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1905    1907
 
Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1906




Annie Adams Fields to Eben Norton Horsford

148. Charles Street,
New Year 1906

Dear Kate --*

Thank you for your Christmas remembrance. The Ferns are still flourishing and will continue with care for many a day I hope.
    And you, dear Cornelia, how good it is to see your hand and the bit of box tree and the gift -- all telling that the old days and friends are remembered.

    May this year be a rich one to you both, rich in loving thoughts and deeds. As ever,

Affectionately yours

    Annie Fields

Notes

Transcriber note:  This letter suggests that the Horsfords may have drifted out of their close relationship with Annie Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett.

Kate ... Cornelia: Horsford daughters.  See Correspondents.

old days and friends are remembered:  By 1 January 1906, Jewett's fragile health made visiting difficult for her.  Professor Horsford and his youngest daughter by his first marriage, Mamie, both had died in 1893.  That this letter is addressed only to Kate and Cornelia suggests that they may be the only remaining Horsfords still living together at the same address.

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




SOJ to Thomas Franklin Waters


     148 Charles Street
     Boston
     February 23, 1906

     My dear Mr. Waters:

     I am very sorry to be so late in thanking you for your kindness in sending me this most interesting reprint of the Cobbler,1 with all its notes and reports. I have been enjoying everything between the covers while I have been silent, but I have had an attack of winter illness in addition to my usual difficulties about writing, etc!

     I have wished to tell you, too, how much I found in the Ipswich history.2 I only wish that there were another volume, with more about the famous schools and the famous early and late ministers. I could almost make a list of Contents!

     Believe me, with my best thanks,

     Yours sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett


Notes

     1 Nathaniel Ward, The Simple Cobbler of Aggawam, in America (London, 1647), reproduced by the Ipswich Historical Society with facsimiles of title page, preface, headlines, and exact text; an essay, "Nathaniel Ward and The Simple Cobbler" by Waters; and the proceedings of the annual meeting in Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, XIV (Salem, Mass., 1904). Reverend Ward, a scholar and jurist, was minister at Ipswich in 1634-1637. His book, a rambling satire interspersed with lively couplets, was a protest against religious and political toleration, published under the pseudonym Theodore de la Guard.
     2 Waters' Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Ipswich, Mass., 1905) was published by the Ipswich Historical Society.

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 Sara Norton

     South Berwick, Monday, March 26 [1906].

     Dearest Sally, -- Today is town-meeting day and I am sitting by Mrs. Fields's desk at the front window (it has to move from the window where you knew it in winter), and it is very funny, beside giving rise to thoughts, to see the farmers and their country sleighs and their wives who come "trading"! You may have seen an Ashfield town-meeting, but our eastward region about Agamenticus "Mountain,"* between us and the sea, is still in a very old-fashioned state of mind -- its expression in the men's dress is like early "Biglow Papers"* times -- fur caps made from what must be long extinct animals, but good common-sense rules the rulers for the most part; and I should like to shake hands hard with two or three of them, and they would say, "Now which one o' the Doctor's girls be you?"* This is a nice neighbourhood: I wish that you (and I) knew it better.
 

Notes

Ashfield ... Agamenticus "Mountain,":  On Ashfield, see Norton in CorrespondentsWikipedia says: "The Mount Agamenticus region covers nearly 30,000 acres ... in the southern Maine towns of Eliot, Ogunquit, South Berwick, Wells and York."

Biglow Papers: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) published The Biglow Papers, containing poems and prose, in 1848 and 1867.

the Doctor's girls: Mary, Sarah and Carrie Jewett were the daughters of their physician father, who was perhaps better remembered locally than they during their lives, Theodore Herman Jewett (24 March 1815 - 20 September 1878).  To share this local perspective, see Gladys Hasty Carroll's Dunnybrook (1943).

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 David Douglas

     South Berwick, Maine. [Spring 1906]*

     Dear Mr. Douglas, -- The very day that your letter came I was sending you a copy of Mr. Owen Wister's new story.* I find it so delightful, worthy of himself and worthy of Fanny Kemble's journals.* It has so charming a humour and so humorous a charm! and tastes as good as the cake itself. The serious talk about the cheap side of American life just now is not at all too severe, but we must look on with what patience we can at the doings of those who have no inherited sense or discretion in the use of money: as a wise old friend said to me not long ago, their grandparents or even their own parents went hungry and ill clothed, and it will take some time for these people to have their fling, to eat all they want and to wear fine raiment, and flaunt authority. They must get to a state, and by slow stages too, where there is going to be something fit for education. "It is just the way that in the South, still, one sees the coloured people on aimless journeys: in the old days they could not leave their plantations. They won't be satisfied with that exercise of liberty for generations yet!" The years of leanness are succeeded by many more than seven fat years in all these people.* The trouble is to us old-fashioned New Englanders that 'the cheap streak' so often spoils what there is of good inheritance, and the wrong side of our great material prosperity is seen almost everywhere. These are sad reflections! -- but I often remind myself of the better side of life, a hope that it is truly an immortal sort of leaven.

     My Lockhart* came to-day and, as I had expected, I found you before I had gone far in the preface.* Do not write just to acknowledge the book; those dutiful notes rob us of time to write the letters we care more for!

     Our "Atlantic" editor, Mr. Bliss Perry,* goes over to England this summer. I hope you will see him in Edinburgh, -- a delightful man with true enthusiasm for the best things.

Notes

Spring 1906:  The content of this letter is very similar to that of SOJ to Frances (Mrs. Henry) Parkman  [September 22, 1905].  This hint and Jewett's discussion of Wister's Lady Baltimore support this dating.

