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Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1883



SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Friday morning

Spring House*

Richfield Springs, N.Y.
[ 1880 - early 1883 ]

Dear Mary,

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Poor foolish Annie Collins* -- why couldn’t she have behaved!  ‘Lord he knows!’ as Sandpiper* used to settle things -- but there is something wrong morally in her and a little peg in her head that works wrong.  I wish Jimmy* had always made her go to church -- that is the one hold on such as she.  I am so glad you heard that Hannah* was better but if you should be driving just slip down & ask the doctor. --------------------------------

             Templeman Coolidge’s grandma is all dead up and had a nice funeral at King’s Chapel* this day, and every body was marrying on Beacon Street with awnings out and “marrying hacks.”  We should have gone to the Hemenway wedding* but didn’t -- and Sally Rice* said it was the same with her.   ----------------------------------------

 

Sarah


Notes

1880 - early 1883: Current information creates confusion about the date of this letter.  I have placed it at the latest likely date.  As the notes below indicate, Jewett seems to reference the important society wedding of Augustus Hemenway, which took place in December of 1881, and the death of another important person in Boston society, Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge Swett on January 21, 1880.  These events are nearly 2 years apart.  Perhaps she refers to different events than she appears to, but no clarifying information has been discovered.  Assistance is welcome.
    The hyphens at the beginning, middle and end indicate this is an incomplete transcription.

Spring House:  Richfield Springs, NY, was known for its sulfur springs, where 19th-century patients sought relief for various conditions, rheumatism in Jewett's case.

Annie Collins: Annie Collins, who is mentioned in other letters, was a Jewett family employee.  It is possible also that Will Collins has for the family.  It is reasonably likely that Annie and Will Collins are brother and sister.  FamilyTreeNow.com provides this census information.
    Annie Collins (1860 until after 1930), of Irish parents, resident of South Berwick, Maine in 1930.
    William Collins (1864 until after 1930), brother to Annie, born in Maine, resident of South Berwick, Maine in 1930.
    Neither was married in 1930.

Sandpiper:  Celia Laighton Thaxter.  See Correspondents

Jimmy: While this is somewhat speculative, in "Trades Hike: Servant: Hannah Driscoll" is mentioned James Collins, an Irish immigrant uncle of Hannah Driscoll, who shared her household sometime after 1887.

Hannah: While there are several possibilities for the identity of this Hannah, it seems likely she was Hannah Driscoll (c1846- after 1887), a Jewett neighbor and helper who, according to Paula Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett, took care of Uncle William Durham Jewett. See "Trades Hike: Servant: Hannah Driscoll" by the Marshwood School District and the Old Berwick HIstorical Society.

Templeman Coolidge’s grandma is all dead up: : John Templeman Coolidge (1856-1945) and his first wife, Katherine Scollay Parkman (1858-1900), daughter of historian Francis Parkman, summered in Portsmouth, NH, at the historic Wentworth Mansion, which they restored and maintained over many years, beginning in 1886. Wikipedia says: "Coolidge was a Boston Brahmin, artist and antiquarian who used the property as a summer home. His guests included such luminaries as John Singer Sargent, Edmund C. Tarbell and Isabella Stewart Gardner."  One of his grandmothers was Elizabeth Boyer Coolidge Swett (1797-January 21, 1880), the mother of his father, Joseph Swett Coolidge, who changed his last name from Swett to Coolidge upon his marriage to Mary Louisa Coolidge (1832-  ) daughter of John Templeman and Louisa Riché Tilden (1811- 10 April 1899), his grandmother, therefore, on his mother's side.  See The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volumes 76-77 from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1922. p. 297.

the Hemenway wedding: It seems likely that this is the wedding of Augustus Hemenway (1853-1931) and Harriet Dexter Lawrence in December of 1881.

Sally Rice:  This person's identity is uncertain.  She may be Sarah Rice (1825-1907), daughter of General Charles Rice (1787-1863), who served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  She was a cousin to John Hamilton Rice and, by marriage, to Jewett's friend, Cora Clark Rice. See Correspondents

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 74, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.  Preparation by Linda Heller.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.


SOJ to Horace Scudder

     South Berwick, Maine
     March 3, [1883]

    Dear Mr. Scudder:

     I ought to have told you that Mr. Warner1 wished to have the manuscripts returned to 148 Charles St. instead of to Hartford, in case you do not wish to use them,2 but I forgot this when we were talking yesterday.
     Yours ever sincerely,

     Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

     1 Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900), co-author with Mark Twain of The Gilded Age, was editor of the Hartford Courant from 1861 to 1900, and contributing editor of Harper's from 1884 to 1898. Tireless in his encouragement of female writers, he visited Miss Jewett at South Berwick and she, in turn, stopped regularly at the Warner household in Hartford.
     2 Miss Jewett may be referring to some sketches or poems she sent to Warner, with the request that he relay them to Scudder if they were not suitable. Harper's and the Atlantic Monthly published Miss Jewett a total of six times this year.

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


SOJ to John Geenleaf Whittier

 148 Charles Street

Saturday, April 28, [1883]

My dear Friend:

     Here it is, almost May Day! and all the aches and pains that "neurology" knows how to produce ought to be over by that time. I have thought of you a great many times, and wondered how you were getting on. Last night I dreamed that I went to a charity meeting with A. F. and there was a great row there, and in attempting to take her part I fell over a wall and hurt my arm abominably. In fact it waked me up it ached so, but it was no benevolent almsgiver who brought me to such distress; I had simply connected a familiar subject of thought with the familiar pain!1 However, T. L.2 was greatly amused with the dream. The particulars of the battle were very edifying.

     I have been writing again by fits and starts and this time the story is called "The Hare and the Tortoise.”3 It is a love story with its scene laid in Boston, and the Hare and the Tortoise are two lovers, and in this fable it is the Hare that wins the race. I was glad you liked the "Landless Farmer.”4 I think you will find the second part better when you see it in the magazine than it was on the uncorrected proof slips. Mrs. Fields is sending you the Jane Carlyle books5 which we have enjoyed so much! I see them now, put out for Patrick6 to "do up" with his usual precision.

