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1875    1877

Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1876



Unsigned from Ellen Mason to SOJ

Envelope from Boston, Mass, April 14 [1876].

Misaddressed to Sarah Orne Jewett, South Berwick, Mass

Text of the letter

          I am glad you like Fénélon.* I knew you would.  Keep it as long as you like, for it is a book not to be read in a hurry. I do not know if I told you about the "Récit d'une Soeur" by Miss Craven,* which I have been taking great delight in lately.  I am beginning now Eugénie de (Guérin's) Journal again.*  It is interesting to reread a book after a space of some years.  I find that I take much more interest in both these books than I did before, and I think it is partly because as one gets older one cares more for truth & reality, and does not care so much for fictitious excitements.  Both these books are quiet and take their interest from the pictures of inner life that they represent and that is just what one cares most for the longer one lives.  I have just got a delightful book, which I hope you will see some day.  It is the "Life of Mother Margaret," an English Sister of Charity (Roman Catholic).

Notes

FénélonFrançois de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon (1651-1715) was a French writer, theologian, and bishop. Having served as tutor to Louis XIV's grandson, the Duke of Burgundy, Fénelon was intimately connected with the French court, even after he was fell out of favor with the king. He submitted to the Church's condemnation in 1699 of his Maxims of the Saints, and continued as Archbishop of Cambrai (1695-1715) -- in exile from the court -- until his death. He is well-remembered in part for his great acts of charity during the War of the Spanish Succession. (Sources: "Life of Fénelon," by Lamartine, in Fénelon, Adventures of Telemachus. O. W. White, editor, 1886; and Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV, Ch. 38).
    As this is being written, the earliest known references to Fénelon in Jewett occur in two letters from 1876, to Theophilus Parsons on 24 August and to Anna Dawes on 8 October.  For this reason, I have dated this letter as from 1876.

Miss CravenWikipedia says: "Pauline Marie Armande Aglaé Craven (née Ferron de La Ferronnays; 12 April 1808 - 1 April 1891) was a French author."  She married Augustus Craven in 1834. Her memoir, Récit d'une Soeur: Souvenirs de Famille was published in Paris in 1866; an English translation, A Sister's Story, by Emily Bowles appeared in 1868.

Eugénie de (Guérin's) Journal:  Eugénie de Guérin (1804-1858) lived a solitary, retiring life in a château near Albi in south central France, near the Spanish border.  The Journal of Eugénie de Guérin first appeared in French posthumously, in 1855. There was an English translation available by 1865 and other editions followed. The 1855 French publication also included writings grouped under the title Reliquiae that are notable for their spiritual, melancholy quality. During the years 1832-34, she kept her Journal intime (personal journal) for her absent brother, Maurice, the famous poet who later died tragically young of tuberculosis while under her care. (Research assistance: Carla Zecher)

"Life of Mother Margaret"The Life of Mother Margaret Mary Hallahan: foundress of the English congregation of St. Catherine of Siena of the third order of St. Dominic by Augusta Theodosia Drane, was published in 1869.  Wikipedia says: "Margaret Hallahan (23 January 1803 in London – 10 May 1868) was an English Catholic nun, foundress of the Dominican Congregation of St. Catherine of Siena (third order);"

A handwritten transcription of this letter is at the University of New England, Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection, correspondence corr-016-o-soj-01.  The location of the original is unknown.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes


7 Jan. 1876 

Dear Anna,

     I was delighted to get your letter and I meant to answer it before now -- for I do enjoy a talk with you particularly but I -- "haven't had any time"! I think there are at least fifteen letters patiently waiting on the back of my desk -- and I should like to go into bankruptcy -- if the answers were not all to be sent to the nicest people in the world. I like to write letters and I like to get them and it is only when I owe more than fifteen that my heart grows faint within me, for I have all my other writing to do -- and not half enough time for that! I don't know what becomes of one's time, but I have been struggling with a little sewing which was put off until after Christmas.

     Oh, I think you must have received a circular of the study club by this time as I directed an envelope to you and asked Ellen to put one into it & send it along. She might not have thought to send it to me for ever so long and I concluded this was the safest way! She's usually in a hurry when she writes to me -- dear Soul! I am hard at work on a third “Deephaven paper” 1 -- This is much like the “cronies” and is to be called D. Excursions if ever it is finished2 -- and gets to Mr. Howells. I was outdone this afternoon -- for I had just begun writing and everything was spread out and I had all sails set for a solemn afternoon's work when some one called to me to say that a friend was coming a little later for me to go out and make parish calls! Wasn't it hard? But I knew I had to go sometime and might as well make the best of it, then and there. I had a pretty good time -- one sister informed us as we left that she'd about given up hope of seeing anybody -- she'd been here five years and had only had one or two calls! Doesn't that show an unsocial spirit? You needn't hold me accountable, I  belongs [sic] to St. John's Episcopal Church in Portsmouth! 3 These were mostly a lot of new people who have lately come into town. They get dreadfully mad if you don't call at once; then they never return the calls and still condemn you as stuck up. I dare say you have had similar acquaintances in Pittsfield and can sympathize. Do tell Mrs. Burleigh* when you see her that I spent an afternoon in making parish calls and that Shoetown4 and the landing have been properly attended to -- and the committees have faithfully done their work this year. She'll laugh I know. Yes, I do like Mrs. Burleigh ever so much and I miss her -- I didn't see her to say good bye. She's very kind, and I don't know anybody who is more useful here in the village. I don't see her very much for I am not great on calls -- and then we're both away a great deal.

     I wish you were here. I can think of ever so many things I should like to chatter about, but there's no use in trying to put them into one letter, and if I did, I couldn't know what you would say, which would be the best part -- a letter is only half, at any rate. I suppose you grow busier and busier. I should think there would be a great many pleasant things about such a winter in Washington as you will have -- and no end of advantages, but, as you said in your letter one's particular pursuits have to be crowded out very often. I am afraid I shouldn’t like it, for I am not used to a grand whirl of society, except for at most a few weeks at a time when I am away visiting and I should be cross of having to give up my fashion of living. I always think I am going to have a magnificent time being “gay” -- when I am in Philadelphia or other places, but I get tired to death of parties before the first week, and I settle down into an unambitious round of lunches and dinner parties and very small “evenings”-- I like my friends one or two at a time so much better than in a crowd -- and as for the strangers -- why I do like to know new people but one never has much satisfaction with them even at a party. Oh well! I'm a most unmistakeable country girl -- that explains it at once, doesn't it my dear?

     I wonder what I have been doing since I wrote you that will bear telling about. Skating for one thing; just as nice as ever, too -- and reading a little, and the writing which I have told you of, already. I must say good bye -- this letter has already been delayed two days -- and I wish to be sure of its going by the next post. Thank you for your letter -- we are new friends to be sure but I am certain that we are very good friends and I wish I could see more of you, most heartily. With best wishes for your new year (minus a week!).

Your sincerely & affly

 

     Mary sends love to you. She has been ill for several days, which seems strange for she so rarely “gives in” to such things, though she's not at all strong.

Hollis's Notes

1 At the time these early stories were composed, Sarah was not consciously aware of the later collection and quasi-unification of them in Deephaven (1877). But it is interesting that Howells's suggestion could not have been a complete surprise, for she is, even at this time, thinking of the sketches as part of a larger frame, loosely called here the 'Deephaven papers.' The two earlier 'papers' were "The Shore House" and "Deephaven Cronies," published in the Atlantic in September of 1873 and 1875 respectively. On these, see her enlightening comments to Horace Scudder in Kichard Cary, op. cit., 28-32.

2 It was, of course, finished and was published In Atlantic Monthly, XXXVIII (September 1876), 277-290, and later included in Deephaven.

3 According to John E. Frost, Sarah Orne Jewett (Kittery Point, Maine, 1960), 44, 162, Sarah and Mary received the sacraments of baptism and confirmation at St. John's Church on November 27, 1870. There was no Episcopal church in Berwick, and Sarah continued in the family tradition of attendance at the Congregational services when she was home.

4 Shoetown was apparently that section of Berwick where the lower income families lived, the French Canadians and the Irish who worked in the mills. Cf., also, the letter of December 11, 1876, below.


Additional Notes

Mrs. Burleigh:  Almost certainly this is Matilda Buffum Burleigh (1823-1911), wife of John H. Burleigh (1822-1878), the Maine congressman from South Berwick, who was serving in the United States House of Representatives in 1876.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.

     



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick 25 Jan. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons.

     I meant to thank you for your kind note the very next morning after it came but I have put if off from one day to another, though I can't tell how many times I have thought of it. It is such a delight to me to have given you pleasure, and it was so kind of you to have sent that little letter. -- I think "Patty"* was a nice girl, and I wish I could be as thoughtful always myself, but it is so much easier to put good people into a story than it is to be good oneself! I am always conscious of some edifying remarks father made once, when I had written a story about a little girl who was orderly and who always finished whatever she began. He mentioned the fact that guide-posts never travel over the roads which they point out etc. -- and it was such an appropriate fact to mention at that time! I wish I had something to tell you. I have finished the Deephaven Excursions* after a good deal of hard work for I foolishly hurried toward the end of my copying. I have sent it to Mr. Howells and am waiting his decision. I shall be sorry of course if he doesn't like it as well as he did the other, but still, I have had a great deal of pleasure in writing it, and I don't expect to have all my stories prove successful. -- I only wonder I have had so many printed. I send you a copy of some verses of mine which were in this month's "St. Nicholas".* Father took a fancy to them and we have had fun over the idea of there being so much moral for so little buttercup! I haven't been out much lately, and couldn't improve the last of the good skating for I have had the rheumatism, and I don't like to be out much in the cold because if I get a great pain in my shoulder it hurts me to write and to breathe and I get everlastingly cross! But for a person of my age -- old and rheumatic -- I have been in a remarkably good state of health this winter and have enjoyed life astonishingly.

     The last two or three days I have been reading with all my might. I have had little time for it during the last two months. I have read three jolly novels and two books of poetry and the Duke of Argyle's essays on Primeval Man and a pile of old Atlantics and a bit of some other things* -- lately, and I have felt lazy and had a very good time indeed. The rheumatism has been a good excuse for not doing anything, and then I had a sense of conscious rectitude after my story went off.

     Father is very well, and would be delighted to send you some message if he were here, I'm sure but he is down at Saco today. I hope Mrs. Parsons is better -- please give her my love. I wish I could go to see you today instead of sending this letter. I am beginning to wish awfully that I were in Boston -- though I never have been so contented in Berwick in winter-time before. Oh, I was reading a book called "Una and her Paupers" the other day and I found something at the end of it about Miss Emily and what she did in the hospitals.* I always wish I knew more about her work there. I think I couldn't have helped going if I had been older -- but I never could have done such splendid, useful work as Miss Emily did though I would have done the best I could 'under orders'. Goodby with ever so much love

     Sarah.


Notes

Patty: "Patty's Dull Christmas," first appeared in The Independent (27:25-27) on December 23, 1875 and was collected in Play Days in 1878.

Deephaven Excursions: "Deephaven Excursions" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (38:277-290), September 1876.  

some verses of mine which were in this month's "St. Nicholas": "Discontent" first appeared in St. Nicholas (3:247) February 1876. The February issue would have appeared in January.

Duke of Argyle's essays on Primeval Man:  George Douglas Campbell, Duke of Argyll's Primeval Man: An Examination of Some Recent Speculations appeared in 1869 (London).  The collection of essays were critiques of Charles Darwin's evolutionary theory.  (Research: Julia Hollins).

