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Full text of "Gail Hamilton's life in letters; edited by H. Augusta Dodge"

B.CLARKE Co. 



GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN 
LETTERS 



GAIL HAMILTON'S 
LIFE IN LETTERS 



EDITED BY 

H. AUGUSTA DODGE 



VOLUME I. 




BOSTON 

LEE AND SHEPARD 

MCMI 




Copyright, 1901, 
By H. Augusta Dodge. 



All rights reserved. 



GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS. 

Vol. I. 



P3 



Amesbury, Second day, May, 1865. 

My dear Fd. : 

I was a little blue this morning, but thy 
letter was just the tonic I needed. If any- 
body is out of sorts and hypped I shall pre- 
scribe for him a course of thy letters. 

And now, God bless thee ! 




To Mary Abby Dodge, 

Hamilton, Mass, 



CONTENTS 

Vol. I 

PAGE 

Biographical Sketch {Harriet Prescott spofford) . ix 

I. Childhood, 1833-1845 1 

II. Student Days, 1845-1850 11 

III. Teaching, 1850-1856 31 

IV. Beginnings of Authorship, 1856-1858 115 
V. First Year in Washington, 1858-1859 173 

VI. Literary Progress, 1859-1860 ... 241 

VII. Busy Years in Hamilton, 1860-1868 . 283 



Vll 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

Bt Harriet Prescott Spofford 



Mary A. Dodge came of a Hue of pure English 
aucestry settled in one county of this country for 
more than two hundred and sixty years, and the 
qualities of this sturdy stock seemed to have intensified 
and come to blossom in her. 

She was a ruddy, curly haired little child, overflow- 
ing with vitality, singing, dancing, and full of the joy 
of life, and of an astonishing intellectual energy. At 
two years old she not only talked, but recited verses 
from memory, and she knew then the obligation of a 
promise ; at five she was studying an advanced geog- 
raphy ; at six, one of her brothers writing his school 
composition, she also was writing hers. 

The life of a country child is one calculated to give 
a close intimacy with natui'e ; familiar with their 
moods and changes, woods and fields and skies and 
streams were her friends, and all her life long they 
gave her the joy they did when, a little child, she first 
looked up and realized the infinity of the depth of the 
blue above her. The life fostered also a strong in- 
dividuality, a fresh and fine and delightful individual- 
Copyright, 1896, by Harper & Bros. 

ix 



X GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ity, whose original force was felt upon whatever 
scene she entered. 

To the family of a New England farmer in the days 
of her childhood the Church was a central point, the 
orthodox Congregational Church, which had much of 
the authority still that it had in the days of the Puri- 
tans. The subjects of conversation were its articles 
of faith, and the Bible was its literature. There was 
much other good literature in her father's house, 
but there was none that had the delight for her of this 
book, with its high inspiration to her faith, its tender 
promises to her heart, and its poetical splendor to her 
imagination ; its language was her language, and she 
could neither speak nor write without using it ; a rare 
scholar on many lines, she valued her biblical scholar- 
ship more than any other. She became a member of 
the church at an early age, and she continued in its 
communion till her death, although she grew largely 
liberal in her interpretation of its creed. 

She was educated at the Ipswich Female Seminary, 
a remarkable school, and she always maintained the 
affection of her kinswoman, its great-hearted princi- 
pal, Mrs. Cowles. Upon her graduation she became 
a teacher, at first at Ipswich and afterwards in 
Hartford, and a very wonderful teacher, awakening 
in her pupils powers they did not dream of and new 
conceptions of life and things, and striking a vital 
spark from the dryest facts of study. Early in her 
teachings she began to write for the press, short, 
crisp, and sparkling articles, under a pseudonym ; 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xi 

part of this name was that of her native town, every 
sod of which she loved, and she was already well 
known by it when she was teaching in the family of 
Dr. Bailey, the editor of the " National Era," a publi- 
cation with whose purposes she was in full sympathy. 
Miss Dodge discontinued her teaching to go home 
and remain with her mother, who had become an 
invalid, whom she all but worshipped, and whose care 
she shared with the sister who was her other self. 
She was now an active contributor to the " Atlantic 
Monthly " and other periodicals, and she collected her 
essays into volumes, which had wide and good circu- 
lation, many pages of which were of unrivalled beauty, 
as others were of frolicking humor and sound wisdom. 
Her circumstances were easy, and she found a great 
deal of pleasure in life with her work, her friends, 
and her frequent visits in the houses of her publishers, 
of Hawthorne, Mrs. Stowe, Mr. Whittier, Mr. Storrs, 
and others. She was radiant with youth and health 
and spirit and happiness, helping evei-y one, making 
the world glad about her, and herself the pride and 
joy of a large and adoring family circle. Wherever 
she came the wind and the sunshine seemed to come 
in with her, so bright and breezy was her presence, 
with a thought, an opinion, an epigram, for every- 
thing, and sparkling with sweet and wholesome wit, 
fearlessly frank and tenderly kind. While her 
stricture was unsparing, her praise was equally so. 
Her spirit was something not to be daunted, and she 
was intrepid in maintaining her cause and fighting for 



xii GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

faith or friend. But her magnanimity was as great 
as her courage. She was generosity itself, giving her 
personal care, her interest, her money in large sums, 
herself. 

In 1870 she began to spend her winters in Washing- 
ton. Warmly interested in affairs, acquainted both 
with the intricacies of politics and tlie heights of 
statesmanship, standing in awe of no one, with the 
pleasantest and most gracious manner on occasion, 
her humor, her keen insight, her quick aptitude, her 
memory, her knowledge of human nature, her glow 
and enthusiasm all had full play in Mrs. Blaine's 
drawing-room, for Mr. Blaine was then the Speaker of 
the House, and then and later his home was the centre 
where not only the party chiefs, but every one of in- 
terest, either the foreign diplomat or the transient 
traveller, was sure to be found. No more admired 
woman of society ever lived in Washington. 

She dressed her part well, too, in simplest garb 
upon the street or in the galleries of Congress ; but 
she was resplendent at home in her white silks, her 
gown of silver brocade, her pale peach satin, or what- 
ever the occasion demanded. In summer she swung 
in her hammock at home in Hamilton, and wandered 
over her hills as if she had never known any other 
life. Although not beautiful, she was yet attractive, 
of about the medium height, and with a good figure, 
her skin very fair and blooming, her mouth sweet, her 
teeth fine, her forehead white, her nose well cut, her 
bright brown hair curling naturally. She had great 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH xiii 

beauty of expression, and her smile was enchanting. 
Delightful as her conversation was, her letters were 
equally so, and her presence in any house filled it with 
the ' inextinguishable laughter of the gods." She 
was a discriminating critic of books and people and 
measures ; she loved nature, poetry, children, and 
beauty in every shape. She kindled brightness in 
others, and you felt in her society tliat you were 
listening to the most brilliant woman of her genera- 
tion. 

In 1887-8 she visited Europe. She had already 
seen a good deal of America Canada, California, 
the South and West. She enjoyed every moment of 
her trip, and of the coaching tour through England 
and Scotland, looking at everything from the new 
point of view of her own entirely original personalit}'. 
During all these years she was continually publishing 
volumes of interest and keeping a large correspond- 
ence with men and women of note both here and 
abroad. Her last considerable work was her " Wash- 
ington Bible Class," a book burning with a steady flame 
of genius ; and she died just as she had completed her 
book upon the life of Mr. Blaine, which she alone 
could write as the subject demanded. 

During the last three years she was also intensely 
absorbed in unavailing efforts for the liberation of 
Mrs. Maybrick from the prison to which she was sen- 
tenced for the commission of a crime for which, as 
Miss Dodge contended, she was never tried. Inter- 
ested in everything, loved as few people have been 



xiv (JAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

loved, and loving in return, appreciating the feeling 
she excited, alive to her very fingers' ends, she burned 
the torch of her life without sparing. She had gone 
to Washington with the last chapter of her work, well 
and happy, rejoicing in the beautiful spring of that 
beautiful town. Witliout any warning she slipped 
one morning to the floor, retained her intelligence 
vividly for some days, and then gently sank into a 
deep sleep, from which she woke to consciousness 
only some weeks afterwards, when she had been re- 
moved to her own home. 

Here, under the most tireless care, she regained a 
great measure of her physical and all of her intel- 
lectual strength. She occupied herself with her work, 
her friends, and neighbors, who idolized her, her char- 
ities, the new books and public events, and in writing, 
and herself publishing a volume under the title of 
" X-Rays," of interest to all those who search into the 
mystery of a future life. 

On the morning of the 16th of this month (August) , 
without premonition, she fell forward unconscious, 
and I'einained so for a day and night, when her great 
starlike spirit passed. 



CHILDHOOD 

1833-1845 



CHILDHOOD 

1833-1845 

During convalescence, after the completion 
of " X-Rays," it became the intention of " Gail 
Hamilton" to prepare her autobiography, and 
the followino; beo;innino; was dictated at in- 
tervals in 1896 : 

I died on the lOtb of May, 1895.^ It might be sup- 
posed that a life so private and uneventful as mine 
would not require or justify a biography. But when, 
after seven weeks' divorce of body and soul, a par- 
tial reunion was effected, I found the newspapers 
festooned with obituary biographical sketches wholly 
friendly and equally inaccurate. If my life is worth 
putting wrong it is worth putting right, and I devote 
the enforced leisure of this appendix to reminiscences. 

My earliest recollections are of sitting on a braided 
mat before the hearth on which a bright wood fire 
was blazing and warming a porringer of milk. My 
mother sat near me with feet outstretched, on which I 
would at pleasure take a delightful ride. The close of 
the programme was invariably to throw myself across 
my father's knee, and order him "to rub my back." 
I was a docile child in general, but in this one thing 

' See Sketch by Harriet Prescott Spofford at beginning of Volume I. 

3 



4 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I was sovereign. I would not go to bed until his 
hand more rough and hard than any other had 
soothed my little back into tranquillity. My sister 
always went with me, so that I had no sense of ban- 
ishment or solitude, and I have always a lurking pity 
for children who must go to bed alone. I was a little 
beast, enfolding but an invisible germ of humanity. 
I did not love father or mother, only the comfort and 
warmth which they administered. I had an attach- 
ment to them as the source and background of the 
fire and the bright porringer. 

There was no family government. The only pun- 
ishment I remember in a family of six children was 
when I for three Sundays in succession endured some 
lio;ht affliction for behaving ill in church. But there 
was no logical connection between the penalty and the 
sin. Our pew was in the gallery and was large and 
nearly square, red cushioned and curtained, a 
secluded and quiet room where play could be carried 
on comfortably without disturbing any one. The 
sound of my little finger-nails scratching down the 
long breadths of my mother's black silk gown amused 
me more than the preacher's voice. The rattle of 
the brass rings on the iron rods as I drew the curtains 
back and forth was my song of the sanctuary, but 
when I sat down upon the floor of the pew and began 
to take off my shoes and stockings, my mother hailed it 
as the dawn of the reformation, but its real sunrise was 
many years after, upon the occasion of a new pelisse 
handed down from my sister, with a " bodice waist" 
opening in front. So important an advance in dress 
demanded a corresponding dignity of demeanor. I 
was more than equal to the occasion. I not only sat 
quietly through the service, but at its close turned to 



CHILDHOOD 5 

my sister aud asked, " Don't you think we have had 
a short sermon ? " The reader will readily perceive 
that I had jumped at one bound from childhood to 
criticism. I was not only able to sit still through the 
sermon, but I disdained to find any weariness in the 
effort, and so called the sermon short. My sister 
saw through the little subterfuge and did not hesitate 
to communicate the fact to me. Her only answer 
was to wrinkle up her nose in silent contempt, and 
I knew that my little ruse had failed. Perhaps I then 
first knew it was a ruse. 

Parents and children formed one community, ate 
at the same table, of the same food no hot or rich 
or unwholesome food was denied us because we were 
children. It was an event in natural history when I 
heard that the minister's daughter was not allowed to 
eat mince pie. I ate mince pie whenever it was on 
the table. 

A vase which was in the spare chamber, I had taken 
for my own pleasure and, instead of replacing it, left 
it on the floor where I was playing and where my 
mother found it, and asked me if I had meddled with 
it. It was such a vase as I suppose might have been 
bought at the grocer's for fifty cents per pair, and it 
was unharmed, but I had a blind perception that some- 
how the universal order had been disturbed, and the 
quickest way to get into it seemed to be to deny that 
lever had been out. I promptly answered "No." 
My mother must have known I was telling what is 
called a lie, but she did not embarrass me with un- 
pleasant remarks, or pointed questions. I fought 
rather shy of her, avoiding tdte-ct-t^te for an hour or 
two, but coming to no harm the entente cordiale was 
soon restored and we remained the best of friends. 



6 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I have heard my mother lament that the magazine 
day of Mothers' Assistants and Mothers' Societies 
had not come in season to help her in bringing up her 
children, and when I became old enough to write 
Mothers' Assistants myself, I made up for it by mak- 
ing my mothers give long talks to their children on the 
right and wrong of things, but my one real mother's 
way was far the best. 

She did not lecture about principles or give rules 
she expected us to do the right thing of our own free 
will. 

Two kinds of cake were always kept in store, 
fruit cake in a covered stone jar, and cup cake in a 
large covered tin pail, both rich and delicious, but 
never appearing except for guests, when we had our 
fair share. If any broken slices were left they were 
fair plunder for the next day. No one ever told 
us not to touch this cake, and no lock and key 
were ever used, and I sometimes, when duty called me 
to the cellar, lifted the covers to sniff the fragrant 
odors, or spy a speck of white mould which might 
condemn it without impairing it to my young taste, 
but I should have no sooner thought of touching it 
than of breaking a piece from the round moon. 

My sister had been awaiting with great interest the 
construction of a sled by one of my brothers. Just 
as it was finished and we were about to go on the hill 
for the first experiment with it, our mother sent for 
my sister and me to come in. I thought of nothing 
but to obey my sister simply took no notice of the 
command. My brother, who I suspect was only too 
ready to have the sled to himself, undertook to take 
her in. She resisted at every step, and when in their 
forced march they reached the pump, she sprang for- 



CHILDHOOD 7 

ward and clutcbcd the nose, nor could he with all his 
superior strength dislodge her. How the fight ended 
I do not know, for being rather awed by it I trotted 
off into the house. My mother gave me some raisins, 
and glad of anything for a quiet life, I sat on the 
floor behind the door and ate them. I suspect my 
mother was aware of the fracas that was going on, 
and that the raisins were a reward of merit for keep- 
ing out of it. But she never spoke of it. She left 
war to fight it out at the pump spout, and peace to 
eat it out on the floor, and the true moral to burrow 
its own way into the crude consciences around her. 

REMINISCENCES OF MY EAKLT SCHOOL DAYS. 

[Found in a composition book, probably written while in Ipswich 
Female Seminary, 1849.] 

Fifteen minutes before nine, on the 25th of May, 
1835, at the patriarchal age of two years and two 
months, I first entered a village school-house. It 
was the great era of my life. For weeks and weeks 
I had thought of it talked of it dreamt of it. 
When at last the eventful morning came and I started 
for school with my brother and sister, I verily believe 
a happier heart beat not in the old Bay State. After 
a walk of some twenty minutes we reached the school- 
house. It was a little brown wooden building. 
There were three windows in front and two in the end. 
A white curtain hung at one of the front windows. 
Under another was the caricature of a man, fantastic- 
ally drawn with red chalk. The decided preponder- 
ance of nose the arms equal in length to the whole 
body the hat like a slaveholder's conscience, " long 
and narrow," all testified to the skill of the young 
artist. It was with a mingled feeling of wonder and 



8 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

awe I entered the school-room. The seats were filled 
with children of various ages. One seat was occupied 
by persons whom I thought men, though they were 
mere striplings of sixteen or eighteen. My heart sunk 
within me as I gazed around, for I felt that I was less 
than the least. However, it was not many days be- 
fore I be^an to feel more at home. The teacher was a 
kind, affectionate lady, very fond of children, and I 
soon loved her. 

At the breakfast table when we children* were 
discussino; the advent of a new teacher and the 
lono; list of names six with which we should 
burden his memory, the youngest spoke up : " / 
shall say my name is Mary Abby Dodge. I go 
by the name of Abby my father frequently 
calls me Polly," and the result proved her to 
be as good as her word. 

Her first winter term developed great popu- 
larity with teacher, pupils, and visitors. One 
of the latter became so enamored by the profi- 
ciency of the bright little girl that he left a sum of 
money with the teacher to be privately presented 
her. Frequently during intermissions the older 
pupils, " the striplings of sixteen or eighteen," 
with whom she was a favorite, would persuade 
her to repeat lessons from the Reader, and she 
would recite page after page of jyrose, naturally 
and fluently, which attracted the lesser lights, 
until the group became a crowd of eager listen- 
ers, standing upon the seats and benches to see 
as well as hear the young orator. She was 



CHILDHOOD 9 

a pet of the school, as the many toys, medals, 
and jack-knife curiosities in her possession testi- 
fied, and even to caring for her personal wants 
the strong boy would take her hand to lead, 
and his handkerchief to smooth her hair when 
the wind blew it awry. 

At two years of age she could repeat the 
whole of the Lord's Prayer, and before her 
second birthday she promised to abandon a baby 
habit when " two yea' old," and was never 
known, consciously, to " suck her fingers," 
after that date. At five she was studying Olney's 
Geography, and before her seventh year, at a 
school exhibition for " speaking pieces," when 
the school-room was festooned with evergreen, 
decorated with pine boughs, and brilliantly 
lighted, the youngest of the declaimers not only 
" spoke in public on the stage," under an arch 
of green, her one "piece " learned for the occa- 
sion, but aided and abetted by a fun-loving strip- 
ling, and encouraged by the teacher and an atten- 
tive audience, whose curiosity she had aroused, 
she was induced to go out and repeat any chance 
piece she had ever learned, until iiineteen selec- 
tions had been recited, when her mother forbade 
her again leaving her seat, the quiet thus en- 
forced, the little head soon rested on the desk 
fast asleep ! 

When a brother, seven years her senior, was 
required to write a composition, she asked per- 
mission for the same privilege (?) and wrote. 



10 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

" The Character of a Good Scholar." Pretty 
little rhymes about "The Rose," at nine; a 
metrical conversation between " Industry and 
Idleness," signed " Mary A. Dodge's Scribbles," 
at ten ; ' ' Lines supposed to be written by a 
Youth far away from the Home of his Child- 
hood," five stanzas of four lines each, at eleven ; 
and ten verses on " Independence," when twelve 
years old, are remarkable productions among 
many very clever examples of her ready pen or 
pencil. 

When twelve years old she was sent to a 
school in Cambridge, to be under the instruction 
of Dr. Smith, that prince of teachers, born, not 
manufactured at Normal School, and there 
her^r*'^ letter was written in September, 1845. 



II 

STUDENT DAYS 

1845-1850 



11 



n 

STUDENT DAYS 

1845-1850 

My dear Sister: Here I am in Cambridgeport. 
I had a delightful ride iu the cars this forenoon, 
though about the last part of it I had somewhat of a 
headache, owing to the continued noise. "We walked 
directly from the cars to the ferry boat. I should not 
think it was much of a boat, for it appeared to be very 
large inside like a very large depot, and did not seem 
to be moving. When we came out our ears were as- 
sailed by ' ' Will you have a cab ? " We got into one 
all lined with red velvet, had a ride to somewhere, 
I don't know where and then we got into au omnibus 
and kept there until we arrived at Mrs. P's. But oh, 
Boston, Boston, such a sight of people and houses I 
never saw ! I intend to go to a party this afternoon 
and A. is almost ready, so I must stop for the present. 

Your sister Abby. 

Monday noon. Oh dear, the show is over. I have 
been to school this forenoon, and got along very 
well. They do not use any of the books I have 
brought excepting the Testament. Mother's prophecy 
has not yet come to pass. I have not been homesick. 
I occupy a room in the attic. The walls are all 
whitewashed and the floor painted blue and it gives it 
an air of neatness and comfort. I must now stop 

13 



14 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

again, and go to knitting, else I shall not get my stock- 
ing clone this sometime. I have as many peaches and 
grapes as I wish. I have plenty t)f books too. Good- 
bye. It is Monday night. This afternoon as I was 
in the school the girl who sat near me mentioned to 
Dr. S. that I lived in another district and ought not to 
come there or something to that effect. And said he, 
" If she lived in Halifax I should let her come. She 
is one of my old scholars and knows me well." ' ' Does 
she?" said tlie girl in a very humble tone. "Yes, 
she does, and you'll find it out one of these days." 
She was silent, but afterwards asked me sevei-al ques- 
tions about it and seemed quite surprised to think 
/had been to school to him. I have been as it were 
a dweller alone since eight o'clock this morning till 
this afternoon at recess, when two girls very kindly 
invited me to walk with them which invitation I gladly 
accepted aud found them very pleasant and agreeable. 
Good night. 

Tuesday afternoon and I have felt very badly 
nearly all day ; I suppose I am homesick. I feel 
very cross about it, for I like the place, I like my 
home, I like the teacher and some of the scholars, 
but I can't help it. I won't come home yet at any 
rate. I suppose that you will laugh, but I don't care. 
I guess you know from sad experience how I feel, 
hoping to feel better tomorrow I will leave this till 
then. 

Wednesday. I do not feel much better to-day. 

Friday. There is a girl that goes to my school 
who says she has a grandfather and uncle in Hamilton. 

Monday. It seems to me the past week has 
been very long, though I have in general passed it 
pleasantly. Saturday we did not proceed with the 



STUDENT DAYS 15 

exercises of the school as usual, but the principal 
thing we did was to read and spell. After they had 
spelt in classes, we " spelt down " as the term is ; you 
know what I mean, I presume. The first time a little 
girl stood up the longest whose name I do not know. 
The spelling book they use I never saw, I believe, be- 
fore I came here, and of course the chances were very 
unequal. I stood up longer than I expected, however. 
After they were all down, the Dr. said we might try 
it again ; we did and a little girl whose name I believe 
is Mary A. Dodge stood up the longest. She was 
somewhat of a stranger in the school, and I think it 
was a pretty good "spoke in her wheel," as mother 
might say. I want you to look round and find J. R.'s 
arithmetic, and a book entitled "Charlotte Temple," 
and carry them down to Mrs. Rust's with my thanks, 
tell them I had forgotten them. I suppose you think 
I have not improved much in writing by being at a 
boarding school. Mother told me to write plain, but 
I fear I have not. It is not a fortnight since I came, 
but as I can finish this letter now I think I will send 
it. Love to all inquiring friends and sister. 

Your affectionate sister, 

Abby D. 

description of a church. 

[Found in her own childish handwriting.] 

The church in which I attend meeting is situated 
in Austin street, facing the north. It is painted 
white, and has a very tall steeple which is ornamented 
with carved work. There are two stories of windows 
in the belfry, and the lower story has blinds. When 
you enter the door of the church, you find yourself in 
a large entry extending along the whole length of the 



16 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

house. The body of the church contains about sixty 
pews, in the form of slips, which will comfortably 
seat six grown persons. The greater part of the 
pews face the front of the pulpit, a few called the 
wing pews face the sides. There are no seats in 
the gallery excepting those of the singers, and there 
is a large organ there. The floor of the aisles is 
carpeted, as are also some of the pews. The pulpit 
is lined with red velvet. As I have attended meetiusf 
here but a few Sabbaths, this description is now as 
minute as I am able to give. 

Mary A. Dodge. 

The pastor was Rev. J. C. Lovejoy, brother 
of the Alton martyr, and during her attendance 
on his ministrations he gave her the "Life of 
Elijah P. Lovejoy " as a prize for some Sunday 
School attainment. 

Many years later, Owen Lovejoy, M.C., be- 
came a much valued acquaintance and friend, 
and their exchange of literary products was 
highly instructive and entertaining. 

Hamilton, May, 1846. 

My dear Sister : There is a great difference in the 
weather now and when you went away. Then the 
sun was sending his beams upon our heads, now his 
face is veiled in clouds and prognosticates that it 
will " wain pitsfoks !" Does that sound natural? 

I had a good time in Danvers, was not homesick 
can yon say the same of Ipswich? We have one 
gosling, and I don't know how many chickens. There 
is no news stirring. I've drained mv brain and can't 



STUDENT DAYS 17 

get much more out. Be a good girl. Mother says, 
" Why don't you enlarge upon your visit to Dan- 
vers? tell her where you went." So I will to please 
her. I went to Harmony Grove, went to Salem, 

went to , went to F. D's, went to B's, went to Mr. 

C's, went to Mr. F's, went to Miss M's, went to Mrs. 
A. B's, went to Mrs. G's, went to Mrs. DeM's 
they are well; went to "Aunt Very's " to get some 
yeast, went to Mrs. B's to get some yeast, went to 
Mrs. R's, went to Dr. C's, went to Mr. L's ; now you 
know where I went. Anything else, mother? "No," 
mother says, so I'll stop. Good Bye. 

From I, 

M. A. D. to H. A. D. 

Ipswich, June 18, 1847. 

O DEAR Mother ! Upham, Algebra, and French, 
French, Algebra, and Upham. What shall I do ? 
Shall I study French or not ? 1 finished Botany to- 
day, and Mr. Cowles thinks I ought to go right into 
French immediately. Mrs. Cowles says that I shall 
get so that by next winter I can amuse myself at 
home by reading French, and Mr. Cowles will lend 
me some books. Do come and see me and talk to 
Mrs. Cowles about it, for I'm sure I don't know what 
to do. So much for Frenchification. They have put 
me into Mr. Cowles' reading class, with the big girls. 
One of the gu'ls in the class I have just left was 
speaking something about it, and Mrs. Cowles said 
that when she was as good a reader as I was, she 
should go into it too. Miss Dunning says I shall 
make a beautiful writer. She says she don't need to 
look at my writing, it always looks well. And she 
says Oh ! I won't say any more ; it makes me feel 



18 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

silly. I shall want my white dress pretty soon, I sup- 
pose. Do come and see me as soon as you can and 
bring it, won't you ? 

Here comes Fanny McKeen with, " How do you 
spell different?" Adeline says, " Ask the poetess." 
She says to me, "Tell your mother you go by the 
name of poetess and are rightly named." They say 
so for a silly reason indeed. Do come and see me as 
soon as you can. Where is Uncle George ? I want 
to see him before he goes away. I wonder what he 
thinks of French? You know I told you I had to 
read a composition the other day. Well, I had to 
read another, and Mr. Cowles said he had no idea 
that I could make that house ring as I did. There ! 
I have filled this whole letter with my nonsense. Do 
come to see me as soon as you can, and Uncle George. 
When you come bring me anything you think I should 
like. I want you to come very much, and very soon. 

Yours, etc., 

M. A. Dodge. 

August 4, 1847. 
My vacation commenced two weeks ago. Eliza 
and Margaret, two of our school-girls, spent the vaca- 
tion with me. We ate up nearly all the currants and 
raspberries, but probably you will find some black- 
berries when you go home. They began to ripen 
before I came away. I saw Lydia, your " friend 
Lydia," the night before I came here. She looked 
more charming than ever. However, I hope you will 
not let personal beauty outweigh mental accomplish- 
ments in your selection of a wife. T hope when you 
come home you will by no means forget my French 
Bible. I am studying Latin, German, French, Rhe- 



STUDENT DAYS 19 

toric, and shall probably take Butler's Analogy. 
When you come home I wish you would bring Com- 
stock's Natural Philosophy and Smellie's Philosophy 
of Natural History, if you have them. 

I came from Ipswich on Friday and found mother 
at home. Father and Augusta started for Salem, 
N.H., last Thursday morning. They arrived about 
sunset the same day, had a very pleasant visit, and 
reached home about nine o'clock last night. 

By and with the advice and consent of the "Family 
Council" convened Thursday, this fourth day of 
November, 1847, I do hereby snugly ensconce myself 
in a large armchair with my writing-desk before me 
with the laudable design of penning a few lines to a 
far distant, but well remembered (must I say too well 
remembered?) brother. Yes, would that I could for- 
get my last interview with you to efface from my 
mind the impression that your appearance made upon 
it. But it is impossible. The short blue frock, 
the suspenderless pantaloons, the green straw hat 
knocked into an undefmable form, all combined, pre- 
sented an aspect which w411 never be forgotten by me. 
Obstinate boy ! You do not deserve that I should 
ever write you another letter, but if we were all 
treated according to our deserts I ween there would 
be little happiness in the world ; therefore hoping that 
you will take a realizing sense of the importance of 
the favor I am conferring, and also of your own 
unworthiness, I will conclude this long preamble. 

Augusta and myself had the happiness of visiting 
the city of Boston last Saturday, met Felt at the depot, 
and Maria at the store, who had come to Boston in a 
private carriage with her father and mother. We 
visited the State House, and from thence we went to 



20 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

see Banvard's Panorama of the Mississippi River. I 
shall not attempt to describe it, I'll just say that it 
looks " as large as life and twice as natural." 

Mother tells me that somebody took your umbrella 
when you were last at home, and so you are minus 
an umbrella, which is nowadays considered common 
stock among the whole family of Grandpa Adam. 
Father wants me to tell you that the guineas have 
grown speckled, and that the corn is all cut, and 
all but one load husked. We attended the Ordina- 
tion of the Rev. Mr. Taylor in Wenham a few days 
ago. The meeting was without exception the most 
interesting one I ever attended. What greatly con- 
tributed to its interest was the fact that he is the 
youngest of four brothers, all of whom are ministers 
and assisted in the exercises. 

Hamilton, January 4, 1848. 
[Not yet 15.] 
Mb. James Ai-vin Dodge : Most loorthy sire : As 
there seems to be one goal which you are ever striv- 
ing to reach ; one focus, if I may so say, to which 
all your mental and physical powers are attracted ; 
one jewel at the possession of which you are ever 
aiming, allow me as a sister, to lend you my feeble 
efforts to the possession thereof. Do you not know 
what that jewel is ? Go then, read what the preacher 
hath written "Who shall find a virtuous woman, 
for her price is far above rubies ? " Few, alas ! how 
few, truly appreciate the worth of woman, but of that 
few, I flatter myself that my brother is one. From 
what you have written, and what you have said, I do 
believe that you think a good wife is one of the great- 
est blessings that can fall to the lot of erring man. 



STUDENT DAYS 21 

and I scruple not to say that you are right. You 
have arrived at that age when love is no longer a thing 
to be jested and laughed at ; when the hallowed name 
of " wife" is no longer to be considered as faintly 
glimmering in the dim future ; it is now a matter of 
solemn and serious consideration of mature and 
deliberate reasoning, for truly they are both words of 
weighty import. How many have with heedless un- 
concern launched out upon the untried sea of matri- 
mony, and have lived to see their fondest hopes 
blighted, all hopes of happiness on earth destroyed, 
and themselves the mere wrecks of what they once 
were ! And how do I know that my brother shall 
escape the rock upon which so many have been 
wrecked ? He will not, unless by a careful use of the 
means placed within his power, he secure to himself 
a wife, not merely for the beauty of her countenance, 
or the grace of her movements, for they are transient 
and fading, but for solid virtue, the beauty of the 
soul, and education and accomplishments, the graces 
of the mind. Other beauties decay, but age tarnishes 
not the lustre of the soul. Time with his inevitable 
stroke cannot divest her of the beauties of her mind. 
When the rose on her cheek has faded, and the light 
of her eyes is dimmed, they will remain immortal, 
unchangeable. Select not then, for your wife, one 
who by her frivolous conduct, if not by her words, 
says, " I'd be a butterfly born in a bower." I have 
no objection to a pretty face, if behind that pretty 
face there is stored a competent share of knowledge. 
But granting that your wife be a perfect gem, learned, 
beautiful, virtuous, still you may be unhappy. By 
indulging a cynical, fault-finding, peevish disposition, 
you may embitter a whole life, and even cast an 



22 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

odium on that holy institution, founded in the earliest 
ages of the world. It is not always, it is not often, 
that the disturbances of domestic life are owing to 
women. 

A fruitful source of domestic discord is the omission 
of many little endearments after marriage, which 
before seemed to spring up almost spontaneously. 
How often is it that the lady who is in the lover's 
eyes a perfect paragon of beauty and excellence, is in 
the husband's eyes the least of all. She is the last 
he thinks of pleasing. Let it not be so with you. I 
was reading but yesterday some "advice to a married 
couple," in which the writer spoke of woman's sphere 
as being one of perfect calmness and tranquillity. 
But he showed his utter ignorance of woman's duties. 
A woman has her peculiar trials and troubles, and 
though they may not be so important as those of men, 
yet they are quite as trying to the temper and should 
not be treated with disdain. You may give your wife 
an elegant house and luxurious apparel, and every- 
thing which money can procure, and yet if you with- 
hold from her true warm-hearted sympathy, they will 
all be of little worth. Let your wife hold as high 
and, if possible, a higher rank in your estimation 
after marriage as before. Let her happiness be the 
ultimate end of your labour and your pains. Let 
her be sure of holding the first place in your heart, 
and, I doubt not, you will meet with a corresponding 
return of affection, and as " home is where the heart 
is," your house will be your home, and when weary 
of the troubles and turmoils of the day, you will 
return to your home, and there in the bostmi of your 
family, with a wife who will be the delight of your 
eyes, though the clouds of adversity should lower 



STUDENT DAYS 23 

around, you will find a safe refuge from " thepeltings 
of the pitiless storm." And now, hoping that you 
may not be wearied with this long letter, and that you 
may find a wife worthy of you, and wishing you a 
thrice happy New Year, I take my leave as ever, 

Yours aifectionately, 

Abby. 

Hamilton, January 4, 1848. 

I believe you would have laughed if you had been 
at home when IMaster L was here. I was writing 
to Alvin when he came. He commenced a long lec- 
ture upon the beauties of penmanship, its importance, 
etc. Then he asked if I had a Milton's "Paradise 
Lost " and wished me to get it ; then he gave me a 
word to parse to see if I parsed it as he did. We 
agreed about it and I suppose that made his heart 
glad. Then he commenced a discourse upon Algebra, 
mentioned his own algebraical knowledge, fath- 
omed my mathematical acquisition, then branched off 
in the line of school-teaching, spoke of the importance 
of correct classification of schools, and last, but not 
least, cited his own superhuman endeavors and suc- 
cess in the art, recounted the extraordinary feats he 
had performed, and, dear me, I can't go through the 
inventory, it is too tiresome. Master L. is a man of 
uncommon and extensive erudition, but he is a very 
small part of the material universe. He is a very 
little being of a very little world which is as it were 
but a speck of Creation. "These little things are 
great to little man." 

We had little time to study last week, as we do not 
go to school, but study our six hours at home, that is, 
when we do not have company. 



24 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Poor Pinter met with a sad accident to-day. The 
cars broke his leg. I don't know how it was done, 
but father thinks the snow-plough did it. I get along 
finely in my studies, now that I don't have you to 
hinder me. I am almost through the Latin Lessons 
and Greek History. For Sabbath-School lesson to- 
morrow we have the twelfth chapter of Ecclesiastes. 
You will remember your promise about writing, and 
you must tell me all about matters and things, whether 
I have asked you or not. Be a good girl. 

Very affectionately your sister, 

Mary Abby Dodge- 
January 1, 1849. 

My dear Brother : I believe that I do not owe 
you a letter, but that I wrote to you last, nevertheless 
as Augusta is gone I suppose I shall have to be scribe 
for the whole family and answer not only my letters 
but father's and mother's too. I suppose the next 
question you would ask, were you here, would be, 
"Where is Augusta?" To which I should reply 
" A fortnight ago Wednesday, A.M., we were quietly 
wending our way up the hill of science in our own 
chamber, when our studies were unceremoniously in- 
terrupted by the calling of one Mr. M , of Man- 
chester, who came, as he told father, ' for one of his 
girls.' " To make a long story short, he wanted 
Augusta to take the school in Newport and she is now 
employed in the delightful task of assisting the inex- 
perienced juveniles under her care, in their toilsome 
journey to the temple of fame, or rather knowledge. 

I visited Bayue's Panorama of a Voyage to Europe 
this forenoon. At the request of my friends I accom- 
panied them to Salem, and was well repaid by a sight 



STUDENT DAYS 25 

of the many wonders of art and nature in a small 
part, to be sure, of the Old "World. The three hours' 
session in Franklin Hall gave me a better idea of 
London and its "suburbs," Liverpool, its commerce 
and shipping, etc., and the beautiful scenery of the 
Rhine, than many weeks of mere reading would have 
done. There has been quite an excitement here 
against the canine race. Humanity in Hamilton 
seems to have waged a war of extermination against 
that most unfortunate race of animals. It is reported 
that ten have been made to " pay the debt of nature 
by the cruel hand of rapacious man." So true is it 
that " man's inhumanity to man (dogs) makes count- 
less thousands mourn;" still I suppose it is better 
that all the dogs in Christendom should cease to be, 
rather than a single person should suffer the agonies 
of hydrophobia. Do send my music box home as 
soon as possible, for I want to hear its pretty tunes 
again. Mother sends her love. Father is about to 
receive into his stomach his accustomed nine o'clock 
supper. Woe to his poor stomach, and alas ! for his 
gastric juice. 

Very affectionately, your sister, 

Abby. 

Ipswich, April 24, 1849. 
My dear Sister: Here I am, I am here. " 'Tis 
true, 'tis pity, pity 'tis 'tis true." I have a sort of 
fearful foreboding of homesickness. I came here 
this afternoon with mother. We have about sev- 
enty-five scholars, mostly new ones. I am to study 
Paley's Theology, Logic, Woods' Botany, "Elements 
of Criticism," and Virgil. The school is going to- 
morrow evening to see the model of Jerusalem and 



26 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Belshazzax-'s Feast. We have no teachers except Mr. 
and Mrs. Cowles and Miss Robinson. IMiss Dunning 
is coming the eleventh of May. I hke very much, 
have not been homesick, though Virgil and I had a 
quarrel last eve. 

PREFACE. 

Pay the postage! ! ! "No! Pay the dentist when 
he leaves a fracture in your jaw, and pay the owner of 
the bear that stunned you with his paw, and buy the 
lobster that has had your knuckles in his claw," but 
the Fates forbid that I should pay the postage on a 
letter I 

June 1, 1850. 

We have about ninety-five scholars now in our school. 
It is more than we have ever liad before. The tuition 
and board here is only twenty-four and a quarter 
dollars for a terra of eleven weeks. Linear drawing no 
additional charge. Perspective, two dollars. French, 
Latin, and all the languages together only one dollar 
additional. I study French, Latin, and German, and 
only pay one dollar more than for English tuition. 
I do not recollect what is paid for instrumental music. 
Vocal music is taught for nothing. I should think, 
therefore, that this school was the cheaper, and I 
should not be much surprised if it were found to be 
the better. It is considered a very excellent school. 
The only English study which I now have is Hitch- 
cock's Geology. Jane Hitchcock, the daughter of 
the author, is here at school, and is a very lovely girl. 
I have been throu2;h Alexander's "Evidences of 
Christianity " this term. We have a Composition 
Class, the members of which write a composition 
every week and read it to Mr. Cowles before the 



STUDENT DAYS 27 

class. I was just engaged ia writing mine when your 
letter reached me, and instead of going on with the 
composition, I sat down to answer it. The subject 
was " Life on a Railroad." Don't you wish you 
could read it when it is finished ? I am afraid it will 
not be worth reading. I don't feel in the mood to 
write a composition this morning. I do not think I 
shall go home to see the installation of Mr. M. In 
the first place I do not care about seeing him installed 
in Mr. Kelley's place, and, secondly, I cannot very 
well spare the time. 

I have lately formed the plan of eating two meals a 
day. What do you think of it? I found that my 
suppers did not digest well and I, at first, tried to eat 
only a very little, but when you sit down to a table 
loaded with good things, it is difficult to tell how much 
a very little is. For several days I have eaten only a 
breakfast and dinner. After dinner I study till four 
o'clock, then go to school am there about an hour 
then remain at the seminary and study after school 
till little after six then walk till half past seven 
study again till nine rise a little past four, break- 
fast at half-past six, go to school quarter before eight, 
stay till about half past twelve and then dine, etc. 
Now I have a good deal of studying to do, and could 
hardly find time to eat supper and walk an hour, both. 
But the walking is absolutely necessary to my health, 
and I must walk. As I study pretty much all the 
time, you will see that that is the only exercise I 
have. I think it is much more profitable for me to 
give up supper than it would be to give up walking. 
I am sure that I feel better. The people here opposed 
it at first, but Dr. Storrs of Braintree was here the 
other day, and it was mentioned to him, and he quite 



28 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

approved it, so they don't say much about it now. 
When you write tell me what you think. 



[To A Brother.] 

I am very glad that you have so pleasant a board- 
ing-place. I think the company of women, I mean 
refined and well-informed women, exercises a very 
great influence over men who associate with them. I 
hope also that you will not omit the many little points 
(in society called etiquette) which go to make up 
your manners. Our old writing-books used to say, 
"A man's manners commonly makes his fortune." 
I did not understand it then, but I do now. I am 
sure that I, for one, judge of a man by his manners. 
And I think they are a pretty good criterion. Some 
affect to neglect all such things, but it is no good 
trait in their characters. I like to see every man or 
woman, high or low, rich or poor, gentle and polite in 
everything. I suppose you have some hope of being 
rich yourself, as so many of your predecessors have 
become so. I cannot say but that I hope you will, if 
you will make a good use of your riches. I hope 3'ou 
and I will be rich enough sometime to go to Europe. 
I should, and what is more I mean to, if I am ever 
able. I suppose you will say the prospect looks 
rather dark now, and so it does, but stranger things 
than that have sometime happened. By the way, have 
you seen the statement made in the papers, that a 
French chemist has discovered the secret of the crys- 
tallization of carbon, to form the diamond? You 
know the diamond is pure crystallized carbon, the 
same substance as common coal, only crystallized. 
It has often been resolved into coal or carbon, but no 



STUDENT DAYS 29 

chemist has 3'et been able to make a diamond of car- 
bon. If tliis is a real discovery, it is a very wonder- 
ful one. 

Ipswich, October 3, 1850. 

My dear Brother: I left Ipswich last Friday, 
and reached home just as the family finished dinner. 
Found Mary there all ready to cut my white dress, 
the dress. She began it in the afternoon, and it 
was nearly finished when I came back to Ipswich. 
Mother, Mary, Augusta, and myself rode up to Uncle 
Benjamin's in the evening, had a pleasant visit. 
Father came up to go home with us. Last Friday 
afternoon, in company with Daniel Webster Stan- 
wood, Uncle Isaac's grandson, a' little boy of some 
four years of age, I started for South Berwick. It 
was nearly dark when the cars stopped at South Ber- 
wick. The depot is built of stone and seems to be 
situated in the midst of woods. It was rather gloomy 
that night, I assure you. I procured a carriage, as it 
was nearly two miles to Mr. P 's. We rode in a 
common carryall with three seats. Daniel and my- 
self had to get out whenever the other persons in the 
carriage wished to alight, which you know must have 
been very agreeable in the fog and darkness. How- 
ever, we reached Mr. P 's in safety. The next 
morning was unpleasant. J. had the sick headache, 
and my impressions of Maine could not of course be 
very agreeable. In the afternoon the sky was clear, 
and we walked nearly the whole time. J's academy 
is situated on a hill about a quarter of a mile from 
Mr. P's. The walk leading to it is very retired and 
pleasant, shaded by rows of fine trees. I should 
think South Berwick a very pleasant town. There 
are a considerable number of pretty houses, and what 



30 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I like very much, yards attached to them. There are 
also a good many trees, which always give a pleasant 
appearance to any town. Monday morning I went 
into J's school, and was there about an hour when 
the coach came for me, and at noon I found myself 
in Ipswich. This is the first time I have been farther 
towards Maine than Ipswich. I was very much 
pleased with my journey. 

My school closes four weeks from to-day. Can 
you realize that your youngest sister is so soon to 
emerge from childhood and girlhood, and step out 
upon the arena of life? I suppose when you will 
look upon me as no longer a girl, and dependent, but 
as a woman and comparatively independent, I shall 
receive an accession of dignity and importance in 
your eyes. Well, I have clung to childliood as long 
as I could, and now that I must leave it and must 
take an active part in that society of which I have 
hitlierto been only a passive member, I hope I shall 
be able to give back the good wliich I have received a 
hundredfold. I hope that I shall not disappoint the 
expectations which have been formed respecting me. 
I hope that when my life is closed, it may be said 
that the world is better for my having lived in it. 

I am now studying Latin, French, Moral Pliiloso- 
ph}', Taylor's General History, and Chemistry. The 
latter is Stockhardt's, a very large and very interest- 
ing book. I think you would like to read it, and I 
will lend it to you when I have finished it. 

Yours very affectionately, 

Abby. 



Ill 

TEACHING 

1850-1856 



31 



Ill 

TEACHING 

1850-1856 
Ipswich, December 6, 1850. 

To WHOM IT MAY CoNCERN. 

Mary Abby Dodge sendeth Greetings with Much Af- 
fection : 
On Tuesday, the third day of December, in the 
year of our Lord 1850, I bade adieu to my home and 
friends and like Abraham of yore departed upon a 
journey to strangers. Several of my schoolm , 
ptipils, I should say, were on the train. We reached 
Ipswich and the station became one mass of girls, 
and band-boxes, and brothers, and fathers, and 
trunks and coaches. The rain was drenching every- 
thing and everybody. I jumped into a coach and 
was taken to my boarding-house, but found my new 
trunk had been left at the depot to enjoy a bath. I 
went to my room where was a good fire, and my trunk 
soon came, evidently refreshed and strengthened by 
the ablutions which it had undergone. When we went 
down to tea I had to sit at the head of the table. I 
don't think any of us were liable to suffer dyspepsia 
from overmuch eating that night. I slept very well 
until three o'clock, and suffice it to say I was dressed 
and had my room in order in season to go to school at 

33 



34 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

nine o'clock, and when the " good morning" was said 

I rose from my chair about so much. 

I weathered the storm and reached the harbor iu 
safety. We have about sixty scholars in school, and 
nine of the young ladies are in my house. 

Wednesday Noon. 
It is a week to-day since I have been a teacher. I 
suppose you would like to know what my classes are. 
First, in the morning I hear Roxana C. and another 
little girl recite in history, read, spell, etc. Then I 
have a class iu " Watts on the Mind," afterwards a 
class in French, then a class in Virgil. In the after- 
noon I have a class in Adams' Arithmetic and one in 
Euclid. I suppose you would like to know how I suc- 
ceed, but I cannot tell myself whether I suit or not. I 
have not yet found any difficulties. The girls are all 
very pleasant and seem disposed to do right. There 
is not a girl in my house from whom I apprehend 
any trouble. 

Thus before her eighteenth birthday was Miss 
Dodge the teacher at the boarding home of nine 
young gh'ls, caring for them out of school hours, 
presiding at the table, conducting family devo- 
tions, and teaching several classes at the semi- 
nary. 

Ipswich, June 9, 1851. 

You mentioned a wish that I could come to Wor- 
cester at this season of the year. I assure you that 
I should like it of all things. I verily believe that if 
I had money enough I would go out to Worcester in 
my vacation and spend a few days. I have a great 
desire to see the " Heart of the old Bay State," to 



TEACHING 35 

gaze on " rich and rural Worcester, where through 
the calm repose of sunny vales and springing woods 
the gentle Nashua flows, to where Wachusett's wintry 
blasts the mountain cedars stir," but all such pleas- 
ures I must forego for the present. Will my eyes ever 
gaze on the foam-clad torrents of Niagara? Will my 
ears ever listen to the thunders of its eternal storm ? 
Oh, gold ! gold ! " bright and yellow, hard and cold " 
"the sweat of the poor and the blood of the 
brave," if gold were mine, earth should be one great 
museum for me. I would scale Alpine heights, I 
would look at the fires of p]tna, I would sail on Wi- 
nandermere, I would tread the paths hallowed by our 
Saviour's footsteps, I would tread every place where 
'^P^arth's great and learned ones" have trodden, I 
would stand where Avon winds silently along immor- 
talized by " the Shakespeare of her tuneful clime," I 
would view the " banks and braes of bonny Doon," 
though they should bring " a nation's glory and her 
shame, in silent sadness up," for poor Burns was indeed 
Scotland's glory and her shame. But it is useless to 
mention particulars, I shall never probably go farther 
than our Western prairies, never step my foot on classic 
shore and it is useless to regret. Perhaps you will. 
You mention a variety of entertainments open at 
Worcester, some of which 1 should like. The excur- 
sions I think I should enjoy, 'out above all and over 
all, oh ! that I might hear Jenny Lind, the " Nightin- 
gale of Song." This is another of the pleasures from 
which I am debarred, because my purse unfortunately 
has a bottom. However, I do not complain. Perhaps 
one of these days I shall go to Europe and hear Jenny 
Lind on her own native shore. Did you read the 



36 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

anecdote of one gentlemen asking another how he 
liked Jenny Lind? "Why," said he, " I think if she 
ever gets to Heaven, she will be the leader of the 
choir." I am sorry you did not tell me more about 
the impression she produced on you, and I am afraid 
you were disappointed in her, that she did not realize 
all the expectations you had formed. 

1 was at home a week ago. J. was with me. 1 
walked home in the morning, which is the second time 
I have done so this term. 1 enjoyed it very much, I 
assure you. There is nothing so quieting, so soothing, 
and at the same time so elevating (to me) as a soli- 
tary walk amid the beauties of Nature, when I can 
look " through Nature up to Nature's God." I had 
a letter from Mary last Friday morning in which she 
conveyed to me the intelligence of the arrival in 
Beverly of a young gentleman of eight pounds weight 
who made his debut into this world some four and 
twenty hours previous. Would not you like to have 
a peep into his little round face and listen to the 
Liud-like warblings of his harmonious wind-pipe? 
God bless the boy! 

I have read the " Life of Franklin " which you sent 
me, for which I am much obliged both to you and your 
friend, Mr. Patch. I must say, however, that the 
immortal and world-famed Franklin has sunk im- 
measurably in my estimation since my perusal of his 
autobiography. 

I thiuk his moral and religious principles were very 
lax, and what is still worse, he speaks of his pecca- 
dilloes with the utmost indifference, as if he consid- 
ered them mere matters of course. I cannot prevent 
the impression also that he was a heartless man, but 



TEACHING 37 

perhaps I am mistaken. The whole of his affair with 
Miss Reed, his wife, seems to me to be very business- 
like and philosophical. However, my strictures will 
not detract from his well-earned fame, and if they 
could, far be it from me to pluck one laurel from the 
unfading wreath of the illustrious dead ! 

October, 1851. 

My dear Sister : I am writing in Mrs. Cowles' 
desk. The young ladies are very quietly studying, 
coming now and then to ask me a question, leave to 
speak, etc., etc. I have no recitations from two to 
three, and consequently I spend that hour in reading, 
etc. The book which I generally read at this hour 
(Addison's *' Spectator ") not being here, I thought 
I would commence a letter to you. 

I think the moral atmosphere of Cambridge must 
be uncommonly good for these degenerate days. How 
could you otherwise be brought to a sense of the 
duty devolving upon you as an elder sister? " Better 
late than never," is the old adage. I trust your new- 
found responsibilities will not sit too heavily upon 
you, but that you will be indefatigable in your en- 
deavors to promote my good, remembering that " just 
as the twig is bent the tree's inclined," and perhaps 
the impression you make on my plastic mind may 
never be effaced. 

I have a few things to say to you, some in severity, 
all in love. I will say them now before I forget 
them. You say you have joined a reading club. 
Good. You say you are reading Tytler's Universal 
History. Better. You say that yourself and Mr. 
Webster belong to it. Best. Now comes the " Tug 
of War." 1. Joining the reading club ; I reiterate : 



38 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Good. 2. Reading Tytler's Uuiversal History ; I 
reiterate : Better with a few qualifications. You say 
"if we females," etc. Hannah Augusta Dodge, 
never let me hear you call yourself a female ; never 
call me a female. Would you rank yourself with the 
brutes, ^re you a female? So is a cow so is a 
hog. Do not thus degrade yourself. Stand up in 
all the glory of your birthright. Call yourself a 
woman ! Be a woman ! 

Furthermore, is it possible that you are as infatuated 
as you represent yourself to be ? I know you have 
always disliked history. I know that reading through 
a large book of historical information is an under- 
taking to you, herculean. It is no use to say you 
are not interested in the History. You ought to be 
interested. You are interested. Everything that 
concerns the world concerns you. Do not contract 
your soul to the time - a moment, and the space 
a point, which your puny self occupies, " Verbum 
sat sapienti." 

December 5, 1851. 

My dear Mother and Sister : I have been delib- 
erating for some time as to whom I should direct my 
letter, and have finally come to the conclusion which 
you see. You both will want to know very much the 
same things. 

Well ! to begin the history of my eventful life since 
last we met : Firstly, I went into John's shop after I 
left home and bought a pound of sugar all in lumps, 
a very dignified purchase truly for a teacher. Never- 
theless, almost all celebrated people have had their 
idiosyncrasies, and of course I should not be an ex- 
ception, and you can both testify to my passion for 
lumps of sugar. When I lauded at Ipswich I went 



TEACHING 39 

to Mrs. L's, and was ushered into my room. It is 
about as large as our front chamber. It has three 
windows with white corded cambric curtains and 
fringes. It has also a handsome new mahogany 
bureau with four large drawers and two or three little 
ones. We have six common chairs, a stuffed arm- 
chair, and a large-armed rocking-chair. We have 
moreover a little light stand with a drawer very 
convenient, and a portable sink, also very convenient. 
Mrs. L. is going to make us some crickets as soon as 
she has time. We have a good woolen carpet, a new 
oil-cloth rug, a handsome air-tight stove, a mantel- 
piece, good clean, light paper (green and white) light 
paint, two large convenient closets, a nice white large 
napkin on our bureau on which I have put my hand- 
some books, a lookhig-glass with a black and gilt 
frame, a pair of brass tongs and shovel, a basket for 
wood, a broom brush and dust pan, a bedstead some- 
thing like that in your front chamber, etc. I must 
not forget to mention our canary bird, which my room- 
mate brought with her, and which is a very fine singer. 
What do you think of my lodgings, mother mine? I 
never had such a room in Ipswich before. Mrs. L. 
is very kind seems to think she cannot do too much 
thinks I never eat enough, etc. She told Mrs. 
Cowles to-day that I had been a comfort to her ever 
since I had been here, and was worth as much as the 
whole house put together. She told me herself that 
she considered me the greatest catch she had had. Of 
course this is for your own private ear. My room- 
mate is very agreeable and says she shall think noth- 
ing too much to do for me, and not only says it, but 

acts up to it. I am very sorry that Mrs. does 

not know the reasons for my leaving. I hope the old 



40 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

lady will rejoice in the full, glorious, unsullied, and 
unshared possession of her regal dignity till she 
" goes down to the grave like a shock of corn in its 
season fully ripe." We have a very pleasant school. 
Mrs. Cowles thinks we shall have about seventy all 
told. School commences at eight o'clock. I have a 
class in Colburn, Grammar, Algebra, Natural Philoso- 
phy, Virgil, and History all recite in the forenoon. 
We are to have no recitations in the afternoon. This 
arrangement I like very much. Writing and drawing 
in the P.M., and at four devotional exercises. 

January 15, 1852. 
My dear Sister : I had a letter from Maria last 
Tuesday. She said she wrote with Josey pulling at 
her dress, and had hold of one corner of the sheet 
trying with all her little strength to pull it away. I 
wish she had told me which corner her dear little fin- 
gers had touched, but I kissed them all to make sure. 
Father was here about five minutes last Saturday, 
came to town to paj' taxes ; a short visit, but better 
than nothing. Mother and father talk of coming over 
to Ipswich one of these days for a sleigh-ride. I go 
to school at eight in the morning, have an Arithmetic 
class in Thomson's Large Arithmetic. General exer- 
cises at a quarter to nine, then a class in Grammar, 
one in Algebra, problems in quadratic equations, one 
in Parker's Natural Philosophy, and one in Virgil, 
which occupies the time of the recitations, an hour 
and a half. They are in the ninth book. After dinner 
I go to school again and study German with Miss 
Robinson. At three and a half I have a little class 
in United States History. At four I go to Mrs. 
Cowles to practise till tea time, after which I read, 



TEACHING 41 

study, write, etc. Prof. Laverner, of Hartford, gave 
us a reading from Shakespeare about a fortniglit ago 
in tlie seminary, very good. I am reading Edgar 
Foe's works. 

February 19, 1852. 

My own dear Mother: Ellen Hobbs lias come. 
Oh ! ye gods and goddesses, all by whom Troy stands, 
and Neptunian Troy smokes to the ground. She has 
come to see me and is going to stay till Monday. Do 
not blame me for not coming home, you know I can- 
not leave Ellen C. after she has come so far to see 
me. I should be as much surprised to hear that you 

and father were divorced as to hear of 's broken 

engagement. I am very sorry for it, as I fear it will 
embitter and embarrass his whole life, and hers, too. 
This, however, is none of my concern. 

Good-by. 

From yours affectionately, 

M. A. D. 

June 15, 1852. 
Have you ever read "The Wide, Wide World," 
or " Queechy," or "Uncle Tom's Cabin"? If you 
have not, I advise you to do it, especially the latter. 
They are well worth your attention, though they are 
stories. If you ever want to read any English history, 
I desire you read Macaulay. Mr. Cowles gave me 
the books (two volumes) ; I have read them through, 
and Augusta has the first volume now, but I presume 
she will be done with it when she comes home in 
August. I think there are very few kinds of secular 
reading more improving than history. Macaulay is a 
standard author, the prince of prose writers, in my 
humble estimation. 



42 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

January 12, 1853. 

"I wonder as I gaze." Is it possible tliat twelve 
days of our " New Year" have already " gone to the 
slumber that shall know no waking," gone with their 
burden of testimony for and against us, sealed up 
till the last great day, gone, gone? " Tempus fugit" 
When I was young, a summer seemed a great while 
a year interminable, but now spring treads on the heels 
of summer, summer hurries to autumn, and winter is 
here before ' ' Brown October's sere and yellow leaf " 
has fairly won a place in our memories. I sit down 
to your letter with some embarrassment. Ellen has 
had a letter from E. A. Rollins proposing that he 
should spend next Sabbath in Ipswich if agreeable to 
her. She is now here doing a variety of undignified 
things to show her joy and vainly trying to stir up my 
imperturbable nature into a corresponding yeast of 
enthusiasm. 

You inquire the state of my mind while thus view- 
ing the exit of my companions from the stage of sin- 
gle life. I have, as you may suppose, thought and 
reflected much on this important subject and have at 
length come to the following conclusion : 

" Man is a vapor 

Full of woes, 
Cuts a caper, 

Down he goes. 
Woman is a bubble 

Light as air, 
Makes man trouble 

Then don't care." 

You speak in your letter of a headache arising from 
a rush of blood to the head in a warm room. Alas ! 
infatuated girl. Do vou not know that a rush of blood 



TEACHING 43 

to the head is owing to a rush of food to the stomach? 
Take care of the pies and cake, and the head will take 
care of itself. 

February, 1853. 

My dear Mrs. Conner: I have just heard that 
you have really and truly reached Cincinnati, and I 
am so delighted with the information that I must take 
the liberty of writing a letter of congratulation. If 
you only knew the visions of bursting boilers and 
sunken steamers, of shattered cars and overturned 
coaches that have flitted before my eyes during all 
these weeks, I am sure you would excuse what may 
seem to you presumption. To all my inquiries after 
you, nobody could give a satisfactory reply. All I 
knew was that you were gone, and that Mr. Conner 
was gone, intending to make Cincinnati your tarrying 
place, but weeks passed away, and not a word was 
heard from you, so that I was forced at length to the 
conclusion that you had either gone to Australia or 

to the bottom of Lake Erie. Neither of these, I am 
glad to learn, is true. You are still in the land of the 
living, and not in the land of gold. I am also glad, 
delighted, in ecstasies, to hear that you do not like 
your new home very well. I hope you will never like 
it any better. I hope your disaffection will increase 
every day, till you find Cincinnati no longer endur- 
able, and will be fain to see once more New England 
hills and New England faces but I forget myself 

I am not writing to a " Yankee," the first and last 
article of whose creed is that " our country is a great 
country," who thinks America the only decent country 
on the face of the earth New England the only civ- 
ilized part of America, and his own homestead the 
fairest spot on which the sun shines. 



44 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Februart, 1853. 

I am very busy indeed this term. Besides teaching 
six or seven classes, I am myself studying Greek and 
German, and of course I wish to keep up my knowl- 
edge of English, so I peruse a few English books. I 
am passing my time very pleasantly and happily. 
I do not think I have enjoyed so much since I have 
been teaching as I do this winter. I go home every 
two or three weeks. 

I feel very much interested in the subjects treated 
in the papers which you have sent, though I cannot 
confess myself particularly pleased with the manner 
in which they are handled. I do not see that the 
dispute makes very rapid progress. It is very absurd 
to suppose that the spiritual manifestations are all 
what is vulgarly termed " humbug," but it is equally 
difficult for me to believe that the Infinite God, or the 
holy angels, or disembodied spirits will come to the 
earth to lift tables, twist silver forks, or tear dresses. 
Is it to be supposed that the Judge of all the earth, 
whom no man hath seen or can see, will condescend 
to such performances ? Is it to be supposed that they 
who have washed their robes, and made them white 
in the blood of the Lamb, and have gone in to His 
marriage feast, should return to earth to answer the 
impertinent questions of ignorant blockheads as well 
as " earth's great and learned ones "? Furthermore, 
how is it that the communication of such men as 
Socrates, Washington, Franklin, etc., are not one 
whit above the common run of a schoolgirl's compo- 
sition? IIow is it that, having added the wisdom of 
Heaven to the wisdom of Earth, the sum of both 
should not be so great as the original stock ? What 
is the use and aim, moreover, of these spiritual com- 



TEACHING 45 

inimicatioas ? I have never in any one of them seen 
a great truth, before unknown, brought to light. I 
have never seen any new light thrown upon a hitherto 
obscure truth. Do they say that the great doctrine 
of love is promulgated? but so it was in the New 
Testament fully and forcibly, and even in the Old 
also, and if men believe not Moses and the Prophets, 
neither will they be persuaded though one rose from 
the dead. Is it possible that the Bible is so imper- 
fect a revelation that in these latter times it should 
be necessary for tables and chairs to dance about to a 
new song of Redeeming love? Do not think me irrev- 
erent. I do not mean it so. 

The phenomena have not been satisfactorily ex- 
plained. But man who has made earth, air, and water 
subservient to his will, who has "bottled up the 
thunder " for his own private use, need not soon despair. 
Holy Writ tells us of a time coming when " many shall 
run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." 
Truly, the first part of the prophecy will apply to the 
present day ; may not the last also be hastening to its 
fulfilment? The last half century has witnessed many 
interesting discoveries in the science of matter ; may 
not the present be also fruitful of equally interesting 
discoveries in the science of mind ? The dominion of 
reason over animate matter has been always known ; 
may not mind also have an ascendency over inani- 
mate matter to a degree hitherto unsuspected? How- 
ever, let us not yet decide, but wait the fulness of 
time, and in the meanwhile let us never give up the 
Bible lest we be given over to the cunning craftiness 
of men who lie in wait to deceive. 



46 (^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

April 7, 1853. 
My dear Brother : Your letter awaited me on my 
return from Boston last night. I am very much ob- 
liged for the trouble you have taken to procure the 
situation for me, but I regret exceedingly that I can- 
not accept it. I decline it, because I do not think 
it would be quite right to leave Mrs. Cowles at 
this time. I think the place very desirable indeed. 
The salary would be no object. It is about the same 
as my present one, with perquisites. But I am so 
tired of Ipswich, not of teaching, for I like it, not of 
Mr. and Mrs. Cowles, for I love them, but of the 
same white houses and the same black barns, the 
dreary, monotonous intolerable sameness. Mr. S.'s 
scruples about my age and qualifications are quite 
amusing. What I am, and what I can do, he wishes 
to know, does he? Verily, I am a damsel of just 
twenty years, and can do anything I undertake, inas- 
much as I never undertake anything which I cannot 
accomplish, " which is an excellent thing in woman." 
My birthday was last Thursday, did you remember 
it? I cannot blame the good man for not divining 
that I was the rara avis that I am, considering he has 
never heard of me before, but I respect him all the 

more for his scruples. 

April 22, 1853. 

Mrs. and Miss honored us with a visit one day 
last week. Mother had seen Mrs. a few weeks 
before and asked her to come sometime for my sake. 
Did you ever hear her talk? Her conversational 
powers are very fully developed. She is not troubled 
by an embarrassing timidity, nor does she fastidiously 
seek to clothe her sentiments in the conventional garb 
which disguises their real worth. She has no prudish 



TEACHING 47 

scruples about inquiring as to the extent of your finan- 
cial operations, nor does the '' unexpectable " visit of 
any one in any way disconcert her. In short, she is 
unique, she is a prodigy, and I trust she will be 
" equal to the angels" as to her visits. 

Mrs. C. said that Mr. Wells wanted to get me to 
assist him in the Putnam Free School in Newbury- 
port, but she told him I was too young. 

April 26, 1853. 

I received an answer from Mr. Sweetser in due 
time. There are several things about the school 
which I liked, particularly having only one session a 
day, and no care out of school. I am very happily situ- 
ated now. I came with a strong determination to be 
homesick, but have been grievously disappointed, and 
unless some unforeseen circumstance occur, I don't see 
now how I shall be. I have a room-mate not yet 
fourteen years old. Did not anticipate her coming 
with very pleasurable emotions, but when I saw her 
little pale face my heart went out towards her. My 
classes and my boarding young ladies are very pleas- 
ant. I have not yet said anything to Mrs. C. about 
the Worcester affair. She and Mr. C. came to our 
house the A^ery day I received the letter from Mr. 
Sweetser. 

Doctor Lambert spent the day here yesterday lec- 
turing on Physiology. I liked him very much. He 
is simple, sensitive, practical, and unaffected. The 
Court is in session here this week, and the Metho- 
dist Conference, so we are quite lively. 

June 29, 1853. 
I have adopted the plan of walking half an hour or 
so before breakfast, which I like very much. I have 



48 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

finislied my picture in colored crayons, and it is put in 

a gilt frame and looks very pretty. 

September 21, 1853. 

I have concluded to tell you a few of the events 
which have banished " sleep from my eyes and slum- 
ber from my eyelids " for the last few nights. As 
Sterne says, "I cannot endure the scene which my 
fancy has drawn." "How can I leave thee," Ips- 
wich? Indeed I cannot. My soul shudders to con- 
template the dreary expanse that opens before me on 
leaving this my Alma Mater. I return to Ipswich 
again next winter. 

