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JEWETT TO DRESEL: 33 LETTERS
.
By RICHARD CARY

     In Annie Fields's edition of Sarah Orne Jewett letters there are two to Miss Louisa Dresel -- one from Aix-les-Bains, June 14, 1898 (pp. 152-154); one from Kingston, Jamaica, January 30, 1899 (pp. 162-164) -- both addressed familiarly to "Loulie." Consistent with her policy of minimal clarification (in some 250 pages she supplies just eighteen footnotes, fourteen of which contain five words or less), Mrs. Fields volunteers no cues to Dresel's identity. Indeed, she does not even append the omitted year of the June letter, which must be inferred from its position in sequence. The rippling tone and palpable affection that suffuse these letters posit long acquaintance, profound respect, and not a little thrust of influence between correspondent and recipient. Yet, nowhere in Jewett biographical literature does Louisa Dresel command more than fleeting mention, and as often as not her name is misspelled.

     A sheaf of letters written by Jewett to Dresel recently acquired by Colby College Library help to rectify this oversight and place the quality of their relationship in proper focus. The thirty-three presented here (plus one by Dresel, permission of Harvard College Library) attest the frequency of their meetings in the Boston area during fall-winter and along the North Shore of Essex County in spring-summer, also the frequency of their communication between Maine and Massachusetts or when either was abroad. In addition to recertifying the power of personal, social, and cultural affinity that bound the two women, these letters intensify or add valuable new facets to our knowledge of Jewett's life and works.

     Louisa Loring Dresel (1864-1958) was one of that great breed of literate, talented, austerely sophisticated women of genteel upbringing that proliferated around metropolitan Boston in the last decades of the last century. Her father Otto (1826-1890), born in Geisenheim on the Rhine, became noted around Boston as a pianist-composer of exceptional intelligence and extensive repertoire, an earnest docent to younger artists, and a shunner of publicity. He set to music Holmes's "Army Hymn," Longfellow's "In Memoriam," and songs from Milton's Comus. Miss Dresel's mother was Anna Loring (1830-1896), daughter of Ellis Gray Loring, eminent Boston lawyer and abolitionist, friend of Emerson, Whittier, and Harriet Martineau. Mrs. Dresel served as vice-president of the Sanitary Commission of Boston during the Civil War, and president of Vincent Hospital. Lydia Maria Child dedicated Fact and Fiction to her, "the child of my heart." The Dresels were married in 1863. Louisa was their first child. Her brother Ellis, seven years junior, made his mark in the law and international diplomacy.

     Reared in such a matrix of esthetic, intellectual, and civic awareness, Miss Dresel emerged a connoisseur of the several arts, a lover of books and their makers, a sharp observer and bright glossographer of the passing scene, an inconstant formalist, a deeply confirmed, responsive, amusing companion -- in short, an ideal communicant for Sarah Orne Jewett who, conceding the difference between Boston and Berwick, might well embrace Louisa as a mirror image. Either was capable of cramming a prune, a shamrock, and a copy of Sappho into a Christmas stocking, or of riding a bicycle or a boy's sled downhill. In two ebullient sentences Fields brings Dresel down to scale as a thoroughly human being. "Loulie is bigger and more disastrous than ever! She is happier and kinder than ever, too," she told Jewett in an undated note.

     As these letters reveal, Dresel's prime enthrallment was painting, which Jewett had once seriously contemplated as her field of main endeavor, and which she never entirely abandoned. So there is considerable talk of art, artists and exhibits, and lively curiosity about current esthetic activities of mutual friends. Jewett, who was now spending several months of each year at Fields's Charles Street house, shows herself au courant with the opulent schedule of local lectures and theatre bills, commenting by the by on three transcendent primadonnas of that era: Bernhardt, Patti, Duse. As might be expected, there is much sheer gossip about trips, visits, and women's daily preoccupations, but this is redressed in the spate of insights and information divulged by Jewett: for instance, on the illness and death of her mother at greater length than in any previously published letters; on her unquenchable love of nature, couched in Romantic imagery ("simple country life in the green fields"), and the psychic delights of sailing; on her propensity toward the sentimental and homilistic -- somniferous preachments which she usually recognizes and deplores; on her ingrained childlikeness, her unabashed ecstasies and comic hyperboles. Not always comic, as this acknowledgement of a trivial gift with extravagant metaphor not matched in her public writings: "I may say of the buttons that they shine so in the skies of my imagination that I easily mistake them for planets" (from a letter not published here).

     Tradition-yoked though she was, reiterating in story after story the lamentable demise of past excellence in New England, Jewett here celebrates the countertheme of "unlimited possibilities" in the "Great South" and the "Great West" of America, a balancing optimism that demonstrates wider scope and resiliency in her perception. Even more important is the uncharacteristic peep into the abyss which she takes in Letter 4, a rare excursion into the "unexplored territory in myself!" Her venture into introspection is shallow, to be sure, but it does impact a shaded plane upon the accepted portrait of Sarah Jewett as a figure of Minoan flatness, spinning genial bromides and tinting the world pink. Beneath the perpetual elegant veneer she too battled occasionally with unmentionable devils.

     Judgments expressed by authors about other authors are irresistibly piquant and inevitably set off speculations about possible "influence." In these letters Jewett airs opinions on Wordsworth, Kipling, Scott, George Sand, Fenelon, and William Black crisply and without cant. Applicable also are her reactions to her own published writings, ruminations on works in progress, strategies for characterizations, plots, and intentions. Among her compositions she discusses "A White Heron," Verses, Deephaven (for which she provides a preview of the 1893 Preface), "The Only Rose," "Between Mass and Vespers," "The Luck of the Bogans," and The Country of the Pointed Firs. In the course of her reports on writings unknown to us she raises a number of bibliographical questions: were these titles published in sources as yet unrecovered? published under revised titles? withdrawn? discarded? totally recast and now unidentifiable? As if to make amends, in Letter 10 she furnishes a retrieval, offsetting current misapprehension about the publication of "Miss Esther"s Guest."

     During the span of this correspondence Dresel lived at 328 Beacon Street in Boston for the bulk of the year, summers at the family cottage on Cove Hill, between Beverly and Beverly Farms -- a section of Massachusetts Bay dubbed by John Smith in 1614 "the Paradise of all those parts," and still so called in promotional booklets. Thus, in cold or hot season, Jewett and Dresel were likely to be within minutes' reach of each other by foot or railroad horsecar (Manchester is the next town up the line from Beverly). The two ladies convened as often as their other multiple interests permitted, and when they fell short, they made it up with exceeding grace in reciprocal missives.


     LETTER 1

     Saturday morning
     South Berwick
      My dear Loulie:

     IT
     was
     SUCH
     a
     stocking

     I began to eat my way down with the prune and then curiosity and appreciation got the better of appetite and when I came to my silver clasp I had a great moment. I needed it so bad for my best everyday cloak. I shall now go to Salem in proper trim. And the smaller the bundles grew the more beautiful they were after that: I am not sure that there aren't several too small for my fingers to find, and more beautiful than any yet. I am hoping to keep on the right side of the seated figure with long red hair, she being a witch person but well disposed. The four-leaved shamrock and the frizzy wig and the nice cat will be my allies.

     I send you my, love and thanks (wish you happy Christmas next year!).

     Dear A. F.1 was so delighted and touched at the heart by the Sappho. I like to tell you though I know she will. Yours with many thanks,

     S. O. J.

     I put my stocking all in again and showed to those here who were good enough last night.
 

Note
     1Annie Adams Fields (1843-1915), widow of the publisher James T. Fields, became Jewett's inveterate companion after his death. They traveled frequently together in the United States and Europe, and Jewett spent a good part of each winter and summer in the Boston and Manchester-by-the-Sea homes of Mrs. Fields. Shortly after Jewett's death Mrs. Fields edited Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett (Boston, 1911).
 


     LETTER 2

     [Manchester, Mass.]
     Tuesday morning
     [Autumn 1886]

     My dear Loulie:

     I was so sorry to miss you and your brother1 and so was Mrs. Fields. We had gone for a long ramble along shore2 and did not get in until dark, but how glad we should have been to see you if we had only known. Thank you for liking the "Heron"3 so much. I begin to wish to read it over myself. I felt very discontented with it when it was first written, and it is most reassuring to have you feel such a satisfaction even though you heard long ago what it was meant to be!

     We spent one day this week at Ipswich Neck4 and I want you so much to see it and try some sketches. There is nothing more beautiful in any country than I could show you there on the right sort of a day -- just such a day as we are having now. If I were to be here long enough I should ask you to come down by train and drive over with me, but we must do it late next year perhaps, if Mrs. Fields and I come down. We mean to see you again if possible, but Thursday is the day set for going away and we may have to wait until we are all in town. You don't know how much I like my little sketch of the treetops and how I keep it here on my desk, perched in front of a pigeonhole though sometimes it slips inside. It might be more polite perhaps to call it your sketch! but I like to own it!

     With dear love to Mrs. Dresel and a little kiss for Loulie.

     Yours sincerely,

     S.O.J.
 

Notes
     1Ellis Loring Dresel (1871-1925), a graduate of Harvard College and Law School, became a career diplomat. As a plenipotentiary at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I, he was one of the signers of the peace treaty. He served at various times in the United States embassies at Berlin, Vienna, and Berne.

     2Fields's summer home, Gambrel Cottage, was situated on Thunderbolt Hill in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, a popular resort for Bostonians between Beverly and Gloucester on the North Shore.

     3Jewett's short story, "A White Heron," appeared in A White Heron and Other Stories (Boston 1886).

     4A northwestern point of Cape Ann extending into Ipswich Bay, a short ride from Manchester.


     LETTER 3

     Christmas night
     [1886]

     My dear Loulie:

     What a dear girl and what a dear picture! and now I ought to say what dear girls and the splendidest calendar that ever crossed the sea! Do thank Miss Brockhaus1 for thinking of the new friend whom she has not seen, and doing this charming thing for a faraway Christmas. Indeed I care very much for the picture. I like it with a growing liking and Mrs. Fields, who knows, says it is the very best yet, and that Loulie is -- well, that must wait to be told and not written.

