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1883    1885

Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1884




SOJ to Eben Norton Horsford


148 Charles St.,

Wednesday  [March 1884]*

Dear Prof. Horsford

I have just received this new copy of the poem Banished from Whittier,* with another most beautiful verse which I know will please you and your dear people. He asked me to send it to you which I do at once. He says that he tried (after talking with you and writing it) to have it printed with the others but it was too late.

In haste your affectionate

S. O. J.

His address is Amesbury, Mass.

Notes

1882-1883:  Willoughby places this letter in his article between those of 1881 and 1884.  It seems clearly related to Jewett's 19 March 1884 letter to John Greenleaf Whittier.

Banished from Whittier:  Whittier's "Banished from Massachusetts."

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier


Wednesday 19 March 1884
148 Charles Street
Boston


My dear Friend

    You dont know how glad we were to get your letter yesterday.  It was a tenth part as good as seeing you and that is saying a great deal about it.  (I dont mean to be extravagant in my speech!)  And we have been thanking you for the new poem about the banished people* with all our hearts.  It is very beautiful and better than the picture which is very good and interesting in itself.

    Prof. Horsford* is greatly delighted with it and wrote me yesterday that he meant to try to buy it and keep it at Shelter Island* in the old house.  What a big hearted man he is!  I used to stay with his daughters a good deal before I was here so much and I am very fond of them all.  He is so busy now about the persecuted friends and their histories* and if he were aiming at a complete revenge he couldn’t be more painstaking.  I brought home from his library a week or two ago a worn copy of “New England Judged”* which I read with great profit and astonishment, and many thoughts of you and wishes that we could sit down and scold together.  Prof. Horsford has collected a great pile of books from the College library and the antiquarian book shops and is doing a grand piece of work which has led him on from page to page all winter.  He was very anxious to see you again and I was only too glad to have a chance, and so I am glad you will like to see us at Oak Knoll.*  I hope I shall not come down in the floods this time.  I was at home last week and I wished so much that I could go to see you at Amesbury.  Next time you are there I certainly must knock at your study door to be let in!


Notes

Prof. Horsford:  Eben Norton Horsford. See Correspondents.

new poem about the banished people:  According to The Friends' Intelligencer 41 (1884) pp. 436-7, the dedication of the Shelter Island monument on the Horsford property in Shelter Island, NY took place in July of 1884 (309-11).  Whittier's "Banished from Massachusetts" was read for the occasion.  Whittier had written the poem in 1883 and apparently shared it with Jewett and with Horsford, though it was not published until 1886, in St. Gregory's Guest and Recent Poems.

Shelter Island: A Long Island, New York village, the summer home of the Horsford family.

the persecuted friends and their histories:  Whittier's "Banished from Massachusetts" is a narrative of persecuted Quakers (friends) finding asylum at Shelter Island in 1660.

“New England Judged":  The full title of this book by George Bishop (d. 1668) is New-England Judged, by the spirit of the Lord: In two parts. First, containing a brief relation of the sufferings of the people call'd Quakers in New-England, from the time of their first arrival there, in the year 1656, to the year 1660 ... In answer to the declaration of their persecutors apologizing for the same, MDCLIX. Second part, being a farther relation of the cruel and bloody sufferings of the people call'd Quakers in New-England, continued from anno 1660, to anno 1665. Beginning with the sufferings of William Leddra, whom they put to death.

Oak Knoll: 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."

Amesbury:  Whittier's family home was in Amesbury, MA.

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.


John Greenleaf Whittier to SOJ


Amesbury

3 Mo. 22
[ 1884  ]

My dear Sarah Jewett

I was heartily glad to get thy letter, bright and pleasant as thyself, in the storm of day before yesterday when the dismalest of nights was closing upon us.  It amused me to think of thy reading the quaint old volume of "Bishop's New England Judges".* 

[ Page 2 ]

I read it by the kitchen firelight long ago.  I hope Prof. Horsford* will be able to get Abbey's drawing of the Banished Quakers* from which the engraving in Harper's was made. My little poem was written before I had seen Prof. C.* and heard his account of the Friends to whom the lord of Shelter Manor gave help.*  I afterwards wrote an additional sonnet but too late for the paper,

[ Page 3 ]

in which I alluded to Sylvester & his isle of refuge. I shall send him a copy of it.  A friend of mine tells me that at a recent gathering of Vassar girls it was agreed to vote for such authors as they would wish to be, and every vote was given for Sarah O. Jewett.  This speak{s} well for Vassar.*

    Did I tell thee that we had in our place a few years ago a "New Parishioner" almost identical with thine.*  An old farmer who reads everything, told me he thought thee must have heard of our adventurer.

[ Page 4 ]

I must have thee at Amesbury some time.

    A note from dear Annie Fields informs me that Prof Wood* is to be your guest on First day.*  I am glad of it for he is a reliable man, and his thought & experience must be worth knowing.

    I think thy heroine must make her profession a solemn & imperative duty-- an "enthusiasm of humanity" -- too potent for even love to overcome.*  It must awaken sacrifice & renunciation; and perhaps her very affection may hold her back from giving only a part of herself to the beloved object, and in the work & engrossment of her mission subjects even the

[ Written up the left margin of page 4 ]

patience of love to a hard strain. With love to A.F.
 
   thy affectionate friend

John G Whittier


Notes


3 Mo. 22, 1884:  The transcriber dates this letter tentatively in 1884 on 22 August (8 Mo. 22, in the Quaker style).  Ample evidence in the notes below confirms that 1884 is the correct year for this letter.  However, the manuscript is confusing; Whittier seems to have written a 3 with so much flourish that it looks very much like an 8.  March is the more likely month because Whittier seems to be assisting in the preparation of the Horsford monument to Sylvester, which was dedicated in July 1884. Almost certainly, this letter was composed in March 1884, soon after Jewett's letter to Horsford of Sunday morning, [March 1884]. 

"Bishop's New England Judges":  Presumably, Whittier refers to New-England Judged, by the Spirit of the Lord
by George Bishop (d. 1668).  This book offers an account of the persecution of Quakers in New England during 1656-1660.  The volume includes several references to Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, Quakers exiled from Massachusetts, who went to Shelter Island, NY for refuge (see especially, pp. 413 and 486).  See following notes.

Prof. Horsford:  Eben Norton Horsford (see Correspondents) who inherited the Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island, off the east coast of Long Island, New York.  There a group of banished Quakers sought shelter from the English-born colonist, Nathaniel Sylvester (1610-1680) in 1660.  Horsford designed a monument to Sylvester, the emigrant from England to Shelter Island who gave his name to Sylvester Manor.  According to Mac Griswold in The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island (2013), the dedication of the Shelter Island monument took place in July of 1884 (309-11).  Whittier's discussion of his sonnets, the illustration, and Professor Horsford refers to the plans for this monument.

Abbey's drawing:  "Edwin Austin Abbey (April 1, 1852 - August 1, 1911) was an American muralist, illustrator, and painter." Wikipedia.
    His painting, "Banished from Massachusetts" has not been located, though the illustration appears with 3 sonnets in Whittier's sequence of the same title in  Harper's Weekly 28 (March 15, 1884).  The poem appears on p. 166; the double-page illustration on pp. 172-3.  The third sonnet in the final sequence of four did not appear in Harper's, but was added when the sequence was collected in St. Gregory's Guest and Recent Poems (1886).
    The illustration is "a historical painting of the Southwicks, a Quaker family given shelter on Shelter Island by Nathaniel Sylvester. "  The Publisher's Weekly 628 of 9 February 1884, p.  186 said: "Harper's Weekly will shortly publish a new poem by J. G. Whittier, entitled 'Banished,' to be accompanied by a beautiful drawing by Mr. Abbey, which represents a mournful group of Quakers driven from the Massachusetts shores by the persecutors of 1660."
    In "Persecution of the Quakers in Essex County" (1897) Sidney Perley tells the story of the Southwicks (pp. 139-40), an elderly couple banished from Boston, their arduous sea journey to Shelter Island, and their deaths there soon after they arrived.  Also among those prosecuted was Thomas Macy for giving hospitality to Quakers. (p. 140).  However, Whittier takes poetic liberty in his sequence when he places Macy with the Southwicks as they flee to Shelter Island.


Banished from Massachusetts
 St. Gregory's Guest and Recent Poems (1886).
            
1660
 
  On a painting by E. A. Abbey. The General Court of Massachusetts enacted Oct. 19, 1658, that “any person or persons of the cursed sect of Quakers” should, on conviction of the same, be banished, on pain of death, from the jurisdiction of the commonwealth.