By the way, while I think of it ask if they have 
any message to send to Mr. and Mrs. Conner, as I ex- 
pect to go to Cincinnati in a week or two, and will be 
happy to carry anything. Oh, I have not told you 
about my going to Ohio. Mrs. C. came up in the 
evening, and asked me if I did not want to go to the 
meeting of the American Board, in Cincinnati. She 
said they would manage to take care of my classes 
while I was gone. I did not decide that night. She 
said that they did not wish to put me under any obli- 
gations, but of course I should not accept the proposal 
and be gone three weeks and not come back. Now I 
expect to go, tben come back here and staj' for the 
present. 

Brooklyn, Long Island. 

We started from the Beverly station in due time. 
In Boston we walked around an hour or two, also 
over Worcester a little while. At half-past seven we 
took the cars for Norwich and Allyn's Point, which we 
reached about ten, and here Me embarked on board the 
steamer " Connecticut." One of the young men was 



TEACHING 49 

pushed off the passage-board into the water by the 
crowd, but they threw ropes to him aud soon drew 
liim out. 

Oberlin, Ohio, 
Monday Morning, October 3. 
Wednesday evening I started with Messrs. Merwyn 
& Wood and a Miss Gallagher, a young lady who was 
going to Alton as a music teacher. We had a very 
pleasant party. The rest of the party stopped in 
Cleveland. I came from C. to O. alone. I am in- 
tending now to leave for Cincinnati to-morrow morn. 

October, 1853. 
My dear Father and Mother : Have you begun 
to be alarmed because I do not come home ? What 
do you say to my spending a few months here instead 
of a few days? I will not now tell you about my 
journey, but reserve it for another time. I will only 
say that last Monday found me in Putnam. Here they 
told me that Miss G., the Principal, had written to Mrs. 
C, asking her to let me stay here and teach. She was 
to send back her answer by telegraph. Now what do 
you say ? The term closes next January. It seemed 
to me such a good opportunity, seeing I was really 
here, to see a little of Ohio life and it don't seem 
like going out West. The boarding-house and school 
room are all in one building, so that I shall not have 
to go out in rainy weather, and the church is but a 
few steps away. I cannot tell whether I shall stay or 
not until Mrs. C.'s letter comes. If she thinks I ought 
to come home, I suppose I shall. If she is willing, 
and you are, I should like to spend the winter, or a 
part of it, here in Putnam. I want you to write mp 



50 GAIL HAlVnLTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

as soon as you can on receiving this, and tell me what 
yon think of it. Direct to Female Seminary, Put- 
nam, Muskingum Co., Ohio. 

Ipswich, October 22, 1853. 
Most eloquent Sister mine : I shall have to brush 
up my talents, or you will leave me in the lurch. I 
write now merely to inform you of my safe arrival to 
the land of my fathers. You wish me to give you an 
account of my journey. I will just give you an out- 
line, and fill it up when I see you. On the reception of 
Mr. Cowles' letter, I thought best to start immediately 
for home, which I did on Wednesday morning, little 
more than a week from the time of my arrival. I came 
by Avay of Columbus, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Albany, 
and reached Ipswich in due season, where I received the 
warmest welcome it has ever been my good fortune lo 
meet. Yes, here I am again, but whether for life or 
not, the sequel must show. I went home in the noon 
train to see my friends there, and mother brought me 
back again but dear me, everything does seem so 
tame here. I have had the most aroriieous time. The 
English language is so utterly inadequate to express 
the enjoy went I have felt, that I despair of being able 
to give you any adequate conception of it. Perhaps 
I will try it, however, viva-voce, when I have an op- 
portunity. I suppose you would like to know whether 
I am to return to Ohio. I have not yet quite decided, 
but tliink I shall not, as father and mother are so un- 
willing. 

Decejiber 20, 1853. 

I have improved some of my spare time this week 

by reading. Yesterday I read "The House of the 

tSeven Gables," a romance by Nathanit4 Ilawtliorne, 



TEACHING 51 

the scene of which is laid in Salem. You know he 
has been a resident, and, I believe, is a native of Sa- 
lem is now Consul at Liverpool. I think you might 
be interested in it, as some of your peculiar views are 
introduced. I have finished Beecher's " Conflict of 
Ages." The book is startling, comprehensive, liberal, 
and generally very interesting, with some dry details. 

Church Street, Hartford, Conn., 

February 1, 1854. 
My dear Father and Mother : I h:ive been here 
perhaps fifteen minutes, and supposing you will wish 
to know of my whereabouts, I will take this early op- 
portunity to inform you. It was nearly eight when 
we arrived in Hartford, left Boston at four. I felt a 
Uttle lonesome when getting out all alone, but a hack- 
man came, and I gave him my checks, and he brought 
me up here without any further trouble. I went into 
the parlor ; Miss Crocker came down, and we intro- 
duced ourselves. She is a very gentle, pleasant-look- 
ing lady perhaps thirty years old. 

February 5, 1854. 
I am now comfortably settled in Hartford. Of course 
I do not feel at home as in Ipswich, but the change is 
very agreeable. I am boarding in a house with fifteen 
pupils and five teachers. The family is very pleasant. 
The school is about the same size as at Ipswich. I have 
five classes : three in Latin, one in Algebra, and one 
in Geometry. I have no care out of school. Hart- 
ford was a delightful city when I was in it last sum- 
mer, but it has been so cold since I have been here 
that I have been out but very little. I shall expect a 
letter from you soon ; direct to Hartford Female 



52 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Seminary. You must remember that I am now en- 
tirely alone, consequently letters will be doubly wel- 
come. 

Last evening Miss Cbollet (pronounced Shollay) 
was in my room, and insisted on my spending a part 
of the evening with her. She is a fine study for me ; 
is the niece of Professor Guyot, of Cambridge Uni- 
versity, author of " Earth and Man." She has lived 
in Poland, Prussia, Paris, Switzerland, London, and 
I don't know where else. Her father was, I believe, 
a Prussian general, but is now dead. Her mother and 
sister live with Professor Guyot in Cambridge. 

Sunday morning I attended Reverend Dr. Hawes' 
church. Our seat is in the gallery at the extreme of 
one side. I could see every motion of the Reverend 
gentleman's fingers and feet, and that always annoys 
me. He is, moreover, rather an awkward man, which 
made it all the worse. Then there was a young lady 
sitting downstairs with a bonnet half way off her 
head, as bonnets are nowadays, and the top of her 
head was half bald, and that annoyed me too. How- 
ever, I got along very well. Dr. Hawes is by no 
means an eloquent man, but he is earnest and practi- 
cal, and I have no doubt sincere. 

This evening Miss Crocker had the girls all down in 
the parlor, and she read to them for about an hour. 
I was amused at finding them gathered around me 
not five minutes after she had done reading. 

February 14. 
Mt dear Father and Mother : You cannot tell 
how glad I was to receive your nice long letter to- 
night. I have been here thirteen days and have re- 
ceived thirteen lettei'S all told, but not one of them 



TEACHING 53 

gave me so much pleasure as yours, the last and best. 
I go down to school at half -past nine and stay till 
half-past twelve. There are four series of classes, but 
I am employed during only three of them. Conse- 
quently I have some three-quarters of an hour's rest 
after hearing my algebra, which comes first. Algebra 
is so familiar to me that I do not study it at all out of 
school. My next recitation is a class in Latin Reader. 
On this I spend, perhaps on an average, fifteen min- 
utes out of school. Next comes a class in geometry. 
This I need to study, but do it when I am not em- 
ployed, the hour after algebra. I go to school again 
at half-past two, hear a class in spelling for ten min- 
utes, then have a class in Virgil. This I have taught 
so much that I study it but little myself, say from 
twenty minutes to half an hour. Then I have a class 
commencing Latin, which of course requires none of 
my time out of school. I reach home anywhere from 
four to half-past four. All my time at home is my 
own. I do what I choose, go where I choose, and 
when I choose. I have not opened a single book to 
study (except my school book) since I came here. 
My reading consists mostly of the " Tribune," "In- 
dependent," and the chance papers that come in my 
way. My literary efforts consist mostly in writing- 
letters. I spend a good deal of time, in fact, on my 
pocket handkerchief, which really begins to look as 
though it might some day be finished. I do not go 
out very much, because it is so cold. When the warm 
weather comes, I mean to take much exercise. Now 
do you think I am in any danger of injuring myself 
from over mental exertion ? 

The boarding-house where I am used to belong to 
Miss Strong, who was at the head of this Senjiuary 
till her death last summer. 



54 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

" Do the gills love me and do I love them? " My 
dear and " excellent mother," knowing my character- 
istic vanity, I wonder you should give me such a 
tempting opportunity to display it. Do they love me ? 
Well, I don't know, but I think they rather like to be 
around me. As for my loving them, of course I do 
not love them so much as I did the girls I left at Ips- 
wich. I do not expect I ever shall any others, but 
I am always interested in my own pupils, and these 
are, almost every single one, so gentle, kind, polite, 
and attentive, I could scarcely help loving them some. 
I like the school better, much better than I expected. 

February 20. 

Last Saturday Miss Holbrook invited me and one 
or two of the young ladies out to drive. We went 
up by the Orphan Asylum (Augusta will know 
where that is) to two green-houses which we visited. 
The beautiful array of roses, heliotropes, and various 
other plants would have gladdened your eyes. I 
send you a leaf of geranium to gladden your nose. 
We also passed the Charter Oak. The house and 
grounds on which it stands are owned and occupied 
by Mr. Stuart, brother of Mrs. Phelps, the authoress 
of " Sunny Side," "Peep at No. 5," etc. The drive 
was very pleasant. To-night there is to be what thej 
call "The Old Folks' Concert," which I think you 
would like to attend. They sing all old tunes such as 
used to be sung perhaps a hundred years ago, and 
such as were in vogue when you were young. They 
are sung partly by old people. At the last one there 
were several old ladies on the stage. These concerts 
are very popular. One gentleman came clear from 
Albany, in New York, to attend the last one. He 



TEACHING 55 

said he went a hundred and fifty miles and paid five 
dollars to hear Jenny Lind sing, and was glad he did 
it, but this was worth more than that. 

February 29. 

Dr. Bushnell's name you have probably seen in 
" The Independent." He is somewhat different in his 
theolosical views from the rest of the Orthodox min- 
isters, and he has been talked about much, particu- 
larly two or three years ago. 

My dear sister, you are a fine woman, a capable 
woman ; you have talent which I honestly think is 
more and more developed the older you grow ; but, 
my dear, why will you distress yourself by continued 
endeavors to make yourself equal to me? Why not 
do as well as you are capable and give up a struggle 
which must be fruitless. I should not dare say this 
if many a broad acre did not stretch between us. 

Dr. Nichols from Haverhill came to Hartford last 
Tuesday to deliver a course of lectures before the 
young ladies. He tried experiments with the electric 
and galvanic apparatus, air-pump, etc., explained the 
electric telegraph and, by the way, Aug., do you 
not remember noticing and speaking of the three wires 
that we saw all along the road last summer? These, 
he says, are separate telegraphs, as there is so much 
business done that one wire is not enough. 

March 15. 
I had a letter from Fanny Goodale yesterday in 
which she says: " I am most agreeably disappointed 
in your cousin. In the first place, she is not more than 
half as large as I thought. The girls like her very 
much. Abby, I wonder if you continue to grow hand- 



56 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

some as fast as ever. I have heard more remarks 
upon your beautiful complexion since you left than a 
few. Flattery is beneath either of us, but agreeable 
truth may be safely spoken to one with a ' well bal- 
anced mind ' like your own." Speaking of Miss Rob- 
inson, she says : " I am glad Ama is going to marry 
him. He is such a fine man she cannot be unhappy 
with him, it seems to me." 

April 10, 1854. 
Amanda Ferry was going to call at a Judge Terry's 
and wanted me to accompany her. I did not want to, 
but she insisted and I went. Mrs. Terry was not at 
home, so we sat down and had quite a pleasant chat 
with the old Judge. After a while a gentleman came 
in whom I recognized as the Rev. Dr. Walter Clarke. 
I had heard him preach once or twice. He married 
Judge Terry's daughter. He passed through the room, 
but soon came back again, and then Mr. T. intro- 
duced him to us. He came and sat on the sofa by 
me, asked me if I had a pleasant school, and then 
said suddenly, " Can't you see out of that eye at 
all ? " I was so amazed that I could not believe I had 
heard him right, and he repeated the question. I was 
so indignant that I scarcely knew what to say, but 
finally said, " No, sir." I think he might have seen 
that I thought it rather strange, for he instantly ex- 
plained by saying that he was in the same condition, 
that he could not see from his right eye, etc., and 
asked me if I had noticed it. 

The " reminiscences " to which you refer are by no 
means as graphic or as interesting as those which I 
wrote. Mrs. Cowles omitted a great deal of what / 
consider the best part, though of course she did not. 
The beginning is all left out, and the first sentence, 



TEACHING 57 

as it stands now, is extremely flat and commonplace. 
I trust you will not help to extend the fact that I was 
its author. I did not intend to have the date given. 

Mr. Cowles writes: "Last eve I sent you a copy 
of the April No. of the ' Teacher.' You will find 
your article in it, not quite so ' large as life,' but I 
hope you will think it quite as natural." (I don't by 
any means think so. Mrs. C. has not put anything to 
it, you must understand, onl}- taken away from it.) 
" We think it is like you, and we like the thing itself 
much. Wife says it reads better in print than in 
manuscript, and I say to you, write on and keep your 
pen busy. With practice I am sure you can become 
a writer with a name, though that, indeed, is no great 
motive, only as it is a power for good. Please at 
all events to cultivate the gift that is in you. You 
will never regret it, and the good hand and counsel 
of Him who is over us, and in whose eye we all 
must act, will have good, and happy, and useful work 
for you one day, without the least doubt. I only 
wished I had helped and encouraged you yet more 
when you were with us. Can you take that wish now 
for an encouragement?" Afterwards he says, "Let 
us know all your history if you will, for nothing of 
yours certainly is foreign to us," alluding, j^ou will 
perceive, to a sentence in the last part of my " arti- 
cle." Now, mother, I have hesitated some time as to 
whether I should write this to you or not, because I 
knew you would think so much of it and fancy I was 
going to become an authoress right away ; but, my 
dear parents, I beg you to remember that to be a good 
writer, one must have time to think and correct and 
alter, and how do you suppose I can teach all day and 
then have energy for mind work in the evening? Be- 



58 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

sides, you must remember that Mr. Cowles is preju- 
diced in my favor almost as much as you are, and 
rates me much higher than I deserve, so you need not 
look for the "Hartford Transcript," or any other 
paper as long as I teach. You ask me about staying 
in Hartford. If I intended to teach anywhere next 
winter, I should probably stay here, but I do not de- 
sire to teach anywhere. It is nearly four years I have 
been at it and I am tired. 

April 19, 1854. 

Last Sunday was celebrated by Catholics and Epis- 
copaliaus as Easter Sunday, the anniversary of our 
Saviour's resurrection. Mrs. Perkins is a member of 
the Episcopal Church and invited me to go there with 
Miss F. I was very glad to accept the invitation. 
There was a very beautiful bouquet in front of the 
pulpit larger than a water bucket, which is not indeed 
a very pretty thing to compare a bouquet to, but it 
answers my purpose very well. I would not by any 
means intrude so far on your patience as to give you 
a description of the exercises, only saying that I en- 
joyed them more than any since I have been in Hart- 
ford. 

Meriden, Conn., May 3, 1854. 

My dear Brother: I received your letter, and 
was of course very glad of it ; also glad to learn that 
you had concluded upon a place, though I think it 
was well for you to travel as much as you did. In 
fact, I think travelling is one of the best modes of 
gaining information in the world, and to me, at least, 
it is one of the most pleasant. As to Louisville, I do 
not know whether or not to like it, knowing but little 
about the city. I do not feel very much alarmed on 
the score of its being in a slave-holding State. I trust 



TEACHING 59 

your principles are too well-founded and too deeply- 
rooted, to be very seriously altered by mere proximity 
to the evil and crime which we all deplore. I do not 
think, moreover, that you are likely to be iu circum- 
stances for the present which would have any ten- 
dency to make you connive at a system which degrades 
labor. I expect you will not only conserve but in- 
crease your tendencies to " Liberty for all." I think 
3-ou will have a fine opportunity for observation, 
though of course you will see slavery only in its mod- 
ified aspects where liberty and slavery, freedom and 
despotism grapple in such a hand-to-hand struggle as 
they do in the States that border the free States, you 
cannot expect such developments as where there is 
the blackness of darkness unmitigated. I am afraid 
you are somewhat fatigued by my long letter, yet I 
desire you to know that I, for one, do not expect any 
change for the worse in your principles. If you 
should be somewhat qualified in regard to Spiritual- 
ism, I should be glad, not that I would wish you to 
disbelieve in the agency or the presence of spirits, 
perhaps I believe it not less firmly than you, neither 
would I desire you to pronounce modern Spiritualism 
all a humbug, for I cannot conceive of any candid, 
reasonable person doing so, but I would have you 
more cautious in building up theories, in deducing 
inferences from facts. Our knowledge of all science, 
and of all sciences, is very imperfect, and particularly 
at the first introduction of one you well know how 
little truth is often mixed with how much falsehood. 
I trust we shall one day be so luippy as to see face 
to face. Him whom we now see only through a glass 
darkly. 

I was somewhat alarmed about your being iu Ken- 



60 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

tucky on account of the cholera, but I think it is 
scarcely worth while to be anxious about that. I hope 
you will take all care to presei-ve your valuable health, 
and you are none the less in the hands of our Father 
there than here. Even death itself should not be a 
terror to us who profess to have laid liold on eternal 
life. I hope you will not be so occupied in the busi- 
ness of life as to neglect moral or mental improve- 
ment. There is so much intensity in Western life that 
I think you are somewhat in danger of being hurried 
down the current, and forgetting that " it is not all 
of life to live." Allow me also to suggest that you 
pay a closer attention to the " small, sweet courtesies 
of life." No man is any the less manly for being 
gentle and polite ; not that I mean to insinuate that 
you are ever impolite ; above all let me entreat you 
never to indulge in that most filthy, disgusting, intol- 
erable, and abominable habit of spitting. There is 
no need of it it is only a habit, and worthy of 
none who claim a rank above the savage, though I 
dare say a savage never did such a thing in his life. 
There is a work just published that I think you would 
like. I refer to Hugh Miller's "Autobiography." He 
was a workingman, a stone-cutter, and now ranks 
high in the literary and scientific world. One thing 
more, I hope you will not only cultivate your morals 
and your manners, but also your beard, that you will 
not every day, or every other day, defy Nature, but 
adorn your face with that most manly and noble of 
all ornaments, you understand what I mean. There 
has been a great deal of excitement in Hartford. The 
water of the Connecticut comes nearly to the foot of 
the garden where we live now. There are several 
streets navigable from one end to the other. You 



TEACHING 61 

can just see the tops of the posts to which horses are 
tied. The street lanterns are above water. No mails 
had been received yesterday from the north. I came 
to Meriden yesterday, where I am spending my time 
very pleasantly. My friend, Miss Ferry, is associated 
with Miss Swift, and both with Governor Slade, who 
sends out teacheis twice a year to the West. These 
teachers, twenty or more of them, com^e to Hartford 
and stay six weeks, and receive lessons in drawing, 
etc., and then Governor Slade takes them out. 

May 10, 1854. 

I have adopted the plan of going to bed at nine 
and rising at five, in order that I may use my eyes by 
daylight and rest them at night. Hartford is very 
beautiful now, wrapped in green. Our Seminary is 
behind some shade trees. My unknown friend con- 
tinues to favor me with wild flowers another little 
bouquet was brought to the door for me last night, 
just as pretty as it could be. They now adorn my 
table. Miss C. and I went to a shoemaker's to-day 
and bought patterns for which we paid ninepence, and 
are goina; to trv some shoes for ourselves. It is an 
experiment, and I don't know how we shall succeed. 

I was gladdened yesterday by the sight of your 
handwriting on my return froui Meriden, where I have 
been spending the past week very pleasantly. My 
vacation commenced a week ago last Friday noon. I 
remained in Hartford a few days, partly to be with my 
friend. Miss Ferry, and partly to have the pleasure 
of seeing her friend, Mr. Hale, from New York. I 
also had the pleasure of being here during "the 
flood," and really do not regret it, as it may be some 
time before I ever again see boats navigating streets 
from end to end. 



62 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I send the enclosed ten dollars to Felt. Miss 
Crocker has paid me, so that I do not need it, and if 
I keep it I shall be sure to spend it, so I return it and 
shall feel better prepared to call again in case of 
necessity. Tell Felt I am just as grateful for his 
kindness as if I had used it. My brothers are the 
best in the world, not to mention my sisters. 

I was surprised to hear of Charlotte Waterman's 
death, though I knew she was sick. I saw her the 
day I came from Ipswich to Hartford. In si>ch a 
death as hers there can be no bitterness, for she was 
always ready and her rest shall be glorious. 

Friday evening, May 19. My boots are nearly 

finished, that is, the part I am to do. T am quite 

pleased with them, only I am afraid they will be too 

larsre or too small, I cannot tell which. He told me 

to allow for seams, but I don't know whether he meant 

in cutting or sewing. I am quite in love with city 

life. It is so convenient. You can get anything you 

want without the trouble of (joing to Salem after it. 

A fast next P'riday on account of the Nebraska Bill. 

I am rejoiced to know that my minister dares to open 

his mouth against this most enormous iniquity in high 

places. To-morrow is the day when the question is 

to be decided, and I greatly fear that I shall blush for 

the fallen glory of my country. If the Nebraska Bill 

does pass, I believe I would almost as soon have the 

Union broken, yea, rather, than to have the North 

let the South rule and triumph over it. We shall 

see ! 

June 5, 1854. 

I took a class in Sabbath School last Sunday. It 
consists of three little boys from the Orphan Asylum. 
I took occasion to give them a little information and 



TEACHING 63 

instruction touching the Nebraska Bill, etc., etc. 
I'hey ^vele quite valorous. One of them said he was 
going to be a soldier. The other two thought they 
should be farmers. I asked one of them from whom 
we all descended ; he replied " Adam." Another one 
cried out " Eve too" which I was not disposed to 
gainsay. My term closes three weeks from to-day. 
Mrs. Perkins seemed very glad to see me, urged me 
to stay to tea and said Mr. Perkins would go home 
with me, but as I am not used to suppers, I thought 
I would not. She took me out in the garden and cut 
me a pretty little bouquet, asked me to call often and 
be sure and come next week and she will make me a 
" uosegay" of roses, of which she has more than fifty 
kinds in her garden. 1 had my silk dress on, which 
is too long, and she told me I must not wear it so, 
and wanted me to briug it down to her house and she 
would help me lo take it up round the waist. I men- 
tion these little things that you may see how kind she 
is. In fact, almost everybody is kind to me. I don't 
know whether it is because they think I am a poor 
weak creature without sense enough to take care of 
myself, or for some other reason. 

June 9, 1854. 
A few days ago two or three carriage loads of us 
took a drive to Wadsworth mountain, about seven or 
eight miles from the city. On the mountain is a tower 
nearly a hundred feet high, and from the top can be 
seen one of the most charming landscapes in the 
world, the Farmington valley on the one side, the 
Connecticut valley on the other. The river can be 
traced all along its beautiful winding way by the trees 
that line its banks. The land is highly cultivated, 



64 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and the scenery rich and picturesque beyond descrip- 
tion. Mt. Holyolce can be seen in the dim distance. 
A little lake lies quietly almost on the very mountain 
top, calm as if its fair bosom was never ruffled by the 
storm king's breath, sheltered on every side by the 
great forest trees beneath whose shade, and through 
whose paths, impassable to us, the Indian has doubt- 
less often marched with his tomahawk and war-club. 
On the shore of the lake is a boat-house, where we 
carried our refreshments and strengthened ourselves 
after our five hours' wandering. We started about 
half-past three and reached home soon after nine. 

I wish you would once in a while send me a Ken- 
tucky paper Pro-slavery if possible I think it is 
well to look at both sides of the question. My very 
soul has been stirred within me the last few months 
by that most unmanly, demoniac Nebraska Bill. I 
cannot believe that men who have trodden our free 
Puritan soil, and breathed our free mountain air, can 
suffer themselves to become the minions of slavery. 
It is bad enough for the South to " roll it as a sweet 
morsel under her tongue," but there are mitigating 
circumstances in her case. The enormity cannot 
strike so forcibly those who have grown up under its 
influence, but that men who have never been sur- 
rounded by any but free institutions should defend 
this monster iniquity is indeed incomprehensible ! 
" In their proper position " indeed! If the life, the 
energy, the hope have been crushed out of them by 
long years of bondage, is that to be thrown in their 
face ? The very fact that they are happy is the most 
mournful comment. How degraded must a man be 
before he can be happy in a life which offers to him 
nothing but a subservience to the will of another, 



^o 



TEACHING 65 

which takes from him the God-given right to his own 
conscience, and places him in the power of another. 
It is a bitter mocker}- ! worthy of Satan himself. I 
have no doubt that, as a class, the slaves are far be- 
low the white man, but let the case be changed, let 
the white man have occupied the place which the 
negro has done for centuries, and I have as little doubt 
that he too would be considered as occupying his 
"proper position." The early history of the world 
shows that Africa was prolific of great men. 

Before America was ever heard of, Africa was civ- 
ilized. Her statesmen, her generals, her bishops, her 
libraries were renowned over the then known world, 
and because this fallen queen now mourns in sack- 
cloth and ashes, little souls insult her and declare her 
incapable of being exalted. I believe the time will 
yet come when she will again sit among princes, 
" clothed and in her right mind," and glorious in maj- 
esty. God speed the day ! Certainly our " free Re- 
public " seems not disposed to speed it. I believe we 
have the sole honor of standing before the world as 
the champions of slavery and defenders of liberty. I 
have no patience when I think of it. Even for the 
Boston riots I cannot be so sorry as I suppose I 
ought. I lament the loss of life. I lament the law- 
lessness of mobs, nor do I deem it efficient, but whose 
fault is it that the passions of our steady and quiet 
people have been wrought to frenzy? Who is it 
that has stirred up this agitation ? Not the abolition- 
ists certainly, and after all I cannot but hope that out 
of this present evil the great God is working his own 
good purposes, that the crisis has at last come, and 
that the giant of the North will shake off now the 
chains which have so long bound him, and rise up in 



66 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the might of his conscious strength, saying to this 
terrible scourge, "Thus far shall thou go and no far- 
ther." I am afraid 1 have tired j^ou, but really when 
I once besiu to talk about it, I don't know when to 

stop. 

June 10. 

As our great orator said, "Let me recur to pleas- 
ing recollections." Last Wednesday night I went to 
a little musical party at a Dr. Jackson's. I have an 
invitation to attend a wedding reception next Wed- 
nesday, but I scarcely think I shall go. I have turned 
my attention to manufacture lately, and have cut out 
and sewed a pair of gaiter boots of brown linen. I 
did everything myself except the soling, and succeeded 
admirably. My term closes on the twenty-ninth of 
June. I do not intend to return here. Do you take 
the " Tribune "? I wish you would. I think it a most 
excellent paper a little ultra perhaps in some 
things, but right on the two great questions of the 
day, slavery and temperance. 

My nose has formed a habit of bleeding lately, once 
ia a while, and I dare say it does me good by remov- 
ing the surplus blood from my head. Write me as 
soon as you have time, and tell me as much as you 
choose to have me know of your business and your 
friends. 

May the good hand of our Father guide you in the 
way which He shall choose, grant you a life of use- 
fulness and happiness in this world, and fit you for 
a more glorious lot in His more immediate presence 
whenever it shall be His will to call you to Himself. 
To those who humbly trust and believe in a Redeemer 
and another world, death should have little terror. It 
is not death, but a birth into a higher and holier state 
of existence. 



TEACHING 67 

June 20. 
Would you go ])ack to Hartford next term, or would 
you not? I want advice on this point. Let me have 
the united wisdom of the family. Miss Crocker 
never said anything to me about returning till last 
night, when she urged me quite strongly to return, 
expresses herself more than satisfied, says the gk'ls 
are anxious to have me return, besides many other 
pleasant things too numerous to mention. She says 
if I will return, I need teach nothing but Latin. I 
told her 1 would not decide definitely till I had heard 
from home. 

August, Friday, 4, 1854. 

Yesterday Mother A. and I went to Danvers. 
Last week Monday, I went to Salem, to visit at Mr. 
Fox Worcester's, with whose daughter I am ac- 
quainted. Spent one day and night there, and then 
went over to South Salem, and spent a night at the 
house of Mr. D. B. Brooks, the book-seller, with my 
friend Amanda Ferry, one of my warmest friends. 
She is engaged to a gentleman of New York. 

Last Saturday mother carried me over to Ipswich, 
to make a short visit. I found the girls at the Sem- 
inary busy as bees in making mottoes and wreaths of 
evergreen to adorn the old Seminary for the ensuing 
Monday and Tuesday examination days. Augusta 
and I have made our arrangements to go to Provi- 
dence, R.I., next Monday to stay about a week. The 
United States General Teachers' Association meet 
there. You know we went to one last summer in 
New Haven. I have no place in view to teach at 
present. If none present itself by next spring, I 
shall probably turn my attention westward. 



68 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

August 31, 1854. 

You remember I told you about going to Provi- 
dence a few weeks ago. There are a few little items 
connected with that trip which you will perhaps be 
interested to know. As we were getting into the 
cars at Hamilton, we met a gentleman coming out. 
I said to A. that he looked like Mr. Curtis, of the 
High School, Hartford. I had seen him, but was not 
acquainted. We went on to Boston, saw F., did 
some shopping, and finally went to the Boston and 
Providence depot, and were talking away, when some 
one touched me. I turned and saw F. with this 
gentleman, whom he introduced as Mr. Curtis, of 
Hartford. He told me that when he met me in Ham- 
ilton he thought I might be the one he wanted to see. 
He asked Mr. R. where I lived and was told I had 
just gone on in the cars. They told him F's address, 
and he took the next train, went to F., and they both 
jumped into a coach and drove post-haste to the 
depot where they found me. I saw him half an hour 
or so there, and several times afterwards, and the 
result is that next Saturday I am to go to Hartford, 
to teach in his school. So your next letter to me 
must be directed to Hartford, but not to the Female 
Seminary. 

I have been riding horseback tliis vacation, and 
went down to tlie post-office alone yesterday. It is 
the first time 1 have ventured into the public walks 
of life, and I like so much that I think I shall go on. 
Augusta went to Beverly, horseback, the morning 
that father went in the chaise to Salem. A. and I 
went out making calls a few days ago. Intended to 
call on Mrs. G. A., Jr., but, on inquiring, found she 
was not at home. As the conversation took place 



TEACHING 69 

with Mr. A. peeping on one side under a suspended 
ox and Miss D. on the other it was of a commenda- 
ble brevity. Miss S. A. we had the pleasure of find- 
ing at home. She was engaged in crayon drawing. 

Hartford, September 4, 1854. 
My DEAR Father and Mother : Now how you do 
want to know where I am, and how I am. Let me 
begin at the beginning, and first for my health. I 
think I was never so tired in my life as I was when 
I reached Hartford, at about eight o'clock, feeling as 
if I would as soon lose my baggage as go to look for 
it. As I was going into the ladies' room, I saw Mr. 
Curtis walking very leisurely along, and examining 
the cars very closely. I never was before, and never 
shall be again, so glad to see him. We drove directly 
to my boarding-place very near where I was, and I 
was introduced to Mr. and Mrs. O., who seem to be 
exceedingly pleasant people, somewhat in years, and 
very fine looking. They wished me to take supper, 
but all I wanted was a place to lie down, and so Mrs. 
O. showed me to my chamber. I am the sole occu- 
pant, straw carpet, white quilt, toilet table with white 
covering, washstand do., a bureau with four drawers 
all to myself, and fringed white cover, a closet, a 
chair, an ottoman, a nice lounge and pillow, and 
gas, white muslin curtains, etc., there, didn't I tell 
you I wanted a sofa and gas, and you thought 
rather foolishly ? I must not forget to mention a most 
cunning little alarum clock, also a few pictures. I 
shall let my own clock stay in the trunk, I wish now 
I had not brought it. I thought, when I was in bed 
Saturday night, I wished you could know exactly 
where I was and how I felt. I did not sleep uiuch 



70 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IX LETTERS 

and of course was not particularly brilliant, but last 
night I made up for it all and feel this morning quite 
well. I have plenty of water, and crash and other 
towels at my disposal. 

Hartford, September 5, 1854. 
I enclosed my letter yesterday morning, and with 
some trepidation prepared for school. I did not go 
till about half-past nine. Euug the bell at the school 
door and inquired for Mr. Curtis. A lady came and 
said she would show me to the dressing-room, where 
I took off my bonnet and shawl and then went up- 
stairs. "Aunty's many boys and girls" were all 
assembled in formidable array, but I was very much 
pleased indeed with the aspect of the scholars. The 
other assistant is very precise, and proper, and judic- 
ious, and good, and altogether a very exemplary per- 
son. I trust we shall harmonize admirably, being 
entirely unlike each other. Mr. Caprou is very good- 
looking, what there is of him, but he is small, wears 
whiskers and glasses. I don't know much about him 
yet, of course. Miss Hooker is the old teacher who 
is staying here a week. I like her very much indeed, 
and wish she were going to stay. We did not have 
any recitations, the time being occupied in arranging 
and organizing. I am to have three classes in Gram- 
mar, one in History, and two in Latin. Most of last 
evening I spent lying on the lounge now trembling 
at the thought of my next day's recitations, now 
laughing at the mathematical and correct assistant, 
now wondering how Mr, Curtis will turn out, and so 
on in a variety of equally interesting and important 
ruminations. The school-room is a particularly large, 
cool, and airy room, and everything about the building 



TEACHING 71 

seems conveuient and comfortable, and as if people 
were interested and spent their money freely. My 
health is, I think, perfectly reestablished, only this 
excessively debilitating weather does not make me 
feel very energetic. 

September 7. 

If I survive till next Monday, I think you may 
safely conclude that I shall live out my day and 
generation. It is warm, warmer, warmest it is hot, 
hotter, hottest. I am evaporating as fast as possible. 
I have not been to the post-office since I came here, 
and have not written to anybody but you. It has 
been so hot that I could not. The excitement of the 
school has been enough without any extra labor 
good-by. 

September 15. 

To go from Miss Crocker to him is like going from 
well, I don't exactly know what it is like it is 
going from one who ignores your existence to one 
who feels that you are worth at least a three-cent 
piece. My only trouble is that I know I shall not be 
what he expects me. He seems to look upon me as 
if sent directly from Heaven, but don't pray say this 
to anybody, because it would sound so silly. I am 
sure he thinks I am going to be and do a great deal 
more than I am. However, I shall certainly do my 
best. I will, however, just tell you that my principal 
said to me to-night after I had been helping make out 
his roll-books, that he wished he could be of as much 
worth to me as he foresaw I was going to be to him. 
I am exceedingly sorry that I was not present last 
evening, as the subject of slavery was discussed with 
some warmth lasting till half-past eleven. 



72 tiAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

October 6. 
I am low-spirited to-night, lower than the Con- 
necticut river before the rains came, lower than Frank 
Pierce when he was signing the Nebraska Bill, lower 
than an Englishman in November, shockingly, gloom- 
ily, desperately low-spirited. I dare say this you 
will consider the very worst of reasons for writing to 
you who have such a penchant for happy faces ; never- 
theless because my thoughts turn yearningly to you- 
ward, and because I make a point of yielding to my 
moods and tenses, here I am. Now lest you think I 
am growing sentimental, let me tell you of the disas- 
ters that have been heaped upon my devoted head, 
and see if they are not enough to make " L' Allegro " 
himself low-spirited. In the first place I tumbled down- 
stairs and broke my neck a week ago to-day, or as 
that is rather a bold assertion, considering I am not 
employing an amanuensis, I might modify it some- 
what by saying that it was not my neck that was 
broken but my foot, and that was not broken, I hope, 
but sprained. In my riotous joy at being let out from 
school, I always jump over the last three stairs or 
so at the High School. This time, being especially 
"glorious," as Burns says, I forget that the elasticity 
of my soul might not have communicated itself to my 
soles; I bounded over from five to fifteen I have 
forgotten the number exactly and instead of com- 
ing down like a cat as I ought, on both feet, the whole 
force was concentred in one, which very naturally 
gave way, consequently for several days I could not 
walk a step, and even now my gait is a cross between 
a shuffle and a hop. All this time I have loco-moted 
with every bone, muscle, fibre, joint, nerve, and 
sinew in my body except the right ones, till I am all un- 



TEACHING 73 

hinged, unjointed, uuoiled, and in a snappy, squeaky, 
creaky condition pitiable to behold. Secondly, my 
under lip, in a fit of disgust at the course things were 
taking, began to pout yesterday in the most approved 
style, and after increasing to about six times its usual 
size is energetically blossoming out a cold-sore. This 
you know always imparts a very decided and agree- 
able tone to one's physiognomy. Thirdly, I have 
and have had all day and a part of yesterday, a 
ranting, rollicking, raving, raging toothache, a cease- 
less, merciless, inexorable thump, thump, thump. 
Now without going farther into the detail of my dis- 
tresses, have not I made out a case? And do you 
wonder that " Life is as tedious as a twice-told 
tale " ? Oh ! for a dentist, yet I don't know that he 
could give me any relief, for two have made a des- 
perate assault on my poor tooth before, and been 
obliged to raise the siege. Don't wonder if my 
similies smack of battle, for I have a class of loyal 
boys who wax enthusiastic every day over Yankee 
prowess and British pusillanimity, as displayed in our 
impartial American histories. I have studied about 
wars and rumors of wars, till I have become quite 
pugilistic myself. Did you ever teach boys? I can- 
not tell you how strange it seemed to me at first. 
Great burly fellows ; they poured into the recitation 
room the first day, coming down upon me like a 
seventy-four-gun ship till I almost gasped for breath. 
They frightened me out of my senses. I walked 
about in a dream the first week. They seemed so 
like men. Every time one of them rose to answer 
me, it seemed to me as if he was going to make a 
speech. For a little while I thought I had mistaken 
my calling and looked forward to Thanksgiving with 



74 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

inexpressible longings, but I am now fain to say that 
these boys have diminished very perceptibly m size 
and numbers and, taken together, are really a very 
gentlemanly set, though I find them in their classes 
much more restless than girls, or perhaps it is be- 
cause when they do move they make more noise about 
it than girls. The high school house is a fine large 
three-story brick building, classical department on 
the first floor, general assembly room on the second, 
gymnasium on the third, laboratory, dressing-rooms, 
etc., in the basement. Everything is entirely different 
from any private school I was ever in, though I can- 
not tell the reason why. There seems to be much 
more machinery. There are five teachers, three 
gentlemen, one lady, and Abby Dodge, all excellent 
in their way. Did you know that the teachers have 
to be examined ? What an idea ! They thought they 
were going to examine we, but they didn't. I told 
Mr. Curtis in Boston that I would not be examined. 
I repeated it in Hartford with an emphasis. He 
called with the other teacher at my boarding-house, 
was to take us both to the " Fathers of the School " 
to be tested, analyzed, twenty-five per cent. Arith- 
metic, fifteen ditto Geography, etc., bottled up, labelled 
and prepared for use. I protested. He spent half 
an hour in reasoning and entreating. I was con- 
vinced by his argument and moved by his eloquence, 
but at the end of all remained in statu quo ante helium 
and parried all his shafts with the clear simple forcible 
English declaration, " I won't go." So I didn't go, 
so he went without me, so the committee did not have 
the pleasure of dissecting me, so it is laid down as a 
law for all future teachers, that if they prefer to be 
examined by their classes, or in their classes, they 



TEACHING 75 

can. How grateful ought all my successors to be to 
me ! Do you think I did wrong? I did not parry or 
evade anything. I told him I was willing to suffer 
the penalty of the law, to go home the first morning, 
or I could be hung if indispensable, but that one 
solitary thing I could not, should not, and would not 
do. I was quite willing they should come in and 
hear my recitations every hour in the day, for every 
day in the week. " Anyway," I have not yet repented, 
and would do just so again. 

Mrs. Cowles what a loss you, and indeed all of 
us, have sustained in dear Celia's death. I cannot 
tell you how much I have thought of you. I cannot 
and do not wish to think of her as dead. It seems 
to mo I shall always be better for having known her, 
at least I shall have more confidence in human good- 
ness. Sometimes I am afraid I did wrong in leaving 
you, but you don't think so, do you? And if all my 
anxieties are needless, it will be well, funny, to 
say the least. Notwithstanding all ray, everything 
in short, do believe that I am not ungrateful for the 
kindness of years, words do not trip like nimble 
servitors to do my will, but I none the less remember 
the past and shall bear it in my heart forever. I 
have such a cosy little room all by myself. I should 
like to have a " nice " chat with you in it this evening. 

Hartford, Ct., October 21, 1854. 
I wentchestnutting with a party last Saturday, drove 
some seven or eight miles out of town. Did not get a 
great many chestnuts, but had a grand time. The 
men built a fire and made a great kettle full of coffee 
in the woods. The ladies spread a tablecloth and we 
had a sumptuous dinner. I went part of the way in 



76 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the carriage of Mr. Gillette, the new Member of Con- 
gress from Connecticut, with himself and wife, though 
I did not know at the time that he was the M.C. I 
do not think I am in school any more hours than is 
customary. At Ipswich I used generally to go down 
at eight A.M., and stayed as long as I do here. At 
Miss Crocker's, to be sure, I was out nmch more than 
now, but it is not customary. I like here very much 
indeed. Never enjoyed myself more. My boarding- 
place is very pleasant and quite homelike. They are 
very kind and do a great deal to make me comfort- 
able. I have plenty of callers, but have not yet 
returned many calls on account of my lameness. Mr. 
Curtis is very kind indeed, and does a great deal to 
smooth away all the difficulties. As you take the 
" Tribune " you have probably read letters from Paris 
signed " Au revoir." They are written by a Mrs. 
Hitchcock, formerly Miss Stephens, who was a teacher 
in the same school where I am now at the time Rev. 
Thomas Beecher was Principal. 

Recitation-room, Hartfoud High School, 

Friday, December 8, 1854. 
Dear " Old Folks at Home" : I suppose you will 
be glad to hear from me, though it be only with a lead- 
pencil. We all arrived safely in Boston, baggage, 
etc. By and by a gentleman, who had been stand- 
ing by the stove, came and sat down on the same seat 
with me and we presently entered into conversation, 
he, of course, taking the lead. We talked of a great 
many things, Russian war and those general subjects 
disputed a great deal. He was very pleasant, and 
made the time pass away very agreeably. It was 
after ten o'clock before we got here and when I got 



TEACHING 77 

out of the coach to go into the house I went half 
under in a great snow bank, and what with a lame 
foot and a lame hand it was as much as I could do to 
get out. When I went into school Tuesday morning 
it had begun. I took my seat as usual. I don't 
think anybody noticed my hand, as it was concealed 
by the desk, and Mr. Curtis was conducting devo- 
tional exercises, but after that was through he began 
to talk about matters and things, and then chanced 
to see my wrapped-up member " Hurt your hand? " 
I said nothing, and after a moment's silence we both 
burst into a laugh. The girls and boys kept asking 
me what ailed my hand ; some I told one thing and 
some another, that I scalded it when I was out skat- 
ing, that it was cold and I wrapped it up to keep it 
warm, that I had an invitation to a wedding and 
wanted to make it white, etc. One of my boys gave 
me a beautiful pearl-handled, two-bladed penknife, 
something like the one in my writing-desk, for a 
Thanksgiving present, he said. Tuesday we did not 
have any recitations. Henry Ward Beecher was 
engaged to lecture Monday evening, but the train was 
delayed, much to my delight, I must say, till ten 
o'clock at night; consequently the lecture was put 
over till Wednesday evening, and Mrs. O. and I went 
out to hear him. There were a great many there. I 
was very much pleased, but still disappointed, not so 
carried aioay as I expected to be, perfectly calm all 
the time. Last evening we were all invited to Mr. 
John Olmsted's. It is the first time I have been 
there and I enjoyed it much. Their parlors are the 
cosiest, most homelike I have seen in Hartford, full 
of books, pictures, nooks, and corners. They are 
very cordial. I am to change my boarding-place on 



78 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IX LETTERS 

Monday. I am sorry myself to be obliged to ^:o and 
shall expect to come back again with the spring, should 
I remain in Hartford. I shall always consider this 
one of my homes, as everything has been done to make 
me feel at hom.e. I am going to Asylum street, where 
Mr. Curtis and his two brothers board. The room I 
am to have is very pleasant, much larger and lighter 
thau the one I now occupy, P>ench bed, drapery, 
curtains, centre-table, bureau, etc. I dread going 
exceedingly, that is, I mean the first of it. I wish I 
was all there and settled. My hand is getting better 
slowly, the swelling is nearly gone, though the colors 
remain and will, I suppose, for some time. I am 
going to have a fire in a fireplace in my new room. I 
can have a stove if I want it, but I like a fireplace 
better. My fingers and thumb feel rather achy, and 
I must bid you good-night, hoping you are all well 
and happy. 

Affectionately. 



December 14, 1854. 

My dear Parents : I suppose lii^ely you will be 
glad to learn of my whereabouts. I have found 
another very pleasant home and esteem myself par- 
ticularly fortunate in this matter. The house is on a 
very noisy, busy, bustling street, but I scarcely hear 
of it. The back part of the house is as quiet and 
pleasant as need be. There is a conservatory which 
is quite charming this cold weather. 

I am attending a course of geological lectures by a 
Dr. Boynton, also the Institute Lectures and the Arts 
Union, which make three series, so my time in the 
evening is somewhat occupied. My hand is much 



TEACHING 79 

better. I have left off the bandages. I can run up- 
stairs, too, with considerable ease. 

Saturday evening. My heart has been gladdened 
by a good long letter from you to-day which I will 
not now stop to answer, only saying that I shall expect 
an answer to this very soon. 

January 1, 1855. 

My dear a. : With many good wishes I commence 
a letter to you on this first day of the new year. The 
bells are ringing merrily. The air is clear and cold 
to-day and sends the blood leaping and dancing 
through the veins. A sad day I am afraid it is to 
many, to some because the old year has brought sor- 
row to their hearts, to others because the new year 
has nothing but sorrow to offer. " The poor ye have 
always with you," but this year, many who have al- 
ways lived comfortably are brought very near to want, 
because they have been thrown out of employment. I 
went to hear Colonel Benton, "Old Bullion," lecture 
the other night. I see that I am drawing near the end 
of my sheet both by the diminishing paper and the 
increasing fatigue of my lame hand. I am almost 
well, hand and foot, but cannot yet bear so much as 
formerly. Trusting that the New Year upon which we 
have entered will be one of pleasure and profit to us 
both, bringing us higher and still higher in the scale 
of life, whether it leave us in this world or another, I 
bid you, 

Very affectionately, 

Good-by. 

January 6. 
I mean to come. I won't stay another minute after 
this term. As for wearing out my life, and soul, and 



80 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

brain, and lungs, in teaching and getting just enough 
to keep body and soul together, I won't do it any 
longer. If I stay at home I shall be some company 
for you, and I can try for one year on Mr. Cowles' 
plan and see whether my pen may not do something 
for me. I can at least be no worse off than I am 
now. I have had it on my mind to write to you about 
this for some days, as I did not Icnow but that you 
supposed I was getting rich with rapidity. I am glad, 
however, that you are not deceiving yourself iu this 
respect. I have tried teaching some four years, and 
I think it is quite time to see whether something else 
will not be as profitable and less wearisome and wear- 
ing. Still I am not insensible to the many pleasant 
things I shall give up with my situation here, many 
advantages, kind friends, society, etc. I don't be- 
lieve I shall ever be more happily situated. Oh, dear, 
how I should like to be rich, but 1 don't suppose I 
ever shall be. I wonder if I am always to be iu 
such an ado about the wherewithal to eat, drink, and 
wear. But I have said enough about this. Don't 
imagine that it makes me unhappy, not a bit of it. I 
am only in a worry because I don't know exactly 
what course to take, but I am now pretty much 
decided. 

Saturday eve. After nine o'clock. Long looked 
for, come at last. Dr. Curtis has just handed me a 
check for one hundred dollars. You may be amused 
to hear that the other night I was walking to the lect- 
ure with Mr. C. and Mrs. W. I was busy with my 
own thoughts, when suddenly I found myself all alone 
and had not the slightest idea where I was, or how 
far I had gone. I turned back and found that I was 



a^ 



TEACHING 81 

not so very far by the lecture room. They were 
watching me and enjoying a hearty laugh at my 
expense. 

January 20. 

You know I told you about my wearing that nine- 
pence arouud my neck ; the other day one of my boys, 
a great tall fellow, came to me and wanted me to let 
him take the string a few moments. I was afraid he 
was going to play some trick, as the scholars laugh a 
good deal about my ninepeuce, but he said he would 
not, and I let him take it. In a few minutes he came 
and put it on my neck again, and I found that he had 
put a gold dollar on by a little ring, so you see my 
salary is already increased. 

I came very near being smashed the other day up 
in the gymnasium. Mr. Curtis, Alden, and two of 
the scholars were up there with me after school and it 
was nearly dark. We were in the circular swing and 
going at full speed, when somehow or other I let go 
my hold and went head first, striking the floor, of 
course, with a great deal of force. The weight of the 
blow came on the side of my head. My elbow also 
was considerably bruised. For two or three minutes 
it seemed as though my skull was cracked, but I guess 
it wasn't. They were all sadly frightened, more so 
than I was, and it was so dark they could not see, 
and thought of course I must be faint and ran for 
water and began to rub me and try to get me down- 
stairs, but I was soon on my feet again and snow- 
balled coming home as vigorously as any of them. 
The swelling on my head has not quite subsided, and 
it is a little sore ; in fact, I am sore and lame all over, 
partly from the fall and partly from the exercise. 



82 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Mrs. Taylor, a sister of the Curtises, has been visit- 
ing here a few days. She is a pretty, careless, agree- 
able little woman. In fact, I think the Curtis family 
altogetlier are quite remarkable. They are verj'^ 
affectionate. Alden is a noble fellow, and so are 
they all. 

January 27, 1855. 

Last evening I was called down to a game of blind- 
man's buff which lasted from ten to eleven, after 
which I sat in the sitting-room and read " Pendennis " 
till about one, when I opened the doors that lead to 
the conservatory, turned off the gas, and went to bed. 
I like very much to sit up so after the rest of the 
people are gone to bed. It is very warm and com- 
fortable. A good fire is kept in tlie furnace all night, 
and it is so quiet. The conservatory opens from the 
sitting-room by two large double glass doors which 
are thrown open every niglit to let in the warm air. 
Mr. C. was down part of the time and wanted me to 
read aloud to him. I was half scared out of my 
senses and stumbled breathlessly along, called half 
my words wrong, and was heartily glad when he went 
off to bed. 

You cannot tell how dream-like everything about 
Ipswich seems to be. I don't believe I shall ever go 
back there to teach not for the present, at least. 
It is so different here. My home is very pleasant. I 
do not believe I could ever be so happ^- as I have 
been in a house with boarding-school girls. I enjoy 
my out-of-school life here more than ever before. 
Alden Curtis is a character; I think you would like 
him. I should like to have you and him together a 
little while. He is a very skilful di'awer and de- 



TEACHING 83 

signei-. He engraved the portrait of Rev. O. A. Tay- 
lor which adorns, or rather forms, the frontispiece of 
his memoirs. 

Saturday, February 3. 
You may be interested to know that I am writing 
to you on a very pretty new portfolio which Mr. 
Curtis has just given me. 

Hartford, Conn., February 7, 1855. 

My dear Brother : You can't think how pleasant 
everything is here. There are several families with 
which I am becoming acquainted, and I like the school 
vastly. I think, too, it is rather pleasant to live in 
a city on some accounts in the winter. I have 
attended some very fine lectures this winter, particu- 
larly one by Dr. Bethune, of Brooklyn, N.Y., on 
" Work and Labor," and more particularly one by 
Geo. Wm. Curtis, of New York City, on " Success." 
The latter is a young man, but 1 think one of the 
most promising in the country. He is the author of 
the " Potiphar Papers," which were first published in 
" Putnam's Monthly," but are now collected in a book. 
I had a letter from Augusta a day or two since, spoke 
of father's having visited in Cambridge, etc. 

I hope you clapped and cheered at Seward's reelec- 
tion. I look upon him as one of our first statesmen 
in point of principle, good judgment, good sense, and 
unwavering adherence to the right, as well as in point 
of intellect. I went out to make a call on a Mrs. 
Hooker at Nook farms about a mile and a quarter 
from here. She is a sister of Henry WardBeecher 
her husband is a direct descendant of the Hooker of 
Puritan remembrance, and is a lawyer of this city. 



84 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Mrs. "Wingate, my landlady, went with me. Mrs. 
H. insisted that we should stay to tea, which we 
did, and had a very pleasant time. Mrs. Hooker 
gave me a dress which she had made several years 
ago, in order to practise in at a gymnasium. It is a 
kind of bloomer, full Turkish trousers, etc. I think 
I shall wear it down to our gymnasium when I begin 
to practise mucli. She sent us home in the evening 
in her own carriage. Mr. Gillette, the United States 
Senator from here, is her brother-in-law. We have 
grand times once in a while playing blindman's buff. 
It is a good thing to get your blood warm this cold 
weather. I don't suppose I take so much exercise as 
I ought. Mr. Curtis is half sick. Mr. Capron went 
home six weeks ago, but I am tough, as I always was. 
Good-night. I hope you will sleep warmly and dream- 
lessly. I have taken to sitting up late go to bed 
about twelve, rise after seven, and like it much. 
Good-night again. From 

Your affectionate sister, 

M. A. D. 

February 17, 185.3. 
My dear "Daddy and Ma'am": It is Saturday 
night, but unlike my Puritan ancestry, and not in 
accordance with my Puritan education, iny labors do 
not cease with the going down of the sun. I have 
just finished one piece of work, and am going to take 
up another, but shall first take a kind of recess by 
commencing a letter to you. You will understand 
that by work I mean head work, not hand work. I 
scarcely touch a needle from week's end to week's 
end. Oh, dear ! I wish I had a negro to do my mend- 
ing for me, and take care of me and my clothes gen- 



TEACHING 85 

erally. I was rhapsodizing on the blessings of wealth 
yesterday to Mr. Curtis, and said if I were rich I 
would not even comb my own hair! " Yes," said he, 
" I believe you. It is as much as ever you do it, 
now you are poor." I do, however, every day. At 
present 1 am very much occupied. Twelve o'clock 
scarcely ever sees me in bed. Mr. Curtis and I have 
been talking over some old matters and things 
says he don't know when he was more in doubt than 
about takin:;' me after he saw mo in Boston, should 
not have risked it if he could have found anybody 
else, but thought Mr. and Mrs, Cowles must be per- 
sons of good sense, and trusted to that, said they had 
spoken so very highly of me, compared me with Miss 
Crocker, etc., and when he saw me he did not per- 
ceive anything extraordinary, and consequently so 
much the more disappointed. He was so impertinent 
as to say (speaking of the letters which he received 
from various applicants) that he did not believe I 
could write a letter which would be satisfactory to 
him there would be some freak-ish expression in it 
which would make him afraid, and he should want a 
personal interview, and if he could not have it should 
be afraid to run the risk of employing me. What 
do 3'ou think of that? I was rather indignant. By 
the way you wonder that I received the portfolio 
so I will just tell you how I received it. He came 
into my room one day, bringing it in his hand, and 
asked me if I should have any use for it. I told him 
no I did not want it, and should not use it. He threw 
it across the room on the bed, and there it lay. I 
remonstrated, and said, "Now, what did you buy 
that for me for? " And he said, " Because I had a 
mind to." I shall always look upon tliis as one of 



SQ GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

my happiest winters thanks to Miss Crocker, as if 
she had been a little more agreeable, I might have re- 
turned there and gone on for an indefinite period of 
time. 

February 25. 

I called on Miss Ferry at Mrs. Perkins' this P.M. 
I made two other calls, went to the young men's 
Institute, changed some books, looked at the " Illus- 
trated News " pictures, did a little mending, took a 
sleigh ride, had a call from a Miss Conner, ate 
supper, read a little, wrote a little, and have been 
playing ever since. Last night we made molasses 
candy tried my hand at pulling it for the first time 
in my life. Never was such a time. Molasses all 
stuck to my hands. When I stretched open my fingers 
my hand looked like a duck's foot nathless;, we had 
some good candy. The others knew how to make it, 
if I did not. It seems to me you are turning over a 
new leaf in life, theatres and dancing-school in the 
same week. Perhaps I ought not to say anything, at 
least you might say so were you to see me luxuriating 
over the wine cup. Nothing warms you up so this 
cold weather like the juice of the grape, sweetened 
down to my unsophisticated taste. My honored prin- 
cipal tosses it off unadulterated, but dilutes it slightly 
when he puts the glass to my lips. 

As for money, I have had nothing but charity 
money this long time, but console myself with the 
reflection that pay-day comes in April, when I sup- 
pose I shall have the pleasure of paying my board and 
other bills, and have, I hope, money enough left to 
get home with. I have given up all thought of laying 
up money. If I spend my youth and health and 
strength in a good cause, I trust He who provides for 



TEACHING 87 

the ravens their food, will not give me over in my 
gray hairs. 

April 2, 1855. 

You will perhaps be interested and pleased to 
know that my salary has been raised a hundred dollars 
this spring, so that I now have five hundred a year. 
I wonder also if you knew that last Saturday was my 
birthday. I had a beautiful book of ballads, gilt edi- 
tion, cream-colored paper, pictures, etc., for a birth- 
day present. Drove out last Saturday into the 
country, the first time since sleighing went away. I 
hope you are well and happy. " Live I, so live I 
to my Lord heartily, to my Prince faithfully, to iiiy 
neighbor honestly'' Die I, so die I." Write to me 
about your everyday life. 1 hope you are not devot- 
ing yourself too closely to business. 

Ever your, 

Affectionate sister. 

Hartford, Conn., May 26, 1855. 
I put my letter in the office to-day, so it seems 
rather early to begin another. Nevertheless, thinking 
you might all be enjoying yourselves at home, I take 
the next best thing and write 

TO MY DEAR "HAWTHORNE" ON HER 
MARRIAGE -DAY. 

They brought him a chalice of wroughten gold, 

And brimmed it with southern wine 
Pressed by the dark-eyed Doric girls 

From the fruit of the Cyprian vine 
The delicate leaf of a snow-white rose 

He dropped on its glowing breast. 
It fluttered and swayed in the fragrant air, 



88 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Then sank to its ruby rest. 
But the goblet's brim of wroughten gold 

No drop did overflow 
So gently the Cyprian wine npbore 

The rose-leaf white as snow. 

Thy heart, O friend, is full of love to-night, 

All quivering with its over-weight of bliss, 
Yet mindful of the Past's evanished light 

I humbly, Hawthorne, dare implore thee, this, 
That, as I lowly kneel before thy shrine 

And unto thee my humble tribute bring, 
Thou wilt not spurn from thee this heart of mine 

But kindly take the simple offering 
So shall my love lie lightly iipon thine 
Like snow-white rose-leaf on the Cyprian wine. 

You perceive I send you another of my effusions 
saves paper, not to mention j'our own delight in read- 
ing it. This is the one I intend to semL 

I, last night, had the pleasure of seeing an eel for 
the first time in my life. I was walking away off out 
of the city and saw some little boys fishing asked 
them what kind of fish they caught and they said eels. 
So I waited a few minutes, and up came one wriggl- 
ing and writhing, poor fellow, but they soon cut his 
head off, and put an end to his troubles, A little 
farther on were some Germans men, women, and 
children out doors having a real "old country " good 
time. The men were shooting, the women talk- 
ing, knitting, etc. They seemed to be enjoying it 
vastly. Foreigners live in the open air much more 
than we Americans. 

June 7. 

Last night I went to the annual meeting of the 
Colonization Society. Mr. Orcutt is agent for it. 
This, you may perhaps know, is a society for sending 



TEACHING 89 

blacks to Liberia in Africa, where they have a Re- 
public with a President, Legislature, etc., all in due 
form, composed entirely of negroes. The position 
of the black man there is of course entirely different 
from what it is here and gives him an opportunity to 
rise in the social scale. The meeting was addressed 
by Governor, who is also Rev. Mr. Binney, who has 
just returned from a visit to Liberia. He has been 
staying at oiu' house, and is an agreeable man. He 
spoke of several negroes who went there from Hart- 
ford. One of them who went about ten years ago 
sent word by Mr. B., to his friends in H., that he 
would not sell his farm there for ten thousand dollars. 
Mr. B. said he saw some of the finest coffee farms 
there that he had ever seen in his life. The trees 
produced ten and fifteen pounds of coffee apiece. In 
the West Indies, the average produce of each tree is 
a pound and a half, and four pounds is considered a 
great yield. His remarks were very interesting, and 
rendered more so by his easy and fluent style of 
address. 

June 12, 1855. 

You need not be alarmed about my ruining my 
health by sitting up late at night. I can scarcely keep 
my eyes open till ten o'clock. I go to bed early and 
often do not rise till half-past six. I need more sleep 
than I did before I came here. My whole ner^'ous 
system is so exhausted at night that I need all the 
recuperative power of sleep which I can get. 

June 15. 

I bought some black lace, and have made my old 
mantilla all over again, turned and trimmed it and 
finished it by noon, don't you think I am growing 



90 GAIL HAMILTON\S LIFE IN LETTERS 

smart? It looks better than when new, I think. I 
wish when you see Dr. Kittredge you would ask him 
whether it would do any good to continue to apply to 
my foot what he gave me. It troubles me very much, 
that is, not the foot itself, but the whole limb above 
it. I think it is only weariness, as Sundays and Mon- 
days it seems to be as well as usual, but by Tuesday 
it begins to grow tired and toward the last of the 
week I really don't know what to do with it. It is 
not actual pain, but such a tired, achy, nervous feel- 
ing. 

I have been reading a book called " Cliemistry of 
Common Life," in which some facts are stated which 
rather surprised me ; for instance that our common 
wheat bread is nearly half water, and that old stale 
bread is really no drier than new, that is, it contains 
just as much water a proof of this is that if you 
put a stale loaf into a closely covered tin, expose for 
half an hour or an hour to a heat about the same as 
that of boiling water, then remove the tin and allow 
it to cool, the loaf will be just as good as new. I 
should like to have you try it some time. I should 
think it would be very convenient, particular!}' in the 
summer. Did you know also that the shells of eggs 
are full of little holes by which the air gets in and 
feeds the little chicken and also makes the eggs 
decay so that if you rub the fresh egg over with 
fat, it will keep to an indefinite length of time ? 
When you boil meat, do you plunge it into hot water, 
or put it in the cold and let them all heat together? 

Miss Crocker's graduating ceremonies are to be to- 
night. I hardly think I shall go. Professor Silliman 
is to address them of Yale College. One of my 
boys brought me, I should think, nearly two quarts 



TEACHING 91 

of cherries the other clay, all strung on a stick with a 
kind of hook at the end of it, so that they looked like 
one solid cluster, and rich enough they were. I at- 
tended the exercises at the Centre Church Thursday 
evening, as Mrs. Wingate wished very much that I 
should go. The house was crowded, the lecture not 
particularly interesting, and rather long. Twelve 
vouug ladies received diplomas, among whom was 
Lizzy Hale, John P. Hale's daughter. They looked 
very pretty, all of them, in white dresses and plenty of 

flowers. 

July 9. 

Saturday here was a rainy day. I read the greater 
part of the time, ironed my muslin dress, took a two 
hours' nap after dinner, embroidered a little, mended 
a little, went up street about four o'clock and bought 
a pound of candy, which was all gone the next morn- 
ing, except three little balls. Mrs. Perkins called on 
me after tea, and brought a long letter for me to read 
which she had received from Mrs. Hall, informing her 
of the circumstances of her bridal tour. Among other 
things, she said that w^hile they were at Quebec, one 
of the largest cities in Canada, the Lord Mayor had a 
banquet at the hotel where they were. About eight 
o'clock Mr. Hall and Mr. Holton, a gentleman who was 
travelling with them, thought they would go down and 
take a look at the company for a few minutes ; Amanda 
stayed behind. They did not return till eleven 
o'clock, and it seems that while they were standing at 
the door among a number of others, the Lord Mayor 
noticed them, sent a message to them. They were 
brought and introduced to him, and were invited to 
take seats at the table as guests from the United States. 
Soon after they were seated, a toast was given com- 



92 GAIL HAIMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

plimentary to the Union, and Mr. Holton replied very 
ably and was much applauded. Mrs. Hall says they 
passed everywhere for old married people, and one 
lady, after a few hours' acquaintance, asked her if she 
left any children at home. 

School closes in about three weeks. Be ready for 
me any time, by which I do not mean, cook a whole 
houseful of provisions. I want plenty of bread and 
milk, currants and berries and lemonade, but no cake 
or meat or anything of the kind, so I beg you not to 
waste your strength in vain and unprofitable laboring 
for the meat that perisheth. 

Hamilton, August 9, 1855. 
Really, Mr. T. W. T. C, in the first burst of in- 
dignation, I had a great mind to take your letter down 
to the minister's and have it " read to the church," 
then, considering that the novelty of the thing might 
be considered incompatible with the sacreduess of a 
house of worship, I concluded to content myself with 
putting it into the publishing-box. By the time I had 
ascertained that that interesting relic was a relic only, 
my temperature had subsided, and I laid the offending 
document quietly in my portfolio. I do not know but 
that your digest of epistolary laws may be quite just 
and strictly constitutional, yet I may as well frankly 
confess that 1 have always broken through them. I 
think I have not in my possession a single letter, ex- 
cept yours, of which my good mother has not heard 
or read a part or a whole. I do not think my corre- 
spondents have generally or ever taken umbrage 
thereat, though I think it a fact of which they are all 
aware. Do you remember what a tempest there was 
that evening? There wasn't any where I was, but it 



TEACHING 93 

looked as though there would be one, and the pre- 
raouitory symptoms are to me much m.ore agreeable 
than the "m onedias res." I like the darkness, the 
blackness, the flashes in the rough, terrific clouds that 
precede, but when it has all expanded into one great 
gray sky, it becomes commonplace, and the beauty is 
all on the earth. Mary Olmsted and I went out one 
evening to walk up and down the street, bare-headed, 
as is the wont of the dwellers on that street. We 
had only reached Chapel street when a woman leaped 
from her place of ambush, and tried to get us into her 
house to hear her daughter, or niece, or somebody 
sing. We resisted manfully. I struggled to the last 
the idea of mi/ holding coroner's inquest on the 
body of a singer. Her voluble tongue at last proved 
too strong for my wearied organ, so I dragged my 
reluctant feet parlor-ward. Miss began. I sat 
close by Mary O. and " took my cue '' from her. If 
she said " sweet," I said "charming." If she pro- 
nounced it " beautiful," I echoed " elegant." If it 
struck her as "sublime," it produced upon me an 
equal impression of " grandeur." I flatter myself 
that my diplomacy was successful eminently. I have 
no doubt that when I was permitted to depart, I left 
behind me the enviable reputation of a musical con- 
noisseur. 

