Main Contents & Search
    List of Correspondents

1906    1908
Sarah Orne Jewett Letters of 1907

SOJ to Sarah Perkins Cabot Wheelwright*

Tuesday morning
148 Charles St.
[ January 1, 1907 ]

Dear Sarah

    I send you my best new year wishes -- you and all your house!  And this is just to say that I came yesterday and go to 34 Beacon Street* this afternoon.

    What a flood of rain and what a bright morning to begin the year!  Did you hear all the bells in the night? -----  I send

[ Page 2 ]

a little card for Hermine --*

    I hope that you are well and that I shall see you very soon.



1907:  As of this writing, Jewett's earliest known letter related to Wheelwright was to Mary Rice Jewett, 20 October 1889.  January 1 fell on a Tuesday in 1889, 1895, 1901, and 1907.  In a postcard of 29 December 1906, Jewett tells Mrs. Wheelwright that she plans to arrive in Boston on Monday, December 31.

Wheelwright:  While it is not certain that this letter is addressed to Mrs. Wheelwright, she is -- among the Sarahs with whom Jewett corresponded -- the one she usually greeted as "Sarah."

34 Beacon Street:  The Boston address of Susan Burley Cabot. See Correspondents.

Hermine:  This person remains unidentified, but Louisa Loring Dresel speaks of an Aunt Hermine in her letter to Jewett of 21 July 1888.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Ellen Chase

     South Berwick, 13th February, 1907.

     My dear Ellen, -- I should like to have a word from you to know if you are well and not minding the huge heaps of snow! I left Berwick as brown as a squirrel on all the hills, and came back to find it very white with snow. I wished to send a note to you to ask you to come in while I was in town; but I was very unequal to things most of the time, and the good days when I dared to plan for a little more than the day was going to bring, were sadly few. Next time I hope to be more free, but when I have bad days with the pain in my head* it makes so much trouble for other people.

     Do you feed the winter birds, and are there many of those hungry little companies this year? I don't see anybody but sparrows, and they seem to take such excellent care of themselves, -- one does have one's favorites among all two-footed beings!

     I felt very much your kind sympathy at the time of my aunt's death. She is one to be most sadly missed -- the last of my three dear grand-aunts,* and they all died last year, and now their houses must all be shut, -- dear and beautiful and full of kindness ever since I can remember. I often say this to myself with a thankful heart. It was wonderful to have kept them all so long.


pain in my head:  Jewett suffered frequently from the persisting effects of injuries in a September 1902 carriage accident.

the last of my three dear grand-aunts
:  Below is a list of Sarah Orne Jewett's currently known grand-aunts.  Of these only two died after 1900: Pamela Stevens Gilman (1902) and Mary Elizabeth Gilman (1904).  As a result, it remains unknown which grand-aunt Jewett refers to and whether Fields has accurately dated this letter.
    Further, it is important to keep in mind that Jewett was not necessarily precise in attributing family relationships.  See  SOJ to Sara Norton, November 12, 1907, for an example of Jewett naming a grand-aunt who was a deceased relative, but not exactly a grand-aunt.

Jewett's currently known grand aunts include:

  Jewett Grandmothers' families:

    Grandfather Thomas F. Jewett married three wives:
        Sarah Orne Jewett (1794-1819), the mother of Jewett's father, Theodore Herman, and her bachelor uncle William.
        Olive Walker Jewett (1790-1826)
        Eliza Sleeper Jewett (d. 1870)
    None of these wives is known to have had siblings.
Grandfather Jewett's family:  Theodore Furber Jewett (1787-1860)
    Elizabeth Lord Jewett (1 March 1791 - 10 November 1867), wife of grand-uncle Thomas Jewett (1790-1864).
        Maria Philpot Lord (1796-1887), sister-in-law of Elizabeth Lord Jewett.
        Maria Lord Chase (1797-1883), sister of Elizabeth Lord Jewett.
    Susan Jameson Jewett (Jan 1,1788 - July 19, 1883), wife of grand-uncle Benjamin Jewett (1792-1883).
    Eliza Sleeper (Lang) Jewett  (d. Feb. 9, 1870), first wife of grand-uncle Nathan Jewett (? - ?), fourth of grandfather, Theodore F. Jewett.

Grandmother Perry's Family: Abigail Gilman Perry (1789-1850)

    Elizabeth Gardiner Gilman (1798-1838), wife of grand-uncle Nathaniel Gilman (1793-1858).
    Sarah Hudson Gilman (1803-1873), wife of grand-uncle Nicolas Gilman (1799-1840).
    Pamela Stevens Gilman (1805-1902),  wife of grand-uncle John T. Gilman (1806-1865).
    Mary Elizabeth Gilman (1816-1904), wife of grand-uncle Joseph Taylor Gilman (1811-1862) .

Grandfather Perry's Family:  Dr. William Perry (1788-1887).
    Anna Perry Wilmarth (1778-1847).
    Salona Perry Richmond (1780-1846).
    Sarah Brown Perry (1794-1872), wife of grand-uncle Gardner Braman Perry (1783-1859).

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

Entry from Annie Adams Fields Diary
11 March 1907

Monday, March 11th 1907. Dr. John Watson (Ian Maclaren)*  came to luncheon at one o'clock.  We were six at table. S.O.J.{,} Agnes Irwin{,} Edith Wolcott{,} Dr & Mrs W *and myself.  He interested us deeply as he must interest everyone who [well corrected] knows and discerns [time or him ?].  Toward the end he told us that he was a born Jacobite.*  Among his friends are the persons who have been living in Glamis Castle and one or two other old places he called by name but I could not catch.  He told us especially of an old woman, the wife of an older Colonel in the army of the Scots, Carnegy by name.  Not Carnegie,* and so far as they know not quite the same family.  This Carnegy is a perfect repository of the most amazing tales of old Scotland.  She smokes, no small [things ?] or cigarettes, but long strong cigars and many of [these ?] tales have been told in the [two unrecognized words], in the smoking room [two unrecognized words] of these old places.  He told much worthy of remembrance; only one little tale stays by me of the covenanter soldier* who had been slain protecting his own estates.  His wife fled southward to shelter, but at the moment the friends who bore her away


said she must leave her little son and his nurse behind until a place of safety could be found for them. Shortly after the castle had been left desolate.  There was a cry that more soldiers were coming to discover if there were men concealed in the house.  The old nurse seized the child, ran to the old chapel where the body ^of his father^ was lying covered with a pall before the altar.  She hoped to hide the child somewhere, but there was no spot for concealment in this bare stone place!  Suddenly she said to the child{,} I will put you in your father's arms and cover you with the cloth. Your father loved ye and was good to ye while he [deleted word] ^was alive and he will no harm [you changed to ye ?] now he is dead!  So she rested the boy's head in the hollow of his father's arm upon his chest and told him{,} Lie still now, do not cry nor cough and they will never find you.

[3 partly circled]

So she covered him with the pall and went away.

    Presently the soldiers came again.  They looked into the cold stone chapel where lay the still cold body under a pall -- shut the door quietly and went away.  By and by when the men had ridden away the nurse went to her little boy and kissed his happy little face as she bore him away from the ^his^ cold dark hiding place.


Dr. John Watson (Ian Maclaren)Wikipedia says:  "Rev. John Watson (3 November 1850 - 6 May 1907), known by his pen name Ian Maclaren, was a Scottish author and theologian.... Maclaren's first stories of rural Scottish life, Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush (1894), achieved extraordinary popularity, selling more than 700 thousand copies, and were succeeded by other successful books, The Days of Auld Lang Syne (1895), Kate Carnegie and those Ministers (1896), and Afterwards and other Stories (1898)."

S.O.J.:  Sarah Orne Jewett.

Agnes Irwin:  "Agnes Irwin (December 30, 1841 - December 5, 1914) was an American educator, best known as the first dean of Radcliffe College from 1894 to 1909 and as the principal from 1869 to 1894 of the West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies in Philadelphia, later renamed, in her honor, the Agnes Irwin School."  Wikipedia.

Edith WolcottEdith Prescott Wolcott (1853-1934) was the great-granddaughter of Colonel William Prescott, a hero of the American Revolution, and she married Roger Wolcott (1847-1900), a lawyer and Republican politician who served in several elective offices, including Governor of Massachusetts (1896-1900).

Dr & Mrs W:   Determining which persons Fields refers to here is difficult. Among the more serious candidates would be local historian and author, Reverend Thomas Franklin Waters and his wife Adeline Melville Orswell.   See Correspondents.   Lacking a Doctor of Divinity degree, however, Rev. Waters may well not be the right person.  Assistance is welcome.

JacobiteWikipedia says: "Jacobitism ... was a political movement in Great Britain and Ireland that aimed to restore the Roman Catholic Stuart King James VII of Scotland, II of England and Ireland, and his heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland. The movement took its name from Jacobus, the Renaissance Latin form of Iacomus, the original Latin form of James. Adherents rebelled against the British government on several occasions between 1688 and 1746.

Glamis CastleWikipedia says: "Glamis Castle is situated beside the village of Glamis ... in Angus, Scotland.... In 1034 King Malcolm II was murdered at Glamis, where there was a Royal Hunting Lodge."  In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (1603-06), the eponymous character resides at Glamis Castle, although the historical King Macbeth (d. 1057) had no connection to the castle."

Not Carnegie:  Watson and Fields are distinguishing the Carnegy family from the family of Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919), "a Scottish American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He is often identified as one of the richest people in history, alongside John D. Rockefeller and Jakob Fugger. He built a leadership role as a philanthropist for the United States and the British Empire." Wikipedia.

covenanter soldierCovenanters were Scots Presbyterians who took control of the government of Scotland in the early 17th century.  Thereafter, they frequently found themselves at war, for example with Oliver Cromwell's army of Parliament at mid-century and with King James II of England in the 1660s and after.  Watson's story apparently is not specific about the conflict to which his story belongs.

The original of this diary is in the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  This transcription is from a microfilm, available courtesy of the University of Kansas Libraries, Lawrence, Kansas:  Annie Adams Fields Papers 1852-1912. Folio PS 1669.F5 Z462 1986, Reel 2, pp. 23-5 of Diary of a West Indian Island Tour, 1896 by Annie Fields.  Though clearly not a part of this diary, these pages are included with other miscellaneous pages that precede the formal opening of the diary in this folder.
    Transcription and annotation by Terry Heller, Coe College.