     I sent you the little Wordsworth,2 because this summer I have waked up to such a wonderful new glimpse and wide understanding of some poems that I did not know before, and I am in such a corresponding hurry that everybody else should look through the same window!

     Forgive this hurried note because with all its blots and blunders it is very full of true gratitude for your dear kindness and I am

     Your sincere and affectionate friend,

     Sarah O. Jewett

Notes
     1Marianne Brockhaus, a young German girl Dresel met on one of her frequent trips abroad, who remained a devoted friend and correspondent for many years. When Jewett died, Miss Brockhaus wrote from Dresden to Fields, in part: "I shall always count the hours spent with you both among my most precious recollections & shall never forget the atmosphere of perfect sympathy & understanding in your sweet companionship. The literary world of America lost much but only those who knew her can feel with you, nearer and dearer to this rare woman than anyone else. I am proud to have known her and feel grateful to her for great kindness as well as for opening my eyes to various things in American character that a foreigner never would have appreciated but for her books."

     2Selections from Wordsworth. With a brief sketch of his life. (R. Clarke & Co.: Cincinnati, 1886), 40 pp.
 


     LETTER 4

     South Berwick, Maine
     September 25, 1887

     Dear Loulie:

     I was very sorry to miss you the other afternoon, and I find {it} is so hard to write what I wish to say in answer to your interesting letter that I am tempted to wait and talk it over when we meet in town! It was just the kind of letter I like to have, written out of a mood and bringing a piece of your life to me. I know how one regrets having written such letters because the next day is apt to find one reserving one's opinions with great care!! but they are immensely helpful between friends and so I thank you very much for sending this to me. Indeed it startles me now and then to grow suddenly conscious of unexplored territory in myself! as if my thoughts could be laid out map-fashion; and here is my native state and here its neighbour and the rest of New England, and there is "Out West" where I have been two or three times only1 -- and then like the old geographies comes blank places of yellow and red marked Desert and waste land -- (Please make all that I mean out of this bungling simile!). And little by little we learn our way about our own consciousness. I think that you were right in the main, in saying that we should be able to say things that we think clearly, but the power of apprehension is one that differs as well as the power of expression, and both can be cultivated. When I follow you a little farther and come to the vehicle of expression, I believe that the reason of our pleasure with the verses that our thoughts make themselves into is this: that we have to make them very clear and brief little figures and so our thoughts have a live definiteness that is very enticing. But I liked the way you put your thought into prose best. It takes an experienced verse writer, not to be hampered with rhyme and metre. For myself, I made a resolve long ago that verses should not escape me, that if I had a poetical idea it must go to enrich my New England prose. I could show you more than one bit of a prose page that was verse to begin with!2 and I think that I have gained rather than lost. But sometimes when verses make themselves it is a great joy, and for the moment lifts one to a higher level of literary companionship. There is one sure thing, one should try to write verses now and then to teach himself to properly value a true poet. What a dear good talk we might have about all this!

     I am afraid that you will be gone to town when I next drive up the Beverly road but we will make the most of town by and by.

     Give my love to Mrs. Dresel and remember to give Miss Brockhaus a message from me when you are writing.

     Yours affectionately,

     Sarah O. Jewett
 

Notes
     1For several months in 1868-1869 Jewett visited with her uncle John Taylor Perry in Cincinnati, with some trips to Kentucky from there. In the seventies she journeyed to Chicago and to the Oneida Indian reservation in Wisconsin. "Tame Indians," Independent, XXVII (April 1, 1875), 26, is a dramatized account of the latter visit.

     2Almost five years later Jewett wrote: "I was still a child when I began to write down the things I was thinking about, but at first I always made rhymes and found prose so difficult that a school composition was a terror to me, and I do not remember ever writing one that was worth anything. But in course of time rhymes themselves became difficult and prose more and more enticing, and I began my work in life" ("Looking Back on Girlhood," Youth's Companion, LXV [January 7, 1892], 6).
 


     LETTER 5

     South Berwick, Maine
     November 13, 1887

     My dear Loulie:

     I have been considering the photographs and wondering which I like best! Indeed I think that they are much better than the pomps of Dresden which you know I never would accept at all. I believe that of these two I like the profile but I must see the other one before I quite make up my mind.

     I was very sorry not to see you when you came to Charles Street.1 I only stayed a little while after we came up from Manchester and I was so busy with put-off shoppings, etc{.}, that I did not find the days any too long. I may be in town again before I 'move' but it will only be for a day or two; I count upon these November days and have been much grieved because a bad cold has had the better of me almost ever since I came home.

     I have been reading a good deal though and one book I am sure Mrs. Dresel will like -- The Coleorton letters -- written by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Scott and Southey, and especially my beloved Dorothy Wordsworth, to their friends the Beaumonts.2 You don't know how delightful the pages are until you read them! I am just beginning now an Irish story called Ismay's Children3 which beguiles me very much as Ireland always does. I must have had an Irish grandmother way back in the prehistoric times.

     I have been watching the papers most eagerly these last two or three days, for the arrival of the Pavonia with dear Mrs. Lodge.4 I am so glad for Mrs. Fields's sake that she is coming home again.

     Now Loulie, was it not "The Landscape Chamber"5 that I was to send to Miss Brockhaus? and how shall I manage it unless you help me, for I don't know her address. I will order one sent to you: no, I will wait until I come and then get you to add the house number; for if I let you direct it, how will our friend know that it is sent by another!!

     Please give my love to Mrs. Dresel. Tell me how the painting gets on! You know how unconvinced I am of the mirror frame (!) but how affectionately I am always, most sincerely your friend

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Mrs. Fields's Boston home at No. 148 overlooking the river, a veritable salon frequented by most of the English and American authors published by her husband, and by many others eminent in the arts.

     2Memorials of Coleorton (Edinburgh, 1887), 2 vols., edited by William Knight, being Letters from Coleridge, Wordsworth and his sister, Southey, and Sir Walter Scott, to Sir George and Lady Beaumont of Coleorton, Leicestershire, 1803-1834. Beaumont, a wealthy patron, met Wordsworth in the home of Coleridge in 1803 and favored him generously thereafter.

     3These sketches of life in Dublin by May Laffan Hartley were published anonymously, "By the author of Hogan, M.P., Flitters, Tatters, and the Counsellor, etc." (Macmillan & Co.: London, New York, 1887). Not unlike Jewett's sketches of life in Maine, "the photographic literalness of commonplace detail," said the Dublin Review critic, is "redeemed by the glow of poetic imagination." Hence the attraction, which may have been more deeply subconscious than Jewett realized.

     4Mrs. James [Mary Greenwood] Lodge (1829-1889) was fulsomely eulogized by the Boston Evening Transcript on January 3, 1890 as "the Queen Vashti of Persia, as she was, too, Priscilla of the Puritans." She was in fact a woman of considerable presence, wit and learning, who compiled A Week Away from Time (Boston, 1887), new stories, translations, and verses, to which Mrs. Fields and Owen Wister contributed. She had a keen sympathy for the poor and outcast, active with Fields in founding and operating the Associated Charities of Boston. Jewett nicknamed her "Marigold" and dedicated Betty Leicester "With love to M. G. L., one of the first of Betty's friends." Jewett's eagerness about the Pavonia was based not solely on her fondness for Mrs. Lodge but also on the fact that rough weather had delayed its scheduled arrival for two days. Lowell and Louise Chandler Moulton were among the other passengers.

     5One of Jewett's sketch-stories in a mood of Gothic mystery and veiled terror, first published in Atlantic Monthly, LX (November 1887), 603-613; collected in The King of Folly Island and Other People (Boston, 1888).


     LETTER 6

     148 Charles Street
     Tuesday, November 20, [1888]

     My dear Loulie

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

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

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

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

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

     Yours with true love,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     {Site editor note: these notes are scrambled in the original printing and have been corrected here.}

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

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

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


     LETTER 7

     Friday morning
     [March 21, 1890]

     Dear Loulie:

     I have claimed my own! but I must let the little picture live here for Mrs. Fields likes it so much. I hope you will show her the larger one of Hospenthal1 some day too. Thank you very much for giving this to me, it is a bit of real life and country. I feel as if I had been in at all the doors.

     I had a very good and dear little visit at home. Berwick was snowy but very sunshiny until the day I came away.

     I hope you are not too tired by this time with the bags? I forgot to say that you must mark the three-handled jar sold. I quite look forward to buying it at the fair!! and it will look so fine on your table. I am not sure that I shall not bring it home for a pretty present to Mrs. Fields and have such a lark and may you be there to see!

     But I must not stop to write any more this busy morning. Yesterday I went to hear Patti,2 who was in exquisite voice and all ready to sing charmingly, but the audience was so big and so sober minded that it didn't even take much notice of a ballet between the acts and really didn't seem to know that Patti was on the stage until she sang "The Last Rose of Summer" in a divine way. Then it did make a noise, but no bravos, no wild approval, only sedate clapping. Somehow it was all very funny, but I never shall forget some notes in her voice when she sang that song. I have never heard her sing so before.

     Goodbye, with love from

     Sarah

     My love to Miss Croniger. I hope she is still with you and that I shall see her again. Perhaps you can come tomorrow afternoon with her.
 

Notes
     1An ancient fortified village on a crag of the St. Gotthard Pass in central Switzerland, now a popular holiday resort for winter sports. The heavily wooded landscape, with baroque church and picturesque castles, lent itself to the painter's eye.

     2Adelina Patti (1843-1919), coloratura soprano born in Spain of Italian parents, came to the United States as a child, early achieved international fame, and became the most highly paid singer of her time. On this occasion she was making her first appearance in three years -- a series of six operas at the Mechanics' Building Grand Hall -- in von Flotow's Martha.


     LETTER 8

     South Berwick, Maine
     August 12, 1890

     My dear Loulie:

     Just a word this windy morning to tell you how glad I was to get your letter, and how much I read between the lines that made me happy about you. I am so glad too that I have seen you. I hope that you are keeping out of doors a good deal -- that's the very best thing -- it is impossible not to be one's simple and natural self with nature and I sometimes think that the minute one goes into a house one is subject every way to some degree of artificial conditions! On the whole I approve of them but me must'nt {we mustn't} forget that we are little beasts of the field too!!!

