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Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1898

SOJ to Henry Green

     148 Charles Street
     January 26, [1898]

    Dear Elder Henry:

     I return the letter of Madame de Boffle.1 As you say, you must have her answer in regard to the price of the cloak which she quite misunderstands, and by that time I can tell you whether the friends of Madame Blanc will be going over to France, which is not yet decided.
     I do not wonder that you were confused by hearing of Mrs. Bentzon! but Madame Blanc is almost better known as Th. (or Thérèse) Bentzon, which is her writing name as George Eliot was the writing name of Mrs. Lewes.2  Only in this case Bentzon was a family name to which our friend had a right. And she is usually called Madame Blanc-Bentzon, though here in America where double names are not so common as in Europe she was usually called plain Madame Blanc. She was born Thérèse de Solms, daughter of Count de Solms -- but I must not confuse you with any more French names.3
     I had a very kind letter from dear Eldress Harriet* not long ago, which I answered.
     You may be sure that anything which comes to you from France by the way of Madame Blanc will be all right. She has no doubt set the fashion for Shaker cloaks -- she was so much pleased with her own, which I thought much the prettiest one I have ever seen.
     Please remember me affectionately to all my friends, and write whenever you think I can make things clearer or help you in any way.
     Yours very truly,
     S. O. Jewett

      I should think, in case of further orders, that it might be as well to send by express. There is little trouble with the customs in France, I believe, and it is quicker than waiting for chance travellers.4


     1 Evidently a French lady who so admired the Shaker cloak Madame Blanc purchased on her 1897 visit to the Alfred Shaker colony that she wrote directly to Elder Henry to order one for herself. The dress of the Shaker women is described in detail by Madame Blanc in the Revue des Deux Mondes article of November 15, 1897.

Shaker cloak

Shaker Cloak
Photographed at Canterbury Shaker Village, NH
by Terry Heller, October 2016

    2 Miss Jewett seems unaware that George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) did not contract a legal marriage with George Henry Lewes.
     3 Bentzon was her mother's maiden name. She abbreviated her first name to give the impression of a masculine equivalent -- Thomas or Théodor.
     4 Later in this year Miss Jewett embarked on her third voyage to Europe with Mrs. Fields. She was joined by her sister Mary and her nephew in France, met Violet Paget, stayed with Madame Blanc for about a month at her country house, then went on to England, where she encountered Rudyard Kipling and Henry James.

Editor's notes

Madame de Boffle:  This woman has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Eldress Harriet:  In photographs of residents at the Alfred Maine Shaker village in the 1890s, at Maine History Online, appear Eldress Harriet Goodwin (1823-1903) and Eldress Harriet Coolbroth (1864-1953).  It is not clear to which woman Jewett refers.

Mrs. Lewes:  Richard Cary indicates that Jewett may not have been aware that Evans and Lewes were not legally married.  While that may be the case, it is not clear that Jewett was unusual in being ignorant of this fact, as George Eliot's biographers make clear that Evans and Lewes made a point of calling themselves Mr. and Mrs. Lewes.

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.  Additional notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sara Norton

          South Berwick, Maine, 23 February [1898 ]*

     How delightful it was to see you! I cannot help thinking that yesterday morning is a very dear hour to put away and remember. I got home at half-past three in the afternoon, to a world of snow, which surprised me very much, with the rain raining on it as hard as it can and a general outlook toward a tremendous month of March. Tomorrow we are looking for some friends who mean to come down from town to look at the old house I have often told you about, and of which they had heard. I can't imagine a drearier moment, but there are the big elms high and dry, and some other attractions, and they must take their chances and make their choices. Berwick always seems a little sad, even to me! in the wane of winter. The old houses look at each other as if they said, "Good heavens! the things that we remember!" But after the leaves come out they look quite prepared for the best and quite touchingly cheerful.


1898:  This date is based on the likelihood that Jewett writes of a visit by Emily Tyson to examine the historic Hamilton House in South Berwick.  According to Historic New England: " In 1898, Jewett convinced her friend Emily Tyson, widow of the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and her stepdaughter Elise Tyson (later Mrs. Henry G. Vaughan) to purchase the house."

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

March 18, 1898.

     The last of the four quatrefoils is done to-day:* and I have a momentary sensation like Christian's when the pack fell off. . . .* There's that in the Spring which makes a strange tumult and lends wings to the Dream.


quatrefoils: A conventionalized representation of a flower with four petals or of a leaf with four leaflets.  This was one of Whitman's favorite forms, appearing in many of her stained-glass windows and in other designs as well.

Christian's when the pack fell off: Christian appears in Pilgrim's Progress (1678, 1684), a popular allegory by John Bunyan, (1628-1688). Christian tries in many ways to relieve himself of the burden he carries in his search for salvation, but finally it falls from his back when he follows the straight and narrow path of salvation and comes to the cross and a sepulchre, signs of the death and resurrection of Christ.

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 Sara Norton

     Bucklands Hotel, Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, W. 19 April, 1898.*

     I have seen all your primroses today and thought of you, too! Devonshire and Somerset were all a-bloom, and the brooks were fresh, and I heard a black-bird as the train went by, and I saw by this morning's Plymouth paper that the cuckoo had come and been heard in Brixham; which sounded homelike, because Brixham is a parish of the town of York next Berwick. And the fields were green and the trees showed all their lovely outlines under a mist of brown buds and small green leaves. They never will be so lovely again all summer. Oh, yes, I thought of you, dear! and it really seemed at one moment as if you were looking out of the car window with me.

     It was a dull voyage and I rejoiced when it was ended, though I never had so much fresh air as on this new big steamship which brought us over. That is saying much, but going to sea is going to sea in spite of everything. This time I read almost constantly, which one cannot always do at sea, and I liked very much coming into Plymouth, and spending the night there, and walking on the Hoe* this morning, with thoughts of Sir Francis Drake* and other great persons; but most of all of my poor great-grand-father, who was so unlucky as to be taken by privateers and shut into the wretched prison at Dartmoor, to know all the horrors of those dark days.* You will know how eager we were to get news from home, and how disappointing it was to find that nothing was yet settled and that war still seemed near.*


Bucklands Hotel, Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, W. 19 April, 1898: This hotel was in London.  Sister Mary and nephew Theodore joined Sarah and Annie for this long trip to Europe, Jewett's third, that lasted until autumn, 1898,

Hoe ... Sir Francis Drake and other great persons; but most of all of my poor great-grand-father, who was so unlucky as to be taken by privateers and shut into the wretched prison at Dartmoor: Jewett walked on the Hoe at Plymouth in Cornwall, Great Britain.
     Sir Francis Drake (1541-1596) was an English adventurer, explorer and naval hero. His family home was at Plymouth, where he spent several periods of his life. Privateers were privately own ships licensed by a national navy to capture enemy commercial ships during wartime. The United States and the British employed privateers in the War of 1812. In "The Old Town of Berwick," Jewett says, "This region bore its part in all the wars with generosity and bravery. The famous crew of John Paul Jones and the "Ranger" was mainly gathered from the shores of the river. One of the last of his sailors was, in his extreme old age, my father's patient." See also, "River Driftwood" in Country By-Ways and The Tory Lover.
    Regarding the imprisonment of Jewett's ancestor, there is considerable confusion.  While she specifies her "great-grandfather," in fact Dearborn Jewett was not a sailor but a soldier in George Washington's army.  Her grandfather, Theodore Furber Jewett, ran away to sea, and, during the War of 1812, he was captured running the British blockade in 1813 (Paula Blanchard, p. 8).  Where he was imprisoned has proven difficult to determine as well.  The History and Genealogy of the Jewetts in America reports that T. F. Jewett, "at the time of the Embargo ran a vessel to the West Indies, was captured by an English vessel and confined on the famous Dartmour Prison Ship"; but there were no Dartmoor prison ships. Graham Frater has researched this problem, and he writes:
Paula Blanchard (Sarah Orne Jewett, 1994, p.8) records that Theodore Furber Jewett was held on the infamous Dartmoor prison ship at Bristol. In addition to Plymouth's Mill Prison, American prisoners were held in Bristol (in the Stapleton Prison, now Blackberry Hill Hospital, source: John Penny), and in Dartmoor Prison in Devon (still in existence). John Frost's Sarah Orne Jewett, (1960, p.13) records that 'During the War of 1812, [T. F. Jewett's] brig was seized, and he was placed in Dartmoor Prison in England, and forwarded to the prison at St George's, Bermuda, before he could be exchanged with a prisoner of equal rank.' Grandfather Jewett might have been held first in Bristol, forwarded to Dartmoor, and thence to Bermuda.