     148 Charles Street
     March 17, [1907]

My dear Vernon Lee:

     I have just read again -- again, again! -- your preface to Hortus Vitae and "New Friends and Old,"1 and then I laid down the book and took up my pen feeling as if you were new friend and old, together and at once! And now Madame Blanc* has gone too, and every way I turn I find one of her letters, in a book, in a desk, as if she still put them into my hand and still tried to speak in that way, as if summers of old spoke in their withered leaves and pressed flowers, hid in some safe corner. We were very near to each other. I remember the wonder of it filling my heart as we were walking along a favorite bit of road of mine in the country between two pastures and beside the scattered pines. "What is this?" she would ask, and I would say 'juniper' or 'bayberry.' "I have read of it," and she would smile soberly, as if she met an old friend for the first time; and at last I got over the wall and picked a handful of scarlet columbines and on we went again -- the horse now gone far ahead -- but I stopped short and faced her and there we stood in the narrow road together. "How did we come to be walking here together?" I cried. "I am made of this spot, but you! How came this afternoon to be ours?" She smiled at me just as if she knew, but we both understood that only Those who are wiser than we give gifts like that: there we were close enough, though Berwick and the Quartier and Saint Cloud2 might be far enough apart.

     You will know why I write all this, else I should not have sat here and let my pen write it.3 I shall always be missing her as new things and new days come and go without her, but the old days -- nine years writing before we met and fifteen years since -- are mine, with all she was and all the friendship gave me.

     I have never forgotten the day that Mrs. Fields* and I went to take luncheon [with] you at Maiano4 that Spring day when the flowers were growing along the banks of your brook like the foreground of one of Botticelli's pictures.* I begged a little flowered Italian bowl of you, and I keep it on a shelf in my bedroom for an outward and visible sign!

     And in Paris, again; Mrs. Fields has seen you since in Rome, but not long enough or quietly, as she wished. I am with her now; we often talk of you and the more because after a long long illness after a bad accident* to my head (and heels!) in driving, I have begun to read, and write a little too at my letters as I used, and I have gathered up your books, that came while I was in a wintry state, and now come along with you, shyly hoping some day to really get hold of your hand. But as somebody said once about writers -- we are never so confidential as when we address the whole world* -- and with the books I may get closer than some who are near enough to do the other thing. And I send you a truly thankful and affectionate message by this letter.
     Shall you never come seafaring? Shall you never come to New England -- not for myrtle and olive (oh, the ashes of those branches that you brought from Corsica!) -- but for juniper and bayberry? I wish, and Mrs. Fields wishes, that you would. Come summer or winter, as you like.

     Sarah Orne Jewett

     And all this I have written -- and of Ariadne in Mantua not one word, but I have the most dear copy of it -- the one with the Italian paper to its cover -- lying here on my desk.5

Cary's Notes

     1 Vernon Lee, Hortus Vitae (London, 1904), a volume containing twenty-three "Essays on the Gardening of Life"; the preface is in the form of a letter "To Madame Th. Blanc-Bentzon"; "New Friends and Old" is a philosophical review of the "joys quite especial to old friendship."

     2 Madame Blanc's home on the left bank of the Seine.

     3 Miss Paget also knew Madame Blanc intimately, had visited her in Paris, and had been introduced by her to the editor of the Revue des Deux Mondes.
    4 Site of Miss Paget's villa, Il Palmerino, at San Gervasio, outside of Florence.

     5 Vernon Lee, Ariadne in Mantua: A romance in five acts was published in 1903 by B. H. Blackwell (Oxford), and by Simpkins, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. (London). The wrapper of eighteenth century paper by Giuseppe Rizzi of Varese was of geometric design, based upon a floor or textile pattern. It reflected the rebirth of interest at the turn of the century in medieval Italian abstract art.

Editor's Notes

Madame Blanc: Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc. See Correspondents.  She died on 5 February 1907.

Mrs. Fields: Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Botticelli's pictures:  The Italian painter Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, known as Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445 - 1510).

bad accident:  Jewett suffered a debilitating carriage accident on her birthday in September 1902.

never so confidential ... address the whole world:  The source of this quotation is unknown, though it seems to echo ideas in the opening paragraph of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Custom-House: Introductory to The Scarlet Letter."

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.

Violet Paget to SOJ

Il Palmerino
 S. Gervaso
 April 29, 1907

Dear Miss Jewett,

  I have been unwell, and away for a fortnight by the sea, during which time I only loafed, if clambering up the breathless stone-fanged paths of Liguria may be called loafing. Anyhow, that is my excuse for not thanking you at once for your very dear and beautiful letter.

  Dear Madame Blanc* was very fond of you and Mrs Field;* [so spelled] you know how discreet she was about her own feelings, & how totally objective in her mode of speaking of people. But it was plain that you two, like one or two other friends in foreign parts (what I wonder has become of the little cropped headed nihilist and aristocrat whose name I cannot spell,* accompanied by a mute but sympathising agricultural lady -- ? alas what has become of all dear Mme Blanc's monde?) were one of the consolations of her life, so cruelly (& unnecessarily!) tormented by her French mother's love.

  Like you, I knew her some years before we ever met; I even introduced friends to whom she was exquisite for my unknown sake; and before I had seen her I believe I had told her more of myself than one tells one's schoolfriends. In the same manner, & through her, I got to know Gabrielle Delzant* long before I ever found myself face to face with her. I remember dear Mme Blanc's amusement at Gabrielle's & my rapturous excursions in tramways & strolls in rainy Paris streets. Gabrielle asked her whether she also, did not feel the ineffable grandeur of the museum of the Jardin des Plantes* when shut, and the wild picturesqueness of the yellow train in the fog -- "Tout ce que je sais c'est que vous courrez sous la pluie comme deux amoureux"* she said with her good ironical smile.

  I am ashamed to think that she on last two occasions of my seeing her -- the last was, I think, crossing from Dover, I took up her time entirely if brutally selfishly with troubles of mine, which any other but she would have thought rubbish beside those she herself was going through. But with her, as with Gabrielle Delzant, to be selfish & self-engrossed became a grace! T'is the fault, this heavenly sympathy & self-forgetfulness, of French women, surrounding them with such selfishness or lack of decent self-restraint as Edouard Blanc* tormented her with. One would have whipped him, willingly; but she on the whole, liked to suffer for him & through him, with that pleasure in birth pangs which seems to follow French mothers all through their life.

  Well; and now, save "l'excellente Mme Foulou de Vaulx"* -- what remains of all that circle of people one loved, or gnashed teeth at (Mlle Blaze* to wit) or was amused by? The two daughters of Gabrielle Delzant have both shed me, one because she has married an ambiguous demagogue, the other because she has married "un jeune homme distingue"" and "arriviste."* Poor dull old Delzant* broke his neck instead of going to death sleep after dinner over his books. Edouard Blanc has never written me a word.

  Imagine, dear Miss Jewett, how welcome your letter has been to me. Yes. I remember your coming. You shall have another majolica cup, or even my best jug, if you will return. I want to go to America -- more & more since reading Wells & H. James* -- but I am what the proper call "turned fifty" -- I have little health & energy & many, too many schemes of (not much believed in!) work, and I have spent a lot of money, wisely no doubt, in buying this little place & discovering its threatened disasters, the money which one wants for a journey like that when one isn't young.

  So, shall we ever meet again, I mean, in the flesh. Since you &. Mrs Field & I have met again in the spirit; & if you allow, will agree not to separate in that element.

  Write to me sometimes & believe me.

Yrs gratefully
V. Paget


Madame Blanc
: Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc. See Correspondents.  She died on 5 February 1907.

Mrs Field: Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

the little cropped headed nihilist: The identity of this person is unknown. Assistance is welcome.:

Gabrielle Delzant: Cary says that Gabrielle Delzant (1854-1903) and her husband Alidor (1848-1905) lived in a village in southwest France. He published, among other items, a compilation of her hitherto unpublished writing after her death. See Archille Biron, "Paget in Paraÿs" (1960). Paget's negative views of Alidor and the Delzant daughters may be accurate, but biographical confirmation has proven difficult to locate. Biron's piece identifies the elder daughter as Genevieve, quoting a Paget letter saying that she expected to marry soon after her mother's death. In this letter, Paget describes one son-in-law as an arriviste, recently wealthy, ambitious, self-centered and as a distinguished young man; the other she characterizes as a demagogue. Whether Alidor actually died of a broken neck has not been confirmed. This information is of interest because it appears that Paget seems often to speak negatively of those who are attached to women she particularly likes. Assistance is welcome.

Jardin des Plantes ... "Tout ... amoureux": Paris's Garden of Plants is the principal botanical garden in France. Paget's French translates: "All I know is that you run through the rain like a pair of lovers."

Edouard Blanc: For Madame Blanc's husband, see Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc in Correspondents.

Mme Foulou de Vaulx: It appears that there may be an error in transcription -- Foulou for Foulon. Paget seems to refer to Alice Devaulx who, in 1872, married Henri Foulon (1844-1929). Shortly after they married, they changed their names to" Foulon de Vaulx." Henri Foulon de Vaulx was a Belgian born industrialist and historian. Alice became a translator, notably of work by Hamlin Garland.

Mlle Blaze: Though this is not certain, it seems likely that Paget refers to Baroness Blaze de Bury (1813-1894). She wrote criticism and fiction.

I want to go to America ... Wells & H. James: Cary says that Paget never visited the United States. While it is clear that she refers to Henry James (See Correspondents), which Wells she means is not clear. Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), the American journalist, seems a likely choice, but Paget was friends with Henry George Wells (1866-1946), the British author in a variety of genres, though perhaps best remembered for his science fiction, such as The War of the Worlds (1898).

The manuscript of this letter, according to Richard Cary is in the Houghton Library of Harvard University. Almost certainly this is MS Am 1743.1 item 84. His transcription, with an informative introduction and notes appears in "Violet Paget to Sarah Orne Jewett," Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1970): 235-243.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

Tuesday morning
[After Summer 1906]

Dear Sarah

I am grieved about poor little Kim! "The Dachshund first our little friend!"1 I always loved Matthew Arnold the better for saying that!  I wish that I could see you dear, but I shall soon. I shall either get to town this week or the very first of next. -- I am so sorry to miss the first Club, but I am kept here this week by many things. This is just a morning word to say that I love you and think of you in these troubled days --

S. O. J.


after summer 1906:  Kim, the Wheelwright's dachshund, is remembered as alive in Jewett's summer 1906 letter to the Wheelwrights.

our little friend:  Jewett misremembers Arnold's "Kaiser Dead" which reads, "And vouch'd by glorious renown / A dachshound true" (11. 17-18);  and

But all those virtues, which commend   (31)
The humbler sort who serve and tend,
Were thine in store, thou faithful friend.

the first Club:  This may be Mrs. Wheelwright's Emery Bag Club.  See Correspondents.