     We went to Manchester by the Sea7 Thursday, to see about opening the house on Monday when we go down again. It was a hard day for poor T. L. but we made the best of it, and had a great many pleasures after all. The frogs had thawed out -- they were talking in their sleep at any rate, and the barberry bushes were covered with dry fruit on top, where the improvident people had not thought it worthwhile to harvest. The sun shone through the berries with marvellous effect* and we had a famous drive back to Beverly, where we took the half past four train instead of waiting at Manchester an hour or two. We were in an excellent buggy with its top put back and the sun kept us very warm, and we gathered some pussy willows almost grown into cats, if one judged by their fur. The sea was as blue as it could be and furthermore we had had a picnic at the back of the house on the hilltop where we were sheltered from the wind. T. L. pointed out the Danvers road to me with great satisfaction and expectation of our travelling over it by and by. I must say goodbye for here comes T. L. upstairs having finished her day's housekeeping and now we are going out to do some errands together. She sends her dear love to you and so do I.

Yours most affectionately,

Sarah

 
Notes

1 Annie Fields [A.F.] was a founder and leading spirit of the Associated Charities of Boston. She wrote How To Help the Poor (Boston, 1883) as a guidebook to humane and personalized philanthropy. While Jewett was not averse to accompanying Mrs. Fields on her errands of mercy, her enthusiasm was not equivalent.

2  A covert pet name which Miss Jewett teasingly applied to Annie Fields. No revelation has yet been discovered in any of Miss Jewett's public or private writings. [It is possible Jewett uses a pet name that Whittier applied to Fields.  Assistance is welcome.]

3  One of Miss Jewett's infrequent Boston stories (Atlantic Monthly, in [August1883], 187-199; uncollected) with an O'Henryesque ending. "Boston is like meeting one's grandmother in costume at a fancy ball," she says, with some provincial smugness.

4 "A Landless Farmer," Atlantic Monthly, LI (May, June 1883), 627-637, 759-769, in which Jerry Jenkins is shunted into a King Lear position by his ingrate daughters. Whittier had written: "I found the 'Landless Farmer' true as a sun-picture to the life and atmosphere of a farming neighborhood and the story of poor old Uncle Jerry full of genuine pathos." (Cary, "Whittier Letters," 13.)

5  James Anthony Froude, editor, Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, Prepared for Publication by Thomas Carlyle (New York, 1883), 2 vols. The packet may also have contained Thomas Carlyle's Reminiscences, edited by Froude (New York, 1881), about which Miss Jewett had written: "I have been reading Carlyle's Reminiscences -- the Jane Welsh Carlyle  [chapter], as you may suppose." (Fields, Letters, p. 17.) Copies of both books are in Miss Jewett's library.

6  Patrick Lynch, Mrs. Fields's man of all work.

7  Miss Jewett spent part of every summer at the Fields's "Gambrel Cottage" on the Massachusetts coast. In A Little Book of Friends (Boston, 1916) Harriet Prescott Spofford describes the "wonderful out­look of beauty set in the midst of flaming flowers, three sides overlooking the wide shield of the sea, but the fourth side so precipitous that the broad piazza there is only a turret chamber above the tops of the deep woods and orchards below, with the birds flying under it, and looking far over the winding river, ripening meadow, and stretching sea again." (p. 19.)

Editor's Notes

sun shone through the berries with marvellous effect:  Jewett uses this image in her story, "Farmer Finch," which appeared in two parts in Atlantic Monthly, May and June 1883.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.


 
SOJ to Jessie McDermott

 South Berwick, Maine
     May 23, 1883
 

     Dear Miss McDermott:

     I have looked at the picture which you drew for my little story in the June Wide Awake1 with so much pleasure that I wish to thank you. I think it is charmingly done, and the doleful little girl in the chair is so like the Katy whom I 'made up,' that it seems quite wonderful.
     Yours is really a most careful and satisfactory piece of work, but I wish I could say the same of my sketch which somehow missed being read in the proof, and which ought to have been revised by its guilty writer. However! -- and I will do my part better next time.2
     Yours sincerely and with many thanks.

     Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

     1 "Katy's Birthday," Wide Awake, XVII (June 1883), 36-40; collected in Katy's Birthday by Sarah O. Jewett with Other Stories by Famous Authors (Boston, 1883).
     2 Miss Jewett may have felt sheepish over the fact that on page 40 the word in was printed instead of and.

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




SOJ to Alexander W. Drake*

26 May 1883


As for my own verses, I dont remember anything except Gosport Church* which would [be] of any use to you.  There was a story published long ago in my youth in Merry Museum called The Orchard's Grandmother.*  I never could tell why I did not print it in Playdays for it was one of the best things I ever did:  partly "made up" but having for its foundation the history of that old apple tree* which was the ancestor of most of the orchards hereabout.  It stood on the main-road from Berwick to York and probably you know it well -- and can tell more about it than I.

    I am truly grieved to hear of Mrs. Drake's illness.  it must have been a long sorrowful winter to you both.  I hoped that I should see you, but the month [flew] by, it seems to me, and so many pleasant things were crowded out.  I have done a good deal of writing and have been much better than usual, though I had a horrid time with rheumatism while the snow was going off.

Thank you so much for your kind letter -- and I am yours always sincerely

                            Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

Drake:  The transcriber includes a note: [To:   Mr. Drake  From S. B.  26 May 1883].  In the absence of further information, one cannot be certain that Jewett's recipient is Alexander W. Drake.  However, this seems highly probable.  From 1870, for nearly 40 years, Alexander W. Drake (1843-1916) was art superintendent at St. Nicholas and Scribner's Monthly, which later became Century Magazine.  That this letter seems to concern the possible re-publication of a Jewett work for young readers would suggest that she is responding to Mr. Drake about a project related to St. Nicholas.  If this scenario holds, then this may be correspondence leading to the publication of "Perseverence," a poem that appeared in St. Nicholas 10 (September 1883), with an illustration by Rose Mueller.  The poem was reprinted in Mary Mapes Dodge, Baby World: Stories, Rhymes, and Pictures for Little Folks, New York: Century, 1884, pp. 258-9, (first two stanzas), and in Verses 1916 as "A Four-Leaved Clover."
    See Susan R. Gannon, Suzanne Rahn, Ruth Anne Thompson, St. Nicholas and Mary Mapes Dodge: The Legacy of a Children's Magazine Editor, 1873-1905 (2004), pp. 55-7.