     I was enchanted the other day with a letter in the beginning of Madame Sand's Correspondence (to her friend Madame d'Agoult) where she describes one of her early morning rambles and says that at last she succumbed to the temptation to walk into the river! and then came out again and dried herself in the sun, and liked the effect so much that she repeated it.1

     I tell you about it very stupidly but you will wish to make for the next brook when you read it yourself, and one feels refreshed oneself as one sees how that great woman who was always burdened and excited by her great living and thinking found perfect joy in being a wild creature for a little while, and made herself next of kin to the bushes and the birds. I have been reading her letters and her life lately but it always vexes me to read French books that I care a great deal for because I cannot gallop along the pages as I do with English books. I wish to have your Marianne read another book of Rudyard Kipling's stories if only for the sake of one called "With the Main Guard." It is in the volume called Soldiers Three.

     Goodbye dear Loulie for I must get some other letters done in time for the mail. Give my love to your mother.

     Yours lovingly,

     S. O. J.
 

Note
     1George Sand, Correspondance 1812-1876 (Paris, 1882), 6 vols: "L'autre jour, j'etais si accablée, que j'entrai dans la rivière tout habilée. Je n'avais pas prévu ce bain, de sorte que je n'avais pas de vétements ad hoc. J'en sortis mouillée de pied en cap" (II, 4-5). Countess Marie de Flavigny d'Agoult is remembered for eloping with Frans Liszt and bearing his child, and as the author of History of the Revolution of 1848 under her pseudonym Daniel Stern.


     LETTER 9

     South Berwick, Maine
     October 1, [1890]

     Dear Loulie:

     I was glad to get your two nice letters, the first was full of delightful things to a person in my business! I am so glad that you are having such a delightful time. I thought you would! and the second letter quite proves it. I envy your playing so much with dear Nelly Hale.1 It seems a great while since I saw her. I am indeed glad that you feel so much better. I was sure of that too, and dear Loulie, how the truth comes to us as we grow older that one gets something out of simple country life in the green fields that one never does anywhere else! It is very natural that I should have a prejudice in that direction!

     You see that I have left Manchester, but I hope to go back again for the last few days of Mrs. Fields's stay and be moved to town as I was moved down! Mr. Sargent2 is still there and we have enjoyed him very much. It is always such an interesting world to me, the picture world, and he is such a serious man as my dear old grandfather3 used to say, and so intent and wholehearted about his work. I am sure that you would find great pleasure in what he says and is. I wonder if Nelly has not known him.

     I must say good morning with much love to you and Nelly and 'Mamma,' and here are best thanks for your letters.

     Yours always affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Ellen Day Hale (1854-1940), daughter of Edward Everett Hale, studied with William Morris Hunt and at the Julian Art School in Paris. Later she established a studio in Boston and became notable for her portraits, landscapes, and genre paintings.

     2John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), able and fashionable American painter, stayed at Mrs. Fields's Gambrel Cottage "while he paints a person or persons in the neighbourhood" - listed in his biography as Mrs. Augustus Loring, Miss Louise Loring, and Portrait of a Lady.

     3Dr. William Perry (1788-1887) raced spirited horses along the beach at Exeter, New Hampshire, in his eighties and performed surgery in his nineties. A strongminded and outspoken man, he early egged Jewett toward a serious commitment to work. She dedicated The Story of the Normans to him.



 

     LETTER 10

     South Berwick, Maine
     November 10, 1890

     My dear Loulie:

     I hear by the way of Charles Street that you have been ill and I write to say that I hope you are fast getting well again and to flaunt it in your face that I am very well myself! But very busy, which is apt to lead to a season of depression of body and especially of mind. It never has seemed to me that I was meant for an Ornament alone, but trying to be useful and energetic is not apt to be successful either to judge from certain standpoints. This sounds very self-contemplative and shallow, but forgive a well meant effort to amuse you.

     I have been going on very quietly since I wrote you or saw you last. My mother has been a very great deal more comfortable until yesterday when through a sudden chill or the change of weather she had to go back to bed again. But she has been well enough to really enjoy her drives, all wrapped up in furs and taking the "way of the wind," and so the autumn weather has proved kind to us, gray as it has sometimes been. My sister Mary1 has been away on some visits and I have had a very dear quiet time helping my dear mother to keep house and playing that she still could do it all. Then I have been writing a good deal and riding a little and going down river one lovely afternoon and coming up with the tide and being quite Betty Leicester-like!2 in my pleasures of outdoor life. You would have laughed one day when my nephew Theodore3 and I were far out of town among the pastures, and began to play at scouting for Indians which much occupy his eleven year old mind. You can imagine how we saw feathered heads peering over the hills and rode for our lives, and then discovered the campfire of these deadly savages and were relieved at discovering that they were not a war party but had their squaws with them and were on their way to the mountains to cut tent poles, their own, fastened to their ponies, being worn to stubs!! The quiet pastures never knew such works, but indeed I can "play" as well as ever I could, and I could be dead in earnest with sand piles if occasion offered. Let us try next summer?4

     Have you seen the new paper that is started for the Girls' Clubs? Far and Near? I think it promises very well. I will send you a copy with a story which I gave them,5 and had to write in a great hurry, but it turns out pretty well if only I could have corrected it enough. It is not always the pieces of work that one works over most that are most satisfactory to the reading public!

     Next week I hope to go to town for a day or two and I shall try to see you, so please to Get Well at once!

     Yours affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Mary Rice Jewett (1847-1930), her elder sister, to whom she dedicated A White Heron and other Stories.

     2Heroine of two Jewett stories: Betty Leicester: A Story for Girls (Boston, 1890); Betty Leicester's English Xmas (Privately printed, 1894), reprinted by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., as Betty Leicester's Christmas (Boston, 1899).

     3Theodore Jewett Eastman (1879-1931), only child of Jewett's younger sister Caroline, the last descendant in the direct line, was graduated from Harvard College and Medical School. Jewett nicknamed him "Stubby" and dedicated The Tory Lover to him.

     4Jewett's inexpungeable streak of puerility is frequently evidenced in her letters to friends and in her public writings. See Eugene Hillhouse Pool, "The Child in Sarah Orne Jewett," Colby Library Quarterly, VII (September 1967, 503-509; also Fields, Letters, 50, 125, 252, also "Grown-Up," Independent, XXIV (September 26, 1872), 2, Jewett's own interesting study of her tendency to regress.

     5The National League of Women Workers, New York, initiated this magazine in November 1890. Jewett's story, "Miss Esther's Guest," appeared in that first issue, vol. I, pp. 10-12. The Jewett bibliography erroneously lists it as first appearing in A Native of Winby and Other Tales (Boston, 1893).



 

     LETTER 11

     Friday
     November 28, [1890]

    Dear Loulie:

     I don't like HIS looks at all. You will frighten me into saying no to everything and everybody and I shall never write any more little stories "at all mirover" as the people say in Black's novels. By the way, have you read A Princess of Thule1 lately? It is always such a delightful book to reread -- you find it so much nicer than you expected every time.

     I had already made a vow, before I read your note of admonition that after I copied a story and finished a very brief sketch and got my paper on "Sarah, Countess of Rumford"2 off my mind, that I wouldn't get in for any more writing. Yet this very day one flashed clear and bright into my mind, and I know by the way I see it that it will be written. The name is "The Paley Twins,"3 and so there is half a winter's work. The "Countess of Rumford" is really worth doing. Perhaps you don't know that the famous count left a daughter, New England born and bred, who came back from her gay life in Munich and Paris and London and spent the last of her years in a quiet New Hampshire town. A countess of the Bavarian Court and Concord are such a funny pair of thoughts to put together! She was a near relative too, of some of my connections and I have always been hearing about her, yet never thought of writing about her until within a few years. I must tell you a great deal about her some time.4

     Dear Loulie I hope that you are better, but if you still feel your throat I wish that you would go away for two or three weeks. At this time of year one doesn't dare to go out of doors much and colds are things of the house. I shall preach from this text for I hope to see you next week when, as the plan is now, I am to go to town again. Love to your mother.

     Yours affectionately,

     S. O. J.

     I am so glad that you liked the St. Augustine story.5
 

Notes
     1Five of William Black's novels about his native Scotland highlands are in Jewett's library, including A Princess of Thule, first published in 1874, and described as "one of the most popular of a popular novelist's novels." Jewett derived the name of her favorite horse, Sheila, from the heroine of this book.

     2Among Jewett's papers in the Houghton Library is an unfinished holograph manuscript of some twenty-five odd sheets, the ink and handwriting testifying that they were written at different intervals, with plethoric alterations, entitled "The Countess of Rumford." There is no evidence of a fair copy or of publication.

     3As above, there is no record of this story in the Jewett bibliography. She may never have written it, it may never have been accepted for publication, or it may one day be discovered in a remote newspaper or magazine, as have several others unlisted.

     4Sarah Thompson (1774-1852) was depicted by Jewett as a grande dame, an ornament to both European and American societies. After her return to Rumford (now Concord), New Hampshire, she involved herself deeply in philanthropies for children, widows, orphans, and the insane.

     5 "Jim's Little Woman," Harper's LXXXII (December 1890) 100-110; collected in A Native of Winby and Other Tales (Boston, 1893), one of Jewett's few contrived stories, is about an exemplary Maine girl who marries an attractive, reckless sailor fond of drinking and carousing.


     LETTER 12

     South Berwick, Maine
     December 22, [1890]

     Dear Loulie:

     I am sorry to have only these two photographs to send you with the book and my most affectionate Christmas wishes. I have put away my negatives in such a safe place that I can't find them to have more printed. But I think that the Oldfields burying-ground1 ranks highest as a work of art! and the dear old house where I was born and where I now sit writing to you (near the window over the porch) will be as interesting to you as any others of the little pictures. The perspective of the house is quite queer! but I expect great things from the next developing of sixty.