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.

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

148 Charles street
Friday Morning
[Late spring 1907]

 Dear Sarah

You are quite right to be afeared of the grippe; I like it less than ever, as the sailor's say of a ship in a squall, "it lays her clear down!" I am picking up fast, however, and got out yesterday for the first time and I shall see you soon,  I think we are all safe to see now, and tomorrow is Saturday -- I just put in this word to the wise! -- Mary went home on Wednesday.  I am glad that your Mary is away.  I believe very much in little changes.

Mrs. Fields* was delighted with the idea of seeing your pictures some day. I shouldn't wonder if she could come -- not just yet perhaps but a little later -- to luncheon and I should love it myself. -- the drive too, after a few days.  I am not up to it yet much yet.  but the week I was in bed made my broken neck* quite beautifully comfortable keeping so still, it's an ill wind blows nobody any good!

Thank you so much for your note and I send love to both of you. Mary had a most delightful call when A. C. W.* with my message about the flowers -- I really never saw such beautiful roses and they lasted a perfectly delightful number of days --

Yours most affectionately,



Late spring 1907:  While it is possible this letter was composed in the summer of 1906, shortly before Jewett's summer stay with the Wheelwrights on Sutton's Island, ME, it seems more likely that it comes from late spring of 1907.  A main reason for believing this is that Jewett reports just recovering from a severe cold that she mentions in other letters from this time.

broken neck:  Jewett refers to her persistent disability following her September 1902 carriage accident.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

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

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.

 SOJ to Elizabeth McCracken

     Uthersyde, Northeast Harbour, Mount Desert. [Summer 1907]*

     My dear Elizabeth, -- Your note has reached me here, and indeed, indeed I send my most affectionate good wishes and blessing to you and Miss Marlowe.* I am delighted with this plan, especially since you are going to see Italy in summer, -- so few people do that who go travelling! You will see the vintage coming on and the vintage come, and so much more of the true Italy of the poets, the out-of-door life and living beauty that they loved, than if you had a comfortable hotel life, keeping warm! in early spring. I hope that you will go to little plays in Venice, and see how many of the old traditions live. I wish that you could come north by Orange, and see a play there, and I cling to a deep desire that you should sit in the old historic playhouse in Paris before you get back!* The "Théâtre Français" ought to belong to both of you! All this last isn't Italy, but the card I drop into my envelope must carry you to the door of one who knows her and loves her with the best and most understanding love (I always insist that love isn't blind: it is only love that sees!). Miss Paget is Vernon Lee, and you will remember her exquisite "Ariadne in Mantua."* I hope that she may be found at home, but at any rate you will have a charming drive to the old villa just outside Florence. I shall write her about you, so that this word on a card is very short (I can fancy Miss Marlowe beautifully in the Ariadne!). Do send me a word on your way, and put a twig of olive leaves into the letter. And direct to me at Manchester by Sea, where I expect to be by and by.

     I had a bad month with a second attack of grippe,* but I am nearly mended after a most cheerful sailing cruise of eight days from Portsmouth here. You can't think how good it was to see the pointed firs and the shady coves again and the great wide reaches of water between the green islands. O yes, dear, this is just the right thing, your going, and your going together.#

     My sister sends you her love.

#Fields's note: In France.


1907:  Fields places this undated letter with other letters from these two years.  Jewett mentions her severe case of "grippe" in several letters from this year.
   Northeast Harbor is on the island of Mt. Desert.

Miss Marlowe
: Julia Marlowe is the stage name of Sarah Frances Frost (1865-1960); she was a Shakespearean actor. Cary reports that Jewett wished Marlowe to produce Ariadne in Mantua (Sarah Orne Jewett Letters 169).  McCracken published an article, "Julia Marlow" in Century Magazine (November 1906), pp. 46-55.  In which summer Marlowe traveled in Italy with McCracken has not been established; Charles Edward Russell, in Julia Marlowe: Her Life and Art, notes that she spent part of the summer of 1908 in Franzenbad, Bohemia (p. 451).  Further, Russell indicates that Marlowe was on tour in England beginning in the spring of 1907, though the date of her return to the United States is not given (pp. 426-50).

Italy in summer
:  Jewett visited Italy during the summer in 1882 and in the spring of 1900.

Orange ... Théâtre Français:  Jewett probably refers to the Roman Theatre in Orange, Vaucluse, France, built early in the 1st century AD.
    Wikipedia says: "The Comédie-Française ... or Théâtre-Français ... is one of the few state theatres in France. It is the only state theatre to have its own troupe of actors.... The theatre is part of the Palais-Royal complex and located at 2 rue de Richelieu on the Place André-Malraux in the 1st arrondissement of Paris."

Miss Paget ... "Ariadne in Mantua": Vernon Lee (Violet Paget, 1856-1935) published Ariadne in Mantua: A Romance in Five Acts (1903).

grippe: a cold (French).

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 Violet Paget

     North East Harbour
     Mount Desert, Maine1
     [July 1907]

    My dear Miss Paget:

     I have been so ready to thank you all these weeks that I can hardly feel ashamed of seeming ungrateful. You cannot know how much I loved your letter and that most loveable chapter about our dear Madame Blanc*2 written with such sympathy and discernment, from the perfectly right point of view; it seems wonderful to me that anyone so much younger could have taken it who had not lived with her for long stretches of time. There were so many Thérèses if one had her for a day or two at a time! The great French lady of -- one, almost, say some centuries earlier, returned to earth and gracefully adapting herself to modern conditions, was what everyone could not see. Oddly enough, one of my dearest friends on this side of the sea was great-granddaughter of a young French officer who came over at the time of the Revolution, and one never understood her until (and many New Englanders never could!) one returned to the 1760s and matched her traits to that day and date and to the habits of people who had to do with courts and camps.3 But to say how I miss Madame Blanc and see new reasons for having loved her so much is quite impossible. Your memories of her bring her back as nothing else has done.

     I am not forgetting to thank you, either, for Sister Benvenuta.4 I brought that dear little volume with me in my kit. I doubt if we are separated for a good while to come; it is a true bit of life. It explains many quite unrelated things, with the charm that a new flower had the other day (perhaps it was only a forgotten flower) that I found on a green island on the Maine coast here where I have been cruising on a comfortable old sailing yacht with a friend. You would have loved the small harbours with their villages where we spent the nights and often an evening and clear, still morning. The birds sang all along the wooded shores and the lambs bleated, the waves plashed against the rocks after a boat went by, and one heard no other noises. I had been ill for a month with a second quite uncalled for attack of influenza, and I certainly liked those noises better than any. I send you a bit of 'pointed fir.' Their new tips look almost as if they had flowered in pretty fringes. The salt air, the fragrance of these woods makes one a little lightheaded sometimes.

     The other day I gave a card to two acquaintances, lovers of Italy who go to see her for the first time: Miss McCracken,5 a magazine writer of talent, and true, shy, little lover of best things, a Southerner by birth; and Miss Julia Marlowe,6 the player who has just been having a good season in London, Viola and Juliet not beyond her. She has had great popularity in lesser parts, but I think she has great gifts, unequal as artists are; but I look to see her gain much from this Italian summer. They both loved the Ariadne in Mantua.7 I doubt if they are lucky enough to find you for half an hour, but they can have the drive to your door, and that is giving them much.8
     I confess to having lived with you a good deal, since your letter came and really brought you not only to my door but inside, to stay. This letter thanks you for many things. I hoped you would say that this was the summer when you could come -- to sail over from England in June is not long, and you should have a tin bank when you got here and go home clinking and heavy with savings. You should be withheld from long journeys and only shown a very few places. Autumn is better than midsummer: come in autumn!

     If I were writing a week later I should send you messages from Mrs. Fields,* whom I shall see then. She is not very strong nowadays, but always such a giver of help and pleasure. You would like her summer house close by the sea, as much as I do, and I hope you would like my own old house in a country village with a proper New England garden.

     I must stop writing, but please find all that I write without ink, and please, my dear friend, write one day again. I can take your books, old and new, all for letters now, but that very fact makes me wish to hear again.

     Yours affectionately,

     S. O. J.

Cary's Notes

     1 Many of Miss Jewett's friends had cottages at this Maine summer resort and yachting center -- the Parkmans, Wheelwrights, Merrimans, Eliots, and Irwins. Miss Jewett never lost the sense of exhilaration in a sea-ride, and she accepted their invitations up to the last years of her life, despite her wracked condition. On this occasion she was staying at the cottage of Mary Cabot Wheelwright's parents, Otherside, and enjoying gamely the cruises down the Maine coast in their yacht Hesper, an ex-pilot boat.

     2 The dedication of Miss Paget's Hortus Vitae, addressed to Madame Blanc, is in fact a ten-page eulogy of Gabrielle Delzant, for whom Miss Paget had intended the book, but who died before it was issued.

     3 Miss Jewett's connection with the French tradition had roots in her own family. Her paternal grandmother Sarah Orne (see Genealogical Chart), of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was of French descent on her mother's side. Miss Jewett used proudly to claim that her father "had inherited...from his mother's French ancestry, that peculiarly French trait, called gaieté de coeur."

     4 Vernon Lee, Sister Benvenuta and the Christ Child (London, 1906).

     5 Elizabeth McCracken (1876-1964) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. A frequent contributor to Youth's Companion, Outlook, and the Atlantic Monthly, she also produced several volumes about women and children. She was for six years an editor at Houghton Mifflin Company, and later an associate editor of The Living Church. As a result of her comments in The Women of America (New York, 1904) about The Country of the Pointed Firs, Miss McCracken met and became friendly with Miss Jewett. In the five remaining years of Miss Jewett's life, Miss McCracken saw her often, sometimes at Mrs. Fields's Manchester cottage where she usually visited for a week during the summer, and several times at South Berwick. The card of introduction to Miss Paget came to Miss McCracken from Northeast Harbor in a letter written in late July 1907 (see Fields, Letters, 229-231).

     6 Sarah Frances Frost (1865-1950), an English-born but American-trained actress who played under the name of Julia Marlowe, was famous for her portrayals of Shakespearian heroines, with her husband, E. H. Sothern, generally in the leading male role. Miss Jewett met her not more than three times and never long enough for real acquaintance; the first time a backstage introduction by Miss McCracken, a friend of Miss Marlowe's since schooldays; and again at a "ladies luncheon" which Mrs. Fields gave for Miss Marlowe during her engagement in Mary Johnston's The Goddess of Reason, which played in Boston, December 1908, prior to its New York opening.

