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1902    1904

Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1903





  SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Saturday
[ Winter 1902-3 ]*

Dear Mary

                    It is a gray morning but clearing as if it were not going to snow after all.  I feel rather mindless about the weather as I dont want to go out, and rather tired too much after so much going on yesterday.  Dr. Jelly* said the same things and warned me again that it was going to take a good while  --  the only thing I suppose will be to find the place or keep on the place where I feel and make the least friction.  I dare say if you dont feel it you arent so apt to make it, but it is a long drag.  Part of the time I have been so glad to do nothing for I have been tired enough for years back.  The only things [ so transcribed ] is to muster what patience I can and not to think about myself any more than I can help -- that's the poison of any life sick or well.

 
Notes

1902-3:  This letter seems likely to have been composed during Jewett's months of confinement after her September 1902 carriage accident.

Dr. Jelly:  It seems likely this is George F. Jelly, M.D. a Boston alienist who died in 1911.  His son, Arthur C. Jelly followed him into the profession and was a fellow member of the American Medico-Psychological Association.  Little more has been discovered about these two men, and it is not certain that either attended on Jewett after her carriage accident.  Assistance is welcome.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.


SOJ to Annie Adams Fields

     Saturday morning. [January 1903]

     And now the ball is over, and I suppose a tired hostess, and the chairs all going upstairs again, and the dear room will look like a green garden that no wind ever blows over! I do so long to hear if it went off to your mind, and if the company liked the singing, and where it was you hung the lantern! and oh, dear! a thousand questions!

     Yesterday afternoon I amused myself with Miss Austen's "Persuasion."* Dear me, how like her people are to the people we knew years ago! It is just as much New England before the war -- that is, in provincial towns -- as it ever was Old England. I am going to read another, "Persuasion" tasted so good! I haven't read them for some time.
 

     I long to know if you have read dear Alice Meynell's paper in the "Atlantic."* She has changed it in places from her lecture to an essay, and I can't find just the places where she laughed aloud and all the audience with her; but what a rich bit of writing it is -- and of such depth and such inexhaustible charm!

     Somebody sent me the other day a pamphlet with an address about Count Rumford, and, best of all, stuck on a fly-leaf is a cutting from an old newspaper with the list of their household goods, which were sold at auction in Brompton when the countess left London. It mentions five lofty, four-post beds, which pleases me much. This was a kind of man who had seen in a newspaper that I was going to write about the Rumfords,* and I thank him very much for his pamphlet!


Notes

Miss Austen's "Persuasion": Jane Austen (1775-1817), Persuasion (1818).

Alice Meynell:  See Correspondents.

paper in the "Atlantic":  During her 1902 American tour, one of the lectures in Meynell's repertoire was "Dickens as a Man of Letters."  See SOJ to Sara Norton, 20th March [1902].  Her essay, "Charles Dickens as a Man of Letters," appears in Atlantic 91 (Jan. 1903): 52-59.

Count Rumford ... I was going to write about: Jewett was working on a |"paper" on the Sarah Thompson, Countess of Rumford as early as 1890; see SOJ to Louisa Dresel, November 28, [1890].  Richard Cary, in notes for that letter, says: "Among Jewett's papers in the Houghton Library is an unfinished holograph manuscript of some twenty-five odd sheets, the ink and handwriting testifying that they were written at different intervals, with plethoric alterations, entitled 'The Countess of Rumford.' There is no evidence of a fair copy or of publication."
    Jewett became interested in Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753-1814) in part because his widow, Sarah, lived the end of her life in nearby Concord, New Hampshire; she was a cousin to Jewett's Aunt Lucretia. Though Jewett apparently did not publish her work, the Countess may have influenced Jewett's characterizations of eccentric aristocratic women such as Lady Ferry and Miss Chauncey (in Deephaven). See Paula Blanchard, pp. 344-5.
    It is not yet known in what newspaper Jewett's acquaintance learned she was going to write about the Rumfords, nor has the pamphlet she received been identified.

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 Reuben H. Hilton

South Berwick, Maine
January 15th 1903

To Reuben H. Hilton Esq--re

My dear Sir

I am very sorry that your first letter should have been unanswered, but I had a very bad accident in being thrown from a carriage several months ago, and I still find it difficult to attend to letters that come.

I am glad to do what you ask and I hope that it will not matter too much that my answer comes so late.1

Yours sincerely
Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

1 Here is an example of Jewett responding to her public. She wrote many such notes to people who wrote in admiration, or simply for her autograph.  Though there are records on-line of at least two Reuben H. Hiltons living in the United States in 1903, the identity of this person has not been confirmed.

The manuscript of this letter is in the collection of the Miller Library of Colby College, Waterville, ME.  The transcription first appeared in Scott Frederick Stoddart's Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, copyright by Stoddart, 1988.  Annotation is by Stoddart, supplemented where appropriate by Terry Heller, Coe College.




Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

February 6, 1903.

     I have had a day of successive events, none of them of my own election; and I am just wondering if it must be always thus. I contemplate a little innocent personal strike! So watch the "Evening Transcript." *


Notes

Evening Transcript: A Boston newspaper.

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 Mrs. Edith Forbes Perkins

     South Berwick, Maine
     February 19, [1903]

    Dearest Mrs. Perkins:

     The flowers are most lovely -- a true spring gathering, and yesterday was a winter day in Berwick, I can tell you! -- but they came as warm as toast in their box. As for the "basket to keep," it is a treasure indeed! Mary* contemplated it with joy as if she meant to start for the garden at once. How kind you were to think of me! We were speaking of that charming luncheon only a day or two ago, and ever since you came from Burlington I have been wishing that I could see you, and following your gay career and the gay buds in the newspapers as best I could though Mrs. Cabot* has been as kind as she could be in writing all winter.
     I was amusing myself lately by thinking how much I feel like one of those stupid old winter flies that appear out of their cracks at this time of year, but I know one thing -- how "sensible they are to kindness," as my grandmother would say.
     Next summer the trolley cars that go to York are to have a branch line to Berwick1 (change at Portsmouth Bridge!) and I shall hope that you can be coaxed to take the journey. It is a pretty bit of country from here to Little Boar's Head all the way.
     Please give my love to all the Monday luncheoners when you go again, and especially to Elsie2 next time you see her. I have thought about her a great deal and such a charming letter that she wrote me in the autumn.
     Yours most affectionately and with many thanks,
     Sarah O. Jewett

     Isn't it good that dear Mrs. Cabot has kept so well all winter? I don't know what I should have done if she had fallen ill too!


Notes

     1 The electric trolley lines of the Portsmouth, Dover and York Street Railway were extended to South Berwick during the spring of 1903.
     2 Mrs. Perkins' daughter Elsie Alice, wife of William Hooper, a Boston cotton mills, mining, and railway executive. Alice Perkins Hooper maintained a home in Boston and a cottage in Manchester-by-the-Sea, where she entertained many of the women in the Fields-Jewett circle. Helen Bell characterized her house as the only salon in Massachusetts

Editor's Notes

Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabot:  Susan Burley Cabot.  See Correspondents.

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



SOJ to Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc


     [February-March 1903]  

     …1… complain no more, this letter is dull enough without that!

     I wonder if it is too late to make a change or two in the French edition of my Tory Lover? On the 23rd page, for example, where (3rd line from foot) I say Prince of Conti, I should like to say Duke of Berwick, and on page 154 is a gap in the edition I sent Mlle Douesnel,2 and in your first edition a great mistake on the middle of the page! I said Duke de Sully at a venture and never corrected it until the second edition where the whole phrase was cut out. That should be Duke of Berwick too or read thus: "added the old Irish rebel, who had been like a son to his father's friend the great Duke of Berwick, Marshal of France." If there is a second edition I should like to have the first of these corrected in the plates (Prince of Conti erased for Duke of Berwick).3 I had a note of sympathy for my illness from the translator, but I fear that you have had a very trying and tiresome work in supplementing hers.

     Please give my affectionate homage to Madame de Beaulaincourt. It is delightful -- the success of Monsieur 'Ski.'4 I should like to send a new message of thanks for the postcards, which renew the delight of my day's visit -- I do not forget a moment that I spent at Acosta. Under your French skies the violets will soon be blooming again there, with the new Spring.