"Una and her Paupers" the other day and I found something at the end of it about Miss Emily: Parsons's daughter, Emily Elizabeth (1824-1880), was a nurse during the Civil War and founded the Cambridge Hospital.  After her death, her father gathered a collection of her letters about her work to benefit the Cambridge hospital: Memoir of Emily Elizabeth Parsons (1880).   "Una and her Paupers:" Memorials of Agnes Elizabeth Jones by J. Jones, Florence Nightingale,  and L. P. Brockett was published in 1872.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons [ March - May 1876? ]*

     Sunday morning

     Dear Prof. Parsons --

     I have been thinking I would write to you for ever so many days, but the days all seemed to be in inch pieces and I don't like to write letters I care for, in a hurry. I had a very bad cold that first week after I got home, and this last week I have been writing a little, working hard (and that is the best thing for me). Yesterday I got a little tangled up, and went off horseback riding in spite of the mud. I found two or three strips of dry sandy road where I could have a 'hurry' -- and finally after careful avoidance of mud puddles for an hour or so I pulled up my long skirt and splashed home delightfully 'through thick and thin'. The Berwick roads are not models of smoothness at the best, but Major and I didn't mind! And today I am a marvel of good temper and general amiability. I thought of you so much in church this morning. We have a new minister in the Congregational church where I go, and I like him so much.* You see I am pretty sure he reads new church books* very diligently, for he never could hit on so many of the ideas by accident. But I don't say a word of course -- only some day when I have a good chance I am going to try and find out from him. This morning he preached a very fine sermon from the text "The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" -- and said a great deal about God's using the children of Israel to teach the rest of the world. I had read it all and understood it before, of course -- and it seemed so odd to hear the people get so excited over the sermon and say how fine it was. Even Father was quite excited and came up the pew before the benediction was quite through with, to ask me if it wasn't very able! He usually is apt to be rather critical on the poor parsons that fall to our lot in the country -- though he never makes fun of people and is always very 'kindly disposed' as you know. But it wasn't Mr. Lewis's sermon so much as its just being the simple truth, and as you said the other day, it always interests people.*

     I had a charming letter from Ellen Mason* last week. She has been down to Newport for a few days and is busier than ever now. She told me such a touching story of one of her hospital acquaintances. I am so glad you liked her and that she cares so much about you. She says when I come up this Spring we must go out again to Cambridge -- but I am a little afraid I must say "if I come". It would be so nice though! She says "I am so glad to hear whatever you can repeat to me of what he said about my mother" -- and I am so sorry that I do not remember all of it. It is so strange that you should have known that about Ellen -- her intense love for her mother and her reference to her and the influence. I have known her a good while and I never thought much about it though I did recognize it and know it in an indefinite sort of way. Now it seems as if I knew her a great deal better and had the key to so many things. I have to thank you for it. I never can understand how people can think Ellen cold and indifferent for I know what a dear brave warm heart she has. I have been with her in hospitals and among poor people and she is so sweet and kind. I don't see how I am going to be of any use to Ellen. You know you said that you thought we were good friends for each other. And yet in this last letter she told me she thought she had a great deal to learn from me and that she was thankful she had known me -- wasn't that splendid! thought [intending though?] I can't understand it in the very least. I don't believe any girl ever had such nice friends as I have. Only I wish I could see more of them. I read the paper you sent me and I don't wonder it had such a sale. I wish there were more semi-preachers as Mr. Giles.* Thank you ever so much for it, and now I must stop chattering. Won't you please tell Miss Sabra* and Mrs. Parsons that I was so sorry I didn't see them. -- Good-bye -- (Aren't you glad spring is coming?) With ever so much love

     Sarah

     Please tell me what "loaves and fishes" mean in the miracle, sometime. "The five loaves and two fishes"*
 

     To-gether*

     I wonder if you really send
     These dreams of you that come and go --
     I like to say, "She thought of me,
     And I have known it." Is it so?
     Though other friends walk by your side
     Yet sometimes it must surely be,
     They wonder where your thoughts have gone
     Because I have you here with me.
     And when the busy day is done
     When work is ended; voices cease;
     When every one has said goodnight
     In fading firelight then, in peace
     I idly rest; you come to me,
     Your dear love holds me close to you
     If I could see you face to face
     It would not be more sweet and true.
     I do not hear the words you speak
     Nor touch your hands nor see your eyes:
     Yet far away the flowers may grow,
     From whence to me the fragrance flies.
     And so, across the empty miles
     Light from a star shines, Is it, dear,
     You never really went away.
     I said farewell and -- kept you here.


Notes

1876: This letter refers to Jewett's father enjoying the sermon by Pastor Lewis; hence she must have written it before his death.  And the poem she enclosed, as noted below, was published in May 1875.  However, George Lewis did not become pastor of First Parish Church until 1876.

new church booksWikipedia says:  "The New Church (or Swedenborgianism) is the name for several historically related Christian denominations that developed as a new religious movement, informed by the writings of Swedish scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772)."

Mr. Lewis: Pastor George Lewis. See Correspondents.   Lewis drew upon an idea much repeated in his time and later: "The law was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ." This quotation appears, for example, in Living Questions of the Age Discussed by James B. Walker (1877), p. 33. 

Ellen Mason: See Correspondents.

Mr. Giles: It is likely this is Chauncey Giles (1813-1893) author of fiction and New Church literature.  See The Life of Chauncey Giles: As Told in His Diary and Correspondence.  What paper Parsons may refer to in this letter is difficult to determine.  That Jewett describes him as a semi-preacher and mentions that the "paper" sold well suggests that it may have been fiction rather than a tract or book on doctrine.  Giles's book collections of fiction included: The Magic Shoes and Other Stories (1870) and The Wonderful Pocket and Other Stories (1864).

Miss Sabra: Mary Sabra Parsons.  See Theophilus Parsons in Correspondents.

loaves and fishes: See Matthew 14.

To-gether
: "Together" first appeared in Atlantic Monthly (35:590) May 1875

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Theophilus Parsons to SOJ (Fragment)

    [Spring 1876]

            If you think so, you may say, I am willing to make the effort, but how shall I do it? -- I can go but a little way with the answer, for one of the things you have to do, is to find this out for yourself.

            I can however say as much as this. Try in earnest & persistently, “with labour & intent study”* to learn what they do not know and will be the better ^for knowing^. Gladly would God give to men such gifts through you. But this can only be if you persist in tilling the fields he leads you to, -- patient when the clouds come, for come they will, resisting discouragement for that too will whisper its words of despair -- doing what seems to be your duty, & leaving the result to Him.

            There is a verse in one of the Psalms I wish might be your constant prayer -- “Lord, cause me to know the way I should walk, for I lift up my Soul to thee."*

---------------------------------

            I have just read over what I have written, and I dare not go further. I know very well I shall not offend you, because you know how much I love you. But I may hurt & trouble you.

            Let me offer the only excuse I can. I am so old, that although my health is good as ever, I constantly feel like what they you used to call “a minute man”, -- if as if every letter I write you may be my last: & I should be glad, so glad, if I could help you even a little. No man lives to be 78 without wondering what the Lord keeps him in this world for.* But if one of the things is that I may be of some assistance to you in finding your way through the labyrinth of life, let me stay & do the best I can.

            Good bye dear Sarah. You know I am faithfully y’s

Theophilus Parsons.
 

Notes

“with labour & intent study”:  It is not clear why Parsons uses quotation marks.

I lift up my Soul to thee:    Psalms 143:8.

78:  Parsons was born on 17 May, 1797.  This letter was likely written between 1875 and 17 May 1876.  It is placed in Spring 1876 because at this time Jewett and Parsons were discussing by letter her attempts to produce morally influential fiction.

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr028-o-soj.13.  Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller,  Coe College.  



Theophilus Parsons to SOJ

Cambridge -- March 23, 1876

My dear Sarah --

     Here is my book.* -- Don't I wish it were better worth your reading.

     But I believe that it will be of some use, & therefore is worth publishing -- and that it is about as good as I can make. All the rest is no concern of mine.

     I cannot write your name in it, because the post office laws say I must not.

Most truly y's

Theophilus Parsons

Notes

my book: Probably Parsons has given Jewett his new book, Outlines of the Religion and Philosophy of Swedenborg (1876).

The ms. of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University: bMS Am 1743 (174).  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons
 

     South Berwick 27 March 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I have just come home from Portsmouth where I have been spending a few days, and I find your book* and note lying on my desk. Thank you ever so much, for I am sure I shall enjoy the book and shall learn a great deal from it. I have been meaning to write to you but I have been sick for a month -- first with a horrid sore throat and afterwards with the most outrageous attack of rheumatism, which I began to think would never be well out of the way. I have done almost nothing, and it is a great disappointment for I hoped to have finished two stories by this time. I suppose it's all right and I shall not fret about it any more than I can help. I feel ever so much better for my visit, but I am not good for anything yet, and I may have the rheumatism again any day! I feel six months older than Methuselah ever did,* and it seems a year since I was in Boston. I have been reading a greet deal since I have been staying in the house, and one book has interested me particularly for it was almost entirely new. It is the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas, and was written by a descendant of the Yncas themselves -- who died early in the seventeenth century -- and who lived in Cuzco* until he was twenty or thirty years old. I was most interested in the account of the government and the religious ideas, and I don't know when I have taken more pleasure in any book. There are two large volumes and I have not quite finished them yet. I should like so much to talk with you about them. I suppose Mr. Prescott's book was taken partly from this.* I have been reading Miss Martineau's "Eastern Life" over again and I find I like it better every time.* Oh dear! I have so many things to ask you and to say to you, and I wish I could see you this afternoon and have a long talk. I am so glad to have the new book -- that will be something like having a talk with you! How is Mrs. Parsons now? I hope to hear she is quite well again, and won't you please give my love to her and Miss Sabra.* I must say goodbye -- not having written anything worth writing, I know, but you will forgive it. Yours always sincerely

     Sarah

Notes

your book:   Assuming this was Parsons's latest book, it probably was Outlines of the Religion and Philosophy of Swedenborg (1876).

older than Methuselah: According to Genesis 5:25-26, Methuselah lived more than nine hundred years.

Royal Commentaries of the Yncas … Cuzco …Mr. Prescott's book:  Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616) published his First Part of the Royal commentaries of the Yncas in Lisbon, Portugal in 1609.  Cuzco is in Peru.  Wikipedia says:  "William Hickling Prescott (May 4, 1796 - January 28, 1859) was an American historian and Hispanist, who is widely recognized by historiographers to have been the first American scientific historian."  Among his major works was A History of the Conquest of Peru (1847).  

Mrs. Martineau's "Eastern Life": Harriet Martineau (1802-1876), English religious writer and reformer, who repudiated her faith and produced radical writing later in her career.  Her travel book Eastern life, Present and Past appeared in 1848.

Miss Sabra:  For Mary Sabra Parsons, see Theophilus Parsons in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



 SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick 3 Apr. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I have been meaning to write you every day for a week, but there have been so many things to prevent and now at last I have a little time for a talk. I wish so much it could really be a talk, because I have so much to say that I never could get it all into a letter. I like the new book more and more and I have learned a great deal from it as I knew I should. I find that I understand it without much trouble, at least it seems as if I did, though I always have a suspicion that a great deal may escape the wisdom I bring to the reading! But then, it is pleasant that one leaves something for the next time, isn't it?

     Last night I was thinking about that first time I ever knew you at Wells, and I tried to remember the first time you ever spoke to me and suddenly it flashed into my head that we were on the piazza at the side of the house looking toward the marshes and 'the point' and we [we repeated] were looking at a yacht, or a ship out at sea and you gave me your spyglass and pointed it and we talked a little while. It was very odd that that should have been the beginning, for I believe that ever since you have been helping me to know more and see more than I should if I had been left to myself. This has been one of the times when I have liked reading your books, and so many things have come to me. I suppose it is with me as with everyone else: I can't read such things some times -- and I never try to 'make myself'.' -- I want to say a great deal about this last book* and I could 'say' it if we were talking, but I think it is hard to write it. It seems to me there must be a great many people ready to learn and longing to learn just what they

     [end of this typescript]

Notes

last book: Parsons apparently gave Jewett his new book, Outlines of the Religion and Philosophy of Swedenborg (1876), which she has been reading.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes



27 April 1876

Dear Anna

     I haven't been at all prompt in answering your two valued letters, which I received at a time when my spirits were low on account of two severe attacks of rheumatism in rapid succession. Words cannot express my appreciation of your sympathetic words and cheerful discussion of interesting topics. I forgot the infirmities of age and wished I were with you to go on with the conversation. What a sweet thing friendship is! and now -- to speak seriously -- I have been miserable most of the time since I wrote you last and am just beginning to feel like myself again. I am terribly hard at work on my stories, and am getting on capitally at last, though it worries me to think I had to break up all my plans and promises. I am trying to finish some of my work before the first of May but I think it: a forlorn hope. It was pleasant to hear of your Washington life and the people you see -- and I had a good laugh over Mr. Bancroft's literary friend!* He must have considered it an inestimable privilege to meet her!

     2nd May -- I have not been able to finish my letter before, though I have thought of it every day. I have a friend visiting me, and everything seems to have come together. I don't see how I can possibly have anything to do all summer after this, I don't see what will be left! We have a church fair coming off on Thursday, for one item: and you probably know what that means in a small town? I am hurrying to finish some copying and when I go over to the old house to my work my friend goes with me, and reads and takes naps and otherwise kindly entertains herself. I hope she is having a good time, poor thing: but I have serious doubts. However there's nothing else to be done, & she seems reasonably cheerful. I had such a nice letter from Ella* last night. Instead of losing her on account of her being married, I think she has grown nicer and I truly never enjoyed her more. I may go to town next week and then I shall see her -- for a call at least. I have to do some shopping for I begin to realize that the middle of June (the time set for my Philadelphia visit)* is not so very far off. I want to go on some accounts and rather dread it on others, as it will be sure to be hot weather -- and hot weather in Philadelphia goes beyond any other hot weather in the world in point of making you feel good for nothing. I don't see how you ever get time for reading! I have read less this spring than I ever have before I think. While I had the rheumatism I devoted myself somewhat to literature. I had some very nice books about Ancient Peru which I found very interesting. Do get the Royal Commentaries of the Yncas published by the Hakluyt Society,* some day -- for I know you would be highly entertained. I had Prescott* afterward and it really seemed dull. I feel it my duty to read a sufficient amount of the history of my own country: this being the centennial year! I haven't begun yet, and I must say I don't get up much enthusiasm over it.

     Miss Seeger1 wishes me to give you her kindest regards. I believe I didn't tell you that it is she who is staying with me, and Mary* wishes to mention that she is tempted to get another wedding herself for the sake of meeting you and having another improving occasion like that in November which will never fade from her memory! Good bye and forgive me for this stupid letter which I have had to write at odd times.

Yrs. Sincerely


Hollis's Note

1 Presumably this is Harriet Foot Seeger, a schoolteacher friend of the Jewetts from Boston. Cf., also, the letter of July 7, 1878.