    7 Miss Jewett ardently but unsuccessfully urged Miss Marlowe to produce and play in Miss Paget's Ariadne in Mantua.
    8 Miss Jewett's skepticism was well founded; the travelers did not find Miss Paget in when they called, but Miss McCracken did meet her later in England.

Editor's Notes

Madame Blanc: Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc. See Correspondents.  She died on 5 February 1907.

Mrs Field: Annie Adams Fields. 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 Louisa Dresel

     South Berwick, Maine
     Monday afternoon [Summer 1907]

     My dear Loulie:

     I cannot tell if I wrote you a letter that I meant to write or whether I waited -- three weeks ago -- thinking as I did about some other letters, that I should get it written on a foggy day at sea, or in some nice Maine harbour. I was just going from Kittery to Northeast Harbour* but it took eight days to do it! When there were "light airs," as the old log books say, we took the first boat and went up the rivers, and were on deck, or puffing off in this fashion all the time. It was truly delightful. I had really been pretty ill with that last attack of influenza -- grippe -- for a month, and had run way down but I began at once to run up in good sea weather and had a delightful visit after we got to Northeast at the Wheelwrights. You were my first younger friend and I don't doubt led the way to my enjoying Mary Wheelwright1 a good deal: before you, my friends had nearly always been older. 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.

     I should like to make you see a picture of Christmas Cove and all the minor coves and harbours of Boothbay where I saw my dear old Mrs. Murray again after six years.* It is a beautiful coast to follow slowly in and out. One might give up the whole summer to it and not get quite to Eastport or Campobello.

     I was sorry to miss you the day I left Manchester. Now I am going back on Friday and you might come over to church on Sunday and hear Dr. Collyer2 who preaches earlier this year because he goes soon to England. Do you remember driving me to dear Mrs. Cabot's door last summer, the last August Sunday, where alas! we never can go again to find her?3 I left my umbrella in the wagon and you had to bring it back. Mrs. Trimble was there -- but this reminds me that I ought to write to that dear friend!

     Thank you for wishing that I could come to stay with you, dear Loulie. I have been very careful about making any plans for visits this summer so as to be free to be either here or at Manchester -- whichever seems best. (My sister was on the Hesper with me so that I was practically at home!) But when I am at Manchester in August we can talk about it. I should like to have a good day with you, at any rate, and that we can be pretty sure of. Will you give me Marianne's address?* I have had some most kind and friendly cards from her and I wish to speak back. The old garden here looked quite beautiful when we came back. I like to think that you know it by sight.

     Yours very affectionately,

     S. O. J.

Cary's Notes

     1Mary Cabot Wheelwright (1878-1958) was the only daughter of Sarah Perkins Cabot and Andrew Cunningham Wheelwright of Boston and Northeast Harbor. Her deepest interest revolved around the Museum of Navajo Ceremonial Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the South End Music School, Boston, both of which she helped found and direct. See Jewett's letters to Mrs. Wheelwright in Fields, Letters, 205, 216, 221.

     2Collyer spoke familiarly of dropping in at "148" in his letters to Jewett: occasionally called her "Lassie" in salutation; once signed himself "Brother or Father or Grandpa Collyer."

     3Susan Burley Cabot died on March 24, 1907.

Editor's Notes

Kittery to Northeast Harbor
:  Kittery, ME, is just across the state line, north of Portsmouth, NH.  Northeast Harbor, ME is on Mt. Desert Island.

Christmas Cove:  Christmas Cove is a coastal village in South Bristol, ME., east of Brunswick and of Boothbay.

Mrs. Murray:  The identity of Mrs. Murray, possibly of Boothbay, remains unknown.  Assistance is welcome.

Mrs. Trimble:  The identity of the Mrs. Trimble is as yet unknown.  In SOJ to Caroline Jewett Eastman, December 16-20, 1895, Jewett refer to Mrs. Cabot's Mrs. Trimble, suggesting that Mrs. Trimble worked in Susan Burley Cabot's household.

Marianne's address: Marianne Theresia Brockhaus.  See Correspondents.

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

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

[ Summer  1907 ]*

South Berwick, Maine

My dear Sarah

Your letter was so kind and delightful. I love to hear of the Hesper's flying to Lubec* like a swallow and I only wish that you and I had been aboard. I did so wish to go! -- but it also sounded very comfy to hear of you two (2) being at home together after so much many goings-on -- I should have liked a piece of that quietness just then -- too and I would have gone down by the boat house and picked up little stones and played all day and not bothered you a bit! Dear old Doctor Collyer* made his summer visit at Manchester, and my sister Mary* was there too and he preached a noble sermon in the little church about the Follies of Solomon that led him to thinking All is Vanity* -- it was only because with all his wisdom, he got naughty and self indulgent and didn't use life in the right way: and so what he said then wasn't true! but you must fill into this bad sentence a splendid observation of the glories of Solomon, and an appeal to the 'better nature' of a devout little worshipping congregation. He sang the hymns like a boy, dear old fellow, and I believed every word he said.

I tried to do a good many things that involved driving that week or ten days but I have got all w right [ so transcribed ] again. Now and [ so transcribed ] my sister and I are going to Newport on Tuesday -- to see her friend and mine, Minnie Appleton.* Who by the way wrote me that she knew Miss Ellis,* so that I hope to see her. We come back at the end of the week. Mrs. Bradley* and some others come next week.  Please let me know when you get near the time for moving -- for I should not wish to be away, for as the evenings grow long I am apt to think of Mrs. Fields* if I find she is alone at Manchester.  I would do anything for you about the Rockinghams* but I think you will only need to send a note or telegram a little while before, The hotel is pretty large and seldom gets over full, But if you wish for special rooms and I can do anything just speak and say what it is. Oh how I should love to have every one of you here, but the expresses don't stop in summer as they do in winter and it would make you trouble. If anything happens to prevent you there why you must come down later --

With dearest love to all


 I loved what you said about the stories, dear.


Summer 1907:  In her Summer 1907 letter to Louisa Dresel, Jewett writes of expecting an early summer visit from Dr. Collyer.

Hesper ... Lubec:  Lubec is a port located just south of Eastport, Maine, in Washington County.  The Wheelwrights based their yacht, the Hesper, at Sutton Island, near Mt. Desert, where Acadia National Park is today.  It appears that Mr. Wheelwright has taken the yacht to Lubec, near Grand Manan Island, another place Jewett enjoyed visiting.

Collyer:  Dr. Robert Collyer. See Correspondents.

sister Mary:  Mary Rice Jewett.  See Correspondents.

All is Vanity:  See the Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:14:  "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind."

Newport ... Minnie Appleton ... Miss Ellis:  Presumably Jewett refers to Mary Worthen Appleton (12 May 1886 - 15 April 1965), Newport, RI, a  supporter of local arts and philanthropy, and a close friend was Helen Ellis of Newport (died c. 15 November 1940).

Mrs. Bradley:  Mrs. Bradley has not be identified.  Assistance is welcome.

RockinghamsWikipedia says: The Rockingham Hotel is a historic hotel building in Portsmouth, New Hampshire." Opened in 1833,
it "was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982."
    It seems clear that the Wheelwrights are planning a stop in Portsmouth upon returning home from Sutton's Island, and that Jewett hopes to see them, perhaps even have them as guests at her home in nearby South Berwick.

Mrs. Fields:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

[July 1907]*

Dearest Sarah

It was such a joy to get your letter this morning. On Tuesday I was in town and 'fetched a compass' come by Mount Vernon Street* to see if your house was open and when it was and looked so full of sunshine I ran in hoping to find you looking after it before you went to New York [!] [ so transcribed]

Then I really did feel consoled for disappointment because it was a half-dog-day weather with a gusty wind that one could ill bear in the country and not at all in town streets. =  [ so transcribed]  We are only to be here until Wednesday the 17th{.} Then go to 148 and stay until Friday when I hope that A. F.* will be ready to go to South Berwick with me -- perhaps she wont= [ so transcribed]  but I think that getting away from Manchester is quite enough at once, and I don't wish to have her add the getting settled in town to it at once -- the women can go on without her for awhile and she can put her own touch to things just as well a fortnight later -- These are great and high philosophies....

I came here last Saturday and went to Boston on Wednde Tuesday{.} I brought Sally Norton down with me for two or three days. She goes home this afternoon.  I am afraid that we shall miss seeing dear Mary* here -- To think of the Hesper!* -- but I am so glad that you were not far from Rockland* and did not have a long worry of drifting -- I am quite disabled when I try to write because I wish to just sit down with you both and talk with you both and talk about everything -- You wouldn't by any chance have to come to town on Thursday the 18th? -- !

Mrs. Fields sends you her love and wishes me to tell you that she has loved the little basket on her table all summer since I brought it. she was so sorry that she could she was not at the house when you went there (and I too)

Good bye dear with love from

S. O. J.

I wonder if Miss Ellis would know if Mary Appleton* has come back{.} I quite long to have her know you -- she has had a hard time and does not find life easy yet.  'Life' isn't what one may frankly call easy -- but she has read that difficult book of readjustment this last year or so -- You would like Codman house* in its altered -- peculiar state I think.


July 1907:  The 17th falls on a Wednesday in October 1906 and in July 1907.  In another summer 1907 letter to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright, Jewett indicates that she hopes to see Miss Ellis when visiting Mary Appleton in Newport.

Mt. Vernon St.:  73  Mt. Vernon Street, Boston -- home of the Wheelwrights from 1893 until Mary's death in 1958.

A. F.:  Annie Fields.  See Correspondents.

Hesper:  The Wheelwright's yacht at their summer home on Sutton Island, ME.

Rockland:  Fishing and commercial city located on Penobscot Bay.  By sea, it is roughly 35 miles from Sutton Island.

Miss Ellis ... Mary AppletonMary Worthen Appleton (12 May 1886 - 15 April 1965), Newport, RI, supported local arts and philanthropy.  For example, she and Helen Ellis (died c. 15 November 1940) served on the board of the Newport Hospital around 1910 and were members of the Newport Historical Society.
    According to Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events for 1899 (pp. 574-6), Appleton was the daughter of William Henry Appleton (1814-1899) who, with his father, founded the New York publishing firm, D. Appleton & Co.  However, an Appleton genealogy web site lists Mary as the daughter of his son, William Worthen Appleton, which better fits her life dates.
    Though the reasons for this have not been established, Helen Ellis apparently was very close to the Appleton family.  A Newport (RI) Mercury story following her death indicates that in her will Ellis left property to Mary's sister, Margaret Sargent Appleton, as well as to Mary's father and brother.  She also left furniture items to Mary Catherine Wheelwright, who, presumably, is Mary Cabot Wheelwright.