OVER the threshold of his pleasant home   
  Set in green clearings passed the exiled Friend,   
  In simple trust, misdoubting not the end.   
“Dear heart of mine!” he said, “the time has come   
To trust the Lord for shelter.” One long gaze            5
  The goodwife turned on each familiar thing,  --    
  The lowing kine, the orchard blossoming,   
The open door that showed the hearth-fire’s blaze,  --    
And calmly answered, “Yes, He will provide.”   
Silent and slow they crossed the homestead’s bound,            10
Lingering the longest by their child’s grave-mound.   
“Move on, or stay and hang!” the sheriff cried.   
They left behind them more than home or land,   
And set sad faces to an alien strand.   
 
Safer with winds and waves than human wrath,            15
  With ravening wolves than those whose zeal for God   
  Was cruelty to man, the exiles trod   
Drear leagues of forest without guide or path,   
Or launching frail boats on the uncharted sea,   
  Round storm-vexed capes, whose teeth of granite ground            20
  The waves to foam, their perilous way they wound,   
Enduring all things so their souls were free.   
Oh, true confessors, shaming them who did   
  Anew the wrong their Pilgrim Fathers bore!   
  For you the Mayflower spread her sail once more,            25
Freighted with souls, to all that duty bid   
Faithful as they who sought an unknown land,   
O’er wintry seas, from Holland’s Hook of Sand!   
 
So from his lost home to the darkening main,   
  Bodeful of storm, stout Macy held his way,            30
  And, when the green shore blended with the gray,   
His poor wife moaned: “Let us turn back again.”   
“Nay, woman, weak of faith, kneel down,” said he,   
  “And say thy prayers: the Lord himself will steer;   
  And led by Him, nor man nor devils I fear!”             35
So the gray Southwicks, from a rainy sea,   
Saw, far and faint, the loom of land, and gave   
  With feeble voices thanks for friendly ground   
  Whereon to rest their weary feet, and found   
A peaceful death-bed and a quiet grave            40
Where, ocean-walled, and wiser than his age,   
The lord of Shelter scorned the bigot’s rage.   
 
Aquidneck’s isle, Nantucket’s lonely shores,   
  And Indian-haunted Narragansett saw   
  The way-worn travellers round their camp-fire draw,            45
Or heard the plashing of their weary oars.   
And every place whereon they rested grew   
  Happier for pure and gracious womanhood,   
  And men whose names for stainless honor stood,   
Founders of States and rulers wise and true.            50
The Muse of history yet shall make amends   
  To those who freedom, peace, and justice taught,   
  Beyond their dark age led the van of thought,   
And left unforfeited the name of Friends.   
O mother State, how foiled was thy design!            55
The gain was theirs, the loss alone was thine.   
 
Image of the Abbey illustration from Harper's Weekly

Abbey



Prof. C.: To date, Professor C has not been identified.  One wonders if examining the original manuscript would lead to re-reading this as Professor H, for Horsford, as he is fairly likely to be a recent source for information about the Shelter Island events.

speak{s} well for Vassar:  Details of this event at Vassar, the women's college founded in 1861, have not been located.  Assistance is welcome.  Whittier appears to have written "speak," but it is possible there is a very small "s" in the manuscript.

"New Parishioner":  Jewett's story, "A New Parishioner" appeared in Atlantic Monthly (51:475-493), April 1883, and was collected in The Mate of the Daylight the same year.

Annie Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Prof. Wood: Though this cannot yet be certain, Jewett was acquainted with John George Wood (1827-1889).  Richard Cary notes that he wrote "some thirty books on botany, zoology, natural history, and Biblical animals, in which he studied minutely common objects of the country and seashore. In Man and Beast: Here and Hereafter (1874), Reverend Wood combined his vocation and avocation." See SOJ to Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham, 29 August 1886.

First day:  In the Quaker calendar, Sunday was "First Day."

thy heroine:  Whittier refers to Jewett's new novel, A Country Doctor, in which the protagonist, Nan Prince, foregoes the traditional married life for 19th-century American women in order to follow her calling as a physician.  "Enthusiasm of humanity" was a popular phrase in American religious writing in the late 19th century; the origin of the phrase is uncertain.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the South Berwick Public Library, South Berwick, ME.   Transcription by John Richardson.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Eben Norton Horsford

Sunday morning, [March 1884]

148 Charles Street, Boston

Dear Prof. Horsford

We both thank you many times for the papers and your kind remembrance, and I am looking forward to our Danvers pilgrimage. Mr. Whittier is still at Amesbury. I should like to go there to see him although it is an hours journey beyond Danvers, and I hope within a week or so to tell you about the plan.

    I was sorry I did not see you yesterday for we were just going to Doll and Richard's to see the Ross Turner pictures,* and it would have been so nice if you had gone with us. The pictures are very Beautiful, and especially the great one of the Salute in Venice* which faces you as you go in the door. We fairly worshipped it! and Mrs. Fields said in a hurry that it was the most beautiful picture in Boston. It is so golden and so light! I do want Mrs. Horsford to see it. He asked me to tell her about this exhibition, but with all our admiration for Mr. Turner's work we had no idea he would have anything as fine as this.

    I have been at home this week and the snow was ever so deep! Do give my dear love to all.

Yours affectionately
Sarah O. Jewett

I have not said anything about the Abbey picture and the poem but we can talk about them.*


Notes

1884:  Willoughby places this letter in his article between those of 1881 and 1884.  Other letters to Horsford and Whittier from March 1884 suggest that this letter is part of a series dealing with Whittier's poem "Banished to Massachusetts."

Danvers ... Mr. Whittier ... Amesbury:  Danvers and Amesbury, MA both were homes of John Greenleaf Whittier.  See Correspondents.  It appears that Jewett has another reason for a pilgrimage to Danvers and hopes to add to this a visit with Whittier in Amesbury.

Doll and Richard's to see the Ross Turner pictures:  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art says:
Ross Sterling Turner [1847 - 1914] was a painter, watercolorist, and illustrator, active in the Boston area, known for his landscapes and floral subjects. ... Loosely associated with the "Duveneck boys" after about 1879, Turner painted in Venice and Florence, and he also worked in Rome. In 1882 he settled in Boston, exhibiting more watercolors than oil paintings. He was closely associated with Childe Hassam, becoming known for his impressionist watercolor paintings of gardens. He married in 1885 and moved to Salem, Massachusetts, but maintained a Boston studio until 1903.... He was active as an instructor in the Boston area, teaching privately, at Grundmann Studios, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and after 1909 at the Massachusetts Normal Art School. Turner wrote on watercolor technique and other art subjects. In 1899 he exhibited watercolors of Mexican scenes painted during a trip in 1898.
According to the Archives of American Art, the "Doll & Richards gallery originated in Boston in 1866 as an art gallery and framing shop owned by Charles E. Hendrickson, E. Adam Doll, and Joseph Dudley Richards. The gallery was a well-known Boston establishment for over 100 years that represented William Stanley Haseltine, Winslow Homer, William Morris Hunt, and Andrew Wyeth, among many other notable American painters, sculptors, and printmakers."

The Banks Gallery says: "In 1883, Turner settled in Boston, exhibiting his watercolors and oils at the Boston Art Club and annually at Doll and Richards gallery on Newbury Street. He entered the intimate circle of Childe Hassam and the artistic community surrounding Celia Thaxter at Appledore, where he painted gardens in short, quick, colorful strokes that are similar to Hassam's style."

Salute
: It is not yet certain which painting appeared in the Doll and Richard's exhibit Jewett and Fields saw.  "View to San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice," which is attributed to Turner, may give an idea of what they might have seen.

  R Turner

View to San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Attributed to Ross Sterling Turner
Courtesy of Skinner Auctions.


the Abbey picture and the poem:  Eben Horsford designed a monument to Nathaniel Sylvester, the emigrant from England to Shelter Island who gave his name to Sylvester Manor; the monument is referred to in this letter.
    Whittier's poem "Banished From Massachusetts" began with this epigraph: "On a painting by E. A. Abbey. The General Court of Massachusetts enacted Oct. 19, 1658, that “any person or persons of the cursed sect of Quakers” should, on conviction of the same, be banished, on pain of death, from the jurisdiction of the commonwealth."
    Described as "a historical painting of the Southwicks, a Quaker family given shelter on Shelter Island by Nathaniel Sylvester. "  In a related letter, Whittier says that the illustration based on the painting appeared in Harper's Monthly.  However, Whittier's poem did not appear in this magazine.  Perhaps Jewett and Whittier refer to another illustration by Abbey, such as "The Bible Reading," in Harper's 68: 404 (January 1884) p. 334. This illustration is associated with William Black's serial historical novel, Judith Shakespeare, which began in Harper's in January 1884.
    Whittier's poem reached his publishers too late to be included in The Bay of Seven Islands and Other Poems (1883), but it was included in St. Gregory's Guest and Recent Poems (1886).
    "Edwin Austin Abbey (April 1, 1852 - August 1, 1911) was an American muralist, illustrator, and painter." Wikipedia