Additional Notes

Mr. Bancroft's literary friend:  Though this can only be speculative, it seems possible that Jewett refers to George Bancroft (1800-1891), the Massachusetts-born historian and statesman.  He apparently was living in Washington, DC i]after 1874.  The identity of his literary friend is not known.  Assistance is welcome.

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little.  See Correspondents.

Philadelphia:  Jewett attended the Centennial International Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, PA.

Royal Commentaries of the Yncas published by the Hakluyt Society ... Prescott:  Garcilaso de la Vega (1539-1616) published his First Part of the Royal commentaries of the Yncas in Lisbon, Portugal in 1609. Wikipedia says:  "William Hickling Prescott (May 4, 1796 - January 28, 1859) was an American historian and Hispanist, who is widely recognized by historiographers to have been the first American scientific historian."  Among his major works was A History of the Conquest of Peru (1847).  

Mary:   Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons


     South Berwick
    3 May 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I haven't much to tell you only I felt like writing. -- I have been working like a beaver, trying to get my stories done and now things begin to look a little more hopeful. Mr. Howells* thinks I had better not try to have the book come out until next spring, and, though I am disappointed in one way, still it is a great relief. Having been sick has of course hindered me very much and used up the time I supposed should have been for work -- and I should have had to write a good deal in the hottest weather, if the book had come out in September or October -- as I thought it would at first. I can make it better I think by having this summer's experiences to put into the list of "Deephaven" affairs. Just now I have a friend visiting me and I do not work quite so steadily [steadilly in the original] though she goes over to the old house with me almost every day and sleeps or reads while I write awhile, and then we go out for a walk together.* This is just the Mayflower season and we are both very fond of them. We had such a lovely walk down the river bank yesterday!

     Since I wrote you I have grown very much interested in another friend -- a girl several years younger than I. She is the daughter of a Methodist minister who has been stationed here -- and I knew her a little in the winter -- but she lived in another part of the village and I never saw much of her -- but after a while I found out that they have had such a pitiful time -- for they are very much nicer people than their parishioners, who took a dislike to Lily's father and have had "no end of a row" all the time he has been here.* I heard of it of course, but I didn't take much interest in it until this spring, and then I felt so sorry and so ashamed that I hadn't been on the look-out for so plain a chance of giving people pleasure and making them have a better time. Other people felt so too, and I think the last of their stay was really much pleasanter. 'The Minister' is a scholarly man who is sensitive and morbid and never had the handling of such a parish as 'the Landing parish' before -- and he didn't understand the people any better than they did him I suppose. I liked Lily when I first saw her, and lately I have seen her almost every day -- and she is such a nice girl. I have tried ever so hard to help her, and it seemed like going over my own nineteenth year again -- for she has been going through with very much the same things I did then and she gets very forlorn often times -- which I understand perfectly. It is so pleasant to have her care about me. It is the first time I have had a girl so much younger than I for a crony, and I am so glad to be older than she, and to be where I could make things easier. It almost frightened me to find how much she cares for what I say, for I am always getting into snares myself. She went away yesterday and she seemed so sorry to say goodbye and I'm sure I was. But they're going to one of the nicest parishes in the state (Farmington) and she is going to school again, or will go on with some studies at least -- for that is pretty much all she delights in -- beside her music. You don't know how much I am interested in her, and I am sure she will make a fine woman by and by. I only hope she will be like her mother, and I think she will. She is just waking up now to what life means, and it has been hard -- but she seems a great deal happier. I hope you aren't tired with all this long story -- but I wanted to tell you. It has done me good being with her -- and I realize more than I ever did before that the best thing in the world is to be helpful. I must end my letter in a hurry. I believe I don't do anything more than five minutes at a time (except sleeping) for we are to have a fair at the church and there is 'company' at the house -- and I am running errands and scribbling at odd minutes. Please give my love to Mrs. Parsons -- and to Miss Sabra.* I think I may go to Boston within a fortnight just for a day or two and I shall go out to Cambridge if I possibly can.

     Yours, sincerely

     Sarah


Notes

Mr. Howells ... the book:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents. Jewett's first novel, Deephaven, was published by James R. Osgood & Co. in the spring of 1877.

the old house
: In May 1876, Jewett was living in what later became the Jewett-Eastman House and the South Berwick Public Library. It appears that she sometimes went next door to write, at the Jewett homestead.

Lily: Lillian Munger.  See Correspondents.

Miss Sabra: For Mary Sabra Parsons, see Theophilus Parsons in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Anna Laurens Dawes to SOJ

[ Letterhead design with AD ]

Washington, D.C.

May 26, 1876

My Dear Sara [so spelled]

     Wouldn't it be nice if one could sit down and answer a letter just when they got it, or at the very moment when the mood seized them. You would get much "larger pieces" of my lining and less ugly patchwork in that case -- to quote ideas if not words from Mrs. Whitney.

[ Page 2 ]

Have you read that last book of hers Lights and Insights* or don't you worship at that shrine? I have been for a long time -- and grow each year more vociferous -- one of those who cry "Great is Allah and Mrs. Whitney is his prophet." It is true that I can't understand everything in her books, but I don't believe she can either! so I don't care for that.

            So you have been writing and writing and a child stretches her

[ Page 3 ]

writing, which being translated, means enjoying yourself. I might be more inclined to be envious if a friend of mine hadn't written
“The world might all go wrong
With one too many daisies --”2 

Do you know that sweet, fresh little daisy poem did me a world of good. It made me think of a pen & ink sketch you once made Ella,* wherein a child stretches her abbreviated neck

[ Page 4 ]

unavailingly toward a knot hole in the fence. And it gave me a sense of companionship firstly, and it said a world of things to me secondly -- fifteenthly. If I had any ability I should illuminate it & hang it up in my apartment!

     So Lulie and Wallace are about to marry, and then, having their cake, are going to eat it in Europe. To all appearances the raisins are

[ Page 5
a letterhead page, with text written through the design]

almost too thick therein. Still I am too much pleased for them to be very envious. Are you going down to the wedding? 3 I greatly regret that I can't be there to disturb the ^morning^ slumbers of the guests, but I expect to spend that portion of my existence improving my mind at the expense of my body in Philadelphia.* Don't fail to write me full particulars.

[ Page 6 ]

We leave here the 5th of June,  and stay in Philadelphia a few days. I don't suppose either health ^strength^ or purses will allow more than that. Then we shall be at home for a brief season I hope. Only they who board half their lives* know what home means. I will not descend to vulgar particulars, but if ever you need a

[ Page 7 ]

feeling description of that method of existence, I shall be only too happy to supply at a moderate price!

     I'm almost through, and I haven't told you that I've been to New York! Nearly four weeks I spent in and around that pivot of earth. Very good times I had too, and delightful

[ Page 8 ]

acquaintances I made to say nothing of old friendships revamped.

     I really must close for I have a thousand things to do. Please give my love to your sister, and write very soon to

Your beloving friend

Anna L. Dawes

 

Hollis's Notes

1 Adeline Dutton Train Whitney (1824-1906), a sister of George Francis Train, lived in Milton, Mass., and wrote many volumes of poetry, sketches, and fiction for a teen age and young adult audience.

2 These are two lines from Sarah's poem "Discontent," which had been published shortly before in St. Nicholas, III (February 1876), 247. (Cf., also, Verses, Centennial Edition (Cleveland, 1949), 18-19.) The lines, which are 31 and 32 of the poem, are not recalled exactly.

3 Neither Sarah nor Anna attended the wedding of Julie Walworth and Wallace Pierce,* although both took a proprietary interest in this as in so many of the Walworth household affairs.

Additional notes

Lights and Insights:  Though in some sources, Whitney's 1876 book is listed under the title of Lights and Insights, the actual title was Sights and Insights: Patience Strong's Story of Over the Way.

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little.  See Correspondents.

Philadelphia:  Jewett attended the Centennial International Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, PA.

board half their lives:  As the daughter of a United States Senator, Dawes resided about half of each year in Washington, DC.    See her entry in Correspondents.

Julie Walworth and Wallace Pierce: As Hollis's note indicates, he transcribed the word I read as "Lulie" as "Julie."  Lacking access to the now comparatively easy-to-obtain details about the Walworth family, Hollis did not discover that Stella Louise Walworth married Wallace Pierce in June 1876.  Presumably, Lulie, based on her middle name, was a nickname for Stella.  See Ella Walworth Little in Correspondents.

 This letter was originally transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  The manuscript is held by the Columbia University Library.  Revised transcription and additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

29 May 1876

Dear Anna

     I was delighted to get your letter just now and though there are fifty other things I ought to do instead, I am going to give myself the pleasure of having a little talk with you. I came home from Portsmouth half an hour ago, where I have been spending Sunday with Georgie Halliburton.1 It was a very pleasant Sunday for my younger sister2 was also there (with another friend) and she was confirmed last evening. Of course I was very glad for her sake -- and then it brought back my own confirmation most vividly, and it came over me how much happiness and how many good things have “come true” and are realities which used to be only dreams and wishes. It was one of those times when one stops to look back -- you know exactly how I felt, I'm sure, and isn't it funny that I should be “sure” and should be writing in this way to you? It is very nice to be sure of people; I'm certain of that and somehow it seems as if I had already had the nice long quiet talks with you which I am sure I shall have some day.

     I am so glad you like Mrs. Whitney for I do, dearly, and I think no book ever did me more good than that blessed "Leslie Goldthwaite." 3 I did not realize how much I learned from it until within a year or two. I read it first when I was fifteen or sixteen and just at the right time -- and the older I grow the more I find in it -- and it seems to me it strikes the keynote of all her other books. I think Mrs. Whitney has done an immense deal of good, and I know you “lots” better since I know you like her. I haven't read the last book yet.*

     I have been so busy! Since I wrote you I have been in Boston a few days shopping & spent a night with Ella* who is nicer than ever I think, and since I came home I have been sewing and we have had visitors most of the time. There is an old schoolmate of Mary's* here now. I'm going to N. Y. & Phila* in about ten days and I expect to die of the heat. We three girls are going together and what father and mother will do I'm sure I can't tell. I wish I could see you. We are to be at the Windsor in N. Y. until the 20th of June and after that in Phila -- until after the fourth. At the Windsor we are to be with Mrs. H. J. Furber4 and if you don't go straight through, do be good and let me know -- though I understand only too well how hard it is to make appointments at such times and I shall understand perfectly if you tell me afterwards you were in the city a week!! I'm so glad that you like the daisy, dear, and it was so good of you to tell me. I have some new little scraps and if I were not writing with all my might and with the guiltiest conscience I would send you one or two. I can't be at the wedding. I'm very sorry but it is impossible for us to get ready to go to N. Y. at the time we are invited and we are having to hurry -- and I know I shall be tired out anyway -- so I shall not try. We hope to get off by the fifth. With love to you in which Mary would heartily join.

Yours sincerely and fondly

Beg pardon for not “staying written to”! --

 

Notes

1 Georgina Halliburton was an early friend of the Jewett girls from Portsmouth, who was usually referred to in family correspondence by her nickname, “Wags.” See Correspondents.

2 Caroline Jewett* was six years younger than Sarah.

3 Leslie Goldthwaite is the young lady to whom much of educational and moral value happens in Mrs. Whitney's A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite’s Life (1866).

4 I presume a New York relative of the Jewetts, for Sarah's grandfather was named Theodore Furber Jewett.*


Additional Notes

last book:  Jewett refers to Whitney's 1876 book, Sights and Insights: Patience Strong's Story of Over the Way.

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little.  See Correspondents.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Phila:  Jewett attended the Centennial International Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, PA.

Caroline Jewett:  That Caroline Augusta Jewett was confirmed in Portsmouth, NH suggests that she, like Sarah, was not confirmed in the South Berwick First Parish Congregational church that her family attended at home, but at St. John's Episcopalian Church in Portsmouth. See Correspondents.

Mrs. H. J. Furber:  Elvira Irwin Furber.  See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick

     31 May 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I have been meaning and hoping to write you ever since I came home but I have been so busy with visitors and sewing and getting ready for my N.Y. and Philadelphia visits that I have been in a continual hurry. I am to leave for New York the eighth I believe, but I must confess I am not enthusiastic -- for it is so pleasant here, and I dread the hot weather. Both my sisters are going with me and I dare say we shall have a jolly time after all, and I think it is very naughty to dislike going, especially when so many people I know wish to go to the Centennial and cannot! --*

     I liked that novel "The Three Feathers" ever so much and I was glad I did not read it when we had it in Littell for it was so nice to have it week before last, one day when I was tired and felt exactly like reading it.* I will send it back to you soon. I wish I could have stayed longer that day when I went to see you, but I was an hour late at Ellen's* as it was! I had a very nice talk with her that afternoon only I wished to stay longer there too. I hate having to hurry about as I did while I was in Boston! There are ever so many things I wish to tell you, but the stories are too long and I must say goodbye. I wish I could see you this beautiful day! Yours ever lovingly

     Sarah


Notes

the centennial: During May through November 1876 an International Centennial Exhibition took place in Philadelphia to commemorate the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776. See Jewett's story, "The Flight of Betsey Lane," in A Native of Winby.
 
that novel "The Three Feathers" ever so much and I was glad I did not read it when we had it in LittellThree feathers: a Novel by William Black (1841-1898), appeared in 1875.  Black authored a Jewett favorite, The Princess of Thule (1874).