     It is not very certain whether I shall be in town this week. At any rate it will only be for a night and part of a day tomorrow night or Christmas night. An old cousin of ours here, of whom we are very fond, is, I fear, dying, and this makes my mother very depressed and she as not been quite so well lately at any rate. Then there is a wedding of one of my cousins in Exeter tomorrow!2 It is a strange hurried week altogether.

     Dear Loulie I am sure that you will have many thoughts beside those of Christmas merrymaking, but after all the best of Christmas is that one feels free even in repressed and undemonstrative New England to be as good as one knows how to other people and to give them all the pleasure one can. I can wish you a happy Christmas if not a merry one, and I do most heartily with much love.

     Your ever affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Area adjoining the Piscataqua River in the north section of South Berwick, "between its great forests and open fields." A photograph of the Goodwin House and the burying-ground is reproduced on page 594 of Jewett's "The Old Town of Berwick," New England Magazine, X (July 1894), 585-609.

     2Jewett's cousin was Helen Bell (not to be confused with Helen Choate Bell), the youngest daughter of ex-governor of New Hampshire, Charles Henry Bell who had twice married into the Exeter Gilman family, maternal cousins of the Jewetts. On the 23rd Miss Bell married Dr. Harold North Fowler, professor of Classics in Phillips Exeter Academy. The wedding company was described as "a large, brilliant assembly," including two of the Harvard senior faculty and "many people of prominence" from several states.



 

     LETTER 13

     South Berwick, Maine
     Saturday afternoon
     [December 27, 1890]

     Dear Loulie:

     Your pillow did not get to me until last night, owing to the storm and also a little I suppose to my being away from town. I think it is a dear. I like it VERY much, and I send you as many thanks as will make three to each of the stitches. It is to go on an old couch covered with blue and white chintz with shepherdesses and other persons for a pattern, and I hope that some time you will put your own head on it for I do not like to think of your having parted from such a pillow forever!

     I thank you for your kind Christmas thought, dear Loulie -- indeed I thank you for all your kind thought that lasts me the year round.

     I spent Tuesday night in town in a whirl of busy-ness and got home again Wednesday evening. A dear quaint little old cousin of ours, a great friend of my mother's, has died this week, which has been a real sorrow -- as in addition to our missing her at any rate my mother will particularly miss her visits -- she had a brisk little cheerful way of "running in." I must tell you more about her some day when we are talking together.1

     I have just finished some teasing work, the anxious revision of the Normans book which is to be put into an English edition.2 I have felt hurried with it and of course there could hardly be a more distracting week of the year to undertake it in! But I am sending off the papers today, and feel much relieved in mind.

     Give my love to Mrs. Dresel and keep much for yourself, dear child, from

     Your most affectionate and grateful,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Mary Elizabeth Jewett Nealley (1817-1890) died on December 23. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Lord Jewett, and the wife of the Hon. John B. Nealley, a lawyer in South Berwick and a member of the Maine State Senate. They lived adjacent to the Cushing house on Main and Academy streets, a few hundred feet from the Jewett home.

     2The Normans, Told Chiefly in Relation to Their Conquest of England, No. 29 in The Story of the Nations series, was published by T. Fisher Unwin (London, 1891). The first edition was brought out by G. P. Putnam's Sons (New York, 1887).


     LETTER 14

     South Berwick, Maine
     March 4, 1891

     My dear Loulie:

     I hear of your flitting Southward and I am sending you a line to assure you of my good wishes, but also my vain regrets that you can't go this time to my beloved and beautiful St. Augustine! You will find a good part of your way very monotonous, but it is only after one comes back from a strange country that one can fully take the strangeness of it in. And our America is so different from Europe -- you see everything on a larger scale, that makes England, for instance, a country in miniature. The immensity of America strikes me more and more as I grow older -- the Great South -- the Great West with their unlimited possibilities waiting to be moulded and shaped and decorated by the hand of man and turned into such crammed and perfectly developed sections of the globe as any across the sea. But most of us feel more at home with a tamed and civilized part of the world -- it is still a little dreary to me to hurry all day across a piece of Southern Country that looks nearly as much alike as if the cars stood still!

     I am coming back to town next week for some days and I shall miss seeing you. I have been looking forward with great pleasure to seeing Bernhardt1 and I do hope that Mrs. Fields will be well enough to go too. My dear mother has been ever so much better for a week or more which is a great joy, you can believe.

     I am sending you a little book which may be old to you but I wished you to have a copy that I gave you. I have for years made it my chief counsellor and consoler and inspirer in the way of a book. My friend Ellen Mason2 gave me a copy of Fénélon -- why it must be twenty years ago, and it is the religious book of my life -- so ready for everyday need and so modern and completely unaffected and unsuperstitious it seems to me. Of course there is only a brief selection in this edition3 but it was all I could get hold of, and I have been keeping it some time to send to you when I was next visiting. I do hope that you find the kind and wise 'Bishop of Cambray' as helpful a friend as I have found him.

     Do give my love to Miss Sarah Clarke!4 It was a great pleasure to me to meet her last year, and a real inspiration. I can imagine what a pleasure it will be to her to have you and Mrs. Dresel come down to her neighborhood, and I hear that Mrs. King is going too, which will be so dear for all of you. I shall hope to hear from you! and if you stay late enough you must stop in the Natural Bridge regions as you come North.

     There is such a great blowing snowstorm today as if winter were beginning all over again. I quite envy you the miracle it always seems to those who go far South quickly out of our Northern winter. I never shall forget what a miracle it seemed to me the first time I did it! You feel as if you had been let out of jail and as if it must be impossible to play out of doors!

     I must say good bye with much love and many good wishes to you and 'Mamma.'

     Yours affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Sarah Bernhardt, on another triumphal tour of the country with her French company, was scheduled for one week at the Tremont in La Tosca, La Dame aux Camélias, and Cléopatra. Tickets were being sold at auction, and Jewett wrote Annie Fields: "the harder they are going to be to get the more I wish to get them! ...  I am going to pawn my best clothes and get some tickets by hook or crook. I do wish very much to see Cleopatra."

     2Ellen Francis Mason (1846-1930), who lived on Beacon Hill in Boston, devoted much of her time to charitable enterprises and to sponsorship of the arts, particularly music.

     3François de Salignac Fénélon (1651-1715), appointed to the see of Cambrai by Louis XIV whose grandson he tutored, produced some thirty-five volumes on religion, education, and mysticism. Jewett revered him as "a seer of character," saw threads of his influence in Maeterlinck, and distributed copies of Selections from Fénélon (Boston, 1890) to several of her friends.

     4See Letter 32, note 4.

     5A continuing tourist attraction, the Bridge is a limestone arch spanning ninety feet of Cedar Creek in Rockbridge County, western Virginia, near Lexington.


     LETTER 15

     South Berwick, Maine
     October 28, 1891

     My dear Loulie:

     Thank you for your dear letter. It is a great comfort to know that my dear mother's illness is ended1 but the loss falls just as heavily in our hearts -- perhaps more so because all her pain and suffering brought us closer than anything else ever did. These last few weeks have been most hard to bear but as I look back I find some of the dearest and best minutes that my mother and I ever had together scattered along the way. I miss her and miss her: it seems impossible that she should be gone. A. F. came at once from Manchester and was the best of comforts. I don't know what we should have done without her.

     Give my dear love to Mrs. Dresel and I send my love to you Loulie dear with thanks for the book which I shall read presently. I know about it and am so glad to see it.

     Yours ever affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Note
     1Housebound from protracted ailments, Mrs. Caroline Perry Jewett died on October 21, 1891. Jewett wrote frequently and glowingly in letters about her father but usually restricted remarks about her mother to a sentence or so on her vacillating condition. This is Sarah's most extended revelation of feeling about her mother to appear in print.


     LETTER 16

     South Berwick, Maine

     Sunday November 22, [1891]

     Dear Loulie:

     I spent nearly a week in town, but I was not well and had to keep myself very quiet, so that I thought about you but did not send you word that I was there as I meant to do. Now that I am at home again I am better and begin already to think of what I shall do when I go to town again.

     Mrs. Fields did not get home from Baltimore until Monday morning and then I was so sorry to give up doing some things that we wished to do together, but there were very dear things in the visit after all.

     I hope that you are feeling much better again? Do find time to read the Journal of Sir Walter Scott!1 It is the most enchanting and appealing of books, though I am not sure that "Mamma" won't care more for it than you will. I think that it belongs to our day more than to yours! but, I do not speak slightingly with all my pride and appreciation - ! -- !

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Note
     1The Journal of Sir Walter Scott, from the original manuscript at Abbotsford, was originally published in two volumes in 1890. Harper & Brothers issued a popular edition in one volume in 1891. A copy of the New York 1901 edition is in Miss Jewett's library.


     LETTER 17

     Hotel Bristol, Rome1
     March 25, [1892]

     Dear Loulie:

     I wonder why you show such a preference for tonsilitis! Now that I have tried it again I like it no better than ever, and in this first week in Rome too! I scolded to A. F. as I lay in my bed yesterday that I might just as well be in Wenham and Hamilton2 (they sound so impersonal when you hear them named in the train!) as here, but today I got up and even went to the Pincian3 to drive, so that I shall soon be as good as new now, if one could only remember what new felt like!

     Luckily we have the pleasantest of neighbours, being in two rooms of a corridor where Alice Howe4 is at one end and Miss Garrett3 of Baltimore, whom we like very much, at the other. It has been nice for A. F. who has taken her walks abroad and her drives and already looks much better for she was quite pale when we landed. It was a pretty bad voyage, bad rough weather all the way, but there was a very pleasant ship's company and at the last I didn't mind how much the Werra rolled (she's an awful roller!) and I got used to pitching, as I always do, very soon. I got a frightful fall and blow on my head the first night out and I haven't got over it yet, but my black eyes faded out some days ago.

     We had a very nice time in Genoa, staying four or five days, though there were some good New England snowstorms and squalls, and we found it so cold in that part of the country generally that we left it without trying Nervi6 as we meant to, at any rate for a week or two. The Isotta was really very comfortable indeed and we found friends and saw a good deal of Villa Novello. So we have saved Nervi for another time or later this very spring perhaps, and we spent one night in Pisa and two or three in Venice, which I loved, and one in Orvieto, where I began to be ill, and then came here and liked it very much. You see I haven't much to tell you yet, Loulie dear. You will have to fill in the Roman landscape with A. F. and me for figures! I send a great deal of love in it, though, to you and Mrs. Dresel.