Codman House:  The Codman House, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is presently owned and maintained by Historic New England. The house was purchased and completely renovated by Ogden Codman, Jr. from 1888 to 1900.

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.

SOJ to Katharine Peabody Loring

Sunday, July 21 [ 1907 ]*

[ Begin letterhead]

South Berwick, Maine

[ End letterhead]

Dear Katharine

    My pink mallows* are all in bloom, and I thank you much.  They make even more difference in the garden than I thought they would, and I walk proudly by, and today Mr. Frank Bartlett* came up with somebody from the Harbour* and when he saw them he told me that [his ?] mallows weren't in bloom yet, whereupon I was prouder still.  We are rich

[ Page 2 ]

in hollyhocks too this year but so many things were winter=killed* that the garden shows a difference -- almost all the box* departed, big and little.

    = I came home on Friday from Manchester in all the heat and it was a hot week there so that I didn't get any farther from the top of the hill* that Mrs. Howe's on the Point,* and another day I went to Mrs. [Greeds?].  And to church to hear Dr. Collyer.*  The day I came home I was basking in the Beverly Station*

[ Page 3 ]

waiting for the 4.05 train to Portsmouth and read in the Beverly Times about your lecture --*  What a good Katharine! but I knew that beforehand, no one better!  You wouldn't think of starring it in the Provinces would you? for the Berwick Womens Club* and then I could get a visit!!!

    I find me wishing very much to see you as I write dear K. in truth I hoped to see you this last week -- but was disappointed.  I am likely to get back to Manchester within a fortnight or less.

[ Page 4 ]

    Wouldn't it be funny if you went to Stonehurst* to the Bryces this summer without me? You know what fun we used to have{,} you and Louisa and S. Norton* and I.

    There are so many things that I wish to tell you and to talk about that I can only end my letter in despair.  I had a second attack of influenza for a month and was way down hill, and then started off with my sister and Mary Wheelwright in the beloved old Hesper and we took eight days to go from Portsmouth to Northeast Harbour.*  Stopping in nearly every cove:  Which came near to making me over new with sleeves quite in the fashion.  but I am now

[Written up the left margin  and in the top margin of page 1]

"a little past" again owing to the hot weather.  This is just the time that I have been at dear Mrs. Cabots these many years, and I was with Mrs. Fields,* it seemed I must go up there and [deleted word] find her and the house just as I always did.

    Goodbye dear -- this is no letter for an answer and I hope to

[Written up the right margin near the top of page 1]

see you soon with much love S.O.J.

[Written up the right margin near the bottom of page 1]

and love to Louisa


1907:  Jewett reports in this undated letter that she has recently recovered from a severe attack of influenza, that she has been sailing down east with the Wheelwrights, and that she has heard Dr. Robert Collyer (See Correspondents) preach the previous Sunday.  These events came together in 1907, making it likely that this letter is from that year.

pink mallows: Jewett may mean Malva moschata, a pink-blooming perennial native to Europe and southwest Asia.  The roughly 30 inch plants produce multiple, large, attractively scented blossoms through the summer.

Mr. Frank Bartlett:  This person has not been identified. Assistance is welcome.  Which harbor Jewett refers to also is unknown.

winter=killed:  Jewett writes her hyphen here to appear as an equal sign.  Annie Fields did this quite often.  See for example her Diary of a West Indian Island Tour.

boxBuxus sempervirens (common box), according to Wikipedia, is a "popular ornamental plant in gardens, being particularly valued for topiary and hedges because of its small leaves, evergreen nature, tolerance of close shearing, and scented foliage."

top of the hill:  Jewett refers to Thunderbolt Hill, the location of the Gambrel House of Annie Fields in Manchester, MA.

Mrs. Howe's on the Point: Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe, who maintained a home on Smith's Point in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA.  See Correspondents.

Mrs. [Greeds?]:  This spelling is uncertain, though it definitely looks like Greed, Creed is a more likely name.  The person is unidentified.  Assistance is welcome.

Dr. Collyer:  Unitarian minister, Dr. Robert Collyer.  See Correspondents.

Beverly Station: The Loring family residence in 1907 was in Beverly, MA.  While waiting at the Beverly train station, Jewett would have been near the Lorings.

Beverly Times ... your lecture:  The Beverly, Massachusetts Evening Times was published 1893-1964.  It is not yet known what public lectures Loring may have been presenting in 1907.  Assistance is welcome.

Berwick Womens Club:  Jewett and her sister, Mary, were active members of the South Berwick Women's Club by about 1895. Little is known about the club's activities.  Mary Jewett seems to have presented a talk for the club, "Recollections of Whittier," sometime after Sarah's death.  Blanchard reports that Julia Ward Howe made regular appearances to speak at the local women's club (Sarah Orne Jewett pp. 353-4).

Stonehurst ...the Bryces: Stonehurst Manor in North Conway, NH, was a regular vacation destination for Jewett and her friends.  It was the home of Jewett's friend, Helen Bigelow Merriman.  According to "The Story of Stonehurst," a stay at the manor in 1907 would have been a special event:  "In the summer of 1907, while the Merrimans were traveling in England, Stonehurst served as the temporary British Embassy for the Viscount James Bryce, the British ambassador to the United States. During that summer, Stonehurst was at the center of international diplomatic exchange, along with Bryce’s active and glamorous social life."

Louisa and S. Norton: Louisa Putnam Loring, Katharine's sister, and Sara Norton.  See Correspondents.

my sister and Mary Wheelwright in the beloved old Hesper ... Portsmouth to Northeast Harbour:  Jewett reports on this sailing trip to other correspondents.  See for example her letter to Louisa Dresel of Monday afternoon [Summer 1907].  From Portsmouth NH to Northeast Harbor, ME* along the Atlantic Coast is about 200 miles.

Mrs. Cabots ... Mrs. Fields:  Susan Burley Cabot and Annie Adams Fields.  See Correspondents.  Mrs. Cabot died in March of 1907.

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

SOJ to Mary Cabot Wheelwright

South Berwick
July 29, [1907]1

Sunday afternoon

My dear Mary

You were very good to write this delightful letter about the cruise and we read both the lines an 'between the lines' with joy and eagerness. The North Haven2 post card brought back that charming spot and I could feel myself going along again trying to get it by heart and I am so glad that you came West by Merchant's Row -- 3 in fact I do not exactly stop at the turn offs from our course east or west but look off down the reaches and out beyond the outer islands as if I were there all the time, I have been liking our cruise better and better and thinking of it more and more: It really gave me such a start that it seems as if any minute I might fall to writing and making all islands to order as I made Green Island and Poor Joanna's in the old days!4 I was fairly homesick to get to sea only yesterday when my sister and I took my dear old Uncle5 along shore to by [so transcribed] York,6 and the new trolley line just opened past Ogunquit,7 where we stopped for dinner, and rowed  our your favorite Wells Bay8 back of the marshes to Kennebunk.5 I declared my feelings when we had been looking at the blue sea (and white caps!) for a few minutes and Mary echoed my cry of home-sickness and we sat writing to be afloat, as you sat last autumn when we went past York Long Lands.10 I looked off at Boon Island11 at last as if I were an old acquaintance. When you come again I mean to take you the same day's journey{;} it is really delightful. This long card is one of the Ogunquit coves close by Mr. Woodbury's12 region and his studio; such a pretty unspoiled place (so far) except that you do not see the prettiest bit of all from this picture, a small curving beach where the waves break in from open sea -- the most charming perfect curve of shore that I ever saw.

I am going to Mrs. Field's [so transcribed] at Manchester tomorrow. Miss Cochrane* who is coming over from Rome for the rest of the summer was to be here now, but she has been obliged to put off sailing for a steamer or two -- as she was not well. Miss Lamb is just leaving, and I am going to start a an [so transcribed] week or so earlier than I expected so that dear Mrs. Fields will not be alone until "Jessie"13 comes = [so transcribed] I was wishing to write to your mother. I wonder if she has heard that the Parkman's [so transcribed] are coming right home?* Perhaps they are at home already, for Frances heard of her father's very serious illness. I had a hurried note from her on Friday and they were sailing within a few days from Genoa. They will have had two good months or more and carried out all plans save staying through August in Cortina.14 Whence she wrote = [so transcribed] they would have had only a week there. It will not be easy to make plans for August here and she will do it. I am so sorry for she loved loves her father dearly and this may quite break of [ up? ] the old home.

I am so glad to hear of your father's good sailing and that your mother seemed better. I miss you all except that it's next best thing to think of you if I don't see you -- I shall write your mother soon, but she is not to try to write letters to me until she feels stronger and just like it. Thank you again for the real pleasure of yor your [so transcribed] dear letter

Yours always
S. O. J.

Your cousin Mary15 would send her love too -- and thanks for the North Haven card.

Stoddart's Notes

1 The Colby collection keeps this letter in its original envelope marked "Miss Mary C. Wheelwright North East Harbour, Maine," postmarked 1907. On the back, a hasty postscript is penned: "The junk box is delightful! I 'noted' every particular!"

2 A resort area located on Penobscot Bay, Knox County, Maine.

3 A street in Boston, located off State street, along the wharf district.

4 Direct references to the islands visible from Dunnett's Landing in The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896).

5 Dr. William Gilman Perry (1823-1910).

6 Another Maine resort area on the coast near Kittery. The area includes York Village, York Beach and York Harbor.

7 A Maine resort frequented by artists, located in Wells.

8 The bay on which Ogunquit and Wells lie in southern Maine,

9 A resort town 22 miles southwest of Portland, Maine.

10Located off of York Beach.

11A small lighthouse island 10 miles east of York.

12 Charles Woodbury, a friend of Jewett's who, with his wife Marcia, illustrated the Holiday Edition of Deephaven in 1893.  See Correspondents.

13 Stoddart believes Jewett refers to Jessie McDermott Walcott, an illustrator of children's stories and poems.  See Correspondents.  However, she probably refers to Jessie Cochrane, whom she has just named, a talented amateur pianist from Louisville, Kentucky, who was a frequent guest in the Boston and Man¬chester homes of Mrs. Annie Fields.