Ellen's: Ellen Francis Mason.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Theophilus Parsons to SOJ


Cambridge
  June  3./76

My dear Sarah,

             I cannot let you run away to the great Exposition,* without a bit of an answer to  your note, or rather notes. I should not have written you before; but for some weeks a pressure of work has lain upon me which more  than exhausted the little capacity of labour which remains either to my brain or my fingers. And now I have taken a half sheet, because when I begin writing to you, I never leave  off until I have filled the sheet, & so I set this limit to my wandering.

            I read with interest all you write me, -- and with especial interest what you have to say of your work & study. I expect your new book, I had almost said anxiously. You can do so much good. I want to  see you doing at least some of it. Your faculty of suggesting truth and good is one I hope to see ^you^ cultivate & exercise, as much for your own good as for that of your readers. And you may be  sure, that  the more of this you do, in your own way, the more readers you will have. So in your conversation. You are perfectly right in abstaining from intruding any of the new truths you have learned upon unwilling hearers. But then we never can know who are unwilling. You will do the best thing you can I believe, by never either obtruding or avoiding the avowal of your beliefs, when the avowal lies in your way. The time has gone by when such an avowal was risky. Of nothing am I more certain, than that, generally, among  such persons as  you would make friends of, there would be  a reception, -- an interested hearing if not a distinct welcome, -- to anything you could say of this sort. Try this, & find out if I am not right. And hear [sic] my scrap must end.

 faithfully y's
T. P.


Notes

great Exposition:  "The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia."  Wikipedia

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr027-o-soj.12.  Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller,  Coe College.




SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes


The Windsor, N. Y.

[9 June 1876]*

Dear Anna

     I will certainly meet you if I possibly can. The only thing which would hinder me is that my friends may possibly make some plan for me and if I only know of your coming in season I will take care of that. I do wish to see you ever so much -- and I was so glad to find your note waiting when I reached here at eleven last night. I think we should keep up a majestic correspondence if we acted upon our impulses -- for I should like to send you a long letter this morning!

     I shall probably be here until the 20th if I live so long in this heat. You mustn't think it will be any trouble to me to meet you for we are very near the station here -- and I can easily go over -- and if it is in the evening I can have the man for company I think --

     Aren't you glad you are going home? I don't mean by this that I am homesick myself; but the country is so lovely, and it is so nice to be in one's own quarters. I thought of Ella yesterday, and of the bride,* but I had no time to do anything but 'think.' If you were only here! I have ever so many things on my tongue's end to say. If you have more than an hour or two, why cant you come here? Good bye dear and Mary's* love to you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Notes

9 June 1876: This date is written in another hand, not Jewett's.

Ella ... the bride:  Ella Walworth Little and Stella Louise Walworth Pierce.    See Correspondents.

Mary's:  Mary Rice Jewett.    See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

The Windsor – Tuesday

13 June 1876

[Dear Anna]1

     I am afraid that I cannot meet you tomorrow, for there is a plan for me going up to West Point, made at my own suggestion. It seems to be the only day which suits every body else, and of course I can't stay at home and I should be sorry to miss the trip too -- as I never have been up the Hudson except at night by rail. I told Mrs. F.* days ago how much I should like to see the river from the boat and how disappointed I had been every time I have had to take the train and the result was that we made a plan to go all together and I'm so sorry they have chosen tomorrow! You will understand I know dear. I am so sorry to miss you for I have thought about it a great deal -- and hoped we should have a nice talk.

     I have just come home from a tremendous journey to Brooklyn and “Greenwood” 2 and I am so tired, and stupid as an owl. Thank you so much for your letter which I have been reading. It brings me very near you, and I understand you so well. No, it doesn't take years to be sure of one's friends, as you say. I wonder if you know and like as I do a little poem of “H.H.'s” 3 in which she says:

     "That newest friend is oldest friend in this:
           That, waiting him, we longest grieved to miss
           One thing we sought --”

I wish you were here just now for I have the library all to myself -- and we would take the two biggest chairs and pull them close together. I'm pretty tired, but I don't believe I should be cross! -- I am having such a good time. I think I never enjoyed New York half so much before and I like this careless jolly life just now, for I had been working hard and have not been very well, and I need just such a "vacation" though perhaps it is impertinent in me to think I "need" one. My friends are angels of kindness and Mrs. F. puts her carriages at your service and racks her dear brain to find out what amuses you and where you wish to go -- and The Windsor is lovely and I have been hungry as a bear ever since I came and -- there are such good things to eat, and I am happy!! I am glad your experience of the Centennial* has been so pleasant, and I wish we could have been there together. I saw such a jolly play last night -- “Pique” 4 though by “jolly” I mean only that I liked it -- and to tell the truth it is tragic for the most part. I like to be “harrowed up” don't you?

     I think if this ink were black I might write longer, but there is something discouraging about it today. I use it in my work, but I hate it for letters, somehow. It is growing dark in the room and I suppose I might as well get ready for dinner and stretch out on the sofa to rest myself -- for I believe I am to go somewhere this evening.

     I know you will understand about my not meeting you and believe me when I say I am very much disappointed. I do hope I shall see you before very long. I wish I could have changed the plans and arranged to be here -- but don't you know when one is with half a dozen people one can't do exactly as one pleases. I hope you will have a lovely summer. God bless you dear and help you to keep close to Him, and give you His peace and His strength always.

Yours sincerely


Hollis's Notes

1 There is no salutation for this message. Indeed this would seem to be a letter carried from one hotel to another in New York City by a servant or messenger. In days before telephones, perhaps regular dispatches between major hotels was standard practice.

2 Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn was something of a tourist attraction during the middle years of the nineteenth century.

3 H. H. was Helen Hunt, better known now by her married name Jackson and as the author of Ramona. Her poetry was well known in the 1870s and was always signed H. H. I have not found these lines in her collected verses and presume the poem quoted had appeared in some magazine but was not collected.*

4 Pique was a “comedy-drama” by J. Augustin Daly, "founded in part on the novel of Florence Marryat (Her Lord and Master) and in part on the public excitement caused by the kidnapping of Charley Ross,” G.C.D. Odell, Annals of  the New York Stage (New York, 1938), X, 16.

Additional Notes

Mrs. F:  Elvira Irwin Furber.  See Correspondents.

centennial:  "The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia."  Wikipedia

not collected:  The quotation is from Hunt's "My New Friend," which appears in Verses (1892), p. 111.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons
 

     South Berwick

     12 July 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons.

     Did you ever know such hot weather? I am very glad to have seen the Centennial,* but the heat was awful and if I had had to stay two or three weeks longer I think I should have hated the Centennial and Philadelphia with an undying hatred and never wished to go back there again! This is not very sensible I know, but every time I go out of reach of the sea in summer I solemnly declare I never will again. -- But I don't wish all this to make you think that I didn't have a good time and enjoy a great deal. My visit in New York was charming. There were six girls visiting my friend at once, at the Windsor Hotel and we were as jolly as any six girls you ever saw!* I was there two weeks and then in Philadelphia between two and three. I learned a great deal at 'the Centennial' and saw it as carefully and faithfully as possible. I wish I were with you and could chatter about the sights. When I try to tell you what I liked best it is very hard, because I liked so many things 'best'! There was a big bronze vase in the Japanese department with its handles made of cluster of swallows snarled together as only a Japanese could snarl them. -- I think this comes first but how can I forget a picture called "Betty" and another picture of a donkey out in a snowstorm and a Japanese picture of a triumphal procession of grasshoppers and a bust of Helen of Troy, and some Norwegian wax figures and a lovely Florentine mosaic and some old Peruvian pottery and then there was a bewitching machine over in Machinery Hall which made peppermints all day long. I could go on with this list all day* -- and I may as well stop here. I shall have no end of things to tell you when I see you again. I meant to write you and thought of it almost every day but I was so busy and so tired that I hardly found [fround in the original] time even for writing shabby little notes home. I haven't much to tell you beside this (which I fear is hardly worth telling). We are having visitors constantly now and I am stupid and lazy since I came home and have not touched some copying I meant to finish as soon as I got back. I am hoping to go to the sea shore for two or three weeks by and by. My aunt and cousins whom I have visited at Little Boar's Head* in July for several summers, are all abroad -- and so I am waiting longer than usual and I miss the sea. Yesterday some of us went out to the Shoals and that was delicious.*

     I have not said a word about your letter which came just before I left, and which I carried with me, and thank you for most heartily. I wish I knew some better way to thank you for it than by writing a few words on a sheet of paper.

     I am hoping to see one of my Deephaven sketches in the Aug. Atlantic which is due in a few days now.* It is one I wrote in the winter and I think I told you about it. I wonder if you are to be anywhere near here this summer? Good by Yours lovingly and sincerely.

     Sarah


Notes

Windsor Hotel … New York: Wikipedia says: "The Windsor Hotel was located at 575 Fifth Avenue (at the corner of East 47th Street) in Manhattan, New York. The seven-story hotel opened in 1873, at a time when hotel residency was becoming popular with the wealthy, and was advertised as "the most comfortable and homelike hotel in New York. It burned down in 1899 with great loss of life.
   
the Philadelphia centennial:  Jewett provides a number of details that impressed her at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  For further information about the exposition see Wikipedia.

Little Boar's Head:  The Gilman family.  See Mrs. Alice Dunlap Gilman in Correspondents.

the Shoals: Isles of the Shoals off the coast of Portsmouth, NH.

one of my Deephaven sketches in the Aug. Atlantic: "Deephaven Excursions" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (38:277-290), September 1876. The September issue would have appeared in August.
    [ Back ]   

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

26 July 1876


Poor dear Dawes-y!

                               did she think her friend meant to go back on her? I am afraid you will find me a bad correspondent, but we will not say anything about it, and I know you will consider this delay only an accident, and accept the apologies which I offer. I have been so busy and so tired since I came home and we have had three of our Philadelphia cousins with us beside other friends, and there have {been} two voyages to the Isle of Shoals and a picnic at the seashore and numberless long drives, and mornings and afternoons spent in boating down river. I am getting rested since the cooler weather, and it is lovely here now: I think Berwick is new to me every year and never was half so pleasant as it is this summer. I wish I could have you here to see it for yourself, but I know it is no use asking you. Sometime you will come and see me wont you?

     Oh I do wish I could write this letter all in one piece -- but there is no use trying for people walk in and out and I have to stop on account of a caller -- and lots of things happen. Just now I went upstairs and saw an inviting chunk of candy on my table so I had to stop to eat that. I was sorry too that I couldn't go to visit you. I should have liked it dearly. I know I have told you this before, but it is a comfort to me to say it again so you needn't mention its being a repetition. I must say over again also that I wish I knew your Mother! I like so much what you said about those two novels (You see I go from one thing to another but this was another interruption) I have not read either of the stories but I know exactly what they both are. I began Mr. James's story1 but I can't remember it now. Mr. Howells told me (or Mrs. H.)* that this was better than anything he had written and unusually free from his usual faults. I am going to read it by and by. But I wish I were with you to talk about the two stories. I wonder if you detected the connection between the two parts of your letter which I did? It was this question of the stories, and your not having seen any of the Centennial* show cases! I think {that between} a person who doesn't see show cases in this world, and a person who does there lies a wide difference. And this world seems a very different world and the people very different people. I don’t know whether you see any connection now, but I was thinking of your having looked at the goods inside and not noticed the outside things and the decorations which after all did not make the buttons or the tacks or the carvings and jewelry one bit better. I suppose we are all more or less influenced by people's position in the "worlds fair" the houses they live in and the company they keep -- but I thank the Lord that you and I have some slight capacity at any rate, for liking people for themselves -- what they are -- and not what they have. I dont like Mr. James's characters -- that is I shouldn't like real people who acted and thought after his fashion, but I think he writes cleverly about them and makes them more or less interesting. And I think as you do that the moral of the thing is not good. But I must not write any more about this. I am thinking of going out for a call with my cousins and I wish to finish this before I start. I wish I could express my satisfaction at the cooler weather. Have you had a woodfire in the parlor fireplace and the thermometer at 54° one morning? I am beginning to lose my dragged out Centennial feeling and to feel some interest in what I do beside sleep, and be on the sofa reading. I am afraid I have been cross and stupid since I have been here, and it worries me to think how little I tried to do for one of my friends who has gone away. Every thing seems so discouraging when I am tired and not feeling strong -- but it is so much satisfaction if one can do right and be good natured under such circumstances. Fair weather sailing isn't half the satisfaction. These remarks are made wistfully, and in the spirit of great humility, for I forget so easily and am so careless about trying hard. Life seems very different as I grow older, but always pleasanter, and more "worth while" -- in spite of the troubles that come. I have had singular few 'troubles' except with myself -- but those have not been easy to carry by any means. Well, good night dear. I wonder if you know how often I think of you, and if you will not care a little when I say that I have somehow grown fond of you and think of you as one of my real friends. I do believe with you that sometimes one may "get acquainted" more easily through letters than by being together. So much of my 'friendship' with nearly all my cronies has been carried on with pen and ink that it seems natural. I am really very little with some of my best friends. But I am none the less fond of seeing the girls, though I have not the usual contempt for letters. Mary's* love to you and she says she should even be willing to be pounced upon early in the morning for the sake of seeing you.