     A. F. and Miss Garrett have gone together to the Villa Pampli-Doria7 and afterward to call upon Mrs. Story.8 Mrs. Howe has gone to the Villa too, but I'm going Monday if you please. Goodbye.

     With love from

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1On their second trip to Europe together Jewett and Fields concentrated on France and Italy, meeting among other prominent authors Mark Twain, Du Maurier, Tennyson, and Mrs. Humphry Ward. The Grand Hotel Bristol Bernini was in the Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini quarter.

     2Two towns between Ipswich and Beverly in Essex County, Massachusetts.

     3A hill affording a wide panorama of Rome, noted for its much frequented park with a wealth of decorative paths, busts of distinguished Italians, fountains, flowerbeds, and old trees.

     4Mrs. George D. [Alice Greenwood] Howe (1835-1924) had a cottage in Manchester-by-the-Sea within a short walk of Mrs. Fields's. Jewett dedicated her finest book, The Country of the Pointed Firs, "To Alice Greenwood Howe."

     5Mary Elizabeth Garrett (1854-1915), an early patron of Bryn Mawr College and the Johns Hopkins Medical School, often invited Jewett to her summer cottage at Dark Harbor, Maine. Jewett's Betty Leicester's English Xmas was privately printed for The Bryn Mawr School (of which Miss Garrett was a founder), and was dedicated "To M. E. G."

     6A resort town on the rockbound shore, replete with attractive villas, gardens, parks, and small galleries of art. Now a part of the municipality of Genoa.

     7A sumptuous palace built in the 17th century for Prince Camillo Pamphili, with an enormous park containing a lake. The chief feature was the gallery of paintings by Bellini, Coreggio, Titian, Caravaggio, Rubens, Teniers, Poussin, Velasquez, Breughel, and others.

     8Mrs. William Wetmore story, née Emelyn Eldredge of Boston, married the American poet, essayist, and sculptor in 1843 and lived with him in Rome from 1847. Henry James quotes him as saying, "She was my life, my joy, my stay and help in all things" (William Wetmore Story and His Friends [Boston, 1904], II, 316). James described "the admirable efficacy of Mrs. Story's presence in her husband's career -- a presence indefatigably active and pervasive, productive in a large measure of what was best and happiest in it" (II, 317). They celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in October 1893, she died shortly thereafter in the spring of 1894, and he followed in the next year.


     This single letter written by Dresel to Jewett is offered here in evidence of their striking mutuality of social, literary, musical, artistic, and temperamental inclinations. Dresel's lively cast of mind, anecdotal flair, incisive observation, broad topical range, flickering wit, and sentimentality are given ample expression, as is her cavalier misspelling of salient surnames.


     328 Beacon Street
     April 11, 1892

     Dearest S. O. J.:

     Your letter from Rome, the first one from you, has just reached me. I am very sorry I did not give you the brass piggy after all -- the George Medal has evidently not done the work! Or you would not have had sore throat and a fall from out of your berth at sea. But without your medal who knows how much worse you would have fared! -- there is always that to be considered.

     I truly hope that after these sorrows by land and by sea you and A. F. have entered upon a season of sunshine and rest, and are both gaining by double handfuls what you went to seek. I have been thinking of you so constantly since you left that I hope the wet element has not proved entirely a non-conductor, and that you have felt sure of my good wishes that follow you everywhere.

     The question of a European trip still swings in the balance, and is beginning to be an awful nightmare! I feel so "stranded" and there seems no light given. Since I wrote last Dr. H. M.1 announced that she thought we had better go! but finding how Mamma felt, she began to waver and doubt, just as I have, and we are as far from a decision as ever! But the longer it is put off, the less probable it seems, and I imagine June will find us in Beverly.

     Till I think of Venice and such things to paint, I feel not uncontented with the prospect of the Ross Turner2 Class and the Beverly shore, but the thought of Venice makes all else pale before it, and I am filled with wicked envy of any one who goes there. Where will this note reach you? At Amalfi, or north again, Florence perhaps? The Ritter Studio closed March 31st and as I did not wish to chop off any endeavours so suddenly, I have enlisted at Miss Johnston's Studio for a month. G. Cary and others of the type work there, and there is a certain somnolent and soothing quality about working in this class which is a grateful influence upon wrought-up feelings! I used to draw with Miss Johnston in the very same studio when I was an atom of a girl, eleven or twelve years old, and it gave me a queer feeling to go back there. The top-light is the only distracting feature. I find it rather upsetting to all preconceived ideas of shadow and color, never having worked under a sky-light before. But a change is good discipline. It was very sad to have the Old Studio break up, -- a little of the presence and inspiration of our dear teacher seemed to linger there, and it was a new parting.

     I went the other day to see your little Woodberrys3 -- he had a special Exhib. in another room in the same building -- but I asked for her and went into the studio and saw her and a good deal of her work, which is more interesting than his to me, though I think his is in some ways more mature, it seems to be less full of promise than hers. I think hers shows that she has more mind than he -- he is such a small little man outside, and he is so blond, and he had a long checked necktie tied in a bow, and looked as if he lived principally on crackers! She made much more impression on me, and interested me decidedly. But his work is really good -- better than hers, -- technically -- he had some capital sketches -- and his use of pencil is very uncommon. I mentioned you to them both, and she instantly became very cordial, and he remarked that you were "A very fine woman," which way of putting it took me so aback that it took me some minutes to recover my equanimity! He looked so small when he said it. But his size was emphasized by the presence of my giantess friend, Alice Stackpole who went with me, so it was not quite his fault. She paints, and is a disciple of Ritter too, and wanted to go to the little Woodberrys Exhib. so we went together.

     There has been a Monet Exhib. at the Botolph, and there has been fierce war waging pro and con in the papers, -- to my surprise I found myself liking many of them very much. There is much that is very true, but only a trained eye can appreciate it -- and I think a good many people talked twaddle and pretended to see things which they didn't. Lafarge4 also had an Exhib. at Doll's -- and there are Art Clubs ad. lib.

     Did I tell you of my last call on Dr. Holmes?5 He was so interested to have news of you and A. F. He seems to be quite enchanted with Mrs. Whitman's6 portrait of himself, and delighted to have it admired by his friends. He only regrets that it is not to stay in Boston. He seemed as bright and lively as possible, and full of pretty speeches. When I left he begged me to come again, and added "It is only seeing delightful people -- such charming people as you -- that keeps me alive now!" A little pathetic wasn't it? But it was he that had been talking and entertaining me, and I only listened.

     I think he likes me because when I say anything I can make him hear without shouting, and like everyone who is a little deaf, he hates to have people raise their voices unnecessarily. He propounded the ingenious theory that agreeable voices and agreeable expressions of face went together always! I wish he were right! So many sweet-faced American women look like angels till they speak, and then become peacocks -- birds of quite another feather.

     Mr. Lang7 is getting up another Parsifal performance in Music Hall. Mrs. Joachim8 is giving a series of historical concerts; the Hendschels9 are to sing in the Passion music, also in the next Symphony concert. I leave Parsifal severely alone, but am booked for the other shindies. The Opera was wonderfully good. The de Reszkes10 are the finest singers I know of. They are coming in October again, and then you must go to Faust too.

     I have been reading Villette for the first time. I think the uncertainty of the end is most distressing. A sort of "The Lady or the Tiger" business! I suppose she means he really was lost at sea -- because being a morbid creature it would be just like her (C. Bronté, I mean) but it seems to me quite an unnecessary thing to happen.11

     How nice to be with Mrs. Howe in Rome. Please give her my dearest love if you are still with her, or when you next see her. I suppose you will be in Venice with her.

     I hear that the O. B. Frothinghams12 are going to Aix! Mrs. F. has rheumatism and is dragging the hapless old Rev. across the ocean. He totters and sways on his feet and doesn't look as if he could survive an ocean-voyage, though I dare say he is daily in more danger in Boston from electric cars and fast driving!

     Mamma and I called on "the ladies" a day or two ago. Miss Howes seems very bright and well now. The next day she sent Mamma a very large and very fat cut-glass cologne bottle, (!) which looks exactly like the donor that we have to call it "Miss Howes."

     I suppose spring has now reached you, and you are revelling in blossoms of every kind. But, if you had gone to Nervi, you would have really been warm! Even with a snowstorm at Genoa. The difference is incredible, unless one has experienced it -- and in May the hotel is already closed I believe. It must have been horridly chilly in Sienna and those regions, but you have seen heavenly things -- which I have often longed to see.

     It was very nice to get your letter, but it will be a good while before I get another. Which is a disadvantage. If you were in Berwick it w'd be time for another Boston visit now, and I begin to miss you quite in earnest.

     It is late, and I must go to bed. Goodnight, love to Mrs. Fields.

     I send you dearest love and best of wishes for all your wanderings.

     Always yours,

     Loulie

     N. B. A better letter next time -- tonight I was too tired for a longer one or a better one.
 

Notes
     1Dr. Helen Morton (d. March 12, 1916) had offices successively on Marlboro, Boylston, and Chestnut streets in Boston. Jewett once characterized her as "touchy in her doctorly heart and more devoted in her private capacity as a friend."

     2Ross Sterling Turner (1847-1915), teacher of watercolor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Normal Art School, had studios in Boston and Salem from 1882 to his death.

     3Charles Herbert Woodbury (1864-1940), marine painter and etcher, had a school in Ogunquit, Maine. and wrote several books on drawing and painting. Marcia Oakes Woodbury (1865-1913) was born in Jewett's home town of South Berwick. The Woodburys studied in Paris, later collaborated on book illustrations, including the limited large-paper edition of Deephaven in 1893, and The Tory Lover in 1901.

     4John LaFarge (1835-1910). American artist and author, born in New York of French parents, followed the tradition of the Italian masters. He did the murals for Boston's Trinity Church.