war still seemed near:  Jewett refers to the approaching Spanish American War of 1898.

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 Sara Norton

     St. Rémy en Provence, 16 May, 1898.

     I send you a leaf that you will know from this most lovely place, and whereas I last spoke of primroses (I am sorry to think how long ago!), I can now speak of the golden lilies of France, which grow wild along these roadsides, and scarlet poppies and young vine leaves and old mulberry-trees, that look rueful as if they thought it very hard to put out nice leaves every year with the other trees, only to have them picked for silkworms.* Provence is in full flower and leaf otherwise. We have seen a good bit of it, with several days at Avignon, and some good drives across country. I wish that I could have had you with me one long day, when Miss Travers and I went on pilgrimage to Grignan, where Madame de Sévigné spent her last days with her daughter, and died at last, and was buried.* It took us eleven hours to make the not very long journey from Avignon and back again (a rainy morning forcing us to give up a drive and wait for a branch train instead), and we had only half an hour to see the ruined château and exquisite old French gardens; but it was one of the most delightful things I had ever done. The château rises high out of lovely green plain like a very small Orvieto,* and a solemn little old tiled village clusters under it, with a tiny market-place where Madame de Sévigné sits in her best clothes and her best manner, so gay, so Parisian, so French, so enchanting and so perfectly incongruous! You feel as if it had not been kind to make her permanent in bronze, -- that some of the crumbly limestone of the village would have been a kinder material by far, except that it is, after all, the crumbling old village that must some day go, and she forever stay. Her little garden, under a bit of high wall, with the fig-tree she writes about, are still there as if she had left them yesterday. The pastures were all covered with thyme, in bloom just now, and the air was blowing down from the snow mountains which shut the valley in; and after the wind and rain of the morning, the sun had come out and cleared a blue sky like Italy. One thinks of Italy always here. I have left myself no time or room on this crumply sheet of paper to tell you of a most enchanting farandole* which we saw yesterday, in a village near by, where all the dancers of different parishes had come together. There was never anything more exquisite than the whole thing, the open arena with the afternoon light through the trees and all the country people so gay, so delighted. The costumes and the grace of the whole thing; the Provençal dance-tune would have delighted you.


silkworms:  According to A treatise on the Mulberry tree and Silkworm: and on the Production and Manufacture of Silk (1839) by John Clarke, mulberry trees and silk worms were brought to France in the 15th century and well-established in Provence during the 16th century (70-4).

Miss Travers:  Almost certainly this is Susan Travers.  The New York Times (December 8, 1904) p. 9, reports the death of Miss Susan Travers of Newport, RI on 7 December.  According to the Times (December 11, 1904) p. 34,  She was the daughter of William R. Travers.  Her sister, Matilda, married the artist, Walter Gay.  Though a biographical sketch is difficult to locate, Internet searches indicate that she was an art collector and a patron of the Boston Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden, and various philanthropic organizations.  She assisted Sarah Porter (1813-1900) in founding the Farmington [Connecticut] Lodge Society to bring 'tired and overworked' girls from New York City to Farmington during their summer vacation."  This would likely have interested Annie Fields in relation to her work with the Associated Charities of Boston.

Grignan, where Madame de Sévigné spent her last days ... and was buried: Grignan is in southeastern France, between Marseille and Lyon.
    Jewett refers to Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (1626-1696). Her correspondence with her daughter, more than 1500 letters, was published between 1725 and 1734.


Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné
Bronze statue in Grignan
Courtesy of Region Rhône-Alpes

Orvieto: A town in central Italy.

farandole: a Provençal dance in which men and women hold hands and form a line, following a leader through a serpentine course.

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 Louisa Dresel

     St. Rémy de Provence

     May 16, [1898]

     Dear Loulie:

     I got your nice letter a day or two ago in Avignon1 and I had been thinking of you just then and wishing that I knew where you were and had not for the moment forgotten and mislaid your banker's address. It is so long that your own letter has been following me that I don't dare to write to Venice now. I am so glad that things had gone so well on the whole, certainly they went well when they brought Miss Brockhaus to join you!* I find that Switzerland and Venice itself are much harder to stay away from than I expected, especially as we have had very cold, rainy weather most of the time since we came South. Mrs. Fields has been croaking just as if it were in January at home -- in fact her throat has been so troublesome and she has had a way of looking so pale that I have about made up my mind to take her under my arm and go to Aix-les-Bains for a little while. The waters there did her so much good once before in just such a hoarseness.

     We had a lovely ten days in London and it was very pleasant in Paris except for the dark weather and her illness. I was so glad to see Madame Blanc* as you may suppose. We go to her the first week in June for a few weeks and during that time she promises to go down into Touraine with us which will be delightful. I should like to have her know Nelly Prince2 and to have Nelly know Madame Blanc.

     Didn't Dr. Robert Collyer3 come with you on the Aller? He was going to sail on the 16th and I fancied you and Miss Clark4 having a delightful time with him. Perhaps the war prevented his starting,* or perhaps you forgot about our knowing him so well, as you wrote. I hope that you will have the best of summers, dear Loulie. Do write again and let us know. We are both so glad to hear from you. La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne is Mme. Blanc's address. Nearer than London!

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.

     We saw a beautiful farandol yesterday.* I wish you had been with us! The Provencal music was enchanting.

     I am sorry to be so hard up for writing materials but you will forgive them.5

Cary's Notes

     1This was the third trip to Europe that Jewett took with Fields. In England they visited Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Mrs. Humphry Ward, and Edward Garnett. Jewett's sister Mary and nephew Theodore joined her in France in July.

     2Helen Choate Prince, (1857-1943), granddaughter of Rufus Choate, and wife of Charles Albert Prince the Boston lawyer, spent summers at the Higginson cottage in West Manchester. After 1893 she removed to Paris, publishing The Story of Christine Rochefort (1895) and three other novels.

     3Robert Collyer (1823-1912), English-born Unitarian clergyman of New York City, wrote extensively on theological subjects, as well as verse, and biographies of Hawthorne, Whittier, Thoreau, Lamb, and Burns. He had a long correspondence with Jewett, and came annually for a stay with Annie Fields at Gambrel Cottage in Manchester.

     4Despite the dissimilarity in spelling, this is evidently the same person Jewett referred to an earlier letter, March 4, 1891.

     5This letter is not on the sturdy stationery ordinarily used by Jewett but on two thin, translucent sheets over which she has written vertically in the left margin of the first page and on the reverse of the second page, making for some difficulty of perusal.