Gosport church:  Jewett's "Gosport" poem almost certainly is "Star Island," which first appeared in Harper's Magazine 63 (September 1881). 

The Orchard's Grandmother ... Playdays:  "The Orchard's Grandmother" appeared in Merry's Museum 59 (May 1871).  Jewett's collection of fiction for children, Playdays, appeared in 1878.

old apple tree:  In Ancient City of Gorgeana and Modern Town of York (1874), George Alexander Emery tells the story of the old apple tree said to have been brought from England to York in about 1629:
"The apple-tree flourishes well, and bears bountifully in this town; so much so, that Cider-Hill has long been a name applied to a section in the northerly portion of the town.  Here is still standing an apple-tree which is said to have been brought from England, in a little tub or box, by one of the early settlers, more than two hundred and forty years ago.  It has borne fruit up to the present time (1874); but the trunk is a mere upright hollow log, and only one limb retaining any vitality, it is not likely to survive many years longer" (p. 89).
A note with this transcription indicates that the manuscript of this letter is in the "Yale University Collection -- Sterling Library -- New Haven, Conn." A search of Yale Manuscript and Archives finding guides provides an exact location: Yale Collection of American Literature --  Letter Collection YCAL MSS 446, Box 15.  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 Annie Adams Fields

        [May 1883]
                                Wednesday evening

Dear darling

   I do miss you dreadfully, but Pinny* is going to be good though you forgot to tell her to be!  It seems so strange and lonely to be without you after all this dear time we have been together, but I daresay I shall get into my old tracks after a day or two.  It has been chilly and I have felt the change in the air a good deal, but I am going to try gardening to morrow if the weather is right.  I have been driving all afternoon with Mary and we stayed ever so long in the woods by the river where it is sheltered from the wind and had a beautyful [ so spelled ] time.  It was low tide and the salt grass was very fragrant on one side to match the pines on the other and one pee wee chirped a lonesome note in the bushes as if she were named Pinny and had left a Fuffy* in some far Boston. -- I haven't even unpacked my boxes yet, except to hunt for the plums but there is no great hurry.

    Your dearest note has come and I was so glad to get it and Sandpiper's* was a dear one too.  I mean to do down with Mary* very soon.  Wasn't it funny about the sparrows with their crops full?  I have been looking over the Atlantic and liking it very much -- only I think it was an outrage to have filled so much space in three numbers with Daisy Miller's Dramatization.*   I dont see how Mr. James could bare to waste his time over it.  Oh, dear Fuff,  the cheque for your artical [ so spelled ] will not come [untill?] the first day of June, so don't be looking for it in vain before that time.  Did you ever remember the little candle-sticks you bought in Paris for the house in Manchester?  I am using mine -- and it is so nice.  Dont you think the Emerson artical* [ so spelled ] looks well? I was thinking about there being any trouble about doing it, but I think there couldn't be, for they could use it in a book if they like just as well as ever.  I should never have a fear of it.  Pin always said so.  Dear love good night and God bless you.

    From Your own Pin.


Notes

1883:  The transcriber dates this letter from 1882, but that is not possible, because it references events of 1883.  See notes below.

Pinny:  Pinny Lawson (Pinny / Pin) was an affectionate nickname for Jewett, used by her and Annie Fields.

Fuffy:  Fuffy/Fuff, an affectionate nickname for Fields, used by Jewett and Fields.

Sandpiper's:  A nickname among the inner circle of Jewett and Fields for Celia Thaxter.  See Correspondents.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Daisy Miller's DramatizationDaisy Miller: A Comedy in Three Acts by Henry James appeared in Atlantic Monthly in April, May and June of 1883.

Emerson artical:  Annie Fields's memoir, "Mr. Emerson in the Lecture Room," appeared in Atlantic Monthly, June 1883, pp. 818-32.  This appears to be the same article Jewett first refers to earlier in the letter.
 
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 John Geenleaf Whittier

South Berwick

May 27, [1883]

 

My dear Friend:

     I was more than glad to get your letter for I had been wishing to hear from you and wishing to write to you, but I have found so many things to do since "I came home" that you have no need to fear that I write too much. If you please, gardening is taking up a great deal of my time, and besides that I have too long neglected my self-imposed duties as inspector of the York and Barvick1 roads and I have had no end of driving to attend to. Who do you suppose came down from Boston on Saturday and spent Sunday with me? Dear A. F.,* for I was moved by a sudden impulse Saturday morning and sent off a telegram, and after­ward thought it would be no use for I manufactured no end of reasons why she could not come. But presently came the answer and it was "Thank you, yes!" at which I was ready to fly with joy. She looked so tired and so white when she came, but I really think the change and a good drive through the woods yesterday did her a great deal of good and sent her home feeling better today. It is cruel to let her stay alone, and I never mean to be away when I can help it, but this is one of the times when I cannot and indeed it is very pleasant to be here, as much as I miss her. Your letter came just after she did so we both enjoyed it, and I expect a great deal of good luck from the four-leaved clovers. I sought diligently for one to retaliate with, but though I am usually fortunate, there was not one to be seen.

     I have not seen the story you speak of though the Littells2 are in a nice brown heap together waiting to be read one evening very soon. I must tell you how much I have been enjoying your Dr. Singletary.3 The description of him reminds me so much of my father that I read it again and again, and it is all very beautiful. Those two volumes are such a storehouse of good things.

     When is the yearly meeting of Friends at Portland?4 I am not going to be disagreeable and to extort a hindering and constraining promise from you, but I do wish to know the time so that I may hide in ambush and lie in wait for you as you go and come! Unless you must say that it will be impossible, and you had better not!