     My sister sends you her love. She has had a busy winter, as you will know, and Theodore has been working hard at his professional school. Timmy looks old, but his heart is ever young and a little affair of honour with dogs of the village sends him home wounded but victorious from time to time.

     I wish that you were here, my dear friend, in this bright winter weather. I do not know if I have told you that our good John has died -- it was in December, and from the effects of his army wound. You will know how much we miss that good friend and servant of nearly thirty years.5
 
     There is everything to say, and I have said nothing! I remember in this moment to ask you if you are really translating Lady Rose's Daughter for the Revue6as our newspapers say? I have been looking over the letters of Mlle de Lespinasse7 -- the story has curious likenesses of character with likeness of plot. Whatever one may say, it seems, so far as I have read, a great story and far beyond her others.8
 
     Yours with
     unfailing love,

     S. O. J.


Notes

     1 This is a fragment, the only part which seems to have survived.

     2 Mlle Douesnel translated Le Roman d'Un Loyaliste.

     3 On page 154 of the first edition of The Tory Lover (first state of text, red binding), lines 16-17 read: rebel, who had seen with his own eyes the great Duke / de Sully, Marshal of France. In the 1901 reprint (second state of text, blue binding), the sentence is curtailed after rebel and a two-line blank follows. Prince of Conti was not corrected on page 23 of the reprint.
     This also remains unchanged in the 1905 French edition (page 34), and a compression in the translation (page 200) eliminates all reference to Duke and Marshal.
     In the English edition (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1901), Prince of Conti is retained (page 20), as is the full sentence concerning Duke and Marshal (page 136).

     4 'Ski' is the diminutive of Viradobetski, the Polish sculptor and dilettante of "tous les arts" in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Miss Jewett is referring to the original of this character, a lifelong friend of Proust, Frédéric de Madrazo. A dabbler in singing, composing, and painting, he was a favorite in salons like that of Madame de Beaulaincourt (1818-1904).

     5 John Tucker (see Letter 14, note 2) died on December 4, 1902. During the Civil War he served in the 17th Maine Regiment and was wounded by a shell at the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 3, 1863.

     6 Mrs. Humphry Ward's "La fille de lady Rose," translated by Th. Bentzon, appeared in seven installments in the Revue des Deux Mondes, n.s. XVII, from September 15 through December 15, 1903.

     7 Julie Jeanne Eléanore de Lespinasse (1732-1776) presided over one of the more famous salons in the Paris of her day. Her death is said to have been hastened by the marriage of Count de Guibert to another woman. The Lettres écrites de 1773 à 1776 by Mlle de Lespinasse contains a record of this unrequited love. First published by the count's widow in two volumes in 1809, it went through several editions, then was issued in 1893 with an introduction by Sainte-Beuve. The edition Miss Jewett probably read is the translation of this text by Katharine Prescott Wormeley, distributed by the Boston firm of Hardy, Pratt & Company in 1901, 1902, and 1903. In the Introduction to Lady Rose's Daughter -- volume XI, the Autograph Edition of The Writings of Mrs. Humphry Ward (Boston, 1910) -- Mrs. Ward reveals that she "saw the germ of a story" in "Sainte-Beuve's study of Julie de Lespinasse."

     8 With this opinion the translator took strong exception. On March 14, 1903, Miss Wormeley wrote to Miss Jewett: "With regard to the book I feel vexed with Mrs. Ward for having degraded Mlle de Lespinasse into an adventuress. I don't think she had the right to take a real person and insult her memory." (Houghton Library, Harvard)

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




SOJ to Annie Adams Fields


Transcription 1


Sunday

[ March 1903 ]*

Dearest Annie

     Wasn't it interesting that I should have been so concerned about your having a cold? I am sorry enough my visions prove true -- oh do be careful dear! but Mrs Voshell* will know what to do for you. This is the time in winter when people get tired and have the grippe, but I do believe that we ought to be 'smoked' after we have had it -- it is so contagious and may make so much trouble for others --- I was very sorry that I laid blame in the wrong quarter (if there were blame!) about Rosalie -- but I did feel so for poor little Eppie.* What fun it would be to have her in the south room at Manchester if you were well! Dear little thing! ---

     What do you think I read yesterday but a good piece of The Tory Lover!* You know how long it takes before you can sit down to a book of your own with any detachment -- as if somebody else had written it? I have taken it up now and then and found that it only worried me but yesterday was different -- it seemed quite new and whole! and I really was delighted with my piece of work. I have never succeeded in doing anything except the Pointed Firs* that comes anywhere near it -- my conscience upholds this happy belief, and whether it was a hundred years ago or not, is apart from the question altogether. The book of Ruth was is [so written] an historical novel in its day.* The French Country House is no more real to writer or reader because Mrs. Sartoris* had made the visit & imagined she made some episodes a few summers before --- I can't think what people are thinking of who didn't like the T. L. as much as some of my books of slight sketches which -- are mostly imaginary! or even as well as the Pointed Firs. but as Brother Robert* frankly remarked "They don't!" --- I can't help being sure that somebody now and then will like it. and if H. & M.* were as good publishers as they are printers it would have been done better -- However it did very well and let's not grumble about any thing. I think it wasn't very well fitted for a Serial. I am sorry for all that part of it and for the foolish exhausting hurry I was led into.

[more follows on other topics]

Notes

March 1903:  That Jewett has been re-reading The Tory Lover, that Annie Fields is ill and under the care of Lucy Voshell, and that Jewett cannot go to her points to this tentative date, after Fields's minor stroke in the fall of 1902, following Jewett's serious carriage accident in September of 1902.

Mrs Voshell: Mrs. or Miss Voshell seems to be Annie's nurse.  According to Paula Blanchard, Fields had a minor stroke in the fall and continued unwell through much of the winter 1902-3 (pp. 349-50)  During an illness a few years later (1906-7), Fields's friend, Julia Ward Howe, was attended by Lucy Voshell:  "This nurse was known to others as Lucy Voshell, but her patient promptly named her 'Wollapuk.' She was as merry as she was skillful, and the two made much fun together. Even when the patient could not speak, she could twinkle. As strength gradually returned, the ministrations of Wollapuk became positively scenes of revelry; and the anxious guardian below, warding off would-be interviewers or suppliants, might be embarrassed to hear peals of laughter ringing down the stair."  The Thomas Bailey Aldrich collection at the University of Virginia, includes letters from Lilian Woodman (Mrs. Thomas Bailey) Aldrich to Lucy Voshell regarding Aldrich's twin sons.  That Lucy Voshell nursed two close friends of Fields suggests that she may have cared for Fields as well.

Rosalie ... Eppie:  The identities of these people is unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

The Tory Lover:  Jewett's last novel was serialized in Atlantic Monthly, beginning in 1900 and appeared as a book in 1901.

Pointed Firs: Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

book of Ruth ... in its day:  The Book of Ruth tells the Old Testament Biblical story of a woman of Moab who converts to Judaism and adopts the Israelites as her people.  It seems likely that Jewett is thinking of what Henry James wrote to her in his letter of 5 October 1901: "The 'historic' novel is, for me, condemned, even in cases of labour as delicate as yours, to a fatal cheapness, for the simple reason that the difficulty of the job is inordinate & that a mere escamotage, in the interest of each, & of the abysmal public naïveté, becomes inevitable. You may multiply the little facts that can be got from pictures, & documents, relics & prints, as much as you like -- the real thing is almost impossible to do, & in its essence the whole effect is as nought."

Mrs. SartorisAdelaide Kemble Sartoris (1815 - 1879) was an English opera singer, the younger sister of Fanny Kemble, actress and anti-slavery activist.  She wrote A Week in a French Country House (1867).

Brother Robert:  Robert Collyer. See Correspondents

H. & M.:  Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Jewett's publisher.

The original of this letter is held by the Houghton Library, Harvard University, in bMS Am 1743 (255) folder 13.  This transcription is incomplete.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.
    The following transcription also is incomplete, showing the letter as it appears in the Annie Fields collection.

Transcription 2
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.