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

Tuesday evening
[ April 1884  ]

Dearest Fuffs*

            The big box of pretty clothes surprised me tonight, and I am so much obliged to you for all you have done about them.  They look as if they were perfectly [illegible.] I only took hurried looks at them because I thought it best to save little Miss Grant's* feelings and not parade them  --  as she might feel grieved  --  and think I have forgotten her.  Poor little soul  --  she looks tired and old this spring.  I must see what I can do to give her a pleasure by and by.  Oh dear Fuffy I had such a beautiful time this morning.  I thought of you so dearly!  Just as I was getting dressed I heard some strolling musicians* somewhere in the street and out went my head among the appleblossoms to view the world!  It really was a most perfect morning and yet in spite of the unmistakeable New England weather  --  the old dandelions and every sort of spring smell in the air  --  off I flew to Venice and went floating solemnly up the Grand Canal* as if that were the only place in the world!  I don't know anything but "Santa Lucia" and "Mariannina" and much other music of that sort, which would be equal to making one confuse a big pink-and-white tree with the crumbling palaces and their reflections in the green water  --  but this is the story of it!  --  Afterward I properly cleected [ so transcribed; intended decked?] myself in walk-abroad clothes and went out and captured the three players who were very friendly and much amused with my few Italian words (being quite off my head with enjoyment)  and I paraded them up the street to give Carrie* a morning serenade.  I haven't been steady all day after such a delightful experience.  It was so funny and sweet to have the really charming music and the Italian songs here in Berwick  --  but indeed I believe I never have known such an amazingly, bewilderingly beautiful Spring.  It doesn't not seem like a real one; it gets into my head a little as Marigold* says the scarlet oaks do in October down on the Cape.*  I think every day you will come rustling through the air and light down beside me.  I keep wishing for you so, and if tomorrow should be the least bit better than today I should have to go to Boston after you . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

 Notes

April 1884: The handwritten note with this transcription reads: [1884].  The latest possible date for this letter would appear to be 1889, the year of Mary Greenwood Lodge's death in December.  In the absence of clearly contradictory information, I have tentatively accepted the penciled in date. My doubts arise from the account of Olive Grant as no longer able to help the Jewett sisters with dress-making.  As Grant died in 1901, 1884 seems an early date for her to become disabled.
    The ellipsis in the transcription indicates that this is a selection from the manuscript.

Fuffs: Nickname for Annie Adams Fields.    See Correspondents.

Miss Grant's:  Olive Grant. See Correspondents.

strolling musicians:  Jewett describes almost exactly the same events in another letter.

Venice ... Grand Canal:  Jewett almost certainly refers to her summer 1882 stay in Venice, Italy.

"Santa Lucia" and "Mariannina":  According to Wikipedia, this is a traditional Neapolitan song: "The original lyrics ... celebrate the picturesque waterfront district, Borgo Santa Lucia, in the Bay of Naples, in the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening."  "Marianina" is an Italian folk song about a fairy flying over sea, fields and mountains.

Carrie: Caroline Jewett Eastman. See Correspondents.

Marigold: Mary Greenwood Lodge.  See Correspondents.

the Cape:  Probably, Jewett refers to Cape Ann, MA, where the summer home of Annie Fields in Manchester-by-the-Sea is located.

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 72, 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 Louisa Loring Dresel


Thursday

[ April 1884 ]*

Dear Loulie

    This postcard came for you today --  I hope it is not about some thing which might have been done before you left town --  We missed you very much after you went away and it seemed quite odd without you last evening.  I did not get read to at all! -- though my having a big bundle

[ Page 2 ]

of proofs was one reason.  Roger*came up and was very affectionate and interfered with the proofs a good deal until he grew sleepy.  We have not heard a mew and nobody seems to have seen the poor cat, but she may turn up yet -- Mrs.

[ Page 3 ]

Fields* and I both send a great deal of love to our neighbours and dear Loulie.  I most truly hope that you will have a pleasant summer.  I hope too that you 'country neighbours{'} will be made happy by you as I have been in the snow-stormy town this winter.

Yours affectionately

S. O. J.   

Notes

April 1884:  Other readers have placed speculative dates on this manuscript: 1885 and 1889.  The basis for these dates is not known.  Mentioning her dog Roger as being with her in Boston during a winter stay with Annie Fields indicates that the letter was composed between 1883 and 1889.  That Jewett has a large quantity of proofs to work on in the spring, would suggest that she is working on a longer work that appeared during this period.  The only book of the 1880s that Jewett finished during the spring was A Country Doctor, which appeared in June of 1884.

Roger: Jewett's Irish setter is mentioned in letters as early as 1881 and as late as 1889.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Columbia University (New York) Library in Special Collections, Jewett.  Transcription from a microfilm copy and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier

Bethlehem, Pa.
22 April 1884


Dear friend

    We are still remaining away but your letter found us today, to our great pleasure and I was just making up my mind to send you Mrs. Oliphant’s story A Beleaguered City.*  Perhaps you have read it, but I am so amazed with the beauty of it that we wish to make certain that you see it too.  It is really great.  Don’t return it.  I wish you were here with us.  We have spoken of you so many times -- for though we were disappointed at first in finding such a bustling town where we expected a rural neighborhood, we are more and more delighted with what we find of the old Moravian settlement.*  We can easily pick it out from the newer town, and the church and community houses are very interesting but most of all the old burial ground.  On one little stone we saw an epitaph beside the record -- a very uncommon thing -- and found that after the child’s name it said “How did the Saviour look? ‘Right clean’ was his reply.”  It was an old stone and this touched us so very much.  It could only be a most simple and devout people who had cherished the vision, and kept the simple words.  Doesn’t it make you think of William Blake?*

    We have been this afternoon to the Sisters’ house* and saw some old embroideries of the nun’s manufacture and bought some candy of the quaint little creature whose sister made it.  They have an atom of a shop in one end of their prim and threadbare best room.  The window was full of plants and the hinges of the doors were fine old iron work and Sister Rose’s world* was so small that you could have walked round it in an afternoon if one side of it wasn’t bounded by heaven.  There are beautiful high hills covered with walnut and maple trees, but only the willows are very green yet.

    I finished A Country Doctor* the last day I was in New York but I was busy almost all the time I was there.  I do hope you will like it, but I am sometimes quite down hearted and need the next piece of work to cure me of worrying about this!  It keeps reminding me of itself too, but I am pretty tired just now.  The next is A Marsh Island* about the Essex neighborhood!  A. F. sends her dear love and thanks for your letter.  Mrs. Taylor is in Cambridge at Mr. Horace Scudder’s: & she thinks that she would like the letters.  The first she means A. F.  Good-night!  We send as much love as you will take.

Yours ever

S.O.J.*



Notes

Mrs. Oliphant’s story A Beleaguered City:  Scottish novelist Margaret Oliphant (1828-1897) published her long ghost story, A Beleaguered City in 1879.

Moravian settlementWikipedia says: "On Christmas Eve in 1741, David Nitschmann and Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, leading a small group of Moravians, founded the mission community of Bethlehem along the banks of the Monocacy Creek by the Lehigh River in the colony of Pennsylvania. They came to set up missionary communities among the Native Americans and unchurched German-speaking Christians. They named the settlement after the Biblical town Bethlehem of Judea, the birthplace of Jesus."

“How did the Saviour look? ‘Right clean’ was his reply.” ... William Blake:  According to Publications of the Pennsylvania-German Society 21 (1912)  p. 44, the grave with this marker in Bethlehem's Moravian cemetery is in Row VI: Boys and Men; it reads
    "Sam. Sidney Smith, 1814-19, son of John Jac. Smith.
    "How does our Savior Look?"
    "Right Clean," was his reply.

    The British Poet, William Blake (1747-1827) is the author of Songs of Innocence, in which a number of poems echo the tone of this epitaph.

the Sisters’ house:  Moravians in their mission endeavors maintained separate dormitories for single males and females.  It is not clear why Jewett characterizes them as nuns, though the "single sisters" at Bethlehem lived under "a special covenant of consecration to the service of the Lord," according to Elizabeth Fetter Lehman Myers in A Century of Moravian Sisters (1918), p. 19.

Sister Rose’s world: Myers mentions a Sister Rose, who worked at Bethlehem in the 18th Century.  Whether this is the person to whom Jewett refers is not clear.

A Country Doctor:  Jewett's novel, A Country Doctor, appeared in 1884.

A Marsh Island:  Jewett's novel, A Marsh Island, appeared in 1885, the Atlantic serialization beginning in January.

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

Mrs. TaylorMaria Hansen Taylor (1829- 1925), widow of the American poet Bayard Taylor (1825-1878), with Horace E. Scudder, edited Life and Letters of Bayard Taylor (1885).  It appears that Mrs. Taylor wanted to include letters between Taylor, Whittier and Fields that were in Whittier's possession.  Maria Taylor was the author of several books, notably on German literature.