Now I am at home, " Hamilton and Wenham " 
staring me full in the face, I was never so in love 
with it in my life ; I mean with this particular part of 
it. I have a kind of personal love for this earth ; such 
a dear, good old mother she seems to us all ; such 
a great, round, green, rich, luxuriant, voluptuous, 
dewy, dreamy, liquid, moonlit earth. Never was 
there such a wealth of beauty in landscape and sky- 



94 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

scape, such fulness of outline and richness of coloring, 
such sunset and starlight, such freshness of life. 

I am riding horseback, too, notwithstanding your 
ridicule. Monsieur mon frere. Give me a good 
horse, sir, and I will show you some equestrianism 
that shall put you to the blush, sir. Di Vernon 
would "hide her diminished head." I am eating 
bread and milk, too, with a gusto that shows "I 
give my mind to it." As for sleeping, I flatter 
myself I do as much in that line as anybody, except- 
ing my sister, who is a very Rip Van Winkle. Do 
you know I have adopted Greek again ? I am going 
to study it next term. I suppose you will laugh at 
the idea, but I assure you I used to study once, and I 
mean to try it again for the sake of variety. 

Evening. The day is done, and a day to be re- 
membered a very panorama of beauty. In the 
morning the rain came down frantic and furious; 
then it died away in gentle showers, and little cool 
drops fluttered rustlingl}' down, and all the blinds 
were fringed with silver ; then the clouds rolled up and 
sauntered over the sky together, and in the clear sun- 
shine everything looked as if it had been washed, and 
rinsed, and clear-starched, and ironed, and put out to 
air; then the clouds came round again, and "Wind, 
the grand old Harper, smote his thunder harp of 
pines," and we had a " Harrycane;" and in shutting 
the windows, my clean white spencer became wet 
through, woe is me ! then the clouds rolled themselves 
up and trotted off again, and " far in the west in ver- 
milion and gold sank the sun to his rest." Did you 
notice the peculiar mellow tint in which the earth 
seemed to lie as in a battle? Now it is night, " the 
world is in dreams and asleep, love," the stars do 



TEACHING 95 

not sparkle, but glow, and the south wind comes to 
me softly as a breath ; so I commission it to bear to 
you all health and hope and happiness. I remember 
reading from Longfellow, yesterday, where he speaks 
of the silence of the night, how it is audible, how you 
can hear the crumbling and falling away of the earth, 
but tlie night has no such voices for me. People talk 
very slightingly about natural religion as if it were a 
thiug to be guarded against, but I for one do not 
believe it. I think it is just as good as revealed relig- 
ion, as far as it goes. It seems to me that God is 
just as truly worshipped and loved through His works 
as through His word, and they certainly speak to us 
when other voices are hushed. I hope you are not 
asleep while I am writing, but I dare say you are 
" snoozing" away for dear life, and it vexes me to 
think you are not listening to what I am saying. On 
second thought, however, I do not blame you, for I 
know I have written an unconscionably long letter. 

There is no telling how much my dreams of bliss 
to-day are blended with visions of the peerless mack- 
erel, the inapproacliable hasty pudding, the ineffable 
custard, the luscious doughnuts, and the gorgeous 
"slap jacks" that have wended their devious way 
down my unreluctant throat. I have been a vei'y 
gourmand to-day, with shame be it spoken. I took 
your letter from the office and read it " under the 
shade of the broad-spreading beech tree," in the most 
romantic-looking place in the world, with the most 
pastoral of cows grazing around me, and the most mu- 
sical of birds above me. What could you ask more? 
Good night. To all that I can do for you by word or 
deed, in earth or heaven, you are a thousand times 
welcome alas that it is so little, I can ask for you 



96 CJAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

nothing which I have not asked before. If earnest 
wishes could avail aught, life should be to you only 
" a sunny spot of greenery." Yet though clouds and 
darkness should be around, he shall be kept in perfect 
peace whose soul is stayed on God. I have far more 
need of your prayers than you of mine. Your foun- 
dation is sure, but mine is rocked by every breeze. 
God help me. I was born with my fingers all thumbs, 
and I do everything in such a left-handed way, and 
everything I say, though it starts from my heart all 
right, is topsy-turvy by the time it gets to my tongue, 
so when I open my mouth to drop pearls and dia- 
monds, out leap the hideous frogs and toads. Pity 
me, do ! I am a wonder to myself. 

I am going to take a long walk through the woods 
to carry this letter and another to the P. 0. Don't 
you think I have improved in the matter of chirogra- 
phy? I think my hand-writing is so elegantly femi- 
nine. Good-by. 

Very truly, etc., 

M. A. D. 

My Dear: On the morning of June 18 I went to 
Boston, to the Fitchburg depot, and amused myself 
with an "Atlantic" till the train started. At that 
moment Miss Tallant came in, and rode to the next 
station with me. After she gut out at Porter's, I 
proceeded to Concord. Rose Hawthorne met me at 
the station, and I was cordially welcomed. A verj' 
urgent invitation to attend class-meeting the next day 
from a Mr. Higginsou, awaited. Mrs. Hawthorne 
did not care to go, but would go if I would like it. 
As I had been the year before, I did not care to go 
again, so Una, the oldest daughter, went and we 



TEACHING 97 

stayed at home. Thursday evening, Emerson, "William 
Ellery Chauning, and " Conversation Alcott " and his 
daughter called. Emerson and Alcott occupied me the 
most of the evening. Emerson has the sweetest smile 
possible, is very courteous, speaks slowly but dis- 
tinctly. We did not get very near each other, how- 
ever. One hardly can in a room, and with listeners. 
Mr. Alcott is an older, white-headed, tall man lives 
next house to Hawthorne's. After they were gone, 
Mr. H. took out his watch, and with an indescribable 
look towards me, said, " Only half-past nine, and we 
have been through all this siege." Friday, Mr. and 
Mrs. H. and I rambled through the woods to the old 
Manse, Concord Bridge, battle-ground, through the 
village, etc. Saturday, Mr. H., Una, and I walked 
to Walden in the morning, went to Mr. Emerson's on 
the way to get his oars and thole-pins. The philoso- 
pher took us out into the barn, and climbed over old 
sleighs and wagons, dug down under old boards, 
brought up one rusty thole-pin, one short oar and 
one long one, and transmitted us through the back 
bars to Walden. His sister-in-law told me after- 
wards that she asked him when he came in if he had 
been shutting Gail Hamilton up in the cow-yard, as 
she saw him putting up the bars. We had a charm- 
ing walk to Walden Pond, surrounded by trees, with 
a railroad cutting one corner of it. All that is left 
of Thoreau's house is a little pulverized brick and 
coal. The boat we found, but padlocked to a tree ; 
the oars, stool, thole-pins, and everything locked 
down. We lamented the inhospitality of the owner, 
and Hawthorne said, " Miss Dodge, get into the boat 
and sit down on this seat. Perhaps he wouldn't like 
it ! " After walking half way around the pond and 



98 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

sitting on the grass, and talking and listening, we 
discovered another boat at another landing, which 
proved to be Emerson's, and wliich we accordingly 
upset to get the water out, and then manned and 
rowed around to our heart's content. That is, they 
rowed and I enjoyed, and then we walked home an- 
other way through the woods. At five o'clock Mr. 
Frank Sanborn came by appointment with his wife 
and a friend, and a carriage, and took me to Mr. 
Channing's back-yard, where we entered Mr. Sanborn's 
boat, and he rowed us up Concord river through the 
trees and the birds and the sunset, and it was very 
beautiful. Frank Sanborn is the one whom there was 
such an ado about in the John Brown times.' The 
Senate wanted him for a witness, and he would not 
go. The two officers took him by force, and tried to 
put him into the carriage, but he braced his two long, 
strong legs against the carriage, and they had to give 
it up. The people around there hid him, and he never 
went, I believe. Miss Elizabeth Hoar spent the even- 
ing with us. She is one of your lay angels. 

I really want to do something in the 

world, that it may be the better for my having lived 
in it. 

September 22. 

I have been reading " My Bondage and my 
Freedom " by Fred. Douglass. It is worth reading. 
I think him an extraordinary man. I have also read 
" Sydney Smith's Memoir," by his daughter, which I 
also recommend to your kind notice and considera- 
tion. I have bought a " Hallam's Introduction to the 
Literature of Europe," in two volumes, have sent for 
Pascal's " Provincial Letters," Percy's " Reliques of 
English Ballads," and Ellis' " Specimens of Ancient 



TEACHING 99 

Metrical Romances," all of which I sliall be very glad 
to submit to your judgment when the time shall come. 
I walk out almost every morning before breakfast. 
My health is excellent, appetite ravenous. Sweet 
potatoes disappear witli marvellous rapidity. Have a 
quarter of a dollar in my drawer and defy the world. 
I have all the comforts and privileges of a home. My 
scholars like me. In fact, I think almost everybody 
likes me, so if you are all happy and well-to-do at 
home, you need not fret about me. 

September 27. 
Mr. Orcutt was in to see me to-night. He has been 
up from New Haven to-day, but returns to-night. 
They will probably come back again in about a fort- 
night. Mr. Beadle came to see me the other day at 
the school-house, that is, he came into Mr. Tucker's 
and Miss Hunt's class. I asked him to come into 
my recitation room to see me, as I had no recitation 
that hour, so we had a quiet little chit-chat. He said 
that he wanted me to board with him last winter, that 
he took a liking to me from the very first, and had a 
great mind to propose it to me, but was afraid I 
should think him officious. He said they had a little 
room which they would have fitted up for me like a 
princess, and many other things, etc. I declare ! do 
you suppose he was flattering me? I had a thought 
to that effect, for I don't see how all he said can be 
true, but then he is a good Orthodox minister. 

October 5. 
I cannot refrain from informing you of the impor- 
tant business I have been concerned in to-day, which 
is no less than trimming my new bonnet. Yes, I 



100 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

have done it all myself, lined, trimmed outside and 
in, and I think you would say it is prettier than the 
one I had a year ago which cost about five dollars, and 
this only ninety cents in all. I like it much better. 

I was going to drive to-day with Charlotte Davis, 
but it was so very muddy her father thought we 
would better not go. It was quite fortunate we did 
not, as it has been rainy ever since ten o'clock. We 
have had a grand time at home. The Curtises, take 
them together, are as unique a family as I ever saw 
in my li^e. I have laughed and cried half the even- 
ing over "nuts and cider," etc. Mrs. Pillsbury in 
particular, the one who lives in New York, is a droll 
little body. Agnes I like very well. I think she 
will be a very useful and pleasant girl to have in the 
family. 

October 20. 

Last Thursday eve. I found Charlotte Davis in my 
room on my return from school, and so walked home 
with her, and was entertained with fruit, etc. That 
evening I found some beautiful little rosebuds on my 
pillow which I put in water. They opened, and still 
rejoice my delighted nose. The next evening I sent 
her a little note, should you like to read it? Well, I 
think I will copy it and send it to you : 

TO YOU IF YOU UNDERSTAND THEM. 
Koses budding and blushing 

"When " the skies are ashen and sober," 
June's young fingers wreathing 

The swart brows of October 
The dewy light of the morning 

Gilding the evening hours 
Age bright with the smiles of life's dawning 

So whisper to me your flowers. 



TEACHING 101 

Childhood's mysterious slumbers, 

Wonderful, dreamy, deep 
Before the gaunt fingers of care 

Have plucked at the robes of sleep 
Faint notes of a distant lyre 

Struck by an unseen hand, 
Vaguely remembered journeyings 

Into a far-off land 
Over the sunset hills, 

Over the ocean billow, 
Such are their whispers to me 

The flowers you strewed on my pillow. 

I accept the omen, and pray 

That their warm and roseate hue 
May be but a beautiful symbol 

Of the future that waiteth for you 
That their purity, fragrance, and sweetness 

May circle your life till it closes 
And we trace out your path to the heavens 

My love, by the scent of the roses. 

How do you like it? 

Last night, being in rather low spirits, and in fact 
having been so for several days, I took it into my 
head to go over to Mr. Beadle's, and see if they could 
not comfort me up. I found them both at home and 
told them in the first place what I had come for. 
They were inexpressibly kind. Mr. B. sat down on 
one side of me, and Mrs. B. on the other, and talked, 
and laughed, and consoled till I felt " better now." 
Mr. B. offered me everything he had, told me to come 
there whenever I wanted to pass a pleasant hour, to 
eat, drink, or sleep, or anything I liked, and to con- 
sider it a home. From there I went to Mr. Olmsted's to 
tea, and had a pleasant time as usual. This morning 
Mr. Beadle came down to my school room to see me. 
He stayed during part of a recitation, and as he was 



102 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

going out said to me quietly in an undertone that 
from the appearance of my recitation room, he judged 
the sun rose clear this morning. Did I tell you that 
Mr. Capron, the gentleman I met in Providence, and 
who once taught here, is engaged to Miss Hooker, my 
predecessor? It is a great secret, though everybody 
knows it. Some think he is too good for her, others 
that she is too good for him. Mr. Curtis thinks it a 
grand match. 

Somebody said the other day that I was pretty, and 
somebody else said to-day that I was interesting- 
looking. There, now, boat that if you can ! How 
fares it with your infant scholars? Don't take them. 
I shall give up teaching here before long, likely 
enough, and then we will go West together and found 
an Institute that shall astonish the world. 

Miss Hooker, of whom I spoke in my last letter, 
was here an hour or so. She is a very interesting 
woman. Is in some expectation of going to the Ar- 
menians where Helen Worcester, now Mrs. Pollard, 
is going, and will very likely be acquainted with her. 
She has promised to talk with her about me should 
such be the case. She will not go, however, till next 
year. 

October 27, 1855. 

I read the report of Edward Everett's speech, which 
was very fine. We had a State Fair here about three 
weeks ago. It lasted four days, three of w^iich we 
had no school. I went one day. There were thirty 
acres of land fenced off about three miles put of the 
city. We went down in a kind of cart with rude 
seats brim full. It was the first time I was ever at a 
fair, and I was quite interested, though I should not 



TEACHING 103 

have gone but for the intervention of others. I saw 
a cucumber some five feet long, squashes that weighed 
one hundred and sixty pounds produced from one 
seed, grapes, apples, pears, etc., in tempting variety. 
I was also considerably interested in the horse racing. 
There were some of the finest horses I ever saw, and 
they flew over the ground like birds. Last Saturday 
I went to Newington, where one of my scholars lives. 
His father is a farmer with some three hundred acres 
of land. One acre he told me produced one hundred 
bushels of corn I had a very pleasant visit. He 
rowed me round in a boat nearly two hours the 
pond or river winds about among the grand old woods, 
and the trees, in robes of scarlet and gold, seemed to 
be holding: hiffh carnival. I came home loaded with 
berries, apples, leaves, etc. We are living here very 
cosily by ourselves, " keeping house." You know 
Mr. Curtis is married. His wife is a gentle and lovely 
woman. As for the vanity of the world you must 
remember that though " all is not gold that glitters," 
yet a great deal that does glitter is gold. Because 
you see a woman ill-dressed, you do not necessarily 
suppose her to be a fool, neither should you deem a 
lady elegantly dressed necessarily one. Many a one 
in velvet and satin thinks less of dress than some in 
calico and linsey woolsey. 

December, 1855. 

My dear Brother : I suppose by this time you 
have received our joint letter giving a brief account 
of our Thanksgiving festival, which, pleasant as it 
was, would have been still pleasanter had our family 
circle been complete. There are few stronger ties 
than those that bind members of the same family 



104 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

"... whc played 

Beneath the same green tree, 
Whose voices mingled as they prayed 
Around one parent knee," 

and they will bear much stretching before breaking, 
but nothing will so polish the links of the chain as 
constant little acts of kindness, showing a thoughtful 
consideration. The older I grow, the more fii'mly 
do I believe iJiat Christianity, fully developed, will 
not be revealed in signs and wonders, but in the 
peace and love and harmony that will make the whole 
world one great family, and all the nations but as 
children around one hearth-stone. Let us both never 
cease to press forward towards the mark for the prize 
of the hio;h callino- of God in Christ Jesus. It is but 
a little way at the longest to that other world where we 
hope to have fewer clogs to our onward going, and 
where we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as 
He is. The time of "Peace on earth and good will 
to men " does not seem to have come yet. Wars and 
rumors of wars show that man is not yet ready for the 
millennium. I watch with much interest the accounts 
from Kansas and from Washington. If Slavery 
triumphs in this contest, I shall lose heart and hope, 
not losing faith in the ultimate triumph of Free- 
dom, but only fearing that our beloved country may 
not be the chosen scene for so glorious a victory. 
God speed the right! If I should tell you I had 
ordered a white satin bonnet with feathers and flowers, 
woukl you think I was utterly given up to the vanity 
of the world? We are having the most delightfully 
mild, sunshiny weather, not at all like our New Eng- 
land winter. I have been quite comfortable in my 
room without a fire. Mr. Curtis has just brought me 



TEACHING 105 

in a dipper of sweet cider, wherewith I drink your 
health. We had plenty of it at home. 

I must tell you first a little event which has this 
minute come to a conclusion. You have heard me 
speak of Agnes. She is a very fine girl, an uncom- 
monly respectable girl about my own age, a great 
singer, with not an overabundant stock of pecuniary 
means. I heard her saying the other day how much 
she wanted a " Plymouth Collection," which is Henry 
Ward Beecher's new Hymn Book, so I thought I 
would give myself the pleasure of surprising her, and 
bought one. Do you want to know what I wrote in 
it? Well, here it is. I don't suppose you will care 
much about it, but I will run the risk. 

I pray not that the years may pass 

Unnoticed o'er thy brow, 
That the burden of life may never weigh 

More heavily than now. 
'Twere wishing the pulse of a selfish heart 

Or the sloth of a sluggard brain, 
For the careless joy of thy childhood hours 

Shall never return again. 
And the mind that thinks and the heart that feels 

Bears ever a secret pain. 
We must pass from the mystery of to-day 

With a pang of nameless sorrow, 
Into the greater mystery 

Of the unrevealed to-morrow. 

Nor do I pray that thine onward way 

Shall demand no earnest toil. 
For how can he reap in the harvest time 

Who has never prepared tlie soil? 
Or the cry of a wailing world be hushed 

By sitting in silence down 
Or they who have never borne the cross 

Be fitted to wear the crown? 



106 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Nay, thy strength shall wane, and thy light grow dim, 

If thy soul at ease reiioses, 
For the stout of heart and the strong of limb 

Rest not on a bed of roses. 

But I pray, Agnes, that thy life may flow 

Harmoniously along, 
Like the grand and perfect symphony 

Of a noble and stirring song. 
That thine earnest work and thine earnest rest 

Thy joy and thy woe may be 
Commingled in a choral tide 

Of spirit-full melody. 
And thy voice attuned 'mid many tears 

In the darkness of Earth's long even, 
Ring out with the rapture of new-found bliss 

In the glorious dawn of Heaven. 

January 12, 1856. 
Yesterday noon I took my carpet sack and went to 
Moriden. This morning as I was sitting on the 
lounge without any dress on, as I wore my shawl and 
skirt for a morning dress, Dr. and Mrs. Hatch drove 
up to the door. You must know that the said doctor 
has taken a fancy to me ! and evinced it in very many 
ways. I met him at a picnic when I wo,s in M. a 
year ago last summer. I thought, however, that at 
this time I was not in the most advantageous circum- 
stances to keep up the impression. The room, too, 
with the three children, their various clothes and 
j^laythings, was not quite in the best order, but under 
Abby's energetic hand the things disappeared under 
the lounge and into the kitchen with astonishing rap- 
idity. I gave one leap nearly across the room, and 
was upstairs in the twinkling of an eye whence 
issuing, robed and combed, I extended to Dr. Hatch 



TEACHING 107 

as warm a welcome as was becoming, and spent a 
cheery half hour in discussing the affairs of the nation 
in general. 

Hartford, Conn., January 17, 1856. 

Mr. Bailey : Sir, If you are not in a mood to 
be disturbed I beg you to take out the postage stamp 
which I enclose with this burn the whole package, 
and send me word immediately that you have done 
so. Direct, if you please, to Box No. 747, Hartford, 
Conn. 

If, on the other hand, I may be allowed to occupy 
a half hour of your valuable time allow me to say 
at once that I desire to become a contributor to the 
" Era," if I am worthy. It is quite useless to men- 
tion the agency of friends in inducing me to this step, 
as you have probably heard that a thousand times, 
and moreover all the friends in the world could not 
move me to it against my own sweet will. Neither 
do I write entirely for money, as at this particular 
juncture I am tolerably well off, though an income of 
five hundred dollars and an expenditure of one thou- 
sand will sometimes produce embarrassment. But I 
wish to measure myself by a new standard. I have 
been flattered from my youth up till I have perhaps 
learned to flatter myself. May I beg that your prac- 
tised eye glance over the pages that accompany this 
and see whether they be of sufficient merit to interest 
your readers, or whether the hand that wrote them is 
capable of producing anything of real worth ? 

I hope I am not misunderstood. I do not ask for 
charity, nor for a friendly judgment, but for a just one. 
If you think the pieces worthless, you will not hesi- 
tate to say so and I promise not to drown myself 



108 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

thereupon. If you think they are good, but not 
adapted to your paper, I shall be glad to know even 
that. 

If you consider them worth insertion, but not worth 
remuneration, I shall be glad also and willing to send 
more on the same terms as long as you think best 
or as shortly. 

If they are worth being paid for I shall be happy to 
receive their market value. 

I want an end and aim in life, and see no other way 
to obtain it. 

May I request an answer, even if you should decline 
any farther communication ? 

I have occasionally " rushed into print," but have 
never made any stated engagement. The prose arti- 
cle was written more than a year ago and has been 
seen by several persons. If you print it at all, pray 
say nothing whatever about it, and of all things do 
not say anything about this to anybody in public or 
private, as my happiness in life will be blotted out 
forever if this circumstance should ever come to the 
eyes or ears of any of my friends. The utmost 
secrecy is the only thing which I insist on. I should 
be very glad to withhold ray name, but if it is at all 
necessary to the transaction of business, I will divulge 
at once. If you would not deem it impertinent, may 
I request a reply as soon as your convenience will 
allow ? 

I am a woman, twenty-two years old. Direct to 
Box 747, Hartford, Conn. 

Yours respectfully. 

Seven Fokty-Seven. 



TEACHING 109 

January 17, '56. 

(P.S.) I do not take the "National Era" and 
have not seen it for a year. If my articles are pub- 
lished, will you send me a copy? Do not fail to 
reply privately to this letter even if your engagements 
give you time only to say " no " and I shall be placed 
under everlasting obligations. 

The printed morceau was printed without my knowl- 
edge or consent, but I have seen it copied into four 
different papers in as many States, which was one 
encouragement for me to make this attack on you. 
Will you be so good as to return it to me, as I bor- 
rowed it from a friend. 

January 23. 
My dear Parents : I wonder what you would say 
if you knew what I have been doing. Something I 
never did before in my life even dancing ! Waltz- 
ing ! What ivill come of it? Health, I hope. When 
I boarded at Mrs. O's, they used to joke me about a 
young man who belonged to the firm, and say they 
should invite him there to see me. Shortly after, how- 
ever, he married a Southern lady. About a week ago 
the wife died, three days after giving birth to a beautiful 
little girl. Mrs. O. has taken much care of her, and 
is nearly tired out. The lady left letters to her child 
one for every birthday from her tenth to her nine- 
teenth, also for the day she should join the church, 
and for her wedding-day. A lady has been here, 
sister of one of our scholars, from Pennsylvania. 
She is anxious to get a teacher to return with lier to 
take charge of their school. I don't know but that I 
should go myself if music were not requisite. I had 
a letter from Amanda Hall this morning. I had 



110 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

asked her advice about choosing a blue or a black silk 
dress. She advises a black by all means, as do all 
my friends here. Black, then, it must be. Flounces, 
or double skirt, mother, which? One says three 
narrow flounces trimmed with gimp. Another says a 
double skirt trimmed with broad plush. Another 
still, flounces patterned, etc. Abby Dodge says a 
plain skirt with no ti'imming at all and plain it shall 
be. It is nearly eleven and my fingers are somewhat 
stiff, not to mention my wrists, which I tried with Mr. 
Curtis a short time making futile attempts for an hour 
or so to box his ears, and getting my own soundly 
boxed instead. It was grand exercise, however. If 
I could have as much every day I should be the better 
for it. Good night. May God bless you and keep 
you! 

Affectionately, 

M. A. Dodge. 

January 30, 1856. 
My dear Brother : I generally sit down and 
answer your letter immediately upon receiving it, but 
I have of late been so busy that I was quite unable 
to do so. I have four classes all extremely inter- 
esting. Two of them are in English Literature, ex- 
tending from the first history of Great Britain to the 
present time. All the books of any note through all 
these hundreds of 3'ears pass in review before us, and 
I need a hundred eyes to read them. A good many 
of them I have read, but by far many more I have 
not. Of course I wish to prepare myself as well as 
possible. In addition to this I am studying German, 
and have a great many little cares in school which no 
one but a teacher and a good teacher knows. 



TEACHING 111 

There is, moreover, once in three weeks, a paper 
issued from the High School, edited nominally by 
members of the school, but really by your humble 
servant and affectionate sister. You will at once see 
that I have no superfluous leisure. Twelve o'clock 
P.M. finds me quite as often with wakeful as with 
closed eyes. I have taken little or no exercise, but 
finding that this will never do, I am guess what ! 
Learning to dance ! It is even so. It is the best of 
exercise. 

We took a Saturday evening a week or two ago and 
visted Waugh's Panorama of Italy. It is certainly 
well worth seeing. I felt enkindled in me the old 
longing smothered but not extinguished to visit 
those classic lauds " famed in song and story." " To 
stand one mooulight eve by Tasso's bower From 
Virgil's tomb to pluck a single flower." It is sad to 
look upon the ruins of a mighty and spendid Past, to 
think of the skies that once arched the noble forms of 
the proud children of art and song, now but the pall 
of their dead glory. After the exhibition, a puppet 
show brought me down with a jerk from the regions 
of romance to reality. 

You spoke in one of your letters of Fanny Fern. 
She is the daughter of Mr. Willis, the editor of the 
" Youth's Companion," whom I believe you knew. 
She is consequently the sister of N. P. Willis, of the 
"Home Journal." When a girl she attended the 
Seminary here, the one where I was before I came to 
the High School. She married one husband, who 
died ; a second, and separated from him. She has 
lately married a Mr. Parton, who wrote the " Life of 
Horace Greeley." 

I am afraid I run the risk of losing your friendship 



112 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

entirely if I tell you that, in addition to the " white 
satin bonnet with feathers and flower.s," I have bought 
a black silk dress ! Well-a-day, it is the first new 
dress I have had for nearly two years. How many of 
your acquaintances can say the same? I have as 
many as I want, however. Do you still take the " Life 
Illustrated " ? If you keep the numbers, and will look 
at No. 61 for Dec. 29, 1855, you will see a piece of 
mine, headed "I didn't know what it meant." I 
have seen it copied into several different papers in 
New York, Boston, Philadelphia, etc., though I don't 
know how it got into any of them. Good night, and 
may God bless you and keep you, is the prayer of 
your affectionate sister ! 

February 6. 
My dear Mother: I took your letter from the 
office yesterday. I read it at school. Miss Hunt 
was sitting by me. She said, " What pretty writing 
that is ! " I said, "It is from my mother." She was 
surprised, and said J could not write so well. I am 
so tired. I gave up entirely this morning. Sent my 
class out at half-past eleven, and had a cry. I am 
not sick, nothing in particular is the matter, but I am 
so tired, tired of learning lessons, tired of teaching 
them , tired of going to school at nine o'clock every day, 
tired of never visiting anybody, tired of going from 
one thing to another just as fast as I can, tired of 
being in a whirl all the time, tired of school, tired of 
everything almost. It is of no use for you to say 
"don't do so" as long as I teach, I shall do so. 
It amuses me to see the scholars when anything is the 
matter with me. They are so accustomed to see me 
gay and lively and cheerful. One of my boys came 



TEACHING 113 

into the recitation room this noon my face was invisi- 
ble, but he saw there was something wrong " You are 
not well to-day, Miss Dodge." No reply, and away 
he went. Presently another coraes, a tall, handsome 
fellow. He stood iu perfect astonishment. "Miss 
Dodge. Why, Miss Dodge! Show me the man! 
Where is he? I'll fight him." Girls are less chival- 
ric but more affectionate in their demonstrations. 
Mr. Curtis came I assured him that nothing in par- 
ticular was the matter, only everything in general. He 
strokes my hair, and says, " petty ittil keeter," and 
punches, and pokes, and comforts, and scolds, but is 
evidently glad it is only a " tantrum," a " woman's 
fit." Oh ! dear. Now don't make yourself unhappy 
about this, for I dare say by the time you read it I 
shall be right side up again. 

I was in particular need of exercise, but have now 
benefited by the exercise. I had a little walk with 
Rev. Dr. Hawes, to-night, and a pleasant little chat in 
a book store with Judge Parsons. I went to a lect- 
ure a night or two since with Mr. Tucker, to hear 
Elihu Burritt, the learned blacksmith, who knows 
fifty- three languages. Last Saturday I spent partly 
in making a purse for which Mrs, Warburton gave 
me some silk for a lining. Agnes has just put up 
her writing, for she says two write so fast that she 
can't write at the same time. Mr. Beadle sent five 
dollars the other day to be given for a prize for the 
best composition to be read at the spring examina- 
tion. Mr. Curtis told Mr. Smith, and he gave fifteen 
more for composition and declamation. Tace Ward- 
well, and a cousin of Miss Crocker's, came to the 
High School last Friday, P.M., to hear my class in 
English Literature, but as it does not recite Fridays 



114 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

they came in and heard the declamations, and the 
paper, and also a dialogue from Shakespeare spoken 
by several of the boys, and were very much inter- 
ested, Mrs. Judge Matson was there also, and gave 
me a very warm invitation to visit her. I hope you 
go out whenever you can during this weather. I sup- 
pose it must be pretty cold, as your furnace does not 
warm the whole house. I do not think we shall have 
a vacation, though it does not seem to me that I can 
keep on ten weeks longer. Would you come back in 
the spring? 



IV 
BEGINNINGS OF AUTHOKSHIP 

1856-1858 



115 



IV 

BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 

1856-1858 

February 15, 1856. 
My dear Sister : I am going to tell you a story. 
You know I went to Meriden a few weeks ago. You 
know also that our cousin is somewhat of a literary 
person. She wanted me to write for the public ; 
thought it was a sin that I should not improve my 
talents, etc. I said Well, what shall I do? She said, 
" Write at once to Dr. Bailey of the ' National Era.' " 
I thought upon her words, and after I came home 
wrote to the gentleman aforesaid. I sent a copy of 
"Hair," and several pieces of poetry. Well, one, 
two, three weeks jjassed away and I came to the con- 
clusion that my letter and its valuable contents were 
consigned to oblivion, but last night I took a letter 
from my box addressed to " Seven Forty-Seven " and 
mailed " Washington, D.C." You see I had not told 
my real name, but directed him to address Box 747. 
I walked leisurely home, went upstairs quietly, lit my 
gas composedly, and then I opened the letter and 
read : 

'Seven Forty Seven" must pardon the delay in an- 
swering her delightfully independent letter. My answer 
will be a short one. Your contributions are acceptable 
and accepted worthy of a jjlace in the " Era," and filed for 

117 



118 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

insertion. But tlie compensation is another thing. For 
cogent reasons, which I need not now specify, I have been 
obliged for the last year to be rigidly economical. The 
same reasons compel me to pursue the same course the 
present year. 

After that I shall be easy and be prepared once more to 
be liberal. If you can afford to wait I will on the first 
week of next December send you a remittance of fifty 
dollars, for which you may send me whatever you please 
in your best style of ^Drose sketches, at any time between 
this and then. When I tell you that I have on hand 
articles already paid for enough to fill fifty columns, and 
that my list of paid contributors is never crowded, you 
will not wonder at my proposition. But the truth is, your 
pen is not a commonplace one. 

I hope now that ' Seven Forty-Seven" will introduce 
herself to me with her own name, which I am sure must 
be a worthy one. 

With friendly sentiments, 

I remain, yours etc., 

G. Bailey. 

This is the substance of the letter. I was quite 
overwhelmed by such an answer, besides being fright- 
ened out of my senses. I never can write fifty dollars' 
worth between now and December, for I don't have 
time. I am just as busy as I can be with school duties 
from morning till night. But don't you think it a 
generous offer ? You see they say I may send just 
when I please. I ought to send enough to make it 
about five dollars a column, I think. Now don't tell 
anybody of this. I hesitated about telling you, but 
finally concluded I would as a proof of my love for 

you and confidence in you. I have told Mr. 

and shall tell A. R. , because she induced me to do it. 
You may send this to father and mother, and upon 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 119 

no account is anybody else to know anything about it 
at present. I have also entered into an engagement 
to write for the "Independent," for which they will 
pay me three dollars a column. The first piece was 
published a week or two ago. I sent the paper to 

mother. Mr. says it is too little, but I am 

perfectly satisfied. A. R. says the honor of writing 
for the " Independent" is enough without any money. 
If I once get my name up you know I can do any- 
thing. This, too, is a profound secret. I did not 
tell A. R. Now don't suppose I shall do any great 
things all of a sudden. With all I have to do it is 
impossible for me to write much, but it is something 
to have an outlet provided in case I do overflow. 
The " National Era " is no mean paper. Grace Green- 
wood and John G. Whittier write for it, and Mrs. 
Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" first appeared in it, 
and I feel quite complimented to be received so cor- 
dially on my own recommendation. If I had time I 
think I could do something in the way of writing. 

Hartfokd, Conn., February 18, 1856. 
Mr. Bailey : 

Dear Sir : I am astonished ! I am overwhelmed ! 
I am on my knees to you (metaphysically) ! I am 
blushing furiously at the savage ferocit}' of my last 
letter. I can never wi'ite fifty, dollars' worth in the 
world. I must say, sir, I think you have made a very 
rash bargain. I don't believe you consulted Mrs. 
Bailey. Why, suppose now I choose to send only one 
article between now and next December, don't you see 
you will have to pay all the same ? I have always con- 
sidered myself a genius. My friends have uniformly 
cherished the same belief, but now this temple of faith is 
shaken to its very foundations, and I am under the calam- 
itous necessity of classing myself with the common money- 



120 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFP: IN LETTERS 

making herd. For, sir, Genius is always repulsed, 
always Genius goes clad in russet fluttering with rags, 
only Mediocrity rustles in silk. When Genius is the 
centre of the wheel of life, gold has a far greater centri- 
fugal than centripetal attraction. But if Gold and 
Grandeur are to be my fate, I will endeavor to bear it 
with a very great degree of Christian resignation. 

I have not the slightest objection to waiting till next 
December. I am in no particular need of money. But I 
am really afraid I shall not come up to what j-ou desire. 
I have no idea what my "best style" is in fact I am 
quite unconscious of having any style at all. The cor- 
diality and kindness of your letter, for which I do assure 
you I thank you most heartily, have quite banished evei'y 
thought from my head and left it in the precise state of a 
squeezed orange, but I will do my best, and if you are 
not satisfied it shall be all the same as if you had never 
written only you won't have poetry that is too bad, 
for it is a thousand times easier to write than prose. 

If you really have any curiosity to know my name I 
will tell you, but it is a shocking one. I mean to change 
it as soon as possible. It is, however, a consolation to 
reflect that if tlie name confers no honor on " my family," 
" my family " make the name respectable. 

And I remain, sir, yours very truly, 

Mary Abby Dodge but don't tell. 



Miss Hunt took me aside yesterday and said she 
had something to tell me that she had seen two 
pieces of mine in the "National Era," that her 
sister knew they were mine because one of them had 
appeared in the school paper and they both had the 
same signature. As my articles are printed, or being 
printed, I shall have to bestir myself to get something 
more ready for forwarding. One of our old gradu- 
ates has just called on me. I cannot yet tell how 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTIIORSIIIP 121 

matters and things will go in the school, but at pres- 
ent they wear a promising aspect. I should like a 
hot brown-bread cake for breakfast, if you please, 
with good fresh butter melted in and a good deal of 
it. Good-night, my dear father and mother. The 
mother of two of our pupils called while I was gone, 
told how much their boys liked the teachers, and " as 
for Miss Dodge she was an oracle." 
There's something for you to sleep on. 

Yours very affectionately, 

Abby. 

May 20, 1856. 

My dear Mother : I snatch a moment before going 
out to tell you that I do not study at all after school, 
that is, I do not study for school. I go to bed early 
and rise early. I do not intend to work as I did last 
term, and I do not. I shall take it easier a great 
deal. My classes are interesting, and the scholars 
interested. I heard Edward Everett deliver his 
lecture on Washington, Wednesday evening. It 
was a splendid thing very characteristic. Tuesday 
evening I attended a chemical lecture. Last evening 
a church lecture. This evening another chemical. 
So you see I have been somewhat dissipated this 
week. 

May 24, 1856. 

My dear Father and Mother : Yesterday morn- 
ing when I put my letter into the office, I took yours 
out. 1 think it was very kind and motherly for you to 
begin to write that very day. It is the better way, 
because a great many things that are really interest- 
ing fade away from the mind immediatel3', are pushed 



122 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

aside by the little things of the next day. In the 
evening I went to another chemical lecture. The 
experiments were very interesting. Mr. Beadle was 
standing by the door when we came in and lie joined 
us and sat with me. They had a bullock's head just 
cut off, with the horns and all on, to illustrate the 
galvanic battery. I am afraid father would not like 
to have so many fire experiments in his house. Some 
of the light was almost as bright as the sun, making 
gas-light look red and dull. After dinner Mr. Curtis 
came and called me to go to drive with himself, wife, 
and Mr. Beadle. So Abby Dodge, in a white waist, 
plaid silk skirt, white bonnet, and silk mantilla, 
started. It grew cooler, but was dusty. We went 
to " Rocky Hill," particularly to see the geological 
formation. It is one of the best places iu the country 
for that purpose. "VVe found several interesting spec- 
imens one in particular we brought home with us 
about a yard long, a foot wide, and perhaps lialf a 
foot thick. It was the shape of a parallelogram. 
They all have a tendency to break off in this shape. 
It was somewhat heavy, requiring the strength of 
both men to get it into the carriage. Its particular 
interest was this : Thousands of thousands of years 
ago, this rock was sand on the sea shore that is, 
the sea came up to where the sand of this rock was. 
Of course it was damp and soft. AVell, there came 
up a little April shower, such as we often have, and 
of course the drops falling made little dents in the soft 
sand. Of course it was not a very heavy shower. 
Well, this sand in process of time hardened and 
became rock, but the little dents are still there ! made 
nobody knows how man}- years ago. One of my boys 
brought me to-uiglit a ring which he had made himself 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 123 

witli a penknife from the tooth of a whale. He had 
also carved a little anchor on the outside of it. He 
is one of the ingenious kind. What do you think of 
Senator Sumner's being beaten so in the Senate 
Chamber? I don't know what we are coming to. 
We are in great indignation here. Dr. Hawes made a 
call here last evening. I went up to Mr. Capron's 
Tuesday eve. and had a long talk with him about the 
existing state of affairs in the country. Lamentable, 
to be sure ! I don't think it is of very much use to 
stay any longer in the High School, as the boys would 
better be learning to hold muskets, and the girls to 
make bullets. Did you see in the paper a copy of the 
resolutions of the Connecticut Legislature? "Con- 
necticut sends to Massachusetts fraternal greetings." 
I shall send with this a paper containing a notice of 
a new story by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr. Augusta : I 
don't know when my mind will be sufficiently calm to 
spout for your rising generation, but, just at present, 
my thoughts all tend politics-wise. 
Good morning to you all, from 

Yours affectionately, 

Abbt Dodge. 

June 10. 

Col. Sam. Colt was married last Thursday to a 
Miss Jarvis, of Middletown, and I had the honor of 
eating some of the wedding-cake. He chartered a 
boat to take his Hartford friends to the wedding, and 
a train of cars to bring his New York friends. He 
gave her a diamond necklace and each of the brides- 
maids a diamond ring. Slie is the daughter of an 
Episcopal minister. Her dress was white moire an- 
tique silk, with two flounces half a yard wide of point 



124 GAIL HAMILTON'S LLt^E IN LETTERS 

lace, cape, veil, etc., all of point lace. Col. Colt was 
confirmed at the Episcopal Church the Sunday before 
he was married. They sailed on Saturday for 
Europe to be gone a year ; one of her sisters accom- 
panied them. Mr. John Olmsted with his family is 
going to Europe the first of July, and he said lie 
should like to have me of all persons go with them, 
because I had an inquiring mind, and my young 
head would see a great many things which his would 
not. I was up this morning at half-past four, deter- 
mined to get my piece done if I did not go to school 
for the morning. I finished it, however, carried it to 
the office, and reached school just in time. 

June 21. 
My Dear : My heart was made glad by the recep- 
tion of a letter from you last evening, and really I 
must say I was astonished by the criticism of the 
"Biography of Richard Brinsley Sheridan" so 
much good sense, right feeling, correct principle, and 
practical woman's insight into the hidden nature of 
things, and all so well, so nervously and clearly and 
tersely expressed. Why, I think you might excel as a 
reviewer would you but turn your attention that wa}'- 
ward. I am forced to confess that your opinions 
concerning Sheridan coincide very nearly with my 
own. His life affords another lamentable example of 
great talents misapplied, great powers perverted, and 
the inevitable and distant future absorbed by the 
present. But is it true that in all this there is no 
lesson for us? Is it not from the shipwreck of others 
that we must learn to steer our own barque from the 
rocks? Moreover, there is an intrinsic value and 
there is a relative value. A rosebud is a beautiful 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 125 

thing, but there are thousands of them, and one rose- 
bud is just like another, and we wear them till they 
are withered and then fling them aside. But ah ! the 
rosebud that Corydon plucked, and with his own 
hands placed in Chloe's dark hair, is to her the dear- 
est thing on earth to be treasured in her memory 
and lier heart, and the secret place where her soul 
abideth will be filled forever with the fragrance of its 
perfume. So of Sheridau ; the interest which his 
life and character failed to impart will be found in 
the position he occupied. Standing as he did fore- 
most among orators, foremost among dramatists, he 
filled his two-fold niche to the glory of his country-. 
Nor must you judge his life by his death. Success is 
not the criterion of merit. Jesus Christ died upon 
the cross, yet He is exalted above all that is called 
God. It will always be pleasant to you when you 
see or hear the name of Sheridan to recognize him as 
an acquaintance. I read your letter to Mrs. War- 
burton and Mrs. Curtis, to their great satisfaction. 
My money is like the Widow Cruise's oil. I have 
very little and have had very little, and keep spend- 
ing, but somehow there seems to be just about as 
much now as there was before. 

I went to a party last evening. By the way, I had 
five invitations for last evening, one from Dr. Hawes 
to take a " drive," one from Mr. Owen do., one from 
Mrs. Warburton to tea, one from Judge Perkins 
do., and to the party. I accepted the latter, as it 
came first. It was given by the graduating class of 
'56. Do you want to know what I wore? White 
muslin, white kids, a braid of hair belonging to Mrs. 
Hall, white flowers in my hair arranged by Mrs. Cur- 
tis, hair necklace with a heart belonging to Mrs. Hall, 



126 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

gold necklace wound twice around my left arm for a 
bracelet, belonging to Mrs. Hall, hair bracelet, corre- 
sponding to the necklace, on my right arm, belonging 
to Mrs. Hall, bouquet in front arranged by Carrie 
Curtis, white satin sash tied in a knot with long ends, 
belonging to Mrs. Curtis, elegant ivory fan belonging 
to Mrs. Hall, bouquet of beautiful flowers plucked 
from her own garden and arranged by Mrs. Perkins. 
Did we apples sioim? Didn't we, though? Coach 
came for me about half-past eight. We had tableaux 
very beautiful ones, refreshments, plenty of talk, 
and a very lively and pleasant time, much more so 
than is common at parties, which I think are gener- 
ally very stupid things. Mr. Curtis implored me 
before we went to come home early. I said, "At 
what time?" He replied, "Nine." I said well, I 
would start about ten, but we did not leave the house 
till after twelve. I was not asleep till after one, and 
was up again by half-past four, and over to Mrs. 
Hall's soon after five. Yesterday was the anniver- 
sary of her wedding-day. Her husband came down 
Wednesday evening and gave her the gold necklace I 
spoke of, Friday morning, as an anniversary present. 
She desired me to wear it to consecrate it. Mrs. Curtis 
was not well and did not go to the party, but they sent 
her two beautiful bouquets. Have you seen Charles 
H. Branscomb's name in connection with Kansas meet- 
ings, etc? He is a brother-in-law of Dr. Curtis. 

There is to be an indignation meeting to-night on 
the Sumner affair. Do the}^ have one in Hamilton ? 

September 22. 
The sweet fragrance of a beautiful bouquet glad- 
dens my sense as I write to you. It was left me by 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 127 

Miss Davis, who called while I was out. I wish you 
could know how happy I am here ; not but that there 
are a thousand and one petty vexations, as there 
always must be in this world, but I think I never have 
enjoyed myself and my situation more since I began 
to teach. A great many little things combine to make 
it agreeable which cannot be mentioned and are not 
worth mentioning if they could be. My funds are 
down almost to zero. My personal pro])erty in cur- 
rent coin could be bought for considerably less than 
a dollar. 

I have just come in from a most delightful drive 
round the city. It is so warm and pleasant and gay ! 
One of my pupils called for me. Lizzy Hale (daugh- 
ter of John P. Hale, of whom I think you have heard 
me speak) called to-night with a Miss Low. I was 
very glad to see them, and they appeared glad to see 
me. Lizzy Hale said they had thought of coming 
down to the High vSchool, and taking me away by 
force. In my grammar class to-day I had given for 
a lesson, sentences to be written and handed in to 
me containing certain kinds of words as adjectives, 
pronouns, etc. One of my boys, some sixteen or 
seventeen years old, had not written his, so I told 
him to make up one. He said he should think the 
one on the board was an example. I turned and 
looked at the blackboard and saw written on it 
"Miss Dodge is beloved by all her pupils," written, 
I suppose, by some foolish school-girl with an eye 
single to my gratification. I felt rather silly for a 
minute or two. One of the boys marched into the 
school-room this afternoon with his arms full of two 
great bundles of grapes done up just alike in white 
paper. One he presently carried to Mr. Curtis, and 



128 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the other, when I went into the library an hour or 
two after, he brought to me. Well, these things are 
not much to write about, are they? Nevertheless, if 
I wei-e to see you, I dare say I should tell you of 
them, so as I have nothing of particular importance 
to communicate, I write about them. Besides, I be- 
lieve you do not scruple to tell me when my letters 
are uninteresting, so I suppose you will not fail to 
inform me if such be the fact in the present case. 
Remember, all these things are for your private ears, 
but are not to be mentioned. 



PIartford, Conn., October 11, 185G. 

My dear Mrs. Dodge : As jour devoted daughter is 
writing you upon a subject of deep interest to me, to our 
High School, and to onr entire community, I have asked 
her permission to add a few words. 

I learned from her a few weeks ago, that when she left 
home there was a cjeneral understanding: amono; her 
friends that she would close her eno:ao:ement with us at 
the end of the present term. It was certainly a painful 
surprise to me, as she had I'endered herself so necessary 
to us that she had come to be regarded by the community 
and myself as a sort of permanent fixture of the school. 

She tells me that she has expressed to you a doubt 
whether it Avill seem best for her to adhei'e to her former 
decision, and I perceive that it gives her some concern lest 
she .should be thought unduly variable, not to say fickle, in 
her purposes. Let me assure you that she has lost nothing, 
by leaving home, of her fervent love for those who are 
there and especially for yourself, whom she loves, I 
believe, with a fondness and an affectionate devotion which 
few daughters bear their mothers. It is these considera- 
tions of filial and affectionate obligation which have been 
almost the only source of perplexity and hesitation with her 
in seeking a right decision. She feels that if the hapifiness 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 129 

of her parents would be ruaterially lessened by her re- 
maining she certainly ought not to do so ; and so I think 
her first duties, next to those she owes to God, are to you. 
In respect to all other considerations, the convictions of 
her judgment and conscience, I think, incline her to 
remain. She.cannot be ignorant that she has opportuni- 
ties of usefulness here most precious and inviting, that 
even the present results of her labors are abundant, and 
that she is doing much, very much, for tlie permanent 
good of multitudes. I think it i^roper that you should be 
assured that she is filling a sphere of useful labor here 
which no one before her has yet done, and which I sin- 
cerely believe we can find no one else to fill. 

With great respect, 

T. W. T. Curtis. 



November 12. 

My dear Mother : Your long letter came to hand 
last Saturday. I was glad to receive it. You advise 
me to devote myself to writing more entirely. Well, 
1 should like to do it, but it would be a very bad time 
to commence now. I assure you in bard times it is 
a mighty fine thing to have sis hundred dollars a year. 
No newspaper would be likely to pay for some time 
to come any more than it could possibly help, so I 
think I shall continue to teach for the present, but I 
do grudge the time. A year of leisure would be the 
most valuable present any one could make me just 
now. I never can do anything in the way of writing 
so long as I have to teach. That is a settled thing in 
my mind. No man can serve two masters. 

Saturday Mrs. Owen called in her carriage to say 
she would go with me to call on Mrs. Sigourney if I 
would like. In the afternoon I went. Mrs. Sigourney 
is a very affable, sociable lad}', with old-school man- 



130 t^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ners, courtesy (curtsey?), and that sort of thing. 
Kept her knitting going all the time we called ; has a 
parlor full of little knick-knacks. I went to Dr. 
Bushnell's church Sunday morning, to hear Prof. F. 
D. Huntingdon preach. He is in Cambridge, used to 
be a Unitarian, -some think he is now, but he is 
Orthodox enough for me. Mr. Curtis and Mr. Wilcox 
were both there. We all liked his sermon and prayer 
very much. Mr. Owen was quite enraptured. I 
went there to dinner and to Dr. Hawes' in the after- 
noon. 

January 2, 1857. 
Mr. Curtis brought to school a letter directed to 
Mrs. Gail Hamilton, Box 747, Hartford, Ct. It 
proved to be from Mr. Ladd, proprietor of the "In- 
dependent." Do you want to read it ? 

Mrs. Gail Hamilton, " Box 747 '" : 

My dear Madam : Your favors of 2d inst. to Editor 
of "Ind." came duly to hand. Your articles were very 
acceptable and shall be paid for at the rate of $3.00 a 
column when we know who you are, for, my dear Mrs. 
Gail, or Girl, we don't pay " nobodies," we don't If you 
will let me into the secret of your name I will be very 
whist about it, and send your money promptly. Am sorry 
you have got fifteen children (is that all?) to support at 
this inclement season of the year, and wonder, as that is 
the case, you have so much time to devote to literary 
pursuits. 

Hoping you will no longer persevere in your attempts 
to preserve an incognito, 

I am, yours truly, 

J. H. Ladd. 

So this morning I have written him a letter. Want 
to hear it ? 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 131 

Mr. Ladd : 

.My dear Sir : Awful ! awful ! awful ! To go and imt 
" IMrs. Gail Hamilton" right on the outside of my letter, 
and the Post Office Clerks know my box, and they will go 
and tell the P. M. General, and he will go and tell Mr. 
Buchanan, and Mr. Buchanan will go and put it in his 
inaugural address, and so you have released grimalkin 
from her confinement. And then again the Mrs. Why I 
am not married. Well really did I say I had fifteen 
children ? It was a wicked story gotten up for eff'ect a 
poet's license. I have only seven no three well there, 
I may as well make a clean breast of it. I have neither 
chick nor child in the world. Did you ever here of the 
" three black crows " ? 

I have not the slightest objection to telling my name, 
only it is such a shocking one. It actually hurts my mouth 
to speak it, it is so rough. But, as there is no prospect of 
changing it I may as well tell you at once it is Oh, I 
wanted to say I am very much obliged and vei"y grateful. 
I think $3.00 a column is quite enough for such quality of 
writing. I expected you would say they weren't worth 
anything, and you wouldn't pay at all. That style does 
not require thought and labor like some others. It is just 
like telling stories to little children, and I feel absolutely 
mean about receiving money for them, but then, oh dear, 
the flesh is weak, and if I were only rich I would be aw- 
fully indiff'erent and noble about money matters. I shall 
be rich one day, when I am become famous, and then I will 
always -wriie for nothing. There ! I have not told you 
my name yet, but I am just on the brink of it. Now 
don't you tell, will you ? Don't. 

Yours very truly, 

Mary Abby Dodge. 
" Phebus what a name 
To fill the speaking trump of future fame." 

Mrs. Bird said my name was very familiar to her. 
She had heard a great deal about the Miss Dodge who 



132 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

taught at the High School, but had always supposed 
I was tall and very dignified and between thirty and 
forty so you see I must have a very dignified repu- 
tation, notwithstanding you think I am slightly harum- 
scarum. 

January 15. 
Tuesday evening went to hear Mr. Capron deliver 
a lecture on Ancient Architecture at the school- 
house to the Sigma Phi Society, formed of some 
twenty-five of our boys. Received another letter 
from Mr. Ladd. Want to hear it? 

My dear Gail: For I do not believe "Mary Abby 
Dodge" is your true name. However, it matters not. I 
will send your money, as you insist on your incog, and 
aliases. You have Avritten thirteen and a half columns, 
which at three dollars a column, amounts to $40, for 
which amount I enclose my draft to Mary Abby's order. 
You need not expect to come any of your "Dodges" 
over me. Who is T. W. T. C. ? I believe him to be your 
paternal parent. [Mr. C. spoke of his being my literary 
" pa" in what he wrote to Mr. Ladd.] I am a Yankee 
and have as good a right to guess as you wooden nutmeg 
manufacturers. 1 would like to see you when you come 
to New York. I have had the honor of an occasional call 
from some of oiu* lady correspondents on business of 
course. Don't fail, at all events, to let me know your 
address, Mary Abby, when you are in town. Excuse the 
familiarity of my style. It is no more so than your own. 
I imagine you a young lady I Vt^on't say how old. I 
should like to knoAV, as bachelors are, you are aware, 
very curious about such matters. 

I remain, Mary Abby, 

Yours faithfully, 
J. H. Ladd. 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 133 

Wednesday after school at night found a letter 
from Dr. Bailey, of "Washington. Want to hear it? 

Will Miss Dodge pardon my delay in remitting? It 
will be a particularly gracious act on her part, as the only 
excuse I can plead is negligence. I enclose a draft on 
New York for fifty dollars. Need I say that I like your 
contributions ? The promptness with which they have 
appeared is enough. Many have inquired, Who is " Gail 
Hamilton " ? 

You will probably continue occasional communications 
for the " Era," but I cannot offer you a regular engage- 
ment. This is my misfortune, not my fault nor yours. 
But the truth is, I cannot command the means, just now, 
to commit myself to any stipulated amount for contribu- 
tions. I may be able to give you something in the course 
of the year, but I cannot say what, or when. I am sorry, 
but so it is; the only consolation is, so will it not be 

always. 

Truly yours, 

G. Bailey. 

I heard the other day that "The National Era" 
had " broke" and I know they are very poor. It 
is an anti-slavery paper in a slave State and slave 
city, and of course receives no local support. I only 
wonder how it has been able to keep above water so 
long. It is said to be the only paper published in 
Washington without any aid from the government. 
Do you think I ought to send back the fifty dollars ? 
It is too late though, now. It is gone, all gone. 
" Dear pa," he took it and gave it to Mr. Warburton, 
and Mr. Warburton put it in some place or other, I 
have forgotten where, if I ever knew, all but eight 
dollars, this and the other bringing the whole up to 
Ihree hundred. I wish to make this statement of 



134 CiAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

affairs, and now you know me possessed of S300 
bank stock. Salary, $600 per year, paying $4.50 per 
week for board. Please after this not try to take my 
reckoning, or to keep the run of my money matters, 
as I should be vastly more at ease and more inde- 
pendent if you would exercise your practical mathe- 
matics on somebody else's purse than mine. If I 
don't give you the precise data, therefore, to reason 
from, you will not think it from any want of con- 
fidence in yourselves severally and collectively. I 
intend to answer Mr. Ladd's letter to-night, Mr. 
Bailey's to-morrow. Want to hear them? I am 
afraid the former will be too long, as I want to say 
" a thing or two." 

January 16, 1857. 
Mr. Ladd : 

Dear Sir: You do not believe my name is "Mary 
Abby Dodge," not you ! The fleece of the sheep is not to 
be extended over your organ of vision. Go to the 
little village of Hamilton, in the State of Massachusetts, 
ask the worthy priest who presided at my christening 
what was the name wherewith my parents endowed me 
at the baptismal font ask the sober deacon, who holds in 
his hands the village chx'onicles, what name was recorded 
on those Sibylline leaves when my father announced 
to him, with devout thankfulness, the birth of a seventh 
child, " Heaven's last best gift," and m}' word for it you 
will return six inches shorter, on a moderate calculation, 
than you were when you left the metropolis of this new 
world. 

Secondly, you believe T. W.T. C. to be my "paternal 
parent." My dear friend, sit down to a cup of smoking 
Mocha and find it to be nothing but dishwater. Pop the 
question to Miss Malinda very tenderly in the twilight, 
and find when the gas is lighted that you are bound for 
life to her maiden aunt, " fair, fat, and forty." Sit three 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 135 

hours to witness the unrolling of a pickled princess and 
"fall to cursing like a very drab-a-scullion " on finding that 
there is no princess after all, but only a mummy of the 
baser sort ; and in all these you will not be any more out 
of jour reckoning than you were when you drew j^our 
bow at a venture and appointed T. W. T. C. my father in 
the flesh. T. W. T. C. is not my father, but I will tell you 
what relation he does bear to me. His wife's father's 
father's brother married my minister's sister. Now you 
know who he is. But you do not know him as one of the 
best friends a careless, wilful, headlong, headstrong girl 
was ever blessed with. I sit in sackcloth and ashes every 
day because I make him so much trouble, and every day 
I think I will reform and be so docile and calm, and self- 
possessed ; but dear me, when the temptation comes, it 
seems just as if I could not help it, and generally I do 
not think how undignified I am until it is all over. 

You judge me a wo( jn nutmeg manufacturer. It is an 
unmitigated falsehood. Would I stoop to be born in any 
other State than the one that came out to meet Fremont 
with 50,000 men. 

Fourthly, you Avant to see me Avhen I come to New York. 
I am not going to New York, and all the world could not 
induce me to see you if I were. The very thought of 
meeting a live publisher, editor, jirinter, face to face, 
would drive me "daft, clean daft." I was brought up 
in the depths of the country, and never saw any one till I 
was fourteen, and then I was sent to school and never 
saw any one again till I left it, and I am terribly afraid 
of j^eople strangers particularly. You imagine me a 
young lady. I am not a young lady, by any means. 
I am twenty-three years old, sir I almost forgot 
the very thing I was writing for, to acknowledge the 
receipt of a piece of paper which you said was $40, but 
the only thing I saw was my name, and the " Independ- 
ent," in great flaring letters, so that all the bank people 
will know that "Mary Abby Dodge" has been writing 
for the "Independent," and that is the wages of her 



136 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

iniquity. What sliall I do Avith it? I am just as badly 
off now as i was before. I can't really think I am writ- 
ing to the Joseph H. Ladd whose name figures so formid- 
ably every week at the head of the "Independent." If 
you are the staid gentleman in unexceptionable cravat 
and gold spectacles, that so prominent an individual 
ought to be, then I am not writing to you, but to a good- 
natured man who wrote me an off-hand letter. 

Very truly yours, 

Well Gail Hamilton 
(I think I like that best on the inside of my letters, not 
on the outside of yours.) 

January 22. 

At the date of my last letter I was at Mrs. Owen's. 
By the way, she I find knows about my writing. She 
and her husband were at Dr. Bushnell's, who is their 
pastor, a few weeks ago, and he asked them if they 
knew who Gail Hamilton was. He had been in New 
York and seen the editors of the " Independent," and 
they asked him if he knew anything about me, as they 
wanted very much to find out who I was, and spoke 
very highly of ray pieces, etc. 

Saturday I read and wrote as usual, walked down 
town in the afternoon. Sunday I was taken sick, and 
have been sick ever since, so 3'ou see I cannot have 
much to write about. I suppose I took a sudden 
cold. Several causes, no one of which was sufficient, 
but all combined were, to produce the effect. I did 
not go to church in the morning, but went in the 
afternoon ; was quite ill there with headache. Mr. 
Curtis came home with me, Mrs. "Warburton part of 
the way. I was very ill that night willi fever, had 
the doctor three days, and am now decidedly on the 
mending hand. A regular allopathic drug doctor. 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTIIORSnil' 137 
hurrah ! I'll give the modus operandi. Dr. 



comes in, sits down by the bed, and takes my hand, 
pulse 110 or 12, asks a few questions as to time when, 
pain where, etc., says, " I don't think it is anything 
but a cold, if it is, I don't know what it is." There's 
frankness for you. That suited me exactly, and I 
began to have confidence in him. " But I can tell 
you one thing you are not going to have, and that is 
smallpox." I was glad to hear this, as there is a 
good deal of smallpox in town ; in fact, I suppose 
there is always more or less, but I happen to be hear- 
ing of it now more than usual. " What I shall pre- 
scribe for you is masterly inactivity. I shall not give 
you any medicine to-night, as I think Nature will do 
the work with rest, and I will come and see you in 
the morning." Could the most ultra reformer do 
more? But the fact is, the trouble is the people. 
They are not satisfied. They don't feel as if they 
are going on right unless they have medicine. Mrs. 
Huntington now said "she should have been much 
better pleased if the Dr. had left me some medicine 
to take." /was much better pleased as it was. So, 
my young friends, when you complain as you may 
justly do that doctors are often humbugs, you must 
take into account that people loill be humbugged. 
The scholars and other friends have called to see me 
during my illness, and I have been supplied with 
flowers very bountifully, considering it is winter. One 
little orange flower in my thimble for a vase diffuses 
a very tropical fragrance through the room. 

March 6. 
I also wrote a letter to Miss Hunt. Do you want 
me to transcribe a part of it? 



138 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

To E. A. H. IN Alabama. 

The balmy airs of the South-land 
Are stirring the locks on thy brow, 

Tiie jjerfumed scent of her orange groves 
Meet fragrance for such as thou. 

Hath the sunny South-land a charm, Nelly, 

To lure thy longer stay? 
From her velvet turf and magnolia breath 

Dost thou shrink to turn away ? 

Our skies are leaden and gray, Ellen, 

Our winds are fierce and wild ; 
And ghostly and cold are the mountain snows 

Which they in their fury piled. 

But the hearts are warm and true, Nelly, 
That are tJirobbing with love for thee 

That are keeping time to thy morning song 
Wherever its warblings be. 

And the void which thy going left, Nelly, 

On that chill November morn, 
Is a void to-day and to-night, my love. 

The merry- voiced spring is born. 

A light went out on the hearth-stone, 
A tint from the blue of the sky ; 

A tone from the voice of singing 
Full only wlien you were by. 

A sense of what might be and is not 

A dreamy and vague unrest, 
A longing and waiting and watching 

These were tliy parting behest. 

But our liills shall be crowned with greenness. 
Our roses shall flush in the sun 

Come home, come home, O fairer than they ! 
That tlie spring be indeed begun. 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 139 

Hartford, Conn., April 15, 1857. 

You DEAR Grace Greenwood : I think you arc 
just as splendid and kind and dear and delightful as 
you cau be. I have just received your letter. If you 
had not answered mine at all I should not have 
blamed you in the least ; I know your time must be 
so occupied, and I have no claim upon you, but you 
have written me, and such a kind letter. I under- 
stand what nous venons means on a mother's lips. 
When I was a little girl and used to ask my mother 
for anything, " I will see about it," was always equiv- 
alent to a downright affirmative. 

Suppose you were a little bit of a writer a very 
little bit of one, without a reputation, without much 
experience, but with the cacoetli.es scribendi strong 
upon you, what should you do? That is tlie ques- 
tion. 

I have been writing a little for about a year, chiefly 
for the " National Era " and " Independent." I shall 
probably continue to do so this year, but that does 
not use up half my writing material, and I don't know 
what to do with the rest of it. Is there any good- 
sense, respectable newspaper that you would like to 
write for, supposing you were in my place. Perhaps 
you may think I am too fastidious for a tyro, but I 
think it is better to have your standard too high than 
too low. I am poor enough, to be sure, and generally 
in debt, and would be glad to get mone}' for writing ; 
but I would rather write for a good paper without 
pay, than for a foolish one with. If I become a good 
writer I shall be rich enough one day. Dr. Bailey, 
of the " Era," made a regular bargain with me, and 
he expressed himself more than satisfied. He has 
treated me very generously. 



140 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I will send you the only article of mine that I have 
on hand (out of my scrap-book), and you can judge 
a little from it. I will follow your advice in anything 
unless you advise me not to write at all. Write I 
must. It is absolutely essential to my happiness. 

My dear friend, mine though I never saw you, 
and dear whether vou will or not, don't write to me 
again till you can almost as well as not. If you do 
not write to me again, I shall know you are blessing 
some one else : and shall not bate one jot or tittle of 
the regard, the love, I now bear you. 

Very truly yours, 

Gail Hamilton. 

On looking, I find two pieces and send them both. 
You will see tliat the rhymes are in answer to one of 
Jenny Marsh's poems. 