Editor's Notes

Brockhaus:  Marianne Theresia Brockhaus.  See Correspondents.

Aix-les-Bains: This town in southeastern France was known mainly for its thermal baths at the end of the nineteenth century.

Madame Blanc:  Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc.  See Correspondents.

Miss Clark:  Probably Natalie Lord Rice Clark.  See Correspondents.

the war:  The Spanish-American War lasted about 10 weeks: April 25, 1898 - August 12, 1898.

farandol Wikipedia says "The farandole is an open-chain community dance popular in Provence, France."

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Am 1743 (50).  This transcription by Richard Cary appeared originally in "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters," Colby Library Quarterly 7:1 (March 1975), 13-49, which gave permission to reprint it here.  Notes are by Cary, with additions by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sarah Wyman Whitman

     Nîmes, 20 May [1898]

     Dearest S. W., -- I have been thinking letters to you and not writing them, -- you will have to take my word for it, there being no other sign. We have been loitering through this lovely country of Provence, with its young vines and its old olive trees, and we have lived in Avignon and at St. Rémy and spent an afternoon with M. Mistral,* who lives in a great house behind fields of grain and grass and poppies and rows of mulberry-trees and grey olives line his own Mireio. And as you drive along the road to go and see him, golden lilies of France grow in the brooks, and beyond the hedgerows there are acres of big white poppies, -- a crop of white nuns, one might say they looked like, all standing in pious rows in the sun. But of all the things I have I wished for you the most to see those of yesterday. I was walking along a shady road by the riverside, above the Pont du Gard* (that masterful old Roman ruin, which you must know better than I did before I came). It was a very shady road, and the only travellers besides A. F.* and me were nightingales, singing most cheerful and rustling in the branches overhead. And now just let me tell you something: the underbrush was box, growing in great bushes, and the air was about as sweet as it could be with that dry, strange, sweet, old scent that tries to make you remember things long before you were born. And we went walking on, and presently we came to great gates, and still walked on with innocent hearts and a love of pleasure, and we crossed a moat full of flowers and green bushes, and the other side of the old bridge, beyond two slender marble columns with exquisite capitals, was another gateway and a courtyard and an old château asleep in the sun. All the great windows and the hall door at the top of the steps were open, and round the three sides and up to the top of the tower green vines had grown, with room enough to keep themselves separate, and one of them near by was full of bees, and you could hear no other sound. It was La Belle au Bois dormante.* You just kept as still as you could and looked a little while, and came away again. And the stone of the château was reddish, and the green was green and the sunshine was of that afternoon softness that made the whole sight of the old house flicker and smile back at you as if you were trying hard to look at something in a dream. It was in a lovely corner of the world, far out from any town. As we drove back to the -- world, we came over high pasture lands, where wild thyme was growing (own cousin to the box in the woods), and we could look off at little high brown cities on the hills with one campanile, as if they had been cities in Italy. And one day, from Avignon, I went to the old Château de Grignan, where Madame de Sévigné* used to come to stay with her daughter, and where she died at last and was buried. The château was ruined in the Revolution,* but there is the dear lady's little garden, as if she had gone to heaven and left it only last year. Her fig-tree, that she writes about sometimes, looks very flourishing, and all her wallflowers are tumbling over the battlements like a brook. I shall have a great deal to tell you some day about Château de Grignan. Wild thyme grows in that country too. It is a very, very out-of-the-way corner of the world, and we were all day getting there and getting home again to Avignon. And, besides all this, we have seen Arles and seen Tarascon and other towns of Provence, and we saw a farandole a-dancing on a happy Sunday afternoon.

     I am beginning to feel better than when I came away, and things are getting on well, and so far, for a rainy month of May indeed, we had considerable pleasant weather. And all this French sight-seeing is full of delight, as you know, and I cannot forget.

     Good-bye, darling! I think of you pretty often, and I was as glad to get your letter in Avignon (most as glad) as if you had come walking in yourself. Tell me about the great window, for indeed I try very hard to see it as it goes up into place.*


M. Mistral: Frédéric Mistral (1830-1914), a Provençal poet, author of Mireio (1859), leader of a movement to revive Provençal language.

Pont du Gard:  Wikipedia says: "The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River in southern France. Located near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, the bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometer system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes)."

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

La Belle au Bois dormante: The Sleeping Beauty, French title of the famous fairy tale. (Source: Carla Zecher)

Madame de Sévigné:  See notes for 16 May to Sara Norton.

the Revolution: The French Revolution of 1789.

farandole:  a Provençal dance in which men and women hold hands and form a line, following a leader through a serpentine course.

the great window: In 1898, Whitman likely was at work on the central panel of the Lowell Memorial Window at First Parish Unitarian in Brookline, MA, "donated by Judge John Lowell and Lucy Buckminster Lowell in memory of their three deceased children," completed in 1899,

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 Sarah Wyman Whitman

     La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne, 6 June, 1898.

     Dearest S. W., -- It is almost like getting home, to find myself here with Madame Blanc* at last; and this day is A. F.'s* birthday, and the big fountain is making all the noise there is, and all the birds are singing in the big-walled garden, and beyond that, from my window in a little room out of my bedroom, where I can write you a letter, one can look off over the most lovely piece of French country: a long slope of a hill going up to the sky, muffled in green trees, with here and there a line of grey wall, or the sharp gable of an old farmhouse. And an interruption to the green with a piece of old weather-beaten red tiling of a roof. Which is to say that this is a quiet corner of old France, and the oldest bells in the world ring now and then very sweet and far off. Thérèse says that they sound as they do because they are the other side of the Marne, and "have to come through the water"! At any rate they are like a dream of bells, and I heard them first early on Sunday morning, yesterday, when I waked up.

     The old town of Jouarre is on another hill, a mile or two farther down the river, and there is a square tower of the convent as old as the time of Charlemagne.* Meaux is between us and Paris, with the grave of Bossuet* in the cathedral, and beyond us is Rheims. As for Aix, it was as amusing and oddly English as ever, and I found my old friends all alive, -- the funny old peasant women at the baths and in the market, with their brown smiling faces and white caps. I went to the Grande Chartreuse* again, that lonely place in the mountains, and slept in a cold convent cell, and thought that the cliffs overhead might tumble down in the night. It is a wonderful piece of France, and when one thinks of disappointed lovers and courtiers going there to end their days, and to keep silence and wear the white Cistercian habit, of their leaving the Paris of that day for the Grande Chartreuse, it seems something amazing -- human enough, one may say, but first a refuge and place of comfort, and then a prison and place of long despair. I wish that you could see it as one comes to it up the long, deep, forested valley, with its gay light tourelles* and peaked roofs, as unexpected against the solemn mountainside as the statue of Mme. de Sévigné that I told you about in the grim little place at Grignan;* but when you get nearer there are terrible walls, and you feel that many a heart has broken behind them, in winter weather and loneliness.


La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne ... Madame Blanc: Wikipedia says: "La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.  Here was the birthplace and home of Thérèse Blanc (1840-1907).  See Correspondents.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

the time of Charlemagne: Charlemagne (c. 742-814), "or Charles the Great, Carolingian king of the Franks, came to rule over most of Europe and assumed (800) the title of Roman emperor. He is sometimes regarded as the founder of the Holy Roman Empire." (Source: Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia)

grave of Bossuet: The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia says "Jacques Benigne Bossuet, b. Sept. 27, 1627, d. Apr. 12, 1704, was a French Catholic orator and theologian who dominated Paris preaching for a decade (1659-69). While he was tutor to the dauphin (father of Louis XV) from 1671 to 1681, he wrote his trilogy on history, politics, and the knowledge of God. In addition to his scholarly writings, his meditations are considered classics of French devotional literature."