14 Cortina d'Ampezzo, a leading summer and winter Alpine resort area in northern Italy.

15 Captain Joseph Cabot, a paternal grandfather of Sarah Wheelwright, married Rebecca Orne in 1768. This makes Mary Rice Jewett and Wheelwright distant cousins.

Editor's Notes

the Parkman's:  Frances Parker Parkman's father, Cortlandt Parker, died on July 29, 1907, the date this letter was composed.  Her mother, Elizabeth Wolcott Stites had died on January 1, 1907.  See Correspondents.

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.

SOJ to Sarah Cabot Wheelwright

Manchester by Sea
Wednesday 7th Aug.t [1907]1

My dear Sarah

It is not because I do not think of you very often that I have not written, but everyday brings its succession of little hurries, and hours when one cannot write. And then I count more and more upon the truth that we can 'think to' each other when we are really friends much better and oftener than we can write -- When they find out all about wireless telegraphs they are going to find out how the little batteries in our heads send messages -- and then we can do it by rule and not by accident -- it is very nice now however, and we aren't called up by strangers as we may be in those later and more instructed days, -- You see that I am here, alone with Mrs, Fields just now, though we had two young men for Sunday Mr, Woodbury [Woodberry?] and Mr, Greenslet2 (who wrote for Mr. Lowell's Life last year)3 and there was no end of talk about book affairs and especially about book affairs and especially about Sicily -- Taormina -- 3 [so transcribed] where they had all three been.  I listened as if I had been there too having read them -- and others -- Mrs. Fields had six weeks at Taormina three years ago, and I know her point of view literally and figuratively both. She seems pretty well -- but when I first see her I am always shocked because she looks so little and so frail -- She gets the fresh air and makes the house and this dear hill a happy place for people who come, but she cares to go out less and less. Alice Howe4 is just about the same -- she has been over to luncheon within a few days and I am just going to stay to have luncheon with her. She had a sort of lumbago which made her quite pale last week and there is a new fog horn on Baker's Island5 that she much deplores. -- The thing I can tell you that you will care not about is that I went to town on Friday and met Frances Parkman. There was no 'Marconi' on the Canopic6 so that [she] was anxious all the way and met the news of her father's death like a strange shock when she got here. Her brother Colonel Parker7 was waiting for her and they delayed the funeral which was a great comfort to her heart.  She is coming home today or tomorrow -- the boys are going to Laura Richards' camp for the rest of the time, and the rest of them are going to Rangeley Lakes8 the last of the week. I suppose that they will be near the Wolcotts -- 9 and it is the best of plans F. wrote that "Harry" would stay at Rangeley for two weeks straight on. so that he will have almost the whole of the vacation they planned at first as they meant to reach home at any rate on the 5th of September. Mr, Parkman10 looked so well and well rested and younger than he went away. My poor Frances was very sad -- she loved her father dearly and she hoped to be with him before he went. We could not have long to talk -- she went right on to New York with her brother by the one o'clock train, and Mr. Parkman with the two younger children was to follow at night with the others -- and you have had a new sorrow in these days -- 11  it has been in my mind all the time I have been writing. I have had a feeling that it would touch you closely. It's hard to have people go when [they] take a piece of our lives with them, I have sometimes felt as if it were I who died and stopped and not they= "they are all gone into a world of light" -- as Vaughan says (oh, that most beautiful poem!)12 but it leaves it darker here.

 -- I have just been sitting and thinking about you with my pen in my hand.  I wish that I were nearer you, we could be out in the Solace13 and yet we needn't try to talk -- Helen Merriman14 wrote Mary that you had given her a beautiful excursion in the Solace. I keep thinking of that dear cruise, the rememberance  [so transcribed] of it is a joyful possession.  I wish you had been well enough to go out just once, but then we did go last year, didn't we? Are you better dear Sarah? I long to get one word from you to say so, but don't don't make yourself write a letter to me, ever, anymore than you would make yourself talk when we are together.

Mrs. Fields and I are awaiting now for our friend Miss Cochrane16 who is at last on the sea after many delays. She will get in next week early to New York which is tiresome -- she meant to come on the Canopic. I want you and Mary to hear her play, and I may say, to know her! but I hope she will still be here when you get back to this part of the country. She goes on from here to Louisville where she has aunts!  Now I must say goodbye in a hurry! but with love, and to Mr. Wheelwright and Mary]

Yours ever

S. O. J.


1 The notes below confirm that this letter was written soon after the death of Frances Parker Parkman's father, Cortlandt Parker, on July 29, 1907.  Parts of this letter were included in Mrs. Annie Fields's Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911).  Her transcription follows this letter.

2 Mr. Woodberry and Mr. Greenslet (who wrote Mr. Lowell's life last year): George E. Woodberry (1855-1930) published Makers of Literature; being essays on Shelley, Landor, Browning, Byron, Arnold, Coleridge, Lowell, Whittier and Others in 1901.
    Ferris Greenslet (1875-1959) was an editor with a summer home in White Mountains, near Ossipee, also the author of The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1908) (See Cary Sarah Orne Jewett Letters p. 76).
     Greenslet's biography of Lowell appeared in 1905, James Russell Lowell, his Life and Work.

    Note that Stoddart and Fields disagree in their transcription of Woodberry / Woodbury, the latter referring to Jewett's friend, Charles H. Woodbury.  See Correspondents.  Heller believes that Fields more likely is correct.

3 Wikipedia says: "Taormina is a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, midway between Messina and Catania. Taormina has been a tourist destination since the 19th century."

4 this dear hill... Alice Howe:  The Fields's Gambrel Cottage sits on Thunderbolt Hill in Manchester by the Sea, MA.
    Alice Greenwood (Mrs. George Dudley) Howe. See Correspondents.

5 Another of the Cranberry Islands off the coast of Maine.

Wikipedia says: "Guglielmo Marconi, ...(25 April 1874 – 20 July 1937) was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system."
   Built in 1900 by Harland and Wolff of Belfast, Ireland, the Canopic was a 12,268 ton passenger liner for the White Star Line. It was retired in 1925.  The ship appears not to have had wireless telegraph in 1907.

7   This is very likely James Parker (1854-1934): "Philippine Insurrection Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient. He rose to Major General in the United States Army. He was awarded the CMOH while a Lieutenant Colonel in the 45th United States Volunteer Infantry, for action in Vigan, Luzon, Philippine Islands on December 4, 1899. His citation reads 'While in command of a small garrison repulsed a savage night attack by overwhelming numbers of the enemy, fighting at close quarters in the dark for several hours'."

8 Located in Maine and New Hampshire, these 6 stream-linked lakes form the basis of a large recreational area.
    Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards (February 27, 1850 - January 14, 1943), of Gardiner, Maine, was the author of many volumes of biography, poetry, and children's books, Richards was the daughter of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, abolitionist and founder of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind.  Her mother Julia Ward Howe,was  author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."  According to the biographical sketch at the Maine Women Writers Collection, Richards and her husband, Henry, operated Camp Merryweather, "a summer camp for boys on Great Pond in Belgrade, Maine, which ran for more than thirty years," beginning in about 1900.

9 Stoddart suspects that Jewett has misspelled the name, intending Charles Hosmer Walcott, a prominent Boston area lawyer, and, his wife, Jessie McDermott Walcott, an illustrator of children's stories and magazines.  However, it seems likely Jewett refers to relatives of Parkman's mother, Elizabeth Wolcott Stites.  The exact identity of the Wolcotts, however, remains unknown.
    The Parkman's sons were: Henry Parkman (1894 - 1958) and Francis Parkman (1898 - 1990).

10 Henry Parkman, of Boston, husband of Frances. See Correspondents.

11 Wheelwright's aunt and a mutual friend, Susan Burley Cabot, died on 24 March 1907.  Also in recent months, Wheelwright had lost a nephew, the chemist Samuel Cabot IV (1850 - November 1906), son of Samuel Cabot III; and a brother, Stephen Cabot (9 December 1826 - 23 November 1906). See Correspondents.

12 Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) was a Welsh mystical poet who wrote in English. The quoted line, which Jewett altered slightly, appears in Silex Scintilans (1655) and begins, "They are all gone into the world of light! / And I alone sit lingering here; / Their very memory is fair and bright, / And my sad thoughts doth clear."

13  Jewett often was a guest on the Wheelright family yacht, Solace, kept at Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Maine.

15 Helen Bigelow Merriman (1844-1933), artist and author.  "Mary" probably refers to Jewett's sister, Mary Rice Jewett; when she refers to "Mary" in the next paragraph, she almost certainly means Wheelwright's daughter.  See Correspondents.

16  Jessie Cochrane was a talented amateur pianist from Louisville, Kentucky, who was a frequent guest in the Boston and Man¬chester homes of Mrs. Fields.,

The manuscript of this letter is in the collection of the Miller Library of Colby College, Waterville, ME.  This full 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.

 SOJ to Mrs. Sarah Cabot Wheelwright [partial transcription]*

     Manchester by Sea, Wednesday, 7th August [1907]

     It is not because I do not think of you very often that I have not written; but every day brings its succession of little hurries, and hours when one cannot write. And then I count more and more upon the truth that we can "think" to each other, when we are really friends, much better and oftener than we can write. When they find out all about wireless telegraphy, they are going to find out how the little batteries in our heads send messages, and then we can do it by rule and not by accident. It is very nice now, however, and we aren't called up by strangers as we may be in those later and more instructive days. You see that I am here, alone with Mrs. Fields, just now, though we had two young men for Sunday, Mr. Woodberry and Mr. Greenslet (who wrote Mr. Lowell's life last year),* and there was no end of talk about book affairs and especially about Sicily, -- Taormina, -- where they had all three been. I listened as if I had been there too, having read them -- and others. Mrs. Fields had six weeks at Taormina three years ago, and I know her point of view literally and figuratively both.*

     You have had a new sorrow in these days* -- it has been in my mind all the time I have been writing. I have had a feeling that it would touch you closely. It is hard to have people go when they take a piece of our lives with them. I have sometimes felt as if it were I who died and stopped, and not they. "They are all gone into a world of light," as Vaughan says (oh, that most beautiful poem!), but it leaves it darker here.

     I have just been sitting and thinking about you with my pen in my hand. I wish that I were nearer to you. We could be out in the "Solace,"* and yet we needn't try to talk.


This partial transcription appears in Annie Fields, Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (1911),  A transcription of the full manuscript appears above.

 SOJ to George E. Woodberry

     South Berwick, Maine, 23d August, 1907.