June 9, 1857. 
My Dear : Your letter received last Saturday 
gave me great pleasure. I was in an exceedingly 
uncomfortable state of mind. Do you wish to know 
what was the reason ? Well, nothing in particular, 
only I was so tired, tired of spending my life in school 
all the while when I so much want to be doina: some- 
thing else. Wiien your letter came I determined at 
once to act. I told Mr. Curtis last night what I 
wished to do. He does not blame me at all. My plans 
at present are to remain in school as usual this term, 
next term to teach only in the morning if it is possible 
to do so, if not, to remain till next spring as I am 
now, because I should be unwilling to leave till my 
class leave, then quit entirely. A year would rest 
and recruit me. At the expiration of that time I 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 141 

shall be able to decide whether a school life or a liter- 
ary life suits me best. If I prefer the former I can 
go back with renewed vigor aud shall not by auy 
means consider the year lost. If the latter, I shall 
have made a start and be prepared to go on. Last 
Thursday the State Teachers' Association convened 
at Meriden. Mr. Philbrick was President of the 
Association, but you know he lias left the State, is in 
Boston, aud Mr. Curtis, who is Vice-Pres., officiated. 
He is elected Pres. for next year. Mr. Curtis' lecture 
came first. The next morning I did not attend the 
lecture, but stayed at A's. We went out over the 
farm. They have a beautiful brook winding through 
it. I took off my shoes and stockings and waded in 
it. When I grew too cold I would run out on the 
grass, which was very warm, for a little while. I was 
barefoot nearly an hour, I should think, but did not 
take the slightest cold. In the afternoon we went 
down in season to hear a part of Mr. Elbridge Smith's 
lecture. Sunday Mr. Beadle baptized seven little 
babies. Monday morning Rev. Dr. Hawes came into 
school, stayed through devotional exercises, offered 
prayer and addressed the school, so we may be sup- 
posed to have received the stamp of respectability. 
Miss Tallant is going to leave at the end of this term. 
She is :i superior teacher. Miss Snow may do so. 
Moved with pity for the forlorn situation of my 
principal, also with a reluctance to separate from my 
own classes, I asked him if it would be any relief to 
him to have me stay till next spring just as I am, and 
I rather think, unless provision can easily be made, I 
shall do so. I would rather do it than leave entirely 
before my pet class graduates. I have sent two pieces 
to the "Little Pilgrims," but I cannot at all tell 



142 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

whether they will be printed, as I have not read that 
paper enough to know what kind of pieces are adapted 
to its pages. The signature, however, is not yet 
altered. I thought of taking Erl Stauwood, but shall 
not take the last name, as that would lay me open to 
suspicion. 

Jdlt 1, 1857 

Saturday morning I went to ride. I did not enjoy 
it so much as before. Mv horse was not in so good 
a condition and did not go so well. Monday Mr. 
Beadle came into school a little while. One of my 
boys brought me a little bit of a bouquet of which a 
moss rose-bud was the prominent flower, and asked 
me if I would wear it for a breast-pin, and also if I 
understood the language of flowers. The moss rose- 
bud means, "you are one of a thousand." The 
scholars are very generous in the matter of flowers 
and bring a great many. One in particular, one 
of the boys brought me, consisted entirely of rose- 
buds and green. It was " beautiful sunset." I had 
a letter from Grace Greenwood yesterday acknowl- 
edging the receipt of the sketch I sent her. She 
says : " My dear good friend, I thank you very much 
for the ' Little Brother.' It is a charming sketch, 
admirably adapted to the picture, as you will see. I 
think it will not appear till September or October. 
We wish to have our fall numbers particularh' good." 
She also says she expected to be in Hartford this 
summer, and hopes I will drop my veil and give them 
a sight of me. I should be very glad to see her, but 
I am afraid she will come during vacation and I shall 
be away. I shall write to her. I have about twenty 
sheets nearly ready to send to Dr. Bailey of the 
" Era." 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 143 

One of my girls came to me the other da}^ saying : 
" Oh, Miss Dodge, are you Gail Hamilton ? I read a 
piece by Gail Hamilton that took me wonderfully, 
and the girls say it is you." 

Hamilton, Mass, July 21, 1857. 
My dear Brother : T was amused at your asking 
me if I had not a word of advice to give before 
you took the last fatal step. Now that is precisely 
the way men do. Here you are all ready to be 
married, the year, the month, the day, the girl, all 
chosen, and then you turn round and ask advice. 
What good will it do now, I beg to know? Suppose 
I should say I think it is a bad plan for young men 
to marry, or that I think Alice is not the right kind of 
woman for you, do you think it would make a hidr's 
breadth of difference in your plans ? Well, I shall 
not try the experiment, since I do not think it at all 
necessary. And as to advice I have little to give 
that your own heart has not already prompted. I 
should wish you to remember that the little acts of 
courtesy that tend to foster love before marriage, 
will equally tend to preserve and cherish it after, that 
you are not to cease to be a lover because you have 
become a husband, and that you will both have some- 
times to sacrifice your own inclination to each other's 
wishes, or your happiness will be shipwrecked and 
your lives ruined. One thing more, let me advise you 
always to be polite to your wife. Show her especial 
respect, and never allow familiarity to degenerate into 
rudeness. I returned last Saturday evening. I 
started from Hartford at six o'clock in the morning. 
I met Augusta in Boston. You may be interested to 
know that we went shopping. I was very tired, as 



144 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I had not slept much for several nights preceding, 
but whenever I higged in talk, Augusta would say : 
" Come, talk. You can, I know. Rest after you 
get home." So finally, when I did get home, I was 
nearly " used up." A night's sleep, however, did 
wonders, I found father and mother in good health 
and spirits. I don't sec but that father is out and at 
work as much as he was when he had the farm on his 
hands. He points with great pride to his sixteen 
cocks of hay, and his bit of garden containing corn, 
potatoes, and half a dozen bean-poles. Hires Park- 
man's horse to go to church, and altogether lives very 
comfortably on the interest of his money. I went to 
a party the night but one before I came away, at 
President Goodwin's, of Trinity College. It was 
commencement evening. About three hundred there. 
Went at nine, came away before eleven. Was out 
to tea the same afternoon at Hon. Mr. Gillette's, with 
Miss Catherine Beecher and some others. Was also 
out the evening before and was invited to Dr. Hawes', 

but did not go. 

August 20, 1857. 

My DEAR Brother : I hope that by this time you 

are in " the land of the blest " (?), and enjoying the 

society of Alice ! Enjoying it so much perhaps that 

you won't care to be wakened from your dream of 

felicity, into the rough and tumble of Bay State life. 

Nevertheless, I shall give you a concise account of 

the " manners and customs " of the House of Dodge 

during the last four weeks, and you can read it or 

not, at your pleasure. 

September 12. 

I also had that day a letter from Grace Greenwood, 
enclosing the picture for which she wished me to write 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 145 

the stor}-. She says : " This picture, like the other 
we sent you, is from au Euglish boulc where it ilhis- 
trates aa extract from Southej'. If there is anything 
in the story which can be told well in prose, just use 
it, merely simplifying it. But it seems to me you can 
better trust your own beautiful and ready fancy. 
Send it to me, please, as soon as finished. Do excuse 
my writing. God bless you, my dear unbeheld. Ever 
warmly yours, G." I sent her a letter the next day 
telling her that I would do it in three or four days. 
I have been greatly bothered in writing it, first by 
one thing, and then by another. Finally, in despair, 
I took it down to school with me yesterday afternoon, 
determined to finish it after school before I went 
home. Mr. Curtis said he would go home with me if 
I could not get it done before dark. You remember, 
perhaps, yesterday (Friday) was a very warm day, 
so after the scholars were all gone, I took my writing 
materials and locked the door and went out into the 
school-yard and sat under the trees. I had scarcel}' 
begun when lo and behold ! in walked a young lady, 
not one of the scholars, but one who seems to have 
taken a great fancy to me. I was on the brink of 
giving up. She had been in the school that afternoon 
and returned to see if she had dropped her veil. I gave 
her the key and she went in and found her veil and 
came out again. I told lier I was in a hurry to send 
out in the next mail, and she had the sense to stay 
but a few minutes. I wrote till it was dark and then 
went over to Mrs. Warburton's and finished and came 
home about nine. 

September 16, 1857. 

My dear Mother : It may be interesting to you to 
know in what manner your youngest daughter lately 



146 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

made a fool of herself. Dr. Bailey and his family 
are visiting at Mr. Gillette's for a few days. Lilly 
said that he and Mr. Bailey wanted very much to see 
me, and they were invited to Mrs. Hooker's that 
evening, and Mrs. H. sent a special invitation to me. 
Mr. Hooker is brother to Mrs. Gillette, and Mrs. 
Hooker is a Beecher. The Perkinses and the Hookers 
and the Gillettes all live out there together on a plnce 
called the Nook Farms. I told Lilly that 1 could not 
go would not go for anything should be scared 
out of my senses. She was so concerned about it that 
she went home at noon and had them come down a 
few minutes in the afternoon. He stayed in the entry 
downstairs. I stopped on the stairs, would not go 
down. Mr. Gillette and Lilly both came for me, so 
I dragged myself down, could not speak a word, 
stammered, blushed, almost cried, and acted the dunce 
generally. I told them I should not go over in the 
evening. They said I should. Mr. Gillette said if I 
did not, he should take me by force of arms. Finally 
I said I would go over to Mrs. Gillette's before tea. 
I did so, and of course they made me go to Mrs. 
Hooker's. I said to Mr. Gillette that I did not think 
in the afternoon I should be there, and I meant not 
to come. He said, well, he meant to have me there. 
There were only their own friends there two edi- 
tors, a lawyer, and a member of Congress ! besides a 
couple of authors ! ! and all the children. Never, 
never, never, was I such a perfect fool as I was all 
the time. I lost my self-control in tlie first place 
and did not recover it all the while. It is well that 
Dr. B. has some regard for my writing, for he cer- 
tainly can have none for me, judging from my exhi- 
bition of myself yesterday. I have not one pleasant 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP I47 

feeling or recollection connected with it, only that 
everybody was so kind to me, and tried to make me 
easy. Of course I don't mean that I was in an equally 
flurried state all the time, only that I was not myself 
at all. Anyway, Dr. Bailey said he considered me 
one of the most valuable contributors to his paper, 
and a good deal of that sort. Said he had not read 
the last piece, " What is it, Mr. Gillette, 'Brown 
Bread'?" and Mr. G. said it was "Brown Bread 
Cakes," so I found out two things : one that that 
piece is published, which I did not know, as I have 
not received the last two " Eras," and another that I 
have the honor of having Mr. Gillette for a reader. 
Ah ! well, it is all over now, and I have survived it. 
I drove home with Mr. and Mrs. Hawley. He is 
editor of the " Press " in this city. 

Monday, Dr. Murdock (D.D.) was in ray Logic 
class, and stopped talking with me at noon till nearly 
one. Said he hoped now I had given up all thoughts 
of leaving, and considered myself settled here for the 
present. I asked him what made him think about 
any such thing. He smiled, and said he had heard 
of my leaving on account of the inequality of salary ; 
said he thought it was wrong, and should not respect 
a woman if she quietly submitted and thought it right. 
Still he thought I ought to stay for the good I could 
do. That afternoon about four o'clock a young lady 
came to me and said that Mr. and Mrs. Douglass, of 
Mauch Chunk, were at the door, and would like to see 
me. So I went to the door, and afterwai'ds I went to 
the station with them, as they were going to Windsor. 
They renewed their proposition very urgently, partic- 
ularly Mr. Douglass. Asked me to set my own price, 
etc. I went back, told Mr. Curtis. He wanted me 



148 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

to go over to Dr. Murdock's, so we went ; had a long 
talk. Dr. M. thought I ought to stay miserable 
little coal-hole was Mauch Chunk. Great city was 
Hartford, better for me, for the school, etc. The 
next day he wrote a little sermon and sent me. It 
was capital ! Text, "Stay where you be." Regu- 
larly divided and all. I should like to have you see 
it. Finally I concluded yesterday that if they would 
give me three additional weeks of vacation, I would 
stay. So it is settled. I wonder what the next flare- 
up will be. I have been in a fever the last two days. 
It is very pleasant once in a while to find out how 
much people think of you. 

October 16. 
All the banks in Hartford but one have suspended, 
in fact, all over the country it is the same, conse- 
quently merchants look brighter. The bills of the 
suspended banks pass perfectly well. The chief difH- 
culty is scarcity of change, specie being locked up. 
I consider you rather a fastidious correspondent. You 
don't care to have me write the events of every day, 
but what, I beg to know, do you expect me to write? 
I have very few stirring adventures, or hair-breadth 
escapes. There is no civil war or revolution. I 
could write you an essay on Logic if you wished it, 
or a Treatise on Educational Institutions, but I think 
that would not be very interesting. I am sorry you 
are grown so ambitious as not to be satisfied with com- 
mon things. As for me, I am content to walk in the 
path of duty, be it ever so humble. 

October 17. 
I want you to send that ten-dollar bill back to me. 
I have had the credit of my generosity and now I 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 149 

want my bill. Seriously, I wish you would send it to 
me in the course of a week, as I can use it advantage- 
ously at its par value, and when money gets agoing 
again, I will send you a bill in exchange. All the 
banks but one in H. having suspended, one is just as 
good as another. I have about five dollars in silver 
which I have to use in an emergency. If I lose, and 
if you lose, our property we will " travel on the con- 
tinent" sure enough. I am not afraid, however. Now 
that the banks have suspended, business men seem 
to look brighter. 

Sunday, Dr. Hawes preached a sermon on " the 
times." As it had been announced in the papers, a 
crood many from other churches were present. Mr. 
Warburton did not like it. " How hardly shall they 
that have riches, etc." Mr. W., however, does not 
like Dr. Hawes over-much at any time. In the after- 
noon there were two strangers, ladies, in the pew. I 
was there first. I stood to let them go by me. Only 
one attempted it. I had on hoops. She had on 
hoops. I compressed. She compressed. Tug 
squeeze push there we go. No, her shawl has 
caught in my palm-leaf fan. Can't move won't come 
off. Oh, dear ! what a time. The next time I shall 
not try to let a lady go by. 

October 19. 

Thursday I received a letter from Dr. Bailey, in 
which he says : " Dear Gail : The author, a Virginia 
woman whom I know not, wishes me to send this to 
you. After reading it you may blow a hurricane 
rather than a Oale. Abominably yours, G. Bailey." 
The woman goes on to say : " Dear Gail Hamilton : 
Pardon the familarity of my address, but I have read 
you smilingly (you gay, merry sprite) for so many 



150 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

pleasant autumn evenings, that to address you as a 
stranger just now seems to be a moral impossibility." 
After going on a page or two in this way, she says : 
"I want to tell you some of my impressions about 
you. In the first place, I was ' impressed' with the 
idea that you were a spritely ' bachelor' incog., dash- 
ing off witty speeches in irresistible style, with no 
better end in view than to ' turn young damsels' 
heads.' " A very non-complimentary idea, was it not ? 
" Well, don't be offended. You'll allow, dear Gail, 
that you do write a little masculinely, and make an 
occasional ' speech ' which might sound in better taste 
coming from a bearded lip than from gentle rose-bud 
lips like yours. Now let me admonish you, dear Gail 
(I've no desire to raise a 'gale'), that although I love 
you dearly as a child of genius, I must tell you plainly 
that it pains me to have you veil your better nature 
thus. You were never made to trifle and dally thus, 
be assured. Why not rouse those dormant powers 
and wield your pen as I am sure you can, so as to 
make yourself both useful and distinguished." and 
so on. What do you think is best to do about it ? 
" Dormant powers," indeed. She evidently thinks I 
have nothing to do but write and does not know that 
my writing is but a recreation after a hard day's work. 
In the afternoon Mr. Smith was in school. I had 
on my new blue silk. He said : "Do you want to 
know what I thought when I saw you standing on the 
platform ? " Of course I did. " Well, of that verse, 
' and all the blue ethereal sky' " which I consider a 
very remarkable example of poetical enthusiasm hi 
Thomas Smith, Esq., saddle-maker. Had a letter 
from Augusta containing the unfortunate ten-dollar 
bill which has caused so much trouble. I knew I 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 151 

could use it here, and I thought she could not there. 
Sunday Mr. Eustis, of New Haven, preached. I 
liked him very much, and I believe people gener- 
ally did. In the evening I read Miss Beeeher's new 
work, which I considered so heterodox. I was not 
particularly impressed. 

January 4, 1858. 

Mt dear Mother : I wished very much last Satur- 
day night that I could send you word of my safe 
arrival, but I suppose you have before this concluded 
that no news is good news. Sunday I went to church. 
Coming home, Mr. C. gave me a letter which he had 
sent me last Monday. It had been sent from Hamil- 
ton to Hartford. In it he had directed me to see 
certain teachers in Lawrence, Danvers, Salem, Fall 
Eiver, Framingham, etc. My expenses were to be 
paid. I should have spent the Sabbath with you in 
Cambridge, and had a grand time riding round. He 
was very much disappointed that I did not receive 
the letter. Found also a letter from Grace Greenwood 
and her husband. She says : "My dear Mad-cap: 
Your cool refreshing letter of the 9th came in due 
time. Did you rightly know, when penning it, whether 
you stood on your topsy or your turvy ? I owe you 
for another long hearty laugh, but to pay you now is 
' past my power.' " The letter from her husband is 
as much of a " wild-cat" as was mine. Among other 
things, he says : " Tell her if she does not treat me 
better I won't let you run over to Hartford when you 
make your visit to New York iu February." So I 
suppose she has such a thing in mind. 

I understand Dr. Murdock has decided to accept 
his Boston call. I think I shall read a part of his ser- 
mon to him the next time I see him. I have copied it 



152 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ou another sheet and send it to you. I went lust 
night with Mrs. Owen and Miss Tallant to a lecture 
by Dr. I. Hayes, a gentleman who accompanied Dr. 
Kane in his Arctic expedition in search of Sir John 
Franklin. I was very much interested, and should 
have been if Dr. Kane's dog had lectured. He was a 
rather small, slight man, who did not look as if he 
could ever have craved tallow candles, or eaten raw 
rats. What would Alvin say to see an Esquimaux 
eating ten or twelve pounds of walrus beef at a meal ? 
His lecture was very simple and conversational in 
style. 

February 11. 

I went out skating for the first time last Monday 
evening Sam, Henry, Bessie, Sarah, Maria, a Miss 
Taintor, who is visiting here, and myself. We took 
a lantern. They fastened my skates on and I man- 
aged to stand, and finally went round the pond twice 
alone, fell down twice, and was considered quite an 
expert scholar. 

James Russell Lowell, the Poet, of Cambridge or 
Boston, delivered a poem on music before the Institute 
last Tuesday. I liked it very well some parts very 
well. Yesterday forenoon I went over to the Semi- 
nary to hear a class in Logic, the first time I have been 
to the Seminary since I taught there. The building 
has been greatly improved. I waited and waited with 
Miss Parker, but the class did not come down, and 
finally Miss Ramsay sent down word that it would 
not recite that day, so I returned as I went. I have 
an invitation to tea to-morrow evening at Mr. Watkin- 
son's, with Mr. and Mrs. Pres. Goodwin, and rather 
think I shall go. 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 153 

February 15. 

An eye is not to be trifled with. It is a consolation 
to reflect that if I ever do become blind I shall not be 
wholly companionless, isolated, and desolate. Still, I 
would rather have my one eye than the best reader in 
the world. " What about writing for the 'Congrega- 
tioualist'? " Why, nothing in particular, only I took 
it into ray head to write a little story for them and did 
so, and sent it, and they, you see, thought it was 
mighty good and wanted to make an engagement with 
me, I^'spose," but had their hands full already, and so, 
to keep me along, sent me a couple of dollars. Little 
enough to be sure, but it didn't take long to write it 
and seventy-five cents an hour is not bad, particularly 
when you would not be doing anything else. Well, that 
two dollars is gone except forty-nine cents, and for 
mercy's sake if you have any money belonging to me 
send it on, and do it quick if you don't want mc to go 
distracted. I learn in various ways the authors in 
the "Atlantic Monthly" sometimes by the news- 
papers, sometimes by the style, and sometimes by 
private information. Fred Perkins, son of INIrs. 
Stowe's sister, wrote "The Librarian's Story" in the 
last one. Please put it down in the magazine. 

Tlie " Home Journal" I send with this has in it a 
marked paragraph about Wright, the Artist. The 
lady referred to is Mary Peck. She is rich, beautiful, 
intelligent, enthusiastic, sensible, graceful, charming. 
At least, so I gather from some of her friends. She 
comes to our school once a week to take lessons in 
French of Miss Tallant, who likes her. Miss T. 
spent an evening with her a few days ago, and this 
Mr. Wright was there. She did not know at the time 
that they were engaged. I went to Mrs. Watkinson's 



154 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

to tea Friday. Mrs. Watkinson is mother of Mrs. 
Huntington. They are EngUsh, at least he is house 
full of pictures, engravings, etc., and oh, my ! father, 
they had a smashing fire in the parlor and another in 
the dining-room, I believe, and more than all, a 
smashing fire in the entry and nobody anywhere near 
it. I suppose they had a fire in the kitchen, as we 
hud tea and oysters, but I don't know. Saturday 
morning, about eleven o'clock, I took my skates and 
marched over to Mr. Gillette's and several of us went 
down to the river and skated till dinner time. The 
river flows by their house. I made out a little. 
"When I was tired I seated myself on a sled and 
Edward Gillette skated me away down, down river 
ever so far. It was splendid. After dinner I in- 
tended to go home, but a gentleman came from 
Farmington with his skates and they all wanted me to 
stay so much that I did and we went to the river 
again. This time I improved considerably. The 
gentleman was a very fine skater and cut all sorts of 
antics on the ice, said that he thought in two or three 
days more I should skate quite easily. Alas ! the 
snow has come and spoiled the skating and I am 
afraid I shall lose what I have gained. Your caution 
is very good but needless, as I do not go on the ice 
alone but only where several have preceded me. 
Consequently they would probably break in first. 
They jump and stamp about in all directions, and / 
could not break the ice if I wished. Augusta, can't 
you imagine the " halliballoo" of getting mother away 
to Beverly? Don't you wish you had been there? Did 
father offer any opinion as to the flight of time, the 
necessity of facilitating matters as much as possible, 
or a suggestion touching the inexorable punctuality of 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 155 

cars? Secondly, father's kind siipei-vision of the 
dinner in mother's absence, and your quiet internal 
chuckle tliereat. 

Mother, you seem to lie under a mistake in wishing 
me not to skate on deep ponds. The ice always 
comes to the top of the water. Consequently, whether 
the pond be deep or shallow, we don't skate in the 
water at all, which besides being inconvenient, would 
be very uncomfortable in cold weatlier. 

F?:bruary 23. 
I am very busy now in school very busy ordi- 
nary and extraordinary things about fill up my time. 
One of the extraordinaries was that I yesterday 
learned that two of our girls had not spoken to each 
other since last May. Miss Hunt had talked to each 
of them and tried to have them make up, in vain. 
She wanted me to take them in hand and see what I 
could effect. I was determined to have no such follj' 
in school. I took them both together into my recita- 
tion room this noon and " pitched into them" pell 
mell, made them shake hands and say good morning, 
and promise to say good morning and good night every 
day for a week, and never to hear any one else say 
anything against either of the others without telling 
that person it should be investigated, so that was 
settled. Then the boys want to get up a kind of ex- 
hibition, speaking pieces, etc. Mr. Curtis and myself 
both felt sorry. The}' wanted me to go and hear 
them rehearse last night, so I did and found they had 
selected a regular " blood and thunder" piece, have 
nine pistols discharged, and two or three people shot 
dead. Question is to get them to give up the piece 
and the whole thing. I took one of the prominent 



156 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

boys upstairs to-night and talked with him. He 
acquiesced and promised to speak with some of the 
other bojs, but how it will turn out, I don't know. 
So the time passes and examinations commence in a 
month and then ! 

March 2. 

My dear ISIoTHER : The spring is come, but we are 
having a most wintry, if not the most wintry day of 
the season. I am up, however, and writing to you 
before breakfast. I have also this morning finished 
a letter to Ellen Hobbs. I wrote to her New Year's 
time and did not receive her answer till yesterday. 
You know when she wrote to me a year ago, she bad 
a little boy ten weeks old. He died last September. 
He was very sensitive, intellectual, and precocious. 
Though only ten months old at the time of his death, 
he talked considerably of course he died. She has 
now a little girl three mouths old, commonplace and 
pretty and will very likely live. Two of her brothers 
are in college and one at Exeter. I don't often write 
a second New Year's letter, but I thought I v/ould 
answer hers. Her husband has built a house out of 
town, where they are now living. Her sister, who was 
married shortly before I visited Wakefield, has tliree 
children. So goes the world marriages, births, 
deaths, and moral reflections. 

What was the matter with Abigail Annable ? Death 
would be to her nothing but great gain, but I think 

Mrs. must be a good deal surprised during her 

first few days in heaven. She has probably had her 
opinions a good deal modified on some points by this 
time. It seems to me there has been an unusual 
amount of illness and death lately in your vicinity. 
Thanks to God th:it death may be only a transfer to a 



BECxINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 157 

higher and holier life ! It often seems strange to me 
that we, who believe in a happy immortality, should 
so fear to die. I suppose there will always be a 
natural shrinking from it, yet we can trust God so 
much as to trust Him even in the dark valley, and 
especially when wc think of the joy that waits for us 
beyond. I have thought about this lately more than 
usual, and the more I think of it, the less fearful it 
seems to me. 

How long has S's baby been sick ? I hope it will 
not live to be deficient in intellectual power. In fact, 
I don't think there is much objection to babies dying 
anyway. They miss a great deal of pain and sorrow. 

I don't suppose C would thank me for saying it. 

Your children, mother, had first, strong constitutions; 
secondly, plenty of fresh air ; thirdly, coarse food ; 
and fourthly, were not nursed and petted to death 
therefore they did not have fits. 

I bought to-day a cunning pair of little white thibet 
shoes embroidered with brown silk, to send to Mr. 
Capron's baby, who is on the way to this vale of tears, 
and have done them up with the following note, which 
you may read, if you wish, and if you don't, you 
need not : 

Little Baby feet, patter, patter, 

Coming hither down the road from Heaven 
Little Baby cheek, rest softly 

On the Mother's breast God hath given 
Little Baby life, float lightly 

In the sea of love round thee flowing 
Little Baby sun, rise brightly. 

Far be the night of thy going 
Little Baby soul, love wisdom 

Borne to thee in fatherly caresses 



158 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Little Baby heart, learn goodness 

Dropt to thee in motherly kisses 
Love-guided wisdom be thy pole-star, 

So shall the Earth-life g^iven. 
Be but a firm and gentle ti-eading 

Back again along the road to Heaven. 

May 24. 

I have a class in Literature in the morning and one 
in the afternoon, that is all the regular classes. I 
have besides the care of all the compositions. Bertha 
Olmsted teaches in the morning only. Miss Hunt, 
Tallant, and I are going to read Virgil together at 
noon by way of brushing up our Latinity. Mr. 
Washburn, the Rector of St. John's Church (Episco- 
pal), is delivering a course of lectures on English 
Literature before the Senior Class of Trinity College, 
and the public are invited to attend, so I take my 
class, which has been studying it a year, and go. 
They are twice a week, generally Wednesday and 
Friday at half-past two, and last perhaps an hour 
and a half. The public don't respond to the invita- 
tion so readily as they might. I find he goes over 
nearly the same ground that I have in my classes, but 
it is very good for them as a review. 

I bought some erasive soap that professes to take 
out spots without taking out color and applied it to 
that huge spot on my blue dress. It has done all it 
professed to do as regards taking out the spot, and 
what it professed not to do in taking out the color. 
Still, it is an improvement on the dark spot, as it only 
looks a little lighter than the rest, and may be attrib- 
uted to light and shade, but the best receipt after all 
for taking spots of any kind out of silk dresses, is not 
to get them on. 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 159 

I went into a picture shop with Miss Tallant the 
other day to see an aquarium, and it was really worth 
seeing. It is a glass box with pebbles and sand in 
the bottom and plants growing up among them and 
fishes, lizards, etc., darting about. It is in fact a 
miniature ocean. I wish you could see one. By the 
way, your collar is universally admired. Mrs. Owen 
noticed it of herself. I told her you worked it. 
" What ! " she said in astonishment, " your mother ! " 
It was the close worked one. I have not worn the 
other yet. The people here have a way of calling me 
"John," in allusion to my shorn locks, T suppose. 

May 31. 
I had a letter from Grace Friday. Her husband 
sent " tell G. H. my soul yet lies at her feet waiting 
to be picked up by her gracious hands," whereat 
Grace asks " are you good at finding small valuables? " 
whereat I replied " Leander lies at my feet, does, he? 
I dare say he lied at yours once, didn't he? It's my 
opinion he would lie anywhere." He looked over her 
letter afterwards and professed himself indignant at 
the way in which she had desecrated and ridiculed his 
most loving and eloquent message, and said that if 
his soul chanced to flutter down to the delicate Chinese 
terminations of any other woman, why, perspective 
has a most annihilating effect upon it and I said to 
Grace I would not be content with letting perspective 
have an annihilating effect on his soul as he probably 
would not mind that in the least, but I would let a 
broomstick do the same good office to his body, where 
he would, doubtless be more vulnerable. Ain't I 
"cunning, and couldn't I throw this pumpkin right 
over the meeting-house with my little finger?" 



160 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Mr. Thomas K. Beecher, who used to be the Princi- 
pal of the High School, preached for Dr. Bushnell in 
the forenoon, and I went to hear him. It was a pre- 
liminary discourse to one he was to preach in the 
evening. Heard Dr. Hawes in the afternoon, in the 
evening Mr. Beecher. I liked him much better than 
in the morning. The disagreeablenesses were not so 
prominent and there was more substance. He reminds 
you occasionally of his brother, Henry Ward. I be- 
lieve he is about thirty years old. Very slight, thin, 
and fair, but strong. The story runs that after he 
left the High School here where he did not succeed 
very well, he was very young he lounged around 
New York awhile and finally thought, well, he didn't 
know, guessed he'd be a minister. The Association 
met in a week, he went, was examined, admitted, 
preached a sermon, and was a minister. 

Juke 16. 
I am perfectly well and strong and vigorous, and 
don't even get very tired, so you need not have any 
anxiety about me. My vases and tumblers and mugs 
are all full of flowers which the scholars have brought. 
One of my boys brought me a note from a boy who 
does not now attend school, asking me to excuse the 
first one from school, that they miglit take a walk in 
the woods together. As they were both good boys I 
let them go, and when I was going home from school, 
I met them with their hands full of checkerberry 
leaves, which they gave me, saying they had picked 
them for me, as a kind of peace offering, I suppose. 
Saturday I did a variety of mending, more sewing 
than I have done before in all the term, I rather 
think, and went to a prayer meeting in the after- 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 161 

noon. I have not been before this term, but as it 
was very rain}^ and I thought there would not be 
many there, I concluded to sanction it with my pres- 
ence. That is my principle. 1 don't feel it a partic- 
ular duty to go to church when everybody else goes. 

Mr. Wilcox has had an invitation to go to Sandwich 
Islands to be Professor in a college in Honolulu. The 
gentleman who was after him was here Wednesday 
and wanted him to decide that night. He said he 
could not decide without going to New Haven to see 
his mother, so they went down that night, was to 
return in the morning but did not, telegraphed to me 
at ten o'clock that he was detained till noon, and that 
" probabilities were poised." He did not come at 
noon, and I have not yet seen him. His mother's 
only brother is living in Honolulu, and several ladies 
of his father's congregation, and he tliinks his mother 
and sisters might possibly go with him. Salary 
would be fifteen hundred dollars a year. We rather 
advise him to go. 

June 23. 

Grace Greenwood or rather her husband sent me a 
very nice organdie muslin dress pattern last Saturday. 
In writing to him a few days before, I sent him three 
samples of muslin, asking him which he advised me to 
buy. He replied that he thought them all too much 
inclined to lilac to suit my complexion, and so 
ventured to send me a dress, and as one good turn 
deserves another, he sent me enclosed two bits of 
black and white checked cloth, and begged to know 
which I thought would be the best to mend his black 
trousers with ! He did not say whether he expected 
me to send him a new pair of trousers by return of 
mail. 



162 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

June 25. 
Mrs. Downing is a lady from Newburgh, New 
York. Do you remember the burning of the steam- 
sliip " Henry Clay," on Hudson River, several years 
ago ? It was very near shore, and many swam and 
were saved, but many lost. She and her husband, 
mother, and sister were on board. He was a good 
swimmer, and got her safe on shore, but in trying to 
save the others was himself drowned. It is supposed 
that some one clung to him and drew him under. He 
was perhaps the finest designer, or architect, in the 
country, aud in the prime of life. This lady is his 
widow. I took out also a letter from Mr. Lippin- 
cott, Grace G.'s husband, who declared that if he 
should be asked to point out a goose, and the goosiest 
goose that ever moulted feather, he should direct the 
person so asking, to me. 

Mother, if you don't want to go to heaven before 
your time don't do anything this warm weather. 
Fasten up the doors, sit in the smallest i^ossible quan- 
tity of clothing, and take a palm-leaf fan, which, by 
the way, may be had for three cents. Don't you want 
me to invest in them for you? 

Good morning, 

Yours affectionately, 

Abby. 

Sunday I did not go to church, but read aud rested 
and slept at home. Monday John carried me to 
school. I had a little headache, but not of any con- 
sequence. At noon I went to Mrs. Olmsted's to 
dinner. Aunt Maria was there from Litchfield. They 
began to scold because I had stayed away so long, 
but after I told them 1 had been sick, kept on scold- 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP ] 63 

ing because I came out so soon. Mrs. Olmsted per- 
sists in her belief that I shall finally be insane. Other 
people, I am bound to add, do not give her much 
credit. Tuesday morning it was very warm and pleas- 
ant, and I walked to school. Miss Perkins, daughter 
of the sister of Mrs. Beecher Stowe, and a Miss 
Beecher, who I believe is herself a teacher, were in 
school awhile in the morning. Towards noon it rained 
and I rode home and back again. I mention this 
that you may see I have good care taken of me. In 
fact, I have only to hint a wish, and a horse, carriage, 
and man are at my disposal. For two or three days, 
I am sorry to say, there had been a slight rent in my 
velvet belt where I wear my watch, and I am sorrier 
to say my watch had several times slipped out, and I 
am sorriest of all to say that Tuesday noon it came 
out with a crash against one of the benches, and 
smash went the crystal ! I gathered up the fragments 
and distributed them among the Senior class as me- 
mentoes of me. (The belt is not mended yet. Don't 
scold.) Tuesday night I went to Mrs. Owen's to tea, 
and to go to Brownlee Brown's lecture on painting, 
but Mrs. Owen was going to a party. She gave me 
her ticket, however, and I went over to the Hunt's 
and went with them, and afterwards returned to Mrs. 
Owen's and spent the night. To-day I went to Bolles 
and Roberts' with Misses Tallant and Hunt, to look 
at pictures, among others one of East Rock, New 
Haven. 

September 17. 

The expected letter came yesterday. He says : 

"We are satisfied and gratified. Come, then, just 

as soon as you can, and advise us of the time of your 

starting. If I could be certain of the day and hour 



164 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IX LETTERS 

of your arrival, I or some one would meet you with 
my carriage. As to money matters ' be aisy.' I know 
something about the sore point in women. Better not 
let the Hartford people persuade you to stay even a 
week," etc., etc. 

I had a letter from L. K. L. last Thursday contain- 
ing a photograph of Grace. It is a very handsome 
face and must, I think, be rather flattering, as I have 
always understood that she is not handsome. The 
eyes and hair are very fine. I sent her a letter the 
next day announcing my decision to go to Washington, 
and asking about the disposition of her essay. I will 
let you know when I hear from her. I have delayed 
finishing this letter because I wanted to give you some 

definite information about my journey. Miss is 

here in town. She came down to see me yesterday at 
the schoolhouse, and spent an hour in giving me in- 
formation on various subjects connected with Wash- 
ington. She was very happy there, but I am perfectly 
certain that I shall be awfully homesick. They dine 
at three, and have supper at eight, brought into the 
parlor by two waiters, and there is always, almost, 
company there. That of itself will be horrible. Only 
she says Dr. Bailey is not well, and that may be a 
reason why they will be more quiet than they have 
been. I am sorry he is ill, but on the other hand I 
cannot say I wish to be swallowed up by society. 
Well, as you very justly remarked, one can bear to 
be homesick for a year. Mr. Huntington says he 
hopes Dr. Bailey lives where he can say " Good morn- 
ing " to me once in a while. He said yesterday he 
should call early and take me over to Georgetown to 
see the monks and nuns, etc. One of my old grad- 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 165 

uates sent me yesterday a glass dish of grapes and 
flowers as a farewell gift. 

Now about your comiug. I want you to come. I 
think I shall be able to get ready so that the most of 
my time can be devoted to you, and you can be intro- 
duced to the lions on Saturday at least. You need 
not come solely on ray account, or because you think 
I shall be disappointed if you don't. I want you to 
come to see Hartford. J shall take you down to see 
some of my friends if you would like to see them, and 
I think you would. 

Washington, D.C, Sept. 29, 1858. 

At the station I found several of the teachers and 
all the girls of the Senior class except one who is in 
New York, and all the boys who are in town of 
course there was a crowd. When I entered the cars 
I had to pass through two or three before I could find 
a seat, and they would all move when I moved, form- 
ing a very respectable procession. When I subsided 
they collected round the window and altogether looked 
so funny I could not tell whether to laugh or cry, so 
did both, I believe . We went on to New Haven Mr. 
Curtis, Mr. Owen, and I then to New York with 
Mr. Ov^en, where we stayed over night. In the even- 
ing we patronized the Academy of Music. Now, 
mother, the A. of M. is not a theatre, not in the least. 
It is an Italian Opera. The building is new and very 
splendid in its way, but not the least bit like our 
meeting-Jiouse ! There is an enormous amount of 
white paint and gilding, and red cloth, and little 
cupids without any clothes on, stuck all over it, and 
a great many women who thought they looked pretty 



166 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and did, and a great many more who thought they 
did and didn't and some had on bonnets and some 
had none and many Germans and many Americans 
with hair on their lips and occasionally on their heads, 
fluttered about here and there a man b}' the stage 
in white kid gloves whisked his stick, and then the 
music began, and the curtain rose, and there was a 
wood, then twenty or thirty men marched into the 
wood, and none of their stockings came up to their 
knees, and none of their frocks came down, and not 
a ti'owser among them all, and everything they said 
was in Italian, and they did not say anything at all 
but sung it and they flourished awhile, and then 
went off and a couple of women came on dressed in 
an out of the way style, and one seemed to be in 
great distress and the other with an arm like a sledge- 
hammer was continually picking her up when she 
fainted and lopped which was no easy matter, for 
she kept up a steady fainting and lopping all the time, 
till a man came and the sledge-hammer went off, and 
the other bounced into the man's arms and the man 
bounced into hers, and then they bounced back again 
and so on till that scene was over. 

Then thirty or forty more men and women came 
on and one was supposed to be a prince, with white 
embroidered pantalets a deal too short and ankle- 
tie shoes and a light blue thing that was put on for a 
coat but was more like a short night-gown, and he 
wanted to marry the fainting lady and she did not 
want to marry him, and one yelled and another yelled 
and they all yelled, and she went into a perfect 
thunder shower of fainting fits, and they got into a 
terrible muss generally and the Italian opera was 
over or rather two acts were over, for we didn't 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 167 

stay to see it out. Then I went home and went to 
bed and had a very comfortable night's sleep. After 
an early breakfast, was taken to the ferry boat, Mr. 
Owen crossing with me, when he found a Mr. C. 
who was going to Philadelphia, and consigned me to 
his care. He was familiar with the route and pointed 
out all the objects of interest. At Philadelphia Mr. 
C. found a Mr. M. from Mississippi who was going 
to Washington. He was a very sensible man and 
slept most of the time, except when I spoke to him, 
which I did occasionally to see him jumj). He had a 
bad habit of receiving my most trifling remarks with 
an air of deep solemnity, which was very provoking. 
It is bad enough to sa?/ foolish things, but it is a good 
deal worse to have people think that you think you 
have said something wise. Then he would be asleep 
when we had to change, and I would spare bis feel- 
ings and not wake him, knowing that the people jost- 
ling against him in passing out would do that, and 
suddenly he would start up and look wildly around 
and say, " Are you going to get out?" "Perhaps 
weh ad better, sir, the people seem to be getting out." 
I managed to pick up his things for him and poke him 
along till we got safely to Washington, but it was a 
great care for me. We had to change cars ever so 
many times crossed rivers in boats three times 
the Hudson, Delaware, and Susquehanna, We rode 
through Philadelphia and Baltimore in horse cars. 
Marcellus met me at the station in Washington and 
took me home. It was about eight o'clock when we 
got to the house, where I saw the whole family. Mr. 
and Mrs. Bailey are very polite and kind and home- 
like. You are to give yourself no uneasiness about 
me, as I really think I shall be very comfortable. 



1()8 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

September 30. 
Dear " Old Folks at HOiME" : Where did I leave 
you last ? Did I tell you about going down the first 
evening, and about Grace Greenwood's picture? It 
hangs in the parlor and represents her as a very 
handsome woman. They told me about her being 
here, and her husband boarded opposite and used to 
be sending love letters over to her, Marcellus said. 
They talked about Mr. Wood, too, and gave him a 
great many virtues. I asked if he wore gold-bowed 
spectacles, and was told that he did, and was showed 
his portrait. He looks as clever as a kitten. He is 
away now, but is very enthusiastic, I am told, at the 
prospect of G. H.'s advent. I forgot to tell you that 
when we were driving to the ferry, Mr. Owen and I 
had a confidential talk. He said I knew that as long 
as the present administration lasted, there would 
alway be a place in the High School for me. I said, 
suppose there should be no vacancy. He said that if 
I expressed a wish at any time to return, there would 
be a vacancy found fast enough, and if no other way 
opened, they would increase the number of teachers 
for awhile, so that if I found in the course of five or 
six weeks I was not going to like, to have no delicacy 
about returning. I don't think I shall, but it is pleas- 
ant to know I can. Mr. C. told me on the way that 
I should find a great difference in treatment at the 
South, that people there thought much more of my 
profession than people at the North. I replied at 
once that I did not wish to be treated any better than 
I had been, that I had been more than appreciated 
and wondered that people thought as much of me as 
they did. He looked slightly astonished, but I wasn't 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 169 

ffoins; to have him considering me as one of the down- 
trodden. 

Dr. and Mrs. Bailey both said that I must have one 
day to look round in, so they ordered the carriage and 
drove me round the city to get a general view. The 
streets are very broad and everything has an unfin- 
ished look, and nearly everything is unfinished, but 
the buildings will be splendid when they are finished. 
The Potomac is a broad and beautiful river, not very 
pretty color, but bright in the sun and with green and 
wooded banks. Pennsylvania Avenue is the main 
street, and has the Capitol at one end and the White 
House at the other. The latter is smaller and more 
home-like than I supposed, and the public buildings 
far finer aud grander. There are very few elegant 
private residences. Judge Douglas' house, Lord Na- 
pier's, and some others were pointed out to me. It 
will take at least a year to see all I want to see. We 
did not examine anything yesterday. I will enter 
into details when I have details to enter into. After 
I returned home, Judge Huntington called to see me 
and stayed till dinner time. I was very glad to see 
him, and rather surprised, as I had not supposed he 
would call so soon. After dinner (and by the way, 
Augusta, we don't live in the way you surmise at all. 
We have hot corn-bread and biscuits, cold bread, 
meat, etc., at breakfast ; sweet potatoes, one or two 
kinds of meat, sauce, beans, fruit, etc., for dinner, 
and supper I have been down to only once) I wrote 
letters most of the time to you and Mr. Curtis, the 
latter of which I bequeathed to the citizens of Hart- 
ford generally. 

Yesterday afternoon we took a delightful drive into 
the country. In fact, we drive every day after dinner, 



170 GAIL HAMU.TON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

not missing a day. They have a large carriage, two 
seats, with the top thrown back, I don't know what 
you call it. We get through dinner about four. I 
shall not drive every day, as I want the time, but 
the weather is very delightful now, and I want to see 
everything. You just go across a common and you 
are in the country at once, and a " very pretty coun- 
try," as Mr. Mitchell would say. A great many trees 
and beautiful trees ; cedar, just as regular as if they 
were trimmed every day, and hills and woods and 
water. Oh, it is magnificent. I haven't enjoyed 
anything so much as that drive in the country. Mr. 
Corcorau's house and grounds are splendid and splen- 
didly laid out. Do you not remember reading about 
a rich banker in Washington who had a fuss about 
his daughter and a Spanish cavalier ? Well, he is the 
man. Senators Douglas, Eice, and Vice-President 
Breckenridge live in one block of dingy, ugly old 
brick houses, though they are said to be very elegant 
inside. In the evening a Miss Hatty Lindsay, who 
visited in Hartford, and who is the sister of Mrs. 
Washburn, Judge Huntington's minister, was here. 
She came up into my room a little while. Afterwards 
Mr. Huntington called and spent the evening with 
me. I am waiting for him now to call and go up to 
the Capitol with me. His office is in the Capitol and 
he knows all about it, of course, so I shall have a fine 
chance to see things. I finished a piece for the " Con- 
gregationalist " this morning. I have my table in the 
corner of my room and it is about covered with the 
gifts of my friends. 

I have just been reading an account of the burning 
of the "Austria." That Mr. Busch was lost on board 
it. He was drawing-teacher in our school. I went to 



BEGINNINGS OF AUTHORSHIP 171 

the Capitol this morning and tired myself out with 
sight-seeing. I can't begin to tell you half. First 
we went to Judge H.'s rooms. The ceiling and walls 
are all painted in oil and frescoed, and it is so in all 
the rooms. Beautiful paintings, imitating those found 
in the old Greek and Roman cities. Tapestry carpets, 
and velvet chairs, and marble-top sinks, and plated 
pitchers, and everything is on the same scale in all 
the smaller office and committee rooms. The new 
senate chamber, not yet finished, is a marvel of gild- 
ing and paint, simple and really pretty I think alto- 
gether unlike the Musical Academy at New York, yet 
very elaborate. In the room of the Court of Claims 
there are, I believe, three windows only, the curtains 
and curtain fixtures to which cost $750.00. They 
are a red woolleny cloth, wrought with yellow silk, 
and manufactured in Manchester, England, and very 
heavy and rich. The tops as well as the sides of the 
rooms are all painted with pictures, you must remem- 
ber. For instance, there will be an oblong place of the 
size and shape of a large window, painted blue, and 
ornamented all around, and in the centre of the blue, 
a woman. In the Senate and House there are no 
paintings, but the cornices, ceiling, etc., are white 
and gold. We went, also, into the old Senate cham- 
ber. I wanted to ask which was Charles Sumner's 
seat, but I did not. However, Mr. H. pointed that 
out to me first of all. I made myself at home in the 
Speaker's stand, went up in the galleries, opened 
the desks, went down cellar and saw the machinery 
for warming and ventilating the building, which is 
about the most wonderful part of the whole, and, 
oh ! wouldn't it make father hitch to see the fires they 
keep, even now, night and day, into the library, and 



172 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

oh ! the l)Ooks, and the tasteful room, and the balus- 
trades, and oh ! the splendid marble columns, and the 
balusters of red marble, and the statuary that is going 
to be put up when the whole is finished ; and oh ! the 
views from the windows, and oh ! my, well, I can't 
give you the least idea of it anyway. The building 
itself covers eight acres, and the grounds eight thou- 
sand for aught I know. I don't know how extensive 
they are. The wings are new, the centre is the old 
Capitol. The north wing contains the Senate. The 
south contains the House. The central dome is also 
unfinished. It is to be raised, I should think, more 
than twice as high as it now is. There does not seem 
to be any wood about the building. The staircases 
are of marble, the balusters marble, overhead it is 
either iron or painted. The dome is of iron. The 
grounds are very fine and extensive. I went up there 
this evening to hear the band play. A motley group 
was collected. We are having delightful weather for 
almost anything cool enough to be comfortable, 
and warm enough to sit out doors and talk. The 
streets arc very dusty. I went downstairs this even- 
ing and had a pleasant enough time, but I heard the 
door-bell ring, and scud, notwithstanding Dr. Bailey 
called to me to wait and see who it was. 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 

1858-1859 



173 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 

1858-1859 

October 5. 

You are anxious to have " a history of the operation 
of the water-works," leaving Hartford. You want 
to gloat over them, don't you? Very well, here goes. 
Monday morning I gave particular notice that I did 
not want my friends to bid me good-bye. So when 
the time came, I went down into the closet to put on 
my bonnet and shawl like a sensible person, but Miss 
Hunt must needs come down and set to, and of course 
that upset me, so I indulged in a hysteric or two on 
the spot, and then " choked off." "When I got to Mr. 
Owen's he was just going into his garden, and he be- 
gan to scold me for wearing my veil down, and to 
make me lift it up, and then I began to laugh, etc., 
again, so he cried "There! stop that!" and finally 
poked off upstairs and said he was sure he did not 
know what to do, and should send down Mrs. O. and 
the Dr. I sat on the foot of the stairs and Mrs. 
Owen and the Dr. came to the head. The latter pre- 
scribed a brandy sling which Mr. 0. prepared and I 
drank with Spartan firmness. So with occasional es- 
says at navigation I went on dry land for the greater 
part of the journey. In the afternoon we took a 

175 



176 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

drive through the grounds of the Mr. Corcoran whom 
I have mentioned before. Everything except the 
house is on a fine scale. Old stone bridges with ivy 
trailing over them, broad fields trimmed like a lawn, 
a plantation of young trees to be transplanted, forests 
of old trees that never were transplanted, stone barns, 
and stables, and pens, and a little wooden cottage, and 
a big stone porter's lodge, bear witness of the purse 
and the taste of the great Mr. Corcoran, who began 
life as a poor boy, and will probably end it as a rich 
man, leaving as much of his property as he chooses to 
his only daughter, whom report declares to be silly and 
avaricious. The gold-spectacled Thcban has not yet 
entered the capital city of America, but the frequent 
mention of his name prevents a withdrawal of my in- 
terest in him. Saturday evening I went down to look 
at the comet, but the comet was not visible behind 
clouds. 

October 11. 

Mrs. Bailey informed me that she had had twelve 
children. They lost five children in Cincinnati, and 
one, the youngest, since they came to Washington. 
Marcellus, the eldest, is their fifth child. There was 
but a year's difference between the ages of several. 
They have been mobbed three times, twice in Cin- 
cinati and once in Washington. The Dr. has three 
printing-presses in the Ohio River. During the first 
six months of their residence in Washington but one 
lady called on Mrs. Bailey. When they were mobbed 
here, the excitement and tumult lasted, I believe, 
three days. One night their friends came in, took up 
their sleeping children from the bed and carried them 
to the house of the Mayor for safety. The trouble 
was his persisting in publishing an anti-slavery news- 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 177 

paper. Dr. Bailey has been in "Washington twelve 
years, and has never had any trouble since the 
second year. 

Wechiesday, October 13. He has come, the " gold- 
spectacled Theban." Little Maggie came up into my 
room last night and said ^ " There is a gentleman 
downstairs who wants to see you very much." I said 
at once, Mr. Wood? " Tlie same." I asked her if 
her father sent her up. She said -'No, but she knew 
Mr. Wood wanted to see me," for Frank said some- 
thing about Miss Abby, and Mr. Wood jumped aud 
said "'Oh! where is she?" However, I made her go 
down without me. Presently up she trotted again : 
" Pa wants you to come downstairs very much, and 
Mr. Wood told me to tell you not to wait, to come 
right down this minute, he is very impatient to see you, 
but ma said, ' No, Maggie, don't tell her that, for 
she won't come if you do.' " So I took a slip of paper 
and wrote : 

Let the line represent Miss Abby prostrate with terror 
at the feet of Mr. Wood. Corollary Unable to move a 
step. Scholium ' Fraid to. Lemma (di). Given 
under my hand and seal 

and sent her down again. In the course of an hour 
or so, Fanny, the oldest girl, came np and said, " Pa 
wanted me to come down, that Mr. Wood would be 
very much disappointed if I did not." He had just 
come in from the cars, Fanny said, and had not been 
home, but had been up in ma's room and washed and 
" fixed " himself on purpose to see me, as he said he 
should be ashamed to have me see him covered with 
dust. She said moreover what was I going to do this 
winter? I answered, " Sufficient unto the day is the 
evil thereof." " Well," she said, " Pa said he was 



178 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

going to pitch me right iu." However, I thought I 
would not be pitched right iu at ouce, and as I had 
set out not to go down, I might as well keep it up. 
So I wrote back something like this : 

Bulletin 2. 
To the Atitocrai of all the Baileys. 
My dear Sir : I suppose I am beginning to suffer the 
tortures of a long martyrdom. If I had been downstairs 
when Mr. "Wood came, I should not have minded it, but 
as for going down now and making myself a spectacle to 
angels and to men, I cannot do it. Do you remember an 
attack of delirium tremens I had at Hartford about a year 
ago ? Do you want to witness anotlier such scene ? What 
mean ye to break my heart ? Anything you say to Mr. 
W. I will subcribe to, but don't ask me to come down. 

Yours collapsingly, 

M. A. D. 

and I poked Fanny downstairs again and heard no 
more from them then. This morning when I went down 
to breakfast, the Dr. began, " Well, I think yonought 
to be called Miss Dodge," and went on berating me 
for not coming down. Mr. Wood would be very much 
grieved. Mr. Wood was on tenter-hooks, Marcellus 
said, and so they had it. I suppose I must makeup 
my mind to face him to-night. 

Thursday, October 14. The deed is done, the 
great victory achieved. About seven last night I re- 
luctantly arose to put myself into presentable condi- 
tion, donned my purple dotted muslin, brushed my 
luxuriant tresses, mits, collar, etc., and went down- 
stairs. The door-bell rang, Mr. Wood was announced, 
and came in. We were introduced. He has been 
cruising round the country a long while, was in Hart- 
ford a few days after I left, and said he had hoped to 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 179 

come on with me. We went on talking, the comet 
came up. I turned to Mrs. Bailey suddenly, saying, 
" there, I meant to look at the comet to-night." He 
put down his cup of tea, the cup on the table, the tea 
down his throat and said, "Come, I'll go with you 
to see it." So he put on his hat and I caught one of 
the children's and we posted down two or three streets 
after the comet. We did not see it, however, and I did 
not think we should all the time, as it was too late. 
Then we came back. We had a circle and I became 
quite interested in the conversation. He told us what 
he had done, and where he had been, and the distin- 
guished people he had seen, and by and by he and 
the Dr. began to play backgammon and I " scud" 
upstairs. I don't like him so well as I expected. He 
looks 3'ounger than I expected to see him. 

October 25. 

We went to see the Panorama as agreed upon. It 
was really fine, the first part in Australia, the two 
last in China, the latter particularly good, the burning 
of the English factories in Canton quite life-like, the 
Chinese buildings well portrayed, and those fellows, 
those rat-eating, chop-sticky, pig- tailed Chinamen, 
have an idea or two about living. Their houses are 
marvels of luxury. Quite an event that day was the 
finding of our cow. We have had one for ten years, 
and a few weeks before I came she was stolen, to the 
great regret of all the family. Since I came here, 
another one has been bought which disappeared for 
two days, giving rise to the fear that she had gone 
the way of her predecessor, but that night, as we 
were starting, we saw the cow heading for home. 
Fred ran back, told the people, and she was secured. 



180 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Dr. Bailey sent upstairs that he had ordered the horse 
at eleven o'clock and wanted me to go. 80 I did, 
and we rode till a few minutes to three, getting out 
occasionally to gather mosses, berries, flowers, etc., 
or to get a good view from the hills. We rode over 
"G-eorgetown Heights," famous in history. Mother's 
account of her jaunt to Ipswich on the occasion of 
the Teachers' Institute was amusing, instructive, and 
highly characteristic. Mother's inspirations are won- 
derful and so well timed. She is so fertile in devices. 
I was to go to hear Dr. Samson with Mr. Wood in 
the evening, but he did not come and I hear to-day 
that he is ill. I hope he will get well, for he is very 
convenient and a good Christian man, I think some- 
what of the old-fashioned stamp, which is a vara avis 
in this latitude. 

There has been here this evening a very celebrated 
individual, a woman of indomitable energy and per- 
severance, Mrs. Myra Clark Gaines. A long while 
ago I read a story by Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, entitled 
" Phases in the Life of Mrs. Clark Gaines." Mrs. S. 
applied to Mrs. G. for the facts and wrote the story 
thereon. I should like to have you read it. I will 
tell you about her sometime if you don't know. She 
lays claim to a great part of the city of New Orleans, 
of which property she has been defrauded. Her 
claims have been before Congress some twenty years. 
It has been decided against her once and is coming 
up again this winter. She was twenty-six years old 
before she knew who she was, or anything about her 
relatives. The property is immense, she does not 
know how much. She was just leaving the room as 
I entered and I did not know who she was till she 
was gone, but she remains here this winter and I shall 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 181 

probably have a chance to see her. She is a small, 
compact woman, a widow, very generous, with an in- 
domitable love of right. I hope she will succeed and 
think she will. 10.30 P.M. Have come upstairs 
rather early and will just tell you that there has been 
a gentleman here this evening, a Mr. Benson, who has 
whistled most beautifully. He whistles an accom- 
paniment and plays the piano. I don't know, however, 
which is the accompaniment, the piano or the whist- 
ling. It is perfectly charming, just like a bird. He 
imitated the song of the mocking-bird and the canary, 
etc. I never heard anything like it before. I had a 
splendid walk before breakfast this morning, alone, 
started twenty-five minutes past six, got home at 
eight. 

A Mrs. Dr. , whose daughter's husband is a 

rector in , called on me the other evening. I 

don't see why she should. I have no doubt she is 
a very fine woman, a devoted wife, an affectionate 
mother, and a useful member of society, but I have 
not come here to be bored with calls from common 
people, I simply want to see the celebrities, and no- 
body else. I hope if this letter is ever published in 
my memoirs, my executors will cause this passage to 
be expunged. 

Mr. Wood is beyond all jjrice. He keeps close by 
me, and as I feel perfectly free with him I can ask 
him all manner of questions, and he knows everybody 
and everything about them ; or I can keep still and 
say nothing and his presence sers'es to keep every one 
else away unless the whole company join together, 
and altogether I hope Mr. Wood's life will be spared 
so long as Destiny detains me in Washington. 

It just occurs to me to say that if father wants to 



182 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

hire a house right away there is one close by and very 
convenient, that he can have with all the furniture, 
price only three hundred dollars a month ! 

November 1. 

Last Saturday I went to the Patent Office. It is an 
immense building and filled with glass cases contain- 
ins; models of machines that have been invented for 
every purpose under the sun almost. I saw also a 
collection of birds (stuffed) of the most beautiful 
plumage, pea green, French and Mazarin blue, purple, 
scarlet, crimson, yellow, etc. There was a model of 
the Washington Monument, the very printing-press 
at which Dr. Franklin worked, a model of the Bastile, 
that terrible French prison torn down by an infuriated 
mob years ago, a statue of Washington. The Patent 
Office itself is a most magnificent structure. Fred came 
up last evening and brought me a note from Mr. Wood 
containing a note and a copy of vei-ses from a young 
lady acquaintance of his in Boston. She had written 
asking his advice as to the course she should pursue 
in life, whether her literary talent could be made 
available, what course of reading she should pursue, 
and Mr. Wood had recourse to me. The verses are 
tolerable, better in matter than in manner, and verses 
and letter both stiff. I wanted to write an answer to 
that and something else beside, so I told Fred I should 
not come downstairs that evening, unless Mrs. B. 
particularly wished it, as I was particularly engaged, 
but he returned immediately saying that Mr. Welling 
was here on purpose to see me, and it would be abso- 
lutely rude for her to excuse me and I must come 
down. I tore round and didn't swear, but should 
have done so if I had been addicted to profanity. 1 



FIRST YP:AR in WASHINGTON 183 

mean I was in just that state of mind in which exple- 
tives seem to afford relief. I went down, lingering 
along and in a tremble all over. I stopped in the 
children's room and played with them awhile, then 
step by step till I was half way downstairs when I 
stopped again and listened to see if they might not be 
playing backgammon, or something of that sort, 
which would make my entrance less embarrassing. 
No, nothing was going on, so there was nothing 
for it but to " pitch in, school-ma'am," and I 
gathered up my forces and went. When I began to 
be a little calm I went to the mantel-piece to get some 
knitting-work that Mrs. B. had begun for me. She, 
unlike most ladies, keeps at work through all her calls, 
and not fancy work either. She is at present engaged 
on some good, stout, coarse blue stockings for her 
boys. Now I think it is a great deal less awkward to 
have your hands employed, so I begged some work 
and she bought an extra pair of needles and gave me 
some. I find I shall spend so much time in the parlor 
that I shall set up some knitting of my own. Well, 
I knit, and the conversation became general and I 
really enjoyed it. After Marcel had played several 
pieces and had left the piano, Mr. Welling came to 
me and asked me to give them a song. Didn't I ? 
Then he beo;un to talk, and I don't know how it 
happened, but we got talking about the South and the 
North, and oh, dear me ! it was a quarter to twelve 
when I got upstairs. However, I got along quite to 
my own satisfaction, that is, I did not make any awful 
blunders. I told them afterwards about my trepida- 
tion in coming down, and Dr. and Mrs. B. both said 
that I did not show it in the least, that I came in as 
easily and naturally as could be. Mr. Welling is 



184 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

editor of the "National Intelligeuce " a youngish 
man, perhaps thii'ty-five, with a rather bald head, 
blaciv hair and whiskers, with the attendant white skin, 
small hands and feet, and medium size, agreeable, 
natural, and sensible, quite above the average in a 
conversational way born in New Jersey, but has 
lived much in Virginia. 

Mrs. Bailey and I were to make calls to-day on 
Mrs. Gen. Gaines, Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, and some 
other celebrated women. I wanted to see them, but I 
was afraid to go till Mrs. B. said I should not have to 
speak a word. Mrs. Stephens is the one who wrote 
Mrs. Gaines' storv- She is somewhat noted as a 
writer. 

November 6. 

Took my letter to the office myself to go in the 
three o'clock mail. It is of course an immense build- 
ing and there are many windows and boxes and I did 
not know where to go. Fred told me there was a 
"lady's window," and as I could see no letter box 
and there were so many men there that I did not like 
to go round looking it up, so I thought I would give 
my letter to the clerk at the lady's window, but as I 
thought, too, that I did not want him to think I knew 
so little as to suppose that was the right place, I. 
thought I would make an errand and ask him if there 
were any letters there for me, and so hand him the 
letter carelessly. Well I did so, and he looked and 
said "yes," and gave me one from mother, dated 
October 26, and mailed, I cannot see when then he 
said he believed there was another which had been 
advertised. I said, j'es, there probably was, as I had 
lost one he looked about and found three, one from 
Augusta, mailed October 14, another mailed October 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 185 

9, 1 believe. A cent was due on each one for advertis- 
ing, I suppose. I had no money and they never 
charge, he said. I thought of pawning my watch, 
but could scarcely bring my mind to it, and so ran 
home some three-quarters of a mile, got my three 
cents and took my letters. Nothing can be more 
free and easy than our social intercourse. I never 
feel as if I have got to entertain, or be entertained. 
Mr. Wood is in almost every evening, and either sits 
by me, or makes me sit by him. I change my place 
occasionally for the fun of seeing him strike a bee 
line for me the moment he comes into the room. I 
like the Dr. and his wife very much. The Dr. snaps 
out occasionally, but never to me, and when he does 
to his wife she only laughs at him. She says that 
when anything goes wrong at the whist-table he 
always gives her a poke whether it is her play or not. 
She is bright and smart, something like you, tinkers 
up all the broken chairs, varnished the parlor furni- 
ture herself, upholstered the sofa, and is brimful of 
energy. He and she are on terms of perfect equality, 
and the effect is seen in the equal respect which the 
children pay to l)oth. Friday niyht 10,30. I have 
written this evening to you, Alviu, Mr. Curtis, and 
Mr. Lippincott. In directing Mr. L's letter I got Bo 
down for Boston, instead of Philadelphia. I erased 
it and directed it properly, don't you think I am 
improving? Then I went on, wrote and finished my 
other letters, and was gathering them up to put away 
when my eye chanced to fall on the direction of Mr. 
L's, and I found I had directed to Massachusetts, 
instead of Pennsylvania. As I had told him in the 
letter about my last blunder I thought the joke too 
good to be lost, so I opened the letter again to write 



186 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

down an account of this, and lo ! instead of liis letter, 
there was a sheet of yours ! You'd better think I 
screamed then, though I was all alone. I think now 
I shall take all the letters in the morning and read 
them over severally, and put each one into its own 
wrapper that there may be no possibility of mistake. 
I don't think I am growing crazy, and I asked Mrs. 
Bailey and she said she did not see any symptoms. 

Good-night. 

November 8. 

I had a letter from Miss Parsons, the lady who has 
taken my Literature classes in the High School, say- 
ing that she knew from the constant testimony of 
teachers and scholars how my classes had been 
taught, and could not bear the idea of spoiling them, 
that with one class she could do A'ery well, but with 
the other she had been trying to struggle into a plan 
in vain, was in a perfect Slough of Despond, and 
wished I would help her on to sound ground again. 
I could not know how valuable any hints would be to 
her, etc., etc. She loved the school too much to wish 
to leave it, but should have certainly shrunk from it 
had she known beforehand. I wrote her that even- 
ing a long letter and trust it will do her good. 

Mr. Wood called for me and we went to walk down 
the Avenue (Pennsylvania, which is the Avenue) to 
see the promenading. After dinner is the walking 
hour. The men are out of their offices and the 
women out of their nurseries and all agog. We went 
into several bookstores and looked at pictures. Mr. 
Wood, being a literary man, has the entree of them. 
His rooms are over one of them. One is next door 
to it. 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 187 

Tuesday, November 16. 

"We investigated the President's House that part 
of it which is open to investigation. First the vesti- 
bule, which is a large entry with a nowise remarkable 
oil-cloth carpet, and a few chairs, and the general 
impression conveyed was that it was rather dirty, 
though I don't suppose it was. Then came the 
famous "East Room," which is a monstrous one, 
long and not very narrow a red and yellow pattern 
carpet, plenty of big looking glasses in gilt frames, a 
few tables, gilt and brown paper, gold and dust color, 
curtains of red brocatelle with gilt cornices, chairs of 
red brocatelle, and that is about all. We then went 
severally to the green room, the blue room, and the 
red room, which rooms are so distinguished on 
account of their color, paper, chairs, carpet, curtains, 
etc., being severally green, red, and blue. There 
was nothing remarkable two very handsome vases 
of Sevres china. In one of the entrance ways were 
two centre tables and Mr. Wood said to the porter, 
" What under the sun does the President have those 
two things there for? It looks like any restaurant. 
I should think Miss Lane would have better taste." 
" It isn't Miss Lane," said he; "she does not want 
them, but the President will have them." There is 
a fine view of the Potomac and its shores from the 
back windows, and the grounds were well laid out 
in artificial hills, etc., designed, I believe, by Mr. 
Adams when he was President. There is also an 
excellent statue of Mr. Jefferson in the front yard 
or park, only the bronze was defective and the action 
of the weather has defaced and dilapidated it. 

