Early Letters of George Wm. Curtis
by G. W. Curtis, ed. George Willis Cooke
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Nature answers questions by removing us out of inquisitiveness. It is wilfully that we are querulous in nature, and not naturally.

I just now went to the door, and the still beauty of the moonlight night makes me a little ashamed of my letter. If I had stayed all day in the woods, and seen you there, I should have been content to be silent; but removed from the immediate glow of nature, and sitting in a purely human society, surrounded by circumstances produced humanly, as the house and furniture, the mind is withdrawn into a separate chamber, like one who goes down from the house-top into a room and so looks towards the north or west or south, and does not see all around as before.

Good-night, good friend.

Yr. aff.



CONCORD, April 5th, 1845.

Judge, my unitary friend, how grateful was your letter, perfumed with flowers and moonlight, to an unfortunate up to his ears in manure and dish-water! For no happier is my plight at this moment. I snatch a moment out of the week wherein the significance of that fearful word business has been revealed to me to send an echo, a reply to your good letter.

Since Monday we have been moving and manuring and fretting and fuming and rushing desperately up and down turnpikes with bundles and baskets, and have arrived at the end of the week barely in order. Yesterday, in the midst, while I was escorting a huge wagon of that invaluable farming wealth, I encountered Mrs. Pratt and family making their reappearance in civilization. All Brook Farm in the golden age seemed to be strapped to the rear of their wagon as baggage, for Mrs. Pratt was the first lady I saw at Brook Farm, where ladyhood blossomed so fairly. Ah! my minute is over, and I must leave you to lie in wait for another.

Evening. I have captured an evening instead, my first tolerably quiet evening in this new life, this new system of ours for a summer sojourn. The waves of my nomadic life drift me on strange shores, and sometimes, as I mount them, I dream of a home, quiet and beautiful, that home which allures all young minds and gradually fades into the sad features of such households as we see. In all my experience I think of three happy homes where the impression is uniform, for in all there are May Days and Thanksgivings; and yet to see a complete home would be to see that marriage which, if we may credit Miss Fuller, does not belong to an age when celibacy is the "great fact." As if the divine force could be extinguished! I must marry and spite her theory. You would be amused if you could see some of the letters which I receive, and which discourse of a wife with the same gravity as they do of washing clothes, as if each were a necessary, and that it would not do for me to settle upon a farm until I am married. There is some wisdom in the last advice. An old bachelor upon a farm, with a solitary old maid-servant, is not the most pleasing prospect for young one-and-twenty to contemplate. But I ignore farms and maids and prospects, saving always the natural one. Next year may find me the favored of all three.

How gladly I would be with you on Monday, you know; but what candidate for the plough and the broom should I be after the bewilderment of that scene! I remember too well the festivals which graced the younger days to trust myself within their sphere again, save in the midst of a boundless summer leisure. And when, after these chill, moist, April days, the perfect flower of summer shall bloom, I will be in its heart and breathe the enchanted air again. The word reminds me how glad I am that the flowers were so grateful. I committed my memory to delicate guardians, who, dying, did not suffer that to die. And the trinity of tone, color, and sentiment, though I knew not, like you, how to indicate it, is one of the most alluring of mysteries, so much so that I must leave it even unexpressed. Since so little may be known, I will not bring it into the melancholy purlieus of theory, but see it and hear it and feel it in echoes and glimpses. Yet all these rainbows which span the heaven of thought, finely woven of the tears of humility, one would sometimes grasp and crystallize forever. In that I find my satisfaction in what I know of Fourier; but to clutch at the rainbow! can it be crystallized?

Let not the spasm of infidelity mar my letter in your eyes or heart, and on your anniversary let one stream flow to the memory of your friend,



CONCORD, April 17th, 1845.

As a good friend, am I not bound to advise you how my new household works, here in the very bosom of terrible civilization, which yet keeps me very warm? A long wet day like this, when I have been gloriously imprisoned by dropping diamonds, tries well the power of my new solitary life to charm me. It has not failed. It is going away now through the dark, still midnight, but it bears the image of my smile. A long wet day, with my books and fire and Burrill for external, long thoughts for internal, company. After a morning service prolonged far beyond the hour of matins, led by the sweet and solemn Milton, I read Miss Martineau's last tale, founded upon the history of Toussaint L'Ouverture, in whom I have been interested. I have just read Victor Hugo's "Bug Jargal," his first novel, and also based upon the insurrection of St. Domingo. I feel that Miss Martineau's picture is highly colored, but the features must be correct. A strong, sad, long-suffering, far-seeing man, finally privately murdered by one who had been the idol of his manhood. The interest is individual throughout, which is necessary, yet fatal to the novel. I followed the Hero away from St. Domingo to his grave, and afterwards the thought of the remaining negroes came very faintly back. We read what Napoleon said of his own conduct in the matter; but with the abolitionist Miss Martineau on one side, and the doubtful Man of Destiny on the other, the pure fact grew very attenuated, and I am not now sure that I have seen it. The moment your curiosity is really aroused about an historical circumstance, the glasses through which you have been viewing so varied and wide a landscape become suddenly very opaque. History is a gallery of pictures so individually unexpressive that you must know the artist to know their meaning. Very few men relate with cold precision what occurs daily, so much are their feelings enlisted; and no less daily experiences are the recorded events of the past to the man whose days are devoted to them, and he too must infuse himself into them. He is a Guelph or a Ghibelline, not a judge of the struggle, wiser by five or six centuries of experience. In Carlyle's book "that shall be" the "Cromwell," I feel there will be so much stress laid upon the gravity and prompt, sturdy heroism of the man that much else will be shoved out of sight. It will be the history of Cromwell as a strong man, for Carlyle loves strong men; but if there are other things to be said, we shall not hear so much about them. So in Emerson's "Napoleon." He commences with saying that Napoleon is the Incarnate Democrat, the representative of the 19th century, and the lecture is an illustration of that position, but most comprehensive and eloquent.

Let history and great men fade from our sight. Lately I have grown to be a sad rhymer, and shall end my letter with hints of a life sweeter than these records of mine. More and more I feel that my wine of letters is poured by the poets, not handed as cold sherbet by the philosophers. Some day I may speak more fully upon these things. Meanwhile, secretly and constantly, I turn over pebble after pebble upon the shore, not uncheered by the hope that one day a pearl may glitter in my hands. Even this smacks of history, for Clio had claimed this page.


Meek violet of History! there flows A modest fragrance from thy maiden fame Touched with the coolness of the chaste repose Which broods o'er Plato's name.

No Wanderer through the dimly arched hall Which Time has reared between thy date and ours Meeting thy form, but sees that on its pall Are broidered Grecian flowers.

Thy shrinking virgin fame is wed with one Whose calm celestial teaching was thy King; When sitting in that cloistered nook alone Thou heardst the rude shout ring.

To thee that rabble shout foretold a scene Of tearful splendor faded in its birth— The melancholy mockery of a Queen— And virgin dust to earth.

Ah! Princess of that golden classic hoard, Thy need was other than an earthly crown; But ours was such, for else couldst thou have poured Through time thy pure renown?

For us thy blood was spilled; the whetted edge Of that keen axe gave us one jewel more, As a stream-drifted lily by chance sedge Is held beside the shore.

Good-night. Let the remembrance of the flowers still hold mine fast, and my solemn sweet Milton shall sing my vespers too.

May you "move In perfect Phalanx to the Dorian mood Of flutes and soft Recorders...."

Your aff.



CONCORD, _May 3, '45.

I am weary of these winds, which have blown so constantly through the spring; and would so gladly exchange their long wail to-night for some of your music. And yet they are musical, and when I feel vexed at their persistency they seem to fade and breathe against my face with a low sigh, like one who shouts a secret which I cannot understand, and then mourns softly that I cannot. In spite of the wind we went to a new pond near us (new to us) this afternoon. There we separated, and Burrill went roaming over the hills and along the shore; and I sat down with Bettine upon the margin. That is the best workbook that I know. I read it for the first time in the Brook Farm pine-woods on a still Sunday; but to-day, as I followed her vanishing steps through Fairyland, the wind that rustled and raged around was like the tone of her nature interpreting to my heart, rather than to my mind, what I read. She was intellectual, spiritual more than poetical. She was such a glancing, dancing, joyous, triumphant child. I imagine great dark eyes, sparkling to the centre, and heavy locks overhanging—pine-trees drooping over diamonds, deepest brilliancy, with splendor, and a low singing sadness like the wind again, for her position is sad. The ardent, bursting, seeking-ripe girl, and the calm old man, wise and cold, not harsh. A sense of singular unfitness, a sweet-brier and an oak, a feeling as if some string in the great harp had slipped from its harmony, always strikes me when I read Bettine. Will you say no youthful lover would have inspired such a gush of the tenderest and profoundest girlishness? But it was no more than the bursting out of an irrepressible fountain, and it would have flowed as clearly and sweetly through a new wood conduit of to-day as through the polished golden channel which lay there for it. She must love, and love the best, and if only the best had been younger, fitter! Would not the steady massiveness of Goethe's nature have been splendidly adorned by the arabesques and intricately graceful woof of Bettine's? Now it was spring flowers on an old brow, with all the sweetness, but not the freshness, of youth. The imperial Goethe, supreme in wisdom and age, smelling a violet! Ah! though the flowers and the laughter and the dance and the sparkle are for the child, but sadly serious autumnal wreaths for the old man; but the world does the best it knows how to do with the poets, so did Goethe with his young lover. Friendly, cool, gentle, never flattering, Bettine asks him half sadly, as if for once those world-roving eyes were still: Do I speak to you or only speak in your presence? She answered her question by asking it.