     Dear Mr. Woodberry, -- Your letter found me here. -- I meant for you to keep the two little books. I am sure that you will care enough for them -- for reason of "Renouncement" in one volume and "My Lady Poverty" in the other, if for nothing else! What a picture of Italy that last brief poem never fails to make before one's eyes! I wish that we could talk about them while they are still fresh in your mind.*

     What a joyful time it is to be close to the end of a long piece of work, and sad too -- like coming into harbour at the end of a voyage. The more one has cared to put one's very best into a thing, the surer he is to think that it falls far short of the "sky he meant." But it is certain that everything is in such work that we have put in. The sense of failure that weighs the artist down is often nothing but a sense of fatigue. I always think that the trees look tired in autumn when their fruit has dropped, but I shall remember as long as I remember anything a small seedling apple tree that stood by a wall in a high wild pasture at the White Hills,* -- standing proudly over its first small crop of yellow apples all fallen into a little almost hollow of the soft turf below. I could look over its head, and it would have been a heart of stone that did not beat fast with sympathy. There was Success! -- but up there against the sky the wistfulness of later crops was yet to come.


for reason of "Renouncement" ...  "My Lady Poverty": These poems are by Alice Meynell. See Correspondents.
    "Renouncement" appeared in Poems (1893); "My Lady Poverty" appeared in Other Poems (1896).

My Lady Poverty  by  Alice Meynell

The Lady Poverty was fair:
But she has lost her looks of late,
With change of times and change of air.
Ah slattern! she neglects her hair,
Her gown, her shoes; she keeps no state
As once when her pure feet were bare.
Or - almost worse, if worse can be -
She scolds in parlours, dusts and trims,
Watches and counts. O is this she
Whom Francis met, whose step was free,
Who with Obedience carolled hymns,
In Umbria walked with Chastity?
Where is her ladyhood? Not here,
Not among modern kinds of men;
But in the stony fields, where clear
Through the thin trees the skies appear,
In delicate spare soil and fen,
And slender landscape and austere.

end of a long piece of work:  If Fields has dated this letter correctly, Jewett may be referring to the only work of her own to be completed in 1907,  Letters of Sarah Wyman WhitmanOr, she may refer to one of the books Woodberry published in 1907: Emerson, The Appreciation of Literature, and Great Writers.

"sky he meant":  Jewett seems to be quoting, but if she is, the source is unknown. Assistance is welcome.

White Hills
: The White Mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire.

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

Manchester by Sea Thursday --
[September] 5th [1907]1

My dear Sarah

I have been thinking of you every day. I suppose that Mary *has gone on her Eastward voyage and I only hope that she has had better weather than if she had sailed west-ward. It has been foggy and sticky here, dog days of a sort, and no good wind, but I hope the Hesper2 is out of reach of such con=ditions [so transcribed]. Mary and I are always talking of our most delightful fortnight in June -- it is a constant pleasure, I might say an always growing pleasure, and I wish to thank you every time I remember it. Mary* and I came over here on Monday and celebrated my birthday on Tuesday, and yesterday she had to go home, but I am staying on a few days longer. Our friend Miss Cochrane3 is here and her Music is a true delight.  I wish you were all three here just for all evening and when she didn't play Mary Wheelwright could sing and vice versa !! Mrs. Fields seems pretty well, I think she has gained strength this summer and I do hope that we can make some plan so that she need not be shut up in the house so much this winter. I must not forget to give you her love.

Thank you ever so much for your dear last letter.  I wish that I could see you and know ever so many things -- but first of all, how you are . . . Mrs. Fred Dexter4 came to Mrs. Tyson's5 the last of the week and we went down to luncheon, so I had a little news of the North East  -- - 'Dear' Miss Sophy Agnes6 asked me to come to them for this week but I was promised here, and there were some other people coming and my birthday which was attended with suitable exercises so that I couldn't make another plan.  I was so sorry; and then there was the long journey to think of beside. I could write a long time but this is the morning for Mrs. Fields' and Mrs. Higginson's7 and Alice Howes' reading, and a few others that come and must be on hand. Give my love to Mr. Wheelwright and little Mary When she gets back, I send my dear love to you,

Yours ever

S. O. J.

Stoddart's Notes

1 Jewett's birthday fell on a Tuesday during these years only in 1895.*

2 The Wheelwrights' yacht, once used as a pilot boat, docked always at their summer cottage "Otherside", in North East Harbor, Maine.

3 Jessie Cochrane of Louisville, Kentucky, was a talented pianist and protege of Annie Fields. She often visited both the Charles Street and Manchester addresses of Fields and Jewett.

4 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.

5 Emily Tyson (1846-1922) and her daughter Elise purchased and renovated the nearby Hamilton House in South Berwick, Maine, now owned by  Historic New England -- the current caretakers of Jewett's home.

6 Miss Sophy Agnes:  It is possible Jewett refers to Agnes Irwin "(December 30, 1841- December 5, 1914) [who] was an American educator, best known as the first dean of Radcliffe College from 1894 to 1909 and as the principal from 1869 to 1894 of the West Penn Square Seminary for Young Ladies in Philadelphia, later renamed, in her honor, the Agnes Irwin School.... Irwin was born in Washington, DC, the daughter of [Pennsylvania] Congressman William Wallace Irwin. Her mother [was] Sophia Arabella Bache...." While this identification is completely speculative, Miss Irwin did correspond with both Jewett and Fields in letters dated after 1900 (See the Houghton Library finding guides for Jewett correspondence).

7 Ida Agassiz Higginson (1837-1935), daughter of Jean Louis Agassiz, the naturalist. She aided in the development of Radcliffe college with her stepmother, Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz. With her husband, Henry Lee Higginson, she helped found the Boston Symphony as well.

Editor's Notes

1907:  While 1895 is a possible date for this letter, because of Jewett's 3 September birthday falling on a Tuesday, this also happened in 1901 and in 1907.  The mention of the Tysons places the date after 1898, when Tyson purchased Hamilton House.  Given Jewett's familiarity with the Wheelwrights' summer sailing plans and her reference to having been with them in the previous June, this letter almost certainly was composed in 1907.

Mary ... Eastward:  This is Mary Cabot Wheelwright.  When Jewett later wishes all three were present to hear Miss Cochrane, she means to include Mr. Wheelwright.  See Correspondents.

Mary and I:  Mary Rice Jewett. See Correspondents.

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.

SOJ to Frances (Mrs. Henry) Parkman

     South Berwick, Monday afternoon, [Autumn 1907].*

     My dearest Frances, -- I now state (but with a strange pen found on Mary's desk) that "Please send 2d Revise to" is the form of words, and after a bad night and day made doubly trying by little problems about these dear proofs."# I begin to cheer up because you say that you will come on Thursday. We feel sadly provincial since the fast expresses have made a new schedule and go right by, but there is a nice 1.15 train to Dover where I could meet you, and if you can stay long enough, you can go to York by trolley (this bait has been used before without being noticed by Frances).

     I just opened an October "Spectator" that I had not seen, and here in a Review of the Queen's Letters some wise person says: "We realize of course that it is exceedingly difficult to print Documents or Letters entire owing to reasons of space. At the same time it cannot be doubted that a letter is a living thing with` an individuality of its own, and if the head and tail are cut off, and two or three pieces taken out of the body, that individuality is lost."* This is my own strong instinct. I have felt Her* at my elbow so often in reading these proofs that it has been hard not to follow our dislikes or preferences, but I would not for anything be prepotente. I think we should think of the author first however in every case. That's our plain duty.

     But so few of us know what a stern judge print is in itself; what a sifter and weigher of values, how astonishing its calm verdict when a book is done. None of these preliminary stages can forecast it, and I do so want this to be Her best. What she would wish it. Too much choosing has cost the letters dear; they sometimes do not read like letters at all in these unrelated fragments. I cannot keep myself from thinking how beautiful she made them, each was like one of her own sketches. She brought all her Art to letter writing when she was at her best. She would say we must make them stand as well as we can. . . .

     This is only said to you by your loving


#Fields's note

Mrs. Whitman's Letters.


Autumn 1907: Though Fields has dated this letter in 1905, it almost certainly is from 1907, when Jewett was completing her work on Letters of Sarah Wyman Whitman (1907).  As this letter suggests, Jewett unwillingly chose to present fragments of many of the letters.

October "Spectator" ... a Review of the Queen's Letters: The Letters of Queen Victoria : a Selection from Her Majesty's Correspondence Between the Years 1837 and 1861 appeared in 3 volumes 1907.  The review to which Jewett refers, "The Letters of Queen Victoria" appeared in The Spectator (London) of October 26, 1907, pp. 611-612.

Her: Sarah W. Whitman.

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

Violet Paget to SOJ

II Palmerino
 S. Gervasio
Oct 25, 1907

Dear Miss Jewett --

    I have been wanting for months to thank you -- to tell you how enchanting I felt your letter to be; and I haven't. I have been busy, anxious, my poor brother* has at last been saved from the sword of Damocles* suspended over him but saved by a kindly & silent Death. I have been very busy, a little out of sorts, away. In short, I haven't written to you. And instead of writing now, in any decent sense of the word, I am merely going to bore you with a very troublesome commission. I want to make an English Writer's Notebook on England,* but I want to get paid for it, & therefore to put it through a serial. The Atlantic Monthly took the two instalments I am sending herewith, but it has refused the remainder which I had had laboriously copied out. The only people wanting to read about England are Americans, & America doubtless contains magazines besides the Atlantic. But my MS is colossally big, on heavy paper, & moreover it is my only copy save the half illegible scrawls in my pocket books. I don't want to send it about with the risk of loss. This printed sample shows exactly what 1 am offering. There are four numbers each about the size of the printed -- i.e. Things of the Past, Things of the Present, The Celtic West, and "Some Cathedrals and Oxford."

    Will you offer the serial copyright (book copyrights all reserved) of these to anyone you think likely to take them? If I get them accepted in principle (i.e. on the supposition of their being equal to the printed sample) I will send the MS to America. As to terms American payment is always handsome. The point is that a decision can be perfectly come to on the printed specimen.

    Dear Miss Jewett, what a bother for you. But I have no one else to help me, or no one except you I really care to ask so great a favour. And to you I can say that my brother's death has left me, for the next few months, rather out of pocket, & that I am therefore trying to sell whatever finished MS I have to pay off a loan I have had to make. A kind friend,* towards whom endebtedness [so spelled] is but a pleasure, is taking me with her for a month to Greece, where I never expected to go; & after that I am going for a fortnight to Cairo. I shall not be back for two months from the moment when you receive this letter, so do not write to me yet. And don't be angry with me for bothering you.