     5Oliver Wendell Holmes spent many summers in his "pleasant little cottage in the village [of Beverly Farms], hard by the railway station," a short distance from Mrs. Fields's cottage in Manchester-by-the-Sea He used to date his letters from "Beverly-by-tbe-Dépot" to twit his Manchester neighbors. At age 83 he closed a letter to Mrs. Fields "with affectionate regards and all sweet messages to Miss Jewett" (John T. Morse. Jr., Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes [Boston, 1897], II, 320.)

     6Sarah Wyman Whitman (1842-1904), painter, designer of stained glass windows, illustrator of books, provided the decorations for Jewett's The King of Folly Island, Betty Leicester, The Queen's Twin, and Strangers and Wayfarers, which Jewett dedicated "To S. W., Painter of New England men and women, New England fields and shores." Jewett edited and wrote the unsigned preface to Letters of Sarah Wyman Whitman (Cambridge, Mass., 1907). In Amiable Autocrat, A Biography of Oliver Wendell Holmes (New York, 1947). 383, Eleanor M. Tilton writes: "When he [Holmes] forgot his sittings for the portrait Mrs. Whitman was doing for the Philadelphia College of Physicians, he wrote verses to the painter to announce his coming for the postponed sitting:

     Some in rags
     Some in tags
     And one in an Oxford gown."

     On September 17, 1891 Holmes indited an untitled poem of four quatrains to Mrs. Whitman -- "From Nature's precious quarry sought" (Thomas Franklin Currier, A Bibliography of Oliver Wendell Holmes [New York, 1953], 343-344). Mrs. Whitman contributed decorative line-cuts to the title pages of Holmes's The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table and Over the Teacups Birthday Edition, 1890, 1895).

     7Benjamin Johnson Lang (1837-1909), Salem-born organist. pianist. teacher. composer, and conductor, studied in Germany with Liszt, introduced the European masters to America and especially promoted the music of Wagner.

     8Amalie Weiss Joachim (1839-1899), wife of the famous Hungarian violinist, made her own career as a concert and operatic contralto after separating from him in the 1880s.

     9George Henschel (1850-1934), German-English composer, conductor, and baritone, inaugurated the song recital with his wife Lillian Bailey Henschel (1860-1901), American soprano whom he married in 1881, the year he became first conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

     10The Polish deReszke brothers, Jean (1850-1925) and Edouard (1855-1917), stars of Paris and London opera houses, who became respectively the leading tenor-baritone and bass singer of the New York Metropolitan Opera Company for more than a decade beginning in 1891.

     11Both Charlotte Bronte's novel and Frank R. Stockton's short story end on a note of "And so I leave it with all of you." The reader is to make up his own mind which of two possible extreme resolutions the plot will take.

     12Octavius Brooks Frothingham (1822-1895), American Unitarian minister, historian, and biographer, fell under the liberalizing influence of Theodore Parker, organized the Free Religious Association in Boston, and wrote prolifically on new religious thought.


     LETTER 18

     South Berwick, Maine
     Friday morning [October 7, 1892]

     Dear Loulie:

     I was so glad to get your letter from Jackson1 and I wish that I could have sent you a word sooner to say so. It is very pleasant to be at home again and very busy and very sad too, I must confess, but we all try hard not to let each other know that we think anything about that!2 I think it is possible that Mrs. Fields will go to Manchester for a few days to close the house, etc. -- and if she does I shall go over and so have a chance to say things. I am sure to hear from her about it within a few days. I think that she has come home very well if only she doesn't work too hard at first and get cold!

     Dear Loulie, I liked the four-leaved clover hugely. I have a great superstition about them of the most cheerful sort and I took this for great good luck.3 With love to Mrs. Dresel.

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Katharine Prescott Wormeley (1830-1908), indefatigable translator of Balzac, Molière, Dumas, Daudet and other French authors, was an Englishwoman who lived in Newport, Rhode Island, then retired to Jackson, New Hampshire, in the heart of the White Mountains. She was an intimate friend of both Jewett and Dresel, who often visited her there. See Fields, Letters, 232, 244.

     2The black-bordered envelope in which Jewett dispatched this letter suggests allusion to the approaching first anniversary of her mother's death.

     3In "A Four-Leaved Clover," Verses (Boston, 1916), 24-25, Jewett celebrates the beneficent propensities of this flower. However, in keeping with her faith in the fundamental Puritan moralities, she asserts that those who "hunt the hayfield over" develop a quality of patience, and "in little things or great, / all good luck, / Must come to those who nobly earn."


     LETTER 19

     February 7, [1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     I take up my pen without premeditation to say how much I like my barberries. The calendar 'does' even better for February than for January but I couldn't begin to say why. I am much at my desk these days -- my eyes still trouble me but I find it easier to write than to read, and certain sketches have the advantage. Yesterday I finished the better part of a perfectly new one, which is to be told you when I see you again it has such a funny little plot, or no plot,1 just which you please to say. It has no name yet, which is sad and strange -- usually I know the name when I don't know anything else!

     Somehow I enjoyed my last visit to Charles St. very much. I have been thinking about it a good deal today because I was writing to two friends at a distance. The shock and sorrow of Mr. Brooks's2 death only had the effect of inspiring everybody in a wonderful way. I find that this is too great a thing to write about in one short letter. I should rather talk about it when I come and we find a quiet time, but it seemed to make a new Boston, him going, it was a lovely trail of light that he left behind like a greater sort of sunset that somehow turned at once into dawn.

     I hope things are going well with you dear Loulie and that your mother is much better.

     Yours with love & affection,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1 "A Lonely Worker," Far and Near, III (April 1893), 109-110.

     2Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), rector of Trinity Church in Boston and Bishop of Massachusetts, died January 23, 1893. On February 12 Jewett utilized the same sunset-dawn metaphor in a detailed account of the funeral to Mrs. George D. Howe (Fields, Letters, 108). Jewett's unsigned sketch. "At the Funeral of Phillips Brooks," appeared in The Contributors' Club, Atlantic Monthly, LXXI (April 1893), 566-567.


     LETTER 20

     [South Berwick, Maine]
     Sunday morning
     [February 12, 1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     I am going to Worcester to spend tomorrow night and the next day to Cambridge to luncheon, and Wednesday and Thursday I shall be busy with Mrs. Hart's talk at the Studio.1 That is as far ahead as I can see now! But perhaps we shall find time for a passing word, on Wednesday, say; though I don't know that I can promise to be at home. I would if I could! but if you are going by, do stop to see if I am here, and forgive if I am not.

     Dr. Holmes was seriously ill a while ago but is slowly getting better.2 Mrs. Fields sees him often now but I think that he doesn't try to see people usually yet.

     I thought you would like Ships That Pass in the Night. I should really like to read it again myself. I hear that the young author is fatally ill. I wonder if it is true. She is an English girl. I mean really young which is surprising when one thinks of certain things in the book.3

     Am glad that you are busy, Miss Dresel, it is a very good thing. I suffer the misfortune of the idle in these days -- with my eyes chiefly, but I hope soon for better things. This means that I am busy enough but not doing the things I wish to do most.

     Yours affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1This is almost certainly the studio of Sarah Wyman Whitman, where she designed stained glass windows and where she entertained at parties that were "occasions." John E. Frost says the intellectual interests of this group were so diverse that one cannot necessarily assume Mrs. Hart's talk was on art.

     2Oliver Wendell Holmes lived to October 7, 1894.

     3Beatrice Harraden (1864-1936), a proponent of women's rights, wrote a score of other books but none that approached the popular success of this novel, which went into at least eleven editions before the year was out, and sold over a million copies. Jewett's curiosity about her fatal illness is ironic in that she outlived Sarah by twenty-seven years.


     LETTER 21

     South Berwick, Maine
     Friday night
     March 10, [1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     If it were not for the encouraging little final assurance in your letter, I might feel too severely commented upon and convicted to make such a speedy reply, but I feel like writing. I have been ast {asked} to take tea with a friend and neighbour and the tea happened to be coffee so that at the end of a long day of writing and 'works and ways' I am {not} now in such a hurry as usual to get to my bed. I am not buried in a snowdrift at all nor do I clasp unfinished manuscripts to my breast as you prettily imagine -- the trouble is that I fail to like them well enough, but I am getting to the end of this spin of writing1 and must turn to other things. I was very tired when I went to Baltimore2 but I got quite refreshed, it was just the time for Mrs. Fields and me to go away, and we had some delightful pleasures.

     About Deephaven: it was as you imagine about the House of H. M. & Co. -- and although I had not read Deephaven for a good while I felt as if I had come to be the writer's grandmother. I liked it better than I expected. It is the girlishness in it that gives it value, but I must be thinking about a new preface -- which will say a few things to the modern reader!3 It is curious to find how certain conditions under which I wrote it are already outgrown. The best thing that can be done for the inhabitants of a State, says Plato, is to make them acquainted with each other4 -- and my little story was written (in the main) by a girl not much past twenty, who nevertheless could see that city people who were beginning to pour themselves into the country for the summer, had very little understanding of country people. It is very different now, isn't it? I wish I could write such a preface as George Sand used to write for her country sketches!5

     It is nice to think of your going on at the art school. I do not forget that I have not seen your sketches yet, but I get very few free days somehow or other. Therefore I hope it is going to be otherwise before very long. I have to be in town next week on all sorts of business. It is too bad that Mrs. Dresel's eyes trouble her. I know how to pity her, indeed I do! Give my love to her, and say as --

     Yours always affectionately,

     S. O. J.

     I am so sorry too about your throat. You had better ask Dr. Morton to make you live upon a queer brown bread and little biscuits that she recommended to me. I have great faith in them, if your throats are a kind of rheumatism!
 

Notes
     1The year 1893 was among Jewett's most prolific. Publications which may be presumed to have come out of this period are: a biographical sketch, a sociological essay, text for a series of portraits, and five short stories. Corroboration lies in this sentence from a letter, undated but otherwise identifiable as written in the winter of 1892: "I haven't ten stories but I have finished five this winter beside four short papers which I have bestowed upon needy editors! or deserving small publications. The five stories are "Between Mass and Vespers," "Peach-tree Joe," "The Flight of Betsey Lane," "The Hiltons' Holiday," and "A Second Spring." The deserving small publications: a pamphlet of The Women's Rest Tour Association, The Artful Dodger, The Portland Transcript and Far and Near.