Mr. Horace Scudder’s:  See Correspondents.

S.O.J.:  Part of this letter appears in Whittier's Relations to German Life and Thought, Americana Germanica Volume 20  by Iola Kay Eastburn (1915), pp. 59-60.  A note indicates that the original was then in the possession of S. T. Pickard.  The transcription varies in some details from the one provided here.  It reads:
I wish you were here with us, we have spoken of you so many times -- for though we were disappointed at first in finding such a bustling town where we expected a rural neighborhood -- we are more and more delighted with what we find of the old Moravian settlement.  One can easily pick it out from the newer town, and the church and community houses are very interesting, but most of all the old burial ground.  On one little stone we saw an epitaph beside the record -- a very uncommon thing -- and found that after the child’s name it said: 'How did the Saviour look? "Right clean" was his reply.'  It was an old stone and this touched us so very much.  It could only be a most simple and devout people who had cherished the vision, and kept the simple words.  Doesn’t it make you think of William Blake? We have been this afternoon to the sisters’ house and saw some old embroideries of the nun’s manufacture and bought some candy of the quaint little creature whose sister made it.  They have an atom of a shop in one end of their prim and threadbare best room.  The window was full of plants and the hinges of the doors were fine old iron work and Sister Rose’s world was so small that you could have walked around it in an afternoon, if one side of it wasn’t bounded by heaven.  There are beautiful high hills covered with walnut and maple trees, but only the willows are very green yet.
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 Emma Harding Claflin Ellis

Bethlehem, Pa
22 April
[ 1884 ]

Dear Mrs. Ellis

    Thank you for your note -- It was so pleasant to see you again though not to have one chance for particulars grieves me sore, when we were neighbors for such an uncommon length of time! -- I hardly feel as if I had been in New York at all, at least until the last day or two -- for I could think of nothing but A Country Doctor* and indeed I was writing almost every hour -- I think

[ Page 2 ]

we shall stop as we go back and I shall hope to see you then.

    It is so amazing to us here, for we hied us to Bethlehem because we '[were ?] of a notion' that it was a lovely rural neighborhood where we could be out of doors a great deal and here we are in a flourishing Pennsylvania town, and a first class suburban hotel with electric bells and gas and a 'lectric light ['forninst' ?] the windows!  But there is still the old Moravian Bethlehem*

[ Page 3 ]

around which this brisk place has gathered, and we can find all the pieces of it and [put corrected] it together again as soon as we go out to walk --

    Do give my dear love to Mrs. Claflin* and tell her that 'little Sarah'* thinks of her very often having so lately gone through exactly the same kind of misery.  But somehow life is a great deal pleasanter this side of it than it was before.  I look back at my long illness as if a night between two days --  Mrs. Fields* sends

[ Page 4 ]

a great deal of love to you both and so do I.

Yours always affectionately
Sarah O. Jewett

Notes

A Country Doctor:  Jewett's novel appeared in 1884.  That she is hard at work on it suggests that she composed this letter in that year.

Moravian BethlehemWikipedia says: "On Christmas Eve in 1741, David Nitschmann and Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, leading a small group of Moravians, founded the mission community of Bethlehem along the banks of the Monocacy Creek by the Lehigh River in the colony of Pennsylvania. They came to set up missionary communities among the Native Americans and unchurched German-speaking Christians. They named the settlement after the Biblical town Bethlehem of Judea, the birthplace of Jesus."

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

little Sarah:  Jewett refers to herself.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Te manuscript of this letter is held by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in the  Governor William and Mary Claflin Papers,  GA-9, Box 4, Miscellaneous Folder J, Ac 950.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.




Sarah Orne Jewett to unknown recipient


[Letterhead in red print]
148. Charles Street. [End letterhead line] 11 June [1884]*
            [Resume letterhead] Boston.
[End letterhead]


Dear Sir

    I hardly know what to say in answer to the questions -- it is not very easy to write about oneself --

    The book* has nearly all been written ^in Boston^ since late in January -- but it will be out so soon I must leave it to speak for itself -- My father was a physician and also* my grandfather.  Dr. Perry*

[ Page 2 ]

of Exeter -- who is now the oldest graduate of Harvard.  My home is South Berwick Maine, but I spend the winter months with Mrs. James T. Fields in Boston.

    -- I do not feel that this is what you wished to know -- and I am sorry to write so hastily but I am just leaving the city and am very much hurried this morning

    yours sincerely    S. O. Jewett.




Notes

1884:  It seems clear that Jewett refers to A Country Doctor, which appeared in June of 1884.
 
the book:  Almost certainly Jewett speaks of A Country Doctor, her only novel that was not serialized.  Jewett reports working intensely at it in April of 1884.  By the end of June, it had been published.

also:  Located outside the margin, this word appears to have been inserted.

Dr. Perry:  Jewett's grandfather, William Perry. See Correspondents.

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.




Annie Adams Fields to Eben Norton Horsford

June 23d 1884

148 Charles Street, Boston

Dear Professor Horsford:

I cannot let the season quite draw to a close without giving an account of my stewardship and telling you what a comfort the money you put into my hands has been to fall back upon and to "stop gaps" this winter. The list as follows:

To a dressmaker whose husband has been ill for long time until everything is gone and she is spent with nursing    10.00
For Liebig's beef for the same    1.60
Winter dress for a sick French teacher    6.00
Carriage for a sick man    1.00
For Epileptic to Baldwinsville*    3.00
To a superannuated dressmaker of the better class for whom we have made a little pension        5.00
Baby clothes      1.00
For visiting the poor by an intelligent woman thrown out of employment     12.00
To finding a troublesome beggar and dishonest and assisting to bring to court      7.00
For bringing diet kitchen food to a sick woman at ten cents a day         4.40
50.00 [sic]

This last money is not yet all spent and if the woman can make any other arrangement we shall use the surplus for advertising for work for a woman in the country.
    I hope you will feel that it has gone in ways that you approve of. I can only repeat that it has been a comfort to me to have it to fall back upon. I found Edith and all the family yesterday. Richard had been trying to relate a bible story to the children about the Garden of Eden,* but his powers of description were not sufficient to satisfy Dicky who protested that he didn't believe Eden was as beautiful as grandpapa's garden! I thought if we told all that was in our hearts, we should confess it could hardly be more beautiful than Cambridge yesterday. I enjoyed my visit to you all sincerely.

Believe me gratefully and affectionately yours,

Annie Fields

Notes

Transcriber note:  Richard Henry Dana III (1851-1931) married Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's daughter Edith and lived near the Longfellows and the Horsfords at 113 Brattle Street in Cambridge. "Grandpapa" is presumably Longfellow; Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Longfellow died before 1884.

Baldwinsville:  According to Philip L. Safford and  Elizabeth J. Safford in  A History of Childhood and Disability (1996), a private facility to treat epileptics under age 14 was founded in 1882 in Baldwinsville, MA (191).

Edith and all the family ... Richard ... the Garden of Eden ... not sufficient to satisfy Dicky:  See the Transcriber note above.  The Garden of Eden, the home of Adam and Eve before they ate the forbidden fruit, is described in Genesis, chapters 2 and 3, as well as in John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667).

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.





SOJ to Eben Norton Horsford

South Berwick,
June 29th [1884]*

My dear friend

    I was so glad to get your letter that I can't "stay written to" a minute and must answer it right away. And will you thank the lady of the manor for her dear note? I am so glad you like my Country Doctor.*
    I heard about you all from Mrs. Fields who enjoyed her call very much. She is so fond of you and is looking forward to our September visit with great pleasure which delights me. I am hoping to see her here the last of this week, and I should like to have somebody cut out the middle of the week and piece the ends together!
    I am busy writing again and hope to get the new story almost done before I see Shelter Island.
    I was so glad to know that Kate and Lilian were safe at home.* You dont know how often I think of you dear people! -- This is not going to be half so good a letter as yours: it is only to thank you for your summer at the dear old house. I wish I knew just what day you are going down but before I know it you will be there.

Yours lovingly

 Sarah.
 
Mrs. Thaxter spent Friday night here and I drove her down to Kittery yesterday -- such a hot day!



Notes

Transcriber note:  Sarah Orne Jewett's A Country Doctor was published in 1884 and her novel, "the new story," A Marsh Island in 1885, serial publication starting in January. By June of 1884 Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields were well along with plans to visit the Horsfords in Shelter Island September 6 through 13, 1884. Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894), a New England poet associated particularly with Kittery Point, Maine, was another mutual friend of Sarah Orne Jewett, Annie Fields, and the Horsfords.
    Mrs. Stowe is Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) and many others works.

1884:  See Transcriber's note.

Kate and Lilian:  Daughters in the Horsford family.  See Correspondents.

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.