     Goodbye. I have not told you how much I like the poem in the Independent5 or a great deal else, for that matter.

Yours always lovingly,

Sarah


Notes

1  "One curious thing is the pronuncia­tion of the name of the town: Berwick by the elder people has always been called Barvik, after the fashion of Danes and Northmen; never Berrik, as the word has so long been pronounced in modern Eng­land." (Sarah Orne Jewett, "Looking back on Girlhood," Youth's Companion, LXV [January 7, 1892], 5.) See also Miss Jewett's "The Old Town of Berwick," New England Magazine, x (July 1894).

2  An eclectic monthly published in Boston, comprising poems, essays, and stories collected chiefly from British periodicals.

3  Whittier's "My Summer With Dr. Singletary" was first published in the National Era in 1851-1852 and collected in Literary Recreations and Miscellanies (1854). It was reprinted in The Prose Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (Boston, 1865), 2 vols., reissued in 1882, a copy of the last in Miss Jewett's library. Singletary is a congenial, beloved country doctor as was Miss Jewett's father.

4  The meeting that year ran from June 8 through June 13. Whittier did attend "but as is his custom, took no part in the proceedings." (Portland Transcript, June 13, 1883, p. 87.)

5  "What the Traveller Said at Sun­set," Independent, xxxv (May 17, 1883), 609, collected in The Bay of Seven Islands, and Other Poems (1883).

Editor's Notes

A.F.:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.




SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

  June 5, 1883           

    I will be with you tomorrow -- your dear birthday.*  How I am looking forward to Thursday evening!  --  I don't care whether there is starlight or a fog.  Yes dear, I will bring the last sketch* and give it its last touches if you think I had better spend any more time on it.  I am tired of writing things.  I want now to paint things and drive things.  And kiss things!  --  And yet I have been thinking all day what a lovely sketch it would be to tell the story of the day we went to Morwenstow  --  with bits of Lorna Doone & the Vicar* intertwined with the narrative.

    I have been reading Carlyle's Reminiscences -- the Jane Welsh Carlyle* as you may suppose . How could people have made such a fuss about it!  It seems to grow more and more simple and beautiful and human; and Carlyle is like a "great stone face" on a mountain top.  Good night, and God bless you dear love. 

Yours, always     

Pin*


Notes

birthday: Annie Adams Fields was born on 6 June 1834.

last sketch:  Jewett published at least eight stories and essays between August and December of 1883.

Morwenstow  --  with bits of Lorna Doone & the VicarWikipedia says: "Morwenstow is the most northerly parish in Cornwall….  Morwenstow is the one-time home of the eccentric vicar and poet Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875), the writer of Cornwall's anthem Trelawny." Jewett recounts her visit to this village in her letter of 2 July 1882, writing her sister Mary about her travels with Mrs. Fields in England. 
    "Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor is a novel by English author Richard Doddridge Blackmore [1825-1900], published in 1869."
    The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) is a novel by the Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774). 

Carlyle's Reminiscences -- the Jane Welsh Carlyle:  It appears Jewett refers to James Anthony Froude, editor, Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, Prepared for Publication by Thomas Carlyle (New York, 1883), 2 vols.  The book received negative commentary because of its frank portrayal of the Carlyles' troubled marriage.

"great stone face":  Jewett compares Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) to the Old Man of the Mountain, also called the Great Stone Face, "a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, United States, that appeared to be the jagged profile of a face when viewed from the north."  This formation collapsed in 2003.

Pin:  Pinny Lawson was an affectionate nickname for Jewett, used by her and Annie Fields.

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 Annie Adams Fields


 Thursday afternoon
 [June, 1883]*

This is a lazy loitering Pinny Lawson who came over to the old house* directly after dinner to write as fast as she could, but she got hold of the box of her dear T. L.'s letters* and has been reading one more and one more until a great piece of the afternoon is gone.  On my dear darling I had forgotten that we loved each other so much a year ago for it all seems so new to me every day.  There is so much for us to remember already.  But a year ago last winter seems a great way off for we have lived so much since.  I have had a hard time of worry and hard work since you went away on Monday.  I wish I could be idle all the rest of June, that is, not feel forced to do things.  But I suppose it cannot be and the only thing possible in a busy life is to rest in ones work since one cannot rest from it.  I think a good deal about the long story* but it has not really taken hold of me yet.  I do get so impatient with myself dear Fuffy.  I am always straying off on wrong roads and I am so wicked about things.  This is one of the times when I think despairingly about my faults and see little chance of their ever being mended.  But Fuffy to have patience with Pin and please to love  her!
    I have been reading Under the Olive* a good deal in this last day or two and I cant begin to tell you how beautiful it is to me -- and how helpful.  I long to hear you read from it again.  And when I think it was my dear little Fuffy who wrote it, it seems quite amazing. It is like remembering that I have dared to talk nonsense and hug and play generally with something that turned itself into a whole world full of thoughts and sights and beautiful things.  Fuffy and the poet are a funny pair to live in the same skin, you know, ladies!  Oh Pinny to go to work!  An idle and thriftless Pinny to whom the rest of the Lawsons are industrious.



Notes

1883:  The transcriber dates this letter in 1882, but that is not possible, as Jewett and Fields were together in Europe at that time.  Given the hints in the letter that it was composed early in the Jewett-Fields friendship, 1883 seems a more likely year.  The lack of a signature suggests that this is part of a longer letter.

Pinny Lawson ... old house:  Pinny Lawson is one of the nicknames Fields and Jewett gave to Jewett.  The other Lawsons would include, Sam Lawson, the "shiftless" reconteur of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Oldtown Folks (1869) and other stories.  
    During their Uncle William Jewett's life, Sarah and Mary resided at their parents' home next door to "the old house" of their grandparents, now known as "The Jewett House."  Both houses are property of Historic New England.