I said I would tell you of Mr. Richardson's letter, 
did I ? You saw in Hartford the letter he wrote sua- 



188 t^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IX LETTERS 

gesting to me a correspondence. Well, I wrote to 
him that I would like to do it and all that, but I 
really didn't think I could write letters worth publish- 
ing, etc., etc. He wrote back to me, " With all due 
deference to your opinion, I think you can write 
letters from Washington worth publishing in the ' Con- 
gregationalist.' " He said they did not care much for 
letters before Congress commenced, but would like 
one as soon as I pleased. At the close of the letter 
he said, "Don't forget that you, Miss Mary Abby 
Dodge, alias 'Box,' are the Washington Cor- 
respondent of the ' Congregationalist.' " Well, so you 
see, I scratched up a letter, the best I could, and sent 
it on with considerable misgiving. I got a letter from 
him this morning since I commenced this, saying, 
" Anxious to relieve you from the dread suspense 
you may be in as to the fate of your Washington 
letter, I write a line to say that although it was left 
over this week for want of room, it will appear in the 
'Congregationalist' of the 19th., Deo volente. We 
should be glad to receive another letter from you 
immediately after Congress assembles." So I sup- 
pose that you will have seen that letter before this 
one. Now don't tell any one I wrote it. If any one 
asks you, you can say well, say anything, lie like 
fury, but don't say I wrote it. (I believe I have lost 
my reputation wit!i my mother and sister, so I shall 
say anything I like now.) Understand I have no 
idea that everybody won't find out to a dead certainty 
that I wrote it, but don't you tell them. To the 
Ipswich people you can simply say that I don't like 
to have you talk about my literary doings. Don't 
distress yourselves unduly, but I can write far more 
freely if I think no one knows the autlior. Your 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 189 

remarks, my beloved sister, concerDing my writing so 
hurriedly are very just nevertheless I must tell you 
what Mr. R. says conceruing that very story. " I 
overlooked your article 'The New Scholars ' till 
yesterday. It is capital. Could you write a book 
and have all the chapters equal to that, it would sell, 
and what is more, do good." Still I think you are 
quite right. As a general thing articles written so, 
however good, might be made better by more care. 
But I only write children's stories in that way. On 
regular grown-up pieces I spend a great deal of care 
and time, revise and correct till even you would be 
satisfied. Yes, I do expect to meet Burliugame this 
winter, and everybody else of any note in the Repub- 
lican party. Very likely I shall not speak to them, 
or only to say " how dy'e do ; pretty well," but it is 
something to look at them, you know. I forgot to 
tell you that I went over the bridge across the 
Potomac last Friday morning before breakfast. I 
started from home about half-past six, did not intend 
to go over, but after finishing my walk in one direc- 
tion, and finding it was not time to go home, wandered 
along till I came to the bridge and thought I would 
go on a little way, and so kept going till I got clear 
across. The bridge is just a mile long. I felt rather 
skittish, as I thought it was so far that if any one 
should try to harm me it would be of no use to 
scream, but I reflected that robbers and sich like were 
not out at that time of tlie morning. When nearly 
across, I was startled to see a man rise from one side 
of the bridge he proved, however, to be only the one 
who had the care of the draw. I made his acquain- 
tance and he gave me a good place to see a steamer 
which was towing two vessels through. He was 



190 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

greatly struck with the rapidity of my walking, said 
it " didn't take me long to walk a mile." 

Mr. Wood is not engaged in any business. He has 
a trusteeship, or something of that sort, which occupies 
him about four weeks in the year. The rest of his 
time is at his own disposal and mine ! He amuses 
himself with writing books. He has one now to come 
out in a few weeks. Won't the reviewers get hold of 
it ? I expect they will tear him in pieces from what 
he has told me, so if you see any slashing criticisms, 
you need not therefore suppose that Mr. Wood is 
annihilated. 

Last night Frank came upstairs and said that, 
" Pa said one evening of seclusion was admissible, 
but two were not allowed in the Old Bailey." I did 
not go downstairs the evening before, and it was 
after eight o'clock and I had not gone then, though 
I was intending to go when I had finished writing. 
Our waiter, James, has, I suppose, been married this 
evening. The nurse, a black girl also, was dressed 
for the wedding in white skirt and pink silk waist, 

and wore her hair in long curls. A was in and 

spent the evening last night, and several others. I 
should have been " bored to death " (I put quotations 
to save myself from swearing) if it had not been for 
Mr. Wood, and I tell you what, he is a jewel, aud I 
am going to knit him a pair of stockings for a Christ- 
mas present ; but don't you tell him, and by the way, 
I wish you not to speak of him, or at least casually, 
for he has friends and relatives all around you, and 
what I say ma}- get to some of them and receive a 
false construction. He was here this noon for me to 
go to a picture gallery with him, but I wanted to call 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 191 

on the Gallaudets, and so excused myself. He went 
part way over there with me. 

I am now writing on Thanksgiving evening. It has 
been a very cold, dismal day. I did not go to church. 
I told Mr. Wood I supposed I must go to church, 
but I did not wish to go, as I wanted to stay at home 
and write. He advised me by all means to stay at 
home, though he went himself. If I could hear one 
really good sermon, such as Dr. Bushnell or Mr. Bur- 
ton, or even Mr. Beadle preaches, I would go at any 
hour of the day or night, but as for listening on week 
days to such platitudes as I have generally heard here 
on Sundays, it is out of the question. 

When I carae home Marcel came upstairs immedi- 
ately, brought me the " Congregatioualist," your letter, 
and a slip of paper, which proved to be the end of a 
letter which Dr. B. had just received from the poet 
Whittier, in which he said, " Who is Gail Hamilton? 
That last poem was a very fine one. Thine truly, 
J. G. W." Has anybody else such an autograph as 
that? He gave me another also on which was written 
" Extract from a letter of Mr. Whittier's to Dr. G. 
Bailey, Respectfully presented to Miss Mary A. 
Dodge by her devoted admirer (at a distance !)." 

December 4. 
I am very glad Mr. Gilman has got a place. I have 
felt a deal interested in him. I hope you will get 
somebody to take care of your soul better than I have 
here to look after mine. I hope father is satisfied 
with the investment of my money. It is always well 
to have some one to look after our pecuniar}- inter- 
ests, and who so well fitted as he who is by nature 
our nearest relative, wisest friend, and most experi- 



192 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

enced counsellor? I expect "Sir's "blue eyes will 
turn up at this, and he will probably inquire, " Do 
you mean me ? " I forgot to tell you that I saw the 
President yesterday. Mr, Wood pointed him out to 
me some time before we met, so that I put up my veil 
and took a good squint. He is tall and stout, with a 
very white, flabby face, and something peculiar about 
one of his eyes. He wore black, and a white cravat, 
and seems old. Saturday evening Mr, Wood brought 
over a couple of his new books just published, and 
gave one t< me and one to the Dr. Mrs. Bailey 
wanted to read my piece, so I went upstairs and got 
it, and she read it aloud amid much applause ( !) while 
I sat behind the door. Sunday, as we were eating 
dinner, the door-bell rang, and soon somebody came 
flinging along the hall, and the children cried, " Mr. 
Hale." Sure enough, it was John P. himself. After 
the greetings were over, he was given a seat at the 
table at my right. I sat next the Dr., and almost as 
soon as he was seated he turned to me and said, 
"There has been a great discussion as to whether 
you are diffident or not. Some say you are, and some 
say you are not. Are you ? " I was quite thrown off 
my balance, for I had not supposed he would have 
anything in particular to say to me. I muttered some- 
thing about his being able to find out himself, but the 
Dr., who has got to know me very well, turned the 
subject. Presently IMr. Plale bounced at me again : 
" Have you ever been in Washington before?" No, 
sir. " Well, you must not judge all the Senators 
from me." I presume I might do worse, sir. An- 
other interlude. "Where do you come from, Miss 
Dodge?" From Massachusetts, sir (very definite 
information). From Hamilton, sir. " Oh, yes, I know 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 193 

about there. Near Rowley, is it not?" Yes, sir. 
Interlude fourth from the Baileys. Bounce the fourth 
from Hon. John P. Hale : " This is a very nice pud- 
ding, Mrs. Bailey; isn't it, Miss Dodge?" Miss D. 
(solemnly), Yes, sir. And thus ended my conversa- 
tion with the distinguished Senator from New Hamp- 
shire. Mr. Wood put into my hand a note which he 
had written to me the night before, saying, "Before 
I sleep I want to tell you that your ' Essay on Men 
and Women ' has inspired me with the highest admi- 
ration for its wit and eloquence, the fervid eloquence 
of deep sympathy, right feeling, and earnest and 
glowing emotion," etc. Monday morning at l)reak- 
fast, the Dr. said, " Miss Mary, Mr. Hale says he 
hopes the next time he comes he shall not frighten 
the young ladies." At twelve o'clock we all went to 
Conoress. First to the House and afterwards to the 
Senate. In the evening we went again to the Stra- 
kosch concert, and were as before highly entertained. 
i saw there Lord and Lady Napier, Mr. Seward and 
daughter, etc. Wednesday, when I was going down- 
stairs in the evening, I heard voices in the parlor and 
waited to muster courage. Entering, I took a seat 
quietly, and was presently introduced to Rev. Owen 
P. Lovejoy, member of Congress from Illinois. Hon. 
Preston King, Senator from New York, and Mr. Col- 
fax, Representative, I think, were also there. Mr. 
Kiug is the joUiest, fattest, best-natured 260 lbs. of 
flesh that you ever saw, and was very entertaining. 
Hon. Joshua Giddings had been in, but left before I 
came down. Judge Huntington called shortly after- 
wards, just as the others were about to leave, and I 
had the pleasantest visit I have ever had from him. 
F told me yesterday at the dinner table that she 



194 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

met Mr. Hale in the street, and he stopped her and 

said, " F , what made Miss Dodge run off when 

I was there?" She told him I was very shy, etc. 
" Ah," he replied, " we'll soon tame her out of that, 
won't we ? " 

When I entered the parlor it was nearly dusk, but 
I saw enough to distinguish Mr. Hale there with Dr. 
Bailey and drew back. They both saw me, however, 
and called, so I went forward. I said to Mr. Hale, 
" You need not try to frighten me again, for I am not 
going to be scared. Or if I shall be, I am so much 
more afraid of the Dr. that I shall endeavor to behave 
myself." 

Didn't my politics look splendidly in print? I 
flatter myself that was particularly well done. Do 
you want me to write as if I wei'e a man, or shall I 
let the cloven foot appear in case it should be incon- 
venient to conceal it? (1 don't mean am I to write like 

the but like a woman ? I am afraid you will 

say it is all one in my case) . If you had not told 
me that you had struck out some expressions in my 
story, I should not have known it. 

There was an editorial which I liked very much 
several weeks ago about the practical effects of the 
revival. I wish you could make it in your way to 
harp on that string a little more. I think the great 
leak in our ship is that we make our Christianity too 
abstract. We don't apply it enough, "He that 
sweeps a floor as to God's law, makes that and the 
action fine." I think the writer who was so shocked 
last week by the "Autocrat's " ( ?) idea of the man who 
is forever " liauuted by a sense of duty " has mis- 
conceived that idea ! The "Autocrat" (if it was the 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 195 

"Autocrat") did not mean, I take it, the man who 
acts from a sense of duty, but he who is contiuuall}^ 
obtruding and protruding that he does, who is always 
bringing forward duty reasons for his actions, and 
supposing, because you don't, that you have them 
not. If it is so, I entirely agree with him. I think 
the highest character is his who is so accustomed to 
think and act right, that he does it naturally, as it 
were, by sheer force of habit. Your regular duty 
people are the most stupid, conceited, and disagree- 
able in the world. As a general fact, people who are 
always talking about doing good, do the least. At 
any rate, that is my opinion. 

Twelve o'clock A.M., December 1. 
The first day of winter, very pleasant and comfort- 
able weather, and as we had winter in November, we 
may hope for our Indian summer in December. I went 
last Saturday to the publishing office of the "Era" 
to get a paper containing the verses which Whittier 
referred to, as I thought you might like to see them. 
It was my first visit there, and I took little Bell as 
escort. She led me to the sanctum and I asked a 
man there for the papers, whereon Mr. Goodlow 
jumped up from some hidden place and came for- 
ward and introduced to me a Mr. Pope, and then 
called out for Mr. Clepham, who was also introduced, 
and I, not knowing how far the thing might go, 

clutched my papers and came off. Mr. W and 

I walked to Mr. Gallaudet's in the morning. As we 
came home we were met by a Mr. De Naise (pro- 
nounced Nazy), who stopped and talked awhile. 
His mother is an Italian, his father a Turk or a 
Frenchman (!). He was born and lived in Turkey 



196 (^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and was our Consul at Constantinople, but coming to 
the United States to prosecute a claim several years 
ago, he liked here so much that he has remained ever 
since. He was knighted by the Sultan and is conse- 
quently, Sir De Naise, but is called Mr. He is a 
frequenter of the "Old Bailey," and came in the 
evening. He has just returned to Washington after 
an absence of three months. He is very ugly, very 
droll, and very good-natured. I did not intend to go 
downstairs in the evening, but Dr. sent for me to 
come down and take a hand at whist. I " reckon," 
however, the reason was that there were some persons 
there whom he wished me to see. The visitors were 
two brothers by the name of Alexander. Their father 
is Scotch, their mother Italian, they were born in 
France and live in America. Their ancestor, in the 
reign of James I. of England, nearly three hundred 
years ago, received from him a grant of nearly all the 
Canadas. After a while the line was assumed to be 
extinct, but their father ascertaining beyond question 
that he was the real heir to the title and the land, 
prosecuted his claim. The claim was so great, how- 
ever, and involves so much property, that a charge of 
fraud and forgery was trumped up, and the case now 
lies in Parliament at rest for want of the necessary 
funds on the part of the prosecution. The older of 
the two brothers is by right Lord Sterling. They are 
in some office under government and support their 
father and mother here. I liked them both very 
much, especially the elder. They are modest, intelli- 
gent, and well-bred. 

I am about dragged out. My eyes and head feel 
the effect of my dissipation. You see I don't get to 
bed much before twelve o'clock. People don't go 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 197 

away till near eleven, and we almost always stay 
a while longer to talk them over. Then I have a piece 
on hand that I want to finish before Congress com- 
mences, so that I may not be worried with it then. I 
have about thirty-five pages of it finished, and shall 
perhaps write six more. I did not suppose it could 
be printed just yet, as there are now two stories in 
course of publication in the "Era," but I asked the 
Dr. last night if there was any room for me, and he 
said he would make room. I think I shall be able to 
finish this week. Mr. Welling was here yesterday, 
and spent the evening. Mrs. Bailey said we " boxed 
the compass," beginning with poetry and ending with 
theology, which was quite true. By the way, he wants 
to get a New England primer, and I told him we had 
them. Mother, I wish you would find one of the half 
dozen that used to be lying round loose and send it to 
me. I should prefer the one that has the devil ( !) 
in it (of course), but send me one witliout, if you 
can't find that. Augusta, I wish you would see if 
you can get one in Boston. He will probably never 
think of it again, but I should like the fun of sending 
it to him. Did you recognize any portraits in my 
last piece in the " Congregationalist " ? Mother, 
don't be alarmed at what I said about my head. If 
I can get two nights' sleep consecutively, 1 shall be 
as good as new. I can appreciate your anxiety lest 
you should divulge something you ought not at Mrs. 

. Dear old souls ! If it was not for that awful 

inability to discern what ought and what ought not 
to be printed, I would write them a letter, but to run 
the risk of seeing it come out the next week in the 
"Congregationalist!" I believe I could not do 
that. 



198 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Saturday, December 4. I have concluded I may 
as well continue my veracious history up to the pres- 
ent time. I want, however, to assure mother that the 
two nights' sleep which I wanted have come, and I 
am consequently on my feet again. About eight 
o'clock Dr. sent up for me to send down as much of 
my piece as was written. About forty pages were 
written. The next morning at breakfast the Dr. said 
he read the whole of my piece last night, which was 
what he would not have done to all pieces in manu- 
script, and that Marcel read the whole of it too. He 
wanted me to take it and divide it off into separate 
heads. He added that it would be read, that 1 had 
hit, etc. Mr. W. told me that the Dr. spoke to them 
about my piece, etc., and, oh dear, I ought to be 
blushing terribl}'^, but I have said so many things 
before, I guess this won't choke me, and he said 
that they had never had any one in their house be- 
fore equal to me ! ("La ! ") and, said Mr. Wood, 
" Didn't I work well for you the other night? I knew 
that Welling was impatient to talk with you, and I 
wheeled the Dr. and his wife round to backgammon, 
and got Marcel to the piano, and gave him the chance. 
The consequence was that when he came away he was 
all enthusiasm," etc., etc. I suspected Mr. Wood of 
such a design, and Mr. Welling wheeled round to me 
so quickly when the others moved off, that I did not 
know but that they had put their heads together be- 
forehand, but Mr. Wood assured me that he did not 
know he was coming. Oh dear, Augusta, I wish I 
could get at you to have one good laugh behind the 
scenes. Nobody hei'e, you see, suspects the by- play 
that is going on between you and me. It would be 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 199 

such a relief to have somebody who knows what a 
"humbug" I am. 

After breakfast. I have just finished reading your 
letter. I am not going to answer it now, besides my 
hand trembles so with laughing that it is a great ex- 
ertion to write. 

December 5. 

Mrs. Pike, who is here, is the sister of Mrs. Fred- 
erick Pike, the author of " Ida May," " Caste," etc. 
Perhaps you remember hearing about the books. 
They made something of a sensation and she made 
something of a fortune some five or six thousand 
dollars by the first one, " Ida May." Mr. Goodlow 
spent the evening here yesterday. After we had 
finished cards, the party drew back and Mr. G. came 
and sat between Mrs. Bailey and me and, after talk- 
ing politics awhile, began to speak of a very interest- 
ing essay which he had been reading in the " Era," and 
wondered whether it was taken from the author's own 
experience, or from an imaginary character simply. 
I replied very coolly, that the name " Gail Hamilton " 
seemed like a man's, but at any rate, it was generally 
supposed and taken for granted that writers speaking 
in the first person were only imaginary, and under 
that cover they could put in as much autobiography 
as they chose and nobody be the wiser. He said that 
he had always had a kind of idea that women generally 
would rather be men than women whereat I assured 
him that I wished I knew him well enough to box his 
ears, and he declared that he would waive dignity and 
give me full liberty to do so if it would give me any pleas- 
ure, and I affirmed that it would give me great pleasure, 
in fact I couldn't think of anything at that moment 
that would give me more, but I didn't. I have for- 



200 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

gotten what led to it, but I gave Mrs. B. a ridiculous 
account of the way in which I collared him and brougiit 
him home with me from the office the other day, and 
after the laugh was over, he explained how I came in 
upon him in an old office coat which was split across 
the back from arm to arm, and how in shewing me 
round he had to wheel and turn to keep the rent out 
of sight, and how they laughed about it after I was 
gone, and altogether we had considerable fun. 

Yesterday morning I went to walk before breakfast. 
After dinner, the disgust which has long been gather- 
ing for the pointed waist of my new blue thibet dress 
came to a head, and I suddenly seized a pair of scis- 
sors and nipped them all off and feel as if I had a 
new dress. 

Copy of a request to Mrs. B. that she 'would make 
bo'ws Jor my sleeves. 

There's an exquisite blush on my beautiful cheek, 
And my modesty, startled, can scarcely speak 

To tell Mrs. Bailey the thing I seek 
And wish for most, as matters go, 

And beg for with all the i^ower I know. 
Is a handsome, elegant, 7'ib-a7id-heau. 

December 13, 1858. 

The family taken together is perhaps one in a 
hundred. The children particularly well governed. 
Mrs. Bailey is a superior woman and very companion- 
able. Both are agreeable, unusually sensible, and 
appreciate me fully so far as I can judge. I mean 
every attention and respect is paid nie, yet so unob- 
trusively that I never notice it particularly. People 
of mark and sense, one way or another, are in almost 
every evening chiefly members of Congress. I have 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 201 

seen two or three lords and played whist with a Sir 
who was once our consul at Constantinople, and wore 
a splendid diamond ring given him by the Sultan. He 
is very droll, polite, and good-natured. 

Going to church here is by no means so pleasant as 
in Hartford. So far as my observation goes the 
clergy here are inferior. Don't let us quarrel with 
our fates, Alice. I have done more at that business 
than you and have not got over it yet. The years in 
this world are but " few and evil" at least my 
good has been so diluted with evil that I tind my 
chief, perhaps my only real pleasure in looking for- 
ward to the world where sorrow can find no entrance. 
I think the " Atlantic " the best monthly that has ever 
been published in this country, and the " Autocrat's " 
by far the finest series of papers of the kind, though 
there are occasional objections to his mode of alluding 
to theological opinions which, whether true or false, 
are cherished by a large portion of his readers, as he 
must very well know. 

Decembkr 14. 

I went to the State Department and saw busts of 
Josephine and Napoleon, by Canova, brought to Vera 
Cruz by the Prince de Joinville, son of Louis Philippe, 
the last King of France and thence here by our con- 
sul. I spent most of the time after dinner till even- 
ing trying to remember or recall the stitch with which 
I knit my Polish boots last winter, but without suc- 
cess. Mr. De Naise was in in the evening and 
amused us again with his droll ways and his French 
English. Did I tell you that he once challenged 
Douglas? After I went upstairs I again tried my 
hand at the stitch and by ravelling out some of my 
last winter's work, I at length succeeded. I am go- 



202 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ing to knit a pair to give to Mrs. B. at Christmas if I 
can. Mr. and Mrs. L. K. Lippincott have just pub- 
lished a children's book, consisting of stories by both 
of them, which they sent to me through the post-office. 
It is very pretty. It is rainy and foggy again this 
morning, and the Sunny South has turned into a most 
cloudy and dismal one. Everbody is afflicted with 
influenza. I received your letter yesterday. I have 
had it in ray mind to tell Grace about J's unsuccess- 
ful attempt to obtain subscribers for the " Little Pil- 
grim," but finally concluded that I would not divulge 
the meanness of Massachusetts people. I am really 
ashamed of them. A paper that costs only fifty cents 
a year ! I am afraid J. will never be induced to under- 
take the promotion of intelligence again. "Terra 
Incognita " was the piece Wbittier spoke of. I 
thought I sent it to you long ago till the other day I 
found the paper lying on my table. I will send it to 
you in this letter if I don't forget. I have finished 
Mr. Wood's stockings. Do you want to see the note 
I am going to send with them ? 

Let not thy heart, O noble friend, 

My humble gift despise. 
But may the simple offering 

Find favor in tliine eyes. 
I know that with the shining ones 

Thy genial home is found, 
But though thy head may knock the stars, 

Thy feet must touch the ground. 
Dream on, then, of those happy realms 

Above our world of strife 
And give us foretastes of the joys 

That gild the " Future Life." 
But lesser crowns for lesser brows 

/count not Fate remiss. 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 203 

If she but grant my grateful hands 
To guard thy feet in this. 

Wou't he be tickled ? Mr. Richardson wishes very 
much to have my signature, Gail Hamilton, attached 
to my letters. I wish very much that it should not 
be, and I don't think I shall have it. I might as well 
write Abby Dodge and be done with it. He wants 
me also to write a New Year's story for them, which 
I shall endeavor to do. I have purchased and sent a 
copy of "Future Life"' to Alvin. A Mr. Baumgras, 
an artist and a foreigner, and a very pleasant, simple 
and agreeable man, was wath us last evening. To-day 
is pleasant again. I went out this noon to take a 
walk, was overtaken by Mr. W. Mr. H. dined here 
and we got along very well. He asked me if I would 
like to take a walk and I said I would and we walked 
an hour and a half. As we were coming home, a 
great, dirty pig ran against Mr. H's legs and knocked 
him down flat on the pavement before me on his back. 
It was the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. You 
know he is pretty large and fat, and his heels kicked 
up, and his look of surprise as he lay there, was per- 
fectly irresistible. The reason why this writing is so 
irregular is because I laugh so uncontrollably when- 
ever I think of it. I never had such pain to keep 
from laughing in my life as I did then. It seemed 
to me as if I should suffocate. Now don't tell any 
one of this, by any means. I have not mentioned 
it here. I have begun to read the Bible through again. 
Don't you want to begin, too, reading a chapter a 
day? Y^ou and mother too. I have got to the thirt- 
ieth chapter of Genesis. Hoping to hear from you 
soon, 

Yours affectionately. 



204 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

January 10, 1859. 
Mr. Hale has just left. He came to town last 
night, called here an hour or so ago, and sent up for 
me particularly. He said he had a good homely 
message for me, which was that two pretty young 
ladies in New Hampshire said that they loved me. 
The two young ladies proved to be Lizzy Hale, his 
daughter, and Lydia Low, a young lady who was at 
Miss Crocker's when I was there. So I told liim that 
I had something to tell him, which was that my sister 
told me that if Mr. Hale was as pleasant in a parlor 
as he was on a lake steamer in an old Kossuth hat, 
I couldn't help liking him. Of course he was curi- 
ous to know who my sister was, and I explained. 
He remembered her perfectly', was greatly pleased, 
spoke of her very highly, asked a great many ques- 
tions about lier and Alvin and the family, recurring 
to it several times after other subjects had been 
brought up, and finally asked to send a note in my 
letter when I wrote to her. By and by he asked if I 
wanted to go to walk again. Of course I said yes, 
and he said he would come down to-morrow after din- 
ner for me. Then he began to say sometliing about 
the pig, but I interrupted him " Oh, Mr. Hale, wliy 
do you mention that? I never told of it." "Didn't 
you?" said he, "Why, you are a remarkable girl 
then I won't." Of course Dr. and Mrs. Bailey were 
on tip-toe to know what it was, and guessed all man- 
ner of things, but we would not tell. I think he was 
really glad that I had not told of it. He said there 
wasn't another woman in the city that would h;tve 
done so. I had a letter this morning from Mr. Rich- 
ardson, enclosing five dollars "beyond the stipulated 
price, as a slight evidence that we are pleased with 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 205 

your communications and desire their continuance. 
We are at present quite short of articles for the chil- 
dren's column and should be glad to receive something 
from you in this line, as well as articles for our first 
page, from time to time. If you are moved to write 
poems of considerable length, adapted to our columns, 
and they are as good as the last, we shall be very 
glad to publish them and afford you such compensa- 
tion as you may think proper." Well, what horn sliall 
I blow next? Miss Ella Kirby sent up her album to 
me last night with a request that I would write in it 
" something sweet and pretty, just like myself," so I 
wrote : 

A clam to your flounces tenaciously clinging. 

The bell of the milkman, his matinals ringing, 

A cabbage upreared by your lilies and roses, 

A hand 'neath the hinge of the door when it closes. 

The dragon of Wantley, whose tastes architectural 

Make us fancy the tale was extremely conjectural, 

A pony descended from old Rosinante, 

The sun-flowers in front of an Irishman's shanty, 

A talker who makes the chief part of his role " Oh ! " 

A donkey who brays a duet to your solo, 

A needle thrust under your delicate nail. 

An epic by Blackmore the Knights of tlie Grail, 

The gravy upset on j^our lavender silk, 

The salt in your cofi'ee, your sleeve in the milk, 

A small boy in the j^arlor entirely de trop 

(How many there should be you very well know), 

I give, since you asked me, you mischievous elf. 

For " something sweet and 2:)retty , just like myself.'''' 

That "tarnation" Wood hasn't come yet, and I 
don't know what has become of the fellow. I am 
afraid he is sick, poor dear! 

Thursday^ 18. Mr. Wood came in due time and 



206 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

we called at Mrs. Gale's and took her and her sister 
along with us to the picture gallery. Saw a collection 
of very fine pictures. Met Mr. Baumgras and his 
wife and had a long conversation with him on art and 
artists, told him I was no connoisseur in paintings. 
But, "ah, I know you have the power to paint wiz 
ze pen." 

"Washington, D.C, January 10, 1859. 

My dear Sir Mentor : I should have answered 
your letter before but for several reasons. One is 
that I did not know exactly what to say, and so 
waited vaguely for something to turn up. (You need 
not suppose anything Jias turned up from my writing 
now.) Another reason was that I have been so 
exceedingly busy with professional, literary, and 
social duties that I have really had no time. I am 
sure I had not thought of such a thing as giving up 
teaching till you poked the idea into me. I mean I 
had not thought of it definitely, lately. I supposed, 
and still suppose, that my fate, which is another name 
for will, is to teacli through the remainder of my 
natural life, or through so much of it as can be made 
available for educational purposes. As to my being 
bewildered, you need have no fear of it, not the slight- 
est. I see very clearly the path that lies before, and 
though the mist that surrounds me now is rose-tinted 
and golden, and the flowers very fragrant, and the 
air charming, they do not hide from me the fact that 
my way lies over the hill Difficulty into the Promised 
Land if indeed I ever reach that Happy Land. I 
think if a person has a strong native inclination for, 
and facility in, any one profession or employment, it 
is an indication that that ought to be his employment. 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 207 

If a boy evinces skill in chiselling, make him a sculp- 
tor in colors, make him a painter in tools, make 
him a machinist. Now, in this particular respect, 
you very well know the strength of my desire for 
writing and my love of it. As to my ability, I have 
never pretended to be myself the judge, but throwing 
out of view all the facts of my previous life, I have 
received encouragement enough since I have been 
here to lift up the most downcast. I do not say this 
by way of boasting, but to give you facts, to show 
you that I do not act without random, basis I meant 
to say. Different persons persons who have no 
reason to be interested in me, who have never seen 
me before, of their own accord have conspired or 
combined to make me feel that I have not written 
without success. Two gentlemen, one of them a two 
years' resident in Europe, in the diplomatic corps ( a 
charg^ I believe), who were entire strangers to me till 
within a few months, have proposed to me subjects 
which they wish me to make into books the latter 
gentleman with great earnestness, with repeated prom- 
ises of his own assistance in furnishing material, and 
an assurance drawn from my past writings, of entire 
success. From various and unexpected quarters I 
have received, sometimes directly, sometimes indi- 
rectly, the most cordial and hearty appreciation, 
seeming to me, occasionally, almost to amount to 
extravagance. / certainly never set so high a value 
on any of my writings as have some of those to whom 
I refer. I do not think, therefore, that I am unduly 
presumptuous in assuming that I have a degree of 
facility ia writing which, so far as it alone is con- 
cerned, would warrant me in adopting that as a 
profession. 



208 GAIL PIAMILTON'S LIFE IX LETTERS 

Here, of course, comes in the question of doing 
good. Now I think a person can do the most good 
by that which he can do best, as a general thing. 
That is, a good shoemaker does more good than a 
poor minister, a man who ought to have been a shoe- 
maker but was not. I utterly deny that a teacher 
can (even probably) do more good than a writer. 
Think of the value to the world of such little waifs as 
the " Dairyman's Daughter" think also of Baxter's 
and Payson's works of John Foster and Buuyan. 
Don't suppose I mean to class myself with them. 1 
am speaking now of writings of which I understood 
you also to speak. Think of Mrs. Stowe, of Char- 
lotte Bronte, of Mrs. Gaskell and who 

I just want to tell you that you're mistaken about 
my friendships. I have a great many friends, that's 
true, but I have very few internal friends, people 
whom I'd rather be with than be alone. I like many, 
and I talk and laugh with many, but I love very, very 
few, I mean with a real, warm, necessary love. 

Thursday I went to Congress alone. Mrs. Gooch 
saw me in the gallery and sent the door-keeper over 
to have me sit with her and Miss Buffiuton. Mr. 
Colfax came up from the floor and sat and talked 
awhile. Mr. Burlingame came forward to go home 
with me, but "yielded the floor" to Mr. Love- 
joy. I pray every Sunday (in the Episcopal Church) 
for "women in the perils of childbirth" and I 
think if there is anything that ought to be prayed 
about steady, it's that. I bought a bonnet green 
velvet, white feather price ten dollars, and had 
one cent left. Mrs. Gooch sent me a note to go 
to Congi-ess with her, but I was out when it came 
and so went alone. Met the Gallaudets in the 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 209 

gallery. By the way, they had called on me the 
day before. Mr. Gooch also came up to see me, 
also Judge Trumbull, Senator, and we had a pleasant 
little talk. In the evening Mr. Alley, our rei)re- 
sentative from Lynn, called. I liked him very much, 
a little slow, but sound and gentlemanly. By the 
way, mother, I forgot to tell you that Dr. Hall is a 
friend of Mr. Wood's, who has a suite of rooms in the 
same building with him, is one of my admirers in a 
mild way a bachelor income of five thousand 
dollars a year, highly educated, literary, but uses 
tobacco rather obviously, that is the worst thing I 
know about him, is a little given to melancholy. I 
like him very well. Monday I had a letter from Mr. 
Richardson containing last quarter's "pay" told 
me I was writing more than I got paid for, which is 
better than if it had been the other way, you know. 
Also, by express, a beautiful worsted shawl from 
Ellen Hunt which she had knit herself. Mr. Wood 
went to the House with me afterwards I did a little 
shopping and being afraid the Republican party would 
leave Sherman, went home and wrote a note to the 
Massachusetts delegation exhorting them to stand by 
their guns quoted the ancients and modern, told 
them if they were afraid, to come to me, I would pro- 
tect them to die bravely if die they must, and that 
Massachusetts would strew their graves with flowers, 
signed myself " Your affectionate Grandmother," and 
sent it to the four at the corner of the street, Buffln- 
ton, Dawes, Gooch, and Alley. An answer came 
back in an hour or so in which they begged to assure 
their grandmother that Massachusetts men fought to 
the last. Fine fun. Don't I make 'em lauo-h? Judge 
Huntington called and spent the evening, had a nice 



210 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

time. He likes to come and see me, and I like to talk 
heresies and schisms and shock his High Church no- 
tions. Tuesday Mr. Dexter sent me a copy of Hunting- 
ton's sermons. I didn't tell you that he sent me Starr 
King's "White Hills " for a New Year's present. Don't 
talk of these things about. I don't like boasting of 
'' great folks." At night I went to a prayer-meeting 
for the world's conversion, with Mr. Wood. Horrid 
time. Scrambled all about Robin Hood's barn and 
never said a word about the heathen. I don't think 
they take prayer-meetings " the natural way" down 
here. Got there at half-past seven and didn't get 
home till half-past ten. Waited an hour before they 
begun and when they got a-going seemed as if they 
would never stop. I told Mr. Wood that as for going 
to Congress all day and prayer-meeting all night, I 
wasn't going to do it. Wednesday Mr. Welling came 
to see me in the morning, stayed an hour and a half 
or so. Mr. Seward and Mrs. Frederick S. were here 
when he came, but they went away soon. He told 
me, to prove his courage, that he had gone down to 
Virginia with two " National Eras" in his pocket and 
read my poem to the people down there. In the 
House a woman interested herself in me, asked me if 
I was visiting here. I told her not exactly, I was 
making myself useful in a general way. I presume slie 
thinks I am niaid-of-all-work somewhere. Mr. Curtis' 
health is better than it was, but he saj^s he has very 
little confidence in it. He wants to know if there are 
any conditions on which I would probably be willing 
and feel at liberty to return in the spring. He thinks 
those two verse-letters are one of the most faultless 
and successful efforts I ever made. Mr. Richardson 
defended himself against a scold I gave him for put- 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 211 

ting a notice of me into the last " S. & S." Said the 
editor, Mr. Adams, did it, and he didn't know that 
Mr. A. was in the oflice just then and sent his com- 
pliments to me and said he would settle the matter 
with me, so I told Mr. R. to transfer my wrath to 
Mr. A. with compound interest. He sent me several 
pictures to illustrate if I liked, and I do like also a 
couple of notices. The " Transcript" one was to show 
me that I was known, so it was no use trying to keep 
it secret. It happens that Mr. Wood wrote it, for 
which I could have torn his pen out, but I didn't 
say anything no use I am afraid this letter is 
scarcely more coherent than the last, but I have been 
writing this whole day long almost, and I can only 
jerk now. Mother, what has become of the kitten ? 
Good-night. 

January 15. 
My Dears : I have had such a splendid time this 
evening that I want to tell you about it before I for- 
get it. It is twenty minutes past eleven, but I can 
write till Sunday. I must begin with the morning, 
however. I received your letter, sent one to Mr. 
Richardson, then went down to the Dr.'s room to ask 
him something, knocked, poked my head in, saw a 
stranger there, did my errand, and was coming back 
when he told me to come in. " Oh, no, sir, that was 
all I wanted." " Yes, yes, come in, we want you." 
Went in and was introduced to Dr. Elder, of Phila- 
delphia, who wrote the " Life of Dr. Kane." He and 
his daughter are spending a week or so here at the 
" National." Before he went awa^' he came up to me 
and said: '-Well, we are mutually satisfied, are we 
not ? " I replied that I could only answer for one. 



212 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

"Ah! that is enough, that finishes the business." 
They were invited here this evening. Do you want 
to know how I was dressed ? Green silk, low neck 
and short sleeves, lace ca[)e, rose-colored bow, belt, 
white lace cuffs with rose-colored bows, light-colored 
kid gloves, fan and handkerchief, that's all. Never 
looked better in my life, vain I suppose never 
did everybody said so. Mrs. Pratt said I was 
dressed beautifully, looked so clean. Mrs. PiJve came 
to me in the course of the evening and said she wanted 
to tell me how sweetly I looked. We were all in the 
parlor waiting, and Mr. Hale came first and shook 
hands with us all and said to me before he got to me 
" Why, how beautiful you look." Now, mother, I 
don't suppose Mr. Hale meant to say or thought 1 was 
beautiful, but I think he was really surprised to find 
so homely a girl could look so well. At any rate, the 
consciousness of being well dressed contributed partly 
to the pleasure of the evening. A "lot" of people 
came in together, none of whom I knew, but one of 
the women presently came up to me and said she 
should not wait for an introduction, as she knew my 
face and who I was. She proved to be Mrs. Wash- 
burn, of Hartford, wife of Judge H's minister, and 
is visiting her mother here. We talked on some time 
in the middle of the room till Mr. Hale marched be- 
tween us and said we should not talk together any 
longer, it was not fair. Then Mr. Preston King en- 
tered the room and came near us and shook hands, 
and I told him to stay and see me a little while. He 
is too fat to stand, so he^ settled, into an arm-chah" at 
my side, and I stood, and we had a charming little 
conversation. He is so easy and sensible and good 
withal, that I am quite in love with him. We talked 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 213 

about health, and drinking coffee, and being good- 
natured, etc., and found that our views coincided ex- 
actly and so we glorified each other grandly. Oh, 
before that, I found myself next to a gentleman whom 
I thought and called Dr. Lindslcy, the family physi- 
cian, but he proved to be his brother-in-law. Dr. Peter 
Pnrkcr, our Commissioner to China ; has lived tliere 
for twenty-five years. You may tell Mrs. Cowles if 
you like that I spent the evening with Dr. P. Parker 
and talked about the Hoards, and I tried to lug her in, 
but couldn't get him on the trail. Dr. Elder and his 
daughter came in together and after a while he came 
up to me and said he should have lauded there sooner 
if he had not been dragged away. I had a very inter- 
esting conversation with him, part funny, part earnest, 
about Dr. Kane, and presently saw Miss Elder coming 
up to be introduced on one side and Miss Mott with 
Mr. Wilson on the other, and as I did not know 
which way to turn first I looked straight ahead. (You 
may think my power of vision very remarkable to 
be able to see five different persons iu three different 
directions at one time, and only one eye for all, but T 
am "remarkable, contributor," you know.) At the 
first pause Dr. Elder took Iiis daughter's hand, saying, 
"Allow me to present you to Gail Hamilton." I put 
up my liand with a deprecating gesture and turned 
away with a distressed look without speaking a word, 
at which they all laughed, and Miss Mott seized 
the opportunity to introduce me to Gen. Wilson, who 
said : "I am informed that I have a constituent 
here." " I think, sir, I have a right to claim property 
in you." What part of the State, etc. He once 
knew a Mr. Dodge from that town in the House, and 
then I went back to Dr. and Mrs. Elder. Mr Grow, 



214 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

of Pennsylvania, joined our group after Dr. Elder 
was hauled off, and remarked something to one of 
them about such a thing being in order. I said, smiling, 
"I am sure, sir, I know your position if I don't know 
your name." Whereupon somebody introduced IMr. 
Grow to Miss Dodge, who made mutual obeisance. 

Wanting a net for my hair, I priced them at the 
store, and found them a dollar and a quarter. I 
thought of buying some silk, and sending to you to 
do, but Mrs. B. advised me to get Mary MacLain to 
teach me and do it myself. So I bought the silk for 
forty cents, and learned it in two stitches, and the 
net is nearly half done. Quite a difference in price. 
Derby & Jackson, of New York, Mr. Wood's pub- 
lishers, sent to him asking if he knew who Gail Ham- 
ilton was. Mr. Goodrich Smith does not like my 
"Men and Women," tliinks they are not Christian 
enough for a professing Christian. Consequently, 
Mr. Goodrich Smith may go to Coventry, or, as 
Doctor Bailey said when I told him, " Haug Mr. 
Smith ! " His is the only dissentient voice I have heard 
thus far. When I was a little girl, and wanted to 
know whether a book was a Sunday book or not, I used 
to look it over, and if I could find the word " God " 
in it anywhere, I considered the question settled. So 
Mr. Goodrich Smith seems to think that Christian 
must be called out by name, or it cannot be present. 
However, I think even he must be satisfied before he 
gets through, for it turns out to be quite a sermon. 

January 24. 
The Amei'ican Colonization Society had their an- 
nual meeting that evening. Mr. Orcutt, whom I used 
to know in Hartford, is its agent, and as I thought he 



FIRST YEAR IX WASHINGTON 215 

would probably be there I concluded to go. It was 
held at the Smithsonian. We arrived late. After we 
got in I found that we had got on the side opposite Mr. 
O., who was sitting on the platform. I told Mr. 
Wood, and he immediately got up and " toted " me 
round to the other side. After a while he got up again, 
and went to Mr. Orcutt, and sent him to me, and he 
sat by me as long as I staj^ed. Mrs. Adams, a poor 
woman, came that day to let down my black silk 
dress asked twenty cents. I gave her a quarter, 
and three or four pairs of good stockings, so I think 
she made a very good morning's work of it. Mr. 
Wood said that Mrs. Gale wanted me to come up 
there a little while that evening, but he would not tell 
me what for. I went and found two ladies there, 
teachers in Miss Miner's school for negro girls, which 
made such a stir a while ago. I promised to go to see 
the school sometime with Mrs. G. Entertained 
them as well as I could for a half-hour or so, and re- 
turned. Thursday there was a "hop" at the Na- 
tional Hotel, and the Misses Mott and Mr. De 
Naise sent a particular invitation for me to come, but 
I had just before been invited by Mr. Wood to go to 
the Capitol, to be present at an evening session, so 1 
had a good excuse for not going. Friday was very 
rainy, but as I had some shopping to do to get ready 
for Saturday, I went out after dinner. Coming home, 
called at the Pikes. They were finishing their dinner 
stopped and took a piece of pie, and a glass of 
wine ( !) and a bit of fruit cake in my pocket. In the 
evening Mrs. Pike gave a party to the Baileys, and 
at the Bailey's, because the Dr. could not go out. 
They undertook to have a dance and wanted me to 
join the first part of the evening, but I wouldn't 



21 B GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

because I couldu't, so I took Mrs. Bailey's hand at 
cards, and she took my place in the dance, though she 
never danced before in her life. Toward the latter 
part of the evening they tried it again. As soon as 
they began to speak of it I ran, but Mr. Wood and 
Ella Kirby caught me and brought me back by main 
force, and I went through it. Mrs. B. said I did as 
well as the rest, several of them knew no more about 
it than I, so it was fine fun. Saturday morning I had 
letters from Augusta and Mr. Richardson. He says : 
" Your letter of the 14th, accompanied by a commu- 
nication for the 'Cong.,' was duly received. With 
the latter we were particularly pleased as well as the 
former." Of my " Men and Women," he says, " 'Hit 
him again ' I am disposed to say, and Mrs. R. 
heartily seconds the suggestion." You need not be 
afraid of my breaking down under the weight of flat- 
tery. I have borne a good deal in my day, and ain 
thriving still. Your sentiments about my writing are 
just, goose, and your criticism always to the purpose, 
scamp. I believe you never offered one, scoundrel, 
of which I did not make use. What do you care 
if you did go to the "Cong." office? Good as the 
best of 'em any time. As to the cards, I am afraid 
mother will absolutely "give up" when she finds 
dancing and wine-drinking added to the list. Never 
mind, mother, my temptations don't lie in that di- 
rection, and if all the trouble is that it " don't have 
a good sound," why just don't sound it, that's all. 

It seems quite strange to hear you talk about the 
cold weather and snow. We have been luxuriating 
in most delightful spring sunshine. I have kept ray 
window open half the time till yesterday, when we 
had a " cold snap." I did not send your item to the 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 217 

" Congregatioualist," because I do not entirely ap- 
prove of Mr. Mordough's flings. I like the bravery, 
but not the mode of displaying it. I think them more 
spirited than spiritual. As to cards, mother, I really 
don't want you to think I am in the least devoted 'to 
them. I would rather read or talk, but they are very 
convenient to take off the stiffness of company, and 
we carry on our conversation all the time. Mrs. 
Bailey and I went down to the National to call on 
the Motts, Elders, etc., none of whom were in. 
Just as we were opening the outer door, however, Dr. 
Elder came and stood and talked till our carriage 
came ; asked where I was the evening he was in, and 
whispered to me, "I have a kiss for you, but you 
can't get it." I supposed likely L. K. Lippincott, 
who is a great rogue, and who knows him well, gave 
him the commission, so I said nothing and looked in 
the opposite direction so that he could not see my 
face. After we had gone, Mrs. B. says, " What im- 
pertinence was he whispering to you ? " I told her. 
She laughed and said there was no danger for me 
because 1 did not mind such things, but it would not 
do for some girls. I fudged myself for evening in 
my black silk with low neck and short sleeves, wore 
that broad black lace fastened to the neck for a 
bertha, and a black lace under-handkerchief which I 
made myself, and black mitts, all in black, you see, 
couldn't quite suit myself and went down to Mrs. 
Bailey's room, where Mrs. Pratt took me in hand, put 
one pearl pin in at one place, and a ruby in another, 
looped up my bertha on the shoulders with black 
velvet furnished by Mrs. Bailey, and declared I should 
be the belle of the evening. I went through another 
round of compliments even Dr. Bailey declared 



218 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the dress to be very becoming and he never spoke of 
my dress before, one way or the other. Well Mr. 
Hale came first as before and we played whist ! 
I being Mr. Hale's partner, under protest, though, as 
I was afraid I should make him lose the game. We 
gained, however, played only one game, then Mr. 
Hale and I went off to a sofa and had a small chat, 
and then I went off by the supper table at one end of 
the room and men huddled together at the other, till 
Mrs. Bailey came after me with a sharp stick and 
told me to " pitch into " the men and not stay there. 
She carried me half across the room and then was 
called off, and I stood still and took a view of the 
enemy finally saw one I knew, Mr. Baumgras, and 
struck a bee-line for him. Dr. Peter Parker nabbed 
me, and after a little complimentary nonsense intro- 
duced Mr. Warren, of Charlestown, Mass. He be- 
longs to the "Warrens famous in history. He was an 
accomplished and intelligent gentleman inquired who 
Mr. Baumgras was. I gave him an obituary of that 
gentleman, introduced them, and left them was next 
seized by Dr. Elder, who posted me into a corner 
where we were completely shut up and talked a long 
while. Mr. Preston King came up and begged his 
pardon for interrupting his conversation with that 
interesting young lady (that's me!) but he could not 
allow Dr. E. to forget him he stayed but a few 
moments, however. We talked about likings and 
dislikings, women marrying inferior men, the prin- 
ciples of right and wrong, and finally somehow got on 
to myself, my shyness, its causes, etc., and wasn't he 
clever ? I tell you what well, never mind. ' ' Well," 
says he, at last, with an oracular and decisive air, "I 
like you." I smiled and made no reply. " Why 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 219 

don't you say you don't wonder at it? " he continued. 
" But suppose I do?" said I. " Now tell me do you 
wonder that Hike you? (I.) "Weill I (He.) 
" No, speak right out now, don't you think you de- 
serve my love ?" (I.) "Yes, sir, I think in my 
soul, and really if you knew me, you would like me." 
(He.) " No, I don't mean mere liking. It is stronger 
than that I love you." (I.) "Love then, I am 
good enough to be loved, only I am surprised that, 
considering the disadvantages under which I labor, 
you should find it out so soon." We then had a short 
discussion on elective affinities interrupted by a 
young lady's dancing up to us, and I took occasion 
to clear out, was accosted by Mr. Lovejoy, who offered 
me oysters, but I declined aud took a lump of sugar 
instead and held one over liis saucer asking him if he 
would have sugar in his oysters. " No, you vixen," 
Somebody spoke to me and Dr. Elder was at my 
elbow after oysters, he said, but he took me first, 
and I thought we were in for another confab, but 
Mrs. Bailey sent up word that I should have Dr. E. 
no louger, that there were ever so many people want- 
ing to see him, so he trudged off. Mrs. B. came to 
me presently and said there was a lady here from 
Essex County who wanted to see me, Mrs. Robert 
Rantoul, and took me out to her aud presented me. 
I couldn't talk with her very well, couldn't think of 
anything to say, aud in a desperation proposed to call 
on her at her hotel and left. Then I went and stood 
by the piano hauling off to repair damages took 
a survey to see where to commence operations next. 
Mr. Preston King was sitting on the sofa talking to a 
lady. He got up and I hoped he was coming to me, 
but concluded if he didn't I would go to him. He 



220 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

did come to me and I told him ray surmises. He 
laughed and said, " Yes. he got up to come," aud then 
we went into the mysterious connection of mind aud 
matter." I told him I would offer him a chair only 
there was no available one except a little cane-seat 
which I was afraid to trust ; hoped he wouldn't think 
I was personal. "Of course not. Did I think that 
he thought the mention of a chair was personal?" 
General Wilson interrupted our conversation, and then 
Miss Elder again, so that I did not talk with hiin 
much. Dr. B. introduced me to Mr. Carter, a very 
severe critic, " a writer for the ' Tribune,' a friend of 
Emerson's, and a very wise man generally." Marcel 
told me afterwards that Mr. C. had been sighting nie 
all the evening and Frank said he had asked him to 
point me out. Dr. made me sit down between them 
on the eofa, and Mr. Carter began to say something 
about my " Era " productions which rather confused me 
so that I forgot exactly what it was, but I believe the 
gist of it was that he supposed them written by a 
man, some friend of the Dr.'s, and was surprised to 
find them by me. I never know what to do when 
people talk to me in that way, and so generally stare 
and simper like a simpleton. Mr. Lovejoy came up 
again and said, " That man knows more than any 
dozen other men in the city." We talked about writ- 
ing, and Emerson, and editors, and Concord, aud 
the sea-coast. Dr. Elder came up again to bid me 
good-night. Most of the people were gone. He 
shook hands, apologized for the interruption, and 
said in a low voice, " You know what I said I had 
for you." I replied gayly, " Yes, payable on demand." 
Presently they were all gone but the Pikes, my Mr. 
Carter, and a Mr. Harrington, and General Wilson, 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 221 

and then they wanted to dance and I had to join, and 
we had a nice time and a2;reed that we had all had a 
charmino; evening; and went to bed. It was about 
eleven, so you see we did not trench upon Sunday. 
We have a new minister here, Dr. Butler, of Cincin- 
nati, who preached here four years ago and has re- 
turned. I like him exceedingly and expect to enjoy 
going to church again, which I can't say I have done 
before since I have been here, I mean as far as the 
sermon goes. Dr. Bailey sent up and hired a pew as 
soon as he heard he was coming back, and we made 
a pew-full yesterday. I went with Mr. Wood in the 
evening and liked him better even than in the morning. 
I must stop. Good-night. 

January 27. 

Mrs. Bailey took my head into her hands to-night, 
and curled ray hair, and trimmed my net with chenille 
to the great admiration of some, and the disgust of 
others. Mrs, Pratt has just told me that a lady 
wanted to be introduced to me, and she wouldn't be- 
cause I had my head " fixed up," so she told her, 
" She did not wish to introduce Miss Dodge to her to- 
night, she would another night." I saw Mr. Joshua 
R. Giddings in the entry, and said to Mrs. Bailey 
that 1 wanted to speak to him just to say that I had. 
She introduced me. When I said, " Mr. Giddings, I 
have been making Mrs. B. promise to give me a chance 
to speak one word with you, as it is one of the things I 
looked forward to most in coming to Washington, and 
shall look back upon with most pleasure." You know 
I talk fast, and will you believe instead of my 
minute, he sat down in an arm-chair, and placed a 
small one for me in front of him, and talked with me 



222 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

half au hour I should think of his political life, his 
griefs asked me about Hamilton. I told him about 
its being the nursing mother of the father of Ohio 
he told me his father was a Gloucester boy. I told 
him that such men as he were above flattery, and I 
could therefore tell him how his name had been one 
of my earliest enthusiasms. I asked him if I should 
take his cup for more coffee. " Did I think he would 
be so ungallant as to allow me to wait upon him in 
that way?" " But his age, if I might allude to what 
was generally a delicate subject, but which his crown 
of glory rendered honorable, and his position quite 
reversed the order of things, and I should be only too 
well pleased to do it," etc., etc., etc. 

February 26. 
My dear a. : Your letters I have not answered 
before because 1 have put off everything that could 
be put off till Congress was over, or, at least, till my 
hurries were over. I have been in such a whirl that 
sometimes I did not know what I was about. First, 
you know, I have my pupils then those articles in 
the "Era," once begun, had of course to be kept up 
every week then there were books to review, and 
books to be reviewed must be read. The notices of 
"The Land and the Book," "Palfrey's History of 
New England," " Atlantic Monthly, " " British Poets 
and Ballads," " Sylvan Holt's Daughter," "Madame 
Mario," and several others, I wrote. Then there 
were the "Washington Letters" in the "Cong." 
and the occasional stories, and every evening from 
seven till twelve, or thereabouts, in the parlor with 
company and a good many calls to return. You 
may fancy I had not much opportunity for writ- 



FIRST YEAR IN WASfflNGTON 223 

ing letters, though I have kept up my weekly letter 
home with great regularity. Now I have finished my 
" Meu and Women," aud I shall have but one or two 
more letters to write, aud I hope to have a little more 
time at my disposal. 

You speak of Mr. Wood's ideas having been propa- 
gated by the Spiritualists. It is quite time, for all 
the valuable ideas I ever knew them to propagate 
were held by good Orthodox people who had any 
ideas on the subject. I investigated this matter of 
Spiritualism pretty thoroughly a few years ago. I 
read their own papers, and though I do by no means 
believe that it is all humbug, or sympathize with the 
ill-bred, foolish, useless, and ])lundering way in which 
they are snubbed by some of their opponents, yet I 
think if those who believe in it had been better ac- 
quainted with the views held by intelligent, thinking 
Christians they would have said less about their own 
opinions being so far in advance of the age. They 
would have known that many views which charmed 
themselves by their novelty had been long familiar to 
Evangelical Christians, but being entirely new to 
themselves, they supposed they were equally so to 
others. However, I believe Spiritualism has its own 
work to do in the world's salvation. It wakes us up 
on the subject, makes us familiar with the idea of a 
Future Life and at least gives rise to the question 
If that is not true, what is true? 

I can fully understand how large a part of your 
life is taken up by reading. I mean, rather, consists 
in your reading. Isolated as you are from a great 
deal of the world, you are very happy in being able to 
make for yourself an inner life. Y'et if I were to 
choose between a life in Washington, as I see it in the 



224 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

societ}' women here, and a life such as yours, I should, 
I think, very decidedly choose yours. I do not be- 
lieve this constant attention to dress, and dinners, 
and visits, and sharp, smart, or proper sayings, is 
calculated to develop the higher qualities of the soul. 
I would rather grow great than grow sharp. If I go 
home to Hamilton next summer I shall be in about the 
same condition as to society that you are in, and shall 
depend upon books in much the same way. I have 
kept your New Year's letter to answer, though I suppose 
by this time you have about forgotten the questions. 
Mr. Hale's daughter is not in Washington, but his 
wife is. She is very beautiful. I like him he is 
very kind-hearted, rather brusque, jerky in conversa- 
tion, but one to laugh and joke with as hard as you 
please. Shall I tell you who of the Members are my 
favorites ? Well, Preston King, Senator from New 
York, the fattest man you ever saw, an old bachelor, 
red faced, ugly but jovial, sociable, high-toned withal, 
of excellent principles, and fair capacity so far as I 
can judge. Mr. Doolitlle, of Wisconsin, a noble 
man, of fine presence the more I know him the 
better I like him. In the house, Mr. Lovejoy is a 
good, honest, burly, big fellow, and likes me and I 
like him, so we get confiding occasionally. Mr. Bur- 
lingame, of Massachusetts, is good as far as he goes. 
Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, Senator, is not very 
well educated, and besides, as somebody here said, 
" he feels bis oats." Mr. Dow, of Massachusetts, I 
have met but once, but I liked him then. Mr. Clark, 
of Connecticut, I like. Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, 
is rather odd, but I rather like him. Mr. Giddings, 
of Ohio, old Joshua R., I have had delightful long tallis 
with he has told me about himself, and his early 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 225 

trouble, and we are on excellent terms. We have a 
reception every Snturday night at which all these 
people and a good many others come, so I have a 
fine chance to see them, and I enjoy it exceedingly, 
and quite astonish my friends by the manner in which 
I come out. Dr. Elder, of Philadelphia, the author 
of the " Life of Doctor Kane," is in town, and we have 
struck up quite an intimacy. Mr. Hale remembered 
you perfectly when I spoke of you to him, and 
inquired your welfare with a great deal of interest, 
and spoke of you very highly. Congress adjourns 
next Friday, and then I suppose we shall be very 
quiet, and I shall want to go home. I have, how- 
ever, some very good friends in the city whom I in- 
tend to cultivate, but the excitement and whirligig 
will be gone. I shall read more, and walk more, and 
sleep more. 

The Patent Office is very different now. All the 
fine fancy things have been removed to the Smithso- 
nian. I have walked over to Georgetown with Mr. 
Hale, and rode over with the Dr. We got out and 
ran up the hills by the side of the road on Georgetown 
Heights. It was one of the finest views I ever saw. 
We have had no winter at all scarcely most of the 
time I have had my window open. You asked me if 
I wrote my politics myself, or got some masculine 
friend to do it. Scamp ! Do you think I am not up 
to such things myself ? Yes, ma'am, I wrote them 
myself. 

Monday morning. Since I commenced this one of 
our neighbors who lived in the same block with us has 
been shot dead by Mr. Sickles, Member of the House 
from New York. It occurred yesterday about noon. 
If ever murder was justifiable, I think this was. I 



226 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

went yesterday to hear Mrs. Lucretla Mott preach. 
She was at our house Saturday night. One of the 
sweetest faces I ever saw, and a charming, benevo- 
lent old lady. I quite fell in love with her. Her 
husband's brother, Mr. Mott, is Member of the 
House, and has two delightful daughters, whose ac- 
quaintance I have made here. I hope it won't be 
quite so long before we exchange letters again. Good 
morning. 

Affectionately yours, 

Abbt. 

March 18. 

My dear Mother : I commence a letter to you 
with but a very indefinite notion of when I shall finish 
it. I received a paper, the "Observer," from you 
yesterday, containing a notice of Aunt's death, also 
that very curious reckoning up of the deaths for a 
year making out the deaths in Hamilton to be at the 
rate of a quarter of the population j^early. Now I 
cannot believe that Providence intends to kill off the 
population at that rate, and I see no use in making 
such a calculation, nor any sense either. It reminds 
me of the time when a slight shock of earthquake was 
felt Sunday morning, and Squire Allen and several 
others improved it by exhorting sinners to repentance. 
For my part, I saw no connection between the two 
things. If God's love and goodness and justice are 
not enough to draw men to him I don't believe they 
will generally be impelled by a very slight earthquake. 
Nor do I think men will be benefited by being told 
that they are dying at the rate of a quarter of a town 
a year particularly when they know they are not. 

I went a few evenings since to hear Mrs. Fanny 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 227 

Kemble Butler read a play of Shakespeare's. The 
audience was not large, being, as Maria remarked, de- 
cidedly sectarian, composed chiefly of ICpiscopalians 
and the gayest of the Congregational ists. Mrs. But- 
ler is perhaps fifty years old, and from shoulder to 
shoulder the broadest woman I should think that I 
ever saw. Her arm is the arm of a blacksmith. She 
wore low neck and short sleeves a dress that looked 
as if it was lace over silk, and no hoops. Her read- 
ing and acting were very fine. 

Mr. Wood proposed to me that evening to go to his 
church the next evening to witness a baptism. I had 
never seen one (by immersion), and assented. The 
church was crowded, for besides the Baptists there 
was also an Episcopalian who was to be plunged by 
an Episcopal minister. It went off very well, but it 
made me terribly nervous to see them go backwaixls 
so. If they could only have been immersed face 
downward, I should not have cared. Dr. Peter Parker 
has moved into the house where Key used to live, so 
we shall have him for a neighbor. 

March 30. 

I had a letter from Mr. Curtis on Sunday, argu- 
mentative and valedictorian, desiring me to sign his 
death-warrant, if it must be so. I replied to it yester- 
day with six pages. You think the chief part of your 
leisure time is spent in writing letters. I wish I had 
kept an account of the number of pages I have written 
this year. ... If I ever teach in any High 
School it will be Hartford. I can't yet tell what I 
shall do. My inclinations indicate very strongly not 
to teach at all. Mr. Wood's injunctions are equally 
stringent. The Curtiscs are mad to have me return 



228 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

to Hartford. Dr. Bailey has his heart on my coming 
here. Mrs. Bailey says see what it is to be in de- 
mand ! I had a long talk with Mrs. B., two of 
them indeed but I think it would be more profitable 
in the end for me not to teach particularly as I am so 
thoroughly tired of it. I will let you know as soon as I 
have decided. Mr. Goodlow, calling, says I don't know 
how popular I am getting in the city. A lady came 
to him for the set of papers containing my " Men and 
Women" they had been recommended to her by 
Rev. Mr. Hall. A gentleman from IMichigan wrote 
to the Dr. to send him a set of the papers containing 
the same, and entreated to know who Gail Hamilton 
was. 

April 5. 

My dear Mother : I was making a call yesterday, 
and while there the lady's mother came into the room, 
and I was introduced to her. After a while she rose 
from her seat and left the lady with whom she wan 
talking and said to me, " What did I understand your 
name to be?" I told her, and her daughter said, 
"Why, it's Gail Hamilton. You know her." She 
then came and sat down by me, asked where I was 
from, and said I might be related to the Dodges of 
Wenham. Well, we went on talking, and she spoke 
of being in Essex and Gardiner, and Augusta, and 
finally it came out that she knew Captain Stauwood 
and his wife very well, "Old Captain Stanwood," 
a great while ago. She said she had sailed in his ves- 
sel many times between Ipswich and Gardiner or 
Augusta, I forget which, had seen Mrs. Stanwood 
down there. She was a very smart, enterprising 
woman, and they used to have long talks together 
about the Ipswich people, and she knew Uncle Jacob 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 229 

and Aunt Sally, and inquired for the children and 
Daniel Stanwood, she believed, lived in her brother's 
house and she knew Dr. Dana, of Ipswich, and Mrs. 
Choate, of Essex, and Mr. David Choate, and Mr. 
Crowell, and all those old worthies. Now can you 
guess who it was? Well, it was Mrs. Webster, the 
sister of Dr. Sewell, of Essex. Did you ever hear of 
her or of him? She is a pleasant old lady, and 
seemed right glad to see me and talk over her old 
friends and my relatives. Her daughter, whom I 
went to see, is Mrs. Lindsley, wife of Dr. Bailey's 
family physician, mother of Rev. Mr. Washburn, 
rector of Judge Huntington's church in Hartford, and 
sister of Dr. Peter Parker's wife. 

I received a letter from Mr. Wood on Sunday morn- 
ing. He says, " As to your continuing here, you know 
how much it would add to my happiness to have you 
in the doctor's family, yet, while my own pleasure 
would be secured by your doing so, I do not think it 
best if you do not design to give up all your aspira- 
tions for authorship. I shall deposit in the ' Insti- 
tute for Savings,' No. 576 Broadwa}', before I return, 
$200, which I have set apart for you so that you shall 
have this fund to supply 3'ourself with the means of 
making a beginning," etc., etc. I do not think I shall 
touch it, as I don't think it will be necessary, but it is 
just as kind in him. 

You ask me how old I was yesterday? Well, I've 
got to the water-shed and now I am going down the 
other side. Consequently, I am twenty-four. If I 
live till next year I shall be twenty-three and so on 
till I get to twenty, when I shall swing back again, and 
thus vibrate between twenty and twenty-five during 
the remainder of my natural life. I do not think 



230 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

there is any prospect of my remaining in W. during the 
summer. I have no particular plan for the year to 
come, only to write in a general way and not to teach 
in particular. 

April 22. 

Edward Spencer, of Baltimore, who wrote " Jasper," 
in the " Era," is going to have a story in the " At- 
lantic " pretty soon. He wrote to Dr. Bailey a day or 
two ago, " I should like to have held Gail Hamilton's 
catalogue for her when she was looking at the pictures. 
How daintily yet how defiantly she handles art just 
as she would dandle a baby not her own yet with 
none the less grace and confidence for that. She 
understands sunshine, not philosophically or accord- 
ing to the laws of optics, but because she has lived 
in it and danced in it and knows it to be good. It is 
a very pretty morning star that will shine all the more 
brightly and serenely when the sun is fully risen. 
Her pure objectiveness, her perfect unconsciousness 
of the ego^ is the great charm of her writings for me." 
Dr. Bailey thinks of going to Constantinople. Mr. 
De Naise will at any rate. His family have a reunion 
there. One of his brothers, who is an officer in the 
Russian army, is to meet him in Paris. The proba- 
bility is now that he will go before the Dr. does 
that the Dr. will meet Mr. Sherman and wife in 
Paris, they meet De Naise at Nice after he has made 
his visit home, and then all go to Italy together. I 
am trying to make one of those bouquet baskets of 
white beads to hang up in the window, have begun 
the third time and think I shall take it out once more. 
They are very pretty if well made. I have made the 
skirts of my two thin dresses, am making over a black 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 231 

lace cape that I f adged up last winter and mending 
in a general way to keep myself in some sort of trim. 
I am reading Prescott's " Life of Pliillip II. of 
Spain " very interesting you must read it and 
I have a blank book in which I note down the impor- 
tant places in which important things happened, that I 
may have it all ready when I go to Europe. You must 
read some of those books if you intend to go with mc. 
Mr. Wood wanted me to send my papers on art to 
Miss Ransom, a young lady, an admirer of mine, 
whom I met here last winter but, as she is an artist 
herself, I wrote to her telling her I would do no such 
thing. Mrs. Dr. Butler and her daughter called here 
on Monday evening. The Dr. was asleep on the 
sofa, Mrs. B. asleep in her chair. I routed them up 
and Mrs. Butler sat down by them and nobody intro- 
duced me, so I went on with my reading, listening 
when anything interesting was said, but saying noth- 
ing-. As Mrs. Butler left after an hour or so she 
bowed to me and Mrs. Bailey saw me for the first 
time, said she did not know I was in the room. We 
had a little laugh over it, and the next day Mrs. 
Butler called again and said she was determined this 
time to make sure of me. 