 

SOJ to Mr. Wentworth  [8 July 1884]*

Manchester Masstts
July 8th

Dear Mr. Wentworth
     Thank you very much for your note and its enclosures about the sleeping car for Quebec on July 14th. If you will kindly have three parlor car seats kept for us at Conway Junction I shall be very much obliged.

     Your most sincerely

     S. O. Jewett
 

Notes

Paula Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett reports one trip Sarah and Mary Jewett made to Canada in the autumn of 1884.

The ms. of this letter is held by the Berwick Academy Archives, item: 1993.0014.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.



Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ


July 10, (1884?).

     I think that I have never yet spoken of the Country Doctor to you, dear friend, though I declare to you that this is the third beginning I have made. . . . There have been many practical reasons for delay, but perhaps an unpractical one weighed heaviest in the scale; the fact that I wanted to say so much, apropos to the Country Doctor,* that no little scrap of statement would serve me! I think it delightful: written with that combination of pure literary style and aromatic individual flavor that gives one such especial pleasure, and the people live and breathe for me and take their place in the New England landscape. Then comes the moral of the situation, and that's what I want to know more about. Is it that Nan really loves her lover? or does she only feel the possibility and decide to reject it?
     Yet, after all, as I ask these questions I see what a foolish person I am; for if one begins to discuss this strange re-iterated problem, one must go into the depths of it and only come forth with the pearl of Truth which is hard to find.
     I suppose I think, in some crude, unformulated way, that if two souls really have found each other, in the Divine Economy (by some highest Mathematics) they will count for more together than they ever could apart; and that whatever loss is entailed in this fusion of interests, is more than made good by a new and more complete existence. But I will not bore you with this, when I may be speaking quite wide the mark of your opinion. . . .
     I want to tell you that I have had four days of sketching at Gloucester, and among dreams and visions, which has given me no mean lift, and provided much consolation.* There is not much to show for it, you might say: but I got something nevertheless.
     Dear friend, this is a most garrulous letter, but sometimes there's no fun in brevity.


Notes

Country Doctor: Sarah Orne Jewett's novel, A Country Doctor appeared in 1884.

Gloucester: a Massachusetts coastal town, north of Boston.

This transcription appears in Letters, Sarah Wyman Whitman.  Cambridge, MA:  Riverside Press, 1907, "Letters to Sarah Orne Jewett: 1882-1903," pp. 61-109.



SOJ to John Geenleaf Whittier


South Berwick

August 7, 1884 

My dear Friend:

     I am sorry this letter has been so late in going to you. At any rate I have been thinking of you and the pleasant days at Asquam1 a great deal. I have been so busy getting in my salt hay2 ever since A. F.* went away that there did not seem to be time for much else. I have done eighty-two pages so far this week and this is only Thursday. I wish I could keep on at that rate and it would be done in a month now except the last looking over and copying. I grow more and more interested in it, and it promises to be a "blooming" love story!!

     Thank you so much for the newspaper cuttings. I was glad to see them both and Mrs. Fields shall have the ghost story.3 The more I think of it, the more I believe in the truth of the Bishop of Carlisle's theory.4

     I didn't see the Greely reception.5 I could hardly hear about it without crying -- and it is all very real to me. So perhaps it is just as well I stayed away, but I don't believe a more thrilling sight ever was in Portsmouth, or "all along shore" for that matter.

     I can't help wishing that you and Mrs. Caldwell and Mrs. Cartland could stop over at S. Berwick on your way home. I want to thank you all again for your dear friendship and kindness. I have felt better in every way since I came home from Holderness.

     With love from my sister and myself,

Yours always lovingly,

Sarah O. Jewett

 

P.S. I was getting in the salt hay much too late in the season and had to start over again!

 
Notes

1. From the top of a high promontory between Squam and Little Squam lakes, the Asquam House affords an expansive view of Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountain ranges beyond it. On July 16, 1884, Whittier had asked Mrs. Fields: "Would it be possible for thee and Sarah to come here?" (Pickard, Life and Letters, II. 694.)

2. Reference is to her novel, A Marsh Island, the current work in progress.

3. Whittier had written: "I have just cut from the N. Y. Evening Post a notice of thy beautiful story of the Country Doctor . . . and also a very remarkable statement re­lating to spiritual visitations, which I think will interest thee and dear Annie Fields." (Cary, "Whittier Letters," p. 15) On the same day that this review appeared (Au­gust 2, 1884), a letter to the editor, cap­tioned "Another Ghost Story," recounted an experience similar to that of Sir Edward Hornby, an English Chief Justice, whose story was reported in "Visible Appari­tions," Nineteenth Century, XVI (July 1884), 68-95, and reprinted in the Post on July 29.

4. Harvey Goodwin (1818-1891), Bish­op of Carlisle from 1869 to his death, wrote prolifically in dynamics, statistics, biography, and religion. Miss Jewett seems to be referring to the assertion in his Walks in the Regions of Science and Faith (London, 1883), p. 6: "To drop all meta­phor, the progress of human knowledge during the present century compels everyone who thinks at all to think with his eyes open to the results of physical science. Morals and religion have, of course, still their own territory, and their territory should be carefully and courageously guarded against invasion. But the moral and religious values of men will generally be modified by the necessity of recognizing indubitable physical truths."

5. In August 1881 Lt. Adolphus W. Greely and a contingent of twenty-five men established a United States signal station for arctic observation and exploration in Grinnell Land. When, after two desperate winters, the expected relief ships did not come, Greely and his party set out by sea. They drifted ten months, cold and starvation reducing the group to six. They were finally rescued by a naval squadron, which dropped anchor in Portsmouth harbor on August 1, 1884. Formal ceremonies and impromptu festivities for the survivors proliferated. With the Secretary of the Navy and an admiral in attendance, the local press reported that "Never before in the history of Portsmouth has there been so grand and imposing an event as the celebration of the return of Greely and the survivors of his expedition." 

Editor's Notes

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

Mrs. Caldwell and Mrs. Cartland: Cary identifies Adelaide Caldwell, wife of Whittier's nephew Lewis, who was noted for her sparkling personality at family gatherings.  And he says that Joseph Cartland (1810-1898) and Gertrude Cartland (1822-1911) ac­companied Whittier on his summer vaca­tions in Maine and New Hampshire for five decades, and Whittier lived in their home at New­buryport, Massachusetts most of his last fifteen winters.

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.




Annie Adams Fields to Eben Norton Horsford

Sep. 19th '84,

148 Charles Street
Boston

Dear Professor Horsford

    I promised dear Mrs Horsford a note from our poet and I send the enclosed because he thinks when it is written, that we are still with you.*

    I hope the peaches arrived safely and were of the best. We, Sarah and I, are full of tender remembrances of our visit -- Just here comes your note of the 17th which explains why Mrs Horsford could not hear us when we spoke through the telephone* to bid her welcome on the late afternoon of Wednesday.

    Sarah and her sister have gone this morning to Montreal and Quebec.* I feared a storm for them but instead they have a lovely autumn morning. She sends her love, as I do also, to your daughters. She means to write them while she is away.
Our visit to you was a real refreshment. We found Mrs. Stowe on Sunday in Hartford. She is very delicate in health but is talking of going to Florida as usual.

    My little home here is looking very pretty just now for the frosts spared the blossoms and the grass everywhere is doing itself great credit.

    The sketch has just gone to be mounted. It looked lovelier than ever when we took it out of the trunk and knew that the scene itself was now only a memory to us.
   
affectionately to you all
Annie Fields.

Notes

our poet:  Probably John Greenleaf Whittier.

telephone:  This letter suggests that Fields was an early adopter of the new telephone services, probably provided by the National Bell Telephone Company in New England.

Montreal and Quebec:  Jewett's biographers report that Quebec was a favorite destination for the Jewett family, but little has been written about their travels in Canada or the writing that resulted, such as "Mère Pochette" (1888).

Mrs. Stowe in Hartford:  Harriet Beecher Stowe was living at Nook Farm in Hartford, CT in 1884.

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.




Annie Adams Fields to Eben Norton Horsford

Monday evening [October 1884]*

148 Charles Street, Boston

My dear friends:

I was more than sorry to pass your door today without knocking, but seeing both "Mamma" and Lilian* on my way, (the first driving and at a distance) I concluded to defer my visit. After a word with Frü Ole* I found myself late and tired and so, ignominiously, returned home. Sarah gave me her love to bring to you all.
    We have been passing the month at my cottage in Manchester by the Sea and I only returned this morning, leaving Sarah at South Berwick. We drove from Manchester to Berwick passing one night with Mr. Whittier at Amesbury. He is uncommonly well again! and as full of the coming Election, Quarterly meetings, the last new books and his orchard and grape-vines, as he ever was.*
    He again said how sorry he was that he did not feel equal to the journey to Shelter Island.*
    This afternoon was beautiful indeed in Cambridge and it was fitting that everybody should be out to see something of it at least. I wanted to see the Longfellows and give them a word of welcome before looking about at the crowd of things which should keep me here for a while, but missing you I had a sense of disappointment after all.
    Sarah will feel the death of your favorite and I feel it for you and with you.*
    Good-bye and please return good for evil in not passing by my door.