T.L.:  Richard Cary says that T. L. is a "covert pet name which Miss Jewett teasingly applied to Annie Fields. No revelation [of its meaning] has yet been discovered in any of Miss Jewett's public or private writings."   Jewett announces the invention of this name in a letter to John Greenleaf Whittier of 9 September 1882.
    As of this writing, only a few instances of her using it are known and its meaning remains a mystery, though it superficially resembles a nickname Fields has given Jewett: P.L., standing for Pinny Lawson, which connects Jewett with Sam Lawson, Harriet Beecher Stowe's raconteur from Oldtown Fireside Stories (1881).
    "Fuffy" is another of Jewett's pet names for Fields.

long story:  Jewett sometimes used the term "long story" to refer to her novels, notably Deephaven (1877) and The Tory Lover (1901).  The date of this letter suggests she may be working on A Country Doctor (1884).

Under the Olive:  Fields's collection of poems, Under the Olive, appeared in 1881.

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 John Geenleaf Whittier


South Berwick

Thursday evening

[July 5, 1883

Dear Friend:

     Your letter has just reached me here, and I can only say that I still hope to reach Holderness1 and that A. F.* will go too. I shall have to stay here for the present as my mother and sister will both be away but the very first chance I can get, I shall try again to make the little visit at the Asquam House to which I have so long been looking forward. It was well that we did not start in the great heat of last week perhaps, but I was much disappointed. I went over to Manchester hoping to start next morning.

     It seems to be a great sorrow to our dear friend to stay at Man­chester, and neither can she bear to be away, though she seemed to care very much to see you. I stay with her every minute that I can get, but of course at this time of the year I often ought to be here. She is better contented while I am staying with her, but every letter almost makes my heart ache with the story of her miserable loneliness whether she tells it or I only "read between the lines." I am dreadfully troubled sometimes, for in spite of everything it seems as if it were harder and harder for her just to be alive. And there are still so many things to please her and comfort her. The only thing is to keep as close to her as we can and love her all we can. I do truly love her, but I pity her as I would pity a little child that has been run over and hurt, and yet has to get up and keep on its way.

     But I must not write only of this sadness. I wish to tell you how glad I am that you are feeling better at Holderness, and that tomorrow morning early Mary* and I are to start for Portsmouth and the Shoals where we are going to spend the night with the Sandpiper.* Saturday night Mary is going on to my aunt's summer place at Little Boar's Head2 where she will spend a week or two. Mother is going to Wells on Monday and I am going to write as fast as I can and keep house for myself, though perhaps I shall have Mrs. Rice* here for a day or two. I shall send your note to Annie Fields so she will read it too, and you will see us coming one of these days.

Yours lovingly,

Sarah

 
Notes

1  A summer resort village in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Whittier was staying at a new hotel on the peak of Shepard Hill which afforded a magnificent view of the several lakes in its vicinity. The scene inspired his poems "The Hill-Top" and "Storm on Lake Asquam." On July 10 Whittier sent Miss Jewett directions on how to come "two ways," by steamer or by railroad. (Cary, "More Whittier Letters," p. 133.)

2  Site of many beautiful summer residences in southeastern New Hampshire. Miss Jewett's maternal family was native to this area.

Editor's Notes

A.F.:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Sandpiper: Celia Thaxter.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Rice:  Probably Cora Clark Rice. See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.


 SOJ to John Geenleaf Whittier

 Home [South Berwick]

July 20, [1883

Dear Friend:

     I meant to have told you yesterday that I reached here all right, and that I feel a great deal better and richer for the journey. I find myself remembering that beautiful view of the lakes and the mountain slopes, and thinking of them over and over again. I think it did Mrs. Fields a great deal of good too. We had a most lovely drive in the early morning and the sail on Winnipesaukee was most marvellously beautiful. The sky over the Italian Lakes themselves never was a more delicate colour.1 Yesterday morning I drove to York and brought Mrs. Rice* and her little boy back with me, and I enjoyed that very much, both the drive and my company for the country is as green as England. I saw the Longfellows2 who were glad to hear about you. They are going abroad this autumn to study in Oxford, and next summer are going to make Mrs. Ole Bull a visit in Norway.*

     Do give my love to your dear cousins3 and Mrs. Caldwell4 for I enjoyed seeing them so much, and shall look forward to seeing them again.

Yours always most lovingly,

Sarah

 
Notes

1 Miss Jewett and Mrs. Fields respond­ed to Whittier's appeal, came and stayed about a week. He wrote to both in this same vein: "The place was, I think, never so beautiful. . . . Such a sunset the Lord never before painted" (Pickard, Life and Letters, II, 688); and even more telepathi­cally to Miss Jewett on July 20, "The day was beautiful -- the sunset would have been the despair of a painter. I think I never before saw such a picture of God." (Cary, "More Whittier Letters," p. 133.)

2 Probably William Pitt Preble Long­fellow (1836-1913), son of the poet's brother Stephen, who married Emily Daniell of Boston in 1870. An engineer and architect, he studied and traveled abroad extensively. He was the first editor of the American Architect and a trustee of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

3  Joseph Cartland (1810-1898) and Gertrude Cartland (1822-1911), who ac­companied Whittier on his summer vaca­tions in Maine and New Hampshire for five decades, and in whose home at New­buryport, Massachusetts, he lived most of his last fifteen winters.

4  Adelaide Caldwell, wife of Whittier's nephew Lewis, was noted for her sparkling personality at family gatherings.

Editor's Notes

Mrs. Rice:  Cora Clark Rice.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Ole Bull:  Sara Chapman Thorp Bull (1850-1911) the widow of famed Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (1810-1880); she lived near the Horsfords at 168 Brattle Street in Cambridge.  Apparently she sometimes summered at her husband's home in Norway.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.



SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier

South Berwick 
Wednesday
   [Summer 1883 ]

Dear Friend,

    I was so glad to get your letter but almost sorry to find that you had come back to this part of the country at what I am afraid is the beginning of a dry hot time.  Do be careful, and run back again if you find yourself feeling the change too much.