She speaks much of music. It is beauty impersonized to her; she pours out gems and flowers of words, and sketches grotesquely exquisite shapes dimly all over the landscape, coins all the beautiful fancies that crowd her brain, throws them to Goethe sparkling in the sunlight, and says: This is music, and finds at last that music is God. That is the most orthodox Pantheism.

The year has piloted us into the flowery haven of May, but I lay so languidly charmed with the beauty, and looking to see if I cannot this time see the goddess whose smiles I feel, that it will be June and summer before I know it. I treat the season as I do poetry. Sometimes I dissect a line which has fascinated me, or a poem, to expose the secret. But it folds and fades and changes under my glance as a cloud at twilight; and the beauty of the spring is as elusive as the foam upon a wave. In the midst of summer, the summer that we anticipated in January seems farther off. It sinks constantly into itself. The deep solitude of rest, the murmurous silence of woods at noon, these are as real in winter as when we are melting in June. The senses will have their share. It is melancholy that a man with the stomach-ache cannot enjoy Shakespeare; and that this wild, wayward, glowing, and glorious Bettine must disappear in the Frau von Arnim, wearing caps and taking snuff, and instead of these pine-trees, false curls, cut from the last criminal, perhaps, and then croaking and child-bearing and nursing and diapering! things so beautiful for many, but not for her. She is not yet a woman, but belongs to us and the woods and the waters and the midnight. A child singing wonderful songs in the starlight, serenading with tender, passionate love-songs the old man who waves his hand and breathes down a kiss which is chilled by the night air, and falls like a snow-flake into her hot bosom, not as a star upon her brow.

We had some May-baskets left for us by unknown hands upon May-day. The flowers drooped over the sides, as if they would not meet my eye to tell the secret; but a group of smiling girls next morning were not so inexorable, and I thanked nature for such almoners of her gifts. These beautiful tributes are touching if one is serious. They are hung upon our wall, which is adorned with the Urania and sketches from Michel Angelo, and one or two drawings of Burrill's.

Mrs. Brown (Mrs. Emerson's sister) wishes Charles Newcomb to return some letters he has about little Waldo's death. Will you speak to him and say that Mrs. Brown will like them by the first opportunity?

I hope my name is down as a subscriber to the Paper. When shall we see it? Mr. Emerson read us a part of your letter.

Here is another of the unconscionable epistles; not to mention answering, it is too audacious to demand that they shall be read.

Ever yr



CONCORD, May 31, '45, Saturday morning.

My dear Friend,—Mr. Hosmer just tells me that he is going to Brook Farm, and I must say a word of regret that I could not come at this time, as Mr. Ripley, whom I saw in Boston, asked me to do. I have no doubt that the essence of all good things which are said, I shall gather from you some day, somehow. I send my subscription to the Harbinger. Almira is well, and would send you love and flowers if she knew that Mr. Hosmer was going.

I am fairly launched in "Consuelo," which I must read as fast as I can, for Mr. Hedge is to take it to Maine. Already it interests me as a new life, and, if I could, I would have it developing all summer; but I must feed upon the remembrance.

Will you say to Mr. Keith, the postmaster at West Roxbury, that we have despatched sundry messages to Messrs. Greeley and McElrath to have our Tribune come to Concord and not to West Roxbury, and that to-day, upon receipt of his note, we have written a very concise letter upon that subject to the publishers.

Tell Mrs. Ripley that she must not fail to come this summer; and how soon are you coming to have a vacation in civilization?—not a day or two in winter, but a week for summer rambles.

Give my love to the Eyrie, for I believe all my friends are there save Miss Russell; and forgiving me for using you so unsparingly with messages, believe me always,


If Geo. Wells is or shall be at Brook Farm, tell him that Almira and the rest of the Concordians are waiting to see him.


CONCORD, June 24th, 1845.

My dear Friend,—I finished "Consuelo" some time since, though I have not yet read the "Countess." I read what you said in the Harbinger, and am waiting for the promised continuation. Meanwhile you shall hear something of the impression she made upon me.

Consuelo is a natural, not a pious person. She lives in the world like a flower, not like a flame; and though you feel that nothing is beyond her, since beauty and fidelity comprehend all, yet she does not directly suggest those personal relations with the Invisible which a saint always does. She sings as a bird, with her whole soul; and though she consents to relinquish the profession if she marries Albert, you feel very well that it will not be so. Porhora constantly urges the art upon her attention, but she grows in that by instinct. She is always in that to which he exhorts her, and the difference between her life and singing is no more perceived than in the life and singing of a bird. She is one of the persons from whom the rules of the art are drawn, because in her they are so clearly but unconsciously expressed. It is a character which fuses everything which it attracts to itself, and in whose outline no seam or crevice is visible. She is entirely impulsive, and every impulse is an inspiration. She leaves the castle of the Giants as soon as it occurs to her to do so, and the perfect submission to her impulse indicates the power and depth of her nature. Therefore, too, though she seems always right, she is free from all self-discipline. In meeting her one should not feel especially that she was a good person. She is not virtuous, for she has no moral struggle; nor pious, for she is too impersonal; and even her love, at least to the end of "Consuelo," is not a life. Her regard for Anzoleto you feel will pass. It is a personal relation, necessary among the flowers and music and moonlight of Venice. It is not the sentiment which love is to such a nature, nor could Anzoleto ever awaken that. With Albert it is much the same in another way. The waters do not at once flow to a level. She is consolation to him, but he is not life and hope to her. Music is, but she is too human to be satisfied so. A character like hers is always seeking for its completeness the strengthening sympathy of love, although its relations are very far from personal. Thus she seems as if she ought to love Albert, and that she will at last. Her life is too self-poised and true to allow you a moment's anxiety. The waves of circumstance roll and break at her feet, and she walks queen-like over the waters. The characters are grouped around her as friends or courtiers; and so she preserves the unity of the book as the figures of Jesus in the old paintings. It is the memoirs of the court of Queen Consuelo.

As in life such a person would make every scene in which she was an actor impressive and graceful, so the strong conception of the character makes the book so. I was thirsting for music when I read it, and it satisfied me like a strain of the sweetest and best; like a beautiful picture or a flower, it left nothing to be asked, although suggesting a general and not an individual beauty and satisfaction like itself. The graceful Venetian life wrought of song and fragrance fades so suddenly into the sombre Bohemian forest where the careless girl who dabbles in the water with Anzoleto becomes the mistress of the destiny of the morbid Albert, and all shifts again into the clear, vigorous friendship with Hadyn and the sunny journey where the woman of the castle becomes a girl again, as cheerful but so much wiser than the Venetian girl, singing and saddening and sleeping in barns and leaping abbey walls, that it was like lying on a hillside under the shades and sunlight of the April sky. There is an indirect developing of the character throughout which is very fine as it makes the harmonies more intricate and profound. It is like the reflection of the moon in the water to one who has cast his eyes down from the sky, as where Hadyn silently conquers the love which she has inspired, because in her mien and tone he reads her love for another. That is a golden key to her character.

It was pleasant just after reading it to make a trip to Wachusett with Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Bradford. We had soft, warm weather, and a beautiful country to pass. From the mountain the prospect was very grand. It is not too high to make the landscape indistinct, but enough so to throw the line of the level country on the east back into the misty horizon and so leave a sea-like impression. To the north was Monadnock, lonely and grim and cold. A solitary lover he seemed, of the rough Berserkir sort, of the round and virgin-delicate Wachusett. Towards the northwest the lower part of the Green mountain range built a misty wall beyond which we could not have seen had it been away. Nearer were smaller hills and ponds and woods. On the mountain we found the pink azalia and the white Patenlila tridenta. It was a fine episode in the summer.

About the 12th of July Burrill and I mean to go into Berkshire, and if possible to reach the White Mountains before the autumn catches us. This last is doubtful. But I felt when I came down from Wachusett as if I should love to go on from mountain to mountain until winter stopped me.

Last Sunday Father Taylor preached here. All the heretics went to church. In the evening he preached temperance. After the afternoon service we tea'd with him at Mr. Emerson's. He is a noble man, truly the Christian apostle of this time. It is impossible to pin him anywhere. He is like the horizon, wide around, but impossible to seize. I know no man who thrills so with life to the very tips, nor is there any one whose eloquence is so thrilling to me. I have found that one of the best things of living in Concord is that we have here the types of classes of men and in society generally only the members of the class. The types are magnetic to each other and draw each into their vicinity.

The lonely life pleases as much as ever. If I sometimes say inwardly that such is not the natural state of man, I contrive to quiet myself by the assurance that such is the best state For bachelors. What disembodied comforter of Job suggests such things?

Yr friend,


P.S. If you loved some one ardently who wonderfully resembled personally some one you hated ardently what would you do? It is not my case, but a question some evil genius whispered to make me perspire in these torrid days.


CONCORD, Sept. 14, 1845.

My dear Friend,—I returned last week from a long and beautiful visit to the mountains, among which I had never been before. I went in the middle of July to Berkshire, and returned home for two or three days to set off for the White Hills, and back again through the length of Berkshire. In all about seven weeks. The garden served us very well. We had weeded so faithfully that weeds did not trouble us, and Burrill stayed in Concord a part of the time I was in New Hampshire.