Mr. Owen Wister's new story: Wikipedia says: "Owen Wister (July 14, 1860 - July 21, 1938) was an American writer and "father" of western fiction. He is best remembered for writing The Virginian, although he never wrote about the West afterwards."
    Wister's Lady Baltimore began serial publication in October 1905 in the Saturday Evening Post (10/28, 1905 to 1/27, 1906). Google Books describes the story: "Lady Baltimore is the classic novel of post-Civil War Charleston life, in the process of healing the wounds of war through the reconciliation of Northerners and Southerners. Written at the turn of the century, it evokes the enduring charm of old Charleston in contrast to the values of the breathless, competing North."  The issue date for the first edition in book form was April 1906.
    Featured in the novel is a Lady Baltimore Cake: "... an American white layer cake with fluffy frosting and a fruit and nut filling....  The most popular legend of the Lady Baltimore is that Alicia Rhett Mayberry, a Southern belle, baked and served the cake to novelist Owen Wister in Charleston, South Carolina. Wister was said to have been so enamored with the cake that he used it as the namesake of his novel, Lady Baltimore.... Wister included a description of the cake in Lady Baltimore...."

Fanny Kemble's journalsWikipedia says: "Frances Anne "Fanny" Kemble (27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893) was a notable British actress from a theatre family in the early and mid-19th century. She was a well-known and popular writer, whose published works included plays, poetry, eleven volumes of memoirs, travel writing and works about the theatre....  In 1834, she married an American, Pierce Mease Butler, heir to cotton, tobacco and rice plantations on the Sea Islands of Georgia, and to the hundreds of slaves who worked them. They spent the winter of 1838–39 at the plantations, and Kemble kept a diary of her observations. She returned to the theatre after their separation in 1847 and toured major US cities. Although her memoir circulated in abolitionist circles, Kemble waited until 1863, during the American Civil War, to publish her anti-slavery Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839. It has become her best-known work in the United States, although she published several other volumes of journals."
    Jewett's comparison with Fanny Kemble is significant, for she was Wister's grandmother.

for generations yet:  The quotation marks are a puzzle, because it is not clear that Jewett quotes anyone.  Perhaps she changes from paraphrasing to quoting her wise old friend?  The idea that groups of people are sometimes characterized by behavior that they will outgrow with experience occurs several times in Jewett's work.  Tom Burton, her point of view character in "A War Debt," notices the seemingly irresponsible behavior of newly freed slaves."  This story appeared in Harper's in 1895 and was collected in The Life of Nancy the same year. Jewett has Father Daley in "The Gray Mills of Farley" (1898) make similar comments upon Irish immigrants and offer the Church as an effective restraint.  See also SOJ to Frances (Mrs. Henry) Parkman  [September 22, 1905].

seven fat years: The allusion is to Genesis 41, where the Pharaoh has a dream of seven lean cattle and seven fat ones and Joseph is called upon to interpret it.

My Lockhart:  Which book Mr. Douglas sent to Jewett in 1905 is less than clear.  It seems unlikely that he would have sent her John Gibson Lockhart's (1794-1854) Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837-8), as this was readily available from Houghton, Mifflin in the United States.  Therefore, it seems more likely that he sent her: The life and letters of John Gibson Lockhart  2 Volumes, by Andrew Lang, London 1897, though this also was published in the United States by Scribner's.  Perhaps even more likely would be The Life of Sir Walter Scott. ("Edinburgh Edition." [With plates.]), Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack, 1902, 3.  Though Lockhart's biography of Scott also was readily available in the U.S., Douglas could have wanted to give her a copy of this special edition.

the preface:   If Douglas did send her The Life of Sir Walter Scott, it seems likely that she is joking about finding him in the preface. In fact, Douglas does not appear in the preface, but another David Douglas, one of the best of Scott's school fellows. He is named by Walter Scott in the memoir that opens the volume. Wikipedia says: David Douglas, Lord Reston (1769-1819) was "the fifth and youngest son of Col. Robert Douglas of Strathendry (1716–1803) and Cecilia Craigie, daughter of Robert Craigie, Lord President of the Court of Session. He spent his later childhood with Adam Smith, who was a first cousin of his father, and received Smith's property, including his library, on his death. He attended Edinburgh High School (with Sir Walter Scott), 1777–1782...."

Our "Atlantic" editor, Mr. Bliss Perry: Bliss Perry (1860-1954), a professor of literature at Princeton and Harvard Universities edited Atlantic Monthly (1899-1909).  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 Sarah Cabot Wheelwright
[Stoddart transcription]

Monday 7th May [1906]*

South Berwick, Maine

Dear Sarah Wheelwright

    I meant to write you sooner but last week between 1st: a cold going off and 2d a journey coming on after two or three hurrying days of trying to do things postponed by the cold. I was not good for much. I believe no longer in Habit [ so transcribed ] -- for why should writing be the most difficult thing now when I spent all my life once in doing it? -- Let us not discuss these things! -- I have had much pleasure all the week in remembering last Sunday afternoon and 'the shrubbery' makes a back ground for many unrelated figures of this foreground. You gave me a great deal more pleasure than you knew in making that kind little plot ...  I thank my Club* for its kind welcome, and I wish that I could appear at Mrs. Dexter's* on the 12th but, as you thought, it would [ not? ] do just now. I am not good for much, but what can be done must be done here -- things are coming right up in the Garden! I wont say that I cant cease home when the old asparagus bed is in its early prime because you might think that quite low -- but the populars [poplars?] must also be trimmed where the ice storm broke them in March -- you know how many little reasons go to making up big ones, and I have really been away a great deal lately from this dear old house so that my sister and I plan many things together.  I belong to the Club all the same and I am sorry not to say yes when you ask me to do anything having a deep sense of belongingness of friendship.  It has been something very dear and happy in these late winter and spring days.