Affectionately  yours
Annie Fields.

Notes

Transcriber note:  Frü Ole is 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.

October 1884:  If the reference to the "death of your favorite" refers to the death of Trofarts, a family dog, then this letter from Annie must be close in time to the Jewett's letter of 29 October 1884, which includes condolence for this loss.

"Mamma" and Lilian:  Horsford wife and daughter.  See Correspondents.

Whittier:  John Greenleaf Whittier. See Correspondents.

coming Election, Quarterly meetings:  The Presidential election of 1884 was hotly contested, pitting Republican James G. Blaine against Democrat Grover Cleveland.  Blaine was hampered by a political corruption scandal resulting from documentary evidence that he had sold his influence while in Congress.  Cleveland was able to take the higher moral position until it was revealed that he had fathered (or at least taken responsibility for) an illegitimate child.  The election was held on 4 November.  As abolitionists and Republicans, Whittier and Fields and Jewett would have found the campaign upsetting.
    Whittier was a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers).  Quarterly meetings of the Society of Friends are gatherings of regional representatives to worship and conduct business.

the journey to Shelter Island:  According to Mac Griswold in The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island (2013), the dedication of the Shelter Island monument took place in July of 1884 (309-11).  He reports that Whittier was present to read a poem he composed for the occasion, but this letter and others to the Horsfords would seem to contradict both facts.  Contemporary accounts indicate that Whittier's poem was read, but do not specify that he read it or that it was composed for this occasion.  It is possible, though, that Fields refers to a different gathering.  See the Friends Intelligenceer v. 41 (August 1884) pp. 436-7.  Further assistance is welcome.

Longfellows:  Willoughby says that "the Horsfords lived at 27 Craigie Street [in Cambridge, MA], a few doors from the Longfellows."  See Mary Melvin Petronella, Victorian Boston Today: Twelve Walking Tours (225).

death of your favorite:  Probably Trofarts, a Horsford family dog.

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Eben Norton Horsford


South Berwick, 29 October 1884

Dear Professor Horsford

I meant to tell you long ago that I will send you Cornelia's water colour sketch* whenever you want it. It has been mounted, so there will be no danger of its getting hurt if the expressmen are decently careful. I shall not be in Boston for some time yet so if you will write me here I will follow orders.

    I was much grieved, but not surprised to hear of dear Trofarts departure.* He was a dear old fellow and I shall miss him so much. I suppose the cherry leaves and the maple leaves are covering his little grave at Shelter Island but I am so glad he could go to Cambridge with you. It would have broken his heart to be left behind. You will all have to come and play with Roger* this winter.

    I am very busy writing now and hope to get done by the first of December. I don't wish to write another long story* for a good while and I am afraid it would have been wiser not to try this last one! I so often think of my lovely visit at Shelter Island -- it was so pleasant there this summer, and the bright hot days are beautiful to look back at now that the weather is growing so cold. Didn't we have a good time at East Hampton? But I must say good night now with dear love to all.

Yours affectionately
Sarah.

Notes

Cornelia's watercolor:   A Horseford daughter.  See Correspondents.

Trofarts:  A Horsford family dog.

Roger:  Jewett's Irish setter.

long story:  In fall 1884, Jewett was working on A Marsh Island (1885).

According to transcriber John W. Willoughby, the manuscript of this letter is in the possession of the family of Andrew Fiske, Eben Norton Horsford's great-grandson, "heir to Sylvester Manor, Horsford's Shelter Island estate, who graciously offered to share with the public the letters from Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford and his family."  This letter was published in John W. Willoughby, "Sarah Orne Jewett and Her Shelter Island: Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields to Eben Norton Horsford,"  Confrontation (Long Island University) 8 (1974): 72-86.  Annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to Annie Adams Fields


[ Autumn 1884 ]*

 Monday evening

Dear Darling

     I had a good long afternoon's work and a mile's walk afterward and I hope I shall be able to tell the same story every night this week! Thank you for the dear letter tonight and for sending the two notes. I hope you won’t mind my teasing you about calling on the Gosses* -- I am only anxious for you to be able to mark that off the list of things to be done -- it tires you to think it is waiting. How it must help Miss Butler* to have these days with you. When you are sad and life seems long I wish you could have a sense of the help you give and the good you do. I feel sometimes that I never can give you back any thing my own beloved darling. You seem like something unlike the  rest of humanity -- not an angel because I see you and touch you, but not made of my own native soil! I think a little whirl of dust blew down from the heavenly streets, and it couldn't go back, so they made Fuff out of it. (dear Fuff -- and Pin* having a beautiful chance to say things, but will stop now!)

 -- I found some lovely sonnets in these books I brought from Montreal. One I had read before and forgotten, by Charles Tennyson Turner -- I  am  sure it must be in your Maine book -- about the little  girl and the Globe? -- Good-night  dear --
     Yours with all my heart

 S.   O.   J.

Don’t forget about Mrs. Arnold's address please -- I suppose the things must go either by the Wednesdays or Fridays steamer -- Could not Mr. Mifflin see about the Omar Khayyam? Though I suppose Mr. Millet will send word for one now -- I hope he is better --*

I have ordered a box of cologne sent to the house for winter supplies -- so Fuff not to think it is Dynamite!

Tuesday morning
    I put in this bit of verse which I have just written dear Fuff -- not because it is done or because it is good - I have always remembered meeting Emerson in Washington St.* long ago, and his looking so apart from every thing about  him
 

Notes

Autumn 1884:  In Sarah Orne Jewett, Blanchard (p. 161) says that Mary and Sarah Jewett made a trip to Canada, in September 1884.   She reports an earlier trip in 1873 (108).  Silverthorne, in her Sarah Orne Jewett, reports  stilln earlier trip in 1868, when Dr. Jewett took both Mary and Sarah (47), but we currently know of no trips to Canada after 1884.  This letter likely was written soon after that trip. However, the note below on Mrs. Arnold suggests that the letter may have been written after April 1888, the month of Matthew Arnold's death.

the GossesIt is possible that Jewett refers to Edmund and Ellen Gosse. Edmund Gosse (1849 - 1928) was an English poet, author and critic.  He made a popular lecture tour of the United States in late 1884.

Miss Butler:  The identity of Miss Butler is unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

Fuff ... Pin:  Jewett and Fields used these terms of endearment for each other.  Fields was Fuff and Fuffatee; Jewett was Pinny Lawson and Pinny and Pin.

Charles Tennyson Turner ... your Maine book -- about the little  girl and the GlobeCharles Tennyson Turner (1808 - 1879) was an English poet, the older brother of Alfred Lord Tennyson.   The reference to a Maine book is unidentified.  The poem is "Letty's Globe."
 
WHEN Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year,     
  And her young artless words began to flow,     
One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere     
  Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know,     
By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
  She patted all the world; old empires peep'd     
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand     
  Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd,     
  And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss;     
But when we turn'd her sweet unlearnèd eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry—     
'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!'     
  And while she hid all England with a kiss,     
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.


Mrs. Arnold's address:  It is likely Jewett refers to the wife of Matthew Arnold (1822 - 15 April 1888), Frances Lucy Wightman (1825-1901).  Arnold was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools.  Because Jewett refers only to Mrs. Arnold, one may suspect that this letter was written after his death.

Mr. Mifflin see about the Omar Khayyam:  J.R. Osgood & Company published an edition of Edward FitzGerald's Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in 1877.  Osgood and Company became Houghton, Mifflin Co. in 1880.  George Mifflin was an early partner. 

Mr. Millet:   It is likely that Mr. Millet is Francis Davis Millet (1848-1912), an Americn painter, sculptor and writer who died aboard the RMS Titanic.

meeting Emerson in Washington St: Jewett wrote a sonnet on this meeting and included it this letter; it appears also in Jewett's unpublished story, "Carlyle in America" c. 1894-1890.

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr-055-soj-af.04. Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller, Coe College





SOJ to John Greenleaf Whittier

148 Charles St.
Friday evening  [Autumn 1884]

My dear friend

    "I have been long a reader and admirer of your writings, and I take my pen at this time to ask you to furnish me with your autograph and any sentiment you please".  If I could choose I should like best to know if you found Amesbury had wintered well, and if the snow is as nearly gone as it is here, and if you have missed us a little and have had any idea how often we have thought of you and spoken of you, here in Charles St.