Yours sincerely

Hollis's Note

1 The reference is either to Roderick Hudson, James's first novel, which had just been published but had appeared in serial form in the Atlantic from January to December 1875, or to The American, which had just started in the Atlantic for June 1876 and was to continue until May1877.


Additional Notes

Mr. Howells ... (or Mrs. H.):  William Dean Howells and Elinor Mead Howells.  See Correspondents.

Centennial: "The Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, the first official World's Fair in the United States, was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 10 to November 10, 1876, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia."  Wikipedia

Mary's:  Mary Rice Jewett.    See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.


SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick

     24th August 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     Your letter was a God-send, as I believe your letters always are -- and since it came I have been thinking a great deal. It is exactly what I wish to do, this being in earnest about my work and being helpful through the stories I send away to be printed -- and those stories of mine which I like best are the ones you speak of in saying that "in some" I am "on the way". And I hope with all my heart (I believe, too) that I can go on learning faster and faster and may have more and more that grand gift of using my knowledge and the good I get -- to help other people. And besides this I hold on fast to one sentence in your letter 'The best we can do is the thing we ought to do'. -- Through the times of carelessness and indifference, I do try never to lose sight of my work and what I wish to make it. I am not contented with anything short of the best, and I can see how you are discontented with those Deephaven sketches.* I wish I could always write things that would do people good and that I could always have a meaning underlie everything else as I did in Miss Sydney and the Dull Christmas,* but those successes seem to come rarely and you may be sure I take fast hold of plans like them. I want to say a word about Deephaven though, and particularly this one you have just read. The first sketch I know has nothing in it beyond mere entertainment -- but I felt a much deeper interest in the others -- they are both 'true' and I know you would have felt better satisfied with the 'funeral sketch' if the authorities had not left out a few paragraphs which I wrote carefully and which held for me the meaning of that pathetic breaking-up of a pitiful family.* I don't remember it very accurately now, but I know I said something about our lives having two sides and although we might be apparent failures in this world still there was a chance that life had been a grand success. And I said how few in this world poor or rich touched satisfaction, and how this man's hopes and wishes might all have been realized in a decent sort of farm and a thousand or two dollars in the bank, -- and I said that when his wife died his world had come to an end, as it were, and he was bewildered and discouraged and could not fight so hard and so useless a battle as life seemed to him. There was something, too, (which followed the man's saying that he had 'gone' -- when the funeral had left the house -- ) about the invisible world's being so near -- but I can't remember that at all. I was very sorry when I found these things had been left out, for (to me) they gave more character to the sketch. In writing the sketch of Miss Sally Cutts* the most touching thing to me was her perfect faith in God, and her being so uncomplaining when (to 'worldly' eyes at least), she had lost everything. I do like writing such stories as these of real lives -- and I think there is no reading which interests me so much. I learn from a life more than from preaching and you don't know the lessons I get every week from the country people whom I see and talk with. -- It seems to me if I lived in a city, all the time with the same set of people, I should like knowing the way people felt and thought out of my set and particularly country people and simple people who are a great deal out of doors and know nothing about 'society'. -- I suppose it is because I feel this so strongly that I have enjoyed 'Deephaven' -- And yet the pleasure of making a study of life, does not compare with the consciousness that one has known a life well enough to see where one may help to unravel a snarl, or to make. it interesting and worth while, where it seemed dull before; -- and to bring more purpose, and the thought of God oftener -- to help the life to be a more Christian life. --

     When I try to think about myself it frightens me to think how likely I am to fail in doing this. So many days seem to be lost in careless drifting, and even in doing the best work I often do not have the best motive for I like to please my friends and not to disappoint them, and there is a great deal of pride which would let me worry and be sorry if I failed, even though I had done the best I could and God did not mean for me to succeed. Sometimes I wonder why I do not know myself better, when I find it so easy to know other people. If I try to "think myself over" there is almost always something which stops me -- and I can go no farther. There is one thing; I am sure I don't get discouraged as I used with myself, and I understand better now that I am here to learn lessons, for one thing. I came across something in Fénélon the other day that I liked very much* -- 'We ought not to be discouraged because the harder we try to be good the more wickedness we discover in ourselves. It is because the sun is coming up and we see clearly all the things that were indistinct or hidden while we were still in the dark'. -- I do care to be loved and I have a great deal to make me happy as you say in your letter, but I have had a great deal that is hard, and the hardest has been myself -- to fight against, and yet duty does not seem so much of a cloud as you think it does -- and it seems less of a cloud every year. I do long to be better and my being able to write gives me such a chance for being helpful -- but it seems often as if I tried to be generous to people when my purse was empty. Getting closer to God: that is the great thing, and I don't think of Him half enough -- I am always forgetting Him and what I am trying to do -- and the more I realize that He is our Best Friend the less it seems to me I know how to gain a way of living that will let me understand better and be more filled with love for Him, and more earnest in doing His work. It is always 'through a glass, darkly', with me *-- and I suppose it must always seem so for He is so great and there will be so much beyond us. But nothing makes life seem better and more worth while than to think we are always to spend it in finding out more of the love of God and more of his wisdom.

     You never will know how much I thank you for taking so much interest in my work and in me -- and for helping me as you have, ever since I have known you. You do not know how much you have done for me, or how much you have helped me to do for myself. I have written a long letter but I wish I could burn it and have a long talk with you. I have read your letter over and over and there is more in it every time than I saw before -- I am sure that in heaven I shall find some new words -- for there are some things now, I can never say for lack of them. Goodbye and God bless you

     Sarah


Notes

Deephaven sketches:  By the time this letter was composed, Jewett had published all three of the sketches from which she developed her first novel, Deephaven (1877).  "The Shore House" appeared in Atlantic in September 1873, "Deephaven Cronies" in September 1875, and "Deephaven Excursions" in September 1876, which would have just appeared at about the time of this letter.

Miss Sydney and the Dull Christmas: "Miss Sydney's Flowers" first appeared in The Independent (26:1-4) for July 16, 1874, and then was collected in Old Friends and New in 1879. "Patty's Dull Christmas" first appeared in The Independent (27:25-27) on December 23, 1875 and was collected in Play Days in 1878.

the 'funeral sketch" … breaking-up of a pitiful family: See "In Shadow," in Deephaven.  To that chapter of the novel, Jewett added a paragraph that includes the material that was removed from "Deephaven Excursions."

To Kate and me there came a sudden consciousness of the mystery and inevitableness of death; it was not fear, thank God! but a thought of how certain it was that some day it would be a mystery to us no longer. And there was a thought, too, of the limitation of this present life; we were waiting there, in company with the people, the great sea, and the rocks and fields themselves, on this side the boundary. We knew just then how close to this familiar, every-day world might be the other, which at times before had seemed so far away, out of reach of even our thoughts, beyond the distant stars.

Miss Sally Cutts:  Paula Blanchard points out that a number of Jewett's characters in Deephaven were based on people she knew in and around South Berwick.  Miss Chauncey is based upon Sally Cutts of Kittery, ME.  See Sarah Orne Jewett (1994), p. 86. 

Fénélon: François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon (1651-1715) was a French writer, theologian, and bishop. Having served as tutor to Louis XIV's grandson, the Duke of Burgundy, Fénelon was intimately connected with the French court, even after he was fell out of favor with the king. He submitted to the Church's condemnation in 1699 of his Maxims of the Saints, and continued as Archbishop of Cambrai (1695-1715) - in exile from the court - until his death. He is well-remembered in part for his great acts of charity during the War of the Spanish Succession. (Sources: "Life of Fénelon," by Lamartine, in Fénelon, Adventures of Telemachus. O. W. White, editor, 1886; and Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV, Ch. 38). 
    The passage to which Jewett refers may be from Letter VII, "Not to be troubled about unintentional omissions in confession" of March 21, 1690, in Spiritual Letters (1877), pp. 28-30.

'through a glass, darkly' : Corinthians 13:12.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     26 Aug. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

      Have you any idea whether they keep the manuscripts of the magazine stories? I find I have not any copy of that part of the sketch which was left out, for some of it I wrote 'out of my head' when I was copying. I should like to get it, and yet I don't like to bother Mr. Howells* and find fault with him, since he is so kind and has taken so much trouble for me. I was very sorry that the sketch had to be shortened but I thought that Mr. H -- knew I was wishing it would be published, and it was too long, and those passages would be less missed than any of the narrative. I wish he had told me for I could have easily shortened the article five or ten pages and not have done it so much harm. I know they keep some of the articles in Manuscript and perhaps I could write to the Riverside Press and get mine. Do you think so? Indeed I wish to know what you have to tell me about it, and I am counting upon seeing you. I probably shall not see Boston until late in the month, -- I can't tell exactly. I am to visit a friend in Concord and I wait her summons. I am to be at the sea-shore for awhile first -- and I can't make any definite plans until I hear from my friend. I am not to stay in Boston for a visit I think -- but I shall see you. Yours sincerely

     Sarah

     The reason I want the ms. is if I put the stories together in a book I should like to have the whole of this.*  

Notes

Mr. Howells: William Dean Howells (1837-1920) was editor of Atlantic Monthly from 1871-1881, after serving 5 years as a subeditor. Jewett's first Atlantic publication was "Mr. Bruce," published under the pen name of A. C. Eliot in December 1869. It was collected in Old Friends and New in 1879.

whole of this:  Whether Jewett actually recovered the excised material from "Deephaven Excursions," which appeared in Atlantic in September 1876, is not yet known.  When she worked this sketch into her novel, Deephaven (1877), she added a paragraph near the end of "In Shadow," the chapter on the funeral:
To Kate and me there came a sudden consciousness of the mystery and inevitableness of death; it was not fear, thank God! but a thought of how certain it was that some day it would be a mystery to us no longer. And there was a thought, too, of the limitation of this present life; we were waiting there, in company with the people, the great sea, and the rocks and fields themselves, on this side the boundary. We knew just then how close to this familiar, every-day world might be the other, which at times before had seemed so far away, out of reach of even our thoughts, beyond the distant stars.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Horace Scudder

     South Berwick, Maine
     September 14, 1876

    My dear Mr. Scudder:

     My name is Sarah Orne Jewett, if you please; and when you are arranging the Index, can you credit a story to me which was called "Mr. Bruce" and printed in the Atlantic for December 1869?1

     So much for business which properly ought to come before my saying how much pleasure it has given me to hear from you again and to know something about you. Indeed I do wish very much to see you sometime in Cambridge and I hope to manage it this autumn certainly, but hitherto I have just gone out from Boston with not half enough time for what I had to do, and I have been meaning to make certain calls and have unfailingly put them off, for a long time. I was not in town last winter except for very short visits.

     Shirley2 must be very pleasant, but what do you do in that small room of yours when you are tired with writing and wish to stretch your arms, or don't you appreciate the satisfaction of that? I am sorry your little girl has been ill, and I hope she is already a great deal better.

     No, I haven't dug a clam all summer, for what with the Centennial3 and a visit to N. Y. in June, and the house filled with visitors ever since we came home in July, I have only been down to the Shore half a dozen times and only for the day, which doesn't count with me. But I am going down directly to spend a week, and then I know where to go for those clams and where to get an old dory with as many leaks as a basket, and I know where the cunners hold county conferences out in the harbour, where two other little boys and I caught a hundred and thirty in just no time at all one day last summer. This is all in York which reminds me of my dear Deephaven though that was 'made up' before I had ever stayed overnight in York, or knew and loved it as I do now. Since "The Shore House" was written I have identified Deephaven with it more and more. Still I don't like to have people say that I mean York when I say Deephaven.4

     I should like to see you and have a long talk and I hope I shall one of these days.

     I am having such a good time just now out of doors: this morning I have been rowing down river, yesterday I went up Agamenticus and could see seventy miles of seacoast and all the White Hills, and two days ago I went to the Cliff,5 which is a place you ought to see.

     Please give my regards to Mrs. Scudder whom I am hoping to know.

     Yours sincerely,

     Sarah O. Jewett

     NOTES

     1The Atlantic Monthly Index, 1857-1876 was being prepared and Miss Jewett, having outgrown her passion for pseudonyms, wished to set the record straight (see Letter 1, note 3 in Letters).

     2 Near Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where Mrs. Scudder spent the summer in a house owned by the Shakers. Scudder joined her from time to time as work would allow.

     3 The Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, which served as a basis for "The Flight of Betsey Lane."

     4 Miss Jewett's "Deephaven" corresponds roughly with York County, Maine's southernmost triangular tip, but she consistently resisted exact identification. See also her prefaces to Deephaven, editions of 1877 and 1893; M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Memories of a Hostess (Boston, 1922), 300; and Letters 30; 96, note 3.

     5 Mount Agamenticus is the highest hill in the relatively low region of southern Maine between Cape Neddick and Ogunquit; White Hills is a localism for the White Mountain range of New Hampshire; Bald Head Cliff is at Ogunquit on the southern coast of Maine.

This letter was edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters; the ms. is held by Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, Maine.