 
Sunday

Dearest Annie        . . . . . . . . . . . What do you think I read yesterday but a good piece of The Tory Lover!   You know how long it takes before you can sit down to a book of your own with any detachment  --  as if somebody else had written it?  I have taken it up now and then and found that it only worried me but yesterday was different.  It seemed quite new and whole!  and I really was delighted with my piece of work.  I have never succeeded in doing anything except the Pointed Firs that comes anywhere near it.  My conscience upholds this happy belief, and whether it was a hundred years ago or now, is apart from the question altogether.  The book of Ruth was an historical novel in its day.  The French Country House is no more real to writer or reader because Mrs. Tartons had made the visit & imagined she made some episodes a few summers before.  I cant think what people are thinking of who didn't like the T. L. as much as some of my books of slight sketches which are mostly imaginary!  or even as well as the Pointed Firs, but as Brother Robert frankly remarked "They dont!"  I cant help being sure that somebody now and then will like it and if H. & M. were as good publishers as they are printers it would have done better.  However it did very well and let's not grumble about any thing.  I think it wasn't very well fitted for a serial.  I am sorry for all that part of it, and for the foolish exhausting hurry I was led into . . . . . . . . . . . . .



SOJ probably to Mary Rice Jewett
 

                                                                                                            Tuesday morning [ 1903 ]

                                                                                                            South Berwick, Maine

 

……………Dont hurry back, we are getting on “soberly, righteously and godly” -- (I used to think it was soberlily neighborlily and Godlily!)  Timmy* is as well as can be.

                                                            With much love

                                                                                    Sarah

 

Notes

The line of points presumably indicates an omission from the manuscript.

Timmy:  This Jewett dog appears in her letters in 1899 and is reported as old but vigorous in 1903.  It seems likely that this letter is from closer to 1903.  Therefore, I have tentatively placed it in that year.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Annie Adams Fields 

[March, 1903]*

Thursday

‘9 [Unreadable letters]

Dearest Annie

     My window is open and the children are all in the streets going to school, it is so spring-like somehow and if I shut my eyes I might think it was Napoli there is such a racket! I never thought until this minute that all the French children may make a difference it didn’t it wasn't quite ^so^ racketty (like a town of English sparrows.) once it seems to me. Perhaps you will say that it is this Pinny and her old cracked head. I begin to think that this old head is never going to mend either. Sometimes I feel better and then I get very hopeful -- In the early winter I used to talk about getting to town, and Mary* ^or^ the doctor would say what was quite true, that she was afraid that jolting in cars would be too much, or I should want to see everybody when I got there - and I used to cry out Oh do let me have my hopes about things! I am so tired and it has got to be so long now that I cant help snatching at a little hope when I see it, but they dont fly by very often! Fuff* to have patience with such a poor thing ---- Oh when I think that if I were well how I could go and get you and take you to some nice place where you could get out, you and Miss Voshell* ^too^ so you could be nice and comfortable. I wouldn't go off and leave you! Silver vases indeed for that grabbing old Jew, but I pray Heaven never to owe them a cent or to have you, either!* Oh if I only could get well enough to take the dearest care of you! Nobody knows what a hard, anxious winter this has been. aching and worrying over and over. but we must be be [repeated word] thankful that we were at home where we could get the [little / better] comfort there ^is^ to be [unreadable word] had -- and not away in some unloved desolate places.

     I feel as if the one thing you did want me to do had failed you, dear, but it wouldn't do to try that chilly wooden house now early in the season --  you know what it would be to try the Manchester house in March & April, even with coal enough. In summer it would be so different. Dont try to look ahead and worry dear ^and worry other people?^ -- lets wait until ahead gets here and then do the best we can.

     Mary sends you much love, she keeps well and cheerful so far, and drives a good deal [cross-written on page 1] because the horses must be used, and it has been so good for her. Forgive anything wrong in this poor letter, and remember that I love you dear. And we are going to be well again, but it is very hard now.

Yours always,
Pinny* 


[Cross-written on p. 4:]  I don’t want to see the Howells letter, his last Easy Chair was so hateful in its spirit that I cant get over it.  So hateful and sneering at other people’s work*


Notes

March 1903:  This date is uncertain, but likely.  Jewett suffered her carriage accident on 3 September 1902.  In Sarah Orne Jewett, Paula Blanchard reports that Jewett was able to go to Boston again for the first time after the accident in April of 1903 (pp. 349-50).  This information suggests that this letter likely was written in early spring, probably March of 1903.  Though the letter could not have been written in 1904, because Fields was in Europe that spring, it is possible this letter comes from 1905 or 1906.  It would help if one could discover the Howells piece to which Jewett refers in her post script.  See note below.

MaryMary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Fuff:  A Jewett nickname for Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Miss Voshell:  Mrs. or Miss Voshell seems to be Annie's nurse.  According to Paula Blanchard, Fields had a minor stroke in the fall and continued unwell through much of the winter 1902-3 (pp. 349-50)  During an illness a few years later (1906-7), Fields's friend, Julia Ward Howe, was attended by Lucy Voshell:  "This nurse was known to others as Lucy Voshell, but her patient promptly named her 'Wollapuk.' She was as merry as she was skillful, and the two made much fun together. Even when the patient could not speak, she could twinkle. As strength gradually returned, the ministrations of Wollapuk became positively scenes of revelry; and the anxious guardian below, warding off would-be interviewers or suppliants, might be embarrassed to hear peals of laughter ringing down the stair."  The Thomas Bailey Aldrich collection at the University of Virginia, includes letters from Lilian Woodman (Mrs. Thomas Bailey) Aldrich to Lucy Voshell regarding Aldrich's twin sons.  That Lucy Voshell nursed two close friends of Fields suggests that she may have cared for Fields as well.

Silver vases indeed for that grabbing old Jew:  This reference is obscure.  Assistance is welcome.

Pinny:  One of Jewett's nicknames. See Correspondents.

the Howells letter, his last Easy Chair was so hatefulWilliam Dean Howells, editor at Harper's Magazine from 1886, began in 1900 the Editor's Easy Chair column, which appeared near the end of each issue.  These columns generally were genial and rarely named living authors.  It is not clear which column Jewett found so hateful, nor has another Howells piece appearing after 1902 yet been located that Jewett might have found "hateful and sneering."  Assistance is welcome.

The manuscript of this letter is at the University of New England,  Maine Women Writers Collection,  Jewett Collection  correspondence corr056-soj-af.05.  Transcription and notes by Terry & Linda Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to Louisa Loring Dresel

Friday
[June 1903]  

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.
Maine.

[ End letterhead ]


Dear Loulie

    I wonder if you cant use these tickets?  the 'Pudding Play' is apt to be good fun.  I expected to get back to town before this, but my sister is still ill from a long continuing rheumatic attack.  I am getting

[ Page 2 ]

on pretty well, but between a desire to do all that one can in a busy season outdoors and in, and knowing that if a person moves round too much it makes trouble, life isn't so very easy.  I hope you are getting on well -- it isn't until late next month that you sail, is it dear? but I know what a busy Loulie you are.  Dont

[ Page 3 ]

stop to write about the tickets at any rate, and find the love I sent you by this small letter{.}

    Yours very affectionately

S. O. J.


Notes

June 1903:  Though it is possible this letter was composed in 1904 or, perhaps even in 1905, it seems more likely to come from 1903.  This speculation is based upon Jewett referring to having difficulty moving around and having tickets to a Hasty Pudding Theatrical.  Her trouble with moving too much points to the letter post-dating her September 1902 carriage accident, with a long and never completed recovery that kept her at home until the April of 1903.   Jewett was likely to have received such tickets from her nephew, Theodore Jewett Eastman, who was a Harvard medical student during those years.  In the spring of 1903, Jewett's energy was very limited, while in the next two years, though not fully recovered, she was more able to travel and enjoy social activities.

'Pudding Play':  Almost certainly, Jewett offers Dresel tickets to a theatrical put on by the Hasty Pudding Club of Harvard University.  The club's theatricals typically are "burlesque cross-dressing musicals."  The April 1903 show was The Catnippers.  In June 1904, the club presented Boodle and Co.  The May 1905 production was entitled Machiavelli.