    How charming all this about your Acorn street* neighbors! --  the true and 'simple' life, full of such beautiful 'lines' as you artists would say. -- Genuiness [ so transcribed ] and power of enjoyment? as I write this I wonder if a certain state of mind that we call power of enjoyment didn't go out of fashion when the old feeling of worship did in going to church. Life became such a matter of opinions then: but this is beyond me to write about, most persons go round it in a circle and come back to saying that it is a matter of temperment [ so transcribed ] -- but the garden is not a matter of temperment [ so transcribed ] -- its an old plot of ground where several generations, have been trying to make good things grow -- I wonder if you have found time to drive to Brookline again and I hope that you have had better news from your sister. And dont keep Mr. Wheelwright [ so transcribed ] going down town and getting too tired -- if he seems wilful about it, just call for me to Argue [ so transcribed ] with him! Cope with him I mean -- We heard a village neighbor call her naughty boy a while ago = [ so transcribed ] "Stop that. A'thur! I'll send for your grand'ther Murphy* to Cope with you!" -- she has a resounding voice and it sounded like an awful threat. Forgive such a long letter, but I think of you often and when I really began to write it wasn't easy to wish that I could have come for luncheon= [ so transcribed ] the sun must be shining in at your windows beautifully to day.  Do go to Lincoln, that's the proper way to Cope [ so transcribed ] with busy gentlemen, Berwick and Lincoln3 are both better than Down Town. Goodbye, I send you both my love

Yours very affectionately

Sarah
O
Jewett

Tell me about the Exhibition of S. Whitman's pictures if you see it. I wish you would.  I can't help feeling anxious about it --

Notes

1906:  A partial transcription of this letter appears in Fields Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911).   She places the composition in 1907.  However, the Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by Mrs. Sarah Wyman Whitman, mentioned in Jewett's postscript, was hung in the spring of 1906, according to the Boston Museum Bulletin 4 (June 1906, p. 23).
    The Fields transcription, which omits parts of this letter, appears below.

my Club:  Possibly Jewett refers to the Emery Bag Club, founded by Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. Dexter's:   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.

Acorn street:  According to Clark's Boston  Blue Book (p. 224), in 1907, the Wheelwrights resided at 73 Mt. Vernon Street in Boston. Acorn St. in Boston crosses Mt. Vernon about 0.2 miles east of 73.

grand'ther Murphy:  Though historically, there were Murphys living in Jewett's neighborhood, the identity of this Mr. Murphy has not been established.  See  Wendy Pirsig's The Placenames of South Berwick (2007, p. 144).

Lincoln:  Lincoln, Massachusetts.  Mrs. Wheelwright's connection with Lincoln has not been determined.  See SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright, Friday [July 1907] for a mention of their Jewett's and Wheelwright's common interest in the Codman House in Lincoln.

Exhibition of S. Whitman's pictures: Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904) was a professional artist specializing in stained glass and engraving. She designed many of the original covers of Jewett's books for Houghton Mifflin and the stained glass window in memory of Theodore Jewett which Jewett gave to Bowdoin College. Jewett dedicated Strangers and Wayfarers to Whitman, and edited her correspondence in 1907.
    See first note above for information on the Boston Museum of Fine Arts 1906 memorial exhibition of her paintings.

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 by Terry Heller, Coe College.




 SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright [Fields transcription]

     South Berwick, Maine, Monday, 7th May, 1907.*

     Dear Sarah Wheelwright, -- I meant to write you sooner, but last week, between, 1st a cold going off, and 2d, a journey coming on, I was not good for much. I believe no longer in Habit, for why should writing be the most difficult thing now when I spent all my life once in doing it? Let us not discuss these things! I have had such pleasure all the week in remembering last Sunday afternoon, and "the shrubbery" makes a background for many unrelated figures of this foreground. You gave me a great deal more pleasure than you knew in making that kind little plot. I thank my Club* for its kind welcome, and I wish that I could appear on the 12th, but, as you thought, it won't do just now. I am not good for much, but what can be done must be done here -- things are coming right up in the garden. I won't say that I can't leave home when the old asparagus-bed is in its early prime, because you might think that quite low; but the poplars must also be trimmed where the ice-storm broke them in March -- you know how many little reasons go to making up big ones, and I have really been away a great deal lately from this dear old house, so that my sister and I plan many things together. I belong to the Club all the same, and I am sorry not to say yes when you ask me to do anything, having a deep sense of a true belongingness of friendship. It has been something very dear and happy in these late winter and spring days.

     How charming all this is about your neighbours! the true and "simple life," full of such beautiful "lines" as you artists would say, genuineness and power of enjoyment; as I write this I wonder if a certain state of mind that we call power of enjoyment didn't go out of fashion when the old feeling of worship did in going to church. Life became such a matter of opinions then; but this is beyond me to write about. Most persons go round it in a circle and come back to saying that it is a matter of temperament; but the garden isn't a matter of temperament, it is an old plot of ground where several generations have been trying to make good things grow.

     The sun must be shining in at your windows beautifully today. Do go to Lincoln, that's the proper way to cope with busy gentlemen. Berwick and Lincoln are both better than down town. Good-bye; I send you both my love.


Notes

1907:  See the preceding full transcription for a correction of the date to 1906.

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 Samuel Thurber

     South Berwick, Maine
     May 9, 1906

    My dear Mr. Thurber:

     I thank you for your kind and delightful letter which gives me great pleasure, and for the criticisms of the class which I find very interesting indeed. There is a very uncommon clearness and frankness in nearly every one of them, and so surprisingly little of the fumbling with words that so often -- both in old and young persons! -- attempts to hide a lack of thought. My heart goes out to the young friend who complains that "there are a great many words but nothing seems to be going on" in one of the stories! But it is pleasant to discover more praise than blame (as one should always like to do in 'criticism'). They try to find the reason why they like things and do it in a most genuine and sincere way.

     I cannot help thinking that my stories must be difficult for girls and boys like these -- they are so often concerned with the type rather than the incident of human nature. I should dearly like to know whether they would care as much for a story I once wrote -- or stories -- about a girl of fifteen, Betty Leicester. I should like at any rate to send the two little books to you. I was thinking most affectionately as I wrote them of some of the problems that must often be in your own mind. Perhaps there is a School Library where you would give them a place?

     I could not make you understand how much pleasure you have given me without explaining that it is four years since I have been able to write at all, and even yet my old and very dear habits of life, seem quite forbidden. I had a bad accident from the fall of a horse, and struck my head a blow from which it does not easily recover. To know that my stories are alive in the best sense, and going on, pleases me more than I can easily say. I always used to remind myself of that great saying of Plato -- that the best thing one could do for the people of a State was to make them acquainted with each other - and now I find that these boys and girls really liked to know my story people, and are sure that they have seen others just like them. I should like to see the class, and indeed I hope that I may some day have the pleasure of seeing you. I feel a delightful sense of friendliness and understanding of what I wished to do with the stories in your letter. You have given these young people a real power of enjoying what they read, one of the best of the golden gifts a teacher can ever give.