SOJ to Susan Hayes Ward


South Berwick
15 Sept. 1876

Dear Miss Susy

          - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  We all enjoyed your visit, only it was heart-breaking to have you go away so soon.  I am going down to York tomorrow if it is fair weather, and I shall be so glad to renew my last summer's intimacy with the "Bar'l girls".*

    Please give my love to Hetta and my regards to Dr. Ward and Mr. Herbert Ward.* 

Yrs sincerely
       
                    Sarah

Notes

"Bar'l girls":  Elizabeth Barrell (c. 1799 - November 12, 1883) and Mary Barrell (c. 1804 - June 6, 1889).

Hetta ... Dr. Ward and Mr. Herbert Ward:  Richard Cary says: " Hetta Lord Hayes Ward (1842-1921), sister of Susan and William, reported on architecture, exhibitions of painting, the applied and domestic arts for the Independent, as well as publishing delightful stories and verses for children."  William Hayes Ward's son was Herbert Dickinson War (1861-1932) an American author who married another Jewett friend, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.  See Correspondents.

A note on this transcription indicates that the original is in the Sophia Smith Collection of the Smith College Library [7-298-9]. 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 Anna Laurens Dawes

8 October 1876

Dear Anna

     I have been wishing to answer your letter; but (to make my excuse at length) when it came we had some people staying here and I went in a few days to stay at the seashore taking one of my friends with me, and after I came home and she went away, I spent Sunday in quietness and repose and started on Monday morning for Philadelphia with my Father, who seemed to have such a pathetic desire that I should keep him company that I could not refuse though I was not enthusiastic about it. It is needless to say I wished to go with him in spite of not caring for more of the Centennial!* However I had a charming visit, much pleasanter than that of last summer -- I enjoyed seeing the Centennial again, and also of seeing my friends. I have two beloved cousins Alex and Ned1 (they make me wish for brothers more than anyone else I know!) and I was driving with them and boating up the Schuylkill and always having some good time or other. We took the new way of going on to Phila -- as we went by steamer from Portland to N. Y. and had a grand storm, which I am glad to have experienced though it was not so pleasant at the time. I could hardly keep my berth and the chairs in the cabin banged against stateroom doors, first one side and then the other, and some barrels got loose on deck and bumped about industriously. However I went fast asleep after a while and after we got around Cape Cod we had better weather. It was the best thing of all to see the crowd of schooners come out of Vineyard Haven when the sun came out in the morning after the storm. There were hundreds of them, and all that day we were sailing along over the pleasantest sea catching glimpses of New Bedford & Newport and the towns along shore and finally got into N. Y. early next day -- and I was sorry the voyage was over with.

     The night after I went away Ella* went to Conway to meet her father and drive home with him. She meant to have spent the day with me but some friends came to see her & she had to take a later train. So it all happened right as I had to leave in the morning myself for Portland & I could not have seen her but a few minutes. Carrie saw her at the train and said she looked so bright and pretty. I believe she is to go to Phila soon but I hope to see her on my way to Concord this week. I am dreadfully disappointed not to have had a visit from her this summer.

     I am delighted with what you said of Daniel Deronda,* and yet you will laugh at me when I tell you I have never read the book except a few pages here and there. Of course I know more or less about it, since everyone talks so much about it, but at first I waited until it should be finished and lately I have waited again wishing to be quiet and to feel exactly 'like it' -- I never expect however to like any book of G. Eliot's so much as I do Adam Bede and I know this will have the same defect to me that Middlemarch has -- that of seeming unsatisfactory and unfinished. And there is always something lacking in George Eliot's books because however high her standards of morality and however grand her ideas of life one misses the least suggestion of one having a true and real friendship with God, and that our success must depend upon this after all. Perhaps you say this is inferred -- many people do -- but it does not seem so to me--and I have the same feeling in reading Middlemarch that I do in reading -- Antigone perhaps; or any of those tragedies of Sophocles -- it is fate, it is hopelessness, we are working helplessly against resistless and unchangeable forces, or if we are lucky enough to hit upon some line of action which leads to apparent success, then we are none the wiser and none the surer. These books are grand books and I do not see how anyone can help learning a great deal from them and being lifted up out of the ruts and petty ways of living into which we get so easily. Yet I am sure we learn more what to avoid than we do what to copy -- even when we are expected to copy oftenest. It is all true, what you say of the characters working out the problem of life each after his own fashion -- but do not you think there is only one way in which this becomes possible for us? I have no wish to put a Sunday-school strain of conversation into such books as these, but though we may supply the missing thoughts from our own experiences and see how, and how only our lives may grow grand and useful, don't you see that many people must read Daniel Deronda without a knowledge of this kind, and that it is almost a heathen book after all? Perhaps you are thinking that I try to speak with great authority after my confessing that I have not read the book, but I suppose that I know almost as much about it as I shall after I have read it in course. Did you ever happen to see a book by Principal Shairp called Studies in Poetry and Philosophy? 2 There is an essay at the end called "The Moral Motive Power" which has always seemed to me wonderfully good. Mr. Shairp reviews the different ways men have followed and shows plainly at the end that nothing but our Christian religion gives the help or is the 'motive power' toward a perfect life. This is no very new idea but the essay helps one to understand some puzzles, and to give one a great deal of confidence. I think that you are finding more and more, as I am thankful to say I am, that it is only this friendship with Christ and our following him and keeping close to Him which is the real thing and the true life. Things are not sent to us bad or good. God plans the event and we are to choose whether it helps or hinders us -- sometimes by conscious choice but oftenest unconsciously and according to our education. I am sure this belief must underlie every thing -- we are in the world for our spiritual education and every thing is planned for that isn't it? -- and success is not a thing of chance but a thing of choice with us. There is something of Fenelon's which I must have quoted to you since it is my great delight -- "God never makes us feel our weakness except to lead us to seek strength from him."*  George Eliot may write grand books and may go never so deep in her knowledge of human nature and of these problems of life but no book will ever seem perfect or finished, as no life will, that does not recognize the great truth of all truths. It is having Christ in us which is the hope of glory after all; one must always come back to this.

            I have written longer than I intended but I do not apologize to you -- and I find it very pleasant to talk with you even in a letter -- which is so much less pleasant than having a friend face to face with me. I hope we shall meet this winter. I certainly shall hope to see you if you are in Boston late in the fall. I am going to Concord on Tuesday and shall probably be in town a day or two after my week's visit there is ended. I am a scalliwag to go away again at all but this is a visit which I must make and wish to make to an old friend who has already let me put it off four or five times. I am in torment whenever I think of my neglected work, but I mean to make up for lost time when I once begin. I believe you asked me about Miss Sally Chauncey: the story is true* and I really made the call and will tell you more if you care to know.3 Will you think it displays conceit if I tell you that one of the big English reviews gave me a stunning compliment for the Excursions.4  I was nearly taken off my feet! Do write me soon for I enjoy your letters so much and I am getting dreadfully fond of you. Mary* is away or she would send you an equally affectionate message.

Yours Sincerely


Hollis's Notes

1 These are the Orne brothers, members of the large family of cousins with whom the Jewetts stayed when in Philadelphia.

2 John Campbell Shairp (1819-1885) was a principal of two of the united colleges at St Andrews and also a Professor of Humanities there.  His important literary criticism collected in various volumes; the one that Sarah speaks of here was published in Edinburgh in 1868 and re-published here in 1872. "The Moral Motive Power" is the American title given to the concluding essay.

3 Miss Sally Chauncey is the principal character In "Deephaven Excursions," which had just been published. On this memorable character, cf. also, Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (Boston, 1911), 113-114.

4 I have not been able to identify the "big" English review which gave the "stunning compliment." Clara and Carl Weber in their Bibliography of the Published Writings of Sarah Orne Jewett (Waterville, Maine, 1949) have a section on foreign comment, but nothing listed there would fit this situation.*


Additional Notes

the Centennial:  Jewett attended the Centennial International Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, PA., during the summer and now again with her father.

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little.  See Correspondents.

Daniel DerondaWikipedia says: Mary Ann Evans (1819 - 1880;) "known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight."

Antigone ... Sophocles:    Wikipedia says: "Sophocles ... is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides. Sophocles wrote 120 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form," including Antigone, which is one of a group of plays concerning the family of Oedipus.

Fenelon's  ... "God never makes us feel our weakness except to lead us to seek strength from him":  It seems likely that Jewett has been reading François de Salignac de la Mothe Fénelon (1651-1715), Spiritual Letters: Letters to Women, a text in this idea appears repeatedly, though this exact quotation seems not to be present.  It does appear in Selections from the Writings of Fenelon: With a Memoir of His Life (1859), p. 154.  Jewett's quotation, however, is not exactly the same as in this translation:  "God never makes us feel our weakness but that we may be led to seek strength from him."

the story is true:  Paula Blanchard points out that a number of Jewett's characters in Deephaven were based on people she knew in and around South Berwick.  Miss Chauncey is based upon Sally Cutts of Kittery, ME.  See Sarah Orne Jewett (1994), p. 86.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

this situation:  I have been little more successful than Hollis at locating the notice to which Jewett refers.  Only one candidate has so far appeared.  In Notes and Queries (London) 6 (14 October 1876), p. 377, "C. J." writes:

At the close of this communication a quotation may appropriately be made from the September number of the Atlantic Monthly. In "Deephaven Excursions" occurs a lone funeral by the sea; and one of the neighbours of the dead man, present at the ceremony, says : --
     "He faded right out, and didn't know anything the last time I see him; and he died Sunday momin', when the tide began to ebb."

To have been noticed at all in this British publication so early in her career may have seemed "stunning" to Jewett.  But the date would seem to eliminate this notice.  Assistance is welcome.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick

     25 Oct. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I went to see Mr. Osgood and Mr. Niles and found them both very kind.* I had a long talk with them both and they both were ready to take the sketches if I chose to get them ready. I think your note and Mr. Howells's* did the business and it was plain to see that they wondered why they never had heard of such a shining light before! I am very much puzzled to decide between the two. For some reasons I incline toward Mr. Osgood but there are equally strong arguments for going to Roberts Bros. They both said they would give ten per cent on the copy- -- after the expenses had been paid -- Mr. Osgood said; and Mr. Niles said after the first edition, but if the book were sure of a sale they sometimes gave new writers the percentage from the first, as they did the old writers. Mr. Osgood talked rather more fully than Mr. Niles did with me -- and seemed to take a great interest in the thing -- though I told him I was not going to decide at all at present and that I was going to see Roberts. He told me I was quite right in getting settled to my mind and that Roberts would be as safe as anyone could be. I am to write him in a week or two -- and in the meantime Mr. Niles is to look over the sketches and tell me what he thinks. He said something about it being safer usually to begin with a new book, which I know very well, still my point is to publish the Deephaven book and I mean to make it longer and better than it is now. I suppose in a business way Roberts is more flourishing and more go-ahead. I have the greatest confidence in your opinion of him but I only wish you and Mr. Howells had settled upon the same publisher. Mr. Howells has always spoken of Mr. Osgood and it is natural that he should advise me to go to him since they are good friends and Mr. Howells's [Howells] books have been so successful and so well managed. I like the company at Mr. Osgood's [Osgoods], but one must not sacrifice too much to that -- and certainly the Roberts have never published any but the nicest books -- and I am sure that whichever I take I shall be in good hands, and cannot regret much. You see I am more undecided than ever! The great point is whether Osgood is going down and Roberts going up and whether Mr. Niles is so sure and permanent a person in his firm as Mr. Osgood in his. If Mr. Niles should go away, the Roberts's would be a very different firm. I could not write you before for I stopped on the way and did not get home until yesterday. My father is away until tomorrow and I can't talk with him. It is not much in his line at any rate! Do you think Mr. Howells would mind my not taking his advice? He has been so very kind to me, you know -- and I should be sorry to do anything wrong. I don't believe you will find what I say at all satisfactory. I seem to be waiting for something to turn up! Perhaps Mr. Roberts or rather Mr. Niles will not want the sketches after all when he reads them over and thinks about it. I wish I could have stayed longer the other day -- but I am glad to have seen you for even that time. It was dark as a pocket when I got back to Jamaica Plain, and it was lucky I did not stay longer for I was staying with a most punctual family -- and it would have been mortifying if I had been late to dinner you know! Good-bye Yours always

     Sarah

Notes
Mr. Osgood and Mr. Niles … Roberts Bros … RobertsWikipedia says: "James R. Osgood (1836-1892) was an American publisher probably best known for his partnership with Mark Twain and his involvement with the publishing company that would become Houghton Mifflin." Wikipedia also says:  "Roberts Brothers (1857–1898) were bookbinders and publishers in 19th-century Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1857 by Austin J. Roberts, John F. Roberts, and Lewis A. Roberts, the firm began publishing around the early 1860s."  Wikipedia reports that Thomas Niles joined the firm in 1863 and eventually became a partner.  See Blanchard's account of Jewett's dealings with publishers for Deephaven (80-81).  Jewett finally chose Osgood to publish her first novel, Deephaven (1877).