    I have not much news to tell you, only that our A. F. is better than when you saw her last, and yesterday she and Mary and I went out to Mrs. Ole Bull’s to lunch and had a very pleasant time.  Miss Longfellow was there too.  And what delighted us more than anything were the blue birds in the Elmwood trees, singing as if it were going to be as warm as July today instead of cold enough to bite one’s ears off!!  --  Coming home we stopped at the college to see Boylston Beal’s room, and we had a great deal of fun, for he is a proud freshman and his Aunt Annie has not been out to visit him before.

    Mary went away from us this afternoon to make another visit in town and we miss her very much.  It was so pleasant too, for me to have her here.  I must tell you that Farmer Finch has got into port at Harper’s, and now I am writing a Christmas story which they wanted for the Wide-Awake, and I am trying to see it in a proper frame of mind!  I should as soon get a sleigh out to go to the beach in August -- but we will hope for luck!  Good-bye! And “T. E.” sends her dear love to you with mine.

Yours affectionately

Sarah



Notes

any sentiment you please:  It seems likely Jewett quotes from the standard autograph request letter to hint to Whittier that she would like to receive a letter from him.

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

Mary ... Mrs. Ole Bull: Mary Rice Jewett and Sara Chapman Thorp Bull. See Correspondents.

Miss Longfellow:  While one cannot be certain which of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's daughters Jewett refers to, this presumably would be the eldest of his unmarried daughters in 1884, Alice.  See Correspondents.

Elmwood trees:  Jewett refers to the birthplace and estate of American poet, James Russell Lowell (1819-1891).

Boylston Beal’s room:  Bolyston Adams Beal (1865-1944) was the son of Annie Fields's sister, Louisa Jane Adams Fields (1836-1920) and James Henry Beal (1823-1904).  After graduating from Harvard, Beal became an influential Boston lawyer.

Farmer Finch has got into port at Harper’s: Jewett's "Farmer Finch" appeared in Harper's 70 (January 1885).

a Christmas story which they wanted for the Wide-Awake:  Jewett's bibliography shows no Christmas story or, indeed, any story appearing in Wide Awake near the end of 1884.  Her story "The Church Mouse" was in Wide Awake 18 (February 1884).

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


Sunday evening. [Autumn 1884]*


     I wonder if your pine boughs smell as sweet as mine tonight? Also I wonder if it is going to rain! I went to church this morning, and have been reading all the afternoon, chiefly the last volume of Dickens' Letters,* and I thought of you at every turn. What a lovely spirit there is in them! I think his letters to his sons, as they went away to the army or to Australia, are wonderfully beautiful. It was good to have the book fresh in my mind again. Now, dear, I have at last, after much grumbling and groaning, got my next two numbers of the "Marsh Island" ready for the printer, and I take a long breath, being free until February. The second of the two was not half so bad as I expected, and some day or two in town will work wonders with the rest. If I had another week I would write the McClure story,* and what a triumphant Pinny# that would be, ladies.

     Mother is reading the Parson Hawker book,* with seeming joy, and I don't think she will mind in the least being left alone. I begin to feel dreadfully confused about Christmas now that the story is off my mind for a little while, but we shall soon talk about things, shan't we? and in this next week I shall come quite to my senses.

     Does Sandpiper# play with you, or has she married a ghost* and therefore she cannot come? (Marigold being "excused" on account of following after Clark and Brown's Oxen.)* Did you see the interview with "thy friend"# and the remark that the best parlor was stiff and prim? I think that was quite an unnecessary comment, but a very observing interviewer, ladies*

     I wonder how far you have got in the Swedenborg book?* I keep a sense of it under everything else. How such a bit of foundation lifts up all one's other thoughts together, and makes us feel as if we really stood higher and could see more of the world. I am going to hunt up some of the smaller books of extracts, etc., that Professor Parsons gave me.* Oh! the garden is so splendid! I never dreamed of so many hollyhocks in a double row and all my own!

Fields's Notes

Pinny: She was called "'Pinny,' Ladies," she once wrote, "because she was so straight and thin and her head no bigger than a pin's."*

Sandpiper: Her pet name for Celia Thaxter.

thy friend: Whittier.*

Notes

Autumn 1884:  As the notes below indicate, this letter is problematic regarding dating, making one wonder whether it may be a composite.  The blooming hollyhocks Jewett mentions indicate that the letter almost certainly was composed between June and first frost.  Her reference to the "next two numbers" of A Marsh Island for Atlantic suggest that she probably has submitted at least two of the 6 monthly numbers  (January - June 1885) earlier, and would not have to submit the March or more likely April number until February.  Her suggestion that Christmas is not far off along with the likely dates of her submitting parts of her new novel suggest a December date.  Given this seemingly contradictory evidence, I have placed the letter in autumn of 1884.

last volume of Dickens' Letters
: Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British author of such novels as David Copperfield (1850). Jewett could have been reading The Letters of Charles Dickens (1879, 1881) in three volumes from Scribner's.

McClure story: The date of this letter is problematic, and there is also a mystery about this McClure story. Jewett's mother died in 1891. The first Jewett piece known to appear in McClure's Magazine is "Human Documents," in June 1893, the year in which S. S. McClure (1857-1949) founded his magazine. Jewett's novel, A Marsh Island appeared in Atlantic Monthly in January - June, 1885. McClure may have had contact with Jewett between 1884 and 1890, through his associations with Century Magazine -- which first published a Jewett story, "In Dark New England Days," in 1890 -- and with his own news syndicate. Probably this part of the letter is presented out of chronological order, and we cannot be sure what McClure story Jewett refers to.

Parson Hawker book: Probably a book by or about the Cornish vicar and poet, Robert Stephen Hawker (1803-1875). Hawker was the subject of Baring-Gould's The Vicar of Morwenstow (1875).

Sandpiper: Celia Thaxter (1835-1894), popular poet, author of An Island Garden (1894), close friend of Jewett and Fields.
     Her nickname may be connected with the following Thaxter poem, often anthologized, which appears in Stories and Poems for Children (1895) and other Thaxter collections, as well as in McGuffy's Fourth Eclectic Reader: Revised Edition (1879, 1920). A sandpiper is a bird of the snipe family, found along the seacoast.

Jewett wrote the preface to Thaxter's Stories and Poems for Children. That text, which precedes the poem below, reflects something of Jewett and Thaxter's relationship.

    Preface to Stories and Poems for Children

I am sure that if Mrs. Thaxter had lived to complete the arrangement of this book of stories and verses for children, she would have dedicated it to her dear grandchildren and to the little nieces so near to her heart. I know that she would like to have me stand in her place and say that this book is made for them first of all, and I am sure that it will help those who cannot well remember her to know something of her beautiful generous kindness and delightful gayety, her gift of teaching young eyes to see the flowers and birds; to know her island of Appledore and its sea and sky.     S.O.J.

"The Sandpiper" from Stories and Poems for Children by Celia Thaxter

Across the narrow beach we flit,
   One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
   The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
   The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit, --
   One little sandpiper and I.
Above our heads the sullen clouds
   Scud black and swift, across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
   Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
   I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit across the beach,--
   One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along
   Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
   Nor flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong;
   He scans me with a fearless eye.
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
   The little sandpiper and I.
Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
   When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
   To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
   The tempest rushes through the sky:
For are we not God's children both,
   Thou, little sandpiper, and I?
 

married a ghost: Celia Thaxter was intensely interested in Spiritualism in 1882-83, under the influence of the medium, Rose Darrah. Paula Blanchard (Sarah Orne Jewett) reports that Jewett and Fields also showed some interest, but were more skeptical, as Jewett seems in this letter. See Blanchard, pp. 181-82.

Marigold ... Clark and Brown's Oxen: Mary (Mrs. James) Lodge.  See Correspondents.  "Clark and Brown's Oxen" apparently refers to a notorious 1833 court case involving oxen belonging to Mr. Clark that broke through a fence onto Mr. Brown's property, where they ate Brown's corn and then died.  How this relates to Mary Lodge not writing letters recently is not clear; assistance is welcome.

Swedenborg: Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), Swedish philosopher, scientist and mystic. He developed an elaborate theosophic system, and his followers formed the New Church on his beliefs after his death. One of Jewett's mentors, Theophilus Parsons (1797-1882), was a Christian Swedenborgian.

Professor Parsons: Theophilus Parsons (1797-1882), one of Jewett's mentors.  See Correspondents.

Pin's:  Jewett and Fields used these terms of endearment for each other.  Fields was Fuff and Fuffatee; Jewett was Pinny Lawson and Pinny and Pin.

best parlor ... Whittier: John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), the Quaker poet of Amesbury, Massachusetts, best known for his narrative poem, Snow-bound (1866).   See Correspondents.  The interview with Whittier that described his "stiff and prim" parlor has not been located; assistance is welcome.