Grand Chartreuse ... Cistercian habit:  Jewett had previously visited the Grande Chartreuse in 1892.  See her letter to Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George D.) Howe of Sunday June 1892.
    Cistercians are members of a Roman Catholic religious order founded in 1098 by St. Robert, abbot of Molesme.
    The Grande Chartreuse, however, is a Carthusian monastery. According to the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, "The Order of Carthusians is a Roman Catholic religious order of monks, lay brothers, and nuns founded (1084) by Saint Bruno in the Chartreuse mountains near Grenoble, France. The order grew slowly and reached its greatest strength in the early 16th century, when it numbered nearly 200 houses. By the 20th century, however, the number had decreased to about 30. Carthusians are contemplatives who live solitary lives in hermitages and come together only for certain religious ceremonies. Their house in Chartreuse manufactures a well-known liqueur."

The Grande Chartreuse
By Floriel - Own work, CC BY 2.5

tourelles: turrets (French).

Grignan: see notes for 16 May to Sara Norton.

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 Sara Norton

     La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne, France,* June 6, [1898].

     I am writing all my address at the beginning, because I am to be here for five or six weeks (I hope!) with occasional flights to Paris and to Rheims and so on, -- and I think in that time you will be finding time to write to me how it looks in Ashfield.* I was very glad to get your letter, but it made me wish that you were here, too. I felt sure as I read that you were tired with that early summer-tiredness, that belongs to New Englanders of the old stock. I think there are moments when one is sure that we have not had time even yet to get acclimated, and the spring weather in Old England has a kind of hereditary ease for us, and superiority. I am a grand-child of Mary Chilton,* who came to Plymouth (like half the old-fashioned persons of Massachusetts and Maine!), but I can wilt in a May sun as if I had just landed.

     When I read your letter again, just now, there was not a word in it that told me how you felt, but I have long believed that one folds up a bit of what we are pleased to call personal atmosphere into one's note-paper and that it always gets safe to the journey's end. It is a fresh cool day here, with a lovely French sky and bright sun, and this is such a lovely place! I am delighted to be with Madame Blanc, and it is almost like coming home. You would like the old walled-garden, with its "pleached walks" and great fountain, and prim box-borders, and the dwarf fruit trees with young fruit, and the bird's nest where the bird is "anxious when you look at her, but not frightened enough to fly away," as Madame Blanc said yesterday. The nightingales twitter and talk a good deal by day, and at the foot of their garden you can unlock a door and find yourself in a country lane that leads up the long slope of a great green hill. There are two dear little brown hunting-dogs -- bassets -- who live like lords in a neat yard at the garden foot, by this same door, and you can take them with you if you watch them well, and remind them not to kill marketable chickens at the first farm-house. This is a country of wide views; you see three or four brown villages at a glance; two of them have only a couple of fields to separate them, but I suppose when a person marries and goes to the other village it is like going among strangers altogether, just as they say good-bye, almost forever, when they marry in another island in Venice. You see that I have great pleasure in being here. One loves a bit of real country, or else one is indifferent, -- it is much more exciting to know a new piece of country than to go to a new large town.


La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne: Wikipedia says: "La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.  Here was the birthplace and home of Thérèse Blanc (1840-1907).  See Correspondents.

Ashfield:  A town in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts, where the Norton family had a summer cottage.

Mary ChiltonWikipedia says: "Mary Chilton (1607 - c.April 1679) was a Pilgrim and purportedly the first European woman to step ashore at Plymouth, Massachusetts."

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 Sara Norton

     10th of June.

     I am afraid that this long and dull beginning of a letter had better be torn in two, but I have only time to write half a letter, and not a whole one, before the post goes out. I wish that I could take you to see the brown old town of Jouarre,* on a hill near here, with one of its convent towers as old as Charlemagne's time,* and a curious old crypt, covered in the days of the Revolution and forgotten, and then rediscovered some years ago. There are some wonderful old tombs of the lady abbesses,* and one of them was a young Scottish Princess who looks as if she had just climbed to the top of her high tomb and fallen asleep there, -- a most dear and touching shape, -- so young that time itself has looked on all these years and never laid a finger on her, or a troubling thought of age. Then, in a very old little church close by, is some old glass. One bit of a window is King David playing on a harp,* and I am sure that you would say that it is exquisite as it can be in colour and feeling, and the sense it gives of great rapture, as with music. I long for some kind of copy of it to take away; if ever you can find an afternoon to spare in Paris, you must come to see so beautiful a thing. I cannot forget it; but all this beauty is in a corner of an old grey village church, where the windows have been mended with glass of another sort, and hardly anybody comes from the outside world. Madame Blanc had long ago discovered this wonderful old window with the King David, and was so glad when we found it, too, and cared about it as she did. I wish that Mr. Ruskin* could have seen it and written about it.

     I have not left myself half room to tell you of some old French ladies, who interest me very much. There is one -- Madame de Beaulaincourt -- who is the subject of much affectionate delight! She is the daughter of the Maréchal de Castellaine, who was a famous soldier in his day, and this dear person is a great soldier, too, by nature; with a wonderful distinction and dignity as she sits in her house with all her old portraits, and (I am sure) some friendly ghosts who come and go and remind her of great French histories of courts and camps. She was the friend of Madame Blanc's mother, and is very fond of my friend. One so easily can see today in a strange country, but yesterday is much harder to come at, -- so that I delight in going to some very old houses in Paris, and especially to Madame de Beaulaincourt. But La Ferté and the garden, and the old church bells, and the towers of Jouarre, are very hard to leave.

     I hope now, more than ever, for some better news of the war.* I feel quite as you do, but I think I can see better and better every day that it was a war which could not be hindered, after all. Spain has shown herself perfectly incompetent to maintain any sort of civilization in Cuba, and things are like some sultry summer days, when there is nothing for it but to let a thunder-shower do its best and worst, and drown the new hay, and put everything out of gear while it lasts. The condition is larger than petty politics or mercenary hopes, or naval desires for promotion, or any of those things to which at one time or another I have indignantly "laid it." I feel more than ever that such a war is to be laid at the door of progress, and not at any backward steps toward what we had begun to feel was out of date, the liking for a fight. I think that it is all nonsense to talk about bad feeling here in France, as it is certainly in England; for however people deplore the war in general and pity Spain, they generally end by saying that it was the only way out -- that we had to make war, and then we all say that it must be short! If we could drown a few newspapers from time to time, it would keep up our drooping hearts and make us willing to bear the hearing of foolish details, and even painful details. It seems like a question of surgery, this cure of Cuba -- we must not mind the things that disgust and frighten us, if only the surgery is in good hands. You know how much I saw of those islands two years ago?* I cannot feel that the natural conditions of life are hard in the way they can be hard to poor Russians, for instance: a West Indian cannot freeze -- he is impatient of clothes -- he can pick a good dinner at almost any time of year off the next bush. But he can suffer in other ways, and Spain has made Cuba suffer in those ways far too long.

     But how long I am writing these small thoughts about great things! You will say as the Queen did once in old times about Gladstone, -- "He speaks to me as if I were a public meeting."* Forgive me, dear Sally, and remember that I shall not be writing about the war again!