     Believe me, with true regard,

     Yours sincerely,

     Sarah Orne Jewett


Notes

In a note for SOJ to Frederick M. Hopkins (May 22, 1893) Cary writes of her quoting Plato:

Miss Jewett's concern with this "most interesting subject" was brought to the fore again by her publisher's decision to issue a Holiday Edition of Deephaven, sensitively illustrated by her friends Charles and Marcia Woodbury. The date on the title page is 1894, but the book actually appeared in November 1893.Miss Jewett provided a new preface for it in October 1893, rephrasing many of the sentiments expressed in the latter half of this letter [to Hopkins], which seems to have been used as a basis for the preface. See Richard Cary, "Jewett, Tarkington, and the Maine Line," Colby Library Quarterly IV (February 1956), 89-95.... Miss Jewett sought to effectuate Plato's dictum through her sympathetic Irish-American and French-Canadian stories. 

The Plato quotation comes from Book V of "Laws," in which Socrates does not appear: "for there is no greater good in a state than that the citizens should be known to one another." (Research: Jack V. Wales, Jr. of the Thacher School, Ojai, CA.)

This letter is edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters, with additions by Terry Heller, Coe College.  Professor Cary indicates that he obtained permission from Newton High School in Newton, MA to publish Jewett's letters to Samuel Thurber. Though the school is no longer able to locate these letters, it would be courteous to notify the school of any intention to reprint them.   



SOJ to Samuel Thurber

     South Berwick, Maine
     May 21, 1906

    My dear Mr. Thurber:

     I have kept these compositions longer than I meant to keep them, but I wished to read them again. I found that I had read [with] pencil in hand at first, and was just meaning to rub out my comments, when I thought that they were the things I should have said if we had been speaking together about these young friends. So, when you see them, please rub out with a good efficient bit of india-rubber all that should be rubbed out, for me.

     The compositions are really interesting -- it is delightful to find a phrase right from the young heart and brain that begins to work out its own problems. One longs to know just what this young friend or that means, exactly, by "humorous" or "exciting" -- but often young friends (like old ones!) use words without thinking exactly what they do mean. I am for a class in definitions and derivations! -- then we might not use criticize as if it could only mean to find faults.

     But I must not write longer. I thank you again for a true pleasure, and beg you to believe me

     Yours sincerely,

     S. O. Jewett


Note

This letter is edited and annotated by Richard Cary in Sarah Orne Jewett Letters.  Professor Cary indicates that he obtained permission from Newton High School in Newton, MA to publish Jewett's letters to Samuel Thurber. Though the school is no longer able to locate these letters, it would be courteous to notify the school of any intention to reprint them. 




SOJ to Julia Stowell Laighton

148 Charles street
Friday [Spring 1906]l

Dear Mrs. Laighton

I thank you very much for this dear photograph -- it was very kind of you to think of giving it to me. I am very sorry to have missed seeing you -- My sister brings word that the little honey suckle has lived through its first Berwick winter and I am so glad! Mrs. Fields and I have been shut up again with very bad colds. -- I was so unwise as to boast that whatever else had happened, I had had no cold all winter, and now I find myself hurried more than ever in these last days of town -- I wish that I might see you and the girls again but if not, I shall look forward to summer

Yours ever sincerely

Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

1 The reference here to "the little honey suckle" making it through its first winter, has led to dating this letter 1906. See SOJ to Julia Stowell Laighton, September l5th [1905].

2 Enclosed with this letter is a visiting card inscribed "Miss Sarah Orne Jewett" in black script, Jewett has written on it "With best Easter wishes for Mrs Laighton and Ruth and Barbara from."  Ruth and Barbara were two of the Laighton daughters.

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 by Terry Heller, Coe College.




SOJ to the Andrew Cunningham Wheelwrights

Monday Morning
South Berwick, Maine
[ Summer 1906 ]*

My dear friends

I reached home late this afternoon, and this evening I have been trying to tell my sister* all about my visit, and loving to remember every day of it. You cannot think how much better I feel than when I went away -- and I have been much applauded for coming back in such health and high spirits! My steamers were late all the way along so that I did not land until ten o'clock yesterday, but it was a good little voyage and much easier than the train. Both the Bishop's carriage* and my good box of luncheon were the greatest of comforts -- and I got to Mrs. Fields'* all right between half-past one or two o'clock. I  was just [ so transcribed ] missed the ten o'clock train of course, and retired to the Sunday quiet of Young's Hotel --*  Where I got an early luncheon and read my book. Mrs. Fields looked very white and very far from strong after her cold, and I was very glad to get to see her -- Everything is all right now about her summer housekeeping -- let's hope it may continue! at least until the good dependable Margaret* is safely back again from Ireland. Dear Alice Howe* came over this morning for an hour but I did not see any one else of the Shore neighbours. Mrs. Fields had Misses Richward, [ so transcribed ] a Philadelphia friend of the Charities'* and a very pleasent [ so transcribed ] companion, but I think she's going away tonight.

I write about Manchester and sit here in Berwick, but my thoughts fly back to my dear visit and I miss you both, and Mary and Isabel* very much. Do please send a word before long!  I keep wondering what you are doing. Yesterday was going to have a tea party at the B bungalow, but today you must have sailed on the Hesper* if it was like the day here. I send my love to you all, and a blessing to the green roof over your heads, and a pat for Kim* -- Please do not forget how happy I was for I shall not = [ so transcribed ] I shall "top my books" for Big Gott's and Little Gott's* whenever I like all the rest of my life!

Yours very affectionately

Sarah O. Jewett


Notes

summer 1906:  As shown by Jewett's August 5, 1906 letter to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright, Jewett was the Wheelwrights' guest at Sutton's Island at some time during the summer of 1906.  This letter seems to be a "thank you" note for that stay.

sister:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

Bishop's carriage:   It is not clear whether these were friends of Jewett's or if this is the name of a carriage line, but Jewett is not yet known to have been acquainted with anyone named Bishop. 