Washington, April 30. 

I think your criticism of "Jasper " is just. There 
is not enough simplicity and naturalness too much 
fine writing and learning. Do you know you made a 
pun and a good one too a thing unprecedented in 
the Dodge family. The " Katy" was Kate Putnam, 
of Worcester. I wrote the piece years ago when I 
was in Ipswich, at Alvin's request. Easter Monday 
we had a holiday which I improved by finishing a 



232 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

black lace cape. Then Martha, the sewing-girl, col- 
ored, who has made a confidante of me and repays me 
by giving me molasses candy and mending me up and 
doing various kind things, wanted me to write a letter 
to her "lovyer" in China. Didn't I lay it on hot 
and heavy ? She actually cried when I read it to her. 
It was "just the feelings she wanted to ex[)ress." 
" Miss Abby, you must have had some experience in it 
yourself or you never could have written so ! ! ! " Mr. 
De Naiso was in in the evening and wanted to know 
who Gail Hamilton was. She had written somethins: 
about babies which De Naise read in the pai'lor at the 
National with wonderful effect, as a baby which had 
been accustomed to squall there diurually had not 
since appeared. Dr. referred him to me. I said 
I had never even asked the Dr. who it was. Dr. 
told him it was quite remarkable what a desire there 
was to know whether G. H. was a man or woman. 
De Naise said some said that it was a cross old bach- 
elor, and others a sour old maid. Presently the Dr. 
told him. 

It is decided at last that Marcel is to go to Europe 
with his father. Mrs. B. did not feel easy to have 
him go alone. Marcel has finished with his tutor and 
is all ready to study law. It will be a gi-and thing 
for him and he is abundantly able to profit by it. 
Dr. sent me up a letter from somebody out West 
saying, "And the wonderful Gail Hamilton. ' Is it a 
man or a woman?' is a standing topic of discussion 
with my brothers and sisters. For myself, I have 
long since made up my mind that Gail is feminine. 
We like her immensely." Thursday I had a letter 
from my graduating class on some twenty or thirty 
slips of paper. In their surprise and gratitude for 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 233 

my letter they sat down there at the party and with 
pen and pencil wrote me messages. I was of course 
very glad to get it. Ellen Hunt wants my photograph, 
but I don't believe she suspects how much it will cost. 
They all looked at my picture and pronounced it ad- 
mirable. Nelly Tarr, who used to be governess here, 
whose a friend of Grace Greenwood's, who married 
Mr. O'Connor, sub-editor of the " Philadelphia Post," 
and who lives in Philadelphia, is coming to see Miss 
Miner, and she wants me to come out there and spend 
the evening. I suppose I shall go next week. 

May 2, 1859. 

This delicious summer air makes me want to go 
home. I want to live in the country to plant, and 
sow, and cultivate. I want to have a kitchen garden 
and a flower garden, and I intend to have them, and 
will be a famous farmer as you will see. 

I suppose I shall come back here next fall. I did 
not mean to teach the next year at all, but they want 
me so much to come back, aud the Dr. is an invalid 
and wants to feel easy about going to Europe. 
"Washington is one of the most orderly cities I ever 
saw. 

The foot-passengers and drivers and shop-keepers 
are universally polite. Coachmen stop a rod off to 
let you cross the street. 

It somewhat vexes me to hear people in mother 
places talk about the corruption that exists in Wash- 
ington. 

There is a lady here Miss Miner who has organ- 
ized and established a school for colored girls. She 
is a very energetic, practical woman with an indomit- 
able will. She has been long an invalid. 



234 (iAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

She came to see me recently, when I remarked liow 
bright her eyes were and how abundant her hair. 
She said she would tell me the secret of it. It is too 
long to repeat, but she has a firm belief that an intel- 
ligence higher than her own has taken her in hand, 
and has been and is affecting a cure. For a long 
time her hands, without any will of her own, would 
beat the diseased parts of her body severely first 
spine, then liver, head, throat, etc., daily for five 
hours. Now, it only begins when she is weary. She 
is sensible, not given to vagaries, and her testimony 
would be admissible in any court of justice. It is one 
of the unexplained facts which cluster so thickly 
around us in these latter days, and in the midst of 
which we blindly grope while a ray of light seems 
now and then to gleam athwart the darkness. In the 
course of time and the progress of intelligence I 
suppose all these facts will be properly classed, and 
be showed to be only a part of the great organism of 
the universe. 

I must tell you I have been photographed by Brady. 
I tried three times and have got an excellent picture 
at last. It was not my own doings, but concocted by 
Mr. Wood and Mrs. Bailey. Mr. Curtis has sent for 
me to return to Hartford, offering me four hundred 
dollars to teach half a day, but I do not intend to go 
at present. 

May 21. 1 received last Sunday a letter from Mr. 
Richardson, saying: "I have the honor to enclose to 
your address the within notes from Mr. D. S. Ford, 
one of the editors and publishers of the ' Youth's 
Companion,' and also of the 'Watchman' and 
' Reflector.' I beg leave to assure you that we have 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 235 

not had the temerity even to hint to him who or where 
you are, considering ourselves under a solemn injunc- 
tion to keep the secret committed to our trust. Per- 
mit me to add my impression that you might find a 
connection with the ' Companion ' pleasant, and that 
you might obtain fair compensation. In justice to 
the ' Congregationalists ' I must express the hope that 
you will make no connection with any other paper 
that will seriously interfere with your writing fre- 
quently for us. Are you expecting to be in Wash- 
ington again next winter? If so, you can calculate 
on sending us some more letters if agreeable to your- 
self," etc. 

The within notes were : 

No. 1. 

Friend "Congregationalists": As you make the 
best paper in Boston of course after " oiu-s " I am de- 
sirous to ajipropriate some of your excellencies. May I ? 
Be clever now and tell me who Gail Hamilton is, and 
whether I can get him or her (whichever gender the 
name belongs to) to write for the " Companion." If you 
do not object to granting this favor please tell me how 
much you give a column for the articles of this writer. 

Yours very fraternally, 
Ford. 

No. 2. 

Dear Sir : Be ffood enouo^h to ask modest Gail whether 
it will be agreeable for him (or her) to write for the 
"Companion." If agreeable, be kind enough also to 
inquire what we must pay Gail for that 23rivilege. So 
retiring a person I trust will not come down very heavily 
for the tin. Is it possible that there is one writer, espe- 
cially for youth, who is fearful of notoriety? etc., etc. 

There are several comments which I should make 



236 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

on these notes if you were within heaviug, but as you 
are not, I will give you the simple text and you may 
draw your own conclusion. I wrote to Mr. Richard- 
son on Monday, telling him to tell that Ford that as 
I had as yet got only far-off glimpses of the Delecta- 
ble Mountains, I had not set any price on my iniqui- 
ties, but he might tell me what my articles were worth 
to him, and if I chose to write 

I would 
He might depend on't 

If I won't, I won't 
And there's an end on't. 

Whether Mr. Ford will be able fully to understand 
my message remains to be seen. Tuesday Dr. Bailey 
sent me up six books to notice. You will see what 
they were in the paper. As I keep nearly all the 
books I notice I have quite an acquisition to my 
library. It is a rather easy way of getting books. 
The Dr. is to leave next Thursday. The present 
war may have some effect on his future movements. 
It may prevent his going to Italy, though again it 
may be over before he gets there. I hope you will 
read up on it and not wait till it gets to be history, 
for then you certainly never will know. If you see 
a crocodile served up a week or two hence you will 
know where it came from. Tell Maria it is necessary 
to throw in judicious moral reflections in order to 
appease the populace, who won't eat a crocodile with- 
out condiments. I'm sorry you did not like " The 
Stilts," but you mustn't expect the best of everything 
even from my pen. I shall have to set Mr. Ford's 
application against your disapprobation. 



FIRST YEAR IN" WASHINGTON 237 

May 28. 

The Dr. and Marcel left at half-past six. About 
nine, as Mrs, Bailey was " cleariu' up," she discovered 
their passports in the secretary ! You must know, 
mother, that they could not set foot in France without 
their passports. Accordingly there was some flying 
round for the next hour or two. During the day we 
had three telegraphic despatches from the Dr. along 
the road telling us to send them by express. We 
sent letters to them, and expect to receive one this 
morning, after which we shall not hear again for three 
weeks or more. 

In the evening, to cheer the somewhat depressed 
circle, I brought down some of my old verses, etc., 
and read them aloud to the company, consisting of 
Mr. Wood and Mrs. B., who seemed to be considera- 
bly entertained. 

Monday, A.M. We have received two letters from 
the Dr. He bore the journey well said he had 
walked more at the stations along the road than he 
had done at home in a montli. They were to set sail 
at twelve o'clock, Saturday, in the " Argo." Mr. W. 
Frank and I went to the Navy Yard on Saturday, 
but there was no ship, so we only surveyed the various 
operations and great guns. Mrs. Dr. Peter Parker 
spent the evening here and entertained us with an 
account of some of her Chinese experiences. 

June 11. 
Monday, after supposing myself destitute except a 
three-cent piece, I found a $2.50 gold piece in one 
of my drawers, with which I was very much delighted. 
Now, mother, if I had been careful and not lost that, I 
never should have had the pleasure of finding it. It 



238 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

is the second one I have found in that way when I 
thought I had no money. Moral : Never be careful 
of your money. 

Washington, June 18. 

I have taken a small piece of paper and I don't 
know that I shall fill that I am so disgusted at the 
very idea of writing letters bah ! Don't expect 
another one from me at present. There is plenty to 
write about, but how can I bring myself to tell it all 
over ? I won't, so there ! I received your letter and 
mother's yesterday. 

June 20. After the above spasm I laid mv pen 
down exhausted and got up at five o'clock this morn- 
ing to give you a few ''' liitems." Saturday, June 11, 
I sent you my last letter. Professor Marix called 
and stayed nearly an hour and we had a delightful 
talk. I do like to talk with the right sort of people. 
Monday I walked over to Miss Miner's, she teaches 
the colored school, and when I got home, we went 
to a sacred concert of the children in Trinity Church. 

Dr. Parker was in in the evenins;. Did I tell vou 
that Mrs. Parker, after nineteen years of marriage, 
has just had her first baby? It is a boy, and they 
are both in raptures. She is very well. 

June 23, 1859. 

My dear Mother : You have probably heard by 
this time the news of Dr. Bailey's death on board the 
steamer " Argo." It was very unexpected, almost as 
much so as if he had been in perfect health. We 
were expecting letters by the "Persia" that evening. 
Mrs. Bailey's only anxiety had been lest some acci- 
dent should happen to the ship. That morning she 



FIRST YEAR IN WASHINGTON 239 

sent clown for the morning papers to see if the "Argo" 
had arrived in England. She saw that it had and, 
without looking any farther, threw herself on the bed, 
laughing in a kind of rapture of joy. Fanny picked 
up the paper and read tlie next paragraph, which an- 
nounced his death. Without saying anything to her 
mother she brought the paper to me. I heard her 
moaning in the utmost distress as she came up the 
stairs and ran to meet her. Her face was so white 
and terrified that I feared the worst. The paper was 
all crumpled in her hand and she could only cry out, 
" What does it mean ? " She told me that her mother 
did not know it and I must tell her. I thoug-ht I 
could not. Maggie came crying into the room to 
Ivuow what was the matter, and I heard her mother 
calling on the stairs and I knew that it must come, so 
I went out and told her. Yesterday was a terrible 
day. I was with her all day and last night. The 
doctor gave her an opiate last night and she slept a 
good deal, and is a little calmer to-day. The blow 
was the heavier coming directly after the sudden joy 
on his supposed safe arrival. We received a letter 
from Marcel last evening. He says his father grew 
gradually weaker from the time the steamer left New 
York and a violent cold which he took hastened his 
end. Every comfort was afforded him and his last 
moments were calm and free from pain. Some time 
before his death every uneasy expression vanished 
from his face, his brow cleared, a peaceful and happy 
look came on him, and from that time till his death 
there was no pain, but he seemed to be perfectly at 
rest. His whole life has been a grand application of 
Christian principles to the affairs of life. 

This will change my plans about coming home. I 



240 C^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

cannot leave Mrs. Bailey yet not, certainly, till after 
the funeral. Mother, I will make up at the other end 
of the vacation, if I do return, what I lose to you at 
this. Every one is very kind to Mrs. Bailey and to 
me. I have been writing to her friends. 



VI 

LITERARY PROGRESS 

1859-1860 



241 



VI 

LITERARY PROGRESS 

1859-1860 

July 3. 

My dear Mother : Perhaps you expected a letter 
from me before, but I have been waiting to be able to 
give you defiuite information about my coming home. 
You must look out in the papers for the arrival of the 
" Vandcrbilt," and expect me to start a day or two 
after that. I suppose I shall have to stay one day 
after the funeral, because I witnessed the will and that 
will have to be probated before I leave. Capt. Nay- 
lor is going on to New York and he will be very glad 
of my company. He is one of my friends. You 
have heard me speak of him. He served in the Mex- 
ican war, and was a member of Congress eccentric 
but good, and good company. 

Mother, I wish you would meet me in Boston as I 
first proposed. Affectionately, 

M. A. D. 

Campton, Grafton Co., July 30, 1859. 

My dear Mother ; You will see by the date that 

we are safely here. I will give you first an account 

of my adventures in Boston. I went with all my 

bundles secure to F's, saw him a little while, and then 

243 



244 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

proceeded to Dick's went upstairs, saw a tall, 
moustachioed and whiskered young man, who seemed 
to be somewhat acquainted there, but had on his hat 
and was just going out. I stood a moment and then 
he spoke to the man behind the screen and he came 
out and I said, " Is Mr. R. in?" and he said, " I am 
Mr. R.," and I was taken aback, as he was about 
twenty years younger looking than I expected to see 
him. I stared, and he said, "Is it Miss Dodge?'' 
and I said " Yes," and he asked me to come into the 
other room and sit on the sofa, and I went and couldn't 
think of a thing to say, nor he either, and then he in- 
troduced the tall man as the Rev. Mr. Dexter, and I 
told Mr. Dexter he didn't look at all like a minister, 
and he said he didn't have his clerical suit on, and he 
popped himself down on the sofa beside me and we 
talked and laughed and I showed him my picture and 
he didn't think it was very good not half so pretty 
as I was ! and said Whipple of Boston ought to have 
taken one of me, and he wished I would go over and 
see the kind of picture he meant. He wanted me to 
be photographed there right away, and I wouldn't and 
couldn't, and Whipple came in and they both went at 
me and I said I wasn't dressed for it and Mr. D. 
said he didn't care for the dress what he wanted 
was my face, and half persuaded, and half forced, I 
finally sat three times ! Then he wanted me to go to 
Mt. Auburn with him and his wife in the afternoon, 
and I said I would. Mr. D's son, of eleven years, 
came out to Mt. Auburn in the cars. We walked 
around the grounds, then went into the tower and 
then came home. He says he thinks I must have been 
intended to be his sister. He never had any sister. 
We didn't get home till after six. 



LITERARY PROGRESS 245 

September 25. 

I remember you roasted and spitted and basted 
and carved me about Mrs. R., because I didn't an- 
swer her note, and because I said she was splendid, 
and I did answer her note, and she is splendid, 
whether New England is a province or a Cosmos. 
Splendid means brilliant, sparkling, shining, and the 
boy's story, and the girl's story, and the toad under 
the rock are just that, bless you! And she didn't 
write any either. She only scrawled a scratch with a 
lead pencil on a torn leaf of something, just because 
you had " egged" her on till life was a burden to her, 
and she took revenge by just sayiug that she had been 
a long time hesitating whether it was worth while to 
attack me, and finally concluded it wouldn't pay. Do 
you think I was going to get up an alliance, offensive 
and defensive, on that? Now you be civil, or I will 
just write a note to Mrs. R. and tell her that you 
called her a lizard. 

Send on that " Little Pilgrim ! " Quick ! 

Now see here, cotton-lipped Oleander, as the old 
man on the wood-pile said to the negro-woman contra- 
banders below "I ain't rich, but I'm generous." 
I don't wish you ever to say anything about paying 
me. When you want me to write a story, you say so, 
and when you have more money than you know what 
to do with, give me some of it ; but don't ever not 
ask me to write because you have nothing to pay 
with, and above all things and especially, don't ever 
suffer yourself to be annoyed by the shadow of an 
idea that you owe me anything but the most heartfelt 
devotion, and that you will never pay, and so I call 
it a bad debt and put it out of the inventory. 

I went to see Whittier the other day. He told me 



246 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

a shabby turn which somebody had done you, offi- 
cially. May he come to grief ! Whittier talked about 
Grace, too. Isn't Whittier irresistible? Isn't the 
Merrimac peerless? Dou't talk about the Arno and 
the Rhine. They'i'e no better than the Merrimac, and 
I don't believe there are any such rivers, either. Isn't 
"Whittier even sweet? Isn't their Charles and Mary 
Lamhness a perpetual poem ? 

Grace, you are coming to Lynn. Hamilton is only 
a matter of fifty cents or so, from Ljnn. If society 
gets to be a "boah," and you want to lie on a sofa, 
and see nobody, and do nothing, and rest, and speak 
once in about three hours, why then Hamilton is just 
the place for you. Never mind the loss of money. 
Money is nothing but metal. This world is all a fleet- 
ing show, though it must be confessed that the most 
of even that is made by money. 

I can't tell whether this story is anything or isn't, 
or what it is. I've just made it up as I went along 
out of nothing, and very likely I have boggled over it, 
but what business have you to make me write a story 
late into Saturday night, when I Avant to be knitting a 
mitten for the soldiers, tell Annie, Grace, with red, 
white and blue in it, which I don't believe she has in 
her stocking. 

Boston, Mass., October 5, 1859. 
I am thus far on my way to Washington. I am 
also writing in an Editor's sanctum, in an Editor's 
chair, on an Editor's desk, with an Editor's pen, hj 
an Editor's ink, on an P^ditor's paper, and dou't I 
feel awed ? That's the reason why I am graver than 
usual. 



LITERARY PROGRESS 247 

Washington, DC, October 9, 1859. 
My dear Mother : You see I am safely here, so I 
will begin with you where I left off. After leaving 
my trunk at the Worcester depot, I went up to the 
' ' Congrregationalist " office and asked Mr. Green if I 
could rent the office a little while as I wanted to finish 
a piece and write a letter. He put me at once into 
Mr. Dexter's part of it, and furnished me with writing 
materials, and I stayed quietly till I had finished oper- 
ations, calling out to him once in a while when I 
thought of anything I wanted to say. He told me 
the vv-ay he suspected me the first time I was there was 
because I looked like my sister in Cambridge also 
he read a letter from his sister speaking of Gail Ham- 
ilton and his power to interest children. Dea. James 
was introduced to me, and I had some conversation 
with him. I took the horse-cars to Cambridge. I felt 
really miserable in the evening, and took some wine 
the last thing before going to bed, and also in the 
morning before I went away. I thinlv it was nothing 
but the excitement and want of sleep. Felt carried 
me over to Boston the next morning, and went with 
me as far as the first stopping-place, and there I will 
stop m3' letter, too. I want to send this by the first 
mail. It will serve to let you know that I am here 
and well, at last. Good morning, 

Affectionately, 

Abby. 

OctOBER 10. 

My dear Family : I will continue my narration. I 
had a really delightful ride to Meriden. The cars 
were very clean, very easy, and I had four seats to 
myself. The rest was just the thing for me. I had 



248 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

as pleasant a visit at Abby's as I could under the cir- 
cumstances, but I was not at all well. I had no appe- 
tite, and was only fit to go to bed though I did not 
till the proper time. A little after one I left for 
N.Y., and arrived there safely before sunset. I fol- 
lowed the crowd and saw a liorse-car marked " 27th 
St. and Astor House " so I got into that and told 
the conductor to let me out at the Astor House, as I 
did not know where it was. It was the end of the 
route. He told me where to find the private entrance 
the porter showed me into the parlor, and presently 
Mr. S. entered, looking around, and I rose and he 
said, "Miss Dodge?" and I said, "Mr. Stetson?" 
Then I told him that I was travelling from Hamilton, 
Massachusetts, to Washington, and unexpectedly 
found myself obliged to remain in N.Y. over night, 
and so I had thrown myself on him in hope of not be- 
ing torn in pieces by wild beasts, etc., etc. " Ham- 
ilton? What! Essex County?" Yes, sir. Why, 
he used to be there himself. It was the best place to 
live in he ever saw. He would be glad to go there 
now. Did I live in Backside or Foreside ? What was 
my name ? What was my father's name ? He used 
to know Dodges. Well, he said I needn't be in the 
least afraid. Everything went on there just like 
home, etc., and he gave me his arm and went with me 
to look up my trunks, and sent a porter for the house- 
keeper, etc , etc., and everything went off very well, 
just as well as if I had had twenty men about me. I 
had breakfast at six and left in the cars at seven. 
Nothing in particular happened till I got to Baltimore. 
There it began to rain, and a very severe thunder 
shower. We had to change cars there and ride 
through the city in horse-cars. It rained a little when 



LITERARY PROGRf^SS 249 

I got in. The car was crowded full, and squeezed in 
among the rest, sat the Rev. Mr. Spalding of New- 
buryport ! Of course there was something of an ex- 
clamation on both sides. He had been on to the 
meeting of the A. B. C. F. M., and was going to 
Washington to see the sights. It was right pleasant 
to see and talk with him. At Washington Marcel 
and Mr. Wood met us. Mr. W., Mr. S., and I got 
into a carriage and waited some twenty minutes for 
my trunk to be got out and put on, and then we 
drove home. Of course it gave the two a fine chance 
to get acquainted, of which I was very glad, as I had 
been offering Mr. W. to Mr. S. as guide. I found 
Mrs. Bailey and the children well. The former in as 
good spirits as I expected. I did not sleep much that 
night and had a renewal of my attack in the morning, 
but am now well. Have recovered my appetite and 
strength. If things go well here it seems as if we 
might be very comfortable. Mrs. B. speaks encour- 
agingly of the paper, but I have not much faith in it. 
Mrs. B. said that Mr. Wood brought with him such a 
pleasant impression of my mother ! Good morning. 

Affectionately yours, 

Abby. 

Washington, 1859. 

Mr. Derby's letter contained a letter which he had 
received from Miss Evans of Mobile, the authoress of 
"Beulah," a book which you remember I reviewed in 
the " Era " a while ago. She says " The review in the 
' National Era ' is an extremely well- written, humor- 
ous, caustic article. You write that it was written by a 
young lady whose name I could not clearly decipher. 
Ah, dear Mr. Derby, are you quizzing me or are you 



250 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

quizzed ? Don't you know Henry Ward Beech-r and 
Henry Ward I^eccher only wrote it? Why, sir, I see 
Beeeher in every line, from ' Crockett's coon' to tlie 
' hard, green apples.' It is admirably written and 
I have really enjoyed it laughed heartily so did 
pa. You probably know very well that the ' Era ' is an 
abolition sheet and you may be sure Beeeher contrib- 
uted the article. Limited as is my acquaintance with 
him, I can detect some of his pet phrases." He said 
that when he read my "Beulah" notice he said to 
friends, " Why that was just the view Beeeher took of 
it." He also sent me Mr. Beecher's autograph, and 
reiterates his belief that ' You could do something 
handsome with a book if you only try. I mean in 
writing a book, for you are smart, if I have to say it." 
I have had two letters from Mr. Richardson this 
week hurr3nug me up about my letters, which he wants 
begun right off. He also says in the first letter 
''Don't you find time to write more for us? Remem- 
ber, you haven't sent an article for the j^rs^ P^ge yet, 
notwithstanding your fair promises ! but undoubtedly 
you have a first-rate excuse, but seriousl}' we should 
like more ' copy ' from you." In the second he closes 
with " more copy." I will send you a copy of the " S. 
& S." with a story of mine in it. Look at the pictures 
and see if you think "Bekkie" would recognize her- 
self. The girls are too old for the story, but he says 
they had to take such pictures as they could get, 
as they hadn't time to get new ones made. Send it 
to mother when you have read it. They have a 
Christmas story of mine for that also, and one for the 
February number. The notices of " Sword and 
Gown," Saxe's Poems, and the "Nat. Philosophy" in 
the last "Era " were mine. I shall have no letter next 



LITERARY PROGRESS 251 

week, but a rh3'ming one the week after. I saw a 
piece of calico that I thought was remarkably pretty, 
went iu to get enough for a clothes-bag. It was only 
ten cents, so I bought enough for a dress. It is right 
pretty. INIr. Lovejoy told me he had written a poet- 
ical agricultural address. I said I wouldn't believe it 
till I saw it. " Didn't I know he was a poet?" " I 
thou<yht his face looked like one ' sicklied o'er with 
the pale cast of thought ' (you know he is big, brown, 
and burly), but I considered his forte to be letter- 
writins' ! " T laughed at him about the letter he wrote 
to me last summer. 

I have written to Mr. Derby to-day. He has sent me 
a paclcage of five new books : Chateaubriand, Voltaire, 
Pascal, and the "Fool of Quality," in two volumes. 
I made matters square with him some time ago. 1 
told him I swept off my old friends with the old year 
and began the new with a clean record, that the snake 
slouo-'iied off his old skin before he put on his new, 
and that I could not have successive layers of friend- 
ships any more than the snake could successive layers* 
of skin that if I didn't adopt some such [,urgative 
process I should have a congestion of the heart from 
a plethora of lovers that I treated men and women 
just as I did oranges, suck all the juice out and then 
throw 'em away that I believed in a rotation of 
crops morally and mentally as well as physically 
that when you've taken the measure of a man, have 
sounded and fathomed him, and know that you can't 
wade in him more than ankle deep when you've got 
out of him all your soul needs, what is the next thing 
to be done? Why, let him go. Do as the tick does, 
gorge yourself and then drop off. "Now," I said, 
"if you want a friend for just as long as she feels 



252 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

like it, a fair weather, skin-deep, April-shower friend, 
M'hy, I'm your man. I'll laugh and talk with you as 
long as it suits my humor and you are happy and 
prosperous, but when the clouds come, and the drops 
patter, and the winds blow, I'll stretch my wings and 
fly off." Isn't that fair? But "oh!" he replied, 
" won't I keep out of your net I " 

December 12. 

I was at Congress every day last week, and of 
course it takes a large slice from my day. When they 
get a Speaker I shall not attend quite so closely. Mr. 
Burlingame with two other Members has taken a house 
on our street. My book, I hope, will not come out 
this season. I went upon the Senate floor after it 
adjourned and saw Preston King. 

I saw Mr. Corwin (Hon. Tom) in the evening as 
I was going out told him I didn't suppose he remem- 
bered me, but I rememibered him. He said he should 
have remembered me twenty-five years ago. I only 
saw him on a visit here last year. He was not in 
Congress ; then Mr. Clepham joined me in Congress 
and came home with me. 

December 21. 
Wednesday I went to the Senate to hear Mr. 
Wade of Ohio. Right brave words he spoke, too. 
Mr. Fogg came and sat behind me and gave me the 
benefit of his comments. After Mr. Wade was 
through we went into the House to see what they 
were doing, and stayed through one ballot, but it 
didn't look as if they were going to elect a Speaker, 
and we went home at the begiuuing of what promised 
to be a long speech. I took my knitting- work up to 



LITERARY PROGRESS 253 

the Senate yesterday aud did a good long piece 
whereat Mr. Hale was greatly disgusted and 
begged I wouldn't do it again. Thursday Capt. 
Naylor joined me in the House and introduced a 
Mr. Mitchell, of St. Louis. He is a man who has 
been spoken of to take the ' ' Era " fine talents, simple 
in manners. He stayed till we went home. Capt. 
Navlor was here in the evening, told the people that 
my running comments on the speakers ought to be 
published in the ' ' Globe " in parallel columns with the 
reports of the speeches. Said he saw Mr. Mitchell 
afterwards and he w;is quite cliarmed with me! 
Said " What a sprightly little girl that is ! I haven't 
met anybody so witty for years ! " I don't suppose 
he did say so, but Capt. Naylor said he did, and 
Capt. N. always speaks the truth. Sunday morning 
Mr. Lovejoy came and wanted me to go to church 
with him, so I took him with me to Dr. Butler's, but 
he kept whispering comments which 1 was afraid peo- 
ple would hear, till I told him I never would take 
him to church with me again if he didn't behave. 
After we got out I told him I didn't know how he 
felt, but I certainly had a sense of relief. 

December 19. 

At one o'clock we went to the House. A South- 
erner was blustering away, and then they went to 
voting. Presently I got into conversation with a 
lady who sat next me. I scolded considerably about 
two Members, who were making jackasses of them- 
selves, and presently discovered that she was a wife of 
some Member. I told her that if she wasn't the wife 
of either of those I didn't care. She seemed a good 
deal amused at my remarks, and presently said there 



254 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

was a little girl over there who wanted to come and 
sit next me. So a little girl crowded past the two 
ladies "ho were in company. I said to her " Why, 
I don't know you, do you know me? " She said she 
didn't know me, but she had read my stories. Of 
course I was a little taken back. I asked her where. 
She said "In the ' Little Pilgrim.'" How did she 
know they were mine ? Father told her. Her name 
was Anna Dawes and she was eight years old. Her 
father is a Member. I remember seeing him here 
last winter. I think the two women were Mrs. 
Buffinton and Gooch, who have taken a house on C 
St. I thought Mr. Burlingame was going there, but 
he is at the National. Mr. Lovcjoy sent up one of 
the pages to me in the gallery with a package of 
franked envelopes, one of which I shall send to you. 
Tuesday, Frank, Fanny, and I went to the House 
again. You see I want to be there when a Speaker 
is elected and see the ceremony of inauguration, so I 
do not lose a day. In the evening Mr. De Naise 
was here. He has just returned from his foreign trip. 
You know he and the Dr. were to go together. Mr. 
De Naise was going home to a family gathering in 
Constantinople (Turkey). He was present at the 
battle of Solferino has talked with Garibaldi 
was so near as to hear the balls whistling about him. 

I received your letter, mother, Saturday morning. 
As to danger, you need not be alarmed. I don't ap- 
prehend any. There is too much bark to have very 
much bite. 

"Tom" is Mr. Tom Corwin, a man famed for his 
wit. He was a Member of the House some twenty 
years ago, and has now been returned again. He 
has been, I believe. Governor of Ohio and a mem- 



LITERARY PROGRESS 255 

her of the President's Cabinet. Mr. Sumner is back 
here, but I don't believe they will touch him again. 
I believe he has o;one to Boston now to remain over 
the holidays. He is tall and quite handsome. I saw 
Mr. Grow at the House the other day. He used to 
be at our house last winter. 

Yesterday I went to church, at ours in the morn- 
ing, and at Mr. Wood's in the evening. Our church 
was beautifully dressed. All the pillars and posts 
were twined with evergreens and all along the galler- 
ies were hung gilt stars, crosses, etc., wreathed with 
evergreen. A magnificent bouquet was on the read- 
ing-table. We had a fine sermon from Dr. Butler, a 
very full house to hear it. A so-so-ish one from Mr. 
K. in the evening. I don't think I shall go to church 
any more in the evening. I am going to stay at 
home and read the Bible with notes and maps, and 
Neander's " Church History." I think it will be more 
profitable to me than preaching. 

December 28. 

In token of my respect for your character, my 
esteem for your virtues, and my love for yourself, I 
enclose in this letter, with my best wishes for the new 
year, a collar which I have made for you. I want 
you to take notice that the lace of this collar is real 
Valenciennes and cost a small fortune more than 
I could afford the broad lace was given me by Mr. 
Wood to make a collar for myself the rest, by 
Mrs. Bailey. So, you see, it didn't cost me a cent ! 
only the making. As Mr. Wood announced to me 
his intention of giving away one of the purses I gave 
him, I announced my intention of giving away this 
collar to you. He was rather gratified and said he 



256 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

should feel as if he had an interest in it. I was g-oino- 
to get yon a ring, but I am so wretchedly poor. 

Mr. Burliugame walked home with me told me 
about his buffalo hunt in Kansas. They couldn't get 
horse, and found they must hunt on foot, or go back 
without any lumt. As that was what they came for, 
he concluded to go on foot. The danger is that if 
you wound a buffalo anywhere but in the vital part, 
he is sure to turn upon you the vital part is about 
the size of a turkey and they went out on the open 
plain, without the shelter of a tree, and shot. He 
says it was the rashest thing he ever did, and he was 
a fool for doiug it, and would not do it again. Their 
lives depended on their shooting straight. He and 
another man always aimed at the same buffalo and 
they never missed. Of the nine that were killed, they 
killed seven. Mr. Lovejoy is quite lame. Has to 
ride to and from the Capitol. One of the ministers 
at his boardiug-plaee asked him what the matter 
was, and he told him it was his dislike of pro-slavery 
ministers struck in. 

[To Leander K. Lippincott, and Grace his Wife.] 

Washington, 1859. 

I received this morning a book called " Old Wonder 
Eyes," puri)orting to have been written by the distin- 
guished individuals to whom I have the honor of 
addressing this letter. I have my suspicions as to 
the truth of this statement. In the first place, I 
don't believe the male Greenwood can write such a 
charming sketch as "Old Horace," or as " My First 
Day in Trousers." In the second place, I don't 
believe he would if he could. In the third place 



LITERARY PROGRESS 257 

(my dear Grace, this is for your private ear), if he 
did write the ones I have attributed to him, the rascal 
has done better than you or I, either. Really the 
book is a very sweet one, and I only wish I had ten 
small children that I might give a copy to each one. 
I have not read all the stories, and I dare say those 
I have not read are very mean ones. Your sugges- 
tion that the Dorians might have brought grapes from 
Cyprus, and have made them into wine at home, is a 
very good one, and I shall use it if I am ever assailed, 
but that it was made at the table is not a tenable 
position, since, if my classics is not very much mis- 
taken, the young ladies of Doi'is did not " assist " at 
the banquets of the gentlemen. 

Your god " takes the little children under his own 
peculiar care and does not wait to have them commit- 
ted to him by miserable adult sinners." Now if there 
is any bigotry that is contemptible, it is the bigotry 
of your self-styled liberals. A good old Puritan of 
the straightest sect is bigoted, honestly, conscien- 
tiously, because he never thought of the thing ; hasn't 
the slightest idea what bigotry is ; but you who pre- 
tend to a more catholic religion, and broader views, 
you swing to the other extreme and are just as narrow 
and just as canty, with this difference, that you pre- 
tend to be wise above others. 

"What do you mean? Are we to ask God to do 
nothing which He does of His own will. He gives 
food to the just and the unjust, yet He has com- 
manded us to pray Give us this day our daily 
bread. This whole matter of prayer is beyond the 
sweep of my mind and of yours. It is enough for 
us to know that God has commanded it. A very lit- 
tle reflection will enable us to understand, partially at 



258 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

least, the reason of this comruancl, but our under- 
standing does not affect our duty, nor does duty 
prevent its being a pleasure. 

Am I going to spend a year in this ? Of course 
I am. Where did you suppose I was going to spend 
it? Did you think the President was going to offer 
me a room in the White House, or that the man in 
the moon was to pop the question, or that I should 
make an immense fortune by writing for the " Era," 
and set up housekeeping on my own account? When 
any of these things happen I shall probably rest on 
my lees. Till then I shall meet life with what strength 
I may, nor expect to find it a bed of roses. 

January 2, 1860. 

I think Mrs. Bailey will not keep the " Era " a 
great while. It is hoped that she will presently be 
able to sell it advantageously, as the care upon her 
is altogether too much. I don't think I shall write 
much more for it. At present I write more for the 
" Congregationalist " than for the "Era." They 
have a Cunctare letter from me every week, beside 
occasional pieces. 

As to H. W. Beecher, I don't think he is a noto- 
riety seeker. He has faults. He often offends my 
taste. He is not always reliable. He is full of 
crotchets, but I think him an earnest, hearty Chris- 
tian, one that is doing a work that nobody but him 
can do. He seems to me to be reaching hearts that 
no one else can reach, and I think if some of our 
D.D.'s would let him alone and look to their own 
flocks and herds they would be better off themselves 
and do more good in the world. As to his creed, you 
know Congregationalists have no church, but churches. 



LITERARY PROGRESS 259 

Each one is a separate body and has its own covenant 
and believes what commends itself to its own judg- 
ment. I presume the fundamental doctrines of 
Congregational churches generally receive Beccher's 
support. I read some views in a late sermon of his 
upon Christ's personality, which I, for one, don't 
accept. They don't accord with my opinions, but 
they don't alter my opinion of Beecher. 

Mr. Derby is of the firm of Derby & Jackson, 
New York book publishers, and they published 
" Beulah," " Future Life," etc. Mr. Wood gave him 
a letter of introduction last summer, and we have 
kept up a correspondence ever since, though we have 
never met. He says he is coming to Washington 
this winter, though I assured him he should not see 
me if he did. He sends me new books occasionally, 
which they publish. The last was " Prenticeana," 
being a collection of Prentice, of the "Louisville 
Journal's" witticisms. 

I have attended Congress every day since it assem- 
bled, in the hope of seeing the Speaker elected, but 
have not yet seen it. I wanted to witness that cere- 
mony once in my life, particularly after so fierce a 
conflict as the present one. I do not apprehend any 
danger from armed resistance, as you know the dogs 
that bark the loudest do not always, nor even gener- 
ally, bite the hardest. I am going out presently to 
make one or two New Year's calls. We do not keep 
" open house," as the family are in mourning. Nor 
did we have a merry-making at Christmas. I had 
one or two gifts. I do not go out much and we do 
not have our last winter's Saturday night parties, but 
I see almost as many people. I am sadly tired of the 
Congress speeches. The Democrats have it all or 



V 



260 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

chiefly to themselves, so I now take a book and when 
a man talks in a " long-winded" way I read, but as 
soon as they begin to fight, 1 wake up and see what 
the matter is. I have taken to writing, also, for the 
'' Student and Schoolmate," a children's (monthly) 
magazine, printed in Boston. With my best wishes 
for the New Year and for all coming years in this 
and every world, I am very affectionately, 

Your sister, 

ABBr. 

Mr. Lovejoy came just as I was finishing my letter 
to you. I was going out to make a few calls. It 
isn't customary for ladies to call here on New Year's 
day, as they generally stay at home to receive visitors, 
but people who don't keep house go if they like 
like me. So I took Mr. L. over to a Mrs. Cox, who 
had sent for me. We were offered egg-nog, Roman 
punch, etc., but I didn't take any. Then we went to 
call on the Buffintons, Dawes, and Gooches, Members 
from Massachusetts, who are keeping house together, 
and had a regular " jolly time." They had found out 
in some way that I was Gail Hamilton, and so you see 
I was lionized. Then we went to Dr. Parker's. He 
used to be our Commissioner to China there we were 
offered wine, but declined, then we went home and 
some gentlemen called, and as Mrs. Bailey was 
ill, and besides did not " receive," I entertained them 
and sent them off, and that is the end of my story, 
but you see I have accomplished a good deal to-day, 
one way and another. 

January 23. 
In the evening I went to a party at Dr. Parker's, 
met several pleasant people there, astonished an old 



LITERARY PROGRESS 261 

Whig Roman Catholic citizen with my radicalism, so 
that he was moved to introduce his daughter to me, as 
he thought we should suit each other, being both so 
lively. His daughter proved to be a very pretty girl, 
but not irreproachable in point of grammar. For that 
matter, neither was her father. Fell in also with a 
Cincinnati sfentleman connected with one of the news- 
papers, who talked about Gail Hamilton, also a young 
graduate of Yale who knew several of my boys there 
also De Naise, and several other people whom I 
knew enjoyed it on the whole very much. In the 
evening Judge and Mrs. McLean were here. He is 
the Supreme Court, you must understand, and be im- 
pressed thereby. I did not write the notice of Starr 
King's book Mrs. Bailey wrote it. Found your 
letter highly amusing. I have never heard anything 
about E's being engaged. Dare say it's true, girls 
generally are. I've just had a letter from Mr. Rich- 
ardson. Says my " letters are entirely satisfactory 
hears many speak of them with lively interest likes 
my first-page articles, they are just what he has been 
trying to get from me for this long time." There ! 
I wish you would leave the coming and advert to the 
come generation in the way of embroidery. I have 
been at work at my flannel petticoat all winter and 
haven't finished the second breadth yet. 

January 30. 
I must write you in a great hurry, for till the House 
is organized I am a good deal squeezed for time, and 
you must not expect what Mr. Dexter calls " the 
merry and beautiful grotesqueness of my playful style," 
but only the barest details. People bore me dreadfully. 
I'd like to see nobody from week's end to week's end. 



262 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

In the evening Mr. INIitchell came to invite me to 2:0 
to churcli with him, but as T have declined goino; with 
Mr. Wood, of course I could not go with him. So I 
sent down word to him that I went to church in the 
morning to hear other people's theology, but stayed at 
home in the evening to construct a system of my own. 
Mr. Dexter wrote me a long letter the other day about 
my writing, etc. Thinks I ought not to stay in Wash- 
ington longer than I can help 'tisn't the place for 
me. Ought to study more, and prepare myself for my 
life-work that a N.E. village is a far better place 
for me, etc. What do you think about it? 

February 4. 
Wednesday at tlie House. La ! I saw everybody 
and talked with 'em and laughed what's the use of 
specifying. The S[)eaker was elected and I came 
home and was homesick, pitied the poor fellow so, the 
other fellows acted like cats and dogs and there was 
a great uproar. Dr. Lindsley was in in the evening 
and said they'd do better by and by. Thursday Miss 
Swan called to see me. Cold as Greenland. Seemed 
as if I should freeze, fire low in the furnace, and cross 
as two sticks. 1 was, that is. Friday ditto, but Zvlr. 
Wood wanted me to make calls and the calls had to 
be made, so I dressed, put on an engaging look, and 
went out. First to Governor Seward's, but their re- 
ception was in the evening, thought it was in the morn- 
ing, then at Maine Washburn's, Boston Elliot's, and 
Syracuse Elliot's all out IMrs. Bridges', out. Mrs. 
Senator Wilson's in a little, pleasant, nice, rather 
pretty woman very glad to meet me, had known 
me long through the "Era" blushed and grinned, 
and vamosed. Mrs. Burlingame out Mrs. Alley in 



LITERARY PROGRESS 263 

liked her very much, pretty, beautiful eyes, knows 
Grace Greenwood. All the Daweses and Buffintons 
were at home. On the way Mr. Wood told me that 
he had met a gentleman a while ago who asked him if 
that young lady with him was Mary Dodge, of Hamil- 
ton said that he was from Hamilton himself, had 
married a Dodge and had in his possession some kind 
of a commission of some old Robert Dodge, taken 
some time before the flood, I don't know when, and he 
wanted Mr. Wood to introduce him to me. It turned 
out to be Ben : Perley Poore. Before we got home 
we met him, so Mr. W. introduced him then and we 
had a jocose chat. If I had time I'd tell you what we 
said but dear me by and by when I have time T 
suppose I shan't have anything to write, but now I'm 
running over. To-duy I locked myself in and wrote 
all day. When people came thundering at the door I 
said nothing, and escaped all callers ; they thought I 
was out, you know shan't tell anybody mean to 
do it again. Went out to walk after dinner. Met 
Mr. Wood, who joined me. He's always meeting me, 
and joining me. Left me at the corner. Mr. Good- 
loe met me right after and turned round and went 
home with me. Wants to take a long walk with me. 
Told him he couldn't go far enough nor fast enough, 
but he might try it when the weather became pleasant 

hope he'll forget it by that time. Got home, found 
Mr. Washburn had left a special invitation for me to 
come to his house to a soiree this evening, wasn't well 
enough to go. Mr. Mussey came afterwards to ask 
me to go with him. Declined, of course. Stayed up- 
stairs and wrote all the evening. Tell M. by all means 
to call the baby Meriel. I think it's a beautiful name. 
Why didn't she ever tell me of it when I've agonized 



264 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

for names to my thousaud and one children. I must 
put it into a story directly. It's odd without being 
stuck-up or sentimental. I don't like the Lapham so 
well Meriel Stanwood would be beautiful. 

February 11. 

In the evening I went to the Smithsonian to hear 
Mr. Gould lecture nephew of Hannah F. Gould 
(the " Old Elm of Newbury " woman). Mr. Lovejoy 
came to see me. Went into the parlor and found Mr. 
Sumner and Mr. Goodloe there also. It's the first 
time I have met Mr. S. I rather like him. He has 
a very deep bass voice, and somehow he seemed to me 
to be a man of integrit3\ Mr. Dexter thinks he's about 
the purest man in Congress. 

I went to Miss Miner's to hear her colored girls re- 
cite History, Philosophy read, spell, and sing, which 
they did very well, especially the reading and sing- 
ing. Mr. Wood and I went to the Senate to hear 
Mr. Hale speak, and were successful, that is, he did 
speak. We stayed from twelve to lialf-past four. 
Lizzy Hale and Mrs. Hale were sitting near us. 
When I went out I told Mrs. Hale that as I could not 
go down to shake hands with Mr. Hale by way of con- 
gratulation, I would with her instead. When we got 
to the door, however, Mr. Toombs, of Georgia, began 
to grow furious in replying to Mr. Hale, and we sat 
down again. Mr. Welling came up presently and 
commenced a talk. He thinks Mr. Toombs a power- 
ful man, intellectually as well as bodily. The notice 
of Webster's Dictionary in the last " Era " was mine. 
Mr. Lovejoy came to see me pretty soon after dinner 
and stayed ever so long, brought a new gold-headed 
cane that he had just received from an old anti- 



LITERARY PROGRESS 265 

slavL'ry friend in New York. After he had gone, Mr. 
Ilalc came, and I congratuhxted him on his speech. 
Friday evening I was at Mr. Seward's with Mr. Wood 
want to know what I wore? New green silk, low 
neck, short sleeves, lace cape with silk illusion puffs, 
and bows of narrow white ribbon all over it, and lap- 
pets in front, white kid gloves, lace things on my 
wrists, scarlet velvet bows with ends, a gold bracelet 
on each arm, a gold chain and anchor round my neck, 
and a bunch of flowers in my bosom. Mrs. Seward 
is an invalid, and Mrs. Frederick Seward, the son's 
wife, does the honors. Had a ver\' pleasant time. 
Mr. Wood said that he thought Mr. Seward received 
me with distinguished favor what the French call 
empressement. I thought him very affable, but I sup- 
posed he was just the same to them all. It is possible 
that Mr. Seward may know or remember that I wrote 
that Brady piece which resulted in Lady Napier's call- 
ing here. Introduced me to Hon. Henry Winter 
Davis, of Maryland, who, you know, is making quite 
a stir now, and to Charles Francis Adams, with whom 
I had a long conversation. I have been wanting to 
know him a long time. I met Mr. Preston King, too, 
Mrs. Gurley, Judge Trumbull, and Mrs. Trumbull, 
and others. Mr. Baumgras wants to take a pencil 
sketch of my face. He's an artist. Mr. Clepham 
has sent me a ticket to the Arts Union, and I suppose 
I shall go down there pretty soon. 
In a " hurly-burly " as usual. 

Affectionately yours, 

Abby. 



266 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

February 27. 

About coming home I have not decided yet I 
can't form any plans for the future until Mrs. Bailey 
knows a little more what she is going to do. I mean 
that I hardly like to come away and leave her iu her 
present condition, and she can't very well do anything 
until the House Printer is elected. Whether she is 
benefited thereby or not, she will then probably take 
some decided step. She will give up the paper if 
possible. She may leave the city, though I hardly 
think she will. Understand I am not staying be- 
cause I have any intention of remaining with her in 
any event, but because I simply don't wish to add 
another element of unrest to her already disquieted 
condition. We are on the lookout for an election 
every day, and have been ever since the election of 
speaker. As for my writing " harshly " to the " Cong.'' 
people, why, Mr. Dexter says he likes me when I'm 
wrathy. I told him the other day that he was the 
splendidest okl fogy that ever was, only he had 
no sense. I scolded him terribly about one of his 
editorials, and he said it was every word true, and if 
he'd only had me sooner, what a man he'd have 
made ! and that he had several rods in pickle for me. 
And you see, mother, I didn't tell them they were 
blockheads only b-k-h-ds, nnd if they chose to fill 
in the missing letters, why it's no fault of mine. As 
for taking Mrs. Bailey's daughter home, I can only 
say that after long and serious deliberation, I have 
concluded that one daughter is enough for me to take 
care of, and that is the youngest daughter of Mr. 
James B. Dodge. 

I haven't written for the "Era" because I haven't 
had time and because it isn't good paj^ ! By the 



LITERARY PROGRESS 267 

way, my piece is out or a part of it in the March 
"Atlantic." I will send it to you and you may see 
if you cau tell which it is. It's a story. I expect I 
shall have some money some time or other, but for 
the present I seem to have pretty nearly touched 
bottom. 

In the evening at the President's. I was introduced 
to a famous old man a Mr. Jacob Barker an im- 
mensely rich old Quaker who lives in New Orleans. 
I've seen plenty of stories about him in the news- 
papers. He was mightily smitten with me you see 
I laid myself out to amuse him, not because he was 
rich, but because he was such a jolly old fellow he's 
a cousin, I believe, of Dr. Franklin's and looks very 
much like him. He told Mr. Wood he thought I 
must make the young men's heart-strings thrill a little, 
and Mr. W. told him he guessed it didn't make much 
difference whether they were young or old ! "Wednes- 
day, the grand day, was a tremendously rainy one. 
We went down to Mr. Wood's rooms about 11.30 
A.M. to see the procession and waited till 4 P.M. 
Mrs. Gale was there and Mr. Wood's brother and 
part of his family. Dr. Hall's rooms are below 
Mr. Wood's, and there is a balcony in front where we 
stayed a part of the time breaking in on Dr. Hall's 
bachelor solitude most uproar (i)ousl3' I didn't care 
though I told Dr. Hall it was a grand place to see 
processions and I should come again. He said if my 
President should be elected he would tear his balcony 
down. Dr. Hall showed me his curious old books 
and his pictures. 

Introduced to Senator Foote of Vermont, a splendid- 
looking old man that I've been wanting to know this 
loug while he said he'd known my face a long time 



268 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

then Mr. Harringtou and Gov. Bingham, now 
Senator from Michigan, attacked me simultaneously. 
Then Mrs. Seward brought up a Miss Walton, of New 
York, and Gov. Bingham, Mrs. Gov. Grimes of Iowa. 
Then Mr. Preston King, Senator from New York, 
came up. I told Mr. Seward that I wished there was 
nobody there but me, and that I was Queen of Eng- 
land, so that he should sit down and tell all about his 
travels, and he said he would some time, making 
believe I teas Queen of England. Saturday Mr. 
Welling came to see me just after dinner and stayed 
till half-past eight P.M. We talked of everything in 
earth and heaven. I had a letter from Mrs. Spalding 
this morning, asking me to write " some more" in the 
"Era," and enclosing a very high encomium of my 
last winter's pieces from Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher, 
author of "Brazil and the Brazilians." She says: 
" What pointcdness, what naiveness, what clear pene- 
tration and sound judgment she shows in her well- 
chosen and well-fitting words. It is not every day 
one can listen to such a conversation as that of Gail 
Hamilton. I wish I were in the way of seeing her. 
Mr. Fletcher has shared my enjoyment fully. He 
has pronounced the papers ' charming, healthy, mag- 
netical, and Christian.' " Mr. Dexter wrote to me 
that in looking over the table of contents of the 
March "Atlantic," he said to himself, "There, I 
don't believe but that Gail Hamilton wrote that story," 
so he cut the leaves and read it, and then he said, 
"Well, if she didn't write it, she might have written 
it, and on the whole, I think she did." It teas my 
story. Don't talk about it. I suppose people will 
find it out, but don't you proclaim it. 



LITERARY PROGRESS 269 

March 5. 

A Mr. Warner had been told that if he could get 
introduced to Miss Dodge, he would find her an 
acquisition. He's going to Hartford next week to 
help edit "The Press" with Mr. Hawley. 

You see Ford is elected Printer, but there are so 
many combinations and corruptions that I don't 
believe Mrs. Bailey will get anything to speak of. 
Mr. Gallagher left on Saturday. He gave me a 
lecture of his which he said he always took with him 
when he left home to give to the new acquaintance 
that should strike him most. He gave it to me. 

Mr. Wood was sitting in Dr. Gale's office and heard 
Mr. Morse (Professor Morse), the telegraph man, 
reading my "Atlantic" story aloud to the female 
Gales, and saying that he should like to see that 
young lady. Well, two or three days after, as 1 was 
coming home from my walk, I saw Mr. Wood stand- 
ing out by Dr. Gale's door talking with a gentleman. 
I expected he would see me and poke along after me, 
as he always does. So I didn't see him. I marched 
along on the other side of the street, when I heard him 
calling: "Mary! Mary Dodge ! " ^nil didn't hear 
him. The good soul was not to be wheedled in that 
way, though, so he came striding across the street 
after me, and said he wanted to introduce me to a 
friend. I scolded and stormed, but the friend, who 
was the veritable Prof. Morse, was already half 
across the street, so I choked off my mad, looked as 
" smiling as a summer morn," went up to him and 
said: "Mr. Morse, I can't bear to be introduced to 
people, so I am going to introduce myself." Then 
we had quite a long talk and 1 liked him very much, 
and he complimented me, and I complimented him. 



270 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LP:TTERS 

and it was neck-and-neck which could lay it on 
thickest. 

I took my copy of Miss Beecher's work round to 
Mrs. Judge McLean for her to read. Mr, Lovejoy 
sent me up the first draft of a speech to look over, 
which I did, and read it to Mrs. Pike and Mrs. 
Bailey, and told him it was very good, but a little too 
much spread-eagle, but he said he was going to fight 
humbug with humbug. In the evening Gov. and 
Mrs. Bingham called. I excused myself, and came 
off. After I was gone Mrs. Bingham asked Mrs. 
Bailey, " She is not an American girl, is she? "' She 
thought T must be English, I had so much color ! I 
guess she meant Irish, only feared it would not be 
polite. "We played whist at Mrs. Cox's. We had 
cake and wine to refresh ourselves with. The wine 
had not been uncorked for fifty years. I only tasted 
it just for the name of it, you know. Mr. Derby 
does not know that he shall be able to come to Wash- 
ington, so I have not seen him. They are going to 
publish a book " Women of the North Distinguished 
in Literature," and he wants to put me in. He'll 
catch it if he does. I am going to write him a letter 

on that subject. 

March 12. 

You wrote me a nice long, and withal very amusing, 
letter, dated January 20. I've read it over this 
morning with as much interest as on the morning I 
received it, but if you recollect that you gave me 
therein a downright scolding, you will understand the 
reason why I have not answered it before. No such 
thing ~ I was amused, though, inasmuch as while you 
were taking us writers to task for using foreign words, 
you used one yourself wondering why the literati 



LITERARY PROGRESS 271 

couldn't stop doing it, etc. There, now ! I commend 
the chalice to your own lips. 

My dear, you needn't sigh over my privileges. I 
am just as eager to get home as you could be to get 
here and a great deal more so thau you are. I 
like here. I'm glad I came, but I dou't want to live 
here, and unless I am going to live here, it's high 
time I was away. There is a kind of fascination in 
society. When I get agoing, I like to go it ! I've 
really had some thoughts of giving myself up to it in 
earnest, and seeing what I could do. You may thiuk 
me very foolish, and I am quite aware that I have not 
beauty or money, yet without them, and without giv- 
ing much thought to it, I can make a little stir, and if 
I should give my mind to it I thiuk I could do some- 
thing. Still I don't suppose it would be spending 
life to the best advantage, so, on the whole, I think 
I shall go to New England if my life is spared to get 
there. I shall leave pleasant friends and pleasant 
memories here. 

I did see the Speaker elected, but it wasn't much of 
a see after all. He wasn't the one I wanted, and in 
my opinion he isn't a good Speaker. I'm a little dis- 
gusted with politics, too, and politicians. At a party 
a while ago I said to Mr. Adams (Charles Francis), 
with whom I was talking, "I shouldn't thiuk you'd 
want to talk politics out of the House." " Oh ! " he 
said, " I'd just as soon talk out of the House as in it." 
He is a quiet, well-bred Boston gentleman, and a 
great contrast to many of the " rowdies " in Congress. 
I told him once I thought it was a great piece of con- 
descension in him to come to Congress. He is short, 
not much, if any, taller than I am, with gray hair, and 
bald, aud looks so much like his father that I recog- 



272 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

nized him in the House by his resemblance to the 
portraits of his father, whom I never saw. He told 
me also that the Clerk of the House recognized him by 
his resemblance to the picture of his grandfather. I 
have met him several times, and like him very much. 
Another celebrity whom I have met is Mr. Seward. 
I saw him last winter, but was not introduced. I have 
met him several times this winter. I saw him the 
longest one evening at a reception at Mr. Washburue's 
(of Maine). I noticed him when he came in. He 
saluted the hosts and then bowed right and left to the 
people around, but the moment he saw me he came 
straight towards me, took me into a corner, and we 
sat and talked a long while. He was in high spirits. 
He called Mrs. Pike (wife of one of the editors of the 
"Tribune," the one who writes the J. S. P. letters, 
they are staying with us now) , and she sat on the 
other side of him, and Mr. Lovejoy came and sat in 
front, and so we had a little circle of our own. It 
was a few days after he had made his great speech. 
I told him I was going to flutter him a little if it was 
proper. He said that flattery never hurt him, for he 
had so much of the other kind that it counteracted 
the effects. I told him also the parts of the speech 
that I did not like about negro equality. He said 
that was the part Mrs. Seward objected to, but he had 
found by long experience that the way to elevate the 
negro was to elevate the white man. He told us about 
his trip abroad. Mr. Foote, Senator from Vermont, 
is a fine-looking, venerable man, with gray hair and a 
piercing black eye. He says he has known my face a 
long time. The first time I went to call on Mrs. 
McLean she was very glad to see me, for she said Mr. 
Foote, who boards at their house, had brought home 



LITERARY PROGRESS 273 

such a glowing account of me that she really wanted 
to make my acquaintance. Augusta says she never 
saw anybody toot his oivn horn as I do that I tell 
off puffs as coolly as if they were about somebody 
else and not myself, but I do it because I know if you 
were here, and I were there, I should want you to do 
just the same. I dou't to anybody else except you 
and the family letters, ouly as I write tlie latter every 
week, of course they have more of it than you, who 
only get what happens at the moment to be uppermost 
in my mind. It's good fun, though. I like to get in 
a corner and have half a dozen round me and feel a 
little excited, and mnke 'em all laugh, and see the 
women look and wonder what is going on. I tell you, 
if I should give my mind to it, wouldn't I do a thing 
or two? Nevertheless I get horribly bored. We have 
so much company evenings. I long for quiet. At a 
party, when you get tired of one you can go to an- 
other, but at home you must entertain people as long 
as they choose to stay, and the more entertaining you 
are, you know, the longer they choose to stay. How- 
ever, it's all very well, and after I am gone home I 
dare say I shall look back with regret sometimes upon 
the very things that tire me now. You needn't sup- 
pose, however, that I am going to vegetate in Hamil- 
ton ; not a bit of it. The " Congregationalist " want 
me to help them ; they will give me a salary of from 
$400 to $600 per annum for work that Mr. Dexter 
thinks will take only about a day or a day abd a half 
a week. I should go to Boston twice a week. I told 
him I wouldn't make any engagement about it, but I 
would see when I got home. I think I should like it. 
I like him, so we shouldn't probably come into unpleas- 
ant collision. He wrote me also last week. I think 



274 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

it will give 3^011 the best view of the case to copy from 
his letter, which I will do, leaving out unnecessary 
episodes. He says the Tract Society were 'asking 
him to write books for them, and he couldn't, because 
he had so much to do, and they began to explain their 
immense and peculiar need of spicy books when ' ' I said 
to them, ' If you want books of that sort I can per- 
haps direct you to a young lady who may do some- 
thing for you in that line, though her time is, and is 
to he, very much taken up in other directions.' ' You 
mean Miss Gail Hamilton?' 'Yes.' Whereat I 
was buttonholed and taken into the private room, and 
a suction hose applied to ascertain what, how far, etc., 
I knew of the aforesaid G. H.'s plans, and particu- 
larly with reference to the engrossment of her time. 
I didn't ' run ' at all freely, but returned the compli- 
ment by applying my hose and inquiring what they 
wanted to know for. They were reticent, whereat I 
ventured to hint to them that, on further considera- 
tion, I doubted whether you would be able to do any- 
thing for them, that measures were in progress, that I 
had, in fact, made you a quasi offer, and that negoti- 
ations were pending between us which would probably 
count tltem out. Then they took me into another 
private room, and Alvord frankly stated that they were 
after you, and must have you, that he had seen Mrs. 
Cowles and Mr. Bannister, and had interested them 
in the great work which the T. S. was wanting to 
have done, and which nobody on earth hut you could 
do, and they thought you would be glad to come to 
New England and have some permanent home and 
engagements, and he was on the point of writing to 
you to broach the matter, winding up by a pathetic 
appeal to me to ' use my influence ' and let them have 



LITERARY PROGRESS 275 

you. I only pumped further. ' How did they want 
you ? ' Well, if they could get the whole of your 
time to write books and write for the ' Child's Paper,' 
etc., they wouldn't probably mind giving you 61,000 
or $1,200 per annum if you wanted it. I told them 
that in all human probability you would not make an}' 
such arrangement, that you did not need to tie your- 
self up in that way, that you could get money enough 
by your pen without any such hampering, and, fur- 
ther, that I doubted if you would have anything to do 
with them anyway. I did tell him, however, that if 
anybody could do anything with you I flattered my- 
self /could, and that I did think / could prevail on 
you to aid them some, that I thought it very possible, 
in connection with your other work, you might be will- 
ing every month or two to write them a little book (in 
their large type and small pages 3'ou could write a 
book in two or three days any time) . He then begged 
me to write you and intercede, and beg, and plead 
wnth you on their behalf, and said he wouldn't write 
to you about it till I had written and heard from you. 
I said I would write." T wrote to Mr. Dexter that I 
was amazed at their audacity, that I would do it for 
Si, 200 just as soon as I would for $12,000, and for 
the Tract Soc. just as soon as I would for the Angel 
Gabriel or Beelzebub, and no sooner, that the very 
fact that I was willing to put my brain in pawn 
would show that my brain wasn't w^orth pawning, 
that I would write stories, and if they liked 'em they 
might have 'em, but I didn't believe they would, and 
that I would not write to suit them, and I would not 
make any engagement, and if I did I would break it 
the first thing. 

So the case stands. It would be murder the idea 



276 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

of my selling myself body and soul to write children's 
stories ! I'd rather have less money and be able to call 
my soul my own. I haven't said a word of this to any- 
body but you. I'm afraid if father knew I had refused 
a salary of $1,200, lie would go crazy, so be sure you 
don't lisp a syllable of it in your letters. I shouldn't 
tell you only you are so far off. I shall tell mother 
and Augusta when I go home. For that matter, if I 
live, it will probably be a great deal better, even in a 
pecuniary point of view, that I should not make such 
an engagement, but, good or bad, I won't make it. 
It will probably not be decided wliat I shall do till I 
go home. I mean about the " Congregationalist " and 
all. I will tell you when it is. I am thinking now of 
starting for liome on the first of April, liut I may not 
so soon. I intend to be about three weeks on the 
way. 

Did you see anything in the March "Atlantic" that 
sounded like me? I am generally reputed to have 
written " The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficul- 
ties." I'm not married and I don't think I shall be. 
I can't afford the time, and besides, the men ought to 
be given to the women who can't get along without 
'em. I can support m^^self, and so I think I'd better 
do it. Besides, I have a greater "run" among the 
men themselves than if I were married. Now I am 
independent and every man is my " humble servant." 
If I were married I should be dependent upon the 
caprices of one. An unmarried woman has an im- 
mense advantage over the married woman. You 
think I " may have seen women on New Year's day, 
but I make no mention of them." My dear, I like 
women. In fact, I esteem them very highly, but I 
bag higher game when I can. Women do to fall 



LITERARY PROGRESS 277 

back upon, but for first choice, give me a brace of 
bearded meu. 

I don't believe I sliall come to Minnesota this sum- 
mer. First of all, 1 want quiet and rest more than 
anything else. Second, there is so much to be done 
that I don't believe I can get away conveniently. 
Thirdly, this paper business will be new and I shall 
want to be on hand in order to see about it. Fourth- 
ly, I don't believe I shall have money, for Mrs. Bailey 
has not paid me a cent since I have been here and I 
don't believe she will or is able, so I have Imd to take 
my C money. I am afraid I shall have to stay at 
home and write one or two books before I do much of 
anything. I should like to go very much, both to see 
you and the country and for the journey's sake. 

March 19. 
Monday evening went to hear a Catholic Bishop 
Spalding of Ohio lecture. Tuesday Mr. Lovejoy was 
in in the evening. Mr. Pike was out, did not come 
home till twelve o'clock. Mrs. P., Marcel, and I sat 
up for him ; when we heard him at the door we all 
went to help him in, pretending he was drunk, and 
" took him by his hind legs, took him by his fore-legs, 
took him by all his legs, and dragged him upstairs." 
A letter from Mr. Richardson, sending some pictures 
for a story for the " S. & S.," says, "A good many 
people inquire nowadays who Gail H. is, and they 
will have it that she is a man, or at least that she's for 
women's rights." In the evening three men fell to my 
share. Mrs. P. said that she told Mr. P. how I set 
myself down before those three men like a Christian 
and a martyr and entertained them. I told her I 
didn't entertain them much. I just let them talk. 



278 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

"Ah," said she, "but you had magnetism enough to 
set them agoing, and you did tidk a good deal your- 
self, too." I happened to feel in the mood, though, so 
we got on very well. It's a great deal easier to man- 
age thi-ee men than it is one. You can make them 
play into each other's hands somehow. It is the 
single t6te-a-tetes that kill me. A letter from Mr. 
Richardson, with my "quarter's salary," saying that 
he did not like my letter on Church-going, and must 
look out for me more sharply hereafter. I wrote back 
to him that it would annoy me very much to have 
everybody agree with what I Avrote, because that 
would show that there was no need of my writing, 
etc. I can't write definitely about my arrangements 
yet. I want to stop in Philadelphia, and I want, if 
possible, to be in Hartford at the examination of the 
High School. You are not to suppose that I am pro- 
posing to stay at home during the remainder of my 
natural life. In such a case, I think 1 should hardly 
be contented even till the new was worn off. Still I 
cannot help looking with curious eyes from the me- 
tropolis to that State of rural simplicity. 