La Ferté sous Jouarre, Seine et Marne: Wikipedia says: "La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.  Here was the birthplace and home of Thérèse Blanc (1840-1907).  See Correspondents.

convent towers:  Jewett presumably refers to the Benedictine Jouarre Abbey, founded according to tradition in 630. 

lady abbesses:  Wikipedia lists the abbesses of Jouarre Abbey.  It appears that the first two or three were from the same family and had origins in the British Isles, but this is not clear in documents available on-line.  Whether any was a Scottish princess is not evident.  See also The Companion Guide to the Country Round Paris (1996) by Ian Dunlop, p. 216.

David playing on a harp: See 1 Samuel 16:22-23.  Jewett may be referring to a window in the Church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul at Jouarre.  A representation of a harpist appears in the lowest right panel of a 10-panel window in the choir of the church.


Possibly the David Playing a Harp Panel
Church of Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul at Jouarre
Bleiglasfenster im Chor der katholischen Pfarrkirche
Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Jouarre, Darstellung.
30 May 2011
by Reinhardhauke

Mr. RuskinWikipedia says: "John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy."

Madame de Beaulaincourt ... daughter of the Maréchal de CastellaineFrench Wikipedia says that Sophie de Castellane, Marquise de Contades, then Beaulaincourt, Countess Marles (1818-1904) was a writer and kept a salon.  Her father was Esprit Victor Elisabeth Boniface de Castellane, comte de Castellane (1788-1862), a French military officer and ultimately a Marshal of France.  Madame Blanc included an account of the Marquise in an essay that Jewett helped to translate, "Conversation in France," Century 48:4 (Aug 1894): 626-634.

news of the war: The Spanish-American War lasted about ten weeks during the spring and summer of 1898. Two main areas of fighting were Cuba and the Philippines, both of which became United States possessions along with other islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Queen did once in old times about Gladstone, -- "He speaks to me as if I were a public meeting": This quotation appears in Sir Wemyss Reid's (1842-1905) The Life of William Ewart Gladstone (Putnam 1899) p. 325.

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 Sarah Wyman Whitman

     St. Malo, 3d July.*

     I have been wishing to write to you ever since the day I went to Rheims from La Ferté, because I feel a little as if I had almost seen you there. Whether a little wind that blew against you when you were there, is still flickering among the pillars of the cathedral or not, who can say! but I think we went in together and I found something of you at every turn. It was a surprise of companionship, with all that surprise of beauty and strange solemnity which made me feel as if I had never seen a cathedral -- even a French cathedral -- before. Dear friend, I went at one step much nearer to you than ever before, and who shall say why? It will be all the same and hardly the less dear, even if you say that Rheims was the one great cathedral that you missed.*

     Since then we have spent the last days of our visit at La Ferté, and one night in Paris, and then started westward to spend a fortnight or so in Brittany before Mary and Theodore* come to Paris. First we continued the Madame de Sévigné pilgrimage by going to Vitré to see Les Rochers,* where she lived so much and wrote so many of her letters. I feel now as if I knew her very well, that dear lady, and as if her old orange trees were mine and the pretty echo in the garden. "She is always new like the spring," as Edward Fitzgerald wrote once.* Vitré itself is an enchanting old town, and the green country most beautiful about it, -- it was a day of great white clouds, like one day when you saw the Hamilton house!*

     We went to Mont St.-Michel from Vitré, and found it a most perfectly satisfying place; even after all we had read and heard of it, we could not believe our own eyes when they saw such beauty -- not only the mount itself, but the wide grey sands with their ribbon of sea-water and the rushing tides.


St. MaloWikipedia says: "Saint-Malo ... is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine."

La FertéWikipedia says: "La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.  Here was the birthplace and home of Thérèse Blanc (1840-1907).  See Correspondents.

Rheims ...great cathedralWikipedia says: "Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is the seat of the Archdiocese of Reims, where the kings of France were crowned. The cathedral replaced an older church, destroyed by fire in 1211, that was built on the site of the basilica where Clovis was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in AD 496. That original structure had itself been erected on the site of some Roman baths. A major tourism destination, the cathedral receives about one million visitors annually."

Mary and Theodore: Jewett's sister and their nephew.

Madame de Sévigné ... Vitré ...  Les Rochers:  Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, Marquise de Sévigné (1626-1696). Her correspondence with her daughter, more than 1500 letters, was published between 1725 and 1734.  See above notes for 16 May letter to Sara Norton.
    Vitré "is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France."
    The Château des Rochers-Sévigné, according to Spotting History, "was the estate of the Mathefelon family from the 12th century, before being passed by marriage to the Sévigné family in 1410. The family rebuilt the château in the early 16th century. Between 1644 and 1690, Madame de Sévigné stayed here and refurnished the house. She gave names to the paths through the gardens and in 1689 her son commissioned the French Gardens from Le Nôtre...."  The château is now a museum.

"She is always new like the spring," as Edward Fitzgerald wrote once: Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1883), English poet and translator, best known perhaps for his translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.  A search of Letters and Literary Remains of Edward Fitzgerald (1889) does not yield this precise quotation. Fitzgerald came to admire Madame de Sévigné's letters (see note above), speaking often of them in letters after 1875, and quoting her in what the editor believes was the last letter of Fitzgerald's life. In a letter of May 8, [1881], Fitzgerald wrote, "I am got back to my Sévigné! who somehow returns to me in Spring, fresh as the Flowers."

Hamilton house: The Hamiltons were an aristocratic family in South Berwick. The house figures in Jewett's novel, The Tory Lover. For more information about the Hamilton house see "The Old Town of Berwick" and "Looking Back on Girlhood."

Mont St.-MichelWikipedia says: "Le Mont-Saint-Michel ... is an island commune in Normandy, France. It is located about one kilometre (0.6 miles) off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches."  Perhaps the most impressive feature of the island is Mont Saint Michel Abbey.

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

July 5, 1898.

     The window was up, and I saw some things to do to it (not crucial things, but those which would make a better balance when all was done) and then I felt dissolved and empty and undone. Indeed in some ways I feel so still, and if I could have done exactly as I felt I should have gone straight out somewhere . . . to-morrow I fly to Niagara for one long solitary look at that Altar.* Well, it was shown for Class Day and again at Radcliffe's Committee, and at half-past ten on Wednesday when the President entered and walked gloriously between the rows of students lined up on either side, when he did this the curtain was swiftly withdrawn and the gift was in the hands of the College. . . . If some of those youths care a little, I shall have had my day. . . . I feel in spite of the dust and ashes to which I have confessed a sort of landscape passion which always surges up about this time, and makes havoc with my composure. Perhaps there'll be little opportunities, and there is always room for looking into the night and watching for the morning.


the window was up... the Altar ... Radcliffe's Committee ... the President: Whitman appears to refer to ceremonies for the Brimmer window, recently installed in the South Transept of Memorial Hall at Harvard. See below, Whitman to SOJ July 17, for the High Altar of the Niagara River. Which Radcliffe Committee Whitman refers to is uncertain; at this time, she was chair of the House Committee. Charles William Eliot (1834-1926) was the current president of Harvard.

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

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

July 17, 1898.