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 Sara Norton

     South Berwick, Thursday. [April 1903]

     I have been hoping to write to you, but, oddly enough now, when I am supposed to be better, it has grown a great deal harder either to read or write. But I shall not let you go away without a word to say how much I love you. I am glad you liked that little book of Mrs. Meynell's. There is something so charming to me in the way she arranged it -- the harmony -- and the inevitableness of her own choice and good taste have done that perhaps. I had a little hope that you might carry it with you; sometimes it has been the only book that I could read for days. I was so sorry that I sent it away with such smudgy fly-leaves, -- you might take an idle day on shipboard and make it clean again! I have a bad habit of writing in my books as if no one else were ever going to read them.


Notes

that little book of Mrs. Meynell's: This letter seems clearly to have been written after Jewett's debilitating carriage accident in September 1902.  Alice Meynell's Later Poems (1902) is a slim volume of 37 pages.  That Jewett has been reading and marking the book suggests that she has owned it for some time.  Blanchard reports in Sarah Orne Jewett (1994), that Jewett was in bed for weeks after the accident, not eating with her family until October and not leaving home until April 1903 (349-51).  Based on this information, I have dated this letter in April 1903.

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 Ellen Chase

     This year she wrote in the spring to her friend Ellen Chase:  [April 1903 or later]*

     "Did you hear all the song-sparrows as they came by on their way to Berwick?

     "I have been ill, but you will tell me if the 'Pointed Firs' look all right this year, won't you?"

Notes

April 1903 or later: Fields implies that the letter containing these lines was written in the same year as the previous undated letters in her collection.  The last previous letter in this collection is dated in 1902.  But Jewett's 1902 accident was in September.  If, as seems likely, this letter comes after the accident and was written at a time when Jewett believes she'll not be able to spend time Down East in the following summer, the earliest possible date would be the spring of 1903.

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



SOJ to Mrs. Edith Forbes Perkins

     [Boston]
     Wednesday morning [n.d.]
    [April 1903]*

    Dear Mrs. Perkins:

     You were so kind to send me these lovely flowers, they are as bright as a little spring bonfire this gray rainy morning!
     It is very pleasant to be in town again, I can tell you! and to find dear Mrs. Fields so much better.
   
 Yours most affectionately,
   
 Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

April 1903:  Richard Cary places this letter in spring of 1903.  This is a reasonable guess if there is any evidence that it was composed in 1903.  Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett (1994) says that after her accident, Jewett was first able to visit Boston in April 1903 (p. 350).

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




SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

[Monday morning]
[ 1903  ]

 Tomorrow I shall have a good day I do hope, and in the afternoon her rubbing friend* comes.  I shall be very careful of such a little handling of my neck goes a great way and I had a very great misery all day and night afterward -- though both were kind and thought they were careful.  I wont go into long stories but it is no use to get laid up this week! though I think Mrs. Cave* had good points in what she said -- and I believe in the principle.  I do think that as she said it is a question whether it isn’t too late to get rid of the thickening where the hurt was, if that’s what it is.  They gave me enough iodide of potash* to float a man of war* thinking that was going to absorb it.  I d’know!  as Uncle Will* says and leaves the question open but I hope to get round to a good days work tomorrow.  I went out today awhile -- and found Miss Grace Norton* here when I got back, which is always a great pleasure.

 


Notes

This letter seems closely related to SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett, Friday night, [ 1903  ].  Handwritten notes with this text reads [to Mary]  [Monday Morning].

her rubbing friend: Probably referring to Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents. The "rubbing friend" is more obscure.  Jewett seems to imply in this letter that Annie Fields's rubbing doctor from the "Friday night" letter is also the "rubbing friend" of this letter and that her name is Mrs. Cave.  It is remotely possible that this is the wife or sister of Francis A. Cave, an Osteopathic physician practicing in Boston early in the twentieth century.  Assistance is welcome.

iodide of potashPotassium iodide is a chemical compound with multiple medical uses.  How it was meant to function in Jewett's case is not clear, unless, perhaps, Jewett's caretakers were treating her swelling as if it were a goiter.  Wikipedia lists these common side effects of ingesting the compound: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, rash, and swelling of the salivary glands.

man of war:  a heavily armed warship, which would displace a good deal of water.

Uncle Will: Uncle Will is Dr. William G. Perry (1823-1910), husband of Lucretia Fisk Perry.  See Correspondents.
     It seems likely that Uncle Will's phrase "I d'know," means "I don't know."

Grace Norton: See Correspondents.

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



SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett
 

  [34 Beacon St.  Tues. Night]
[ 1903 ]*


I got some letters written this morning, but it makes the back of my neck ache to write, and I have had a peaceful (and idle!) afternoon.

 
Notes

1903: A transcriber's note with this text reads: [ to Mary ].  The rationale for the transcriber identifying the letter as from 34 Beacon St., the address of Susan Burley Cabot, is not given.  If Jewett's sore neck is a result of her 1902 carriage accident, then she would not be writing any earlier than April 1903, when she first returned to Boston after that accident.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Wednesday morning

[ April 1903 ]*


Dear Mary

You mustn't keep worrying about me.  I have really done better even with all the anxiety, for I have seen so few people and talked so little or been talked to!  Sometimes I believe that I shall do better at the mountains if I go to just be alone.  I know well enough what tires me and isn't the right thing, but all the time it has been so hard to avoid such things  --  the temptation is always coming up to do what will satisfy the other person.  I had rest enough for months and months, it isn't that kind of rest, and I believe I should like to do what I could without a nurse or anything, just as when I spent the fortnight at Mouse* with success; though the case now is some what different it might be cured with the same cure.

Notes

1903:  Jewett's reference to having enforced rest for months indicates that she is writing after her 1902 carriage accident, and it seems likely she writes home during her first visit to Boston after the accident, which was in April of 1903.

Mouse: Jewett spent a couple weeks alone at Mouse Island, near Boothbay Harbor, ME, in 1899.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Monday night


[ Late spring 1903 ]*

Dear Mary

I am ever so sorry about Mr. Brown* -- he was a good kind little man.  I send you my letter from Theodore.*  It was a cold damp day to get to Cambridge yesterday so that he must be really all right.  Poor Aunt Mary Bell* -- it looks as if she would hardly pull up from such a long winter’s siege.  I have wished that Uncle Will* had her to take care of -- he has such a gift with “old cases” -- but of course he is old now, and perhaps they dont get on with him as we do, happily.  I have very little to tell -- it was such a bad wet day that I didn’t try to go out again as I meant to do.  Mary Perkins* was here, as dear as a young girl as she was as a child, and Lucy Rantoul & her little girl and Rosamond.*  I had a great half an hour’s sleep or more this afternoon, and I have felt better.  I have been awake at night, and then waked up with (?)* pains in my head lately but now I have got righted perhaps.  Frances Parkman* was here this day but Mrs. Cabot* got all the call as I was or had been rubbing.*  Good night with love from      Sarah

 

Notes

Late spring 1903: A handwritten note on this transcription reads: 189-. However, the letter seems to have been composed after Jewett's 1902 carriage accident.  Late spring of 1903, when Jewett first returned to Boston after the accident seems a likely date for this letter.

Mr. Brown:  While this could be J. Appleton Brown who died in 1902, the context suggests this Mr. Brown was a resident of South Berwick or at least, someone about whom Mary would hear before Sarah.  And the date of this letter probably is 1903 or later.  Assistance is welcome.

Theodore: Theodore Jewett Eastman. See Correspondents.

Poor Aunt Mary Bell: See Correspondents. Mary Bell died on 3 February 1904.

Uncle Will: Dr. William G. Perry (1823-1910), husband of Lucretia Fisk Perry. See Correspondents.

Mary Perkins:  Almost certainly, Mary Russell Perkins (1883-1970), the youngest daughter of Edith Forbes Perkins.  See Edith Forbes Perkins in Correspondents.  Mary Perkins "lived much of her life in California. She was an amateur historian who was interested in George A. Custer and the history of Western America. Mary Perkins died May 31, 1970, in Santa Barbara, California."  She is buried in Milton, MA.