Saturday evening I went with the Pikes to Mr. 
Washburne's. Had a nice, fuuny time. I'll tell you 
whom I talked with Gov. and Mrs. Bingham, Mr. 
Josiah Quincy, Jr., of Boston, and daughter, Mrs. 
John Potter, of Wisconsin, Mr. Hatch and daughter of 
I don't know where, Mrs. Charles Francis Adams and 
Mr. Lovejoy, Mrs. Bridge and Miss Miner, Mr. 
Elliott and daughter, the first very agreeable, the 
second very pretty, Mr. and Mrs. Sedgwick, Mr. and 
Mrs. Washburne, Mr. Johnson, of Washington, and 
his adopted mother, and Miss Donaldson, his aunt, 
Mr. Baumgras, Mr. and Mrs. Dawes, Mr., Mrs., and 



LITERARY PROGRESS 279 

Miss Hale, Mr. Harriugtou, Mr. Allen, Mr. and Mrs. 
Doolittlc, and Mr. Grow. I don't recollect any others 
at this minute. I tell you I could " cut a dash " if I 
should set out ! Sometimes I think I will. Most 
women are so stolid. They stand still and expect to 
be entertained. I circulate and talk wild and make 
'em laugh and am natural and so people get round me. 
I told Mrs. Adams I had been wanting to be intro- 
duced to her a long while. She said she had seen me 
several times before, but there was always such a 
crowd round me and I was so busy talking that she 
had not come up to be introduced. Of course it was 
mere politeness that made her speak of beiug intro- 
duced to me. It was / that wanted to be introduced 
to her. " So no more at present." 

From yours very truly, 

M. A. Dodge. 

Washington, D.C, March 31, 1860. 

My dear Mother : I thiuk if you should come into 
my room at this present writing you would go crazy, 
in a small way. I suppose there are on a moderate 
calculation a hundred thousand things scattered around 
the room. The table on which I am writing is so full 
that I despaired of clearing a place large enough to 
write, so I just set my atlas down right on the top of 
the things. Every chair is filled. My drawers have 
been broad open these two days, and everything is 
heaped up in hills in them. The bed is covered. The 
tables are covered. The floor is covered. The closet 
bulges. How these things are to be got together, I 
cannot imagine. 

Your letters and the note came this morning. I 
can't stop to answer them now, particularly as there 



280 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

is a good deal that I want to say, especially about my 
" Congregationalist " articles, but I reserve it till I see 
you, but I wish you, mother, particularly to under- 
stand that I don't feel bad about the Rockville min- 
ister not in the least. It is the proof of my minis- 
ti-y. I wish you to understand that if I write much 
I shall probably meet with a great deal of opposition, 
for I shall express views which run counter to popular 
conviction, so if you faint now, you will have a cata- 
lepsy by and by when worst comes to worst. The 
only thing I am afraid of is that Mr. R. will be scared 
and won't print my pieces. That won't make any 
difference about my writing them, however. I shall 
write and print somewhere. If one won't, another 
will. There is an undercurrent of feelina; that will 
sustain me. I lua^it to upheave and overturn. Land 
needs to be sub-soiled, as well as top-dressed. " The 
time is out of joint, O cursed spite, That ever I was 
born to set it right," says Hamlet, but I don't say so. 
It's just what I should like to be born for, and I hope 
I was. 

I don't think I can write to Mr. Bartlett. I haven't 
spunk enough to write a good letter and I don't want 
to write a poor one and I write so much that I 
loathe writing. Mr. Dexter told me the other day 
wrote to me that he heard the Boston Tract Society 
make a remark about me that a gentleman from the 
rural district of N.H. said, "That 'air Dodge gal was 
a whole team, a boss to let, and a dog under the 
wagon." That's all I know about it. 

My plan now is to leave here to-morrow morning at 
6.20 stop at Philadelphia ("1022 Wistar Street. 
Beat that into your brains before you start," says Mr. 
Lippincott) , then to New York, and Mr. Derby is to 



LITERARY PROGRESS 281 

meet me at Jersey City, where he expects " a little 
angel [that's me!] to rush directly into his arms," 
says Mr. Derby and he is to take me up the Hudson, 
a half-hour or an hour's ride, to his home at Yonkers 
then to Meriden, Conn., where I intend to arrive 
befoi-e Sunday, and where I will write to you again. 
This must do for this time. 

Affectionately, 

M. A. D. 



VII 

BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 

1860-1868 



283 



VII 

BUSY yp:AKS IN HAMILTON 

1860-1868 

May 28, 1860. 

My dear Mr. Wood : I have been looking out all 
along for news of the steamer " Prince Albert." Two 
clays ago lo ! I saw that the " Prince Albert " took fire 
three days from Galway. I really am afraid you're a 
kind of Jonah. That's the third time, since I knew 
you, that you've been in danger of being burnt out, 
or rather of being burnt in, which is worse still. 

I'll try to give you a succinct account of my life 
and sufferings since your departure. I shall confine 
myself chiefly to my own biography, because I am the 
only person in whom you are interested of whom I 
can give you any information. I don't think I have 
heard from the Baileys since you went away, nor have 
I seen Mrs. Baldwin. I have been too busy to do 
anything but what was necessary in the way of visit- 
ing. The day I left you you to look at the Old 
World I to work in the New I walked over from 
Salem to Beverly after a vain attempt to obtain a copy 
of the " N.Y. Tribune," visited my brother, and 
went with them in the evening to the silver wedding 
of Rev. Mr. Abbott, which went off as I suppose 
very much like other silver weddings, a great crowd, 

285 



286 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

nice cake, a quantity of gold and silver in the shape 
of coins, watches, spoons, forks, pitchers, a man and 
woman very smiling and happy and embarrassed, and 
extremely happy when it was over, I don't doubt ; but 
it all went off well, and was a success the only 
thing of the kind I ever attended. 

My lime, a great part of it, has been spent in any- 
thing but literary occupations. Do you remember the 
hideous gravel-bank in front and round our house ? 
Well, I walked ten miles a few weeks ago to get a 
man to come and symmetrize it and turf it, and he 
came, but it was rather late and very dry. For four 
weeks and six days we had no rain, and I used to 
water the whole of that overgrown bank almost every 
day, and sometimes twice a day, drawing the water 
myself from the well, and carrying it up and pouring 
it into the watering-pot, and then pouring it on. I as- 
sure you it was no laughing matter, but it is a laughing 
matter now, for I just managed to keep the breath of 
life in the roots till the rain came, and now it is doing 
finely, only I suppose by the time you come home it 
will be all " sere and yellow," so that you will fail to 
see its glory though after Italian skies, and Swiss 
mountains, and Irish turf, our bank will, I fear, be a 
very little, insignificant affair. Never mind, it keeps 
our cellar warm in winter and cool in summer, and 
that's what " Alps on Alps " won't do. I took my 
revenge on the bank for giving me so much trouble 
by putting it into print. After I had attended to the 
bank, the house had to be papered. I went to Dan- 
vers and found a man, then came home and turned 
everything topsy-turvy to get ready for him. He tor- 
mented us for a fortnight with paint and paste, and 
then left us in a turmoil that we have not quite got 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 287 

out of yet. I have ripped up the old carpet in my 
room and put down another which is supposed to rep- 
resent strawberries, though the ground is red, and the 
strawberries dust-color, which seems to be out of the 
natur;d order of things, a mistake of the artist's, I 
suppose. I have curtains red patch, lined with 
buff cambric, also white curtains with red tassels 
under the former, also green blinds, so I may be con- 
sidered as shut in from the world. I have also a 
lounge, green, a favorite color of mine, and grateful 
to the eye, but also, alas, yellow, which is not a 
favorite color, but on my lounge occupies the same 
relation to the green that Pharaoh's lean kine did to the 
fatkine. My lounge is hideous and comfortable. As 
soon as I shall have earned a little superfluous money 
I shall have it covered with dark green moreen. 
Meanwhile I call it " oranges," and defend it against 
all comers. Then I have my table, writing-desk, 
bureau, bookcase and books, stove, etc., and in my 
bedroom I have constructed a very nice wash-hand- 
stand, sink, etc., out of an old dressing-table and a 
few old nightgowns, very honorable to my taste and 
ingenuity, I assure you though your ideas of luxury 
might smile at it, and I have a new white quilt on my 
bed, and altogether I am very comfortable. I get up 
in the morning between five and six, write or work 
till eight, then breakfast, P.O. letters, papers, etc., 
out-doors, walking, rambling, etc., as long as I like, 
then come in and do what I like till dinner at five 
then do what I like again till nine, when I go to bed. 
It's a charming life to me, who have been so confined 
to hours. The way I've arranged about the meals is 
best for my appetite and health. Father aud mother 
have their dinner at twelve, but I take my dinner with 



288 GAIL HAMILTON'S, LIFE IN LETTERS 

their supper. It gives me better command of my 
time, and I think it suits m}' constitution better ; at 
au}^ rate, I am going to try it for the present. I in- 
tended to have a garden, but they tell me that the soil 
needs to be broken up for one or two years with corn 
and potatoes before it will be sufficiently mellow for 
gardening purposes, so I possess my soul in patience, 
and have dragged three or four boxes on to the top of 
the piazza, and planted a dozen or so different kinds 
of seeds therein, none of which, to do them justice, 
have as yet shown the slightest intention of coming 
up. Also I have a bed of morning glory and cypress 
vine which won't come up, a bed of beets, full of 
weeds, two tomato vines, both dead, two chickens, 
one alive and one dead five more that pecked their 
shells open and died before they got out, and seven 
that have taken their chance at living one calf who 
looks at me with his great purple, beautiful eyes, and 
makes a horrible piece of work eating the potatoes I 
give him, and a cow that gives two great pans full 
of milk at one milking, and cream that it takes five 
hours to make four pounds of butter from, let alone 
the ill-temper thrown in, which doesn't affect the 
butter. Our apple trees, and cherry trees, and peach 
trees, are snowy with exuberant blooming, and if the 
worms don't come, nor anything else unfavorable, 
you shall have cider, apple-sauce, and apple pies, and 
cider, and turnovers, and pan-pies, and peach pre- 
serves, and cherry puddings, etc., when you come 
back. In my cooking I know you will be interested. 
I'm doing splendidly. I've hunted up two recipes, 
and bought ten cents' worth of yeast. Festina lente 
but I'll give you something nice after your jour- 
ney, if your palate has not become vitiated with 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 289 

(or by) foreign fare. My sister is at home this week, 
and we are endeavoring to put tlie finishing touches 
to the " spring cleaning," and our house in a state of 
order. I have about ruined my fingers with cutting 
obstinate carpets, and my wrists with lifting unwieldy 
furniture, but I hope now they will all " stay put." 
Shall I tell you some country news? The dry weather 
was so long continued that the woods became unusu- 
ally combustible, and so went to combusting in various 
directions, and a great deal of fine laud was destroyed 
(the wood, I mean, not the land), which me judice is 
a clear indication that this generation ought to burn 
coal. 

The cattle disease of Massachusetts still rages. The 
government has called an extra session of the Legis- 
lature on next Wednesday to meet the demands of 
the case oh, and Mr. Seward isn't nominated, I 
suppose 5'ou have heard before now, and Mr. Lincoln 
is. I don't feel the least enthusiasm myself, though 
I believe mankind in general is enthused to the last 
degree. I think "Washington takes one beyond the 
pale of political enthusiasm. One sees too many 
impromptus cooked up there to be greatly carried 
away by an impromptu. I'm glad of one thing, that 
Greeley, Blair & Co. didn't succeed in switching their 
candidate on to the track. Chicago was in an exceed- 
ing state of " high-mindedness " the N.E. dele- 
gates were received with great eclat. The greatest 
good feeling seems to prevail everj'where, always 
excepting Lt.-Gov. Raymond and H. Greeley, who 
are " at it again." I dare say a great many private 
claws are scratching private faces. I could have 
wished Seward to be nominated. Smoking or no 
smoking, he is, it seems to me, our ablest man. 



290 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

They talk of " honest old Abe" (a hideous nickname) 
and his " splitting rails and mauling Democrats," but 
that isn't the very best recommendation a man can 
have for such an office. However, maybe he's a 
great man, I don't know. If he's worse than J. B. 
he is sublime. 

To come back to myself again I've had several 
invitations to teach since I came home, all of which I 
have "respectfully declined." Mr. Curtis wanted 
me to go there, and the Ipswich people wanted me to 
go there neither of which I accepted, but like 
"Charlotte" for imperturbability I "go on cutting 
bread and butter." I did, however, so far relax from 
my indifference as to accompany Mr. Curtis on his 
travels in search of a teacher ; went to the Salem High 
School, Normal School, etc. Then we went to Bos- 
ton, Bridgewater, etc., to take a look at the " School- 
ma'ams " that's all I have had to do with schools 
since I came home, and all I mean to have to do for 
the present. I do not write a great deal, nor study 
or read much, but I hope to accomplish more after we 
"get settled." At present, I am "taking in wood 
and water," hoping I shall be able to "get up steam " 
a little more by and by. But I can't tell you how 
much I enjoy the unrestraint of my present life. The 
wild flowers are very plenty and I have half a dozen 
glasses of them. I think mother is almost as anxious 
to hear from you as I am. She often asks, " Isn't it 
time for a letter from Mr. "Wood ? " I hoped to hear 
news of you by the " Persia," but in vain. Perhaps, 
however, one has gone to the " Intelligencer," and 
will reach me in that way. I want to know things 
that you won't put into your printed letters, but I 
suppose you will be so full of other things that I shall 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 291 

have to wait till 3'ou get home before knowing 
never mind we have a new arm-chair big enough 
for you to lounge in till you have told your whole 
story down to its minutest details. The Lord send 
you health, happiness, success, and a safe return to 
home and friends, in this life, I mean (by the way, 
" Peter Schlemihl" is installed in a place of honor in 
the parlor). My dear friend, from my heart I wish 
you every blessing in this and in all worlds. I am 
sure you deser\'e it, if anybody does. 
Good-night and good-by. 

Gratefully and truly yours, 

Mary A. D. 

June 28, 1860. 
My dear Mr. W. : I received and read your last 
with great pleasure. I shall value the little pansy 
and its accompanying ivy very highly. It is some- 
thing to be in the very places hallowed by such asso- 
ciations, only I should want to stay long enough to 
get into communication with the " genius loci " but 
I suppose you want to get at something of the genius 
home-y. I am not in the best humor in the world, 
for I've just had an invitation to go to a picnic at 
"The Laurels," somewhere in the vicinity of New- 
buryport perhaps you know it the Whittiers are 
to be there. My invitation came from the Spaldings, 
and I didn't get it in season, and bad to slay at 
home. If it had been a dinner-party I shouldn't have 
cared, but anything outdoors I like. I have received 
your letters and the printed one in the " Intelligencer," 
all excellent. My sister spent a week with us a while 
ago, which we employed chiefly in shopping and tink- 
ering. You would be amused to see the way in 



292 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

which my ingenuity is showing itself off. I don't 
think the world has any idea of my faculties in that 
line. It credits my brain, but has small faith in my 
hands. My brain is still employed in " stirring up" 
people about their prayer-meetings and such things. 
I have written a long article about Miss Miner's 
school, which she was pleased to pronounce the best 
account on the whole which had ever been written. 
Congress is adjourned and Mr. Lovejoy is "spout- 
ing " his way to Massachusetts. He writes me that 
he shall probably be here somewhere from the 10th to 
the 15th of July. We don't often lionize people. 
Don't have lions enough here to get our hand in, and 
I don't quite know what we should do with our lion. 
I shall shine a little in his reflected glory, besides 
being slightly self-luminous ! I went to a con- 
ference the other day, the first time in my life, and 
was quite interested. I think such things are rather 
pleasant. Tliey tend to create a social feeling, a kind 
of communion of saints. By the way, a new thing has 
happened in the religious world at least I never 
heard of such a one before. A Brahmin Rev. Mr. 
Gangooly, I think his name is has been converted 
to Unitarian Christianity and has gone back to India 
as a propagandist of that faith. The Unitarians had 
quite a time ordaining him. The Japanese leave 
to-day, I believe. They must have been extensively 
bored, and if they don't think iis a race of intense 
barbarians, they have less sagacity than I have given 
them credit for. The " Great Eastern" has steamed 
up New York harbor, her old Ironsides bulging with 
an unheard-of cargo of excitement, I don't doubt. 
New York seems to be monopolizing all the " big 
guns." Portland, you know, made tremendous prepa- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 293 

rations last summer, aud this is the way the eel 
slipped out of her hands. Boston wanted the Japan- 
ese, but couldn't get 'em. It is suggested that the 
Prince of Wales fall to us, so that we may have a 
little glorification. I should like to see him myself. 
Why don't you go to court? I would. I'd see all 
the crowned heads possible. For my part, I like 
monarchies. I don't see but that England is just as 
fi'ee as Ave are. Anyway, I don't believe people would 
stay in office there after such a rebuke as has been 
administered to James Buchanan and Isaac Toucey 
by the House. J. B., by the way, has just vetoed 
the Homestead Bill, showing, as the " N. Y. Tribune " 
saj's, that some men have remarkably winning ways to 
make people hate them ! The Baltimore Convention 
had an outrageous time and finally split in two. 
Caleb Cushing, the president, walked off and became 
president of the Southern part of it. Some think that 
the two fragments will reunite before election. I 
don't feel so enthusiastic about such things as I did 
before I went to Washington, though I hope the 
Republicans will beat. With success will come 
plunder, I suppose, and demoralization rushing in 
like a flood, and then decay and disruption. 

I was in Cambridge the other day and heard Dr. 
Kirk of Boston preach. I was so much pleased that 
after I got home I sent him a letter, which he answered 
in a very friendly and pleasant manner. His style is 
conversational and his tone liberal. I had an appli- 
cation from the Society of Inquiry at Andover to 
write an " original hymn " to be sung at their annual 
celebration in July. The inviting note took the 
trouble to inform me that I should thereby be walking 
in the footsteps of Mrs. Stowe, Sigouruey, etc. With 



294 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

my peculiar adaptation to musical composition, and 
my perfect " posting up " on thie Society of Inquiry, 
of which I never heard before, I concluded it would 
be wrong to refuse, so I sent them " a hymn," but I 
think it's a wonder if they ever hymn it. If you were 
here to-day I would give you a dish of strawberries 
and cream as fine as anything you ever got in Eng- 
land, or will get in France, I dare say. We don't 
raise them, though I mean to have a strawberry-bed 
another year, besides other things. My brother sent 
them, but I have a neighbor, Mr. A. W. Dodge, I 
think I've spoken to you about him, who has a fine 
garden for fruits and flowers, and he being very 
neighborly, I enter into his labors. One of my sisters 
is coming about the first of July, my Western brother 
and his wife on the tenth, my own sister on the nine- 
teenth, some friends from Brookline and Hartford on 
or about the twenty-first, to stay a week or fortnight, 
then we shall perhaps go to Vermont for about as 
long, and so you see the summer is planned. It is a 
fine summer so far, not very warm, only the canker- 
worms are destroying our trees, and the bugs our 
squashes, and what the canker-worms and squash-bugs 
leave the rose-bugs destroy. I never knew what a 
precarious thing farming was till I tried. 

I wish I knew 3'our plans a little more, so that I 
could follow them on the map and say, " Now Mr. 
Wood is eating frogs here, now he is giving pence to 
lazzaroni there, now he is jolting in a diligence over 
such a road, now he is looking at a ' real Murillo.' " 
With all best wishes for your continued health, suc- 
cess, and a safe return, and with love from all mine to 
you, I am. Very truly yours, 

M. A. D. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 295 

June 30, 1860. 

My dear Mr. Wood : I wanted a musical term the 
other day, and I hunted for it in vain till 1 happened 
to think my " Future Life " will have it, of course, so 
I turned to " Future Life," and there it was, sure 
enough, and I was reminded anew of your universal 
adaptability ! I don't know whether that word comes 
in exactly right there, but it will answer my purpose. 
The first matter of interest centring in your obedient 
servant is, that I have taken a S. S. class. I had 
one, the first Sunday, four, the second, seven, the 
third, and four, the fourth, so you see it has a change- 
able character. They are girls from thirteen to six- 
teen, and I think I shall be able to do something if I 
can get at them long enough to get hold of them. 
Anyway, as I am not teaching week-days, I thought 
I rather ought to teach Sundays, if only to keep my 
hand in. My "Fourth" was celebrated by two 
letters from a distinguished friend of mine now 
travelling in Europe, very interesting, and very 
instructive, and entertaining to the family. Scattered 
all through the summer, like punctuation marks, you 
must see flowers from m}' friends, and cherries, and 
gooseberries, and various fruits which I hope will 
" make your mouth water," particularly if 30U can't 
get at them yourself ! 

I went to Salem with my brother and sister, to the 
museum, and revived my childish wonder at the curi- 
osities which are no less curiosities to my mature than 
to my infant eyes. Tuesday I went to the anniver- 
sary of my Seminary was considerably entertained 
at hearing extracts from my own graduating composi- 
tion incorporated into the essay of one of the present 
graduates whose sister was a schoolmate of mine, 



296 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and who read mine alond at ray examination ; wasn't 
it f nnny ? And I also met many of my old school- 
mates. That night on my return home, I was glad- 
dened by another letter from Mr. Wood. I think it's 
very nice to have "foreign correspondents," particu- 
larly "our own." I also found my sister Augusta 
home sooner than I expected, for a visit of six or 
seven weeks. 

I have heard of the Piatts of Hartford. They 
visited at Mr. Gillette's, whose daughter is now visit- 
ing me. You may possibly have met tliem at Dr. 
Bailey's. Mr. Gillette was in the Senate a while, and 
they were in Washington at the time. Lilly is a very 
fine girl, one of the simplest, and truest, and sensiblest, 
I ever saw, thoroughly' noble and capable. 

We have scoured Essex County quite thoroughly, 
taking Wenham, Topsfield, Ipswich, all theBeverlys, 
Salem, Danvers, etc., in our way, and I must tell 
you that we went to the house and into the very room 
where General Putnam was born ; were shown various 
curiosities, his autograph, a copy of the real old 
Stamp Act, a chip from the cave that he drew the 
wolf out of, his portrait, etc. I assure you Essex 
County is well worth looking at ; so after you have 
completed the tour of Europe, perhaps you may like 
to make a "tour around my garden." Perhaps I 
ought to mention that I've been in the ditch twice 
lately, and so encountered perhaps as much peril, and 
certainly more harm, than you have in your wander- 
ings, as my terribly blackened embroidery bears sad 
witness ; but flowers and mosses must be picked even 
if people fall into the ditch. Lilly has put the ivy 
and the pansy that you sent from Melrose into a 
state of preservation, surrounding them with some 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 297 

harebells that Whittier picked for me last summer, 
and I am going to have them framed. I think they 
will look very pretty. I can only give you the veriest 
outline of affairs, reserving the rest, as you do, till 
you get home, which may you in good time do, with 
body and mind refreshed and invigorated for a new 
lease of life ! 

August 30, 1860. 

My Dear: Not one word from you since the 
twenty-fourth of July. Has " Mounsen " swallowed 
you up quick ? Are you overwhelmed in the snow- 
lieaps of St. Bernard? Are you verifying your de- 
scriptions of Madame Jura and the Jungfrau? Are 
you enamored of life in some old castle that, "like 
an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest of purple Appe- 
nine " ? I will suppose that you have not sundered 
all home ties, but that one cord is left along which 
a kindred life may still pulsate. So on Tuesday, 
July 31, Lilly Gillette went home, and that next 
day my sister and her friend went away, and I was 
left " iu maiden widowhood to weep," but Mr. Derby 
had taken pity on my loneliness and sent me a very 
interesting new novel, " The Household of Bouverie," 
the access of which household consoled me for the 
departure of my own. The next day I drove over to 
the Ponds to attend a Beld meeting of the Essex 
Institute, to which I had been specially invited. It 
roams around and collects toads, flowers, bugs, and 
such small deer all the morning, and comes together 
and talks about 'em all the afternoon, with a little 
flirting thrown in by way of spice. Several gentle- 
men were introduced to me, among others a Mr. 
Upham, formerly M.C. from Salem or Danvers. He 



298 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

had been at Dr. Bailey's, very likely you may have 
seen him. I walkerl home, it was so pleasant I 
couldn't resist the temptation, and I wouldn't if I 
could. It is only about three miles, and I do so 
like to walk, particularly alone. The nest day I 
made the tour of Hamilton for another walk. The 
day after I bought two pounds of candy and 
treated the school children as they went home. 
Sunday one of my old schoolmates preached, a boy 
that has come up from the ranks and is, I rather 
suspect, going to be heard of in a local way. His 
name is Gustavus Pike, and he is rather original. 
Aug. 7, 1860, is memorable as the day on which I 
examined a horse with a view to purchase, but as the 
price was twenty dollars, and my investments could 
not go above twelve, I concluded to invest in another 
direction. Besides, I didn't think it would be safe 
for so inexperienced a rider as I am to begin on fast 
horses. August 9, one of the friends whom I met in 
New Hampshire, in my rambles last summer, " turned 
up." He's a minister and thinks my style is good, 
but my theology needs screwing up ! Now you 
know, Mr. Wood, that the theology of my articles is 
the very point, but I am afraid you and I will have to 
jmt up with such things as best we may. Thursdaj', 
9, our friend Derby walked up behind his brown 
beard and made himself generally agreeable. Know- 
ing no other way to entertain him, I trotted kim out 
took him to Brown's Hill the first night, to see the 
prospect and the sunset, both of which he admired 
beyond my hopes. Friday we put some luncheon and 
books in a basket and walked o\er to the ponds and 
spent the day, which ought to liave been to a New 
Yorker like a breathing-hole to a seal, and I rather 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 299 

think it was. Saturday we went to Newburyport and 
called up " Sir Rohan's Ghost," which was a very pretty 
fair-haired, smooth-faced ghost, and roared us very 
gently, and in the afternoon the ghost's friend, a Mr. 
Spofford, a young lawyer of Boston and Member of 
the House, took the Ghost and us to drive, over to 
Whittier's in Amesbury, but unfortunately a broken 
bridge smashed between us and our goal, so we were, 
perforce, content to make the sweep of Newbui'yport, 
which didn't, however, require any great resignation, 
seeing we had a ghost, a representative, a publisher, 
and Yours very respectfully to fall back on. Sun- 
day we went to church and Mr. D. enjoyed the fleet- 
ing honor of figuring as my "beau." Monday morn- 
ing he left in a fog, and in the afternoon we took a 
drive to Manchester and picked berries on the way, 
Alvin amusing us with Zouaveing according to the 
latest fashion. I forgot to tell you that Mr. Derby 
and I called on the Spaldings at N., but he was away, 
and she had a sick baby, and we only stopped a few 
moments. Friday, 17, was diversified in my annals 
by going to Bull Brook with twenty or so people from 
Beverly in a big furniture wagon to get berries and 
have a dinner. True to our instincts, we got the 
dinner first. The men took the lead. Two fires were 
built, coffee made, a lobster chowder "got up," and 
crackers, cheese, cake, pie, etc., spread on some 
boards under an awning and we had a grand dinner. 
Afterwards we dispersed for berries and with those 
we picked and those we bought came home laden with 
spoils. I rode home on the outside with the driver, 
and, you will be interested to know, effected a con- 
quest I One has to make the most of everything iu 
the country, because thei-e isn't a great deal of i-aw 



300 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

material to operate on. Sunday, August 19, the 
True Church put ofe its robes and held forth in our 
meeting-house in the person of John Cotton Smith, 
formerly of Boston, now of New York, and I liked 
the True Church very well. All that week was devoted 
to camp meeting and there wasn't a clear day in it. 
It was fog, rain, and clouds with scarcely an interval. 
Methodism was fairly put in soak. I went up and 
viewed the grounds on Monday, and on Thursday 
stayed through the sermon, though I didn't hear very 
much of it, being too far off. Met some friends 
there, Mr. Spalding, of N., among others. Friday we 
started to go again, but got as far as the station and 
found it so interesting to see the crowds come in and 
go out that we spent our fare money for apples and 
stayed there all the morning, and, moreover, don't 
tell any one what a "loafer " I am, went up again at 
evening to see it again. Some of the Methodists re- 
mained over Sunday and groaned a little at our even- 
ing meetings. Last Tuesday we went to the beach 
and splashed in the water, and antic-ed on the sand, 
and had a fine time. I do like the water. When my 
ship comes home from sea I mean to build a house on 
the sand. 

Our l)eets and parsnips have come up beautifully, 
my morning-glories and sweet-peas are out, and I 
have the plan of a garden for next year all drawn. 
Also, I have obtained several recipes for making 
bread, so you see I am fulfilling my early promise of 
being a successful horticulturist and cook. I had one 
"Intelligencer" with a letter from you in it, a few 
weeks ago, but T want to hear from you personally. 
Only think, I suppose I shall only write you one more 
letter before you will be coming home unless indeed 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 301 

you conclude to forswear the land of your birth aud 
take up the standard of Garibaldi. Don't ; America 
" hath need of thee," and I want you to sec my gar- 
den that is to be. 

Good-by which means God be with you. 

Yours most truly, 

M. A. Dodge. 

September 6, 1860. 

Friday afternoon mother and I poked off to pre- 
paratory lecture and endeavored to get into a suitable 
frame of mind for Sunday. Brother M. was, as usual, 
substantial, logical, terse, but not brilliant. The 
weight of his discourses doesn't allow him to cut 
capers. After lecture, a flock of Old Simmons 
Place-ers lighted in the parlor, and preyed upon us 
half an hour or so well-enough people, though I 
don't see any particular object in such people's being 
born, anyway. Sunday went to Wenham in the 
morning, and it being Communion Sunday, Mr. 
Mordough came down from his metaphysical heights 
and the pulpit, and treated us to a few "plain and 
familiar remarks " quite f amilar " intimit " even. 

Hamilton, October 22. 
My dear Mother : As you are so fond of letters, 
and as I have just finished one to Mr. Dexter which 
I don't see how you can get at, and as I am going soon 
to write one to Dr. Kirk, which you must also deny 
youi'self, why I thought I would write you a little 
wisp of a letter just to comfort you. I dreamed 
Saturday night that you came home that night. I 
thought Maria must have treated you ill in some way. 
I suppose what made me think that was because she 



302 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

did throw the dish-cloth at me. However, I suppose 
you never aggravated her about the " Stranger within 
thy Gates. " I don't dare say the whole of it, 
even twenty miles off. As soon as you were gone I 
turned and went, too, straight home, into the house, 
changed my boots, and started off for Ipswich. It 
was seventeen minutes past nine when I started and 
it was twenty-five minutes past ten when I got to the 
Ipswich Station. The Prince came out and I had a 
good fair full look at him though not half long 
enough, of course. I was more pleased than I had 
expected to be. Now for home experiences. We 
" still live " as you judge. I toasted bread Saturday 
night for supper no it was Sunday moi'ning. 
Father took to frying pork. I sat down to read the 
paper while waiting forgot the bread smelt it 
burning, but never thought what it was and, oh, 
my ! wasn't it black. We had quite a search for the 
cheese, but couldn't find it. I concluded at last that 
it must have walked off. I am sure it had every fa- 
cility. It appeared, however, this morning. I guess 
father whistled to it. I skimmed the milk this morn- 
ing as directed thought the cream wasn't very 
thick, but supposed it must be all right, ascertained 
afterwards that father had taken out the pan I was 
to skim and had put this in its place, so I had been 
skimming last night's milk. No harm done, though. 
I just went down and skimmed the right pan and put 
the other back " to rise again," as the poet says. 
Seeing you were gone, father and I took the liberty 
to stop at home from meeting yesterday. Your to- 
mato preserves continue good. I wish you had put 
your quinces in something else, though. It's consider- 
able trouble for me to tie and untie that string every 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 303 

time I want to go to 'em ! Ma'am ? Father suggested 
to me to-night that the roast beef had been gnawed. I 
looked at it and considered that it had been very 
decidedly. You may know that it must have been 
something of a gnaw, or he wouldn't have confessed 
that it had been gnawed at all. The mice had, how- 
ever, the good sense to gnaw only the solid fat, leav- 
ing the lean untouched. So we're no worse off, and 
the mice are better which is a good thing all 
round. We had a milk dinner to-day to which 
father did full justice in the cellar. 

Well, mother, don't hurry home. Stay another 
week if you wish. Stay the roast beef out anyway. 
When the pies are gone I'll make some cup-custards. 

October 31. 

I got along very well keeping house. I made the 
most delicious Indian cakes you ever ate, they rose 
like a balloon and went down like lead (down 
throats) , but they did not sink into the stomach like 
lead. I made some cup-custards too very good 
and boiled potatoes. That's all I originated. 
Father cooked the pork and beefsteak. I have advised 
him to hire himself out as maid-of-all-work. I think 
he might perhaps finally attain to his long-coveted in- 
come of a "quarter of a dollar a day. " Tell Hul- 
dah I got home with my yeast all safe, but it was only 
by the most strenuous exertions. When I got to 
Mrs. Gooch's I gave it to the servant, who took it 
down cellar. All through Boston I swung it by the 
neck, to the astonishment of the passers-by. In the 
cars the only place seemed to be close by the stove, 
so I held it up to the window. When I got home I 
set it down on the piazza till I made the bread, and 



304 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

then I pulled out the cork and was half suffocated 
with frantic yeast. My bread was quite a success, 
still I don't think it quivered quite as much as Hul- 
dah's. 

We've had Quarterly Fast to-day, and I did violence 
to myself and went all day in the vest r}', Mr. 
Southgate preached two excellent sermons. Brother 
M. made a pastoral call after meeting and labored 
with me on the subject of going to meeting all day and 
especially to praj'er-meetings. I told him I would 
dp any amount of praying for him at home, but I 
didn't like to go to prayer- meeting. I was very glad 
of the opportunity to express my views because I 
think he's had it all his own way so long that he's 
rather forgotten to look on the other side. We 
parted very good friends. Hurrah ! We've just had 
a torchlight procession. Have 'em every night " ee'n 
jist. " Father goes to all the political meetings. I 
prime him before he goes after all, I expect he'll 
go and vote for the wrong man. My pen makes me 
nervous and I can't write much. I ruined mv gold 
pen yesterday. 

November 10. 

At Salem, November 3, 1 heard Charles Sumner, Wil- 
son, and Mr. Alley. Saw Mrs. Alley to speak to her, 
though only across several heads. Gen. Wilson saw 
me and came up into the gallery. Did you see by the 
papers that the Pine-St. Fair netted $3,700. I wrote 
twelve letters for their post-office, besides making 
several articles, with mother's help. I took Ettie 
home with me, but Mr. D. took charge of us both, 
took Ettie in his arms out of the cars and carried 
her to Mr. S's carriage, which took us all in. Ettie 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 305 

is as happy as a kitten, and as round as an apple. 
She seems to be very healthy. I am expecting Mr. 
Wood here the first of next week. He will probably 
be in Boston on Thursday or Friday sailed, or was 
to sail, in the " Europa" on December 1. 

Father's news : Two cows at home, a year-old 
critter and two cows boarding out, that's my stock. 
(Doesn't say whether they are at the Eevere or the 
Tremont House.) Ain't got any horse. Hay's 
twenty dollars a ton here. Farmers have a good 
time here cider, enough of it, two dollars a barrel 
no complaint of money among the farmers pota- 
toes half a dollar a bushel all have a good time 
here sellin' I'll warrant there's forty tons of hay, a 
good many days, goes past the house here in a day 
corn eighty-five cents a bushel, farmers have a better 
time than mechanics do nowadays. 

On my own account I desire to give you two bits 
of information. One is that father asserts he is not 
a farmer and the other is that he chuckles to him- 
self and us, but not to you, " FU tell him what a 
good time the farmers have, and that'll make him 
want to go back to his own." Mother says she shall 
recommence letter- writing after I go to W., and shall 
remember you among the rest is quite out of that 
line now, but wants you to write just the same is 
quite as much surprised to hear from you in Louis- 
ville as she would to have heard you were in Minne- 
sota. Father wants me to unload a part of the forty 
tons of hay, thinks it is rather too high reckoning. 

Boston. 
Our party is increased by Judge Nicholls of Hart- 
ford, and the rest are expected to-day. The steamer 



306 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

sails at nine o'clock to-morrow morning. Yesterday 
morning we all went down on board. It is very in- 
viting, and I wanted to go more than ever, only the 
state-rooms look so small, and I do not like the being 
shut up so in a box. The dining-room, however, is 
large and pleasant, and tiie deck is a fine place. Mr. 
Storrs has bought camp chairs so that they will be 
quite independent. He has also provided himself 
with tea, lemons, and crackers. Rev. Gilbert Haven 
was with us, yesterday, and went down to the steamer. 
Afterwards we went over to Charlestown to Bunker 
Hill. We did not go up the monument, but went 
inside the lower part. We also went through the 
Quincy and Faneuil Markets, and I wish you would 
go there some time when you ai'e here. The New 
Yorkers say they have nothing equal to the Quincy 
Market in New York. I thought I would be very 
careful of my money the first night I was here, and 
take it to bed with me, so I laid it out ready for that 
purpose on the table, and never thought of it again 
till I saw it lying there some time the next mcirning, 
so it was all safe, just as well. 

New Yokk, February 7, 1861. 

My dear Mother : I am so far safe at least, ar- 
rived last night. 

I have written a letter already giving an account 
of myself up to the time of my disappearance at the 
B. & AY. depot. You must send this with the other 
when you have read it, as I closed rather abruptly. 
I reached Hartford a quarter past one. I was to stop 
at Meriden. The New York traiu was late, but 
we got to New York before dark. Mr. Derby was at 
the depot to meet me, and I got here safe, onl}' some- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 307 

what tired. "We had arranged last night a grand 
skating party on the Park for this evening, but un- 
fortunately the day has set in rainy, and so that and 
the ice are broken up. A letter from Leander 
Lippincott, and a paper from Mr. Wood awaited me 
here. The former informed me what delights awaited 
me if I had only come to see his new house and new 
trousers. Grace is away now, and I think I shall not 
go there till I return from Washington. About going 
to Washington, the people here think there is no 
danger. I should not wonder if Mr. Derby should go 
on with me. I intend to write to Mr. Wood to-day, 
and shall decide definitely according to his answer. If 
I go I thir.k I shall go in about a week, but shall 
probably write to you first. I shall not go alone. 

February 14, 1861. 

My dear Mother : You see I am safely here. I 
thought on the whole I wouldn't write till I got here, 
because you would be worrying from then till you 
heai'd again. Now you, at least, will know that the 
journey is safely accomplished. I see by my "Diary" 
that I wrote to you last Thursday, when it was rainy 
and I did not go out. I received that day the long- 
looked- for letter from Mrs. Bailey, urging me to come 
on as soon as I could. The next day it was excess- 
ively cold, so that we did not stir out of doors, but 
Mr. Fitch bought some parlor skates and sent them 
to us, and we had fine fun with them. They are like 
skates, only with four little gutta percha wheels where 
the steel runners are in common skates. Saturday it 
was milder, and we went up to the Central Park. Mr. 
Derby never skated, but Mr. Fitch is quite an adept 
at it, and he took hold of one arm, and a Mr. Boyce, 



308 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

a friend of his whom we met there, took the other, 
and so I got on finely, and indeed went quite by my- 
self. The sight was well worth seeing, and not to be 
conceived without seeing. It was estimated that there 
were thirty thousand people on the ice at the time we 
were, and, according to the tally, a hundred and fifty 
thousand during the day. When we came to go home 
we could not find the coachman. After looking about 
some time, Mr. Fitch put us inside, mounted the coach 
himself, and drove us home ! I believe we live about 
three miles from the Park. We drove a little out of 
the way to drop Mrs. Derby's sister, and when we got 
home there was the coachman just ringing the door- 
bell. He must have walked or run pretty fast to keep 
up with us, but he was thoroughly frightened, and 
begged Fitch not to say anything about it. He had 
gone down to see the skaters when he ought not to 
have left his coach, and so missed us. After dinner, 
that is in the evening, Mr. Derby, Fitch, and I went 
down to the Dusseldorf Gallery of Paintings, which 
is owned by Mr. Derby's brother. It is in a new and 
very fine building. Of course I cannot describe the 
pictures to you, nor would it interest you if I could. 
On our way home we walked for the sake of seeing 
the streets in the evening, but had rode down Mr. 
Fitch wanted me to go into one of the jeweller's shops 
to see the pretty things, and then he insisted on my 
choosing something, that they liad dealings with the 
man, it would all come back again, and he could afford 
to be generous, so, taking it all very naturally, as I 
think I have reason to do by this time, I selected a 
very pretty morning breast-pin, which, you know, I 
have been wanting for some time. It turned out that 
a pair of earrings went with the pin, so I got the ear- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 309 

rings too, which I shall have turned into pins, and 
now, as I have both pius and scarf, I don't really 
know what I do want next. On our way home Mr. 
Derby bought me a copy of Tennyson's works, two 
volumes, in blue and gold. Sunday Mr. Prince went 
to church with me in the morning, at Dr. Bellows's, 
Unitarian ; in the evening at Dr. Chapin's, Universal- 
ist. Monday we devoted to seeing New York, just 
the outside of it. Went clear down Broadway, the 
principal street, to the Battery. Tuesday morning, 
at eleven, I started for Washington. Mr. Fitch had 
ascertained the evening before about the trains, and 
went to the depot with me, bought my tickets, and 
when he went to get my trunk checked, found that the 
train only went through to Philadelphia. The alter- 
native was presented of going back and starting the 
next morning at six o'clock, or going on to Philadel- 
phia and remaining over night. I concluded to go on 
to Philadelphia, passed a very pleasant evening, sat 
up till about twelve. The train left the next morning 
at quarter past eight. We all got up, had an early 
breakfast, and then Mr. L. and I started again for 
Washington. Kept alone as far as Baltimore, when 
a gentleman who had sat near me all the way asked 
me if I was going on to Washington, etc. Well, I 
can't tell you all about it, for it's a very long story 
from beginning to end too long to write, but I'll 
tell you when I see you, only he was a Democratic 
postmaster and editor of a Democratic newspaper in 
Massachusetts, and we had a spicy talk, which ended 
in his wanting to send me his paper, which of course 
i-equired me to give him my name, and wanted me to 
send him a paper from Washington, which I promised 
to do. 



310 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

February 19. 

My dear Mother: When I closed my last letter 
I meant to write to you before this, but my attention 
is called in so many different directions that I find it 
very difficult to do any one thing in particular. I 
received a letter from Augusta yesterday informing 
me of the death of little Ettie. I was almost as much 
surprised as if I had not known of her illness. Il 
was so long that I supposed she was quite out of dan- 
ger. The letter having to go to New York and be 
remailed, was longer than usual in reaching me. I 
got it Saturday, not yesterday. I shall try to write 
to Brown and Mary in a day or two. I have sent 
some verses to the " Congregationalist " which I 
thought might be pleasant to them. 

I believe 1 left 3'ou rather abruptly after I left the 
cars on Wednesday night. Mr. Wood met me at the 
station, and Marcel just outside of it, and we went 
directly to Mrs. Bailey's. Mr. and Mrs. Pike, with 
their daughter, are boarding here. Thursday we went 
to the Supreme Court and to Congress for a little 
while, but it was not interesting, and I came home and 
went to writing. I had to go by Dr. Gale's to take 
my letter to the post-office, and she threw up the win- 
dow and made me come in. Then we walked a little 
while and she came home with me. I found that Sena- 
tor Bingham, ex-Governor of IMichigan, had called to 
see me while I was out. He had caught a glimpse 
of me the few minutes I was in the Senate. I was 
sorry, because he is rather a favorite of mine. Satur- 
day I met De Naise on the street, w^ho informed me 
that I was in no danger, as he had made arrangements 
to take all his lady friends to Stamboul in case of 
outbreak. Sunday I went to churcli in the A.M. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 311 

Governor Chase, and Wm. Pitt Fessenclen of Maine, 
were here in the course of the day, both distinguished 
men, whom it is worth while to see. To-day I am 
preparing to go to the Capitol. The city is undoubt- 
edly quite safe. The cannon are ready to fire, the 
artillery companies stationed, and the soldiers patrol- 
ling: the streets. The men were under arms, and the 
horses saddled all day last Wednesday (the day the 
votes were counted) . The railroads were guarded. 

February 26, 1861. 

Went to the Senate in the morning with Mrs. 
Pike and Mary and Mrs. Bailey. Governor Bingham 
came up in the gallery to see me and made quite a 
long call. One of the senators spoke to him from 
the floor and told him to come down and vote, but he 
wouldn't hurry, said he'd get down time enough to 
vote, and kept on talking with me. Then they called 
again, and finally I got nervous and made him go. In 
the evening went to the Senate to hear Mr. AVilson's 
speech. He rea,d it, and not very well, thougli it was 
a good speech. Sunday I went to Dr. Butler's in the 
morning. Mr. Fred Pike, our Mr. Pike's brother, 
member-elect of the next Congress, and who came on 
with Mr. Hamlin, was here at dinner, Mr. Hale to 
tea, and Mr. Wood in the evening, as he went home 
from church. 

Mary Pike and I went to the Capitol. Mr. Hale 
had invited us to come up and send in our cards to him 
into the Senate Chamber, and he would show us 
around. We visited the Vice-President's room, the 
marble room ( the finest in the Capitol, I think) , the 
various committee rooms, etc. Mr. Bingham wanted to 
show me the Agricultural Department, and the luau- 



312 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

gural preparations. Wednesday Mrs. Lovejoy called. 
Mrs. Bailey and I went to the Congress greenhouses 
with her and then to the House. Mr. Sitzky came to 
me in the gallery and we had a running fire for a while 
though he is too modest to be very pugnacious. Mr. 
Fogg, the New Hampshire editor, whom I met last 
winter, walked home with us and stopped to dinner. 
Governor Chase of Ohio, ex-Senator, and just-made 
Senator and probably Cabinet-minister, dined with us 
also and sat next to me at my right hand, a fine-look- 
ing, upright, and very agreeable man gave us a 
taste of the speech which he had just made in the 
Peace Convention. Thursday Mrs. Dr. Butler and 
Helen called and invited us all there on Saturday 
evening to meet Dr. Lord, a gentleman who is deliver- 
ing a coui'se of very interesting and instructive lect- 
ures (historical). Mrs. Bailey and I came out and 
paid a visit to Mrs. Vice-President Hamlin. She is a 
young woman about twenty-five, dark hair and eyes, 
milky, soft skin, gentle and modest, rather pretty, but 
not quite healthy enough to be as pretty as she has 
the capacity for being. Mr. Pike and his brother, 
the new Member, came while we were there, and we 
were quite gay. Friday at the Senate in the A.M. 
Saturday Mr. Mitchell of Missouri, who had come to 
town the day before, called on me to renew our last 
winter's acquaintance. Before he was gone. Bell 
Naylor called to ask me to go to the Capitol with her, 
which I did. Dr. Butler sat in the seat behind us, 
and enlivened the dreary remarks of " Joe Lane" with 
entertaining conversation. Mr. Gallagher of Ken- 
tucky called in the evening. Dr. Stone of Boston 
(he visited the Baileys, not me, I never saw him be- 
fore), and Judge Huntington, who is always a gentle- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 313 

man and whose visits are always pleasant. Mr. Love- 
joy called and spent an hour or two with me after 
dinner, and I read to him a little book that Dr. Kirk 
had sent me, entitled, "No Sect in Heaven," which 
led to quite a theological conversation. In the even- 
ing Mr. Gallagher called, bringing with him a friend 
from Kentucky, whom I endeavored to edify for 
a while. Mr. Davis of Rhode Island also spent the 
evening here (he also was not my company, but Mrs. 
Bailey's), and before long Mr. Goodloe came so that I 
had both him and Mr. Gallagher on my hands, but I 
took it easy, in a big chair, one on one side and the 
other on the other, both Unitarians, and we fell to. 
Fortunately no two Unitarians were ever known to 
agree exactly, so whenever I found myself "cornered " 
I just set them to fighting each other and under cover 
drew off to repair damages. I don't as a general 
thing like to pay visits or have company on Sunday. 
I don't think it is a profitable way to spend the day, 
but the only way to be rid of it here is to stay upstairs 
and refuse to see any one, which I used to do when I 
was here before, but as I am here now for so 
short a time, I though it might seem a little ungracious, 
so I just make the best of it. Monday we went to the 
Colonization Building at 10 o'clock to see the proces- 
sion. It came a little after twelve, Buchanan and 
Lincoln in the same carriage, side by side. After- 
wards Mr. Chandler Young, a secessionist just come 
from Florida to resign his District- Attorneyship, and 
who was present at the inauguration of Jefferson 
Davis at Montgomery, took Jane Cox and me in a hack 
up to the Capitol, where we took position, saw the 
oath administered, stayed through a part of the ad- 
dress, and then went back to see the procession on its 



314 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

return. In the evening I went to the ball with the 
Pikes. Mr. Lovejoy came down to see mc and took 
me to the ball-room, but did not go in himself. I 
wore an apple-green silk, a Paris dress, flounced to the 
waist, or rather ruffled, each ruffle having a kind of 
pattern edge and floss fringe, the waist pointed be- 
hind and before, with a bertha to match the skirt, white 
puffs of tulle in the bosom and a tulle chemisette, a 
narrow black velvet round my neck, my coral bracelet 
on one arm and a gold one on the other, etc., etc. It 
was so late before Mr. Lincoln came that they began 
to dance before he got there. When he came, the 
band struck up "Hail to the Chief who in Triumph 
advances." Everybody formed on each side of the 
room, leaving a passage between, Mr. Lincoln being 
conducted through it, bowing right and left, to a 
raised platform at the end of the room. Mrs. Lin- 
coln followed, led by Mr. Douglas. Then the crowd 
filed up and were introduced. Before this was half 
through we went out to supper, and when they came 
back, my attendant, who at that time Avas Mr. Bingham, 
took me up. I said, " Mr. Lincoln, I am very sorry 
for you, but indeed I must shake hands." He tlien 
gave me another shake, and with a very paternal and 
benevolent and gentle squeeze said, "Ah! your hand 
doesn't hurt me," and then the crowd came up and I 
passed on. Sometimes I promenaded, sometimes I 
talked, and sometimes I only sat still and looked on, 
which was to me the best part of it, the dresses and 
dancing were so beautiful. Lord Lyons was there and 
Chevalier and Halsewam. Mrs. Lincoln danced with 
Mr. Douglas, who held her bonnet. Mr. Hamlin and 
a lady whom I did not know, were their vis-d,-vis. 
I think she only danced once. "The Prince " was 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 3 15 

there also, a very nice-looking and well-beliaved 
young gentleman. Mrs. Lincoln was elegantly dressed 
in a blue silk with a train, a point-lace cape, and white 
and blue head-dress. I wore my hair curled in front, 
with a wreath of green leaves and gold grapes there, 
I won't say another word about the ball. 

Meriden, Conn., March 20, 1861. 
My dear Mother : I suppose you will be glad to 
learn that I am thus far on my way rejoicing. 
Wednesday I made several calls and went to the 
White House to see Mrs. Lincoln, but she did not 
receive that day. Katy Chase and Nettie, daughters 
of Gov. Chase, spent the day at our house. The 
former is about twenty-one, tall, slender, beautiful 
eyes, hair, eyelashes, and feet, very graceful, great 
repose of manner. Friday I went again to the 
President's with similar success. Mrs. Lincoln's 
children were sick and she did not receive. Monday 
I went to Philadelphia. All the Pikes and Fred Bailey 
went to the station with me. Mr. Lippincott and 
Annie Grace met me on my arrival. We sat up and 
talked till one o'clock, got up the next morning at 
six, and came off in a driving snow-storm ; reached 
Meriden about seven in the evening. Mr. Wood has 
an office with Mr. Chase at a salary of S2,000 a year, 
so I left him comfortable. Don't you be worried 
about Fort Sumter. It will all come out right in the 
end. I'll give you my views when I see you. 
Mother, when do you want rae to come home? In 
a hurry ? Mr. Dexter wants me to be present at the 
dedication of his church, which will be on the 4 th of 
April, and I shall make mj' arrangements to be in 
Boston at that time. 



316 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

April 17, 1861. 

My time lias been constantly taken up since my 
return. I have written very few letters, and have 
seen a good many people, I stopped iu Philadelphia 
one night. I did not stop in New York, but came on 
directly to West Meriden, where I remained ten days 
recruiting and luxuriating, lying in bed mornings, and 
getting up to delicious little breakfasts arranged for 
the occasion, went on one or two excursions, made a 
few visits and received a few back again, had one 
little party made for me, then went on to Hartford 
and stopped a few days. From Hartford to Boston 
and Cambridge, where I remained a few days. I 
met Mr. Spalding iu the cars the other day. He 
proposed an excursion into the country when the 
mayflowers come, but ah, me ! when will the may- 
flowers come? A blocking snowstorm fastened me 
up in .Meriden, a blocking snowstorm followed me up 
in Cambridge, and the day is dark and dreary. We 
have had possibly no warm weather since my return. 
The pleasant days have been "clear, but oh! how 
cold." Still the grass begins to look green on southern 
liillsidcs, and the crocuses and hyacinths are not 
afraid. How do you feel about the wars and rumors 
of wars? If Washington gets too warm for comfort 
shall you not begin to think of turning your face 
northward ? Every one is of course full of the matter 
here. There is great entluisiasra. You will have 
our Beverly Companies in a day or two, I suppose. 
It must be rather stirring there. What do tliey say 
about Anderson? And how does Mrs. Lincoln wear? 
and what of Seward, and Chase, etc.? I suppose 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 317 

the mails to Washington will not be cut off, even if 
hostilities do commence in that vicinity. To prevent 
any trouble, however, I think you had better write to 
me pretty soon and make sure. 

May 14, 1861. 

Went into Boston to see pictures the " Home of 
the Bees" wilh some nasturtium leaves looking ont 
from the canvas and a butterfly alight on one of thpm, 
and some beautiful mignonette, but otherwise not re- 
markable also the "Picnic of the Bears" rep- 
resenting them in human attitudes and with human 
sentiments, grotesque and fanciful in conception, but 
not so fully carried out as I conceive possible. Also 
the gallery of the Allston Club said to be the finest 
collection of pictures ever in this country. Rosa 
Bonheur has one or two horses there. I also looked 
in at the Park Street prayer-meeting. The vestry 
was cold and dingy, not to say dirty the meeting 
decorous, but not so interesting as I should think it 
would be in a time of religious excitement. At five 
o'clock I went to Concord and stayed till next night. 
Una is in Dio Lewis' school at Lexington. Julian at 
Cambridge. Rose at home. Friday evening we stayed 
at home and looked at the Dor5 Bible. Saturday at 
12 M. we went to Emerson's lecture, which I should 
have enjoyed if I had not been so very sleepy. The 
air was excessively bad though the lecturer was 
Emerson ! 

June 12. 

Mrs. Faulkner made a call here this morning. 
She has been in town a day or two, and went from 
our house to the station on her way to Cambridge. 
She will be eighty years old next fall, and she goes to 



318 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Newburjport, and Salem, and all about, alone. Her 
father was a Frenchman, her grandfather a resident 
of St. Domingo. It was the custom then for those 
who were able, to go to France at the birth of their 
children, on account of the superior attention to be se- 
cured, the negroes being the only attendants to be 
had in St. Domingo. Her father was accordingly 
born in the city of Nantes, in France. He returned 
to St. Domingo, afterwards fell in love with a girl in 
Hampton, Virginia, married her, and there Mrs. 
Faulkner was born. Her father was a Catholic, her 
mother a Protestant. Her father desired her to be 
christened by a Catholic priest. There was none 
nearer than Baltimore, whither they accordingly went, 
and she was christened Marie Louise (Blanchard), a 
friend of her father's, Toutant Beauregard, standing 
god-father. The traitor, General Beauregard, bears 
the same name and she supposes him to be thegrand- 
son of her god-father. He was very fond of her, gave 
her many presents, and when he dined out used to 
send his servant to fetch her at dessert. At the age 
of three or four years she went with her family to St. 
Domingo, where they remained till the breaking out of 
the civil war there, and the ensuing negro insurrec- 
tion. She was there during the bombardment, rush- 
ing with the rest of the women and children to the 
part of the city farthest from the shore. One cannon 
ball came rolling along so near her mother that the 
wind of it blew her dress. For fifteen months they 
did not undress at night. The women and children 
went on board the American ships in the harbor every 
night, and came back to their houses in the morning. 
The unburied bodies of men lay about in the streets, 
and she once saved her father's life by clinging about 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 319 

his neck and preventing the blow of the assassin. 
After a while the negroes drove the whites from the 
island. She saw Toussaint L'Ouverture was on 
board a vessel when the British boarded it and im- 
pressed one of their seamen who was an Irishman 
but at her entreaties he was allowed to remain. She 
married in Virginia a Capt. Lord who originated in 
Ipswieli ; weut with him to the Mediterranean. He 
died of yellow fever in New Orleans, leaving her a 
widow at the age of twenty-two. After eight years 
she married Dr. Faulkner and came to Hamilton to 
live. All this she told us this morning and I write 
it to you because I think it interesting. One 
thing more while journeying up the Mississippi 
with her first husband, the boat was tied to a tree and 
they took a stroll around as you did. They entered 
a cottage and asked for some water. It being in the 
vicinity of the Beauregard family she asked the woman 
if she had ever heard of a Toutant Beauregard. 
The woman smiled and said he was her husband. He 
had left her a widow and poor. She called in her son 
from the field and introduced Mrs., Faulkner as his 
sister. That, I believe, is the last she has heard of 
them till this Beauregard turned up. She instituted 
the first Sunday School in Hamilton and superin- 
tended it herself for a long while. 

I receive frequent letters from Mr. Wood. Marcel 
Bailey is in the army ; was in the advance-guard 
when the march was made to Alexandria. Fred is 
gone to West Point. Things seem to be growing 
finely. Corn, beans, potatoes, squashes, beets, cucum- 
bers, rose bushes, sweet peas, morning glories, dahlias, 
gladioluses (?), asters, mallows, pansics, nasturtiums, 
and other things up and doing. Grass promises well. 



320 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Mr. Pike, of Rowley, preached on Sunday, prayed for 
Gen. Scott and the country in a way to do your heart 
good, whether it did them any or not. 

Hamilton, July 25. 
After the cars left the B. & W. depot, I left also 
and strolled slowly to the C office, carefully check- 
ing a strong itching to strangle the little newsboys who 
added to " Times, Transcript, Join-nal," "the Fed- 
eral army defeated retreat on Washington," as 
nonchalantly as if it had been nothing more than a 
corn-doctor's advertisement. 

[To A Child.] 
Hamilton, Mass., August 20, 1861. 
My dear little Mary : I found a pair of gloves 
yesterday on the table. They are just about large 
enough for a honey-bee, and just about the color of a 
hare-bell. Whose do you suppose they are ? I have 
concluded to send them to you, and if you don't know 
any little girl who owns them, I think you may as well 
take them yourself. 

Since I began this I have had an invitation to go to 
drive so I cannot write you a tuJiole letter as I in- 
tended, but I hope you will remember me and love me 
a little bit, and I will you ! Good-by. 

Very affectionately yours, 

Mary Arby Dodge. 

P.S. I think we must have a postscript, so please 

give my love to your [)apa and mamma and that little 

Anna, who says, " Oh ! " 

October 18. 

I went to Boston visited 'round, heard Gough 
lecture did a little shopping, returned as far as 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 321 

Salem met mother there and came home at night 
found among other letters, one from Rev. Wm. M. 
Thayer, the " Phocion " of the " Congregationalist," 
editor of the "Home Monthly," etc., wanting me to 
write a series of articles for young men in his monthly, 
or anything else I chose. I declined, assuring him 
that I had nothing whatever to say to young men. 

Mr. A. W. D. showed my "Ode " to Mr.C. Gushing, 
who professed to admire it, and being asked to criti- 
cise it, pointed to the first line and asked if the reap- 
ers were done brown? 1 thought usage justified that 
construction, and tried to hunt up authorities, but 
with small success so it came into my mind to ask 
Charles Sumner ! So I wrote a letter to Charley, and 
asked him tellina; him at the same time what I 
thought of him personally, and enclosing the opening 
paragraph of my article on " Forgiveness," pub- 
lished last fall. Charley sent back to me his Worces- 
ter speech, writing "Thanks" on the envelope, and 
the next day sent a letter saying that he thought my 
verses excellent, including the first line, that I must 
write more, etc. He has also sent me two or three 
other of his speeches. Now, Mr. Wood, don't you 
go and tell him that I told you. Monday night, 
October 7, Mr. Dodge brought home a bundle of yarn, 
and I took enough for four pairs of socks. I had 
previously engaged Mrs. P., Mrs. N. W., Sr., and 
mother to knit a pair apiece if I would provide 
the yarn. Mr. D. has taken up the business ex- 
tensively, and has, I should think, as many as fifty 
women knitting. We have finished one pair mother 
and I. I knit the first one, and it is big enough for 
the foot of a mountain. Mother says it will do for 
somebody whose foot is bandaged. Mrs. T. P's 



322 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

will walk alone, Mrs. P. says, they are so stiff. 
Her yarn is coarse and her needles fine, so you will 
probably hear famous exploits wrought by a pair of 
socks. 

Our Conference came on Wednesday, October 8. 
The people l)rought provisions and set the tables at the 
Parsonage House, now empty, and had enough to 
feed a regiment, and the regiment fed accordingly. 
We were the only people in town, I suspect, who " en- 
tertained " at home, and we had a tableful, partly 
because they wanted to come, and partly because 
father invited some, and partly because there was 
such a crowd at the Parsonage that I felt bound to 
invite people here. As J. and I were walking home 
together a gentleman overtook us and accosted me. 
I had never seen him before, but J. introduced him 
as the Rev. Mr. Thatcher, of Gloucester, and by 
some hocus pocus he was at our house to dinner with 
his party of three, a Mr. Trask whom father used to 
know, etc. Mary met her minister, Mr. Barbour, in 
the aisle and wanted to bring me up for an introduc- 
tion, but I kept behind. After services in the after- 
noon, however, Mr. D. came trotting round from 
the other aisle with him ; said Mr. Barbour was so 
anxious to see me that he was just going down to the 
house to call, but chanced to catch a glimpse of me 
so there was no escape. After that was over, Rev. 
Mr. Bremner, a Scotch minister from Rockport, came 
to J. and wanted an introduction, so she shoved us to- 
gether, and then a semi-circle of Trasks and Briggs, 
and a general mob collected and I was glad to get out 
and go home. Now you see lohat fame is. We had 
ten to dinner and thirteen to supper. I lost my white 
pin in the forenoon and Mr. Thatcher advertised it, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 323 

and Mary found it on the sidewalk coming home at 
night. Thursday afternoon I canvassed the Backside 
for blankets, quilts, socks, etc. Every lady gave en- 
couragement, but few gave blankets. Aunt Susan 
heroically gave up one of her ancestral wrought 
quilts. They said, however, that they would look over 
their goods and see what they had and bring them to 
me so as Petrarch said to Laura, " I live in hope." 
If it clears this P.M. I shall start again. I intend 
to scour the whole village-, and if the rascals don't 
divulge I will expose them. Friday evening there 
was a "grand War Rally" at the vestry. Rev. 
Spalding of Salem was announced, but did not come. 

Eben Kimball and W. D. Northend did. Mrs. 

characterizes the former as a " bustin' feller," by 
which she means a modern Demosthenes, though she 
does not know it. I explain this for your benefit, 
Mr. Wood. My sister has lived in Hamilton, knows 

the people, as Mrs. expresses it, " from egg to 

shell," and understands the vernacular. 

I forgot to say that Mrs. called on us Confer- 
ence evening. Two fellows, the old one that stopped 
all night in the snow-storm at the Mordough Coun- 
cil, and another one, stayed so long that I did not 
know but that they were going to spend the night here, 
and after having been in an exhausting receiver all 
day I was not specially pleased to have Mrs. E. P. 
come in before supper was fairly off the boards and 
stay till nine o'clock, but she did, and I read the news- 
paper and snubbed her and snapped her and laughed 
at her, and she, sweet innocence, did not know a 
thing about it and went away as amiable as you 
please. Where ignorance is bliss, etc. 

The result of the lecture was that ten enlisted from 



324 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Hamiltou, That is the story that I heard the next clay. 
Subsequent modifications have reduced tlie number 
to one, and perhaps two, but I tell the tale as 'twas 
told to me. That one is Eddy Whittredge and per- 
haps David Wallace. I have heard a Saunders 
mentioned, but I don't vouch for him. David Trask 
has gone. 

Ordination came on Tuesday a day that eclipsed 
the Conference. Fortunately the North Association 
had a centennial in Rowley that day, and that di- 
verted the current from us otherwise we should 
have been inundated. Tlie day was a gem set flaw- 
less in the gusty October. Rev. Mr. Felt came to 
our house in the morning ; came in the first train. 
I like him much. He is a man of dignity and educa- 
tion. He is going to send me his Memorial of his 
wife and his Ecclesiastical History which he is now 
writing (of New England). The morning exercises 
were in the vestry and were interesting and frivolous 
me judice Mr. Pltz, Mr. Sewell, Southgate, 
Middleton, Johnson, Choate, etc., were there. Dr. 
Blagden, of the Old South, presided. He seems to be 
an easy, solid, good-natured, happy, affectionate 
sort of man. I think I should like him. At noon 
Mr. D. took the bishops and the other clergy, dele- 
gates, etc., over to the Ponds to dinner. They were 
extremely pleased. Dr. B. thinks he has found the 
Garden of Eden at last, and says Mrs. B. must come 
there and board next summer. Mr. D. took occasion 
to read my " Ode" to the company and gave Dr. B. 
his last remaining copy of it. I expect it will die out 
now. Prof. Park came with Prof. Phelps at noon 
and were as attractive as a menagerie. They were 
to have gone to Mrs. D's to dinner, but mistook the 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 325 



house and got to Mr. S's did not discover the 
mistake till they were seated at the table. Prof. 
Park disconcerted poor little Mrs. S. a good deal by 
scanning all the people at the table and gazing 
around. She could not divine what the trouble was 
or what he wanted till he satisfied their curiosity by 
asking slowly, "Is Gail Hamilton here? " 
Gail Hamilton owes the continued possession of her 
faculties to the fact that she was not there. I never 
saw so many carriages in Hamilton, nor so many 
people in the meeting house, nor so much talent in 
the pulpit, as there was that day. Prof. Park 
preached the sermon and it was splendid. His face 
is a sermon a volume a library a college and 
professors. So strong and so full of genius. Dr. 
Blagdeu gave the charge to the pastor excellent. 
Mr. Southgate charge to the people in his best style 
and royal good sense. Mr. S. was not averse to 
charging a people that Prof. Park preached to and 
Prof. Phelps was brother-in-law to. Brother Amos 
gave right hand of fellowship and brother-in-law 
Means made the ordaining prayer. Never ordination 
was so happily executed. Nothing was spun out 
nothing flat, and everything went off nicely. Mr. D. 

came down in the evening, bringing Rev. , of , 

to the Mecca of the place ! and W. C. gave the 
Mohammed a book that he had written, which Moham- 
med received graciously, but hang me if she ever 
means to read. Now you see, Mr. Wood and the rest, 
we have been about as busy the last few weeks as 
anybody in the country, and we have hauled up on 
the dry dock to repair damages. 