When I first came towards the mountains it was twilight, and they looked very cold and grim; their outline traced against the sky, and seemingly made of some other material than earth or sky—too dense for the one and too ethereal for the other. But when I came to them in broad day, they had lost their terror, as any other night phantom would have done. When I could scale them with my eye, and stand upon their highest peak, I seemed to have subdued them. But as I retreated, and looked back, they resumed their twilight majesty; and I could not realize I had been so proud among them. Yet, after all, they did not command me as the sea does. The charm of that is not robbed by being in it or upon it. All night and all day its murmur sounds an infinite bass to all that is done and said; and in the night, when you awake, it holds you still in thrall. Like the song of the locust in a summer noon, which fills the air with music and intensifies the heat, so the sound of the sea constantly draws thought and life to its depth and sweetness. Among the hills I was haunted with the vague desire of some corresponding sound. They were like a dumb Apollo, a thunderless Jupiter.

In Berkshire they are less grand than in New Hampshire, but high enough to cease to be hills, and wooded quite to the summit. They give an endless variety to the landscape, and are full everywhere of beautiful places and commanding prospects through the openings. The aspect of the country and the character of the people were so different from the country and people near a city, that it seemed to be more recently created.

Frank Parley is there in Stockbridge, and seems to be very happy. At Williamstown, the northern town in the county, we saw George Wells. He has only changed to become more entirely a collegian, but retains the same cordiality and carelessness that made us love him at Brook Farm. I have so many things to say about my wanderings that I cannot write any more, for I mean to come to Brook Farm and see you some day during the autumn. In the late autumn we are going to New York to pass the winter.

Give my love to Mrs. Ripley and the Archon, and to the two Charleses, and believe me, as always, your friend,


On the next page I write a little song, which you shall print if you think it worth the space. Nameless and dateless if you please.


The gold corn in the field And the asters in the meadow, And the heavy clouds that yield To the hills a crown of shadow, Mark the ending of the Summer, And the Autumn coming in, A crimson-eyed new-comer, Whose voice is cold and thin, As he whispers to the flowers, "Lo, all this time is ours."

I remember, long ago, When the soft June days were wasted, That the Autumn and the snow In the after-heats were tasted; For the sultry August weather Burned the freshness from the trees, And the woods and I, together, Mourned the Winter, that must freeze The silver singing streams Which fed our Summer dreams.

Through the yellow afternoon Rolls the wagon harvest-laden, And beneath the harvest moon At the husking sings the maiden; While without the winds are flowing Like long aerial waves, And their scythe-sharp breath is mowing The flowers upon the graves. When the husking is all o'er The maiden sings no more.

To ——

Thy spirit was a flexile harp, whereon The moonlight fell like delicatest air, Thro' thee its beauty flowing into tone Which charmed the silence with a sound as rare.

Thou peaceful maid! the music then I heard, Whose influence had moulded thy soft eyes To their deep tone of tenderness: O! bird, Whose life is fed with thine own melodies.


CONCORD, Oct. 25, 1845.

My dear Friend,—My Concord days are numbered, but before I go I should like to write you again, although it is not impossible that I may come here again next year. The autumn since I saw you has fulfilled the promise of the day I left Brook Farm—bright, clear, and cool. On Wednesday, the day was so remarkably beautiful that, having nothing especial to do, and seeing that Ole Bull was to give another concert, we walked to Boston and heard him once more, I fear for the last time; and walked back again the next morning. The air was very still and bright, and cold enough to spur us on, without an unpleasant chill.

I was very glad to part with Ole Bull having my first impressions deepened and strengthened. The wonder with which I heard him in New York had subsided, and I gave myself, or rather he drew me, wholly to his music. It seems as if he improvised with the orchestra as a poet would at the piano. The music is full of every sort of movement and variety, but has great unity of character, and constantly suggests beautiful and distinct images rather than pictures. I thought of glorious young gladiators leaping into the lists, of fleecy clouds sweeping over starlight skies, and the beach-line of the sea. Every image was of the graceful, vigorous, and entirely healthy character of his person, which I suppose is only a fair expression of his soul. The music should not be criticised as a work of art, but only as the articulate reveries of Genius, for it is such as only he should play, because it is so entirely individual. It is full of delicate tenderness, and each piece is much like a gentle, strong child wandering in Fairyland, melted now by the sweets of child-deep piety in the Adagio Religioso, now leaping down the Polacca Guerricra like a young angel down a ladder from heaven, and roaming wistful and silent and amazed in the solitude of the Prairie, at times leaping and running and shouting, and then sighing and weeping and losing its voice in aerial cadences, until the smiles make rainbows through the tears again.

All these things whirled through my mind as I sat listening to him, with my eyes closed to preserve the realm of vision unassailed, last Saturday evening. But there is no end to such stuff. Music is so fully suggestive; and, after all, if you abandon yourself to that you are very apt to find yourself only among corresponding images. The adagio of the Fifth Symphony reminds me in one part of majestic waves, black and crowned with creamy foam; and they swell as if the whole sound of the ocean thundered in each, and when they have almost gained a height through which the sun may shine and reveal the long-haired mermaids, and the splendid colors which hide so much, then they fall upon themselves and stream backward into the sea, the foam uppermost like a shroud. But when I considered this one evening I found it was only the image of the sound transformed to a visible object. It is like watching the clouds and seeing their palaces and mountains. It is easy to sport with the symbol, and shows the greatness of the composer when he arouses the thought of the sea and sky for an echo; but that is only the sensuous influence of his music, and further we cannot go in words, for good music is so because it is inexpressible in words. There is always correspondence but not identity. And the impression of the same object in a poem, painting, or statue should be as different as the different necessities which constituted those arts and the differing direction of the various genius which so expresses itself.

Ole Bull's last concert (that I heard) was a cheap one, and the audience was very cheap. I felt at once the want of sympathy between that and him, and that destroyed the unity of the impression, which is so pleasant. The music which he played was of the best and played in the best way, but was played apart from the sympathy of the hearers to the soul of his art. When he was encored he came and showed his mastery of the violin as a juggler his power over cards. I should have been sorry to have seen it in any one but a true artist; but while he satisfied every just claim in the style and selection of the music of the concert, he permitted the rabble to hear what they had paid fifty cents to hear. He could not be accused of lowering or pampering the popular taste, for the music that he played was elevating, and the gymnastics not music at all.

I was glad to see Mrs. Ripley last Monday, and to hear from her the result of your Sunday meeting. I was a little sceptical, because I think permanent forms of worship spring from a very deep piety, and the pious persons whom I know I could count on my hands. Such themes are too good for heel-taps to a letter, and I shall wait the issue of your movement with a great deal of interest. Give my love to Mrs. Ripley, and tell her I hope the whole winter will not pass without my hearing from her.

I feel sorry to go from Concord, which we shall do in about a fortnight, for it is a quiet place, full of good people and pleasant spots. But I have found the same everywhere, so

"To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new."

Your friend,



NEW YORK, December 22, 1845.

A merry Christmas and happy New Year to you, if you are still alive, for since small-pox has joined your Phalanx I am not sure but his ambition for the supreme power has swept you all away. Yet every Saturday's Harbinger is a missive from Brook Farm which tells of other things than the cosmogonies, etc., of which it ostensibly discourses. I shall be glad to smuggle myself in for a share of the commendation bestowed upon those who have increased your list with the new volume, but my New York friends are pale at Greeley's Tribune, and would christen your sheet "An Omen Ill" instead of Harbinger.

Individually I am grateful for your article upon De Meyer. It gives me an idea of his exhilarating impression, which I had dimly supposed from what I heard of him. I wait eagerly for his reappearance here, and cannot discover why he tarries so long in Boston. Privately I have heard very much good music since I have been here, mainly Mendelssohn and Spohr, with singing of Schubert and "Adelaide," etc. Publicly I have heard Huber, the German opera, and Mendelssohn's "St. Paul," a rich, melodious oratorio, squeezing the utmost drop from the power of the orchestra, and uniform at a point of the most luminous delicacy, refinement, and grace. I missed the heavy choruses of the Handel and Haydn, for, particularly, "Stone him to death," and "Lovely are the messengers," and "Oh, be gracious, ye Immortals" are magnificent. From what I have heard I prefer Mendelssohn to Spohr, as being the most original and luxuriant genius, although I hear that I shall not maintain that opinion when I have heard Spohr more.

Rossini and Donizetti are the Musical Gods here; now and then you meet a person who really loves what is better, but in mixed societies and at all concerts, particularly in fashionable circles, where music is a fashion now, the merest exercises for the voice and the fingers elicit the most—rapturous bravoes and tapping of white gloves. Last evening I was at one of my musical friends', who, with another girl, plays the symphonies, etc., and is a most wonderful performer. She has the grand-piano which Miss Gserty (?) owned. For an hour we had the "Fingal's Cave," Schubert's "Wanderer" by Liszt, and Quatuors of Spohr; then entered "our fashionable friends" (for my musical lady is in such a sphere), and songs from Donizetti's operas and Thalberg's "Moses in Egypt," and the "Marche Maracaire," which seems nothing or very little without De Meyer, followed; and two mortal hours of such followed. I am always a little angry that my friends don't do something better on such occasions; but why cast pearls before swine? Yet I have no right to complain. They willingly play good music when they have good listeners.

Literature I serve quite faithfully. I have read the "Aminta," and am deep in "Hell." In German I am reading the second part of "Faust," with scraps from Novalis. English reading is Swedenborg and "Festus" and "Cromwell," with dips into the dramatists. I am sorry such good men have no better reader at this present, but trust they find some somewhere. The weather is vile. We are pinched with "nipping" airs which do not remain clear and steady, but unbend themselves in a dirty slush called snow in the papers. And just now I have no business to write you a letter, for I am torn every way by longings and doubts, not at all of a moral nature. This copy of verses, written last summer, is somewhat harmonious with my present mood, and shall be printed if you approve.