    It was certainly a very bracing air at Asquam.*  I felt so much better for the barely two days I was in the region.  I have been meaning to write you again and to send you this hymn (which you must have thought was forgotten){.}  One copy is for your cousin Mrs. Cartland* -- which I would have sent her myself if I had been sure of her address.  I have been very busy indeed since I came home for we have had visitors and part of the time I was house keeping alone.  and then I went down to Little Boar's Head to stay with my cousins the Bells and Gilmans* and stole one night from them to go over to Manchester.*  I came away early in the morning, but it was a most lovely evening.  Mrs. Claflin* was there and I was glad to see her.  I am later in going over to stay than I meant to be but it cannot very well be helped and I can be there later into September perhaps.  I hope still to get to Manchester by the fourteenth or fifteenth.

    I have been writing whenever I could get a chance, and just now it is a story which I think you will like.  I called it An Only Son,* and the people are Deacon Price and his son Warren who has disheartened him by spending all his time to no purpose in experimenting with machinery.  There is an old Captin who has left the sea and taken to farming whom I am enjoying.  The story is not done yet however and it will be only a short one.  I think my wings must be hen's wings.  I cant take long flights{,} only over a fence here and there.  Mary* sends her love to you and so do I.

                            Yours ever
                                 Sarah

Notes

Asquam: Now called Squam Lake, Lake Asquam is "in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire, United States, south of the White Mountains, straddling the borders of Grafton, Carroll, and Belknap counties. The largest town center on the lake is Holderness."

Mrs. Cartland:  Richard Cary says: "Joseph Cartland (1810-1898) and Gertrude Cartland (1822-1911), ... ac­companied Whittier on his summer vaca­tions in Maine and New Hampshire for five decades, ... in whose home at New­buryport, Massachusetts, he lived most of his last fifteen winters."
    The hymn mentioned here is not yet known. 

Bells and Gilmans:  In Sarah Orne Jewett: her World and her Work (2002), Paula Blanchard notes that Jewett frequently visited aunts, uncles and cousins at the shore in Rye, NH.  Among those present usually were her great aunts, Mary Bell and Mary Long (p. 31).
     A number of Jewett's Gilman relatives appear in Correspondents.

Manchester:  Manchester-by-the-Sea, location of the summer home of Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Claflin:  Mary Bucklin Davenport Claflin. See Correspondents.

An Only Son:  Jewett mentions the main characters in her story, "An Only Son," which appeared in Atlantic Monthly 52 (November 1883).

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

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 Mary Rice Jewett


  Sunday evening

[ Summer 1883 ]*



Dear Mary

                 What a cool lovely weather we are having!  I wish it had come while Alice* was here though we had a great dust storm before the rain yesterday and a big wind that snapped off a great bough of the maple by Carrie's* front door -- it proved to have been rotting down into the cleft and might have fallen on somebody so lets be thankful it didn't.  Annie* rose the garret stairs and shut the windows and scuttle while I was down here so we didn't get so much dust as we otherwise might.  And then came the most lovely long and big shower so that the garden is all as fresh as can be.  I wish you could see it.  I have not regularly walked the piece but have seen the vegatable [ so transcribed ] part twice on Princess'* account.  She is doing nicely.  I went to the Dennetts, partly on Dicky's account* this afternoon and he seemed to be indifferent to the pleasures of the occasion.  I drove the first part of the time and then gave the reins to Charles* and I hoped he might be brisker coming home, but no Mary, your Dicky had lost a Shoe and so Charles didn't think it best to urge him, and it took us a good while but I enjoyed it and feel much obliged by the lending.  Tomorrow shall be Jane's Day. *

            John* is doing nicely.  I called after Church this morning and then I went into Carries to dinner, and we ate no end of a proper watermelon, and I stayed until I went to drive.  Carrie and I broke the sabbath* rearranging some of her books.   She and Theodore went out with Susan.*  I asked John if it wouldn't do to put Dicky in the light double wagon but I wasn't let….

            There was a piece about John in the Free Press and Mr. Sewall* has called again.  So all is well.  I am going now to make my evening call.  The girls are well.  Annie requested Longfellow's poems to read about Martha Wentworth* and then passed the afternoon over the Rambles about Portsmouth to her great satisfaction.  Mr. Lewis has gone to Gorham* and a funny little man preached.  I dont know who he was. A pleasant Sister cant think of anymore to say but sends much love to you and to both Aunt Marys.*

                                                                        Yours affectionately

                                                                                                         Sarah

 

Notes

Summer 1883:  This highly speculative date is based  upon Jewett speaking of her horse, Princess, who was mentioned in an 1882 letter.  As Jewett was in Europe in summer and autumn of 1882, I have tentatively placed this letter in the following year.

Alice:  Jewett had several close friends named Alice.  Without more information, it is difficult to determine which one has been visiting.  Perhaps Alice Greenwood Howe?  See Correspondents.

Carrie:  Caroline Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Annie:  A Jewett family employee.  More information is welcome.

Princess:  It appears Jewett has been finding treats for a Jewett horse in the vegetable garden, perhaps carrots?  Jewett mentions this horse in a letter of 17 August 1882, writing from Europe, indicating that she misses this horse.

Charles:  Which Charles this may be from among Jewett's acquaintance remains a mystery.  As he is driving a Jewett horse, it appears he may be an employee, but he is not mentioned in other Jewett letters known at the time of this editing.

Dennetts ... on Dicky's account:  It appears Jewett has taken a long drive to the Dennett farm, which Pirsig, in The Placenames of South Berwick (p. 210), identifies as the "oldest continuously operated family farm" in the area.  Dicky seems to be a horse belonging to Mary Rice Jewett.

Jane:  Another Jewett family horse, perhaps referred to in other letters as Jane Ann.

John:  John Tucker, who appears to be indisposed, which may account for Charles working as a driver. See Correspondents.

broke the sabbath: See Exodus 20: 8-11. The fourth of the the 10 Commandments says that no one in the household should do any work on the seventh day of the week.

