go for we will have more there than we leave behind. --------- Dear Sarah, when I think of our love for each other it makes me very happy, and it seems an instance of our treasure in Heaven -- I love you, not for anything outward and I know you love me in the same way -- We love what is good in each other, and that is God's, and is in Heaven, & the more we love our friends & each other in this way, the more we give unto God's Keeping. This is one of the happiest ways, save our love for God, of giving our treasure to Him, but we know of many ways beside. All the trials weekly borne, all deeds gently done, every right motive truly obeyed, & countless other ways which I am sure we know. We can, and I hope we will daily lay up our treasures in the blessed country where we shall one day meet them and be so glad to find them there before us -- not behind, wasted and perished in the cold world. --------- We will try every day to give something pure to God. Even a little sacrifice if nobly given will He accept, one little temptation resisted, one evil habit conquered. God will not deem it too small to keep for us, No, dear. I am sure some day the little deeds; the little kind words; the very least of all will be there to welcome us, and we shall not be strangers; it will be Home. -----------------I have written just as I wish I could talk to you and I shall be sorry if I have not been able to convey my meaning but I think we understand each other's way of expressing now. [Illegible deletion] I trust you will agree with me and we will begin together this new year, not as we began the old, but as we finished it."
1871: Jewett copied this portion of the letter into her diary of 1871. She commented: "... one of the best letters I ever had in my life, & which has done me wonderful good. I like so much her idea expressed in the first of the letter, that the world-year & the Christian-year -- are distinct & yet join together in one -- one is the motive, &Transcribed and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College, with assistance of Linda Heller and Kelly Sanders.
thethe other the action: "the one working out the aspirations and hopes, and building firmly the castles which in the holy year we have founded upon works of faith."
Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.
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