I have seen Cranch several times, and his pictures. Some I like very much, but they have his faults. I went with him to the Art Union Gallery the other day, and some beautiful landscapes that I saw of his and others made my heart "babble of green fields" to itself for some days afterwards. One does not fully realize the value of art until he is in the city, as away from home you realize the worth of a mother's portrait. A great charm of a picture-gallery is the perfect stillness which belongs to the paintings, and which they suggest. My overcoat seemed superfluous, for I was full of sultry noontide feeling, gathered not from any special picture, but the atmosphere of so many portraits of trees and waters and hills.

In New York I feel how life is a glorious opportunity wasted. A halo seems forever to float over our heads everywhere, even on the tips of the hair, which might crown us with glory and honor; but no man is yet crowned. The richest and grandest music of the world is hitherto in a minor key. But, indeed, every sigh is a waste of so much energy that I try to turn my stone towards the erection of the infinite temple without grieving that it was not long since built. I used to despise justice as a shabby virtue, but now it seems to me the only lack. We are unjust in our treatment and in our opinion of persons. In the first we are too sweet, in the last too severe. For we eternally measure men by a standard suggested by our individuality, instead of sympathizing so fully that we stretch them on their own line. But here of all places there can be no sham. If we are not just in our own thought we cannot pretend to be, since only we are the persons concerned, and no man ever cheated himself.

I should be very glad to hear from you, for, knowing how busy you are, I have learned to value your letters. Remember me most kindly to Mrs. Ripley, and believe me always Yr friend,



Time laid within an early grave Those hopes, so delicate and sweet, I wondered not I could not save, But that they did sooner fleet.

Life has its fading summer dream, Its hope is crowned with one full hour, And yet its best deservings seem Buds all unworthy such a flower.

How well that happy hour is bought By an after-life of sorrow! The golden sunset yields a thought Which adorns the dreary morrow.

We meet no more as we have met; Thy heart made music once with mine, Which now is still, and we forget The art that made our youth divine.

One glance reaps beauty, nevermore It wears a lustre as at first; We come again—the harvest o'er To no new flow'ring can be nursed.


N.Y., April 12th, 1846.

My dear Friend,—I meant to have given you some verses when you were here as you asked, but I forgot it. Now I send this. It is so different from Wentworth Higginson's that I do not feel as if the same road had been run over by us[1]. And as each Phalanx will be a centre of innumerable railroads in the age of harmony, why not its paper of paper railroads now? This was written in Concord some time since.

[Footnote 1: This refers to a poem by T.W. Higginson with the same title, which had been printed in the Harbinger, a few weeks previously.]

Since you went I have done little but study French and Italian. We meet Cranch, and his wife of course, three times a week at that, and I drop into his studio now and then. To-day I was there, and he was hard at work upon a sunset composition, which he hopes to finish for the exhibition of the Boston Athenaeum. He has sent the large landscape, "The Summer Shower," and "The Old Mill with the Bridge and Ducks," to the National Academy, which exhibition opens this week. He has sold one in Washington to a member of Congress for $100, and if he can continue to improve as rapidly as he has for a year or two past he will be a fine painter.

These soft, gushing spring days make me yearn for the country. I shall hope to be emancipated from Masters and Mistresses by the first or middle of May and take my place with the other cattle in the pastures. When I do not exactly know. Let me hear from you and about the Farm and its prospects. Burrill's eyes have given out again. He is bound head and foot, for his ankle has a habit of breaking down occasionally. Rest and warm weather and the country may strengthen them all. Give my love

"und vergiss nicht euer treur,"



A bright November day. The morning light Shone through the city's mist against my eyes, Soft, chiding them from sleep. Unfolding them They raised their lids and—gave me a new day.

A day not freshly breaking on the fields, And waking with a morning kiss the streams That slept beneath the vapor, but on streets, Piles of great majesty and human skill, Stone veins where human passion swiftly runs. Thereon I gazed with tenderness and awe, Remembering the heavy debt I owed To the dim arches of the dingy bricks, Which sternly smiled upon my youngest years And gravely greeted now, as through the crowd By all unknown and knowing none, I passed.

The warning whistle thrilled the misty air, And stately forth we rode into the morn, Subduing airy distance silently; The shadow glided by us on the grass, The sole companion of our lonely speed, And all the landscape changing as we went, A shifting picture, of like hues and forms But ever various, trees, rocks, and hills, Rising sublime and stretching pastoral— How like a noble countenance which shows Endless expression and eternal charm.

I leaned against the window as we went. And saw the city mist recede afar, And lost the busy hum which haunts the mind As a voice inarticulate, the tone Of many men whose mouths speak distinct words Which blend in grim confusion, till the sound Like a vague aspiration climbs the sky. The muffled murmur of the iron wheels, And the sharp tinkle of the hurried bell, And a few words between were all the sounds Which peopled that else silent morning air.

A busy city darting o'er the plains Across the turnpikes and through hawthorne lanes, O'er wide morasses and profound ravines— Through stately woods where red deer only run, And grassy lawn and farmer's planted field— Was that swift train that flashed along the hills, And smoked through sloping valleys, and surprised The mild-eyed milk-maid with her morning pail.

I dreamed my dreams until the village lay White in the morning light, and holding up Its modest steeples in the crystal air. A moment, and the picture changed no more, But wore a serious constancy and showed Its bare-boughed trees immovable. I rose, And stepping from the train, it glided on, Sweeping around the hill; the whistle shrill Rang through the stricken air. A moment more It rolled along the iron out of sight.


NEW YORK, Thursday, May 14th, 1846.

My dear Friend,—You will of course have supposed that I did not receive your letter of the 2d May, or it would have been more promptly answered. On that very day I responded to a most urgent invitation from Mrs. Cranch to go up the river and make a visit with Burrill, at her father's house upon the Hudson. I have only returned to-day, and hasten to send you this, bidding you to come, for the Choral Symphony is to be played, and there are to be various preparatory rehearsals of the orchestra and the chorus. This I know from the papers, but I will to-morrow inquire of Herr Timm the particulars of the concert. If I had not thought of remaining I would certainly do so if you will come. I am only sorry that there is no room fit for such a performance; it will be hard to get far enough away. Immediately that I have ascertained what particulars are ascertainable I will write again, although you must not wait for that, but come as soon as you can.

And now, what shall I say to you of the serene, sparkling splendors of the Spring which upon the Hudson have been flowing around me, so that my few days swelled into a fortnight almost, consecrated like a long song to romance and beauty. The tender young green upon the riversides and upon the mountains behind, which receive into their deep, dark mass of foliage the light, golden, smooth, colored fields which rise backward from the ample river, and (at Mr. Downing's at Newburg, opposite, a brother-in-law, and the author of fruit treatises, etc.) the splendid magnolias, which resemble deepest-dyed beakers, whence the fragrance arose almost palpable, it was so strong and sweet, and I looked to see rainbow-colored clouds floating from out the flowers—these, with the white blossoms of the orchards and the spray-like, snowy beauty of the Dogwood; in the early morning the sunlight, streaming down the mountains into the bosom of the river, kisses flashing and fiery, yet most gentle and tender, and at night the round moon, rising suddenly, almost without any preluding splendor over the same line of hills, and threw a yellow brightness all over the landscape like the throbbing heart of the night whose life is mysterious beauty fed by that mysterious light. What could I do but roam and wonder and smile and sing in the moonlight till midnight sent me to lie in a bed whence I looked out from under the plain white curtains through the branches of the trees without upon the sleeping river so wide and deep and still, and the line of hills fading in the night beyond. It was one of those seeds whose flower does not come at once, but which will show a tinge of Spring beauty wherever it unfolds. How have I earned the privilege of such enchantment, and is there not some condition of fairy which I do not yet see, but which some day must be paid?

The city is hot and hard after those fields and mountains, yet there are sweet smiles here, and I found three letters from friends, which was a fine welcome. Mrs. Dunlap and her sister are here, and I shall hear some singing; but they can give no music like the panorama I have seen. I have been choking all day, as I always do when I leave any place or person that is specially beautiful. When I am in the midst of the greatest beauty I remind myself that it is so, but I do not seem to touch the very heart; but when I have left it behind then its heart overflows itself in the remembrance, and so the past becomes more beautiful than any possible present, as when you would see a distant, almost indistinct, star you must look just at one side and not directly upon the object. The present must be as really worthy, but time and distance have a character of their own which they impart to all circumstances, as distance in space makes green and rugged mountains soft and purple like the hue of a fruit.

I long to leave the city, but I shall yet stay some time, for I shall not see my Father and Mother much during the Summer, and we shall sail probably by the first of August. Perhaps I can arrange so as to return with you if you come. I meant to have passed two or three days at Brook Farm. I could write till you were tired, but I have no time or paper. Cranch is well and sketching. He says something of coming to Boston during the Summer. Come immediately, and believe me as ever,



NEW YORK, Saturday, May 16, '46.