     Yes, it was there color bloomed for me on the Gothic stem; for there you have found that it is in the clerestory that they put (as in no other) the rainbow; leaving the lower windows pale; and no one having ever told me this I entered to find that violet twilight lying all above and to be overwhelmed by it. . . . I did go to Niagara and I had there forty-eight hours of silence and of solitude. Not that I was alone, for all the hours were filled with beautiful and high companionship -- but there was silence. I found a little plain hotel . . . with a chamber one window of which looked upon the American Fall and the other upon that High Altar* of which I have dreamed ever since that day I spent beside it. So I studied and sketched and wondered every minute. . . . And some secrets I seemed to learn; some of the story of that divine white passion of the flood. Some of its meanings when the rainbow floods all that soft tumult into rosy fire; or when it feels the quickened throb of the south wind blowing across Lake Erie. I think I must make many pilgrimages there and then perhaps I can come a little nearer to the dream. . . . All this, without one word of the tremendous days in which as citizens we live, now, thank Heaven, with peace in sight, after the surrender of Santiago.* You must know too that one has felt a great splendor in the heroic ways of our men, gentle and simple, and though one quakes over the imperialist rubbish which is in the political mêlée, there is a great patriotism in the heart of us.


the American Fall and that High Altar: Both are features of the Niagara River in New York, the American Fall in the town of Niagara Falls, the High Altar, near Lewiston.  Whitman pastels of the falls are in the collection of the Fogg Museum of Art at Harvard University.  Research: Gabe Heller.

surrender of Santiago: The surrender of the Spanish garrison at Santiago de Cuba on July 16, 1898 effectively ended the Caribbean phase of the Spanish American War. Research assistance: Gabe Heller.

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 Mary Rice Jewett


[ 1898 ]*


Hotel De France et Choiseul*

Dear Mary

     We were so* glad to get your telegram early this morning. A. F.* brought it in to me with the other letters & my coffee and when I read it, she began to cry, which touched my heart. I do not think you & Stubby* have a warmer friend. I am sure we shall soon be having a lovely time together. Do come as soon as you can … leave London for our getting back, except for Stubby’s immediate errands, for it is getting so hot here now and people are* flying away as fast as they can. I send you the

[ Page 2 ]

time table of trains. Whichever way you come the railroads join at Amiens or before. I think we shall go home by Calais. You had better go to Cook’s* & get your through tickets to Paris, it saves trouble at the station & it is well to do it beforehand for those fast trains. I should ask for the corridor cars*. Susan* got our tickets there, and Susan, as we know, is very experienced. I am very much discomposed with these few days when I don’t know how to send a letter to you, but I have had your last one from

[ Page 3 ]

home within a day or two speaking of saying farewell to Mrs. Doe & Mrs. Sewall* and covering up things &c,  so I haven’t missed you on the voyage over.

     I have just been to see [Unrecognized name] Hale and found them both at home and so nice. They are so pleased to think you are coming, and Mr. Weeks?* said that if Stubby would like to pass a season on a wheel he should be delighted to have his company any half day if we would only say when. After I went there it was so hot that I had to

[ Page 4 ]

come home. I thought I had better put in this information as I have complained much of the cold heretofore. Oh do hurry and come by Wednesday or Thursday! I don’t see how any body can wait any longer and call herself a nice sister!! I am afraid my letters to [ Charlotte ? ]* were full of nothing as I could only write them in a hurry by the way & repeated everything over & over. I count on your having a nice day or two in Oxford. I wouldn’t have had you miss Roger* for anything.

     With much love




1898:  The date, 1892, appears in the upper left corner of page 1, probably in another hand.  However, it cannot be correct, for Mary Rice Jewett and Theodore Eastman joined Jewett in Europe only during her 1898 trip.

Hotel de France & Choiseul:Now a historical monument, the Hôtel de France et de Choiseul à Paris 1er Arrondissement

so:  This word is underlined twice.

A. F.: Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents. The telegram they have received apparently announces that Mary and Theodore have decided to join Fields and Jewett during part of their current long stay in Europe.

Stubby: Jewett family nickname for Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

are:  Over this word appears the circled number, 38, in pencil, probably in another hand.

Cook's: Thomas Cook & Son was the best-known travel agency in England in the late 19th Century.

corridor cars: Corridor cars on a train have compartments on one side with an outside corridor on the other, allowing groups of passengers privacy while allowing free movement through the train in the corridor.

Susan:Which of the Jewett acquaintances named "Susan" is meant here is not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Mrs. Doe & Mrs. Sewall:   Edith Bell Haven Doe (1840-1922), from the nearby village of Rollinsford, NH, was the daughter of   George Wallis Haven (1808-1895) and  Helen Sarah Bell Haven (1822 - 1846); her husband was Charles Cogswell Doe (1830 - 1896).
     Mrs. Sewall probably is a South Berwick neighbor, Helen D. Sewall (1845-1922), who was sister to Jotham and Jane Sewall.  See Pirsig, The Placenames of South Berwick, p. 75.

Hale: In the absence of a clue about the first name, this pair cannot yet be identified.  Assistance is welcome.  A digital image of this manuscript page may be found at Sarah Orne Jewett Correspondence.  It is page 3 of letter 38.

Mr. Weeks: This person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Charlotte: This person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Roger: It is likely that this is Roger Bigelow Merriman (1876 -1945) an American historian who graduated from Harvard and then studied history at Oxford University.  He was the son of Helen Bigelow Merriman. See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909.  Mary Rice Jewett 1847-1930, recipient,  40 letters; 1877-1892 & n.d.  Sarah Orne Jewett Correspondence, 1861-1930.  MS Am 1743 (255).  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College, with assistance from Tanner Brossart and Linda Heller.


SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[ 1898 ]*

[ Begin letterhead, which is not fully rendered here ]


de France & Choiseul

239-241 Rue St. Honoré

            (Place Vendome)

[ End letterhead ]


Anny Sister that speaks of going to Canterbury on the way to Paris will have to do a pinance, when a sister is waiting and it is taking it out of a good Stubby's* time in Paris, and Canterbury being so able to hold its own till you got back! Do go to Oxford for a night or so in this week,  ^not wait till the end^ and then if you like we can go again, and don’t try to do any sightseeing in London just now except what comes by the way because we shall have time for that also. And the rest of the clothes can be thought about and got ^later^ ----

            It is growing hot and noisy* all the time here, and I want

[  Page 2 ]

to make the most of the few days we can stay in town after you get here. Happily Mrs. Arbuthnot has gone to Norway* or is just going and doesn’t want us until the end of the month instead of the first of August, but we have promised to make one or two other little visits by and by, and I begin to long to get back to England as soon as I let myself think of it. [ Possible word lost in small tear on the right side of the page. ] There are always delightful things to do if it isn’t too hot. Yesterday we saw Vernon Lee (Miss Paget)* who is here at a hotel on the other side of the river, and in the evening we went out to drive after it was getting dark & nice, up the Champs Elysees and were eagerly hailed by M. Brunetiere and "Sylvie"* so then we went out into the Bois and had a pretty time of which I want to tell Thérèse.* A. F.* and I both had letters from Mrs. Cabot* his morning which sounded more like herself than

[  Page 3 ]

any since we came. The last one sounded so "poor" that I felt quite worried. Perhaps my last one was more interesting! I had a great deal to tell her about Madame de Beaulaincourt* & of her being a friend of the Duchesse de Praslin* as was murdered and the cause célebre of trial is one of the ^her^ great mysteries and interests. Thider* will appreciate this -- and Mrs. Cabot’s thinking that my "French countess must be very interesting."

     Thérèse is still at La Ferté but we hope to see her tomorrow when she is going to Versailles.  -- She thought you were coming right to La Ferté this week! though I had said not until the end of the first of next -- Now she is going to have workmen in the house and so we shall wait until just before we go back to England. She has had a bustle of a visit from M. Brunetiere

[  Page 4 ]

& Sylvie while we were in Brittany not to speak of others. "Yetta" &c --  I had a letter from Becca ^yesterday^ & from dear Billy* today all of which I am keeping. I was so delighted to get yours & Stubbys yesterday & his kind benefaction of papers this morning. I hope you will find things nice at Oliphants,* but if you don’t, leave what you don’t want to bring over at Pitt & Scotts.  I think it is 1 or 2 Regent St.*

     Today is gray & cool and I hope you are having a nice day to get to London, but a still nicer day when you go to Oxford. It is so good to have the days still long, it is such a pleasant time to drive or walk in the long evenings. What a nice time you were having in Chester, and ^think of^ the old man knowing you again! And sights of "Meeting Privileges"* didn’t [our ?] Stubby?? and also viewed gardens!! of which I am glad.