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Young's HotelYoung's Hotel, located at 20 Court Street in Boston, The hotel was owned and operated by J. R. Whipple and Company; Mr. Whipple was a frequent guest of Mrs. Fields.

Margaret:  This probably is a reference to Annie Fields' maid.

Alice Howe:  Alice Greenwood Howe.  See Correspondents.

Richward ... Charities
    In her pamphlet How to Help the Poor (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1884), Annie Fields explains that the Boston Charities Society was modeled on those organizations established in New York and Pennsylvania. This system sponsored a number of wealthy and concerned women to visit poverty-ridden homes throughout the city. The context suggests that Mrs. Richward was one of these sponsored women of the Philadelphia branch.

Mary and Isabel:  Mary Cabot Wheelwright is Sarah's daughter.  The identity of Isabel is uncertain, though this may be Isabella Stewart Gardner. See Correspondents

the B bungalow ... Hesper ... Kim:   Presumably, the B bungalow was a guest cottage on the Wheelwright's property on Sutton Island, Maine.
   In a letter to Louisa Dresel, Monday afternoon [1907], Jewett says of Mary Wheelwright (see  Correspondent): "I like her and her family yacht the Hesper, which-who sails like a swallow. I don't like to joggle on a steam boat half so well as to sail free."  
    Kim is the Wheelwright's pet dachshund.

Big Gott's and Little Gott's:  The Wheelwright's summered on Sutton Island in Maine, which makes up part of the village of Cranberry Isles, located off the south coast of Mt. Desert (the current location of Acadia National Park).  A few miles southwest of Sutton's Island are Great Gott and Little Gott islands.

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 by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

Sunday --

At Mrs. Cabot's
Pride's crossing* [August 5 1906]*

South Berwick Maine*

Dear Sarah

I think of you and of writing you every day, but it does not seem to have been good writing weather! I have been thinking as much of my days with you and with Frances, too and of what I have been doing since -- if there is a good wind I say to myself that we can go sailing in the Hesper, not no [so transcribed] matter if I am land locked and I go on living with you as if I had never come away. one dav Mary and I went to Portsmouth to luncheon, and across to York to see Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Pratt* (who has been ill but was better again) -- the rest of the time I was quietly at home, sitting in the garden and (over last Sunday) attending to a long postponed visit from Loulie Dressel [ so transcribed ]. I came here in time to see the Watteau fete, and felt as if Isabel quite belonged to me! -- She was delightful in her part and made a centre for the gay little crowd of players.  "Joe Smith" who was staying with his wife at Mrs. Fields said that he felt lost. Nobody could do the Dowager Duchess but Isabel, and he was so happy to find that she could come.--* The prettiest thing beside that was the classic touch= beside this foreground of gay French gentry there was a little group in the green field behind at the edge of the trees of a shepherd with his pipe a nymph who danced delightfully and the small heathen god Eros with his bow and arrows and the garment of leopard skin and green chaplet (little John Caswell!)* for his young sunburnt head, with a sheep and a lamb that followed him when he followed the happy pair. -- The dance was charming, but at the close when the shepherd and nymph strayed away down the field to the sea and Eros strayed after, and the sheep and the lamb after him it made a fine little procession that came right from a page of Theocritus!* I would give anything if you three had seen it with me! I should like to see them among the blue bells on your green turf at The Sutton's Island* --  the place was made for such as they -- Yesterday dear Mary Wheelwright* followed me here and she can't think how much I liked it --  I love to remember every bit of my dear visit. I cannot quite give up the hope of the September cruise -- though I am afraid from what I know of September plans that it is a choice between disappointing several other people -- or disappointing myself -- I find that my sister has plans on foot -- and it doesn't look as if either she or I could count on being at home much in August much together I ought to put it -- I have made little plots already about that voyage -- if I can't go this year M won't Mary [so transcribed] ask me "some other day" but not "some other ship" as the Kate Greenway book used to say --*

    I found Mrs. Fields much better this time, and Mrs. Cabot very well. She likes to hear all about my days with you. I am glad she does for she often hears about something that I suddenly remember.

    I found the old address of my father's and sent it to Mr. Wheelwright but he must not vex himself  -- if it does not appeal --  by reading it -- was only interested to find how much my father had anticipated of the condition of things now in "practice" and especially the contempt of remedies with which I have but little patience -- it seems as if there were such a thing as therapeutics, and as if it were just as ignorant to take too little medication as to take too much -- I am going to send Mr. Wheelwright one of my story books that I happened to find here in my room this morning I happened to read By the Morning Boat -- * I hadn't read it for ever so long before! -- and I thought of you dear A. C, W.* as I read -- all the way=one [so transcribed] cant tell why, but I liked to hope that he would care about it for it was a great favorite of mine when it first got itself written -- Please forgive such a long letter, but it has kept spinning itself first to one of you and then the other -- With a great deal of love

Yours always

S. O. J.


Notes

This letter appears, much edited, in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911).  Fields's version follows this transcription by Scott Frederick Stoddart, from his Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign: Selected Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, copyright by Stoddart, 1988.  Annotation combines the work of Stoddart and Terry Heller, Coe College. The manuscript of this letter is in the collection of the Miller Library of Colby College, Waterville, ME. 

Mrs. Cabot's, Pride's Crossing:  Susan Burley Cabot; see Correspondents.
    This letter, written on a Sunday after some time at Mrs. Cabot's, seems likely to have been written on the same day as SOJ to Sara Norton, Sunday, August 5, [1906].

South Berwick Maine: This letter was written on Jewett's personal stationery, engraved with "South Berwick, Maine." For this letter, she crossed it out and wrote in the Pride's Crossing address.

Frances, too, ... sailing in the "Hesper":  It is not clear to which Frances Jewett refers.  Stoddart believes this is Mary Frances Parker Parkman (1855-1942), another of the Boston contingent of philanthropic women,
    In a letter to Louisa Dresel, Monday afternoon [1907], Jewett says of Mary Wheelwright (see Correspondents): "I like her and her family yacht the Hesper, which-who sails like a swallow. I don't like to joggle on a steam boat half so well as to sail free."

Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Pratt: The sisters, Helen Choate (Mrs. Joshua) Bell and Miriam (Mrs. Ellerton) Pratt, both were members of the Fields-Jewett circle of artistic friends. See Correspondents.

Watteau fête ... Isabel: Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), a French rococo painter. The dance Jewett describes may enact his famous painting, The Embarkation for Cythera (1717), but it is quite possible that others were "performed."  See Wikipedia on "Fête galante."
    The mention of "Isabel" offers a hint at what Jewett may be describing.  The only "Isabel" currently known to be among Jewett's close acquaintance is Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924); according to Wikipedia, Gardner "was a leading American art collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. She founded the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston." 
    Among the artists she patronized was Joseph Lindon Smith (1863 - 1950)  Monadnock Art says of Smith: "Beginning in the 1890s, if not earlier, he designed and produced pageants for countless private parties, civic occasions, and fundraising benefits. Wealthy individuals in Boston, Newport, New York, and elsewhere would hire him to devise theatrical interludes to entertain their guests....Smith produced several pageants for Isabella Stewart Gardner at Fenway Court, the grand home she built in Boston for the eventual public display of her art collection." Among the Joseph Lindon Smith papers at the Archives of American Art is a "Script for Watteau Fete, 1906."  Figure 6 in the Monadnock Art write-up of Smith shows a photograph of his 1931 Watteau Fete.  See SOJ to Joseph Lindon Smith 26 February 1897.
   This transcription of the letter makes clear that Smith was both present and apparently in charge of the fête, but no evidence has yet been found that Isabella Stewart Garner participated in the event Jewett describes. Further information is welcome.

John Caswell:  While this person has not been identified, a prominent Boston banker at this time was William Watson Caswell.  He and his brother John of Prides Crossing, MA. appear in an 1878 portrait by Eastman Johnson (1824-1906).  Young John Caswell may have been a child of one of these men.

Theocritus  : Theocritus (c. 308 - c. 240 BC), Greek originator of pastoral poetry.

Sutton's IslandWikipedia says: "Sutton Island, in Hancock County, Maine, is a small, private island south of Mount Desert Island, and north of Cranberry Isles, Maine. Its dimensions are roughly 2.1 km on its east-west axis by 1.1 km north to south. It has a negligible permanent population, but is the site of several summer homes."

Mary Wheelwright:  Daughter of Sarah Perkins Cabot Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.

the old address of my father: Theodore Herman Jewett's (1815-1878) Elements of Success in the Medical Profession. Introductory Lecture Delivered Before the Students of the Medical Department of Bowdoin College, February 21, 1867 was published as a 28 page book in 1869.

Kate Greenway:  Catherine "Kate" Greenaway (1846-1901), British children's verse writer and illustrator.  Her first books of illustrated poems was Under the Window (1878), in which appeared, "I Saw a Ship":

I saw a ship that sailed the sea,
It left me as the sun went down;
The white birds flew and followed it
To town -- to London town.

Right sad were we to stand alone,
And see it pass so far away;
And yet we knew some ship would come --
Some other ship -- some other day.

By the Morning Boat:  Jewett's story appeared in Atlantic Monthly (October 1890) and in Strangers and Wayfarers (1890).

dear A. C, W.:  Mrs. Wheelwright's husband, Andrew Cunningham Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.




SOJ to Mrs. Sarah Cabot Wheelwright [Annie Fields's presentation of the above letter]

Sunday, at Mrs. Cabot's, Pride's Crossing [August 5 1906].

     My dear Sarah, -- I think of you and of writing to you every day, but it does not seem to have been good writing weather! I have been thinking as much of my days with you and with Frances, too, as of what I have been doing since. If there is a good wind I say to myself that we can go sailing in the "Hesper." No matter if I am land-locked, I go on living with you as if I had never come away.

     I came here in time to see the Watteau fête, and felt as if Isabel* quite belonged to me! She was delightful in her part, and made a centre for the gay little crowd of players. The prettiest thing besides that was the classic touch: beside this foreground of gay French gentry there was a little group in the green field behind, at the edge of the sea, of a shepherd with his pipe, a nymph who danced delightfully, and the small heathen god Eros, with his bow and arrows and a garment of leopard skin and green chaplet for his young sunburnt head, with a sheep and a lamb that followed him when he followed the happy pair. The dance was charming, but at the close, when shepherd and nymph strayed away down the field to the sea and Eros strayed after, and the sheep and lamb after him, it made a live little procession that came right from a page of Theocritus!* I would give anything if you three had seen it with me. I should like to see the players among the blue-bells on your green turf at Sutton's Island -- the place was made for such as they.

     I found the old address of my father and sent it to Mr. Wheelwright, but he must not vex himself by reading it if it does not appeal. I was only interested to find how much my father had anticipated of the condition of things now in "practice," and especially the contempt of remedies, with which I have but little patience. It seems as if there were such a thing as Therapeutics, and as if it were just as ignorant to take too little medicine as to take too much.

Note

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

     Pride's Crossing, Sunday, August 5, [1906].

     I am ending my summer visit to Mrs. Cabot on Wednesday, when I go to Mrs. Fields,* and Miss Ellen Emerson* is to be there on Wednesday, too. I have really come back to some sense of pleasure in life; though I feel like a dissected map with a few pieces gone, the rest of me seems to be put together right! There are a great many delightful people to see, and I always delight in my visit here -- each one is a treasure as it comes, and this was one of the perfect Sunday mornings when my dear old friend and I sat alone together and felt very near each other's heart. I must tell you what we read with great delight -- the life of Miss Catharine Sedgwick!* We each passed it to the other to read some delightful page, and 'the other' would read on in silence until a craving for sympathy made her unselfish enough to pass it back again. I did not know how good it was. I fancied it had been written in the dull time of "Memoirs," but I was quite wrong; it was just as well to wait and grow a good deal older before I went back to it, and Mrs. Cabot had not opened it for many years. It is a charming picture of my mother's and your grand-mother's New England. Mrs. Kemble's letter at the end is one to learn by heart. There is a page, too, about the advantages of country life, that made me "fire up" about Berwick as I used in my best days! There is another pleasure in being here. I often see Miss Caroline King, who was one of your Uncle James Lowell's early friends;* she talks about him more and more as she grows older, and yesterday, when I went to see her just at the other end of this short beach, she lent me a tiny volume of Shakespeare sonnets that he gave her in the early forties, with all his marks and bits of notes and a quotation from "Bussy d'Ambois"* on the fly-leaf -- all her youth and his are shut like a little flower between the small covers -- it is a dear little book! I have seen it before, but yesterday she lent it, and touched it as if it were a flower still in bloom. They knew how to read poetry, that company of friends -- their hearts were full of it.