My dear Friend,—I learn from Mr. Timm that the concert will take place at the Castle Garden, a spacious enclosure adjoining the Battery. The Choral Symphony, the overtures to "Der Freischutz" and "The Midsummer-Night's Dream," Rico's singing, Burke's playing, and De Meyer's, if he is in town, will make up the bill. The rehearsals of the chorus and orchestra are separate until the night before (I believe); and the Symphony is found so difficult that they almost repent having undertaken it. I suppose there would be no difficulty in your getting to the rehearsals through some of your friends, as you did before. The orchestra is to consist of 150 and the chorus of 300 or 400 persons. "The Desert" is to be played for the fifth time on Monday evening. Trinity Church is to be consecrated on Thursday, the day after the concert, and Pico will doubtless sing somewhere during the week. I heard her and Julia Northall last evening in "The Messiah." Their voices were glorious. After the "Pastoral Symphony" the clear, rich, sunny voice of Miss Northall in the recitative "While Shepherds watched," etc., was most fitting and beautiful. It was a soft stream of pearly light, as the hope of Christ was upon the darkness of his time. Pico sang, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," simply and sweetly, and was obliged to repeat it. The choruses were weak; they did not smite steadily upon the ear, but wavered, ghost-like, through the great tabernacle. The "Hallelujah" seemed to awaken the singers, and there was some tolerable body in that.

I heard Walker at his room with the greatest delight. He is so delicately feminine that I felt with him as with a splendid woman in whose nature you do not feel the want of masculine elements, since there is strength enough in a feminine way; with Rakemann I always feel the man with the womanly tenderness and sweetness which belongs to a real man. It was very pleasant to feel such a harmonious difference, as when you see a beautiful man and wife.

This being anniversary week, the Unitarians have been holding meetings and discussions. I do not feel impressed by them very much, they stand in such a negative position, "one stocking off and the other stocking on."

At Isaac's request I have been reading the life of the founder of his order, St. Alphonse of Liguori. He was a very pious man, and the Church was very jealous of him. It is a painful book to read, for the Catholic Church seems to use heaven as a weapon whereby to conquer the earth. I have not yet written Isaac, as he wanted me to read the book first; but if his promised prayers fall as short as the history, I shall be delivered incontinently to the buffetings of Satan.

I hope this will not find you at Brook Farm, for it cannot reach there until Monday; the concert is on Wednesday, if it is pleasant. Charles Newcomb and his mother are here.

Yours ever,



CONCORD, June 6, 1846.

My dear Friend,—I send you some verses for the Harbinger, which are not a conceit, although they relate to no actual personal experience except that I am sometimes conscious of the main fact, for my dreams do sometimes so surpass the waking reality that the charm of the suggesting person, if not lost, is indefinitely subdued and postponed. It is very pleasant here at Minot's. The family are still, the household goes smoothly on, and we live in a house 150 years old, under a tree of apparently almost equal age and looking across a green meadow to a clump of pines and birches beyond. The scenery in Concord is very gentle but pleasant. I have become attached to it as to a taciturn friend who has no splendid bursts of passion but wears always a soft smile.

All the morning we are busy working, and in the afternoons I have been reading Goethe's "Rome." It is very fine, and full of wisdom and beauty. His thoughts are clear and just and profound, and he looks on every side. He was so ready for Italy, too, as the home of art—he a lover and student of art, an artist by nature, and always too much a man. But Goethe, though he is constantly a wise friend, is never a lover. You could not take him always, personally, as the companion of your rambles, your jokes, your silence and sorrows. I think of several persons among those I know, who are by no means lights upon a hill, whom I should select as companions for a journey rather than him. In Rome one would wish to see him as he would Jupiter, and hear all his simple, grave, and catholic discourse; but has he that ineffable and inexplicable human delicacy and sympathy which is worth so much more in a man, as the innocence of the dove is than the wisdom of the serpent. And yet, in the "Elective Affinities," does he not show all that one could wish? But why should he be haunted by the thought that he does not have it and think of particular things to prove it, except that he does not have it? It is like feeling the beauty of single lines which a man writes without being impressed by the whole poem that he is a poet.

I had yesterday a long letter from Cranch and his wife. They are now in Washington, and are enjoying the same June weather that we have here. They have a peculiar interest to me as those who are to take the leap into the ocean whence we do not know whether we shall emerge upon some fairy island or upon desolate rocks or shall sink forever deeper and deeper in the sea-caves where the mermaids are. For a residence in Italy is certainly, in its entire uncertainty, in its new enclosures of circumstances and influences, like leaping into an unknown sea. It is a lover's leap, however, and love is beyond the hopes or arrangements of wisdom.

The Concordians are all well. I feel a pang in going to-night to take leave of Elizabeth Hoar, who is going away for several weeks, and who will not return until after I have left Concord. She seems to me one who may at any moment become invisible, like a pure flame. Almira is well, and sends love to you. She hopes you will come and make her a visit during the summer, and I hope it may be made in June, as I shall go away by the 1st of July, and move by slow stages towards New York. The summer will fly by on swift wings, and more beautiful than those of a gorgeous butterfly which we examined today; it flitted away among the dark pines, as the summer will disappear in the shadowy pines of autumn, so grave and at last solemn.

I hope this late afternoon is as beautiful with you as it is here.

Your friend,



That dream was life, but waking came, Dead silence after living speech, Cold darkness after golden flame, And now in vain I seek to reach, In thought that radiant delight Which girt me with a splendid night.

No art can bring again to me Thy figure's grace, lithe-limbed by sleep; No echo drank the melody An after-festival to keep With me, and memory from that place Glides outward with averted face.

I loved thy beauty as a gleam Of a sweet soul by beauty nursed, But the strange splendor of that dream All other loves and hopes has cursed— One ray of the serenest star Is dearer than all diamonds are.

Yet would I give my love of thee, If thus of thee I had not dreamed, Nor known that in thine eyes might be What never on my waking gleamed, For Night had then not swept away The possibilities of Day.

For had my love of thee been less, Still of my life thou hadst been queen, And that imperial loveliness Hinted by thee I had not seen; Yet proudly shall that love expire The spark of dawn in morning's fire.

How was it that we loved so well, From love's excess to such sweet woe, Such bitter honey—for will swell Across my grief that visioned glow Which steals the soul of grief away As sunlight soothes a wintry day.

And so we part, who are to each The only one the earth can give. How vainly words will strive to reach Why we together may not live, When barely thought can learn to know The depth of this sublimest woe.


CONCORD, June 29, '46.

My dear Friend,—I had hoped that you would have come to Concord yesterday, because to-morrow early I leave, and shall be here only one day more, towards the close of the next week. I had not expected to have gone so soon, but I shall accompany a sick friend to Saratoga by slow stages, and, returning to Worcester, make a short visit among my kindred there, and then return to Concord to take my final departure. I shall try to secure some day about that time to come to Brook Farm, if only to say farewell to you; but just now I cannot specify the day.

My trip to Monadnock was very beautiful. The minister, Jno. Brown, is the same Brook Farmer in a black coat; and I enjoyed a few days at his house exceedingly. I wrote a long journal while there, and cannot say anything about it here, therefore.

This afternoon I have answered Isaac's letter which I received during the winter. With great modesty I attempted to show him how, in the nature of things, proselyting was hopeless, at least upon any who are really worth converting. But the tone, like my feeling, was friendly and gentle. If it does not change his course towards me, he will better understand my feeling and position, for I told him that in men of his nature and tendency the zeal of proselytism is a part of the fervor of sentiment, and therefore I expected and willingly accepted his exhortations, and only deplored them as a loss of time and misuse of opportunities of communication. The Roman Church was such an unavoidable goal for Isaac that one who knows him well cannot possibly grieve to see him prostrate before the altar, and ought to understand and anticipate what was called his arrogance, which is a necessary portion of the sentiment and position.

The review of Mr. Hawthorne's book in the last Harbinger is delicately appreciative. The introductory chapter is one of the softest, clearest pictures I know in literature. His feeling is so deep, and so unexaggerated, that it is a profoundly subtle interpreter of life to him, and the pensiveness which throws such a mellow sombreness upon his imagination is only the pensiveness which is the shadow of extreme beauty. There is no companion superior to him in genial sympathy with human feeling. He seems to me no less a successful man than Mr. Emerson, although at the opposite end of the village.

For a week or two, if you write, continue to address me at Concord, and believe me, in constant unitary feeling,

Your friend,



CONCORD, July 14th, '46, Sunday night.

My dear Friend,—I have just returned from Almira's, who sends her love, and will be very happy to see you. I have written Mr. Hawthorne to go to Monadnock with me this week, but I suppose his duties will prevent. If I go I shall probably return before Sunday, as that is John Brown's working day, and we shall stay with him.

The night was glorious as I came from Almira's. The late summer twilight held the stars at bay; and in the meadows the fire-flies were flitting everywhere. Suddenly in the north, directly before me, began the flashings of the aurora—piles of splendor, a celestial colonnade to the invisible palace. It is a fitting close for a day so soft and beautiful. We took a long sauntering walk this morning and found the mountain laurel, which is very rare here.

I have been busy all my afternoons reading Roman history. Niebuhr and Arnold are fine historians. They are such wise, sincere men and scholars. I sit at the western door of the barn, looking across a meadow and rye-field to a group of pines beyond. My eye fixes upon some point in the landscape which constantly grows more beautiful, winning my eyes from the rest, until they gradually slide along, finding each as pleasant until the whole has a separate and individual beauty like a fall whose expressions you know intimately. It is a "Summer of Summers," as Lizzie Curzon writes me, and I am glad that my last hours in my own country will be so consecrated by beauty in my memory.

Burrill goes again to the Hudson to see Mr. Downing on Thursday. He will remain a week, I suppose, and go again to New York in August, when I sail.

Let me have my answer in person, for so short and poor a letter does not deserve the exclusive attention of writing.

Remember me kindly to all at Brook Farm, to Wm. Channing particularly, if he is there.

Your friend ever,



CONCORD, July 13th, 1846.

