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Boston. Oct 7. 1861.
You will think I ought to have told you before this, how I liked your Godiva, but the strain of expectation has been on me, now a little relaxed by the fact that the miserable Niagara has gone ashore.
When I came [deletion: home] back to Boston I went to Burnham's and bought a book. Then I came home, & read once more - before I sent it to my friend, all that there was between the covers. Oh Anne - I am so proud of you when [deletion: you] I read your poems! Then I feel sure that you belong to me past escape, and am comforted for the distances and separations of this world, by the [deletion: phiop]prophecy of a nearness yet to come.
I hope you told me the truth, when you said that you still write. for the Elgin marbles themselves could never compensate me for your silence.
The first statue I saw - was one you are moulding over your own bones. and round your own sinews. I am sure it is the work of Beelzebub, and that literally
you are possessed. Child! you have no right so to blot out. the fair picture God made you- If alas! God came and dropt an Atlas on your shoulders, then you could not escape. But a vocation? surely you may take it up with wise moderation-?
It is not my vocation that wears on me, so I feel a clear conscience while I speak. I go to & from my writing with alacrity, and no fatigue it ever brings - but has its own elastic restoration. Work is one thing dear Anne and Pain another? But we must not wish that we may not suffer - as dear Mr. Channing said yesterday.
For the Godiva. I liked her very much, especially the first regal view of her as we entered. The action of the figure seems to me very fine. I am glad it is not nude - for I don't think nude figures, fair in this century. There is not any common knowledge of the nude form, as in ancient times and so there is no criterion of judgment. There is something to get over, and so the beauty does not touch as it should.
I saw only one fault - in the Godiva. I think the neck, on the gazer's left, is too much like a column - it should have more pliability - I cannot explain, but you will feel it before you get through.
It pleased my friend, very much - and though he has very little experience in Art, he has a refined and sensitive nature.
With love to Sarah and all the rest, believe me - faithfully yours -
Caroline H. Dall.
[written on back of page in pencil:
[along left side of page in pencil: Dall.]
Dall, Caroline Healy and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Caroline Healy Dall, Boston, Massachusetts, to Anne Whitney, 1861 October 7" (1861). Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 635.