     2Jewett and Fields visited Baltimore at this time as guests of Mary Elizabeth Garrett.

     3Jewett's first book, Deephaven, originally published in 1877 by James R. Osgood & Co., was re-issued by the Riverside Press in 1894 in a Large Paper Edition limited to 250 numbered copies, illustrated by Charles and Marcia Woodbury; also simultaneously in a smaller format by Houghton, Mifflin & Co. The preface provided by Jewett for this edition contains close paraphrases of the sentiments in this letter on city-country relationships. It is dated October 1893.

     4Jewett made multiple references to this aphorism: in letters to Frederick M. Hopkins, May 22, 1893 (Richard Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett Letters [Watervil, Me., 1967], 83-84), to Samuel Thurber, May 9, 1906 (Ibid., 164), to Elizabeth Mckacken, December 28, 1907 (Fields, Letters, 228). and in the Preface to Deephaven, 1894.

     5In her Preface to the second edition of Deephaven (1894) Jewett cites George Sand's "delightful preface for Légendes Rustiques" (Paris, 1858, 1888), and quotes two sentences from the French text.


     LETTER 22

     South Berwick, Maine
     Wednesday
     April 26, [1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     I was very sorry to miss you while I was in town and you were very good to come so many times. It was a fortnight or more of great busyness! and I may add, much busyness of pleasure. I stayed on until Saturday expecting to see Madame Duse again but I was disappointed with the rest of the world,1 and while Mrs. Fields went home to see the Saturday friends whom she had designed to run away from, my sister and I went to hear Rearig** and were much diverted and then took the five o'clock train home. The first of the week I made a two days visit with Miss Ticknor2 which has been arranged for some time and much looked forward to. I have usually been to see her in Newport. It seemed so funny to be making a little visit in Boston -- as if I went to stay with a neighbor here!

     Chicago draws near3 and I begin to feel hurried. I am trying to get another story done before I go: it has a delightful motif of affectionate indecision! There was a plain old person who had 3 husbands and one day when she was making up bouquets to put on their graves (she is to have a friend to talk with who dropped in to call) there is one rose that has bloomed on one of her houseplants, and she doesn't know which husband she ought to give it to!! You can see that it is a story with large opportunities and I now leave you to ponder upon it.4

     With love to Mrs. Dresel, I am yours ever most affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Originally scheduled at the Globe Theatre in Boston for "four appearances only" beginning April 11, Eleanora Duse consented to an additional series, the last performances of which had to be cancelled "owing to [her] continued indisposition." {From site manager: Rearig's identity is not known. Assistance is welcome.}

     2Anna Eliot Ticknor (1823-1896), eldest daughter of the American historian George Ticknor, also consorted with Jewett in the Northeast Harbor-Mt. Desert region on the Maine coast. Miss Ticknor was one of the editors of Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor (Boston, 1876), and sole editor of Life of Joseph Green Cogswell (Cambridge, Mass., 1874).

     3The World's Colombian Exposition, popularly called the Chicago World's Fair, opened May 1 and closed October 30, 1893. Jewett attended the Fair with Annie Fields and Susan Coolidge.

     4 "The Only Rose," Atlantic Monthly, LXXIII (January 1894), 37-46: collected in The Life of Nancy (Boston, 1895). Jewett stayed true to this early conception. Miss Pendexter, "a cheerful, even gay little person who always brought a pleasant flurry of excitement," comes in "from the next house but one to make a friendly call" on the protagonist, Mrs. Bickford.


     LETTER 23

     [South Berwick, Maine]
     Saturday morning
     [April 29, 1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     I take my busiest pen in hand right in the middle of things to thank you for your letter and all it says, and to meekly state my firm belief that a story must stop somewhere, and that the best a person can do is to set her readers to wondering what happened next. To deal with such a figure as Danny Nolan's is to deal with uncertainties and one can do nothing more than take hope, or give it. Perhaps the priest could manage him, but it is the priest whose portrait I try to take: he is the hero not Danny, if I had made Danny assert himself you would have been speaking indeed of greens in my background! I think he and Dennis balance each other and are about equally distinct. I wonder if you won't read it so when you think it over? -- but I suppose they aren't or you would have been impatient to know how Dennis found his wife when he got back after the illustrious absence. You see my sense of composition in this story is clear to me, but alas how difficult it is to write and paint and play.1 I heard an old man who was a charming singer and whose voice was weakening, say, "Oh if I could sing it as well as I think it!" I suppose that it needs the perspective that you get when a thing comes back to you in print to make one feel the possibilities clearly and see what one might do.

     It was lovely about the Sold sketch. I wish I could have seen it. Now I must fly back to my work again.

     Yrs. affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Note
     1The story is "Between Mass and Vespers," Scribner's, XIII (May 1893), 661-676; collected in A Native of Winby and Other Tales (Boston, 1893). Danny, an Irish lad in New England, has turned criminal but Father Ryan guides him to regeneration through faith and love.


     LETTER 24

     Thursday
     May 4 [1893]

     Dear Loulie:

     I think your letter needs an answer -- it is so full of disappointments that I feel quite tenderhearted over you. I can't quite make up my mind that having had a friend buy the sketch, instead of a stranger, is not much more of a tribute! I wish that you would reflect upon the transaction from this point of view! There is great sagacity in the saying about prophets and their honor in their own country. It applies just as well to the prophets' works and ways, and I do think that it is a lovely combination of feelings -- this liking the painter and the picture well enough to take the picture for better or worse! Reflect, Loulie!

     But about the World's Fair, I am very sorry indeed. I still hope that Ellis may change his mind, or that you may go with an aunt or make some happy arrangement. People drop out of the Raymond parties continually, so why don't you speak for an extra berth and be ready to fly at the last moment if there is one? I am glad to be going early -- the summer looks long and pleasant beyond the Exposition which I expect to enjoy very much.

     And Mamma ill! which is a great pity. What a bleak seven days we have had, and if "the hot week in May" comes directly afterward how we shall all like it and put on our little gingham dresses and think that summer has come!

     I don't quite dare to speak of the story again!! but indeed I wrote in the middle of a tired day and something must have crept into the letter. "The Bogans" had a kind of ideality and typical-ism about it, but perhaps this is as good.1 I can't tell myself, and I don't much care. It is a brick in the little wall, and I think about my wall more than about my bricks for it is my nature to! Of all these great and little subjects we will speak when next we meet.

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Note
     1Jewett is referring to "Between Mass and Vespers" (see preceding letter) and "The Luck of the Bogans," Scribner's, V (January 1889), 100-112; collected in Strangers and Wayfarers (Boston, 1890). Both stories depict the moral decline of an Irish youth in America; the earlier ends in ruin, the later in rehabilitation.


     LETTER 25

     148 Charles Street
     Thursday
     [June 6, 1895]

     Dear Loulie:

     I found a mysterious box waiting for my coming and I hasten to take my pen in hand to endeavor (tho' with difficulty) to express my sentiments of fond emotion on receiving this new proof of your affection and taste. My heart leaps like the pretty rabbit, and I shall be ever eager to return in some way the pleasure you have afforded me. Believe me, esteemed Louisa, that I shall never hop the graceful bunny without a tender thought of her who offered him on the shrine of Friendship. These things give rise to thoughts far too deep for expression, but you will gather from my hasty words that this last gift has affected me more perhaps than any of the lovely tokens that have been heretofore so fondly cherished.

     I am ever yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.


   
     LETTER 26

     The Anchorage
     Martinsville, Maine
     September 4, 1895

     Dear Loulie:

     I don't know whether you would find this a good sketching ground but it is certainly a dear untroubled corner of the world.1 The house stands in a green field that slopes to the sea and we have three families of neighbours and two empty little old houses pretty near and some other neighbours -- the Dwyer family -- a little farther off. One Dwyer child brings the mail for fifteen cents a week and the boy catches cunners and lobsters (small ones two cents each) and other Dwyers do other things and are a heritage from the last people who were here. And this is a story-and-a-half house and I sleep in the little back corner bedroom and look out from my bed at a stonewall across the lane and a little field where men in blue overalls have been digging potatoes and beyond them are the dark pointed firs that cover most of this coast of Maine. Dear A. F. and I say "let's go out doors" and after we have stayed2
 

Notes
     1Martinsville is a hamlet at the end of one of Maine's myriad "points" that jut out into the Atlantic Ocean, several miles south of Rockland. Seeking "peace and quiet" after a nagging attack of pneumonia, Jewett accompanied by Fields, rented The Anchorage from a Boston doctor. In these idyllic surroundings, with a view of the Monhegan Light ten miles out at sea, Jewett caught up with some editorial work, walked, rode. and visited extensively, soaking up the atmosphere of the area, which has arresting resemblances to the locale of The Country of the Pointed Firs, serialized in the Atlantic Monthly starting January 1896.

     2This unfinished, unsigned note was enclosed in the following letter, dated Tuesday.


     LETTER 27

     [South Berwick, Maine]
     Tuesday

     Dearest Loulie:

     In getting into an old corduroy jacket I found this beginning of a letter to you in the pocket and it brought back that nice out of door time so vividly that I am obliged to send it on. I don't know why it never got done, perhaps it was mislaid!

     I hope that this bright sun is shining for you -- in all ways -- as it is for me. I feel much better today and we have two dear elderly cousins making us a little visit. I can hear them chirping together down in the library.

     I send you much love dear, and many a thought.

     S. O. J.



 

     LETTER 28

     The Anchorage
     Martinsville, Maine
     Friday1
     September 28, [1895]

     Dear Loulie:

     I began a long letter to you when I first came and here I am just going away and it never got finished! But I have thought of you many times and wished that you could see this bit of country which to the eyes of my imagination is even better than such a place as Folly Cove.2 I have had a little shop going, a nice smallish table, right in front of the window of my nice little back bedroom, and I sit there now looking down a dear lane with stone walls, toward the bay.3 There are two masts of a schooner just at the end and there are some wind bent trees growing just at the right place at the highest point of the lane where you seem to be able to jump over into the water! We have been very contented and have liked our little housekeeping so much. I have been busy with proofs and with a little writing but I have not got done anything like what I hoped as much I mean! However, I hope to be very busy after I get settled down at home. My sister Mary has been here this last week and we have sailed and walked a great deal and had most lovely weather.