Lucy Rantoul & her little girl and RosamondLucy Sanders Saltonstall (1871-1947) married Neal Rantoul (1870-1956).  They had two daughters, Josephine Lee (1894-1962) and Lucy Saltonstall (1913-1958).  Mrs. Rantoul's sister was Rosamund Saltonstall (1881-1953); she married Charles Crook Auchincloss (1881-1961) in about 1906.

with (?)* pains in my head:  The parenthetical question mark probably is the transcriber's note rather than a part of the text.  This detail suggests that the letter is from a time after Jewett's September 1902 carriage accident.

Frances Parkman: Mary Frances Parker Parkman.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Cabot:  Susan Burley Cabot.  See Correspondents.

rubbing: In an undated letter thought to be from 1903, Jewett reports from Boston to Mary Jewett a visit from Annie Fields's "rubbing doctor."

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 73, 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 Mary Rice Jewett

Friday night
[ Late spring, 1903  ]


Dear Mary

            I have received your letter (contents noted!) and now write a word before I go to bed after an active day with many tired spots in it of discouragement but on the whole a good day and some few bundles added to those that shall be sent.  I went to Miss Kiff,* and she was a mother to me.  I begin to understand Emily’s* feelings entirely.  She thinks that there was some thing settled from the bruise when I twisted my neck, for she could plainly feel it, and thinks she can make it depart and not only rubbed it (A Treatment!)* but used a “mild current of electricity to the scalp” and I felt very much strung up and stepped round to old Helen’s* on the way home and also rang for Josie Dexter in my pride and saw neither but Dan* for a minute going to Worcester, but on the way home I felt as if I were scattered all over the “road”, and made of cork below my collar when I went into the Ludlow to see how sister Sarah* was.  She looked so ill yesterday -- and found her more flourishing and nice than I can now describe.  Sarah Cabot made other arrangements.  She had forgotten she was going to see her niece poor Mrs. Sam Cabot, so I stayed quiet here at lunch and felt quite poor in my health.  Later in the afternoon Mrs. Field’s rubbing doctor* came -- a nice woman -- and I was kindly invited in and she felt of my neck and said the two top bones had ‘got out of line['] when I fell and now had got fixed and set so they interfered with the flow of blood to the brain with their crookedness when anything happens to get more tired or “congested” -- that is her word!  She made me feel to see that the two sides of my neck were not even -- and she also could feel with her fingers -- and was interesting because she told what this state of things would be likely to do, and it was just what it has done the ‘crowding’ feeling & lack of balance etc. etc.  She said she had just such a patient once who was thrown from a horse -- but she took that one very soon after & wished she could have seen me as soon etc. etc.  I had a good little talk about Mrs. Fields with her.  Then I rested awhile and afterward did my bundles, and at seven I went and had supper with Alice Howe who had telephoned and her Mary begged me so to come that I was glad not to refuse.  We had the dearest time together, and she read more of the story and it was so quiet and nice.  I was doubly glad I went and glad to get home to dear A.F. and the Kitty.  I write all these particulars for you to search out the needle in the bundle of straw.  You needn’t send the book unless you think it would make a beautiful present for Dan to [illegible] I might pass it on as I dont care to keep it.  How good about Katy.*  Give my love to Susy if she comes, and to Katy.  No more at present from Sarah

Notes

1903: It seems almost certain that this letter was composed after Jewett's September 1902 carriage accident, from which she suffered for the rest of her life.  The earliest date by which she could have kept social engagements and sought medical help in Boston would have been the late spring of 1903, and this letter may come from a later date.

Miss Kiff: This is very speculative, but it appears Miss Kiff may be an early practitioner of the new chiropractic treatment developed by Daniel David Palmer at the turn of the twentieth century.

Emily's:  This is likely to be Emily Tyson.  See Correspondents.

a treatment:  Jewett seems to be referring to her carriage accident of September 1902.

old Helen's:  Richard Cary identifies "Old Helen" as Helen Bigelow Merriman.  See Correspondents.

Josie Dexter ... Dan:  Josie Dexter may be Mrs. Fred Dexter, who is mentioned in other Jewett letters, but as yet no earlier than 1900.  However further information about her has not been located.  Assistance is welcome. Dan probably is Rev. Daniel Merriman, spouse of "Old Helen" Merriman.  See Correspondents.

sister Sarah: This may be Annie Adams Fields's sister, Sarah Holland Adams.  See Fields in Correspondents.  The location of "the Ludlow" is not yet known.  Assistance is welcome.

Sarah Cabot ... her niece poor Mrs. Sam Cabot:  These references are mysterious.  Jewett, of course, was close to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.   Mrs. Wheelwright's brother, Dr. Samuel Cabot, married Hannah Lowell Jackson (1820-1879).  She had a number of other brothers, but no nephew has yet been found who was named Samuel and whose wife was living after 1900.  Jewett may refer to a different Sarah Cabot, but this person has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.

Mrs. Field’s rubbing doctor:  Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents. It is remotely possible that Jewett refers to the wife or sister of Francis A. Cave, an Osteopathic physician practicing in Boston early in the twentieth century.  Assistance is welcome.

Alice Howe ... and her Mary: Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe. The identity of Mrs. Howe's "Mary" has not been determined.  Assistance is welcome.  See Correspondents.

Katy:  Katy Galvin. See Correspondents.

Susy:  Though there are some other possibilities, it is likely Jewett refers to Susan Marcia Oakes Woodbury. See Correspondents. This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Folder 74, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection.  Preparation by Linda Heller.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Friday morning

[ April 1903 ]*

Dear Mary

"Those steamers are small; I couldn't help wishing Susy* a fair day for the passage.  And she has seen Nelly Bell & "Mrs. Bikélas….*   My!  how I begin to wish to shake out dear A. F.'s* little pockets to hear things! --- I am doing well.  I think that if I stole something big enough to merit solitary confinement it would be as cheap and good a cure as any, but I was glad to see Josie D."*

 
Notes

April 1903:  The earliest reference to Josie Dexter in other letters is in 1900, so it seems likely that this letter was composed in 1900 or later.  That Jewett speaks of being cured by solitary confinement suggests that it goes with other letters from around April 1903.  Therefore, I have tentatively placed it with those letters.
    The quotation marks in this text seem uncharacteristic.  It is not clear why they are present.

Susy:  This may be Susan Hayes Ward (See Correspondents) or 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.

Nelly Bell & Mrs Bikélas:  Jewett knew several people named Helen / Nelly Bell.  Without further information, it is difficult to determine which she means. Perhaps she refers to the daughter of the politician Charles H. Bell, Helen (Mrs. Harold North) Fowler (1848-1909). .
    Mrs Bikélas has not been identified.  Assistance is welcome.   

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

Josie D:  In a letter to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright [September] 5th [1901],  Jewett names Mrs. Fred Dexter:  This person has not been identified.  However, in the Jewett correspondence collections of the Houghton Library are several letters to Mary Rice Jewett from Josie Dexter.

This text is from transcriptions from mixed repositories in the Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Letters from Sarah Orne Jewett, 1875-1890, Undated Letters, Folder 75, Burton Trafton Jewett Research Collection. For more information about the individual transcription, contact the Maine Women Writers Collection. Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.
 

Sarah Wyman Whitman to SOJ

August 2, 1903.

     Dear old fellow, I live in a semi-detached condition, and do or do not as my demon bids, having an almost fierce predetermination to do as nearly as I can "what seems best." The result, if I dare speak of results at all, is that I keep a little work going, fling an occasional small sop to the social Cerberus,* read a little (which I have not done for many years), write only when I can't help it because that nerve seems the most "chawed up" of all, and pray to be forgiven! No wonder that under these conditions my hope of heaven seems small. . . .


Notes

Cerberus: In Greek mythology, a three-headed, dragon-tailed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades.

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 Sarah Wyman Whitman


     South Berwick, Maine
     Tuesday
     August 4, [1903]

    Dear old fellow:

     Who should drive up to this door yesterday but old Helen!1 Mary had gone to the Junction to meet Theodore* at the express train and Helen hopped out of one car, he from another, and was promptly sent afoot across Fife's lane to avail himself of the trolley car. Helen meant to walk up to the village, and she was amazed to find Mary waiting. I was amazed to see a smart hat, when Timmy2 and I were expecting a plain straw hat as we sat at the window. She was just as you said, and had one of those days of looking quite splendid (that's not the word but we have often speaked together of the moments). And travelled north by the afternoon express. It did this dull heart good to see her, and to hear about you and the Mexican drawn-work,* and a quiet hour such as was to be long treasured. I had a sense of being replete with unanswered questions as soon as she had gone -- I begin to feel a little like my poor Joanna on Shellheap Island3 but please forgive the allusion. I have always seen my story people after they are written, so here's me! I always love to remember that you liked that chapter, and wrote the dearest letter.

