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Wednesday evng; [written in pencil at top right: Oct.[6 or 13, 1880?]]
I have a great mind to threaten a descent upon you - I believe it would work a cure. in fact - I think I have noted something of this kind before. no - I will not come to Castle Dangerous - but I can repair to the station [deletion: at] in your town & send up a message of inquiry to your house - this will bring you down if you are not incapacitated - & at any rate I shall know.
How long is it since I have looked into your dear rhadamanthine eyes! - I have in mind a shadowy recollection of some story of Hawthorne's in which an eccentric genius took it into his head to walk out of his house one day & sequester himself in the neighborhood of it - thinking every night that possibly he should walk into his home the next day - but in reality putting it off
for years. & this for no cause other than as it were to play with Fate & tempt what had it been foretold or assigned to him - he would have looked upon as a calamity - Something like this - a possibility of this sort - seems to hover on the border lands of Fate & free-will in all our lives.
I can imagine myself at any moment the unresisting because unconcious victim of it - If one knew, how would one spring to the heart of the beloved & break up all the web of false magic & loosen the prisoner again into the half-forgotten light & air.
What was I thinking of? Why this - viz. How dreadful it would be if you should keep putting-off coming to me till it became easy not to come - till it grew to be a melancholy (conceding so much) habit. But this can never be. Still - how ruthless a thing is gout in the throat! What a
protracted grip it has - & now you have to wait for a charmed weapon from Paris! but a cheerful view of the subject presents itself to my mind. The Congress-woman Mrs. Colby came last evng. I shall not see much of her for our paths diverge - but her visit threatens to outlive the congressional sessions by some days. I might chafe under this if I thought you would come if she had not come now - I see you will be well when Nebraska Colby has gone back to her broad savannas - & then you will come. Selah? -
Adeline has gone out with the lady tonight - to that choking little smoky meionian - & I only hope she will come out of it safely.
The Garrison Brothers came for me this P.M. to go out to Forest Hills (by previous consent). They wanted my idea about a memorial stone - The place ( & the drive) is wonder - beautiful at this time - We you & I were to go out there I remember sometime. The
elder Garrison (William) says he should greatly like to become acquainted with you. I shall ask him to come some evng. when you are here if you will conspire with me to gratify this single-hearted & genial son of his father.
The news from Ohio & Ind. [written in pencil above: [Indiana]] is full of cheer. O dear does one even fairly picture what it would be to lose this cause? However we may theorize & idealize the half-loaf of moral achievement is a thing to say grace over.
With regard to Mrs. Weld I believe you are over-xacting, as in certain other cases you seem to me to be [deletion: so]. There is no mistaking the tenor of her life - If she deflected in one instance from the high, heroic path which was hers - to [deletion: meet it] treat that error with ever-renewed [deletion: v]rigor is not I think the way to save others. It is very well & all together right to help ourselves & the world by so much near-sighted fact as can be come by - but also it is [deletion: truth]true & a law of optics that as we recede from the individual - scinting has no longer the same value & the larger meaning of a life [deletion: has] unfolds
& has a more than [written over another word: equivalent] benefit for us. also I think that there is so large a proportion of mankind who if they lifted a finger would do it to retard instead of to help on a righteous cause I should find for my own part a strong question as to whether I [deletion: sh]could [deletion: best] cheer the honest heroes still fighting [deletion: in] the[deletion: ir] [written over another word: great] battle by singling out for censure the xceptional braves of a former field.
The least differences are the greatest - Spencer can xplain why I suppose - The men & women who were your comrades - contemporaries - turned their all of themselves into that one channel - what could you xpect? - if they had a taint of meanness or weakness of any kind - the cause must have the benefit of it. But on the whole their consecration was their salvation. & to be accounted unto them for righteousness. At least they were not like me & some of my comrades
who sat sucking our fingers in shady retreats while you dear Heart went out & flung contempt on all meaner delightsomeness.
All of God there may be & Gods - bless you & them world without end
Whitney, Anne and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Anne Whitney, to Maria Weston Chapman, 1880 October 6" (1880). Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 583.