My dear Friend,—It is a miserable piece of business to say my farewell to this blank sheet and send it to you, instead of having you say good-bye to my blank face. But, unless you can come to Ida's on Wednesday or Thursday, it must be so. A sudden trip to Saratoga has deranged my plans.

Will you now send my copy of the Harbinger to Almira?

We have been too happy together in times past and mean to be so so much more, here or somewhere, that we will not be very serious in our farewells, for we have been as far apart since I left you as we shall be when you are at Brook Farm and I at Palmyra. So good-bye, whether for two or three years, or an indefinite period. When we see each other again we shall meet, for our friendship has been of a fine gold which the moth and rust of years cannot corrupt.

Will you give my love and say good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Ripley and my other friends with you? and remember, as he deserves,

Your friend,



MILTON HILL, Midnight, July 16, '46.

My dear Friend,—I could not come this evening, and shall only have time in the morning to go to Boston and take the cars; so we must part so. I will copy some of my verses for you if I can steal the time, and write you from Europe if David Jones permits me to arrive.

I must say good-bye and good-night in some lines of Burns's which haunt me at this time, though they have no appropriateness; but they have a speechless woe of farewell, like a wailing wind:

"Had we never loved sae kindly, Had we never loved sae blindly, Never met or never parted, We had never been broken hearted."

Yr friend


I shall write you again. Will you give this to Jno. Cheever? I have no wafer.



My dear Friend,—It is very shabby, but I have been so unexpectedly and constantly separated from my manuscripts that I cannot copy, as I hoped, some of my verses. I have but one more day on land, and more than I can well do in it.

Could you hear how the sea moans and roars in the moonlight at this moment, it would be a siren song to draw you far away. I strain my eyes over the water as one struggles to comprehend the end of life, but the beauty of the future lies unseen and untouched.

God bless you always, my dear Friend; and do not fail to write me often.

Affly. yr friend,



ROME, November 22d, 1846.

My dear Friend,—Italy is no fable, and the wonderful depth of purity in the air and blue in the sky constantly makes real all the hopes of our American imagination. Sometimes the sky is an intensely blue and distant arch, and sometimes it melts in the sunlight and lies pale and rare and delicate upon the eye, so that one feels that he is breathing the sky and moving in it. The memory of a week is full of pictures of this atmospheric beauty. I looked from a lofty balcony at the Vatican upon broad gardens lustrously green with evergreen and box and orange trees, in whose dusk gleamed the large planets of golden fruit. Palms, and the rich, rounding tuft of Italian pines, and the solemn shafts of cypresses, stood beside fountains which spouted rainbows into the air, which was silver-clear and transparent, and on which the outline of the landscape was drawn as vividly as a flame against the sky at night. Beside me rose floating into the air the dome of St. Peter's, which is not a nucleus of the city, like the Duomo of Florence, but a crown more majestic and imposing as the spectator is farther removed. I had come to this balcony and its realm of sunny silence through the proper palace of the "Apollo" and the "Laocoon" and Raphael's "Transfiguration" and "Stanze." The Vatican is a wilderness of art and association, and in the allotted three hours I could only wander through the stately labyrinth and arrange the rooms, but not their contents, in my mind, but could not escape the "Apollo," which stands alone in a small cabinet opening upon a garden and fountain. It was greater to me than the "Venus de Medici" at Florence, although it has taught me better to appreciate that when I see it again. It is cold and pure and vast, the imagination of a man in the Divine Mind, given to marble because flesh was too recreant a material. The air of the statue is proudly commanding, with disdain that is not human, and a quiet consciousness of power. It does not resemble any figure we see of a man who has drawn a bow, but the ideal of a man in action. Like the "Venus," it shows how entire was the possible abstraction of the old Sculptors into a region of pure form as an expression of what was beyond human passion, with which color seems to correspond. Deities are properly the subject of sculpture because of color; colorless purity of marble accords with the divine superiority to human passion, and although the mythology degraded the gods into the sphere and influence of men, to the mind of the artist they would still sit upon unstained thrones.

This was one day. Upon another I stepped from a lovely road upon the Aventine into an old garden where, at the end of a long, lofty, and narrow alley of trimmed evergreens, stood the Dome of St. Peter's filling the vista against an afternoon sky. In these mossy and silent old places, the trees and plants seem to have sucked their vigor from the sun and soil of many long-gone centuries, and to remain ghosts of themselves and hoary reminiscences of their day in the soft splendor of modern light. Italy itself is that garden wherein everything hands you to the past, and stands dim-eyed towards the future. It is a vast university, endowed by the past with the choicest treasures of art, to which come crowds from all nations, as lovers and dreamers and students, who may be won to live among relics so dear, but who mostly return to stand as interpreters of the beauty they have seen. Therefore, Italy is a theme which cannot grow old, as love and beauty cannot. Every book should be a work of art, and Italy, like the Madonna, should have a fresh beauty in the hands of every new artist. It is no longer interesting, statistically, for the names and numbers have been told often enough; but the impression which it leaves upon the mind of men of character and taste is the picture which should be novel and interesting.

But it is the relics of the summer prime of the Rome of distant scholars and lovers, and the art which shines with an Indian-summer softness in the autumn of its decay, that rule here yet; for the imperial days have breathed a spirit into the air which broods over the city still. Although it is a modern capital, with noise and dirt and smells and nobility and fashionable drives, and walks and shops, and the red splendor of lacquered cardinals, and the triple-crowned Pope, in the arches which rise over modern chapels and of which they are built, in the ruined forum and acqueducts and baths and walls, are the decayed features of what was once greatest in this world, and which rules it from its grave. My first view of old Rome was in the moonlight. We passed through the silent Forum, not on the level of the ancient city, which recoils from modern footsteps and goes downward towards the dust of those who made it famous, but by the ruined temples and columns whose rent seams were shaped anew into graceful perfection by the magical light, by the wilderness of the ruined Caesar's palace, until we looked wonderingly into the intricacy of arch and corridor and column of which was built the arch-temple of Paganism, the Coliseum. The moonlight silvered the broad spaces of scornful silence as if Fate mused mournfully upon the work it must needs do. Grass and flowers in their luxuriant prime waved where the heads of Roman beauties nodded in theirs; and yet how true to the instincts of their nature were the Romans, who nourished by their recreations the stern will which had won the world for them. And since literature and art and science depend in a certain measure for their development and perfection upon a strong government, the same Roman beauty, in dooming to a bloody death before her eyes the man upon whose life depended other and far-away beauties and loves, may have breathed a sweeter strain into the song of the poet. The Popes have not refrained from obtruding a cross and shrines upon this defenceless ruin. They would not render unto Caesar the things which were his, and although they are shocking at first, the magnificence of silence and decay soon swallows them, and they appear no more except as emblems of modern Rome lost in the broad desolation of the imperial city.

One cannot see the present Pope without a hope for Italy. I first saw him at high mass, with the cardinals, in the Palace chapel. The college of cardinals resembled a political and not a religious body, which, although the council of government, it ought to resemble upon religious occasions. When the Pope entered they kissed his hand through his mantle. He is a noble-looking man, of a dignified and graceful presence, and already very dear to the people for what he has done and what he has promised. I could not look at him without sadness as a man sequestered in splendor and removed from the small sympathies in which lies the mass of human happiness. The service seemed a worship of him, but no homage could recompense a man for what a Pope had lost. I have seen him often since, and his demeanor is always marked by the same air of lofty independence. It is good to see him appear equal to a position so solitary and so commanding, and to indicate this vigor of life and the conscience which would prevent him from making his seclusion a bower for his own ease.

From one of these wonderful days passed in the Villa Borghese, a spacious estate near the city, equally charming for its nature and art, I went, a day or two since, to watch by the deathbed of a young American. Hicks (a young artist, whom I love and whom the MacDaniels will know) and myself stood by him and closed his eyes. He was without immediate friends, except a connection by marriage who has recently arrived, and who was with him at the last. I was glad that I was here to be with him and lay him decently in his coffin. The handful of Americans in Rome followed him last evening at dusk, close by twilight, and buried him in the Protestant graveyard, near the grave of Shelley's ashes and heart. The roses were in full blossom, as Shelley says they used to be in midwinter. It is a green and sequestered spot under the walls of old Rome, where the sunlight lingers long, and where in the sweet society of roses whose bloom does not wither, Shelley and Keats sleep always a summer sleep. Fate is no less delicate than stern, which has here united them after such lives and deaths. And yet here one feels also the grimness of the Fate which strikes such lips into silence.

I force myself to send you this letter, because I want to write you. It is a shadowy hint of what I think and feel, as all letters must be. Cranch and his wife are with me, and will stay the winter. There are not many Americans, but I look every day for Burrill. Hicks I have seen a good deal and like very much. He speaks to me of the MacDaniels. Give my love to all at Brook Farm, and forgive a letter which you will not believe was written in Italy. Cranch sends much love.

Always yr


How I wish you were going with us this sweet sunny day (23 Nov.), on which I am writing this at my open window, without a fire, to see the "Gladiator" at the capitol. It is a great responsibility to be in Italy, one may justly demand so much of you afterwards. Once more, good-bye, and some day send me a ray from the beautiful past which Brook Farm is to me.



NAPLES, April 27th, 1847.

My dear Friend,—If it would be hopeless and dispiriting to paint the constantly shifting lights and beauties of a summer day, it is no less so to write now and then a letter from Italy to one who would so warmly enjoy all that I see and hear. Every omitted day makes the case worse, a month makes it hopeless; and so I lived in Rome for five months and wrote you only one letter at the beginning. Yet is the magnetism of friendship not yet fine enough for you to know how constantly you were remembered, how I lingered in the moonlit Coliseum, how I felt the commanding beauty of the "Apollo" thrill through me, and the "Laocoon" and the proud heads of Antinous, and the pictures which are what our imaginations demand for Raphael and Leonardo and Michel Angelo, how I stood in the flood of the "Miserere," which was and was not what I knew it must be, how I plucked roses from the graves of Shelley and Keats, and led a Roman life for a winter, not for myself only, but for you!