Notes

Mrs. Cabot ...  Mrs Fields:  Susan Burley Cabot and Annie Fields; see Correspondents.

Ellen Emerson: Ellen Tucker Emerson (1839-1909) is the daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

we read with great delight -- the life of Miss Catharine Sedgwick: Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789-1867), the American novelist, probably is best remembered for her popular novel, Hope Leslie, or, Early times in the Massachusetts (1862). Mary E. Dewey edited The Life and Letters of Catharine M. Sedgwick in 1871. Fanny Kemble's letter appears on pp. 415-418.

James Lowell ... Miss Caroline King: James Russell Lowell (1819 - 1891) was an American poet, critic, editor, and diplomat, a close friend of Jewett and of Annie Fields.
    Caroline King (1822-1909) was the author of When I Lived in Salem, 1822-1866. (Source: Cary, "Jewett to Dresel: 33 Letters," Colby Quarterly 11 [March 1975] 13-49.)

Bussy d'Ambois: This play (1607) was written by George Chapman (c. 1559-1634).

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 Lillian Munger

          Manchester by Sea
          Thursday -----[ 11 October 1906 ]

My Dear Lily Munger

     You cannot think how much pleasure your letter brings me! -- I had seen the announcement of Quentin Durward with true satisfaction, and wished to know more of you ----- though that told me a good deal!* Your letter finds me here but I go back to South Berwick next week; by [Sunday?] I shall be in town and shall be looking forward to seeing you and having a good talk about all that you are doing, and about those old days which I do not forget. I have had a very long hard time since my bad accident, but now I am really better and trying to get back to doing some of the things that I used to do, though I still must be very careful for it is so easy to over do.

     I need not tell you how glad I shall be to have your book, or how your letter touches my heart.

     Yours always and affectionately

          S. O. Jewett


Notes

Quentin Durward. L. M. Munger and Susan Francis were responsible for a 1906 reprinting of Sir Walter Scott's (1771-1832) novel, Quentin Durward (1823), for Houghton Mifflin's Riverside Literature series. Munger edited the text "for study," and Francis wrote a biographical introduction.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Old Berwick Historical Society, in the archives at the Counting House Museum in South Berwick, ME: item 1974I 0001.C. 01 + 02. With this letter, OBHS has an envelope postmarked Oct 11, 1906, addressed to Miss Munger, 13 Hilliard St., Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.



SOJ to Louisa Dresel

     148 Charles Street

     Tuesday, November 20, [1906]*

     My dear Loulie

     I shall send you a short letter only, though I have been thinking that if I waited I might make a longer and better one!

     I was very glad to hear from you dear, I have really missed you since I have been in town. Mrs. Fields and I came up from Berwick together and after a few days I went to Cambridge to spend a few days with Miss Longfellow,1 and now I am here again for another few days before I go back with my sister who is here also. Everybody has been thinking that Mrs. Fields looks better than for a long time and I think so myself. I am tempting her by the promise of good side seats to go to see Peter Pan tomorrow! You should go too if you were here!

     I have seen Mrs. Cabot2 once or twice. I had luncheon with her on Sunday and she happened to say that your aunt Caroline3 was getting on well and that the Book Club auction was about to take place -- yesterday, I think.

     I had a feeling that the next mail might bring a letter from Ellis, Loulie dear* -- and any rate I hope you had your little worry and had it over. It is funny how most of our troubles come from wanting things just a little different (I suppose that I mean people when I say things) -- but, a lack of response is always trying to the patience of one's heart. I agree with you in thinking that one can only follow the path of behaviour that seems right and best to oneself, but it is sometimes very odd to see how people dissent from the various steps and details and then approve the result and general course. I suppose this is partly because we have thought out things, and then they haven't, but disagree with us simply because our old idea is to them quite new. Sometimes it almost seems as if we must stop trying to have things right, and only be careful to have them pleasant! -- you know what I mean to say? -- but indeed we often think it is right because it is the way we want it. Let's try to be "pleasant" at any rate! I am almost tempted to counsel you to come home a little sooner if you really think that Ellis and aunt Kiddy disapprove and lament your being away. You will have your good visit, and give them a happy surprise -- they are both very dependent upon you, and they both love you in spite of certain occasional evidence to the contrary. What I really wish is that you should contrive some plan: perhaps to find out the right person to leave, and arrange about it, and then take your dear cousin Hélène by the hand and bring her back with you for a month or two. So big a little Carmelita can well be left and it will be good for our Johanna* to try her wings at being head of the house. Give my most affectionate remembrance to them both.

     And dear Loulie, be kind to this preaching old letter! I have been advising myself while I wrote to you. I observe that I said I must be short on the first page, and I don't know when I have written so much.

     Yours with true love,

     S. O. J.
 

Cary's Notes*

     1Alice Mary Longfellow (1850-1928), daughter of the poet, was a friend of long standing. Jewett often visited with her in the summer at Mouse Island in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, where Miss Longfellow annually filled in the season with a vigorous regime of walking, rowing, and sailing.

     2Mrs. Joseph [Susan Burley] Cabot (1822-1907) widow of a mayor of Salem, Massachusetts, kept a summer home, Misselwood, in Pride's Crossing, a short walk down Hale Street from the Dresels' cottage on Boyles Street. Though twenty-seven years older than Jewett, she shared a rare affinity of social and intellectual tastes with her frequent guest, who dedicated The Queen's Twin and Other Stories to her.