With much love  


[ Up the left margin  of page 1 ]

I wish you could have got off by Friday for it is a less crowded day to travel.

[Above the letterhead in the top margin of page 1 ]

A. F. sends love. She is having a great time in this moment with a dress maker & a skirt. I saw the that the New England* made her voyage in seven days and nights.


1898:  The date, 1892, appears in the upper left corner of page 1, probably in another hand.  However, it cannot be correct, for Mary Rice Jewett and Theodore Eastman joined Jewett in Europe only during her 1898 trip.

Hotel de France & Choiseul:Now a historical monument, the Hôtel de France et de Choiseul à Paris 1er Arrondissement

Stubby: Jewett family nickname for Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

noisy:  Below this word at the bottom left of page 1 is the circled number, 39, in pencil and probably in another hand.

Mrs. Arbuthnot has gone to Norway: The identity of Mrs. Arbuthnot is not yet known.  She could be Margaret Rosa Campbell Arbuthnot (1842-1918), wife of William Arbuthnot (1833-1896), British and Scots aristocrats.

Vernon Lee (Miss Paget):Violet Paget. See Correspondents.

M. Brunetiere and Sylvie … into the BoisFerdinand Brunetière (1849-1906), a literary historian, was associated with Revue des Deux Mondes from 1877 until his death, becoming editor in 1893. They go into the Bois de Boulogne, a large public park in Paris.  The identity of "Sylvie" is not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Thérése … La Ferté: Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc.  See Correspondents.

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

Mrs. Cabot:  Susan Burley Cabot.   See Correspondents.

Madame de Beaulaincourt ... the Duchesse de Praslin as was murdered and the cause célebre of trial: French Wikipedia says that Sophie de Castellane, Marquise de Contades, then Beaulaincourt, Countess Marles (1818-1904) was a writer and kept a salon.  Her father was Esprit Victor Elisabeth Boniface de Castellane, comte de Castellane (1788-1862), a French military officer and ultimately a Marshal of France.  Madame Blanc included an account of the Marquise in an essay that Jewett helped to translate, "Conversation in France," Century 48:4 (Aug 1894): 626-634.
    Wikipedia says: "Francoise, Duchess de Choiseul-Praslin (1807 - 17 August 1847) was a French duchess and heiress who was found murdered. Her husband, Duke Charles de Praslin was believed guilty for her death and committed suicide while awaiting trial days later on August 24, 1847."

Thider:  Another nickname for Theodore Jewett Eastman.

Yetta":  Probably, this is Yetta Blaze de Bury (184? - 1902), a French literary critic who focused on Shakespeare and British Victorian novelists.

from Becca…  dear BillyBecca very likely is Rebecca Young (1847-1927).  In Sarah Orne Jewett: her World and her Work (2002), Paula Blanchard says: "Rebecca Young, who lived a few doors from the Jewetts, was an old classmate of the [Jewett] sisters from the days of Miss Raynes's school and Berwick Academy and an intimate friend of both Mary and Carrie.  She was for many years treasurer of the South Berwick Savings Bank" (p. 203).  She was riding with Sarah Orne Jewett on 3 September 1902, when a stumbling horse threw both of them from the carriage.     Billy has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Oliphants ... Pitt & Scotts.  It is difficult to be certain to what Jewett refers. Pitt & Scotts was an express company that would transport baggage virtually world-wide.  Oliphants may be a London hotel, potentially without space for Mary's baggage.

Meeting Privileges:Refers to the available opportunities to attend Christian church services.

the New England: The S.S. New England was a new ship when Mary and Theodore joined Sarah in the summer, having been launched 7 April 1898 and completed 30 June 1898.  It's name later was changed to the Romanic.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Houghton Library of Harvard University in Jewett, Sarah Orne, 1849-1909.  Mary Rice Jewett 1847-1930, recipient,  40 letters; 1877-1892 & n.d.  Sarah Orne Jewett Correspondence, 1861-1930.  MS Am 1743 (255).  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College, with assistance from Tanner Brossart and Linda Heller.

SOJ to Sarah Wyman Whitman

  Ilkley, Yorkshire, 30 July, 1898.*

     I long to tell you how much I love this Yorkshire country, the Bolton Abbey of Wordsworth's "White Doe of Rylstone,"* and Wharfedale, with its green fields that touch the sky, and its great brown moors, full of brooks and springs and peat-bogs and grown thick with budding heather, like fur on their long backs. We have climbed them as far as we could and driven over them, footing it bravely when the carriage could hardly be pulled with us in it. On the top the air is the sweetest and coolest air in the world. You follow the old road through the heather and fern and see the whole sky for once, and the moor, and nothing else.

     Today we went to Haworth* and found it most appealing. People had said that the Brontë church was pulled down and the rectory all changed, and that a railroad went to the town, which had set up manufactures and grown to 6000 inhabitants; but we sagely remembered such advices about other places. There were those who told us that there was nothing to be seen at "Les Charmettes."* So we went to Haworth,* and it is true that the church is a good deal bedizened, that the rectory is a little modernized, most of all that the present vicar resents pilgrims to the shrine of the Brontë family, but he didn't bite us. It is a dreadfully sad old village. The moors aren't so kind and sheltering as at Ilkley, here, but farther back from poor Haworth, and the plaintive sound of the old chimes will haunt my ears for many a day. You go up a long steep narrow street to the top of a hill. It all looks pretty much as it did when that household, known of the world now, burned their lights of genius like candles flaring in a cave, like will o' the wisps of their upland country, shut up, captives and prisoners, in that gloomy old stone house. Nothing you ever read about them can make you know them until you go there. I can see the little pale faces of those sisters at the vicarage windows; and the Black Bull Inn, where the strange young brother used to comfort himself with light and laughter and country revelry, and break their hearts at the same time, is a little way down the hill. Never mind people who tell you there is nothing to see in the place where people lived who interest you. You always find something of what made them the souls they were, and at any rate you see their sky and their earth.


Ilkley, YorkshireWikipedia says: "Ilkley is a spa town and civil parish in the City of Bradford, West Yorkshire, in Northern England."

the Bolton Abbey of Wordsworth's "White Doe of Rylstone" ... Wharfdale: William Wordsworth (1770-1850) published his book The White Doe of Rylstone in 1815.  Wikipedia says: "Bolton Abbey is an estate in Wharfedale in North Yorkshire, England, which takes its name from the ruins of the 12th-century Augustinian monastery -- now generally known as Bolton Priory."

"Les Charmettes"
: Les Charmettes is a country home open to tourists in the 19th century, where, according to a 1907 Baedeker guide to Southern France, Rousseau and Mme. De Warens resided.

: Anne (1820-1849), Charlotte (1816-1855), and Emily Brontë (1818-1848) wrote their famous novels while living at Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire, England.