     I had a great pleasure in Mr. Garnett's paper in the Academy4 lately. The least significant paragraphs were copied into the Tribune -- but one does so like to have somebody (who knows) speak seriously of one's work and stick fast to a point of view. He liked "The Hiltons' Holiday,"5 which I always call your story because of kind words. The whole thing made one feel as if perhaps the old inkbottle might be needed again, after all, one of these days, but it is strange how all that strange machinery that writes, seems broken and confused. One ought not to expect to write forever but I seem never to be thinking about anything now -- it's very dull!

     Yesterday my dear old uncle6 came for a visit and I stop now and then as I write to hear Theodore's loud discoursing voice. They talk about college and the medical profession as if they were exactly the same age -- one twenty-four this day and the other eighty last week, and not a bit the matter with either body or mind but a sad deafness. I love his dear gentle ways. Last night one of T's compeers (a charming young fellow, but caught in the nets of a poor foolish little bride) came up here from the shore. When they were saying good night, I heard the boy's voice and then Uncle Will's "Good night, Sir!" like an old Virginian. The tone was enough to make that sort of boy feel suddenly as if he had gone from private to Captain. I could hear it all down in the hall, and somehow -- perhaps it was the Southern touch of it! -- made me think of you.

     I should love to get you a pair of Rocky Mountain ponies used to steep inclines, so that you could 'rise' Thunderbolt Hill7 at will! Dear A. F.* has such beautiful times with you this summer, and I hear about you. She writes very dear letters that give one a sense of being with her as one reads. I shall try again for a few days visit by and by, but I dread the trains still almost too much. Dear fellow, I think of you a great deal. I pray heaven to make you stronger -- not overdoing is the only real tonic! So no more at present from yours with love and pride,

     S. O. J.

     The garden is so nice -- old-fashioned indeed with pink hollyhocks and tall blue larkspurs. You might make a sketch with but slight trouble, with figures of old ladies wearing caps in the long walks. I seem to confuse your art with Mr. Abbey's!!8


Notes

      1 Helen Bigelow Merriman (1844-1933), artist and author of books and articles on painting and painters, was a Boston friend of Mrs. Fields. She usually summered at Stonehurst, the Bigelow estate at Intervale, New Hampshire. En route between city and country, she occasionally stopped off to visit the Jewetts without notice.

     2 A current Jewett family dog.

     3 Chapters 13 and 15 in The Country of the Pointed Firs.

     4 Edward Garnett, "Books Too Little Known: Miss Sarah Orne Jewett's Tales," Academy and Literature, LXV (July 11, 1903), 40-41; collected in Friday Nights (New York, 1922). In Garnett's opinion Miss Jewett "ranked second only to Hawthorne in her interpretation of the spirit of New England soil."

     5Century, XLVI (September 1893), 772-778; collected in The Life of Nancy.

     6 Dr. William Gilman Perry (see Correspondents).

     7 The most vivid description of Mrs. Fields's "eagle's eyrie" is in Harriet Prescott Spofford's A Little Book of Friends (Boston, 1916), 19: "the steep avenue leads up to a wonderful outlook of beauty set in the midst of flaming flowers, three sides overlooking the wide shield of the sea, but the fourth side so precipitous that the broad piazza there is only a turret chamber above the tops of the deep woods and orchards below, with the birds flying under it, and looking far over the winding river, ripening meadow, and stretching sea again." A photograph of Mrs. Fields on the back piazza of Gambrel Cottage hangs in the breakfast room of the Memorial House at South Berwick.

     8 Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911)* started as an illustrator of books and magazines but became internationally known as a painter of historical and literary murals. Essentially a portrayer of happy moods, he specialized in scenes of delicate lyrical sentiment.

Editor's Notes

Mary ... Theodore:  Mary Rice Jewett and Theodore Jewett Eastman.  See Correspondents.

Mexican drawn-work:  This allusion is obscure; assistance is welcome.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Abbey:  Jewett reviewed Abbey's Old English Songs in The Book Buyer 5,11 (Dec 1, 1888), pp. 466-8.

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.  With assistance from Terry Heller.




  SOJ to Sylvia Hathaway Watson Emerson

Saturday July [August] 29th [1903]*

[Begin letterhead]

South Berwick Maine

[ End letterhead ]

My dear Sylvia

    I have thought 'ever-so-many' times about [writing corrected] to you and said to myself that I didn't know how to direct the letter, and the great thought has now occurred to my still greater Mind that I could send the letter to Milton!*

    You see what's left of your friend, but I can truly say that you are welcome to the affectionate residue! -- I have thought so often of you and dear Mr. Emerson{.}*  I wished that I could see you

[ Page 2 ]

both, shouldn't we sit down happy and idle together, and I'd sharpen the pencils if you two would undertake to sharpen my wits a little.  Next week it will be a year since I tried to go through to China head-first* and showed such a lack of judgment in choosing a hard road for the starting place.  I am not good for much yet but a concussion of the brain doesn't seem to impair the affections, though it may have an effect upon the walk and conversation.

[ Page 3 ]

Just one word to carry you both my love and Mary's* too.  Ask W.R.E.* if he doesn't wish we could have gone to Wells to the 250th anniversary -- to see all the Littlefields and Hatches and Perkinses in the World!!*  Poor old Wells with the long sandy road and carrot crops & blue fringed gentians in the fields where the sand shows through the grass.  I always like to think of it! -- I used to go there "doctoring" -- and there was always a ^big, cheerful^ fisherman or sea cap'n [browned corrected] with sea tan, and a thin blue-white wife going off in a decline!  This showed the salt water itself a better climate than its adjacent town of Wells! Goodbye dear friend

[ Up left margin of page 1 ]

with love from S. O. J.

[ Down from left across the top margin of page 1 ]

Our garden is lovely this year -- all full of tiger lilies just now, round the edges and the row of poplar has grown nearly as high as yours in the wet weather. 

[ Up the right margin of page 1 ]

Great year for the glads etc!

Notes

Saturday July [August] 29th [1903]:  It is virtually certain that Jewett has misdated her letter.  July 29 in 1903 was not a Saturday, but August 29 was.  She mentions in the letter that a week after her writing is the anniversary of the carriage accident of 3 September 1902.  She mentions the Wells, Maine 250th anniversary celebration as having happened.  It took place 26 August 1903.

Milton:  At this time, the Emersons lived in Milton, MA.

Mr. Emerson:  William Ralph Emerson, or W. R. E..  See Sylvia H. W. Emerson in Correspondents.

head first: A carriage accident on 3 September 1902 incapacitated Jewett for fiction writing; thereafter, she wrote letters, but not for publication.

Mary's:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

250th anniversary .... Littlefields and Hatches and Perkinses:  A program for the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Wells, Maine, was available for purchase on E-Bay in spring 2017.  According to that program, the event took place on 26 August 1903.  There was a "Historical Parade, giving Pictorial Illustrations of Events in the History of Wells.  This was followed by evening exercises in Ogunquit: a band concert, oratory and fireworks.  Among the speakers was the Honorable Charles E. Littlefield.  He also was the chairman of the "Display of Fireworks."
    Charles Edgar Littlefield (1851 -1915) was a United States Representative from Maine.  In 1903, he was in the middle of his final four terms in Congress.

    The following image from that program is available courtesy of EBay. 

Wells 1903

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Library of Congress in the Owen Wister Papers, 1829-1966, MSS46177, Box 19.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

With this letter in its Library of Congress folder appear two related items, not written by Jewett.   