Mr. Howells:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick 21 Nov. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     I would have written you before if I could. I know you will believe me when I tell you that. I have decided to go to Mr. Osgood with 'Deephaven Cronies' (I hope you will like that title?)* for it seemed best to do so after I had thought of it, until I was tired and had tried to find out everything I possibly could about both firms. I found that Mr. Osgood's* standing was as high as a publisher and that the firm financially was all right, and that there was nothing to fear. Several people told me as you did that Mr. Niles* was best in helping a book along, and that I should probably be surer of the book's becoming popular if I let him have it. But I finally have come to look at it in this way. The book will not be a very popular book anyway, and it must be decently successful if either firm has the management of it for they both have the best facilities for publishing. Mr. Howells was the cause of its being published at all -- and he has always inclined toward his friend Mr. Osgood. I think it is right and kind for me to do what will please him most and since I have found that out beyond a question, and I know he has no fears of my being unlucky, I think I shall carry out the old plan. I do not think Mr. Howells wishes me to be so much influenced by his preference -- and I know he wishes me to decide for myself without regard to him, but that doesn't alter the case, and so I shall trust the book to Mr. Osgood and my own 'good luck'. The Atlantic is after all the mainsail of my craft, and Mr. Howells has always been the kindest of friends to me and it seems the best way to decide as I have done. I do not believe I am running any risk either. I found Mr. Osgood very pleasant and kind that day I saw him and I think it is safe to trust Mr. Howells's [Howells] opinion of him as a publisher -- though I realize the truth of what you have told me about Mr. Niles. I have such confidence in your opinion of such things that it has been very hard to go against it -- Still you said in your last letter that you rather inclined toward Mr. Osgood, and that was a great encouragement. I think the sorrow of saying no to Mr. Niles takes away a great deal from my pleasure in saying yes to Mr. Osgood! I have had the kindest letters from them both. I hope your eyes are well again. I was so sorry to find they were troubling you. I cannot write more now as I fear I am already late for the mail. I will tell you just as soon as I can whatever else there is to tell and what my plan is for the book. Please don't tell Mr. Howells that I was guided so much by him -- though it was silly in me to think I need caution you!! Yours with much love

     Sarah

Notes

that title:  Jewett final title of Jewett's first novel was Deephaven (1877).

Mr. Osgood's:  James Ripley Osgood.  See Correspondents.

Mr. Niles:  Wikipedia says:  "Roberts Brothers (1857–1898) were bookbinders and publishers in 19th-century Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1857 by Austin J. Roberts, John F. Roberts, and Lewis A. Roberts, the firm began publishing around the early 1860s."  Thomas Niles joined the firm in 1863 and eventually became a partner.  See Blanchard's account of Jewett's dealings with publishers for Deephaven (80-81).

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

25 Nov. 1876

Dear Anna

     I go on Arthur Helps1 principle that it is (as it ought to be) needless for friends to make apologies to each other -- that the friendship once given ought to be trusted. So I am not going to make apologies to you! I wonder if I haven't spoken of that essay before? It is very sensible and it always amused me too -- for it seems as if Sir Arthur was a bad correspondent and his essay was an apology in itself. He says that almost all letters between friends begin with excuses for not having written before -- and isn't that true?

     I enjoyed your letter very much and it made me wish most heartily that I could see you and have a nice long talk. That is the worst of a very nice letter, to me. It is like beginning a talk and seeing a friend for a few minutes & and then having her whisk away again. There was one thing you said which has been the greatest help to me, and I thank you for it very much -- our looking for Christ, and saying this is only the carpenter's son -- as we go about our every day work. I have thought of it so many times, and told my girls of it at Sunday School, and really I don't know when anything has struck me so forcibly or been of more practical use, for it has kept coming into my head again and again.

     Do you know, I have not read Daniel Deronda yet! In the first place, I have not had time to read it at my leisure, which I should like to do best. I have been very much amused with H. James's critique of it in the Atlantic2 -- it gives both sides certainly and there are some capital hits. Mr. Howells* told me a little about it before it was printed and I was particularly gratified with the young man's answer when one of the girls professes to have known some clever and charming Jews -- “Clever but not charming.” I think it is such a good 'hit with words.' I wonder if it is not a very shabby thing to have this contempt for that race? With me it is not a prejudice against their belief and history -- It is the looks of the Jews!! which is not a high-minded view of things at all.

     Well, do you want me to relate some particulars about my own affairs? I am writing with all my might, and have been ever since I came from Boston and Concord where I had a most charming visit. I never had been there to stay very long but now I feel as if I knew Concord by heart -- and the people there are perfectly delightful, and were so kind to me. That was four or five weeks ago and it was delightful weather, so that we were outdoors a great deal boating and walking and driving. I made some very pleasant new friends, one was Miss Preston3 who wrote Love in the Nineteenth Century* -- and I do like her dearly. I hope you will meet her some time. She had some idea of going to Washington this winter with the Frenches.4  If you are in W. this winter I hope you will see them. Judge French* is ass't secretary of the Treasury I believe. Mrs. F. is bright as a lark and their son Dan, who is a rising young sculptor, I am sure you will like as much as I do. He is an uncommonly interesting young fellow -- so very pleasant in every way. He is an old playmate of mine -- and it is his sister Mrs. Bartlett whom I visit in Concord. They used to live in Exeter and I used to be there a great deal at Grandmamma's and Dan and I and Sallie were great cronies.

     I have embarked upon a great piece of business in downright earnest -- making the Deephaven Sketches into a story and a book, which Mr. Osgood is to publish in the spring. 5 I have lately sent Mr. Howells the last paper -- which is longer than the rest and gave me enough to do -- and now I am trying to get some other stories done so that I shall have my time clear after the first week in Dec. I gave up this idea wholly, but Mr. Howells was anxious for me to carry out the old plan, and so I have embarked. Do wish me good luck! I had great trouble of mind in deciding on a publisher, for Roberts Bros. & Mr. Osgood both wished for the book,* and I was greatly puzzled to know which to decide upon, since both offered great advantages. I don't advise you to write stories dear Dawes-y -- it's not a path of roses -- yes it is; but they scratch you! Good bye -- I think of you every day -- truly -- and I wish I could see you this minute. We would go down river and stay all the afternoon -- wouldn't we?

                             Sincerely your fond friend

      

Hollis's Notes

1 Sir Arthur Helps (1813-1879) published among other popular works a collection of short essays, Brevia, in 1871.

2 Henry James, "Daniel Deronda: A Conversation," Atlantic Monthly, XXXVIII (December 1876), 684-694, was not explicit book criticism but an imaginary conversation of supposed readers of the new [George] Eliot novel. Sarah's somewhat embarrassed comments about Jews seem typical of the period rather than reflections of any personal prejudice. Some years later Anna Dawes vigorously opposed the anti-semitism of the day and was successful in awakening Sarah to the injustice of the contemporary attitudes. Cf., letters of January 8 and February 5, 1888.

3 This is the Harriet Waters Preston whose brief friendship with Sarah is treated in Frost, op. cit., 53-54, and Cary, op. cit., 34.

4 The French family were quite as lively and interesting as this paragraph indicates. Sallie French Bartlett wrote long gossipy letters to another brother then residing in Chicago. These letters, which tell of the family parties, picnics, and goings-on, are now in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The "rising young sculptor" is Daniel Chester French, famous for the Lincoln Memorial.

5 Deephaven did come out in April 1877.


Additional Notes

Mr. Howells:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

Love in the Nineteenth Century:  According to Encyclopedia.com, Love in the Nineteenth Century [1873] is an "essay novel" that "presents Preston's commonsensical program for establishing a workable love relationship. Liberally interspersed throughout ... are Preston's astute critical evaluations of numerous authors and her ideas on national types, tradition, "modern" music, marriage, and feminism. The ... novel also includes a long discussion on the deficiencies of male writers' fictional portraits of women and a prediction that when women writers finally "dare" to speak their minds freely, a 'new order of things in fiction' will result."

Judge FrenchHenry Flagg French (1813 - 1885) was an agriculturist, inventor, lawyer, judge, postmaster, assistant district attorney, and assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury.

for the book:   James Ripley Osgood (see Correspondents) and "Roberts Brothers (1857–1898) both accepted Jewett's proposal to publish Deephaven (1877).  See Blanchard's account of Jewett's dealings with the publishers in Sarah Orne Jewett (2002), pp. 80-1.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.   Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Anna Laurens Dawes

11 Dec 1876

Dear Anna

     I am very naughty to begin a letter to you this morning: your friend 'the authoress' has other duties (not alone of a literary nature either!) but I think I am very conscientious of late, and since I have taken business before pleasure so many days -- I will do as I please now. I have enjoyed your letter so much and it gave me an immense wish to see you. Do you realize how little we have really seen of each other, after all? -- but who shall say that we are not 'getting acquainted'!

     I was glad for a minute when I saw that your letter was postmarked Pittsfield -- for I have been thinking that you were in Boston. Ella* wrote me that she expected you soon after Thanksgiving and wished that i would come up if only for a day or two. I could not possibly go away just now, and I have been so sorry to think that I was missing you -- and that it was my last chance, for you would go to W. later. But it seems that my fears were needless, and I am so glad, because I may have a chance of seeing you after all. I am a very lucky girl about seeing people again -- but sometimes I think it is very hard that I cannot be with my cronies more. I used to mourn over it sadly when I was growing up but now that I am older I can see how much better it has been for me to have lived just the life I have.

     I can understand exactly how you you [sic] are both sorry and glad not to go to Washington. I should like so much to go there and see and know something of the political life -- for I never have had a chance of that sort of thing. I envy you your having been in the midst of it so much. There is certainly something in this settling of great questions, which makes one think and see farther than if one is under the necessity of deciding upon little things always. I think village life makes one very narrow if one is not careful. You get to thinking these trivial things the all important points in the world's history. I dont mean by this, that I am not fond of Berwick: there never was such a place in the world! -- And are you also of the same mind about Pittsfield? I don't mean to call Pittsfield a village! I know you must be fond of your home. I think too that it makes any place pleasant when one cares a great deal about the way in which one lives; it is not where, but how, I think, as one grows older. And there is no need of one's growing narrow any where if one tries to find the meaning and purpose -- and after it is certain what the work is which may be done, life cannot fail to be satisfactory. But one grumbles and misses things and complains, over and over again. I know I do. It seems to me that things are not apt to be grand and glorious while one is in the midst of them -- they get to be familiar, and one only thinks of them in the most practical way, with little reverence. I wonder if it is not so about life in Washington? -- The best meaning of the action comes afterward. We seem to be always hindered from giving ourselves up wholly to admiration or to any sentiment. When one goes to the mountains, there must be unpacking and rigging oneself and all manner of smaller interests to come into the thrill and the lifting up of one's whole heart. But when one goes away the mountains alone are remembered -- and this makes me think of something which I am always glad to remember -- a sermon of Mr. Brooks's.1 Perhaps I have already told you about it?

     The text was "And there was no room for them in the inn"* -- When the poor carpenter and his wife came to that inn in Bethlehem everybody told them that it was full. Mr. Brooks said we could not help noticing how that has been followed out ever since down through all the hundreds of years. No room for Christ! We find room for everything else and every body else in the busy inn of our hearts. The Jewish farmer was probably there with his money bags -- come to pay his tax -- the consequential Rabbi -- the proud Roman soldiers -- and now they are all forgotten; we do not know anything about one of them except that they kept Christ out. It is just so with things we make room for! really so worthless after all and to be completely forgotten. So we cramp our souls and the doors are too low for any but little stooping thoughts to enter and the rooms get filled with rubbish when God meant us to make them a fit temple for himself. If the people in the inn had known who was to be born how eagerly they would have made ready the best room. If they had known it was the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, the best friend and Saviour of us all, what a difference it would have made. And all are too busy or too idle. We let friend after friend come into our hearts and dwell there, but it is hard to find a place for Him. I wish you could have heard that sermon Anna! I don't know that it was so powerful as some others, but it was beautiful. Have we even said to each other that we like Mr. Brooks?  I like him more and more -- and I realize more how much good his preaching has done me and friends of mine -- I like him out of church, too.

     So you are not 'flush' this winter any more than I! I suppose it is good for us to feel a little poor, and do you know 'Dawes-y' I would much rather not have quite enough than more than enough -- I am pretty sure we enjoy life more. I think the worst thing is to have people persist that you are rolling in riches and expect you to be generous when you are giving up things you want horribly. I dare say I have more than other girls, but I don't believe there is another person in town who wants more things that she cant have, than I do! I am either on the top wave of prosperity or in extreme squalor -- and whereas I shall probably get high pay in January or February for one or two stories, I haven't just now a cent to bless myself with of my own, and I know father's finances cant be particularly flourishing either. Did anybody ever know such hard times?* but ah, those harder times, which make one shiver, though one cannot begin to realize the horror of them! There are almost no very poor people here -- at least I do not know of any who really suffer. Shoetown takes one class & the other factories the French -- and Indians, I was going to say! but I mean Irish -- and though there has been some cutting down and shutting down, they are not in want. When I am in Boston this winter I mean to make a point of going among poor people and to hospitals. My friend Ellen Mason* is much interested in that sort of thing -- and I have been with her some times. I should like to know more of the city poor -- and I have a great liking for hospitals.