This letter appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  Transcribed by Annie Adams Fields, with notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

Thursday 5 O'clock
[ October-November 1884 ]

My dear Fuffy

         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I think Blaine must be proud to have the chief weapon used in his behalf, of such a sort as these.  Today I have been reading the story through, and I like some of it very much but I am afraid there isn't enough "go" in it and that it will be only a third rate thing, with a kind of vagueness and feebleness about it.  Doris and Dick* are not half vigorous enough and every body will say again that nobody was in love or ever heard of it.  I know I could write a better story without a lover in it!  but there is nothing to do now but finish it as fast and as well as I can.  I was mad with the Nation for one thing;  it was pleased to say that Carlyle scolded people because they did no work and did nothing but talk himself.

            When one remembers how he drudged, it certainly seems ungrateful of the Nation  --  but it isn't the fashing [so transcribed] to call writing work!  --  A cross Pinny* ladies  --  but a not very well Pinny and life drags a little . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Notes

The ellipses in the transcription indicate that this is a selection from the manuscript.

October-November 1884:  As the notes below indicate, Jewett must have composed this letter in fall of 1884, after the appearance of the 23 October issue of The Nation.

Fuffy: Nickname for Annie Adams Fields.    See Correspondents.

BlaineJames Gillespie Blaine (1830-1893), of Maine, served as U.S. congressman, senator, and secretary of state.  He was nominated as the Republican party's presidential candidate in 1884, but lost to Grover Cleveland.

Doris and Dick:  This pair of characters appears in Jewett's A Marsh Island, which began as an Atlantic Monthly serial in January 1885 and appeared in book form later that year.

Nation ... Carlyle: The passage to which Jewett refers appears in a brief notice of the publication of Carlyle's diary in James Anthony Froude's Life of Carlyle. See The Nation, v 39  (October 23, 1884), p. 343.

Pinny: Nickname for Sarah Orne Jewett.    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 72, 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.

Anna Harriette Leonowens* to SOJ

"Sunnyside." Halifax, Nova Scotia
8th November 1884

Dear Miss Jewitt [spelled incorrectly]

    How very kind it is of you to have so long remembered my wish. I thank you very very much. I have already got from London a copy of "Esoteric Buddhism"* and have not only read it with deep interest, but have jotted down some notes on it which I intend later on to send to some magazine. But I am afraid I am too much a child of the East always to please Western Editors and readers. We have read "The Country Doctor" with real pleasure. It is charming from end to end, and I am sure your new story will be equally delightful.*

    Some young travellers brought us this summer a card from our dear Mrs. Fields. I some how read only her name, and rushed into the drawing room to greet her, to be sorely disappointed for the moment. However, it was soon explained and we were very glad to meet the young girls, they seemed full of appreciation.

    My little book "Life and Travel in India" has been published, but I have not as yet seen a copy of it. I am now busy with the papers for "The Wide Awake."*

    Your summer trips with dear Mrs. Fields must have been delightful. I can picture the Evening when you two talked deep into the heart of the night with dear Whittier. I wish I could have been there. I am always better than myself whenever I am in the atmosphere of good and great minds.

    My visit to Boston this winter is still uncertain.

    My dear daughter needs a change. And if she should go to New York in the Spring, I shall stay at home with the dear babes. Moreover the memory of my last visit to Boston especially to Charles Street must serve to cover with beauty many weary months of the Winter here.*

    Pray give our grateful love to dear Mrs. Fields. My daughter desires most cordially to be remembered to you; and with my dear love and thanks,

    I am very Sincerely yours

A H Leonowens
 

Notes

LeonowensAnna Harriette Leonowens (1834-1914) was the author of The English governess at the Siamese court: being recollections of six years in the royal palace at Bangkok (1870), which provided the source materials for Anna and the King of Siam (1944) by Margaret Landon, which eventually became the musical, The King and I (1951) by Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rogers. She also wrote The Romance of the Harem (1873) and Life & Travel in India, being recollections of a journey before the days of railroads (1884).  Her daughter, Avis Annie, was born in 1855.  Wikipedia says: "In 1878, Leonowens’s daughter Avis Annie Crawford Connybeare married Thomas Fyshe, a Scottish banker and the cashier (general manager) of the Bank of Nova Scotia in Halifax, where [Leonowens] resided for nineteen years as she continued to travel the world."

Esoteric BuddhismA. P. Sinnett, Esoteric Buddhism, 1884. Mrs. Leonowens's review of the book -- if it was published -- has not been located. Assistance is welcome.

Country Doctor:  Jewett's A Country Doctor appeared in 1884. Her next novel was A Marsh Island, 1885.

Wide Awake:  Leonowens apparently refers to work she is preparing for Wide Awake, a children's magazine in which Jewett also published. It is possible she refers to her series of essays, "Our Asiatic Cousins," which appeared in Wide Awake 26 and 27, from December 1887 to November 1888, and collected in 1889.

Charles Street:  Annie Fields lived on Charles Street in Cambridge, MA.

The ms. of this letter is held by Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, METranscription and notes by Terry Heller, with assistance from Alfred Habegger.




SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     Sunday night, November, 1884*


     I am getting sleepy, for I must confess that it is past bedtime. I went to church this morning, but this afternoon I have been far afield, way over the hill and beyond, to an unusual distance. Alas, when I went to see my beloved big pitch-pine tree that I loved best of all the wild trees that lived in Berwick, I found only the broad stump of it beside the spring, and the top boughs of it scattered far and wide. It was a real affliction, and I thought you would be sorry, too, for such a mournful friend as sat down and counted the rings to see how many years old her tree was, and saw the broad rings when good wet summers had helped it grow and narrow ones when there had been a drought, and read as much of its long biography as she could. But the day was very lovely, and I found many pleasures by the way and came home feeling much refreshed. I found such a good little yellow apple on one of the pasture trees, and I laughed to think how you would be looking at the next bite. It was very small, but I nibbled it like a squirrel. I found a white-weed daisy* fully blown, but only an inch high, so that it looked as if somebody had snapped it off and dropped it on the ground; and I was in some underbrush, going along the slope, and saw a crow come toward me flying low, and when I stood still he did not see me and came so close that I could hear his wings creak their feathers -- and nearly in the same spot I thought I heard the last of the "creakits."* I wished for you so much, it was a day you would have loved.

Notes

1884:  Fields provides the date, but November in Maine seems somewhat late for blooming flowers and edible apples still on trees.

white-weed daisy
: any weed with a white or whitish flower, specifically the daisy, according to a contemporary dictionary.

"creakits":  Presumably she refers to crickets.
 
This letter appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  Transcribed by Annie Adams Fields, with notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

 



S. O. J. to  Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin


148 Charles St.
Boston 27th Dec. [1884]

Dear Mrs. Goodwin

    This morning while we were at breakfast your pretty box came in and I forsook everything else in my delight and must confess that the first bite of the first rose-cake brought great pleasure.  Mrs. Fields* thought they were almost too good for an every day breakfast! -- and as charming to look at as they were good to taste.  But she did not know as I did, how many pleasant associations belong to them.  I could see myself sitting, years and years ago, in your mother's sunshiny parlour, and being entertained with the remote ancestors of these present rosecakes, in a fashion and with a kindness that were dear to my young heart.  I think these are the flower of their family -- for none ever tasted better.  So you see I am not thinking the past better than the present as we have frequent temptations to --

    I have been thinking of you often in these last few days, and feeling so sorry for Minnie.*  It is indeed a sad Christmas for her -- and I am glad to have this chance for sending a message of love and sympathy to her.  I have been shut up in the house by a bad cold or I would have tried to see Fanny or some other member of the family.  Goodbye dear Mrs. Goodwin and thank you so much for your kindness and do not forget that I am your loving friend

Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

1884:  The transcriber dates this letter from 1883, but I speculate that it was composed in 1884 on the grounds that Jewett comments on what a sad Christmas this one has been for Minnie.  See note on Minnie below.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.

Minnie:  As Jewett is writing to Sophia Goodwin, she probably refers to her daughter-in-law, Minnie Lord Weeks Goodwin (1856-1919), wife of William Allen Hayes Goodwin (1853-1930).  Their first daughter, Mary Lord Goodwin was born 19 January 1884 and died three days later, on 22 January.  It seems likely that Jewett refers to the contrast between the couple's hopeful Christmas of 1883 and this bereft Christmas of 1884.  Their next child, Wallingford Goodwin, was born in 1885 (d. 1958).

Fanny:  Fanny's identity is uncertain.  Frances Goodwin (1854-1932) of nearby Kittery Point, ME is a possibility, but how she may be related to Sophia Goodwin has not been determined .  Assistance is welcome.

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.  The transcriber identifies this letter as from the Goodwin Collection:  [Letter from S. O. J. to  Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin (Mrs. Ichabod) of "Old Fields," South Berwick, Me., now owned by Miss Elizabeth Goodwin of "Old Fields," South Berwick].


Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.



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