Susan:  This cannot be certain, but a Jewett cousin living in South Berwick was Susan Jameson Jewett (1857-1954).  Her mother was named Sarah Orne Jewett (1820-1864), as was a sister who died in infancy (1864-5).  See Pirsig, "The Jewetts of Portland Street" (2004).

piece about John in the Free Press and Mr. Sewall:  The publication about John Tucker has not been located.  Assistance is welcome. 
    Mr. Sewall is likely a Jewett neighbor, Jotham Sewall (1847-1922). See Pirsig, The Placenames of South Berwick, p. 75.  His sister, also a regular visitor, was Helen D. Sewall (1845-1922).  Another sister in the same household was Jane Sewall.  The Sewell Genealogy says: 
Rev. Jotham Sewall was born on 21 March 1847 in Robbinston, Maine. He was the son of Rev. David Brainerd Sewall and Mary Drummond. Rev. Jotham Sewall appears on the census of 1870 at the Theological Seminary, Bangor, Maine, though his age is given as 28 in the return. He appears on the census of 1900 at South Berwick, Maine, where his occupation is noted as that of a musician. His passport application in 1905 refines his occupation to that of an organist. He appears on the census of 1910 at South Berwick, Maine, living together with his sisters Jane and Helen. He died on 20 November 1932 at the age of 85 and is buried in First Parish Cemetery of York, Maine.
Longfellow's poems to read about Martha Wentworth ... Rambles about Portsmouth:  The American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), wrote "Lady Wentworth" about Martha Wentworth, second wife of Benning Wentworth (1696 - 1770), the colonial governor of New Hampshire (1741 - 1766).  This marriage was something of a scandal in part because she was much younger, but probably more because she had been Wentworth's housekeeper and, by marrying him, rose to the aristocracy.
    Charles W. Brewster (1802-1869) wrote Rambles about Portsmouth, collections of newspaper columns about the history and personalities of Portsmouth, NH.  See Dennis Robinson, "Charles W. Brewster."

Mr. Lewis has gone to Gorham:  Pastor George Lewis. See Correspondents.

both Aunt Marys:  Women whom Jewett addressed as "Aunt Mary" included: Mary Olivia Gilman Long and Mary E. Gray (Mrs. Charles) Bell.  See Mary Long in Correspondents.  Mary Rice Jewett, then, is apparently at Little Boar's Head in Rye, MA.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, 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 John Geenleaf Whittier

 South Berwick

October 24, [1883]

Dear Friend:

     I was so glad to get your letter, and it was so good of you to tell me that you liked the Dunluce poem.1 I did not see the proof of it or I should have proved myself a better workman, for some things stare me in the face in a very distressing way. I always find that my first-instinc­tive word is so much better than any I can think of afterward! But it did me no end of good to think you liked it, and I wish we could whisk through the air and go through Dunluce Castle together --  though not on such a windy day as the one when I was there before; we had to go across a narrow bit of wall that was the only bridge across the deep ravine. When I think of that amazing ruin I almost feel capable of writing a robber or a huntsman story that would put my dead friend Mayne Reid2 to his trumps.

     I was "moved" up from Manchester with my dog Roger two weeks ago tomorrow and our last days there were very pleasant ones, for we (A. F.* and I) drove or walked a great deal. One day we went to Coffin's Beach* which I had never seen before, and we took a last look at Essex which I have quite fallen in love with. It is all afloat when the tide is in, like a little Venice, and the shipwrights' hammers knock at the timbers all day long, as if all the ghosts of departed shipbuilders from all along shore were chiming in with the real ones. I have been thinking a good deal about a longish story to be called A Marsh Island3 and I have had beautiful times going to Essex to see about it. I haven't made the first scratch at a sheet of paper yet, but it is well begun.

     We hoped you would be coming in some day at breakfast time but I shall be sure to see you when I go to town again. I don't think it will [be] a great while first -- for Master Roger* is so homesick and he and the other big dog squabble so that there is no living with them. They have been "only children" too long! Ann (the old cook)4 says that Roger is "like a mon from our place that wint away over into Scotland for six weeks and when he come back he didn't know his mother's cat, nor what she was at all annyway!" He seemed to be quite bewildered and strange, poor Roggy!

     Mary* sends her love to you, and so do I. I have read Miss Phelps's book5 and I think most of it is very beautiful and though the sillinesses of it hurt one a little, there's ever so much to be thankful for, and I know it will do good and make vague things real to many people. Goodbye.

Yours always,

Sarah

 
Notes

1 "Dunluce Castle," Harper's, LXVII (November 1883), 924; collected in Verses (1916). On October 20 Whittier had written to praise Miss Jewett's "admirable little poem." (Cary, "Whittier Letters," p. 15.) In these six quatrains she delineates the ruined domain of the first Marquis of Antrim which she noted on her visit to Dunluce on the northernmost coast of Ireland.

2  Thomas Mayne Reid (1818-1883), Irish-born son of a Presbyterian minister, came to the United States at twenty in search of adventure. After a varied career as storekeeper, Negro overseer, schoolmaster, actor, and journalist, he began to turn out volumes of thrilling exploits for adults and for boys.

3  A Marsh Island was serialized in the Atlantic Monthly, January-June 1885, and published later that year in book form. Essex County is the northeastern coastal corner of Massachusetts from Saugus to Newburyport, extending inland to Lawrence and Haverhill. The section Miss Jewett particularly liked was dominated by the tidewater which formed a web of creeks and channels through miles of salt marsh. See Cary, S. O. J. Letters, pp. 56­-57.

4 Ann Rogers was one of the several immigrant Irish servants who lived in the Jewett household during Sarah's lifetime.

5  Elizabeth Stuart Phelps [Ward], Beyond the Gates (Boston, 1883). In this story of a woman who thinks she dies and goes to heaven, Miss Phelps tried to recapture the popular favor she won with The Gates Ajar (1868).

Editor's Notes

A.F.:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Coffin's BeachWikipedia notes: "Wingaersheek Beach is a 0.6-mile ... long beach located on the Annisquam River in West Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States.... The beach was alternatively called Coffins Beach for Peter Coffin whose farm was located alongside this beach."

Master Roger:  For Jewett's sketch of her Irish setter, see her letter to Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham of August 29, 1886.

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

 This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.