     3Caroline Howard King (1822-1909), born in Salem, lived there until 1866, then for thirty years in Boston, after which she returned for the rest of her life to Salem. In When I Lived in Salem 1822-1866 (Brattleboro, Vt., 1937) -- for which Dresel wrote the preface -- Miss King said of Mrs. Cabot: "She broadened and enlightened all who came in contact with her gracious presence, and truly it was a liberal education to know her . Miss Burley had a great love for books, and in 1848 instituted our Salem Book Club" (pp. 167-168 ). See Fields, Letters, 219. [ Letters of 1906, August 6 ]

Editor's Notes

Cary's notes for this letter are scrambled in the original printing and have been corrected here.

1906:   Cary's dating of this letter in 1888 is problematic.  Jewett indicates that she plans to see Peter Pan in Boston in November.  J. M. Barrie's play opened in London in 1904, and the final week of its first Boston performances appears to have been the week of November 19, 1906, according to an advertisement in the Boston Evening Transcript (Tuesday 20 November 1906, 13).  See also Bruce K. Hanson, Peter Pan on Stage and Screen, 1904-2010 (McFarland Arts, 2011), 65-6.

Ellis:  Louisa's brother, Ellis Loring Dresel (1871-1925), a graduate of Harvard College and Law School, became a career diplomat. As a plenipotentiary at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I, he was one of the signers of the peace treaty. He served at various times in the United States embassies at Berlin, Vienna, and Berne.

Aunt Kiddy:  Caroline Howard King (1822-1909), called "Kiddy" by her family, was born in Salem, lived there until 1866, then for thirty years in Boston, after which she returned for the rest of her life to Salem. She authored When I Lived in Salem 1822-1866 (Brattleboro, Vt., 1937) -- for which Dresel wrote the preface. (Cary)

cousin Hélène ... a little Carmelita ... Johanna:  The Ellis Loring Gray papers at Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women show correspondence between Johanna Dresel, Helene Dresel and various other family members. 
    Otto Dresel was Louisa's father.  See Correspondents.
    Louisa had an aunt, Helene Dresel (born circa 1842), who was the wife of Otto Dresel's brother Adolf (b. September 27, 1822).
    Though information so far is sketchy, it seems clear that both Helene and Johanna were cousins.  Johanna (d. 1952 ? ) has been identified as a grand-daughter of Julius Dresel, Otto's half-brother. Julius Dresel (1816-1891?), an immigrant wine-grower in Texas and then in Sonoma, California.  His wife probably was Jane/Johanna Plage (1823-1864?), whom he married in Bexar, Texas on 6 August 1850.
    Helene probably also was a grand-daughter
    In the 1890s, the Julius Dresel family was located in Sonoma, CA, and this probably is where Louisa was visiting, when Jewett suggested that she bring her cousin Helene to Boston to see her brother and Aunt Kiddy.  According to the 1930 U. S. Census, a Helene Dresel (b. 1852-3) was living with her niece, Carmelita Dresel (probably 6 March, 1894 - December 1976), in San Francisco, CA.  If these are the right people, in 1906, Helene would have been about 53 and Carmelita about 12.
    Further information and corrections are welcome.

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 Mark De Wolfe Howe

Undated, Probably from about 1906


From The Gentle Americans (1965) by Helen Howe.


It is in connection with this same Boston book* that several years later (the letter is undated) she writes: 

My dear friend, I have been meaning to copy this piece of a late letter from Mr. James -- and now that it is written off I wonder that I don’t just send you the letter itself! He adds further words to tell me that if I demand the book he means to wait for a private conveyance -- books going to America meet with such dangers by the way! -- I can but smile sadly, and with your "participation" let our dear friend keep it! I didn’t know where it had gone, my only Boston! For I wasn’t at that dinner nor did I see him until some weeks later and when he came, later than that, to Berwick he never dared to confess. But isn’t it nice that he likes it? I think you ought to have more pleasure than I over the message but I had a great deal. I hope that you won’t stop to write about it but come very soon so that we can talk about my borrowing so valued a work, being now in real need!!

Yours affectionately,

S. O. J.

 

     On another sheet of paper she had written:  

     Mr. James writes me (after speaking of Mrs. J. W. Howe as) "the greater, the greatest Mrs. Howe (not less than the lesser) and to convey a renewed benediction to that very pleasant young author-man who was with her at Mrs. Fields’s that day at dinner, the DeWolfe of that ilk, whose big Boston-y book I so handsomely stole--"

     This day may seem an incoherent little affectionate message at first sight, but I think you will both make it out as H.J.’s narrative vein!

       And on yet another piece of paper, in her fine handwriting, Miss Jewett had taken the trouble to copy out the following, from Henry James:  

… and apropos of books I find I have in my possession a volume of yours, a very valuable one, the presentation copy of DeWolfe Howe’s very handsome and charmingly done "Boston" which you must have lent me the night you and he and I -- and Mrs. Howe under his charge -- dined together at Mrs. Fields’s in so interesting a fashion. It appears to have tumbled recklessly into my luggage on my departing later on -- and the perusal of it here this autumn (for I had never time before) had made up to me a little for having failed to see again that most engaging youth the Author in spite of my having (at the dinner in question) counted on putting my hand on him afresh, -- at a date that never became possible. And all this under the empire of his and yours and every one’s irresistible charm. Will you kindly, if you have the little Boston chance of it, say something of this to the said gallant and genial DeWolfe for me, and mention to him by way of a message from me, that the reading of his encyclopaedic little work greatly helped to put me in the mood for writing -- 3 months ago-- a small impression of the admirable city* (which has yet to be published). This is a very long story to trouble you with, but the moral is that I hold the volume at your disposal (unless you tell me with his participation to cherish it forever in memory of that rare evening).


Notes

the same Boston bookBoston, the Place and the People (1903) by Mark DeWolfe Howe.

the admirable city: It is likely that James's paper on Boston eventually appeared in his collection, The American Scene (1907).  Chapter 7 is entitled "Boston."  The book arose from James's visit to the United States in 1904-5.

    In Annie Adams Fields, Rita Gollin summarizes accounts of the evening Henry James spent at Annie Fields's 148 Charles Street home in the company of Mark DeWolfe Howe and Julia Ward Howe in the winter of 1905 (pp. 205-6).



Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.



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