    I am sending you the Tauchnitz Hortus Vitae* with the letter to Mme Blanc.

Yours gratefully
V. Paget


poor brother:  Cary says that Eugene Jacob Lee-Hamilton (1845-19097) was Paget's half-brother, by their mother.  Her was in the British foreign service and then retired to a literary life.  He suffered from a number of chronic diseases and a stroke in the years before his death.

sword of Damocles: Refers to the story -- of ancient Greco-Roman origin -- of Damocles, who wished to change places with a king, whom he believed happier than others because of his power.  To illustrate the reality of the life of a ruler, the king had a sword suspended by a single horse hair over the head of Damocles, convincing him that the insecurity of a ruler's life diminished the satisfactions of wielding power.

English Writer's Notebook on England:  Cary points out that the two early installments of Paget's "An English Writer's Notes on England" appeared in Atlantic Monthly in July 1899 and October 1901.  While Jewett was kind in making effort on Paget's behalf, her declining health and influence in the publishing world prevented her from accomplishing much.  After Jewett's death, Paget succeeded in placing the first three pieces she names in Scribners, August, November and December 2013.  He says that she incorporated parts of the cathedrals piece into "Things of the Past."  The book she projected never appeared.
    Jewett responded to this letter on 3 January 1908.

a kind friend:  Cary says that Paget's kind friend was Lady Maya Mackenzie Owen, who paid Paget's expenses while accompanying her to Greece, but not to Egypt.  Further information about her is welcome.

Tauchnitz Hortus Vitae with the letter to Mme Blanc: Paget's Hortus Vitae (1904) opens with a long letter "To Madame Th. Blanc-Bentzon."  Cary says that this dedication actually was addressed to Gabrielle Delzant (1854-1903), whom the book was intended to honor, but who died before its release.
     Cary says that Gabrielle Delzant (1854-1903) and her husband Alidor (1848-1905) lived in a village in southwest France. He published, among other items, a compilation of her hitherto unpublished writing after her death.
    For Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc, see Correspondents.

The manuscript of this letter, according to Richard Cary is in the Colby College Library. This would be: Lee, Vernon (Violet Paget) and Jewett, Sarah Orne, "Violet Paget (Florence, Italy) to Sarah Orne Jewett (South Berwick, Maine)" (1907). Vernon Lee: Letters Home. 868. His transcription with an informative introduction and notes appears in "Violet Paget to Sarah Orne Jewett" Colby Library Quarterly 9 (1970) 235-243. (1970): 235-243.  Notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

 SOJ to Sara Norton

     South Berwick, Maine, November 12, 1907.

     My dearest Sally, -- I have just tied up a little book for you. It may not 'like you' as much as the "Hortus Vitæ,"* but I find many charming things in it. I suppose that I am made like Vernon Lee;* it gave me a little thrill the other day when I came upon this in still another book called "Limbo": "As some persons are never unattended by a melody, so others -- and among them your humble servant -- have always for their thoughts and feelings an additional background besides the one which happens to be visible behind their head and shoulders."* -- I must lend you "Limbo" some day, or find it for you. I always fancied that you may like, even better than I (because you are a closer friend), to have these brief sketches open their windows toward Italy.

     I ought not to write on and on to a busy autumn Sally in this way, but the thing I really had most in mind when I began was the story of an Indian summer* afternoon last week, when I went on a little pilgrimage by trolley car down the Kittery shore, to a dear old house on the river just opposite Portsmouth, where my sister and I used to visit a delightful old grand-aunt -- by courtesy and of courtesy -- when we were children. You go down a deep lane from the main road and (I ought to tell this to Dr. James)* I was possessed by a sudden terror of a huge Newfoundland puppy who used to run and jump at me when I was six years old. I never have been so afraid of anything since. I was not thinking of him [so transcribed] after a comparative safety of above fifty years. There's a persistent sensation for you! The old house was standing empty and somebody let us in to stay as long as we liked. It is a huge old place, I can't quite remember all the rooms now! and the sun was shining in, and the dear ghosts: Aunt Anne and Cousin Marcia were both there.* It is far too long to write after all, but the sound of Portsmouth bells across the water woke many things in my heart. And in the old garden, as if Aunt Anne would even now not let us go empty-handed away, there was the last old St. Michael's pear-tree that I know,* with its harvest dropped for us on the grass. I wrote a story about this old house once, called "Lady Ferry," -- it was when I was about twenty and still very young, and Mr. Howells would not print it. I can always show him the scar to his great amusement! I put it into my second small book, "Old Friends and New," and you might just look at it; I still think that he made a mistake (I can hear him laugh!), but it was my whole childish heart written in.* I have only seen dear Mr. Howells two or three times all summer. They were just going away when Mrs. Fields was here, when he generally comes up for an afternoon or so. He looks very well, I think much better than a year ego or two. Was not his "Atlantic" paper full of kind and delightful things, and Mr. Norton's so exactly right! and Miss Francis's in the last "Contributors' Club" about Mr. Fields those were the days when I began!*

     Dear Sally, forgive all this, but I have been playing that I really saw you and your dear father. The trouble is that you have not known it and told me instead the things that I would so much rather hear. I am sure that you were both glad to get back to Shady Hill, and I hope that you are both equal to many pleasures and to the things you wish to do.* You and Mr. Norton are two of my very dearest little company of friends; I can never help thinking of you both very often and always sending my true love.


the "Hortus Vitæ": By Vernon Lee (Violet Paget, 1856-1935). Paget was a writer of English parentage who lived and wrote near Florence, Italy. Hortus Vitae (1904) is a collection of essays on self-cultivation. See next note.

Vernon Lee ... another book called "Limbo": It is likely that Jewett is giving Sara a copy of Lee's The Enchanted Woods, and Other Essays on the Genius of Places (1905), which contains a number of pieces on Italy. The quotation from Limbo and Other Essays (1897) appears in "The Lie of the Land," at the beginning of section VI, which opens, "This same power of sentiment and fancy, that is to say, of association, enables us to carry about, like a verse or a tune, whole mountain ranges, valleys, rivers and lakes, things in appearance the least easy to remove from their place. As some persons are never unattended by a melody; so others, and among them your humble servant, have always for their thoughts and feelings, an additional background besides the one which happens to be visible behind their head and shoulders. By this means I am usually in two places at a time, sometimes in several very distant ones within a few seconds" (here quoted from The Bodley Head, 1908 edition, 62).

Indian summer: In North America, a period of warmth following the first hard frost of the autumn.

Dr. James ... persistent sensation: Probably Jewett refers to William James (1842-1910), the American philosopher and psychologist. In an examination of James's chapters in Psychology (1890) on Sensation and Memory, I did not find the term "persistent sensation." Still, James discusses the sensation of the presence of an amputated limb, to which the term "persistent sensation" has been applied. Or Jewett might easily have been thinking of James's presentation of the phenomena of memory. More precise information would be welcome.

Aunt Anne and Cousin Marcia:  Blanchard in Sarah Orne Jewett (1994) identifies Aunt Anne as Anne Rice (pp. 39-40).  It is notable that Jewett calls her a grand-aunt, though Blanchard says that Jewett's "blood" relationship with Anne Rice was more distant.

St. Michael's pear-tree: U. P. Hedrick, in The Pears of New York (Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1921), says that the White Doyenné pear was called the St. Michael's pear in the Boston area in the 19th century, when this variety was considered one of the best for eating, though difficult to cultivate. As pears became increasingly a commercial product, this variety disappeared along with many others of the more than 120 that Hedrick describes as having grown in New York and the Northeastern United States.

I wrote a story about this old house once, called "Lady Ferry," ... Mr. Howells would not print it: William Dean Howells was editor at The Atlantic when Jewett completed her story, "Lady Ferry." The story appeared in Old Friends and New (1879).  See Correspondents.

Was not his "Atlantic" paper full of kind and delightful things, and Mr. Norton's so exactly right! and Miss Francis's in the last "Contributors' Club" about Mr. Fields those were the days when I began!: Jewett refers to the November 1907 issue of Atlantic Monthly, which was the fiftieth anniversary number. Charles Eliot Norton contributed "The Launching of the Magazine." William Dean Howells' "paper" to which she refers, was "Recollections of an Atlantic Editorship"; Howells acted as editor from 1866 until 1881, thus including the beginning of Jewett's professional career. Miss Francis is almost certainly Susan Moore Francis (1839-1919), essayist and book reviewer for Atlantic. The unsigned piece on James T. Fields' editorship of The Atlantic that Jewett attributes to Francis was "The Atlantic's Pleasant Days in Tremont Street."

Shady Hill:  The Cambridge, MA residences of Sara Norton and her father, Charles Eliot Norton. 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 Sara Ormsby Burgwin Holland

Dec'r -- 4rth [1907]*

[ Begin letterhead ]

South Berwick.

[ End Letterhead ]

Dear Sara

    I meant to thank you at once for the photograph -- it is so nice to have it, and I like to remember that pleasant day and to have your 'likeness' too -- I think it does us both more credit than many such portraits do!  It was so nice to see you and Arthur the other day, only I wish we could have met before your cousin Annie* got tired -- just at that last minute.  She

[ Page 2 ]

soon rested however and I think it didn't do her a bit of harm only good rather -- as we had taken it very quietly -- We had laid a great plot to go by ourselves in tourist fashion -- it is so pleasant to see the people as well as the museum itself -- but Mrs. Gardner* had caught us with great amusement.  How wonderful and interesting it all is! I had only seen it once by moonlight before I was ill when Mrs. Gardner wanted us to come and see it first,

[ Page 3 ]

until last week, and then I went twice the day I saw you and with an English friend another day.  I hope that I shall meet you there again -- With love to both and thanks for the photograph yours ever affectionately

Sarah O. Jewett


1907: The envelope associated with this letter appears to have been cancelled in December of 1907.  It is addressed to Mrs Arthur Holland, Main Street, Concord, Massachusetts.

Annie:  Annie Adams Fields. See Correspondents.

Mrs. Gardner:  Isabella Stewart Gardner. See Correspondents.  It seems likely that Jewett speaks of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, then called Fenway Court, which opened in 1903.

The manuscript of this letter is held by the Small Library, University of Virginia, Special Collections MSS 6218, Sarah Orne Jewett Papers.  Transcription and notes by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.

Main Contents & Search