SOJ to John Geenleaf Whittier

South Berwick

October 30, [1883

My dear Friend:

     Thank you so much for sending me your new book.1 I sat down to read it at once and I thought I knew most of it, so I would look for the new poems, but I found they were all new -- and more beautiful and true than any words of mine can say. I cannot thank you enough for the books which have grown dearer and more helpful to me year by year -- as I have grown older.

     I have just seen an empty cover of my new book2, which will be going to you before long, with everything finished outside and in. I hope I shall tell you by and by that I have finished a longer story, but I don't dare to make any promises! Did I tell you that I fell in love with Essex? I thought I should embark on a long bit of gossip about that neighbourhood, but it doesn't seem to have bones enough yet, for a story.

     I hope to see and hear Matthew Arnold3 and so I may go to town next week for a day and night. I hear that "The Sandpiper"* has gone back to her winter perch. I like to think of you at Amesbury. Somehow it seems a great deal nearer than Danvers, and I can almost say good morning.4 I have just come in from a drive over the windy hills to Dover, and it is pleasant to see the farms, and meet the barrels of apples riding out. I should think the shiny outdoors things would hate to spend their latter days in country cellars -- such as were not bound for John Wentworth's cider mill!5

Yours lovingly,

Sarah

 
Notes

1 The Bay of Seven Islands, and Other Poems was issued in October 1883. Of the twenty-two poems it contains, seventeen were previously published. Miss Jewett may mean that they were all new to her.

2 The Mate of the Daylight, and Friends Ashore is dated 1884 but was copyrighted and issued in 1883. Dedicated "To A.F.," it is a collection of eight short stories mostly from the Atlantic Monthly.

3 During his lecture tour of the United States, October 1883 - March 1884, Mat­thew Arnold stayed for some time at Mrs. Fields's house in Boston. Miss Jewett fondly remembered him sitting at the fireside reading his "The Scholar Gipsy." Although Whittier held Arnold's writings in high esteem and "would like exceedingly to meet" him, he thought it little likely that he could get into town on time. However, Miss Jewett and Mrs. Fields prevailed on him to the extent that Whittier had lunch on Thanksgiving Day or shortly thereupon with the British celebrity. See Cary, "Whittier Letters," p. 15.

4 Amesbury, Massachusetts, is approximately thirty-five miles due south of South Berwick, Maine; Danvers, Massachusetts, some twenty-five miles farther south.

5 The area between Dover, New Hampshire, and South Berwick, Maine -- a distance of some seven miles -- might well be called Wentworth country. The famous Wentworth Manor is in Salmon Falls nearby, and numerous descendants of the Wentworth clan made their homes in the vicinity. The family was prominent for its governors, divines, philanthropists, Indian fighters, and tavern hosts.

Editor's Notes

Sandpiper: Celia Thaxter.  See Correspondents.

This letter was transcribed and annotated by Richard Cary, and first published in  "'Yours Always Lovingly': Sarah Orne Jewett to John Greenleaf Whittier,"  Essex Institute Historical Collections 107 (1971): 412-50. This article was reprinted at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project by permission of the library of the American Antiquarian Society and the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.




SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier

Saturday morning
Dec. 29, [1883]*

My dear Friend

    It seems so long since I wrote you that I dont like to count up the time.  I hope you received the Mate of Daylight,* who made one of his very first voyages in covers to the port of Danvers?*  I believe he is going very well so far, but I am mindful of your good advice about writing a long story though far be it from me to give any hint of such a thing to the world outside me.

    I have been here a fortnight now, though I was away in Exeter last week keeping my Grandfather’s birthday.  He was in high spirits and might have been a hundred instead of ninety-five,* for the noble pride he took in his age.  He appeared in a new suit of clothes and we all teased him for being a dandy and made ourselves particularly merry at his expense, and he gave us some of his best Burgandy [ so spelled ] and an excellent dinner, and altogether it was a fine occasion.  He has made up his mind to be a hundred, and he is not to be beaten by even time.  I believe, if one can judge anything from the success of past resolutions.

    I was greatly disappointed when I found that you were not coming to town.  Some how I took it for granted that this winter would be like last, and I should see you often.  I missed you so much the other day when I went to the Winthrop House to see the Sandpiper.*

    Dear A. F.* is pretty well and you don’t know how often we talk about you, and wish for you.  She sends her love and so do I.

                    Yours always affectionately

                        S. O. J.

Tell Phebe Roger* is back in town being much admired and enjoying himself immensely


Notes

1883:  The transcriber speculatively dates this letter in 1884, but Jewett seems to refer to her book, The Mate of the Daylight, as just appearing.  The book appeared at the end of 1883.  Her grandfather Perry's 95th birthday also fell in 1883.

Danvers:  Whittier's home in Danvers, MA, was not on the coast. Richard Cary says: "In 1875 Whittier's cousins, the Misses Johnson and Abby J. Woodman, pur­chased a farm of sixty acres in Danvers and invited him to make his home there when­ever he wished. The place was notable for beautiful lawns, orchards, gardens, and grapevines. Whittier suggested the name of "Oak Knoll," which was immediately adopted."

Mate of the Daylight:  Jewett's story, "The Mate of the Daylight" first appeared in Atlantic 50 (July 1882) and was collected in The Mate of the Daylight and Friends Ashore at the end of 1883.  It seems more likely that Jewett has sent Whittier a copy of the book.

ninety-five: Jewett's grandfather, William Perry, celebrated his 95th birthday on 20 December 1883.

Winthrop House to see the Sandpiper:  In the Jewett-Fields circle, Sandpiper was the nickname for Celia Thaxter. See CorrespondentsThe Celia Thaxter Timeline by Norma H. Mandel says that in 1882, Thaxter began staying regularly at the Winthrop Hotel, "a small, inexpensive, quiet hotel on Bowdoin Street in Boston."

A.F.: Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Phebe Roger: Richard Cary says: "Phebe Woodman Grantham was the adopted daughter of Whittier's cousin Abby J. Woodman. In her childhood she lived at Oak Knoll and was the object of much affection by Whittier, who wrote the poem "Red Riding Hood" for her.
    Roger is a Jewett family dog.

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.



Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.




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