     There does not seem to be much chance of our coming to Manchester as I think the Eatons4 will stay so late in Mrs. Fields's house that they will close it themselves and save her the trouble! Mrs. Fields is coming to Berwick for awhile and so I doubt if we go to the Shore again -- I mean go to Thunderbolt Hill. We are all the more glad to have had our lovely week in August. It was so nice to see you Loulie dear and I look back to the day with you and your mother when we had luncheon and saw the sketches with very great pleasure.

     With ever so much love, dear Loulie,

     Yours ever affectionately,

     S. O. J.

Notes
     1Jewett has written either the wrong day here or the wrong date on the next line. Friday was September 27 in 1895. The postmark on the envelope containing this letter is clearly 1895.

     2Folly Cove is on Ipswich Bay, Rockport, Cape Ann, Massachusetts, not far from the Dresels' summer cottage in Beverly.

     3Muscongus Bay, to the west of Martinsville.

     4W. S. Eaton was listed in the local newspaper as a Summer Resident at Thunderbolt Hill from August 31 to October 19 in 1895.



 

     LETTER 29

     Manchester
     August 18, [1896]

     My dear Loulie:

     Thank you so much (and thank Miss Brockhaus) for this nice long letter. I am so sorry that you should have had such a bad time with your eyes, but if it sets you right for a long time to come it may not after all be lost time. I am truly sorry that sketching isn't one of the things with which you can amuse yourself in this seclusion! but that would be asking too much from a kind oculist!! It seems so much easier than reading or any minute work, but I suppose nothing is really a greater strain, from the nature of its exactness. I hope that you will come home well mended in every way and that you and Ellis are keeping cheerful company in France at this moment.

     I have been going on quietly. After my visit to Mrs. Cabot I was at home except for a few days at the mountains -- at my friend Mrs. Merriman's1 at North Conway -- where among other great pleasures I had a perfectly delicious day fishing up Wild Cat Brook with noble results of trout and the joys of solitude. I look back to a certain three hours when I was all alone with a feeling of rest and of true enchantment. Then after a day or two at home I came here and it has been very pleasant -- a much less hurried and flurried summer than one sometimes gets on the shore. You will know how I enjoy seeing Mrs. Howe again, and we have had a visit from our dear friend Miss Garrett of whom we are both so fond, A. F. and I, and the Wolcotts have been here, the Governor and Mrs. Edith and dear little Oliver,2 who all gave us much satisfaction, each in their own way. Last week I went up to Ashfleld for two days to the Nortons3 with Mrs. Whitman for company and we had a most dear and delightful time in spite of the great heat which has put a bar to much wayfaring inland and even seaward. I seldom have known so hot a week on the shore here.

     Mrs. Cabot is very well. I have not seen her for nearly two weeks when we went to dine with the Trimbles from whom she had a visit of a round fortnight. "Plummy" is there now with The Baby and today she gives a famous luncheon. I never have told you of a delightful luncheon at your aunties while I was staying at Mrs. Cabot's and which I enjoyed very much. Your Aunt Susie looked thinner (you know I had not seen her in a long time) but she seemed very bright and altogether in good spirits. Miss Huntington4 was there.

     I am hurried very much now with getting an end written to the Pointed Firs papers which are to make a little book of themselves this autumn. I shall do very little to the sketches as they stand but speak of my getting away and add some brief chapters.5 I like to think that much of it will be new to you. I have done very little work this summer though I had such great plans. October and November must make up!

     I do not know that there is anything more to write, Loulie dear, except to send you Mrs. Fields love and mine and to say that we keep a welcome all ready for you. Oh yes, Mrs. Fields was much troubled about your not receiving her note in answer to the little package -- he was most eager that you should know how much she cared for what you sent her and sent it down by a special messenger to be sure that you had it before you left home.

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.
 

Notes
     1Helen Bigelow Merriman (1844-1933), artist and author of books and essays on painting and painters. She summered at Stonehurst, the Bigelow estate at Intervale, New Hampshire. En route between here and Boston she occasionally dropped in on the Jewetts without notice.

     2Roger Wolcott (1847-1900), governor of Massachusetts in 1896-1898, married Edith, daughter of the American historian William Hickling Prescott.

     3Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908), professor of literature and the history of fine arts at Harvard University, translator of Dante, and co-editor of the North American Review. He had three daughters -- Sara (Sally), Elizabeth (Lily), and Margaret. Jewett often visited him and the girls at Shady Hill, their Cambridge home, as well as at this summer home in northwestern Massachusetts.

     4Possibly the same Miss A. O. Huntington to whom Jewett wrote on April 15, 1895 (see Fields, Letters, 113-114).

     5The first fifteen numbered chapters of The Country of the Pointed Firs had been published In the Atlantic Monthly for January, March, and July 1896. By this time she had submitted chapters XVI-XX, which appeared in September 1896. Now she made no significant verbal changes in the magazine text, but she supplied each chapter with a title. and she combined the original chapters XVIII and XIX into one, which she named "The Bowden Reunion." The original chapter XX became chapter XIX in the book, entitled, "The Feasts End." For the first edition of the book, which came out in time for the Christmas season, Jewett supplied two new chapters: XX. Along Shore; XXI. The Backward Glance. She also wrote four other stories which pertain to CPF: "A Dunnet Shepherdess," "William's Wedding," "The Queens Twin," and "The Foreigner." These have been included in numerous editions, in various order, after her death. Jewett herself never interpolated any of them into her initial pattern.


     LETTER 30

     South Berwick, Maine
     Friday
     [May 28, 1897]

     Dear Loulie:

     I am beginning to feel like myself at last, and I now say that I have thought of you if I have not written. I am sure that the death of that little child must have touched you nearly.

     How are you and when do you go to the shore? Mrs. Fields is here just now with Madame Blanc1 and I am taking real joy in their visit. Madame Blanc is very busy with some writing in these rainy days but we see a good deal of her notwithstanding. I wish that my writing table looked as busy as hers, but writing is still the most difficult thing to me. When I say to myself that there is this or that which must be done it quite frightens me! Which will pass presently like other things of this long winter and spring.

     I hope that you begin to think of sketching again? I am glad that things promised better about your eyes when you last wrote. Perhaps when we really "get going" again with your brush and my pen we shall feel the good of waiting awhile -- at least I hope so.

     I shall be at Manchester on Wednesday evening next week for two or three days at least, so if you are driving that way!

     Yours with love and remembrance!

     S. O. J.

     This accident was from the dropping of a poor innocent little pen.2
 

Notes
     1Marie Thérèse de Solms Blanc (1840-1907) used the pen name Th. Bentzon for her numerous essays in the Revue des Deux Mondes and on thirty-odd volumes of fiction and literary criticism. She entertained Jewett and Fields at her home in La Ferté sous Jouarre, France, and they reciprocated when she visited the United States in 1893 and 1897. At this time she was writing "Le Communisme en Amérique" (RDDM, November 15, 1897) and "Dans la Nouvelle-Angleterre" (RDDM, December 1, 1898), later collected in her books Choses et Gens d'Amérique (Paris, 1898) and Nouvelle-France et Nouvelle-Angleterre (Paris, 1899).

     2The word "Yours" in Jewett's valediction is almost obliterated by a blot of ink.


     LETTER 31

     Manchester, Mass.
     Monday morning
     [June 7, 1897]

     Dear Loulie:

     We were so sorry to miss seeing you yesterday. We had gone to Mrs. Howe's for tea and were loitering home afterward, so that we were gone a long time. I did not expect you until the tenth after your letter and I am the more sorry to lose a surprise visit. Of course I should have said before that I should be much pleased about the translations.

     Madame Blanc and I go back to South Berwick today. In great haste, with much love.

     Yours ever,

     S. O. J.

     My blotting paper is to be put at the head for blotting.1
 

Note
     1A reflection of the writing on the second page of this letter was clearly imprinted on the blank third page when Jewett folded the still wet sheet.


    
    LETTER 32

     St. Rémy de Provence
     May 16, [1898]

     Dear Loulie:

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

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

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

     Yours most affectionately,

     S. O. J.

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

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

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

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

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

     4Despite the dissimilarity in spelling, this is evidently the same person Jewett referred to in Letter 14.

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


     LETTER 33

     South Berwick, Maine
     Monday afternoon [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.
 

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.

     The impression of manic activity in this last letter is somewhat delusive. On her fifty-third birthday, in 1902, Jewett sustained an injury which curtailed her physical mobility and terminated her writing career. When she died on June 24, 1909 from the lingering effects of that accident, Mary Jewett sent this touching note the next morning to Miss Dresel at Cove Hill in Beverly: "Dear Loulie, Dear Sarah went away from us yesterday afternoon just as the sun was setting. It was so peaceful that we hardly knew the moment of the passing, and I am so thankful for the blessed release for her." As serenely as she had sailed through the perplexities of life in her time and place, Sarah Jewett slid into the deeper secrecies of death. Louisa Dresel eventually moved to Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge where, in the fullness of her ninety-five years, she died.



 

Note by Terry Heller

     The letters by Sarah Orne Jewett in this collection are published here by permission of Colby College Special Collections, Waterville, ME, which holds the originals. No portion of these letters may be reprinted without the permission of Colby College. Letter #17, from Dresel to Jewett is published here by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Am 1743 (50), and may not be reprinted without permission. This is Richard Cary's edition of these letters, which appeared in Colby Library Quarterly 7:1 (March 1975), 13-49. This edition is published here by permission of the Colby Quarterly; no portion of the editorial materials may be reprinted without the permission of Colby Quarterly. Permission to reprint any of these materials must be sought from all holders of copyright and other interested parties as appropriate.

     As nearly as is practical, this text appears as it was originally printed in Colby Library Quarterly. Bracketed {} corrections and notes are added where it appears these may be needed. Cary's notes have been placed immediately after the letters to which they refer.

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