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[postmark: OXFORD 8.30PM. FE 4 02 3]
Miss Anne Whitney,
The Charlesgate, Boston,
[partial postmark: BOSTON, MASS FEB 14 1902] [partial postmark: BOSTON, MASS FEB BACK BAY STATION]
[written in pencil: 38]
12 Walton St., Oxford.
I suspect that A.W. of mine will never more dare to suggest that she is dilatory, when she beholds my own shining example, especially when she knows that I look on any letter from Charlesgate as her boon, and not my right! It would make you smile to know how often I have read that last script, and agreed with it, and uttered malisons over it, meant to shatter and confound the illness that laid you low at Plymouth, and the law, business that worried you after. And if I had had a shred of news, or anything enlivening to say, or even a three-legged poem to send, I should hardly have been silent all these months. I just take it out in letting my fancy play around your high windows, like a Travelled sea-gull, and peer in by lamplight, when you are listening, and Miss Manning reading, with bent head, so that you can't tell her from her marble bust on the wall. For ^ with me
it is always reading and collating Vaughan and the Bodleian breakfasts and little walks, book cleaning and fetching of coal, and beer and bed. Aunty is well now, but she was ill all last week, and there was panic in my manly breast, I tell you. But on the whole, she does admirably; and never before that I can remember, have I passed a winter without a single cough or cold. We have no rain, snow, slush, or wind. It is cloudy and spiritless, but so mild that the crocuses are in bud, and the rose-bushes leaved out from top to toe, although it was well into November before I counted the last roses. And thrushes go it all day in the naked moist trees. These are the things I notice; for I have hardly an acquaintance here, and I won't read the Jingo papers. Despite various days, I'm in my own old world, and up to my neck in that Long Ago which is my only passion, the
air this battered orchid lives on.
'Still on the spire the pigeons flutter,
Still by the gateway flits the gown;
Still on the street, from corbel and gutter,
Faces of stone look down.'
I wonder if it be well to dwell so with 'invisibles', as dear Sir Thomas Browne calls them? It is, at least, harmless and human; and when I do so and then only, I can truly say that I am happy. I greatly fear my Mother so far from happy just now, and no wonder, The village [Heros] of Auburndale have passed a law forbidding roosters to be kept. This comes hard, as all Auburndale laws do, on the poor but honest; so there has been a general exodus of that class. As our small estate is really nothing but an orchard and hen-farm, we have promptly lost, in consequence of the benign legislation just-named, our admirable tenants and intending purchasers, the
Courtney family. this is a terrible trial to poor Mother, to have the idle house in her hands. My one dread is lest, she will go out there, in the cold and emptiness, in the effort to dispose of it, and get pneumonia and things I dare say she will. She seems so comfortable at 601 Tremont St., that I should hate to have her put out to sea again.
What new opus is growing up in the Belmont Studio? Make a lordly devil, and call it Imperialism! Which reminds me: Have I, or have I not, told you what I think of William Vaughan Moody our new poet? I do not know any one thing, in this stormy year of mine, which has made me feel it good to be alive, as his gallant book has done. You are bound to love it and him: see if you're not! (Perhaps you may have 'found him, and named a star', Iong before I did.) With love to you and Miss Manning,
4 Feb., 1902.
Whitney, Anne and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Anne Whitney, Boston, Massachusetts, to Sarah Whitney, 1894 June 16" (1894). Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 470.