Anonymous note about the above letter

It seems clear that this writer is mistaken about the date of the letter.  As the second item shows, there is reason to be confused about this.  The author also is mistaken in identifying Annie Adams Fields as a daughter of Charles Francis Adams, Sr. (1807-1886), as she would have been were she a sister of:
    John Quincy Adams II (September 22, 1833 – August 14, 1894)
    Charles Francis Adams Jr. (May 27, 1835 – May 20, 1915)
    Henry Brooks Adams (February 16, 1838 – March 27, 1918).

In fact, her father was Zabdiel Boylston Adams, Sr. (d. 1855).

* * *

Jewett, Sara Orne
    S. Berwick Maine
-- Sylvia Emerson
    29 July 1891,

Note in a delightful characteristic letter to S.E. who sends it with a note to Owen Wister.

Sara Orne Jewett wrote beautiful [thin ?] silverpoint stories of New England people & places.  The Mrs. Fields she alludes to was Mrs James T. Fields (Annie Adams)

[ Page 2 ]

wife of the publisher & sister of John ^[ unrecognized word ]^, Henry & Charles [unrecognized word] Adams, herself a poet & Writer of articles and criticism.


Sylvia Emerson to Owen Wister -- enclosing the above Jewett Letter

This letter seems to be dated in 91, but if it really does refer to Jewett's "brave letter" above, that date must be incorrect.  One possibility is that the number "91" which appears on this page refers to a post-office box number rather than to the year of the letter.  Further assistance in sorting out this mystery is welcome.

* * *

[C L Allerton ? ] P. O. Box
Sept 2d    91

[Text apparently added at an angle beneath the date]
How lovely the [unrecognized word] are.

Dear Owen,

    I send you Sarah Jewetts letter which will give you her news & Mrs Fields.  Don't try to answer this{.}  You must be busy up to yr eyes -- I thot you might like to read this brave letter.  My  [unrecognized word] gains by slow degrees.  Affly yours,

Sylvia W. E.

I wrote Mother about the crow




SOJ to Isabella Stewart Gardner

Saturday September 12th [1903 or 1908]

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick, Maine

[ End letterhead ]


Dearest Mrs. Gardner

    What a kind and dear note you have written to me.  I shall never forget it!  Oh you are quite right there was no reason for such a foolish disaster, and so one can make no excuses.

    My sister* and I are so sorry to have been away


[ Page 2 ]

when you came to Hamilton House.*  I must give you my story about the charming old place sometime -- !


Your ever affectionately

Sarah O. Jewett



Notes

1903 or 1908: 12 September fell on a Saturday in 1903 and again in 1908.  Jewett's letters suggest that she was at home in South Berwick during parts of September in both years.  I have chosen arbitrarily to place the letter with others of 1903.  It is at least remotely possible that the disaster to which she refers is her September 1902 carriage accident.

sister:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Hamilton House:  See Emily Davis Tyson in Correspondents.  Hamilton House became a place to visit in South Berwick after 1900, when Tyson completed her restoration of the property.  It is possible that Jewett refers to her novel, The Tory Lover (1901), which is set partly at the Hamilton House.

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




SOJ to Annie Elizabeth Caldwell Mower

     South Berwick, Maine
     September 18, [1903]

    My dear Mrs. Mower:

     I have been wishing that I could see you to tell you of my great sympathy in hearing of your aunt's death.1 I cannot help feeling that as her strength grew less it must have been a great comfort to her to watch your always increasing power of usefulness, but just because your cares and interests grow larger, you will miss her help and counsel all the more. We only understand the blessing of older friends and 'somebody to go to' as we grow older and put our hearts more and more into what we find to do. But to have such a counsellor once is not to lose her now; you will always have the blessing of her love and her true wisdom. The memory of such love and wisdom will go with you into hard places as well as happy ones all your life.

     It is always very touching to me to see a person whose influence has been widespread, take up the less-evident, the restricted service that age permits. There is a pathetic phrase that great men may live long enough to see themselves forgotten, but it is never so! I believe that their best teaching may be given then to those who are fortunate enough to be their nearest friends and they may give the golden value of their lives into a few fit hands. It is the loveliest inheritance, this of character, and the sense of true values, with the power of appreciation, make its best treasures.

     I am sure that you often feel lonely, with all your gratitude that the days of your aunt's failing strength are done, but you will have many happy thoughts, and a new sense of her nearness to you, for company and consolation. I am sure that it was a great comfort to her to have a niece like you. Believe me

     Yours very affectionately,

     S. O. Jewett


Notes
 
     1 Mrs. Mower's aunt, Eunice Caldwell Cowles, died on September 10, 1903.

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



SOJ to S. Weir Mitchell
  

October 27th

[ 1903 ]

South Berwick, Maine

 

My dear Friend

    I cannot help writing to thank you for a very great pleasure:  this exquisite St. Martin’s Summer in the new Century!*  How can one speak of its delicacy its strength its charming subtleties? ---- By reading it again and again and putting it on a shelf where there are only treasures, since actions speak louder than

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words – "When the leaves were drifting down around you – you seemed like the glad young Spring" --------- Alas that we have no Sainte-Beuve* in these days to say what should be said of a piece of work like this!

    I cannot tell you what a pleasure you have given me and in these days when pleasures are very few.  My life was all in writing and reading and friends and a year ago I was thrown from a high carriage -- My head tried

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to get through to China and didn't!  and since that 3rd of September 1902 I have either being staying in bed very “Dumpy” and confused or creeping out into the old garden with a stick, walking zig-zag and swaying about (no coordination to speak of!) pain in my head thickening of meningeal ----- (word gone!) and all the rest.  You know how tiresome such cases can be to doctor and patient[.]*   One does remember that, but all my excellent doctors speak

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of "that Prince and Pattern of Physicians, Time" as old Sydenham* called him -----  I was touched to the heart when one day my good doctor Sleeper* the village doctor here told me how much he owed to you in his practice.  he had managed to get all your books ^of medicine^ somehow or other.  nothing* had helped him more ----- so a good deed shines in this naughty world -- Forgive this note, I am never sure of writing straight since I often think so crookedly. And must write lying down since I can’t write at all at a desk -- What good can Habit be!  I have spent

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time enough at a desk writing in my day.

   ;  Thank you dear friend for the delight of all you have written ----- the thing I love best of all to remember is the poem of this Roman Areus* the father and his little girl when he puts his hand on her shoulder ----- it is so doctorly too ---

    I love to think of writing -- There is nothing like it for happiness for oneself or ones friends.  When the wonderful little mill starts itself, and you need only seize your pen.  But

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it seems not really true that it ever happened! ----- or that the long evenings in summer when we used to talk at Miss Hickman's* or at Beverly were anything but the memory of a happy dream.  Please do not think that this calls for an answer – you will be busy and I shall read St. Martin’s Summer again

Yours  ^and Mrs. Mitchell’s^ affectionately,

S.O. Jewett

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(I wish that my Tory Lover had been as live and good as your Hugh Wynne* but it was my country too and my heart was in it, and all my pleasure ----- )


Notes

St. Martin’s Summer ... new Century:  Mitchells story, "The Summer of St. Martin" appeared in Century Magazine (November 1903), pp. 144-148.  The line Jewett quotes appears in column 1 of p. 145.  St. Martin's Summer is a period of sunshine and warmth near the Feast Day of St. Martin on 31 October.

Sainte-Beuve: Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804-1869) was an eminent French literary critic.

doctor and patient:  Jewett has underlined "and" twice.

"that Prince and Pattern of Physicians, Time" ...Sydenham: Wikipedia says: Thomas Sydenham (1624 - 1689) "was an English physician. He was the author of Observationes Medicae which became a standard textbook of medicine for two centuries so that he became known as 'The English Hippocrates'."  For the quotation, see Kenneth Dewhurst, Dr. Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689): His Life and Original Writings (1966), p 47.

doctor Sleeper:  Almost certainly, this is Dr. Charles M. Sleeper (1856-1924).  According to his obituary in the Portsmouth Herald (NH), he was a graduate of Bowdoin Medical College (1883) and was active in Maine democratic politics.  His wife was Julia F. Sleeper (1861-).

nothing: Jewett has underlined "nothing" twice.