I have written quite regularly to my family, and described some of the many matters which were new and picturesque, but have scarcely snatched a line to a friend except to Lizzie Curson and two letters to Geo. Bradford, who had some intention of coming out to join us in this enchanted land. In my last letter to him, which I wrote at the end of the Holy Week, I mentioned the "Miserere" and the news of that time. He will show you the letter, I suppose, if you wish to see it. But from Rome I broke suddenly off and came to Naples.

Is it not fine when things are beautifully different, when you part from one as if you were leaving everything, and find satisfaction in another—not a superiority, but equal difference? So is Naples after Rome. There is nothing solemn or grand in it. It rises in solid banks of cheerful houses from the spacious streets upon the water to the grim castle of St. Elmo, which hovers almost perpendicularly over it. These houses are white and bright, and turn themselves into the sunlight, and stretch in long lines around the bay, blending with the neighboring towns so that the base of Vesuvius is marked with a line of white houses, which go on undistinguishably from Naples. Farther round is Castellamare and Sorrento, whose promontory beyond is one corner of the bay, of which Capri seems like a portion sailed away into the sea. And the bay of Naples is so spacious and stately, so broad and deep, its lines those of mountains and the sea, its gem the sunny city, and the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida, so large and high and springing so proudly from the water, that it satisfies the expectation; and sometimes this broad water dashes and rolls like the ocean, then subsides into sunny ripples and gleams like glass in the moonlight. Two or three old castles stand out upon the bay from the city, picturesque objects for artists and lookers on, and in the hazy moonlight black and sharp masses reflected in the water. Sails and steamers and boats of all sorts are constantly dotting this space, and I am never weary of wandering along the shore on which lie the fishermen among their boats, with mournful looking women and black, matted-haired, gypsy-like children.

The picturesqueness of cities and life in Italy is more striking to me than anything else. The people are so poetic that, although lazy and dirty and mean, what they do and wear is like an animated picture. The gay costumes of the women—ribbons and bodices and trinkets—with their deep olive skins and bare heads, with hair that is most luxuriantly black, and beautifully twisted and folded in heavy, graceful braids, the broad-browed and outlined Roman women, majestic and handsome, not lovely or interesting, but showing as the remains of an imperial beauty; and in Naples the little figures and arch eyes and Oriental mien of the girls—these persons living in quaint old cities where the brightest flowers bloom amid hanging green over windows far and far above the street and walking in high-walled narrow lanes over which hang the sun-sucking leaves of the indolent aloe, and in which gleam the rich orange and lemon trees, or, as now, the keen lustrous green of just-budding fig-trees, and vines, or entering with quiet enthusiasm into festivals of saints, sprinkling the churches and streets with glossy, fragrant bay-leaves, hanging garlands upon the altars while a troop of virgins, clad in white and crowned, pass with lighted tapers to the Bishop's feet for a blessing, or more grandly drawing St. Peter's in fire upon the wild gloom of a March night, and in vast procession of two or three thousand marching down the narrow Corso singing a national song to the Pope—all this, if you can unravel it, paints for the eye what can never be seen at home. "I pack my trunk and wake up in Naples," and find myself, for which I am grateful; but I also find Italian beauty, which is like American as oranges are like apples. Such deep passionate eyes, such proud, queenly motions, such groups of peasants and girls in gardens listening to music, and lying asleep in the shade of trees, all this material of poetry is also material of life here. This is the true Lotos Eaters' island, this the grateful land of leisure; here people walk slowly and eat slowly and ride slowly, and, I must say, think slowly. But that also is corn to my mill. I find some sympathy with the happy Guy of Emerson's book, for there is no public opinion in Italy. A man feels that he stands alone and enjoys all the joys and sorrows of that consciousness and that position. Your room is your castle. If a man knows where it is he comes to see you, but whatever you do or say (of course excepting what is political) is your own business and not that of infernal society, which at home is grand arbiter of men's destinies. Except you care to do so, you have no state to keep up. The card for a royal ball finds you as readily in your fourth story as in the neighboring palace it finds My Lord; and so you are released from that thraldom which one cannot explain, but which one feels at home whether he consents to it or not.

And it is a broad and catholic teacher, this travelling. I have been quite unsphered since I have been here, in various ways, and have discovered how good every man's business is and how wide his horizon. There is a shabby Americanism which prowls proselyting through Europe, defying its spirit or its beauty or its difference to swerve it from what it calls its patriotism. Because America is contented and tolerably peaceful with a Republic, it prophesies that Europe shall see no happy days until all kings are prostrated; and belches that peculiar eloquence which prevails in small debating-clubs in retired villages at home. This is like taunting the bay of Naples with the bay of New York, or apples with oranges, or the dark lustrous beauty of Italian women with the blond fairness of Americans. Why should all men be governed alike rather than all look alike; the north is cold and the south is warm. These monarchies which are decried have been the fostering arms of genius and art; and in Italy and the rest of the countries here lie the grand achievements of all time, which draw the noblest and best from America to contemplate them and suck the heart of their beauty for the refining and adorning their own land. And why fear imitation! Men imitate when they stay at home more preposterously than when they see what is really beautiful and grand in other places; and a fine work of art repels imitation as the virgin beauty of a girl repels licentiousness. And we are elevated by art and mingling with men to know what is noble and best in attainment. We fancy a thousand things fine at home because we do not know how much finer the same may be, perhaps because we do not know that they are copies. Indeed, I feel as if it would be a good fruit of long travel to recover the knowledge of the fact which we so early lose—that we are born into the world with relations to men as men before we are citizens of a country with limited duties. A noble cosmopolitanism is the brightest jewel in a man's crown.

I have heard very little music in Italy—never so little in a winter. In Rome the opera was nothing, and there were only two or three concerts. That of a young Pole pianiste whom I knew was good, Maurice Strakosch (perhaps he will come to America). But the great gem of music was the singer Adelaide Kemble. You know she has left the stage and the public, but this was an amateur concert for the Irish. Her singing of "Casta Diva" was by far the finest gem heard. Such richness and volume, such possession and depth and passion, such purity and firmness and ease, I did not believe possible. Although a single song in a concert it seemed to embrace the whole spirit of the opera. She sang also the moon song from "Der Freischutz" simply and exquisitely, also in a trio of Mozart's and a Barcarolle, all of which showed the same genius. I do not see that she lacks anything, for although not beautiful, her face is flexible and really grand when she is excited. Cranch thought her voice not quite sweet in some parts. The "Miserere" was exquisitely beautiful, but not entirely what I expected to hear. In Naples I have heard the "Barber of Seville" and an opera of Mercadanti's. The last is refined street music, and reminds me of the mien and manners of a gentleman. The bands play every day, which is much better than at Rome. But it is unhappy for me that Verdi is the musical god of Italy at present, because the bands play entirely from his operas, which remind me of a diluted Donizetti. He has brought out a new opera, "Macbeth," within the month, at Florence. On the third evening he was called out thirty-eight times; the young men escorted him home in triumph, and the next night various princes and nobles presented him with a golden crown!

I have heard various rumors of Brook Farm, none agreeable. I feel as if my letter might not find you there; but what can you be doing anywhere else? I have received no letter from you, no direct news from Brook Farm, except through Lizzie Curzon and Geo. Bradford. But it floats on in my mind, a sort of Flying Dutchman in these unknown seas of life and experience, full of an old beauty and melody. I know how your time is used, and am not surprised at any length of silence. We go into the beautiful country about us for a fortnight, to Salerno, Sorrento, Pestum, and Capri, afterwards Rome again. Florence, the Apennines, Venice, Milan, Como, the Tyrol, Switzerland, and Germany lie before us. What a spring which promises such a summer! You will still go with me as silently as before.

At this moment I raise my eyes to Vesuvius, which is opposite my window, and the blue bay beneath. I can see the line of the Mediterranean blending with the sky, and remember that you are at the other side. I write as if Brook Farm still was there, and am more than ever

Yr friend




PROVIDENCE, Thursday, Oct. 10, '50.

My dear Dwight,—I was very very sorry not to find you the other day; but as I was only a few hours in Boston, I had no opportunity of renewing the attempt.

This morning I saw a letter, I suppose from you, in the Tribune, about Jenny's Saturday concert in Boston. It reminded me to send you a most rapid criticism(?) of mine published here yesterday. I address the paper as I do this note.

This Jenny Lind singing is a matter of such lofty art in the sublimest sense, and we are so young and jejune in all art, that I cannot much wonder at the general impression. It is precisely what would be the fate of really fine pictures and poems. Huge wonder, childish delight, intoxication, delirium, and disappointment—but little of the apprehensive perception of the presence of an artist so profound and grand.

I knew, of course, that you must be realizing somewhere the greatness of this gift. Now I have heard you say so, I am glad to send you a kind of echo.

When shall I see you? I shall be here for a day or two more, then relapse into New York, for how long I know not. Let me have a line from you, saying that among all your virtues you yet count Memory, as does yours most rememberingly,

George W. Curtis.


PROVIDENCE, March 17th, '51, Monday.