     I have been so busy since I wrote you before -- working a great deal more steadily than I ought -- for I find I cant write more than five hours a day or so long as that

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Smiths Life by Lady Holland.2 I dare say you know it -- and isn't it nice -- such an earnest purposeful life -- and so much gossip and fun beside. I never had read it before, though it's not a new book by any means. By the way, I have somewhere some flowers which Fanny Kemble gave Mr. Howells and he gave me -- would you like a dried blossom with the additional luster of having come through the hands of the illustrious author of The Boy with one Shoe -- The Orchard's Grandmother and Half Done Polly? 3 It is two o'clock and I must say good by -- and go to work. Do let me know when you are to be in Boston. I cant promise myself that I will be there then -- but I should like it dearly. I think I never wished to go to Boston more. I hope you will have a lovely visit in Worcester. Aren't you tired? I don't know exactly why I ask you that. God bless you dear! and don't forget that I am

Your loving friend

Mary sends a heap of love to you and says don't you wish Ella would have another wedding!

     I have not wished you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I meant I have not told you that I send you my good wishes for those days and all your other days. Some how I dont feel as if I had half answered your letter. I can’t thank you enough for it. I have enjoyed it so much and have learned from it too, a great deal. But I wish we could have a talk!

     I hope you are minding the second division of the philosophical poem, "When it is cold you must not scold!" Isn't that funny?

 

Hollis's Notes

1 Phillips Brookes was the widely known rector of Trinity Church in Boston which Sarah attended whenever she was near enough to do so. Later he became a good friend of Sarah and Annie Fields.

2 This is without doubt the well-known biography that went through many editions in England and in this country: A Memoir of the Reverend Sidney Smith. By His Daughter, Lady Holland. Two Volumes.  London, 1855.

3 In view of the confusion sometimes made by the use of initials, there has been some doubt as to the author of these tales, signed S. O. J. On this problem, see Clara and Carl Weber, op. cit., 30. But the statement in this letter (perhaps in jocular response to a teasing question by Anna) would clearly indicate that all three works were not by Sophia Orne Johnson, but by Sarah Orne Jewett. 


Additional Notes

Ella:  Ella Walworth Little.  See Correspondents.

"And there was no room for them in the inn":  Phillips Brooks published this sermon for Christmas Eve in Sermons for the Principal Festivals and Fasts of the Church Year (1895), pp. 72-84.

hard times:  Jewett refers to what has come to be called "The Long Depression," a world-wide price and economic recession that lasted from 1873 until at least 1879.

Ellen Mason: See Correspondents.

Fanny Kemble gave Mr. Howells:  For William Dean Howells, see Correspondents.
      Wikipedia says: Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (1809 - 1893) "was a notable British actress from a theatre family in the early and mid-19th century. She was a well-known and popular writer, whose published works included plays, poetry, eleven volumes of memoirs, travel writing and works about the theatre."  Kemble married an American cotton planter in 1834 and separated from him in 1847.  She returned to England in 1877.

The Boy with one Shoe -- The Orchard's Grandmother and Half Done Polly:    "The Boy with One Shoe" appeared in The Independent in October 1871.  "The Orchard's Grandmother" was in Merry's Museum, May 1871. "Half-Done Polly" appeared in The Independent in October 1871 and was colleced in Play Days (1878). 

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

"When it is cold you must not scold!":  This "philsophical" poem was published anonymously in several newspapers in 1876 (and perhaps earlier).  Sometimes attributed to James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), the verse has been anthologized frequently in collections for children.
    Weather

If the weather is wet we must not fret.
If the weather is dry we must not cry.
If the weather is warm, we must not storm.
If the weather is cold, we must not scold.
Whatever the weather, we are friends together.

The last two lines often vary to read: "Be thankful together, whatever the weather."

This letter was transcribed and annotated by C. Carroll Hollis.  It appeared in "Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett to Anna Laurens Dawes," Colby Library Quarterly No. 3 (1968): 97-138.  It is in the Henry Laurens Dawes Papers in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Sarah Orne Jewett to James R. Osgood
South Berwick, Me.
15 Dec. 1876

My dear Mr. Osgood

    Cannot you write me within a few days about my book? -- I cannot make my plans for my writing unless I know yours, and I am putting off some other work on account of this.  I do not even know if you care to publish Deephaven Cronies,* and if you do not, I ought to make an arrangement with someone else if it is to come out in

[ Page 2 ]

the early spring -- I wish to know very much if you approved the plan of which I told you -- that is if you care for the book -- and -- but I will not repeat my questions.  I beg your pardon for any annoyance that I give you; but I am getting hindered in my work, because I don't know what I am to do, and nothings seems to be settled --

    Perhaps you have been waiting to see the last sketches? If you have not found time to look them over yet, I can tell you now, frankly, that they are neither better nor worse than

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the first 'Cronies' & the 'Excursions',* and if you are satisfied with those, * with my idea of rearranging them -- I think you will be with these.

yrs sincerely,

Sarah O. Jewett

Mr. Osgood --


Notes
 
Deephaven Cronies:  Jewett's first novel, Deephaven, appeared in 1877, published by James R. Osgood.

'Cronies' & the 'Excursions':  Jewett's "Deephaven Cronies"appeared in Atlantic in September 1875; "Deephaven Excursions" appeared in September 1876, also in Atlantic.

This manuscript of this letter is held by Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library, in the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Theophilus Parsons

     South Berwick

     22 De. 1876

     Dear Prof. Parsons

     The reason I have not written you is that I have had to work very hard all the time. Mr. Osgood wants the book 'copy' to be ready as early in January as possible and I did not suppose that I should have to send it before the middle of February. I find it hard work, for I was tired when I began, and this rearranging and rewriting bothers me a great deal more because I am not used to it. However, everything is going on very pleasantly and Mr. Osgood is very kind, and I am contented. I don't do much except write, as you may imagine -- and I shall be glad to take a little vacation by and by -- for I have never worked so [to] steadily for so long. I shall take the copy to Mr. Osgood myself when it is ready, for I think it will be a much better way than to arrange the business by endless letter-writing. I am going to try to have some pretty covers on the book -- and to have it nice looking -- for I think it makes a great difference with many people. I am trying my best to make the inside of the book good -- you may be sure! I have been writing some other stories since I wrote you last -- one for the Independent called Patty's Long Vacation -- which is about the same "Patty" who had a "Dull Christmas" last year -- and another is called Lady Fery [story title is "Lady Ferry"] -- which Mr. Howells is looking at now. It completely fascinated me, but I am not at all sure that the story is a success. I have begun some other things but I had to leave them just where they were when I found how I must hurry with the Deephaven Cronies.

     It was a great satisfaction to me to know that you approved my deciding to go to Mr.Osgood. I ought to have written at once to thank you for your letter and I meant to do so. Just at that time I had to be pretty careful for my eyes were not strong, and I have been neglecting my letters at any rate, for one can put those off until 'tomorrow' always. But if I did not tell you so, you may be sure I am none the less grateful.

     I am getting rather low spirited about the book. I dare say it is because I am so tired of it myself that I am perfectly sure it will seem as dull to everybody else as to me. One needs to be very fresh and to feel very 'jolly' to do such work as this, do not you think so? I wish it were in October and that I had just come home from York. I am out of the spirit of Deephaven life -- though I am more interested and it seems more real to me than it did a week ago. I'm going down to Portsmouth to spend a day with Georgie Halliburton!* I think that will be a great time. I suppose I shall be in Boston to see Mr. Osgood about the fifteenth of January -- but it will be only for a day and night, and I am afraid I shall not get out to Cambridge -- the days are so short. But I am to make some visits in Boston and one in Concord in February and I shall hope to see you then certainly.

     I hope your eyes are better, indeed I hope they are quite well. Will you please tell Miss Sabra* that I hear once in a while from Mrs. Coale and that she and Miss Julia* seem as delighted as ever with their travels. Mrs. Coale is always so enthusiastic about Rome -- which seems to be her heart's delight. I wish you a merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years. With love, yours always sincerely

     Sarah


Notes

Mr. Osgood:  James Ripley Osgood.  See Correspondents.  The book is Deephaven (1877), though Jewett refers to it in this letter by her working title, Deephaven Cronies.

Mr. HowellsWilliam Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

"Patty's Long Vacation" …"Lady Ferry"
: "Patty's Long Vacation" appeared in The Independent (28:25) on May 23, 1878. "Lady Ferry" first appeared in Old Friends and New (1879).

Georgie Halliburton:  Georgina Halliburton.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Coale … Miss Julia: The identities of these people are not known.  However a likely candidate for Mrs. Coale is Mrs. Skipworth H. [Holland?] Coale, who was the author of at least a few short stories.  In the July 1876 issue of Godey's Magazine appears this notice. 
We take pleasure in noticing that Mrs. Skipworth H. Coale, the authoress of "The Orange Girl of Sorrento," an excellent story in the present number, has been awarded, by the proprietors of the Baltimore Sun, the fifth prize of $75 in the competition for awards.  Mrs. Coale has written several stories for the LADY'S BOOK.  Among them may be mentioned "Mrs. Leamington's Adventure" [March 1875] "Sweet Adversity," [December 1875] and "Two Valentines" [March 1876], written under the nom de plume of "Sydney Bernal."  Judging from the merit of the stories we have published, Mrs. Coale's success as an authoress is assured. (p. 93).
WorldCat lists another piece by "Sydney Bernal": "The Wrong Hat" (January 1875); issue dates for the stories mentioned above also are from WorldCat.  Internet searches have yielded no other certain information about Mrs. Coale or her husband.  It is possible that the spelling of his name has varied to "Skipwith."  Assistance is welcome.

Miss Sabra: For Mary Sabra Parsons, see Theophilus Parsons in Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Special Collections at Colby College.  It was transcribed in 1986 by curator Fraser Cocks, with some later corrections by an anonymous hand.  Further corrections, notes and annotations by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Anna Laurens Dawes to SOJ


[ Letterhead including initials AD]

Washington D. C.
Dec. 23. 1876

My Dear Sara [so spelled].

    A merry Xmas to you and your sister.  I wish I could say it to you.  [Womens ?] letters are about as good.

    Your charming and characteristic letter was a sort of stirring up as I started for this place.  The plain English of which remarkable

[ Page 2 ]

    Our bride is an old married woman by this time,* and apparently likes it better than ever.  After all said & done, I don't feel particularly attracted, do you?  I always did admire St. Paul, & I agree with him that the unmarried state* is "better."  I am not strong minded either! And, Alice is on the other side.  Happy mortal!  I think it is just the thing for her too don't you?  What a fine family

[ Page 3 ]

that is and what fine attachés they have too.  Did ever girls find better husbands than George Little and Wallace Pierce?

    I must stop though as I feel inclined to run on indefinitely.  Do write to me some day soon, and if you will ask a lot of questions I will try to write a letter that will interest you.

    My love to your sister, please.

    Very warmly yours

Anna L. Dawes.   


Notes

our bride:  Stella Louise Walworth Pierce, who has just married Wallace Pierce.  George Little is the husband of Louis's sister, Ella Walworth.  See Correspondents.

unmarried state:  See 1 Corinthians 7:8, where St. Paul says that remaining unmarried is best for a Christian, as long as one can control one's sexual urges.

Alice:  Alice Drummond Walworth, the third of the Walworth sisters, is not yet married at the time of this letter.   See Ella Walworth Little in  Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by Columbia University Libraries Special Collections in the Sarah Orne Jewett letters,  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College, from a Columbia University Libraries microfilm copy of the manuscript.






SOJ to James R. Osgood

South Berwick
29 Dec. 1876

  Dear Mr. Osgood:

    I have a letter from Messrs Houghton & Co* telling me that they have been thinking of reprinting some of the Atlantic stories and should have chosen the Deephaven sketches* for one of the little books. But they have no wish to keep me waiting since there is uncertainty about the time and  "cheerfully give their consent to my reproducing them in book-form as proposed through Messrs Osgood & Co -- "with their best wishes for my success. I am very

[ Page 2 ]

glad I wrote to them, since with this plan of theirs, they would have thought me very rude!

    I wish to tell you too, that I must be later than the tenth of January with my 'copy' for I have been sick :and have lost some of my time. I hope not much later however.

  Mr. Howells* thinks I had better not try to have the last chapters I wrote published first in the Atlantic.  He says they will not do so well for a magazine as the others did -- standing by themselves, but he praises them most kindly for the book.  I was afraid myself

[ Page  3]

that they would not do -- and that it would make a great deal of trouble for I have only one good copy of the chapters and [that would corrected] be wanted at both places! Mr. Howells says beside, that it is much better to have the book partly new, which seems to me very sensible -- for the people who have it all in the Atlantic would not be particularly eager to buy it -- Would you rather see these chapters [for corrected ] yourself? I should not like for you to be dissatisfied with having accepted the book. Or if you were to think of it when you see Mr. Howells he would tell you -- Though I am sure he would have told me if he thought they had

[ Page 4 ]

better be re-written -- for he knows, I think, that I wish to do my work just as well as I can --

Yours sincerely

 Sarah O. Jewett.

Notes

Houghton & Co:  Later named Houghton, Mifflin & Company, this publisher printed the rest of Jewett's books after the James R. Osgood Co. published her first.

Deephaven sketches: Jewett published three sketches set in the fictional town of Deephaven, Maine in Atlantic Monthly between September 1873 and September 1876.  These were collected with extensive additions and revisions in her first novel, Deephaven 1877.

Mr. Howells:  William Dean Howells.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Haverford College Library in the Roberts Collection.  It has been transcribed previously by David Bonnell Green in "Two Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett." Notes and Queries 5 (1958): 361-362.  New transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.



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