Black Bull Inn, where the strange young brotherPatrick Branwell Brontë  (1817 - 1848) was "an English painter and writer. He was the only son of the Brontë family, and brother of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Brontë was rigorously tutored at home by his father, and shared much of his sisters’ creative talent, earning praise for his poetry and translations from the classics. But he drifted between jobs, supporting himself by portrait-painting, and gave way to drug and alcohol addiction, apparently worsened by a failed relationship with a married woman, leading to his early death."  He was a well-known "character" at the Black Bull Inn in Haworth (see The Bronte Country by J. A. E. Stuart, 1888, pp. 160-1).
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, 6 October, [1898].*

     Here I am at the desk again, all as natural as can be and writing a first letter to you with so much love, and remembering that this is the first morning in more than seven months that I have haven't waked up to hear your dear voice and see your dear face. I do miss it very much, but I look forward to no long separation, which is a comfort. It was lovely in the old house and I did so wish you had come down, too, it was all so sweet and full of welcome, and Hannah and Annie and John and Hillborn and Lizzie Pray* all in such a state because I had got home!


6 October 1898:  Fields places this letter in 1882, but that is unlikely to be correct, as Fields and Jewett were in France and England together until 25 October of 1882.  That Jewett says she and Annie have been together for seven consecutive months suggests that this letter follows their longest stay in Europe in 1898.

Hannah and Annie and John and Hillborn and Lizzie Pray
: The Pray family were Jewett employees. See Silverthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett: A Writer's Life, p. 102. For Hannah Driscoll and Annie Collins, see Correspondents

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 Katharine Peabody Loring

Sunday 9th October
[ 1898 ]*

[Begin letterhead]

South Berwick Maine

[End letterhead]

My dear Katharine

    I was delighted to get your most kind little letter of welcome!  Thank you so much; and indeed I wish that I could see you and talk over my charming day at Rye.  I look back to it with a huge sort of pleasure.  The house was so so nice and so quaint and you know very well

[ Page 2 ]

what a delightful host we had.  And besides Rye we made a tour to Winshelsea across the marshes,* and then to Hastings by train* where we departed from Mr. James in late and dark evening -- it was really a good little visit, and I look back to it with not only the pleasure I wrote on my first page but something more than that!  We spoke of you

[ Page 3 ]

I need not say, and you made one of us truly.

    I doubt if I get to the shore* this autumn -- perhaps for a night at Mrs. Howe's* -- but I shall be sure to see you later when I shall be coming and going from town.

    We have come home to good autumn weather and Berwick never looked more lovely to me.

    Give my love to
[ Page 4 ]

your dear sister and believe me always

Yours very affectionately

Sarah O. Jewett


1898:  Jewett and Annie Fields visited Henry James at his home in Rye, during their spring and summer 1898 trip to England, France and elsewhere in Europe.  Since the visit with James took place in early September, the welcome for which Jewett thanks Loring is likely a "welcome home" after their travels.

Winshelsea across the marshes ...  Hastings: Winchelsea is about 3 miles south of Rye, on the southeast coast of England; Hastings, also on the coast, is another 28 miles southwest of Winchelsea.

the shore: Presumably Jewett means that she and Annie Fields will not be returning this autumn to the Fields house in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, where they routinely spent their summers.  There, they could easily visit the Lorings in nearby Beverly, MA.

Mrs. Howe's: Probably this is Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe, who also maintained a home in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA.  See Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Beverly MA Historical Society in the Loring Family Papers (1833-1943), MSS: #002, Series I. Letters to Katharine Peabody Loring (1849-1943), Box 1, Folder 1, Undated Letters, A-ZTranscription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ


October 17, 1898.

     To-day the sea has been a deep lapis lazuli: the sky clear, and the wind one rush across the earth, and it has not seemed to me one minute's distance to the Mountains where these friends have held the air in fee. So I have had companionship and have gathered some fresh impulses and in some brief intervals have hammered out a bit of work.


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 Mellen Chamberlain

Charles Street, Boston   [1898?]

            Mrs. Fields has just come up stairs to me to ask if I will not write this note for her to you about a young man who has come to her for help.* He has done some very good work in verse and con­sidering his youth, shows a touch of real promise but the poor fel­low is so beaten back by illness and poverty that he is in a sad way. His disabilities hinder him in what he is trying to make of himself as a compositor. Mrs. Fields thinks that you may know of something to recommend to him in library channels familiar to you, where his acquaintance with books and his carefulness with his pen may be of use. He spoke of you gratefully in answer to her mention of your name, as "a kind and approachable man" -- so that we are following our own instinct in sending him to you. We shall try to do what we can for him too.

            I wish that we might sometimes see you. I have not been in town this winter however except for some brief visits.


Mrs. Fields:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

for help:  John Alden identifies this young man as Henry Coyle, a poet about whom biographical information seems scanty.  The following biographical sketch appears in Donahoe's Magazine 39 (1898) pp. 74-5.


WorldCat gives his birth year as 1865 and lists the following publications:

The Promise of Morning (poems, 1899)
Our Church, Her Children and Institutions (1908).  (Link to Volume 1 of 3)
Lyrics of Faith and Hope (poems, 1913)

This biographical sketch appears in The Poets of Ireland (1891) p. 85.

COYLE, HENRY. -- The Promise of Morning, poems, Boston, Mass., 1899.
Born at Boston, Mass., June 7, 1867. His father was a Connaught man, and his mother from Limerick. He is self-educated, and has written frequently for American journals, including verse for Harper's Bazaar, Detroit Free Press, Boston Transcript, Catholic Union and Times (Buffalo), and Boston Pilot. Is now assistant-editor of Orphan's Bouquet, Boston, of which James Riley {q.v.) is editor.

    Further and more consistent information would be welcome.

This letter, transcribed by John Alden, originally appeared in Boston Public Library Quarterly 9 (1957): 86-96.  It is reprinted here courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library/Rare Books.
    John Alden says this letter regards "a young Irish-American whom the two ladies wished to befriend, named Henry Coyle. Nothing appears to have come of their efforts, but Coyle himself achieved a worthy career in Catholic publishing and charitable circles in Boston, in addition to publishing several volumes of poetry."

SOJ probably to Annie Adams Fields

Wednesday night

[ Between 1897 and 1901 ]

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

            I am very idle and very busy all at the same time.  Theodore* has gone to town, and all the fantail pigeons are walking the green grass in a masterless company.  I saw them keeping low company with a common blue person who bobbed his head with the best, but had an air of victory at last  --  there was nobody to forbid him the yard.  This sight touched something in my heart  --  and I knew that something had been left behind beside the pigeons  --  boyhood, as one may say for short, with all its solemn concerns and little important affairs.

            .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .



Between 1897 and 1901:  This window for the correspondence date is based on Jewett's reflection that Theodore J. Eastman has outgrown his pigeon raising hobby and the implication that he now is under the care of his aunts.  A reasonable guess at the date is after the death of his mother, Caroline Jewett Eastman and his graduation from Harvard.  I have tentatively placed it with letters of 1898.
    The ellipses in the transcription indicate that this is a selection from the manuscript.

Theodore: Theodore Jewett Eastman.  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.

SOJ to Isabella Stewart Gardner

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick, Maine  [ End letterhead ]   1898

28th December 

My dear Mrs. Gardner

    I have been wishing to send you one word to say how sorry I have been for your great sorrow.*

    The thought of a friend in trouble comes with double pain now when one can easily make pleasure and be happy oneself over both little and great things.

[ Page 2 ]

-- but it is through great sorrows that we are lifted highest, and given our most shining hopes --  I have had too many sorrows myself not to know that! -- I shall be often thinking of you in these winter days.

    I wished to write to you sooner, but I have

[ Page 3 ]

been ill:  Not that one can say much, but I just wished to write me always

Your affectionate friend

S. O. Jewett


great sorrowJohn (Jack) Lowell Gardner II, spouse of Isabella Stewart Gardner, died on 10 December 1898.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

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