I believe, dear John, that I have not yet had the grace to congratulate you upon "the great change" that you have recently undergone. But, happily, I am equally sure that you have not ascribed my silence to anything but the habit of epistolary silence that has come upon me since my return from the other continent, mainly distinguished, if my memory may confirm universal remark, by the great number of letters written from it.

May I also add the satiety of writing, which a man who has just published a book may be supposed to be experiencing? For I have published a book, a copy of which, with the heart of the author, pressed but not dried between the blank leaves, you should have had immediately but for my absence from New York. It is called "Nile Notes of a Howadji," and has thus far, being only a week old, received as flattering notice as any tremulous young author could have wished. One or two chapters are considered somewhat broad, I hear; but the whole impression is precisely what I wished.

I am here because I was invited to repeat my lecture here; and, as I was not back in New York when the "Notes" were issued, I preferred to tarry in the "ambrosial retirement," as Rev. Osgood calls it, and not serve as foot-notes to my Readers.

I shall go home soon, and I trust by way of Boston. If so, I shall of course see you and—yours, I must now say. Will you present my warmest regards and pleasantest recollections to your wife, and believe still in your friend

George W.C.


My dear John,—The Lady Emelyn swears by Venus and all the Goddesses that our party at your house must be postponed until Friday evening, that she may bring with us Miss Anna Loring and Miss Augusta King. What can mere men do? They submit. And they walk across the fields to look at a beautiful woman, at a Poet's wife.

We are all very hot and very happy down here, and wonder if your ashes are white or quite invisible, for of course, in the city, you have become ash.

Present us most kindly to your wife, and forget not that our coming will be much more enchanting with Mrs. S.'s proposed addition.

Yours aff.,


NAHANT, Wednesday morning Aug 12, '51.


My dear John,—We are tapering off. Mrs. Story is not well, and we have not our young ladies yet. Also C.P. Cranch goes to Quincy, where his wife is. So I fear you will have only William and me, and very probably his proof-sheets will retain him. I expect Cranch to come, but he is quite unwell.

Yours aff.,


Friday, Aug. 15, '51.


PROVIDENCE, Friday, Sep. 26, 1851.

My dear John,—This morning I received the enclosed. If you can shed light upon the darkness it indicates will you please do so, sending me what information you have.

I am up to my ears in a book I am writing in continuation of the "Notes," "Syrian Sketches"; and shall stay here perhaps two months. I shall hope to slip down to Boston occasionally and see you all. I was there a few hours on Monday, and saw William by chance. Burrill has reached England, and is very much pleased with Malvern.

Give my love to your wife, whom I would be glad to hear sing once more.

Your aff.



PROVIDENCE, 25th Nov., '51.

My dear John,—I had intended to see the B. when she came. I have sounded her trumpet here, for auld lang syne. If I can do so heartily I will write a notice of her concert, as I always do when I am here, at the request of The Journal. I enclose my last effort in that kind, apropos of Catherine Hayes.

I would gladly come to Boston, but I cannot think of it just now. Should Jenny Lind threaten not to sing in Providence I shall very likely run down with my cousin Anna and hear her for an evening. We are trying to have the Germania here, but for music in the general we go hang. My cousin, however, is a very accomplished player, and I enjoy with her Mendelssohn's songs and Liszt's arrangements and "Don Giovanni" and eke Schumann. I see Fred Rackemann has returned.

My book is written; but I am now very busily revising it. Hedge much prefers what I have read him to the other. He lives just across the street from me, and we have many a cigar and chat. He preaches superb sermons.

Give my heartiest love and remembrances to your wife, and forget not the faithful. I have a line from the Xest of Xtophers the other day, who is painting away for dear life. Tom Hicks, ditto. The latter lives with Charles Dana.

Ever your aff.


I have unluckily forgotten your no. so I'll put the street, not being quite sure of that!!!


TRIBUNE OFFICE, N.Y., 19th March, '52.

My dear John,—Your most welcome letter has been received, and its contents have been submitted to the astute deliberations of the editorial conclave. We are delighted at the prospect—but—we do not love the name. 1st. Journal of Music is too indefinite and commonplace. It will not be sufficiently distinguished from the Musical Times and the Musical World, being of the same general character.

2d. "Side-glances" is suspicious. It "smells" Transcendentalism, as the French say, and, of all things, any aspect of a clique is to be avoided.

That is the negative result of our deliberations; the positive is, that you should identify your name with the paper and called it Dwight's Musical Journal, and you might add, sotto voce, "a paper of Art and Literature."

Prepend: I shall be very glad to send you a sketch of our winter doings in music, especially as I love Steffanane, although she says, "I smoke, I chew, I snoof, I drink, I am altogether vicious." You shall have it Sunday morning, and I will address it to you simply at the P.O.

My book is ready, is only waiting for the English publisher to move; and I have other irons heating, of which anon. I've had a long letter from Wm. Story, who is happy and busy in Rome—who wouldn't be?


I wish you could run on and see us all. Tom Hicks is right busy with his great portrait of the ex-Governor. Indeed, we are all so busy that I have only time to remember—rarely to say—that I am

Your ever aff.


J.S. Dwight, Esq.

Give my kindest regards to your wife. I wish she could sing in your paper.


N.Y., Saturday, 24th April, '52.

My dear John,—I have been so busy in the last throes of my "Syrian Howadji," which is to be born on Tuesday, that I have not sent you an intended letter about the Philharmonic and the Quartette; and I presume from to-day's number that you have other notes of them. I think, however, I will still send you something by Monday's mail if you will promise not to use it if you don't truly want it. There is rather a flat and barrenness just now in the world of music, but, with the Academy exhibition, Brackett's group, and the Paul Delaroche picture we can make out something.

Your paper is a triumph. It is so handsome to the eye and sweet to the mind, it is so pleasantly varied, and its sketches have such completeness of grace in themselves, that the reader is not ashamed of the pleasure it gives him and the interest he has in it, which you may have remarked is not always the case, for instance, in liking Anna Thillard's business at Niblo's (of which very little is certainly enough). I am half ashamed of myself for really enjoying what I know is so utterly artificial. Do you conceive?

I just see in the National Era a long notice of you and your Journal. It was not mine or the T.'s or I should have sent it to you. But you must find it.

You will receive an early copy of my Syrian book, the last of the Howadji, who, leaving the East, becomes a mere traveller. It was a real work of love, and I hope you may have some of the pleasure in reading that I had in writing it.

Give my love to your wife, and believe me always,


I send you over the page a list of names of my subscribers and enclose you the funds in N.Y. money. [Enclosed were eight subscriptions to Dwight's Journal of Music, Curtis himself taking three copies.]


N.Y., 28th Apr., 1852.

My dear John,—I span out my letter so far that I had no room for pictures, but I will not forget them, and they will remain open until the middle of July.

I shall be only too delighted to see Mr. Goldschmidt, and sincerely regret that I have enjoyed no such opportunity of seeing Jenny Lind until just as she is going. We are beginning to stir. White and I have both suggested one concert of the true stamp, and the Times came out against us and we pitched back again into the Times; and the Herald and other journals have called attention to the warfare, and insist that humbug, Barnumania, and high prices shall be put down. I am going to write an article upon Jenny Lind's right to ask $3 if she thinks fit, on the principle that Dickens, Horace Vernet, and every molasses merchant acts and properly acts.

Why not send your papers to the publisher of some Saturday paper to distribute with his? The difficulty is that if people are irregular in getting it, it will lose its character of steadiness, which is fatal to such a paper. Ripley agrees in this. By mail the majority of people who haven't boxes at the P.O. get nothing at all, or only spasmodically. You will have to send it to some agent here, I am confident.

Cranch is about breaking up house-keeping preparatory to his summer rustication. He is in a tight place again, as he is too apt to be, poor fellow! The fact is art is poor pay unless you are a great artist. He fights very cheerfully, though, which is a comfort. His children are very interesting, and at his house there is a set of us who have the best of times, the most truly genial and poetic.

I enclose you the funds which I so amusingly forgot, and, if I can serve you by seeing any agent or other "fallow deer," I shall be most happy to do it; and don't fail always to call upon me.

Yours most truly and ever,


Is this sum right?


NEWPORT, July 29th, 1852.

My dear John,—I have been running round for two or three weeks, and have forgotten to ask you to change the address of the papers which come to me....

I am charmingly situated here with Mr. and Mrs. Longfellow and Tom Appleton, and with some other pleasant people. It is very lovely and lazy; but I am quite busy. Give my love to your wife and believe me, always,

Your aff.



NEWPORT, Oct. 11th, 1852.

My dear John,—I leave Newport this evening, and since "friend after friend departs," you will hardly be surprised to hear that I have fallen from the ranks of bachelors; and that when I said I should die such, I had no idea I should live to be married. Prosaically, then, I am engaged to.... Her father is cousin of ... and is of the elder branch of the family, so that I already begin to feel sentimental about Lady Arabella Johnson. On the other side I come plump against plump old Gov. Stuyvesant of the New Netherlands. What with Dutch and Puritan blood, therefore, I shall be sufficiently sobered, you will fancy. Wrong, astutest of Johns, for my girl plays like a sunbeam over the dulness of that old pedigree, and is no whit more Dutch or Puritan than I am. She is, in brief, 22 years old, a very, very pronounced blonde, not handsome (to common eyes), graceful and winning, not accomplished nor talented nor fond of books, gay as a bird, bright as sunshine, and has that immortal youth, that perennial freshness and sweetness which is the secret of permanent happiness.

I am as happy as the day, and have no especial intention of marrying directly. Her father has a large property, but she is not, properly, a rich girl. I shall be settled at home in ten days. To-night I am going to Baltimore, and shall return to New York next week.

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