Areus:  It seems likely Jewett refers to the first century BC Greek stoic philosopher, Arius Didymus of Alexandria who became the teacher of the Roman emperor, Augustus Caesar.  However it is not clear what she means by this reference.  Perhaps she refers to the end of "The Summer of St. Martin" (p. 148), when the main character quotes for a young woman a verse that expresses the wish to shield her from loss and suffering.  ;  Perhaps more likely, she is referring to her favorite poem by Mitchell, "In the Valley of the Shadow: The Centurion," collected in his volume of poems, In War-Time (1895). See her letter to Mitchell of 15 September 1890.

Miss Hickman's:  Miss Hickman has not been identified.  It is possible she is a relative of Dr. Napoleon Hickman of Philadelphia, PA, a friend and associate of Mitchell. Further information is welcome.

Tory Lover ...Hugh Wynne: Jewett's final novel, The Tory Lover appeared in 1900-01.  Mitchells Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker (1897), first appeared serially in Century Magazine (53:1) November 1896 - October 1897.

The manuscript of this letter is held in the Sarah Orne Jewett Papers, Maine Women Writer's Collection, University of New England, Houghton Autograph File to S. Weir Mitchell  #4. Transcription by Linda Heller; annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Wednesday morning
[ December 1903 ]
South Berwick, Maine

Dear Mary

                . . . . . . . . . . . . .You can give the Posy Ring* in the parlor closet to the children at Old Fields.* "Little Ichabod".*  They love such books -- and they had the mate last year.  Perhaps Elise* will like the Christmas Tree trimming in the little S.T. trunk!*  With love

Sarah

Notes

1903: The transcriber includes this note in the transcription: [Boston Mass., Dec. 25, 1903].  The line of points that opens the letter text suggests that he has transcribed only part of it.

Posy Ring:  Probably, this is The Posy Ring: a Book of Verse for Children, chosen and classified by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith.  WorldCat indicates that it was first published in 1903 as part of the Children's Crimson Series by Grosset & Dunlap.

Old Fields:  At the time, this was the name of the home occupied by the family of Sophia Elizabeth Hayes Goodwin. See Correspondents.

"Little Ichabod" … mate of it:  What is meant by "Little Ichabod" is uncertain.  Though the phrase appears in quotation marks, it could easily refer to a member of the Goodwin family, in which Ichabod was an often-used name.
    The mate of The Posy Ring from the Children's Crimson Series in 1902, was Golden Numbers: Poems for Children and Young People.

Elise:  Elise Russell.  See Emily Davis Tyson in Correspondents.

S.T.:  What is meant by these initials is not yet known.  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.



SOJ to Mark DeWolfe Howe


[December 25, 1903]

From The Gentle Americans (1965) by Helen Howe.
    Addressed to Mark DeWolfe Howe

       The year 1903 --  two years before the dinner in Charles Street --  had seen the publication of Father’s Boston, the Place and the People. * Sarah Orne Jewett had written him in that year, on Christmas evening:  

MY DEAR FRIEND

     You are very kind to send me your Book -- I am delighted to have it with your name and mine in the beginning, and I am not writing before I read it, because I have read it already with the greatest delight and admiration.

     -- I have been waiting for many days to tell you so… that I have found it strangely difficult in this last month…. On some days when I could read I caught eagerly at the Boston, and I wish that I could say now how fine I think it is as a piece of work: charm -- perspective, proportion, dignity -- readable-ness are all there. Yes, and seriousness which is so often left out of books in these days -- we are sometimes afraid of not being amusing enough -- You often take the humorous point of view, but never descend to the showman’s banter -- I have just looked into a book that is spoiled by it….

Yours, very affectionately…


Note

Mark DeWolfe Howe: Boston, the Place and the People, 1903.



 SOJ to Mary Rice Jewett

Tuesday morning

[ After Christmas, December 1903 ]*

Dear Mary

Emily* came last night and we had a dear time with her -- they got looking at one of the autograph books, of famous women, to find a portrait of the Honble Mrs. Norton she that was Sheridan* -- and then Emily gave one of her best accounts of a luncheon in Hallison [so transcribed] Avenue with Dr. Kin the Chinese lady* whom you know.  I worked at my pink crocheting most of the time and it was a pretty evening.  Emily liked the book I am glad to say -- and seemed pretty well I thought.  I have to offer thanks for a Coffee Pot! -- Mrs. Fields* did not think to take it down with the heap of presents so it had a glorious moment all to itself after we came up stairs.  And ‘I [ so transcribed ] appreciated it to the full even though it was cold and empty at the moment.  It is an important person to receive into any family.  I shall now keep a sugar bowl upstairs and then Katy* can have this hot, with a little cream and a little pitcher.  I feel very much pleased.  Mrs. Fields gave us a beautiful big piece of the Italian trapunte work* for the table -- finer than any we have got.  Emily put a discerning eye upon it before any of the other presents which she seemed to enjoy looking over.  Today they must be cleared away.  I am so glad that A.F. had such a pretty lot of them.  Your list is in the letter down stairs and I shall send it back next time I write.  John* has just brought up the little leather trunk.  (I think it is jealous now if it gets left at home.)  Give my love to Uncle Will.*  I am so glad he could come and I wish I had been there to see him.  Frances Parkman* was here just before luncheon going to New York today -- and dear Ellen Mason* at the end of the afternoon and had a cup of tea with A.F. and brought her doggy.  She gave me a beautiful copy of the John Bellini doge in the Natl Gallery in London.*  I always thought it looked like her, which amused her.  She talked a good deal and very affectionately about Susy Travers.*  Frances gave me a lovely Japanese basket-box, but I cant stop to give you my list -- here’s A.F. already for the letters.  Much love to you and Theodore* and all.

from

    Sarah

 

Two beautiful winter St. Moritz picture cards* for you & me from K. Dexter* but I haven’t any envelope to send them.


Notes

After Christmas, December 1903:  A handwritten note on this transcription reads: 189-. This date is inferred from the appearance of Dr. Kin in Boston in January of 1904.

Emily ... a portrait of the Honble Mrs. Norton she that was Sheridan:  For Emily Tyson see Correspondents.
     Caroline Sheridan Norton (1808-1877) was a British social reformer and author, remembered for her work in persuading Parliament to pass acts for the protection of women who become victims in divorce cases.

Hallison Avenue ... Dr. Kin the Chinese lady:  It seems likely that Jewett refers to Kin Yamei (1864-1934), a Chinese born and American raised doctor who trained in the United States.  Though she practiced medicine in Japan at various times, she was often in the United States.  In January of 1904, her biography reports, she lectured to women's clubs in Boston, at the invitation of Isabella Stewart Gardner (p. 10). She returned in April and September of the same year.
    It seems likely that "Hallison Avenue" is a mistake in transcription for Harrison Ave., which is in Boston's Chinatown.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields, also A.F.  See Correspondents.

Katy:  Presumably an employee of Fields.

Italian trapunte work: trapunta is quilt work.

John: While this could John Tucker (Correspondents), it is more likely another Fields employee.

Uncle Will: In this case Uncle Will is Dr. William G. Perry (1823-1910), husband of Lucretia Fisk Perry. See Correspondents.

Frances Parkman:  Mary Frances Parker Parkman.  See Correspondents.

Ellen Mason:  See Correspondents.

John Bellini doge in the Natl Gallery in London: Wikipedia says: "The Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan is a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini, dating from 1501. It is on display in the National Gallery in London. It portrays Leonardo Loredan, Doge of Venice from 1501 to 1521...." The entry on the painting includes a reproduction.

Susy Travers: See Correspondents.

Theodore:  Theodore Jewett Eastman. See Correspondents.

winter St. Moritz picture cardsSt. Moritz is an alpine resort town in Switzerland.  It became a center of winter tourism with an emphasis on the baths and on winter sports in the second half of the nineteenth century.

K. Dexter: This person may be Mrs. Fred Dexter, who is mentioned in other letters, but her identity remains unknown. Frederic Dexter (1841-1895), a Boston cotton merchant, was married to Susan Chapman Dexter (1843-1917).  Both are buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.  Mrs Dexter lived at Beverly Farms as well as in Boston's Back Bay area, and so might easily have been known to Fields and Jewett.  However, the first initial "K" does not fit.  Frederic Dexter had 6 siblings, but none with a K initial.

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 73, 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.



Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.



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