Yesterday P.M. Mr. Johnson went up on the hill 
and came in on his return, stopped to tea and awhile 



326 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

in the evening. It is a luxury to look at him and 
think he is not Mr. Mordough. Tiie Mary Forrest 
(Mrs. Freeman), author of "Women of the South," 
etc., Mr. Derby's friend, and to whom_ I sent the fern, 
is his cousin. He had read some of my letters there 
before he ever thought of coming to Hamiltou. He 
says people say to him, " Now you came from Hamil- 
tou. Tell us about Gail Hamiltou. 7s she a man or 
a woman?" After he was gone, mother and I went 
to Mrs. Patch's and spent the rest of the evening. 

If you don't any of you hear from me again very 
soon you must reflect that I am knitting and begging 
for the country as hard as I can. 

Truly yours all around, 

M. A. Dodge. 

October 26. 

My dear L. K. L.'s : I send you the story. I 
don't know about its being good, though. If it turns 
out to be, it will be a proof that extraordinary times 
produce extraordinary men for I have been over- 
whelmed, submerged, annihilated with fairs, sewing- 
societies, conferences, ordinations in fact, Hamiltou 
has gone mad with dissipation, and before things had 
fairly settled down, I "up " and made a box for the 
soldiers, which wasn't a box at all, but a China cask 
and a barrel. I had to do the thing myself went 
to almost every house in the village and if I fall 
insane, I know what I shall run on, " quilts, blankets, 
under-shirts," etc., but don't send me to the hospital. 
I shall be quite harmless. 

The nest-egg of the story I wrote a year ago, but 
the chicken full fledged never came out till to-day. 
Let me know when Grace comes this way. 1 want to 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 327 

get a peep at her at least. If I can kidnap her a little 
while, I think I shall do it. Long enough to give her 
a drive in Hamilton and let her see the world. 

Truly yours affectionately. 
Good time coming wait a little longer, 

M. A. D. 

Hamilton, Mass., November 26, 1861. 

My dear Mr. Wood : Thanksgiving is over. 
Motley legs and wings, the debris of many a vanished 
fowl, the last of the Mohicans, furnished, but can 
hardly be said to have adorned, our table to-day. 
The day of plum puddings and pumpkin pies called 
pumpkin out of respect to the memory of our fathers, 
but refined by the more fastidious taste of their chil- 
dren into squash (refined gastronomically, not philo- 
logically) , is past. Now if you can parse the above 
sentence I will give you a certificate of fitness, and a 
recommendation to any district of which you may 
wish to take charge this winter. Two of our families 
were present on Thanksgiving. A third was expected, 
but was prevented by the advent of a young volun- 
teer who very unexpectedly (to his aunt) joined the 
Mass. Light Infantry a few days before Thanksgiv- 
ing, for all which the Lord make us truly thankful. 

Here we are on the very brink of winter, snow 
lying white on the ground, snow scurrying down in 
white whirlpools from the gray and angry sky. I 
have received two letters from you since I last wrote. 
The first part of the penultimate, I am inclined to 
think, is what our friend Artemas AVaixl would call 
"rit sarcasticall," but I should just like to have you 
lay your hand on the Bible and affirm, if you dare, 



328 tiAIL HAMILTON\S LIFE IN LETTER^ 

that you are not in the habit of rounding off 3'our 
stories from the abundant stores of your own imagin- 
ation ! Did I not have to watch you with lynx-eyes 
(what kind of eyes those are I don't know, but I've 
lieard of 'em) to see just where the facts gave way, 
and the romance set in? Don't you remember the 
touching and exquisite story of the early love of our 
old Public Functionary, and how, being closely ques- 
tioned thereon and pushed into a corner, you were 
forced to confess that upon a frail foundation of fact 
you had fashioned a fair fabric of fancy? Did you 
not once upon a time sit down and roll off with fluent 
tongue a breakfast scene in Windsor Palace, just as 
if you were one of the party? Don't you remorse- 
lessly retail conversations between Lord Palmerston 
and his valet? and now you set up to be sensitive on 
the point of Munchausenism ! Very well, if you 
were not vulnerable, the arrow would not cause such a 
commotion ! 

I met in the train the other day Richard Spofford. 
Richard Spofford is engaged to Harriet Proscott. 
Harriet Prescott is the author of " Sir Rohan's 
Ghost." Richard Spofford is a Douglas Demo- 
crat, a friend of Commodore Dupont, commander 
of our Naval Expedition, of whom he spoke in 
the highest terms. He tells me that Dupont, 
Pendergrast, and Barron, the rebel of Hatteras, 
were peculiarly tender and intimate friends, that 
Barron is P's wife's brother, and that she and all 
her friends are in Norfolk and vicinity. So this civil 
war cuts into families. 

Did you ever meet Rev. Mr. Pike, of Rowley? He 
is a man of parts, one of the most welcome of our 
" exchanges," a man, I think, of fine literary taste and 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMLITON 329 

ability, and slightly peculiar, withal. My acquaint- 
ance among the clergy is extending ! Did I tell you 
of one who called on me one evening and presented 
me with a book he had just published ? Since his re- 
turn home he has deluged me with letters, tracts, 
almanacs, books, papers, and finally tells me that his 
wife, incited by his telling her that he found me knit- 
ting socks for the soldiers, has engaged herself and 
the parish in like good work. Unconscious influence ! 
I have been to court ! A young lawyer and his 
wife, resident here, called for me to accompany them 
to Salem to hear a case " just for the fun of it," Mrs. 
Lawyer never having been in a court-room. So I did, 
and we were so much interested that we went three 
days in succession and heard it through, nor departed 
till the jury did. Mr. Phillips, late District- Attorney, 
or Attorney-General, perhaps both, was the Senior 
Counsel on the losing side and argued the case with 
much ingenuity and apparent candor. He adopts the 
English style of speaking, has a soft, sweet, pleasant 
voice, is gentle and gentlemanly, courteous to his 
opponents, remarkably fluent, uses choice and elegant 
language, is never violent either in tone or gesture, 
but calm and conversational. The opposing lawyer 
was Mr. Abbott, the gentleman who delivered the 
Agricultural Address to which my "Ode" was intro- 
ductory. He was more able but less pleasing than 
Phillips. I have since borrowed a law-book, and the 
next thing you may expect to hear of me will be that 
I am arguing before the Supreme Court. I have 
already been admitted to the Bar ! But I suppose it 
would please you to have me passively, rather than 
actively, engaged in courting. 



330 <^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFP] IN LETTERS 

December 27, 1861. 
When I was in school I had few intimacies for 
the first two years none. The third summer I was 
attracted to a girl whose name was Ellen Chapman 
Hobbs. Her father was a lawyer in Wakefield, N.H. 
She was a remarkable girl highly intellectual and 
intense - not handsome, but with a face that lighted 
up wonderfully, and with a slender, airy figure. It 
shows how blue-stockingy we both were, that we fell 
in love in the Logic class, charmed by each other's 
recitations. This friendship founded on mutual re- 
spect outlasted our school-days, unlike the "general 
run " of school-girl friendships both in its basis and 
its duration. After leaving school, she taught awhile, 
and then was married to Mr. Edward Ashton Rollin, 
of Great Falls, N.H. She has had three children, 
the eldest a precocious boy who, of course, died of a 
brain disease at the age of ten months, and two 
daughters. She has sent me several urgent invitations 
to visit her, which, for various reasons, I had been un- 
able to accept. But about Thanksgiving she renewed 
them, offering as an inducement that, for the first time 
almost since her marriage, she was well. So I put 
myself into a little travelling basket, tucked a new 
feather on my bonnet and a new collar on my cloak, 
and stnrted. I had not seen her since we were at 
school together and I was somewhat anxious lest our 
expectations, founded on youthful memories, might 
not be met. 1 am happy to say that her womanhood 
has fulfilled the promise of her girlhood, and we en- 
joyed to the full our five days' visit. She is pleas- 
antly situated, has a noble husband, who is, moreover, 
a " rising man." He was Speaker of the House last 
year, though he is only thirty- three now They have 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 331 

a fine house, etc. She reads Schiller and Cicero and 
Racine, and makes all her children's clothes, and pots 
her own pickles and preserves, and is a perfect 
wonder to me. On my way home I stopped in New- 
buryport. I went with Mr. Spalding to visit Miss 
Hannah Gould. She lives there in a great house all 
alone She is a little "odd" at first, but simple and 
sincere. Her front entry was piled up with soldier's 
traps, and she is a thorough patriot. 

Grace Greenwood made me a flying visit on the 
17th inst. Came from AVhittier's and stopped over 
one train. I went on with her to Lynn to join a party 
which had been made up to go to see Hei-mann, the 
Prestidigitateur that's Boston for juggler. They 
chartered a horse car, thirty or so, and we went over 
to Boston at six and came home at 12 P.M. He dis- 
played himself in the theatre and swallowed handker- 
chiefs to a marvellous extent ; it was the first exhibi- 
tion of the kind I ever saw. The next morning I went 
to Cambridge where we had a family party, it being 
the 12th anniversary of my brother's marriage, and 
his second child, little Melly, is just as sweet as she 
can be and survive. The next day was memorable as 
giving me my first glimpses of war. I suppose it 
seems incredible to you that anybody should have 
lived in this tumultuous country for the last six or nine 
months and not have seen a regiment, not even a 
company, but it is the sober truth, and I am that 
body. So I was extremely delighted to learn that the 
Cavalry Company was to come in that day, and I 
climbed up on an apothecary's shelf and saw them 
pass by. I thought them the perfection of splendor, 
but the initiated only said that they were " very well, 
consideriuo;." 



332 C^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Mr. W., are you uot ashamed of yourself for saying 
that we are outside Barbarians who dou't keep Christ- 
mas? Keep Christmas indeed! Didn't I tramp over 
the frozen ground a mile or more to take some oranges 
and some money and some brightness to a poor sick 
woman, and didn't I give ten cents around to all the 
children, and a quarter apiece to two Irish women to 
go to the Fair with, and hunt up a brass candlestick 
among the neighbors for them to put their Xmas 
candle in, and didn't we have a turkey, and then a 
Fair in the evening ? Oh ! now you'd better talk 
about outside Barbarians, and didn't I buy a catch-all 
at the Fair, and a wax baby in a plaster of Paris crib 
and cotton wool blanket, and a family of mice, and a 
doll's hat, and a silk bag, and a quilted petticoat, a 
brilliantine apron, and a soft ball to give to my vari- 
ous juvenile friends for Xmas presents? Not keep 
Christmas? Ask my purse and sec what story that 
will tell. I am impoverished by reason of the in- 
tensity with which I kept it. 

I took my Glengary cap out of camphor weeks ago, 
but the skating docs not appear. There is plenty of 
cold, but no water to freeze. A''e lack the raw 
material. However, I have a splendid sled which 
goes at a 2.40 pace down the hills al)Oiit here, and in 
lieu of ice is the nicest thing in the world. But it is 
cold to-day, not so cold, either, as it is boisterous. 
The wind is rampaging about our house, and though 
my coal-stove is brim full, I cannot get the summer 
heat. My hope is that the wind will presently get 
tired and go off. We all wish you all a happy New 
Year. As ever 

Yours truly, 

M. A. D. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 333 

Hamilton, February 11, 1862. 
We are to have a new Methodist church. $900 are 
subscribed. " We, as a people, cannot build it," 

says Mr. , but the Conference, or something, is 

going to help them. So says report. The Metho- 
dists have one convert I have forgotten what 
special rapscallion it is but Aaron Caswell tells 
Rev. Kitwood that he mustn't put any dependence 
upon him. So I am afraid he is not quite so con- 
verted as might be desirable. My flowers were saved 
by mother's ingenuity. There was a pyramid in the 
middle of my chamber floor when I stepped in. I 
had a good hearty laugh all to myself when I took it 
down. I can't describe it, but I will give you the 
materials : a table, flowers, a big chair, a little chair, 
a cushion, a broomstick, a pillow, a scarf, a lounge, 
a dictionary (Webster's Unabridged), a writing-desk, 
a big shawl, etc., etc. The flowers drooped, but with 
the exception of one little sprig, they have all come 
out as good as new. I had to knit these mittens by 
guess. If they don't fit, bring them home and I will 
knit another pair. 

Saratoga Springs, New York, 

July 24, 1862. 

My dear Mother : I wrote to you from Spring- 
field. At Springfield I parted company with my 
trunk and have not seen it since. The baggage- 
master thinks it must have gone up to Vermont 
somewhere, and we have been telegraphing back and 
forth, but I assure you it is not very comforting to 
think of all my fine things lying packed up in my 
trunk, tramping around among the hills of Vermont, 
and me promenading in my old travelling-dress, a kind 



334 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

of chimney swallow among the Birds of Paradise. 
The house we are in is sometimes called "The Saints' 
Rest," on account of the Reverends and D.D.'s that 
congregate here. I have met several agx'eeable peo- 
ple here, one a highly accomplished and beautiful 
woman with four children ; is a splendid singer, and 
has lived much abroad. We are intending to leave 
Saratoga on Monday, and shall not make any stay of 
any length till we get to Montreal. 

The trunk has come safe and sound. My beautiful 
and accomplished lady, Mrs. Blanchard, congratulates 
me, " though," she adds with her musical, clear voice, 
' ' your costume is so neat in itself that it leaves noth- 
ing to be desired." 

December 23. 

I had a magnificent Christmas box on Saturday 
from an enthusiastic New York admirer, containing a 
set of the Now Cyclopfedia, bound in gilt and morocco, 
an elegant portfolio, a large double photograph 
album, and six or seven richly bound holiday books : 
the "Munich Gallery," "Gems of British Art," 
"Bitter Sweet," "Sunshine in the Country," etc., 
most elegant books you ever saw, from a man whom 
I never heard of till within a few weeks ; he tells me 
in his letter that he has already bought, to give away, 
two dozen of my books. You must come on and see 
them, but I shall not allow Mr. Emanuel to finger 
them. 

Our minister we are going to lose. Mr. Johnson 
asked a dismission a week ago Sunday. It was quite 
unexpected to most of the people. We are very 
sorry to have him go. I do not know any one better 
qualified for his position than he. He is a very gen- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 335 

tlemauly, intelligent, and scholarly man. He remains 

till after New Year. Mr. brought me a beautiful 

azalea in full and profuse bloom, for a Christmas pres- 
ent. I have a new wire flower-stand on which this 
towers preeminent ; below is a geranium hovering 
between life and death, a rose-bush with violent symp- 
toms of budding, a striped verbena decidedly sprawly 
and scrawny, but tough, and two pots of crocuses as 
yet not visible to the naked eye. I have a turnip in 
a broken cup hanging by the side of the window, in 
which a morning-glory is struggling against fate, and 
a cocoanut is in front of the window following the 
same course. A Coliseum ivy in a glazed pot hangs 
at the other window in a flourishing condition. In 
the corner, on the what-not, is a beautiful German 
pot with a German ivy almost run up to the ceiling. 

Did I tell you I had a letter from Parker Pillsbury, 
speaking in the highest terms of some papers of mine ? 
Did you know he was born in Hamilton? He thinks 
if I keep on Hamilton may yet become the American 
Bethlehem ! 

December 10. I went to Boston, heard Wendell 
Phillips lecture before the Fraternity andieuce on the 
President's proclamation very fine. Went out to 
Chelsea that night ; the next day visited in Cambridge. 
A. and I went into Boston in the afternoon shopping. 
Velvet bonnets were from $17 to $20, and 1 don't 
know how much more. Felts were to be had trimmed 
for $9.50. I bought a drab felt for $2.50, ruche, etc., 
to the amount of fifty cents, came home, took an old 
maroon velvet bonnet and feather, and two drab 
feathers of an old bonnet, and have made such a 
stylish bonnet as would cause you to open your eyes 
in admiration. Mother's outfit for this winter consists 



336 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

chiefly in flannels, a new cape to her bonnet, and two 
pocket handkerchiefs. She had a new slate-colored 
thibet in the fall. Mr. Dexter wanted me to send by 
him to the country parson a copy of my book as a 

kind of excuse for him to call. Mr. thought he 

would be pleased by it, so I took one of the amended 
fourth edition and wrote, " If the country Parson will 
not disdain to accept a nosegay of wild flowers from 
an American hillside, he will give a great pleasure to 
one of the sincerest of his admirers, G. H.," etc., on 
the fly-leaf. On my way home from Boston we went 
to hear Mr. Milburn, the blind lecturer subject 
Milton very good. 

is married, we hear, out in New York, 

where slie taught, you remember I got her the 
school, so I suppose I may be said to have got her 
the husband. I hope I shall not be held responsible 
for damages. The soldiers have all left us, to our 
great satisfaction. They made quite too free with the 
turkeys, chickens, cider, etc., to suit the ideas of 
Hamilton farmers. They were not very well offi- 
cered one of the regiments, the one which caused 
the trouble. 

Mr. Wood is coming North during the holidays, 
and wants me to meet him in Boston and go with him 
to Andover to Mrs. Stowe's. Shan't do it. Mrs. 
Stowe has been in Washington and gave him the in- 
vitation. In m}' book, do you remember a paragraph 
concerning " Herman, or Young Knighthood"? The 
story was written by Miss Palfrey, daughter of John 
G. Palfrey. She has sent me a copy of a volume of 
her poems, ' With the very hearty thanks for more 
than one passage in C. L. and C. T. of," etc. 

Write early and write often, as the New York poll- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 337 

ticians tell their Tammany Hall-ers to vote. Where 
people are so far away, it is necessary to keep the 
connecting links constantly bright by being well 
rubbed with paper. 

Yours truly and affectionately, 

Abby. 

[a poser.] 

Hamilton, Mass., February 3, 1863. 
Mr. Derby, my friend, o?i the nineteenth of this 
month, I sent you a letter. Did you receive it? 

Yours very truly, 

M. A. D. 

Now, Mary Abby, my friend, how could that pos- 
sibly be? Didn't you mean the nineteenth of next 
month ? 

Smith. 

February 16, 1863. 

Mother never knows how to write when I am at 
home. Her only satisfaction is to sly a letter away 
somewhere in the fall of the secretary, and take it 
out at odd minutes after I have gone to bed, or when 
she thinks I am quartered in my room for the day. 
Once in a while I take her in the very act, and she 
looks as guilty as you please. So now you must take 
me for want of a better. 

C. and S. were here to tea Monday, long enough 
to hear a few of my book-letters read. Mother is 
greatly alarmed lest I should be puffed up overmuch, 
but no sooner does any member of the family come 
into the house than she says, "Oh, Abby, just get 
youi' St. Louis letter and read," or your New York 



338 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

letter, or your Chicago letter, as it happens. And if 
she has heard them read three hundred times before, 
she sits with as wide-open ears as if they were en- 
tirely new and fresh. Not a newspaper puff appears 
but I see her '' nosing round " among the old papers 
with her scissors three or four days afterwards, and 
I can always detect her errand by her "sheepish" 
look. At a breath of censure, you should see the 
furies that flash from her eyes but I am in danger 
of being puffed up ! 

A. D. Richardson, brother of the " Congregational- 
ist" man, correspondent of the "Tribune," lecturer, 
etc., wrote me the other day saying he wished I would 
write some sort of an address to the women of the 
country' ; he thought, and General Howard thought, 
something of the sort might do good. It was, of 
course, rather an indefinite "general order," but I 
put down a few notes of things in which I thought 
there might be an improvement. While I was writing 
it, a letter came from C. A. Richardson wishing me 
to come to IJoston to hear Mason Jones, the Irish 
orato I went straight to Mr. Fields to see if an 
article, supposing it was written, could go into the 
next " Atlantic." That night I went to liear Mason 
Jones, was quite pleased with him, went over to 
Chelsea with the Richardsons, and the next day stayed 
there and wrote a little notice of the Mason Jones 
affair, and then wrote my appeal to the women. In 
the morning took my paper to Boston to Mr. Fields, 
who read it, liked it. Mrs. Fields came down and 
gave it a name, and it comes out in the March num- 
ber. I thought you might like to have the history of 
one article. It was done up in about the shortest 
metre of any article I ever wrote, and I suppose it 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 339 

will go at right angles with all your convictions and 
principles. 

Thursday Mr. Fields invited me to go with him to 
a reading-club they had in Boston, about twenty- 
five, Agassiz, Holmes, Mrs. Howe, E. P. Whip- 
ple, etc. They were going to meet that night at the 
Governor's, and he was going to read the commence- 
ment of one of my (unpublished) articles, one, by 
the way, in which Alvin figures. AYhen you were 
paddling us round iu the pigs' trough iu the orchard, 
you didn't dream that the Governor would ever have 
the story, did you? I didn't. 

Mr. Wood sent me ten dollars the other day to get 
some white cotton socks knit for him. I have bought 
the yarn, and some people in Beverly ai-e going to 
knit them. He gives a very amusing account of his 
domestic affairs in a letter I received from him to- 
day. His seamstress has unfortunately for him 
and perhaps for her ! been lately married, and he 
put out his stockings and things to a new person. 
He said he thought he would look at them when they 
came back, and found they looked ' darned ugly." 
He could find in his whole stock only one shirt to put 
on all the rest had a button off, or a rent in the 
bosom. Grateful for that one, he assumed it, but on 
buttoning the collar, off came the button ; so there 
was nothing for it but to sew it on himself ; and put- 
ting it on once more, he found he had got the button 
on the wrong side. 

Don't attempt to ridicule father out of his river- 
fear. Fire and water are the only two things he is 
afraid of, and them he fears both by wholesale 
and retail, much more than is good for himself or 
others. 



340 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

March 6. 
Saturday Augusta and I went to Boston together. 
I went to Mr. Fields' office when I first got to town 
and left my basket, and told him I would come back 
about five to go home with him, which I did, and we 
had supper at six and rode to the concert at seven. 
It was by Madame Urso. You may remember Cam- 
illa Urso, who was around several years ago playing 
the violin as a child nine or ten. Since then she 
has been married, lived in Memphis had five, some 
say seven, children, a miserable, good-for-nothing 
husband who lias promised to keep away from her, 
and now she is trying to support her three sur- 
viving children by her art. She has had almost 
no practice for these years, yet musical artists 
say that her skill is unimpaired and that she 
even plays better than ever. How that may be I 
cannot say, but I never heard anything so fine come 
from a fiddle. When we got home we found Haw- 
thorne there, who remained as long as I stayed. He 
is a glorious man, a very ideal man in his personal 
appearance, with an infinite forehead, his gray, dry, 
long hair thrown back from it in all directions, deep 
lamps of eyes glowing out from under their heavy 
arches, black eyebrows and moustache, a florid, 
healthy face a pure, sensitive, reticent, individual 
man whom it is enough to have seen, to have looked 
at, to have been in the same house with. He talks 
little, but he talks extremelv well. You see the same 
peculiarities in his conversation that charm you in his 
English papers in the " Atlantic." On Sunday even- 
ing several people were in and he disappeared alto- 
gether. Three or four times I would look up at him 
across the table and find his deep, inextinguishable 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 341 

eyes looking at me and when he said " Good-by " he 
invited me to come to Concord, and said he would 
assure me of a welcome, and that I should not be 
pestered with admiration, and that he would take me 
to Emerson, etc. I shall never go, but it was nice to 
be asked. Moncnre D. Conway, whom you probably 
know about, stayed there Sunday night. He reminds 
me much of Alvin, is tall and slender, dark hair, eyes, 
and whiskers, and a nose large and somewhat like 
Alvin's. I liked him, too. The trouble with me is 
that I like everybody. Monday morning we went 
down to breakfast at half-past eight, and did not get 
upstairs till near ten. Mr. Fields himself is very 
entertaining and amusing, a fine mimic, genial and 
funny, and I had nothing to do but listen and laugh 
and look at Hawthorne, when I was sure he would 
not be looking at me. I also had a long talk with 
Holmes, who is as crisp and clear and incisive in his 
talk as in his books. He is a man who has an admir- 
able command of all his resources. His sword is 
two-edged and keen. You don't need to talk your- 
self ; he keeps the ball rolling without aid, and his 
talk is extremely good, though I don't feel as if I had 
the full benefit of it. I would have much preferred 
being alone with him, but there were others in the 
room, though the conversation was mine. Also, I 
saw Rev. Mr. Waterston, whose only child, a daughter 
of eighteen, died in Rome. Whittier wrote a poem 
upon it. He gave me a very cordial and urgent in- 
vitation to visit his house, and I believe I made a 
promise to do so. Also, I saw Mr. Quincy, grandson 
of old Josiah, and son of young Josiah Quincy. Mr. 
Fields' house is full of pictures and autographs and 
curious things, old books, etc., a set of Byron's 



342 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

poems, which he himself had bound and gave to Leigh 
Hunt with his own inscription inside, a " Boccacio " 
which Leigh Hunt's wife gave him before they were 
married and which he gave back to her afterwards 
on the anniversary of their wedding-day, photograph 
books of English people the Queen and the Royal 
Family the Queen, by the way, being as dumpy a 
little Dutch girl as you shall see in " Knickerbocker." 
I came home the next morning ; found several hooks 
awaiting me, one from a Mr. John Tappan, a rich old 
man of Boston, who was much pleased with an article 
on Dea. Saffoi'd, which, by the way, has created quite 
a sensation about here. Mr. Fields tells me that a 
gentleman from New Hampshire sent down to him 
requesting permission to copy "A Call to my 
Countrywomen" in the N.H. papers, and also to have 
it printed in pamphlet form for general distribution, 
which he granted. 80 you may imagine me election- 
eering in N.H. to some purpose, I hope. Wednesday 
I went to Newburyport found Mrs. Spalding very 
comfortably located at the boarding-house of a Mr. 
Tilton, and looking much better than I have seen her 
this long while, which I attribute to entire absence of 
housekeeping cares. Mrs. Bannister, who used to 
be Miss Grant, boards in the same house with her. 
When I was at Ipswich I used to be sent over to Mrs. 
Bannister's every now and then, to "mend my man- 
ners," I suppose, and I acquired such a fear and 
horror of Mrs. B. that I have never had any toleration 
of her since, but she invited me into her room and as 
I did not quite know how to refuse, I went and spent 
a very agreeable half hour with her. I asked Mrs. 
Cowles afterwards if Mrs. B. had not limbered up. 
She said she thought it was I that had changed and not 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 343 

she, which may be the case. Mr. and Mrs. and Miss 
Gage also board there. He was a Unitarian, but after- 
wards became Orthodox ; has been much abroad, and 
is thoroughly imbued with the spirit of German litera- 
ture, is familiar with German biography and theology. 
He is supplying Mr. Spalding's pulpit, having re- 
signed his own on account of illness ; is leisurely writ- 
ing a book. I had an extremely interesting and valu- 
able talk with him, and the next morning he went to 
the station with me and gave me a book of his own 
on a subject which we had discussed, " Zum Ged- 
achtniss eines unvergesclichen Abends," which, being 
interpreted, means " in memory of a never-to-be- 
forgotten evening." We have had the smartest snow- 
storm of the season. Didn't go out yesterday ; snow 
at the gate almost up to my neck. I have shovelled 
a path through it just in time for the minister to come 
and make me a call, wants to come here. Ratherish 
odd, I should think, introduced, he asked at once if 
this was the authoress. I told him no, it was the 
coal heaver, duster, and washer, but took him into the 
parlor. He asked if I liked to write. I said he must 
wait till my ''Life and Sufferings" were published. 
"Was I much interested in matters of the town? Well, 
yes, but I did not think I should go to town-meeting 
to-morrow. Did I intend to spend the rest of my 
days here? I should probably stay the rest of the 
winter, especially as spring has already come in. On 
the whole, I have not made up my mind about him, 
and unless he comes to stay, shall not probably do so 
at present. This much is certain, he is not Mr. 
Johnson. 



344 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

March 17, 

We had quite an eventful morning. When I went 
downstairs this morning mother was standing keeled 
up over the wood box in the sitting-room, holding the 
cover open at a respectful distance and the cat claw- 
ing inside "like mad." I began to take out the 
sticks with the tongs amidst a flutter of paper, the 
cat growing eager every moment, and as I removed the 
last stick I caught sight of the fore-quarters of a 
mouse making frantic attempts to scale the ramparts, 
but he was gone in a minute into the inexorable jaws, 
and I reflected how necessary it is to be a cat if one 
would catch mice ! No human agility could seize that 
swift-footed animal in its electric transit. The cat, 
after having devoured the mouse and been sufficiently 
petted and praised for simply doing her " dooty," let 
alone following her inclinations, began to look strange, 
shaky, and bewildered, and finally lay down and went 
into a long fit, or a succession of short fits, after 
which it became necessary to remove the cat out- 
doors and to keep her out also. Saturday afternoon 
Mrs. J. H. Hannaford, with a friend, a Mrs. Webber, 
and two boys, came up in a sleigh and made a call of 
an hour or so ! Monday I had a letter from A. D. 
Richardson, now in Washington, says he has heard 
only words of praise for " The Call," and thinks il 
must do much good. Mrs. Fremont and her daughter 
spoke of it in the highest terms. This morning I had 
a letter from Boston requesting permission to print 
"The Call" in pamphlet form for general distribu- 
tion! 

I went to Amesbury, to Whittier's, on Mrs. Bailey's 
biography business. They did not know I was com- 
ing. I rang the bell, was shown into the sitting-room 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 345 

where Miss Whittiei* sat reading facing the door, and 
he writing, back, ditto. I went up to her and said, 
"shall I have to introduce myself?" She had seen 
me only twice both times in summer dress. She 
rose, said " No," but looked dubious. He jumped up 
and came to me with both hands extended, " Why, it 
is Gail Hamilton," and then we all three walked into 
Paradise^ shut the gate, and threw away the key. I 
can't tell you all we talked about. Miss W. is a 
modest, large-eyed, but not beautiful woman, gentle, 
timid rather, but opeuing to acquaintance not well, 
full of tastes and sympathies and sense, no silliness 
heart not very demonstrative, nor very the con- 
trary. He is the king of men and what is the good of 
talking ? We talked about the Baileys aud the anti- 
slavery cause. He thinks the biography should be 
written, " and nobody would do it as well as thee if 
thee would undertake it," but thee won't and be- 
sides she can't. It would be a labor of love to him, 
but his health is not sufficient. He thinks Mrs. Bailey 
herself would make a very readable book. We both 
concluded that John G. Palfrey was the man, if avail- 
able. They, too, like " Spasm of Sense" extremely. 
I lamented that I could not be anonymous. I had 
always meant to be, but never succeeded, "ft is a 
great deal better as it is. It puts thee on thy good 
behavior." " You don't trust me," I said. " Yes, I 
do trust thee, but thee has a great audacity great 
audacity." I told him of nn* Christmas present. 
Both were surprised and delighted. Miss W. said 
when any good thing came to her it seemed so strange 
that she should have it be thought worthy of it. "I 
warrant thee didn't feel so," said Whittier. "No," I 
said, "I took them like a queen." He laughed and 



346 f'^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

clapped bis hands in great glee. Wc were talking of 
music and I bemoaned my incapacity. "Thee 
mustn't complain," he said, " the Lord has given thee 
a great deal." We talked theology like fury. I told 
him we had one of his Amesbury ministers eleven 

years. "Did thee sit under ?" You should 

have seen the tone and expi-ession, " I wonder thee 
has come out of it." "He was a good neighbor 
enough, but I thought him a mighty stupid fellow." 
He told how he had berated Harriet Kimball for leav- 
ing the Congregational and joining the Episcopal 
Church. Miss W. said it was the most cruel thing I 
ever heard. He had no mercy, and she sat as meek 
as could be and " supposed it was all deserved." He 
said he had a qualm of conscience afterwards, she 
was so patient. " Now if it had been thee, I wouldn't 
have cared." "But you would have let me pay 
back," I said. " I should have known thee would." 
They had a parrot which kisses and snuggles up and 
walks over the house and asks for water and eats 
peach preserves. I lamented that I did not look as 
an intellectual woman should and made a fool of my- 
self when I wished to be particularly wise. He said 
that was the best part of it that he liked me be- 
cause I didn't seem literary bore no mark of mental 
effort, care, or logic. Well, are you tired? Pooh! 
I could spin out a bookful and have plenty left for an 
appendix. When I came away he said he thought 
some sood angel must have sent me. He had had a 
headache the day before, and I rather suspect they 
both needed a brighteuing-up. I went in the ten 
o'clock train to Mrs. Spalding's, and as it was Fast 
Day went to church with her and heard Mr. Gage 
preach a very good sermon, though he told me after- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 347 

wards it was a year or so old. At tea Mrs. Bannis- 
ter asked me to come into her room, which I did, and 
then she invited me to climb into her big sofa rocking- 
chair, which I did, and then she bade me stay there, 
which I did, and she rocked me, and I live to tell it I 
F'riday I called to see my old friend Fanny Goodale 
Thurston, whose husband has just asked a dismission 
from his church, also on Marianna Porter, and we 
talked about Miss Prescott, who, she says, is as good 
as gold, but believes in nothing, past or future, man or 
woman, but is desperately in love with Dick Spofford. 
Saturday I had a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Fields, 
filled with gratitude and delight at an article which I 
had written to please her, on a musical theme, 
just think of it ! 

Hamilton, Mass., April 21, 1863. 
I came across " Brisee " in a bookstore the other 
day, and bought it and read it. If I am right you 
said it was written by two young girls sisters, I 
think, seventeen years old. If so it is quite won- 
derful, and whether so or not, it exhibits great 
power, yet it offends me deeply. I have been read- 
iuo- with great delight John Stuart Mill's late work 
"On Liberty." Also an old work at least ten 
years or so and that is old, you know, in these 
times, " Thorndale." I dare say you have seen 
it. Such a black Baptist sheep as you would of 
course have alighted on a woi'k like that. It is full 
of thought. Let me give you a piece of advice. 
Whenever you feel in the mood to write a letter, 
don't fold up the mood and put it away in a 
drawer out of any charitable motives ! In fact, 
such humiliiy in one of your sex and I believe I 



348 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

may add without offense, in one of your spirit is 
rather suspicious, and I have a notion that it was 
only part mercy and the other and larger part, 
inertia ! Human nature, you know, is so apt to 
baptize an inclination with the name of a duty. Now 
be frank and confess that I am at least nine-tenths 
right. And what right have you, pray, to localize 
Daniel Webster in the inhuman way you do? My 
excuse for you is that you have dwelt so much among 
the possible scenes of the " Future Life " that you mix 
up the two worlds rather indiscriminately, fancying 
thiit the judgments you pronounce for this may 
apply also, or rather lap over, into the next. But 
you must bear in mind that Apollo is neither Jupiter 
nor Rhadamanthus. 

I must say I am quite at a loss to understand why 
there should be any difficulty about entertaining the 
Ilaytien Ambassadors. They are the accredited 
ministers of an accredited government, and I think 
this embarrassment is the most arrant nonsense and 
the most vulgar prejudice, and why Lord Lyons and 
the foreign diplomats should be troubled of soul, I 
cannot comprehend. I wish I was the leader of 
society in Washington ! I would })ut one or two 
things through, I warrant you, and all opponents 
should bite the dust ! But " thee mustn't complain," 
says Whittier, " the Lord has given thee a great 
deal." 

Did you know a woman in Washington has been 
claiming the autliorsliip of ''Country Living," etc.? 
Somebody down in Maine wrote to me a circumstan- 
tial account of the whole affair. A gentleman had 
" seen the manuscript," and the " world would soon 
be undeceived," my cori*espondent had been informed, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 349 

and I was begged to say yes or no to the author- 
ship. 

April 25. 

April 21 was distinguished in the Royal Family of 
Hamilton by the reception of a bundle of "Calls," 
sent by Mr. Barnard, part of an edition of 5,000 
printed for general circulation. Wednesday to Bos- 
ton to see Bierstadfs picture of the Rocky Mountains. 
I was introduced to a Miss Hammond, who was the 
most brilliant talker I ever heard, talked pretty much 
all the time, but without any arrogance or assump- 
tion naturally, easily, with the most musical 
voice and the most perfect enunciation imaginable 
talk rippling, overflowing with wit and humor and 
satire and sense. I thought of Miss Palfrey, of whom 
Mr. Fields lias several times spoken to me as a very 
brilliant person. At the table Mrs. Fields let drop 
from her lips the name " Miss Palfrey " and I saw 
the plot at once. This Miss Palfrey is the daughter 
of John G. Palfrey and wrote "Herman, or Young 
Kniglithood," of which you may have heard a certain 
book speak in very high terms of praise. Miss Pal- 
frey was much pleased and sent the author a volume 
of her poems with a neat little inscription. Well I 
saw just how it was. They, knowing that I always 
hate to "meet" people, and yet wanting to bring us 
together, had planned a ruse. Mrs. Fields had come 
down to the office to see if I would come, and hur- 
ried away to secure Miss Palfrey and were going to 
get me acquainted with her under the mask of some 
common Miss Hammond before I knew it. I said 
nothing, but after sapper when we were going up- 
stairs Mr. Fields said to me "Isn't she bi'ight?" 



350 GAII. HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and I said " There is but one," and we both laughed 
and understood it. He said he knew his wife would 
let it out before it was ready to come. However, we 
all went home with Miss Palfrey and then we went to 
a concert, a performance of the old church music of 
England, which was very fine, much finer, Mr. and 
Mrs. F. both said, than it was generally performed 
in the English cathedrals. The next morning Miss 
Palfrey came again and invited us all to tea that 
evening, but I was coming home at night, so it was 
postponed till my next visit. She said her father 
came to the door that evening in hope of an intro- 
duction, but he was at the top of the steps, and we 
were at the bottom, so it would have had to be hal- 
looed. 

May, 1863. 

I treated the company to oysters. It was mother's 
first experiment with them, and when I asked how 
she liked them, she answered politely that she neither 
liked nor disliked, for there was no taste to 'em ! 
Then we went to Bierstadt's picture, and then they 
went to Cambridge, and I went shopping around 
promiscuously and to Mr. Field's office awhile aud 
then to his house, where were Mrs. Hawthorne and 
her daughter Kose. INIrs. H. is a short woman, not 
so tall as I, with a peculiarly pure look, the look of 
a woman who has had a life of content. Her hair is 
slightly gray and slightly wavy. She is very simple 
and straightforward quiet in all her tints and tones. 
Her husband is to her just as much a hero and lover 
now as he was the day she married him. She is 
receptive and kindly just such a wife as Hawthorne 
should have. Do you cure to know how she was 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 351 

dressed ? A black velvet Zouave jacket trimmed 
with two-inch-or-so broad lace, a skirt of some black 
and white striped stuff, a white under-waist of white 
musliu and lace and things, a handkerchief pin, 
collar-pin, and belt-buckle with a carbuncle, and I 
never so much liked a carbuncle before. It glowed 
like a liquid ruby drop in her soft muslin. Rose is 
perhaps ten or twelve years old, a quiet, well-bred 
child, prettily colored, with the poet's gold in her hair, 
but which common eyes would call red, such a com- 
plexion as light blue befits. We spent the evening 

quietly by ourselves, Mr. being with us a part 

of the time and upstairs, writing, a part but we 
talked him out and off to bed long before we went 
ourselves, which was not till after twelve. 

Dr. Murdock wants me to write for the " Watch- 
man and Reflector," "satisfactory price," etc. I 
told him I was pretty fully engaged, but he wished me 
not to say no right off, but think about it awhile. I 
was not to tell the " Congregationalist" or anybody 
about it, and you see I don't. About every time I go 
to Boston, Mr. Fields belabors me about not " spread- 
ing myself," etc., that nothing is worse than to be- 
come common, etc. So he would be pleased with Dr. 
M's proposition. My rose-bush has three buds on 
it, and I have put some of my flowers and my bird 
outdoors this morning. Your pamphlet wants '' such 
beneficent disarmament and coercion to be enforced 
by heroic volunteers in ample numbers, who are will- 
ing to lose their own lives if need be," etc., etc., etc. 
That is precisely what I want. The precise manner 
in which the Peace Society proposes to accomplish 
this I have never yet seen. I suppose they would go 
down on the Rappahanoek and tie a pocket-handker- 



352 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

chief over the muzzle of every gun. If in any way 
they can disarm the rebels I should be heartily glad 
to have them bestir themselves. Meanwhile the best 
method seems to me to have plenty of men, guns, and 
ammunition in the field, and faith, hope, and charity 
at home, and bang away. Trust in God and dry 
powder is the best Peace Association I ever heard of. 
You should remember, too, that the object of war is 
not to shoot and mutilate as many as possible. It is 
only to do just so much of it as is necessary to coer- 
cion. This is not only a theoretical, but a practical 
distinction. It is a fact that shooting that brings 
nothing to bear is everywhere frowned upon. It is a 
fact that the moment the men whom you are trying 
to kill are blown into the water, you peril your life to 
save them. It is a fact that men are taught to shoot 
low, because your enemy's life is not desired, only 
that he should be put hors de combat. What we are 
all striving after is peace, with a basis of righteous- 
ness. 

June 11, 1863. 

I beg that you will not go out of your way to strike 
down my friend " Thorndale," because it is not a relig- 
ious novel at all, nor any kind of a novel. I dare say 
you have never read the book, you are certainly be- 
laboring the wrong name ; but the fact is, you are so 
heterodox yourself that you will not let any one else 
come near. You wish to monopolize the heresies in 
your own proper person, and so you fend off every 
one else who shows the smallest disposition to over- 
leap boundaries. And as for your somebody's " His- 
tory of Baptism," which you counsel me to read, I 
assure you I shall do nothing of the sort. Is it not 
enough that I have to wade through (speaking Bap- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 353 

tistically) your periodic homilies on the subject, but 
I must straightway involve myself in Octavo Appen- 
dices? I attribute your ever-recurring dissertations 
to some new outcropping of original sin. "Whenever 
you have been guilty of some special worldly enormity 
you atone for it by a theological thunderstorm, which 
always bursts on me. Fortunately it could not break 
on one better able to stand it. I am glad that you 
are enjoying the ministrations of an able shepherd, 
and hope it will bring you to a better mind. We, 
too, are in hopes to secure a trumpeter who will give 
no uncertain sound, but we are not yet confident. 

I am very glad you liked Camilla's face, for I do not 
think it eminently calculated to please the populace, 
so it must depend for suffrage upon the upper classes. 

All your letter was interesting and amusing. I do 
not in the least wonder that you write such long let- 
ters, for I should do it mj'self if I only had the time. 
I think it is very charming business, and I think, too, 
that you have a peculiar knack at writing letters. 
They are not exactly letters, and not exactly essays, 
but a cross between the two. I often find myself 
lamenting that so much fine writing should be wasted 
on the desert air. I do my best to prevent it by read- 
ing them to the whole family, and we have many a 
hearty laugh over them. I assure you I explain all 
the wickedness out so as to make it as palpable and 
undisguised as possible, and there is a great deal of 
wickedness in your letters, Baptist that you are. 

All your civic arrangements for me are very clever, 
and you are to consider me as bowing a polite thank 
you, but while I am assiduously cultivating your 
friends, pray what disposition do you propose to 
make of my own? While I am "revelling in the 



354 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

halls " that you have provided, what shall be my shut 
sesame to the doors that open to me of their own 
accord ? I do believe that nothing could satisfy the 
demand of your benevolence but a regiment of deso- 
late people whom you could furnish with home and 
heaven (by immersion). You carry out your creed 
into daily life in the most astonishing manner. You 
are not content with sprinkling people with your becefi- 
cences: you plunge them in, dip them, submerge 
them, and hold them under. 

I went to Boston a while ago, and had a charming 
visit with Mrs. Hawthorne. We live in hopes of the 
capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and Lee, 
and all their armies, but God speed the right, anyway ! 
Isn't it delightful to see the Kilkenny cat-fight over 
Kinglake's work? My sister has been at home and 
passed a week with a friend. It was pleasant all the 
while and we enjoyed it much. I took occasion to do 
up several " odd jobs " of sewing, fori cannot write 
when there is company in the house. I am promised 
an English ivy from Kenilworth Castle ; what do you 
think of that? I think I shall start on my travels 
the last of this month, or thereabouts, but I have 
nothing definite arranged. I am just now galloping 
over the pages of foolscap to be ready to start. As 
it is, I shall not be able to do all I wished first. 
Strange how roads lengthen before you, don't they? 
Oh, if only writing did not interpose between thought 
and print, but in that case I suppose we should flood 
the world with balderdash. As it is, writing is a 
kind of sieve ; to be sure, a good deal of bran gets 
through, but nothing to what there is on the upper side. 
Good-by. Very truly yours, 

M. A. D. 



BUSY YEAE IN HAMILTON 355 

Hamilton, Mass., July 14, 1863. 
My dear Mr. Wood : Four letters of yours awaited 
my arrival home. On the twelfth of June I went to 
Boston, where I spent Saturday, Sunday, and Mon- 
day, went to the gymnasium, shopping, walked out 
to Eoxbury, heard James Freeman Clarke and Edward 
Everett Hale preach, chime bells. Catholic church, 
etc. Tuesday I went to Cambridge and visited my 
relatives. Wednesday my sister and I went to drive 
in the beautiful suburbs of Boston, Dorchester, 
Brookline, etc., and indeed I know of no city so set 
in beauty aud taste and culture as Boston. Money 
seems to have been directed by intelligence and art, 
and 1 fancied a rebel cavalry charging over those 
lovely gardens and defacing the beauty. Thursday 
I went to Concord and stepped till Monday, visiting 
and visited by the Hawthornes, Emersons, Alcotts, 
Sanborns, Manns, etc., etc. Boated, drove, walked, 
went to the old bridge and battle-ground, and gave 
the tribute of a sigh to the two poor Britons who lie 
in a foreign grave, dead in an unrighteous cause. 
Monday I went back to Boston, and out to Hillside, 
Eoxbury, to visit the Dexters, who have a very charm- 
ing house, wnth the broadest view without, and the 
finest library within, of any private house I recollect 
to have seen. Tuesday Mr. Dexter went shopping 
with me in Boston, and I took a bookcase for litera- 
ture, and a clothes wringer for economy, and with 
many a parcel aud package went home. On Saturday 
came a letter from among the mountains, say- 
ing I must go there, and I started on Tuesday, 
reaching the Alpine House, Gorham, at night, stayed 
there till next morning, then went with the Lowells 
to the Glen House, drove up Mt. Washington, visited 



35(3 f^AIL HAMILTON'S ifFE IN LETTERS 

all the curiosities, examined the views atleisui'e. The 
next morning we drove to the Glen Ellis Falls, and 
the Crystal Cascade, looked at them from different 
points, in the afternoon back to the Alpine House, I 
on the top of the coach, and we all running a race 
into, or away from, a thunder shower which met us a 
few rods from home, but too late to do any harm. 
Friday morning we took a walk up what here would 
be quite a mountain, but there was only a hill, and in 
the afternoon were driven to Berlin Falls, a marvel- 
lous work of nature, but I remember that you are not 
much interests d in mountain scenery. I think, how- 
ever, you could not have helped being interested in 
that. Saturday and Sunday it rained pretty much 
all day with intervals of rest, and we had opportunity 
to watch cloud shif tings and cloud scenery. Monday 
we drove to Jefferson, some eighteen miles and back, 
dining at the Waumbeck House, and getting a broad- 
side view of the whole range of mountains. In the 
evening I took another drive with a friend to the Lead 
Mine Bridge, some nine miles out and back. Tuesday 
we all went to Bethel, laid by through the middle-day 
heat, then were driven to Paradise Hill for a distant 
view, and after tea all about Bethel and its valleys of 
delight, fording the Androscoggin, and enjoying to 
th;; top of my bent. Wednesday we went up Spar- 
rowhawk mountain, and in the afternoon I was driven 
in an open buggy back to the Alpine House, about 
twenty-one miles. Thursday morning I came back as 
far as Newburyport, stopped one night with Mrs. 
Spalding, came home, stopped till noon, read my 
letters, one from you, went to Boston and Cambridge, 
into Boston Saturday morning, a little shopping and 
proof-correcting, and then back again to Hamilton. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 357 

So you see I have had a quite busy montli. I am now 
laboring under an invitation to make a voyage to 
Labrador by the captain of the yacht. He takes a 
parly every summer ; took out Church when he made 
his ic(;herg studies. Bradford goes with him this 
year. If it were not for my numerous engagements 
I should be delighted to go. Though I do not quite 
like to put myself beyond hearing of the ways and 
doings of my country. We have Vicksburg, and 
Lee checked, which is much to be thankful for. Of 
course the war is by no means over, but I think people 
are getting more and more to look to God with grati- 
tude. While Gettysburg was no decided victory to 
us, it certainly was a decided repulse to the rebels. 
So we wait in hope. 

I think you hear the changing events of the day 
with a very commendable serenity. 

Very truly yours, 

M. A. D. 

Hamilton, Mass., November 24, 1863. 
My dear Mr. Wood : You have rightly judged 
that my time has been, and still is, very fully occu- 
pied. Lilly Gillette and my Nantucket friend spent 
nearly a week with me, and I went to Boston and saw 
and heard the great organ. I am very glad you were 
not there, because if you had been, you would just 
have thrown away your "Future Life," and said, 
" We have got there." That is, you would have had 
a perpetual monomania on the subject of music after- 
wards. The organ noise poetical term, is it not ? 
was to me the soul of might and majesty, of crash 
and storm, of the ripple of summer brooks, and the 
softest notes of birds. Sometimes it drowned you, 



358 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and sometimes it enchanted you, and withal it is so 
beautiful that you forget it is large enough to put our 
whole house into it with a third story built up, and 
plenty of leeway for a kitchen garden. Charlotte 
Cushman, who read the ode, was the guest of Mr. F., 
and I was very glad to see her. She is theatrical, 
that is, she is unlike other women. She bears down 
upon a room, she does not enter it. She hurls and 
waves Shakespeare around us as if it were a banner 
of triumph. I think she is a woman built on a large 
scale. However she may have been when she was a 
baby, I can hardly conceive that she would have been 
otlierwise than trammelled in private life. As it is, 
I find a peculiar fitness in the magnificent distances of 
her everyday paths. To spend the winters in Italy, 
to take trips to America as other people take them to 
the White Mountains, to look upon the ocean as her 
common highway, this is appropriate, her very oxygen. 
The morning she went away she gave to me, as a 
queen might, a very rich and beautiful scarf. Be 
pleased to know that it was no flimsy raw silk non- 
sense such as you see in shop windows, but heavy and 
ribbed, and gorgeous in color, such as might well 
come from Italian sunsets, woven in the looms of 
Rafaelle's countrymen. 

The mail which brought me your letter brought me 
eight others, most of them to be answered. You may 
fancy that I have somewhat to do even to manage my 
letters. I finally came to such a pass that I had to 
write my letters in the evening after people were gone 
to bed, for when I have company I can really do 
nothing of the kind, but whatever other people can 
do, it is very certain I cannot write after nine o'clock. 
It keeps me awake after I do go to bed, and it wakes 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 359 

me at three or four in the morning, and that I cannot 
stand. 

Among other things I have had applications for all 
sorts of services. One society wanted me to lect- 
ure ! on some course or other. Several newspapers 
tempt me to write for them with the most unheard-of 
liberality. They are getting up a new literary paper 
in New York, and one of the proprietors came down 
here. I gave him small encouragement, and after his 
departure sent him a decided negative. One or two 
letters have come about it, and to-day he hopes again 
that I will "not refuse our renewed overtures," and 
they are unwilling to go to their task of establishing 
a great weekly paper without my aid and help ! I 
am sorry. I should like their money (0 temporal 

mores!), but write for them, I cannot. With 
housekeeping, and teaching, and visiting, and com- 
pau}', I have already quite as much as I can attend 
to. 

Another thing I have been doing that takes much 
time is having my dress and my mother's and my sister's 
dresses made. Mine is trimmed with beautiful Malta 
lace, real, and is very fine. So is my mother's, so 
is going to be my sister's, and the former has a new 
bonnet besides. That article in the "Evening Post" 
was written, I am told, by a namesake of mine, who 

1 suppose branched off from the family a hundred or 
two years ago. I went to a concert in Salem one 
evening and could not tell the difference between its 
singing and that of the finest opera singers. I went 
there the other night to hear Gough, and laughed away 
ever so much cobwebby stuff from what brain I 
have. lie is an actor, a speaker, he tells stories in- 
imitably, and uses his face and his coat-tails unmer- 



360 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

cifully ; but for the thought and the expression, I 
have heard better. 

My dear Alice : By all the laws of politeness, I 
should have acknowledged the receipt of your collar 
before, but the thorns and briers of care and toil have 
choked down politeness till this time. Now I do ac- 
knowledge it, and I think it's lovely and wonderful, 
too. How did you know how to make it ? 

We are having lovely rain and charming growth 
only the canker-worms are eating up all the apples, 
and the bugs help themselves to things generally. It 
has been a cold spring. I have enlarged the borders 
of my flower-garden, devoting all last year's space to 
roots and taking about as large a piece to seeds. I 
drove to Wenham the other day and brought home 
a panful of pinks and pansies, and other named and 
unnamed flowers. Mrs. H. gave me a basalt rose- 
bush, which already has three buds on it, also a prairie 
rose-bush which Brown set out by the front door when 
father was back in the field somewhere. A gentleman 
whom I met in Newburyport last summer sent me also 
from Berkshire County a honeysuckle root and some 
humming-bird balm. The latter I put in my garden, 
where it flourishes like a green bay tree. The former I 
got Dan to stick down by the piazza when father was 
gone to Uncle Benjamin's. I don't think he has dis- 
covered it yet. It grows famously. We have five 
tomatoes. I built a conservatory for them, but the 
wind blew it over and almost crushed one of the toma- 
toes. Corn is up half a foot, I should think. Beets, 
squashes, and parsnips heaving in sight. Rhubarb 
climbing over the barrels. Peax'- trees set out last 
year full of buds. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 361 

Uncle B. is very lame with his long-standing rheu- 
matism owing chiefly to his long standing and hard 
working by land and by sea, I don't doubt. 

January 7, 1864. 

I have had a letter from J. S. C. Abbott wants 
me to write a chapter for his forthcoming second vol- 
ume of " History of the War " on the Emancipation 
movement to be incorporated into his book. Di- 
rected to Abigail Dodge, so I shall not answer it. 
Also had a magnificent letter from a captain in the 
7th Ohio from Chickamauga given to a wounded 
comrade who was going home for safe carriage. He 
says : " I do not know whether authors care whether 
people love them for what the}' write or not. I do not 
think on the whole that men do, but you are a woman 
and 1 trust will listen patiently while I, with cap in 
hand, speak a word for myself and the brave boys 
who call me ' Captain.' You can never realize what 
strength we have found in your strong, womanly 
pages through these more than two long years. The^' 
have been the gleam of sunshine on many a lonely 
picket post, and beneath the murky sky of many a 
battle-field. Did 3'ou think as you read of the charge 
along the crest of Lookout Mountain that some of 
your words went in our hearts up the craggy slope to 
tliat ' Battle in the Clouds ' ? Did you know that the 
van of ' Iron Hooker's ' bayonets wore a fiercer, 
sturdier gleam for what you had written? Y^ou did 
not know what friends you were losing as that shat- 
tered, struggling line toiled up to that pestilent summit. 
When you read of other volleys and other charges 
sweeping down still more of the remaining handful of 
the 7th Ohio, please remember that you lost friends 



362 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

in the carnage of that hour, who, though they knew 
you not, were content to stand at a distance and 
cherish your name. Pardon this freedom, but deign 
to accept this trifle from the grateful hearts of the 7th 
Ohio." Also a letter from some unknown man in 
R.I., who says he wanted to say how much he liked 
"My book." '^It is so cheerful on the surface and 
so serious in the depths, so replete with outward con- 
fidence and inward diffidence, so defiant in word and 
so supplicatory at heart, in short so altogether wom- 
anly, as to attract one's best angels to him as he reads, 
and make him feel a sense of something astir in you 
better and deeper even than genius." It is from a 
"tedious old man," as he calls himself; does not ex- 
pect me to read it now, but lay it aside for ten or 
twenty years hence. It is three sheets full of warn- 
ing, advice, love, and consolation, and one of the 
nicest letters I have had, besides being very able, but 
he gives no name. 

A new story told me the first time to-night. A Mr. 
Whitney happened to be in Havana, and at a hotel 
heard some American talking about G. H., one of them 
owning the book and having lent it around. They 
were quite full of enthusiasm one old lady iu par- 
ticular, who thought it was very much to a young gen- 
tleman's credit that he should own such a book, and 
then they fell to discussing the author, who, it seems, 
was a young lady in New Hampshire. After it was 
well settled, Whitney from Salem told them who it 
was, and that he knew the author's friends and so was 
authority, etc., etc. I proceed now to cap the climax 
and leave the subject. The Backside sewing society, 
nobly emulous of Over-the-River's literary resources, 
have procured a library. It is somewhat limited at 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 363 

present, but quality atones for quantity. Its present 
list numbers two books " Country Living and 
Thinking," "Memoirs of Daniel Safford." You see 
they go on the correct principle of fostering native 
talent. Mother was a little startled last night to find 
that she had turned the whole dipperful of gravy into 
the teapot, but it doesn't make much difference if you 
only think so. Good night. My energies just now 
are largely devoted to purloining pork for the cats, in 
which I have been so successful that the elder had a 
very bad fit of indigestion this afternoon and lost 
her supper. 

[To Judge French.] 

January, 1864. 
You challenge me on the subject of Sundays, so I 
will lay down my platform. If soldiers were freezing 
I would knit stockings for them on Sunday evening, 
while tlie frost lasted, no longer. I would not make 
a practice of it. At the same time, I don't say it is 
wicked for other people to do it. Christ overturned 
the Jewish Sabbath, and as far as I can see left the 
Christian Sabbath to every one's conscience, guided 
by indirect lights. For me, I have not the smallest 
diflSculty in disposing of my " long Sabbaths." My 
only trouble is that they are not long enough. I go 
to church in the morning and have a Sunday-school 
class afterwards, and the rest of the day is my own, 
and I crush all the juices out of it, the afternoon and 
the sunset and the evening, the perfect rest and quiet. 
It is intense delight. I am alone, with nothing to do, 
and [ revel in it. Do you know, I do not need hajjpi- 
ness to be happy, but only that one should stand out 
of my sunshine ? If I am just not fretted, I can man- 



364 t^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

age the rest. But you talk of calls and letters. What, 
then, is the good of your Sunday? Why is it not just 
like any other day ? On Sunday I want peace to flow 
in like a river with no counter-currents and not even 
the cleft of a keel. I wish every day were longer, 
but Sunday most of all. I wish we could have sum- 
mer days crowned with winter nights. Night is the 
only tolerable part of the winter. If I were rich I 
would create winter evenings a room hung with 
purple draperies, heavy and rich, and svv^eeping the 
floor, falling in lines and broken curves, and filling 
the air with dusk}- shadows, and the red sunset should 
come in and meet the red fire-glow, and when the sun- 
set deepened into twilight there should be none of 
your flickering, glaring gaslight, always exploding or 
leaking, or something, but a golden globe like the sun 
shaded into soft tints that touch everything with a 
glow shining upon nothing, but making all things 
seem self-luminous, smothering a hidden flame. Shall 
I go on ? I hope you are reading this in open court, 
that all things may be in harmony. But don't think 
I am latitudinarian in respect of Sunday. I am not. 
I only think we are to go according to the New Tes- 
tament, and not according to the old. How much 
there is to say about everything, isn't there? And 
after you have said it all, which I never did ! how 
fragmentary is the view, and how you have left out 
all the important parts and sprawled over the trivial ! 
You means me in this case. I wonder if sprawled is 
an admissible word. If it is not, it ought to be. 
Anyway, it is in Why do you speak of Lowell's 
Johnsoniiin English? What was language given for 
but to conceal ideas? Your " bushel of words " is a 
necessary part of the mind's furniture before it can 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 365 

set up liousekeepirDg. Did Eve never eat the apple 
that people can see ideas god-like erect in native 
honor clad and not be ashamed? Of " Sir Launfal " 
I have but a hazy memory, but do you not find there 
" a day in June, .... then heaven tries the earth, 
if it be in tune," etc. ? I have a vague memory of a 
dancing, lilting measure. " Lilting" is Harriet Pres- 
cott's word. But I saw it and liked it, and took it. 

If you have come to the conclusion that you don't 
know what yon think of me you have reached the 
goal, and I do not see anything to prevent us from 
living happily ever after. Not that I am harder to 
understand than others, or that you are slower at 
understanding, but every human being is individual, 
and the first step towards an interpretation, or even a 
peaceful position, is a recognition of this fact. It is 
a terrible fact. It often appalls me. It seems to me 
dreadful to live in solitude and die unknown, to touch 
your kind only as a water-drop touches the hot iron 
on which it rolls about, with perpetual intervention. 
The consolation is, apart from the fact that God 
pierces through and comprehends all, that there may 
be those who know you through their imagination, 
their mngnetism. They recognize you not by sight, 
but touch, as the needle turns to the pole it will 
never see, by some mysterious current which it obeys 
unconsciously. I mean something, but I am not sure 
I have dug it out and brought it to the surface, and 
in letters you are not bound to be lucid. 

I read your discourse upon " Charitableness and 
Charity," with illustrations drawn from life, with 
becoming meekness, but disdain your imputations of 
a lack of the former. I am willing to attribute to 
myself all manner of deficiencies in a general way, 



366 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

but when you come down to concrete things, you will 
find that I shall predicate of myself every virtue. 
But, seriously, I do not think you would find me 
uncharitable. I do not know that there are not a 
certain class of qualities for which can be found no 
forgiveness, but I have too much need of forbearance 
myself to be chary of it towards others. Moreover, 
I kuow that there are so many circumstances which 
bear upon every deed, and which are entirely elusive, 
that I am loth to judge unkindly ; at least I think so, 
but maybe I am wrong, for our ignorance of others is 
only equalled by ignorance of ourselves. It is not 
quite true that I thhik of you only externally ; though 
it is true that that is all I know, but not all of which 
I thought. It was just because I did not know " what 
I should get in exchange " that I was shy of making 
the experiment. And it is this hidden part alone that 
gives one a firm footing or a treacherous Chat-Moss. 
But do not frighten me or attempt it. I am rather 
apt to take things literally, and I believe I have much 
faith in you. If I may not have, then I care for you 
not at all. It is weak to look for perfection, but it is 
wise and it alone is wise to look for aspiration, 
though that sounds sentimental. Nevertheless, that 
which may perhaps be sometimes and by certain peo- 
ple called sentimental, is the best. A mau may and 
must be dust-covered in the work-ways of his life, 
but if he has not a love of cleanliness, and an under- 
lying purity, he is unworthy. Behind all the tangled 
undergrowth of the woods must be no morass, but a 
little lake smiling in the sunshine. I do not care how 
elegant, or how learned, or how pious, man or woman 
may be, if you cannot be sure that when you strike 
down you will come to clear water, that however 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 367 

remote the metal may be, when you do smite, it rings 
back to you, clear sound for clear sound there is 
nothing. If this exists, one can forgive much. 

Seeing the " chambered nautilus" is tossing around 
the ocean, can he harden his shell too much? Think 
what a bruised appearance he would make if he 
became soft as putty and were flatted and dented at 
every collision ! To be sure, he runs a greater risk of 
being broken, but it is better to be broken than to be 
beaten out of shape. I like your house nestled in its 
"sunny spot of greenery," but you live in a settled 
country where the law gives protection to life and 
property. If you were in a wild district where gueril- 
las and mad huntsmen rave, you might find your 
account in building, after old Jewish fashions, brown, 
battered, dingy old houses, stricken with poverty and 
desolation; but, climbing up through the crazy stair- 
case and passing through bare halls, you, being a 
friend, are admitted to the inner room where dia- 
monds are heaped, and marble fountains gurgle rose- 
water, and the air vibrates with celestial harmonies. 

I am afraid from what I said a while ago, you may 
think I set up a higher standard than other people. I 
do not. I do not suppose there is a fault or a weak- 
ness anywhere about in which I do not share, but as 
that queen of women, Mrs. Browning, says, I " seek 
to love high though I live thus low," and I do not 
wish to have anything to do with people who do not 
love high and try to live high too. 

January 30, 1864. 
What a wonderful thing is the imagination ! All 
this lovely soft weather we have been having was as 
sweet as spring, but it gave me no spring sweetness. 



368 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

So like the spring, it was yet entirely unlike it. 
Spring always seems to open heaven to me. It hints 
all manner of hidden depths and half-revealed possi- 
bilities, and new creations. It is vague, and dreamy, 
and eternal. Nothing in the fulness of summer, 
though I love summer, so speaks of immortality and 
the highest happiness as the tenderness of the early 
spring beauty budding from grayness and roughness, 
just as delicate as the sky. But under all this wintry 
warmth lay the feeling of winter and not of warmth 
I do not mind a cold day in March or April, but a 
May-day in January will not, I know, bring may- 
flowers. Nevertheless, I love it too and wish I lived 
in the Bermudas is it ? where they have perpetual 
spring. And now it is cold and a snow-storm, and 
spring is indefinitely postponed. 

I always find it easy to believe agreeable things. 
When people say they like me, it seems so natural 
that they should like me that I have not the smallest 
hesitation in giving them full credence. If they say 
they do not like me I always think it is prejudice, or 
they do not know me, or something. It is an agree- 
able frame of mind to be in, is it not? 

Call together your surveyors and lay out twenty 
roads, if you will, according to the truest mathe- 
matical principles, but on a warm June morning you 
will take a short cut across lots, and despise them all. 
It is better to brush the dew from the clover, and find 
the ground-sparrows' nest, and hear the rustling of 
the corn, than to walk in the Appian way. Speaking 
of the Appian way as a road, you know, not as a ro- 
mance. So don't just go and make up your mind that 
you will not like me, because, when you are fairly 
and firmly settled in that conclusion, I shall start up 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 369 

all of a sudden, aud you will find it like one of 
Thackeray's, oi- somebody's, closing chapters, "The 
Conclusion, in which nothing is concluded." Never- 
tlieless, there is a beauty in the law. Among all the 
mischief with which Satan supplied my idle hands, I 
once read a law-book Warren's sometiiiug and I 
blush to acknowledge I found it very interesting. It 
seemed to me as if the theory of the law was almost 
an exact science. But practice of the law for all man- 
ner of rogues is a very different thing. I read 
" Charles Auchester " two days ago, aud that made me 
extremely dissatisfied aud uncomfortable. I could 
not abide the thought of coming down from the 
musical heavens and go to blasting rocks again. But 
when you think of it, blasting rocks is very good 
work. The fragments may become polished stones iu 
the temple of beauty, nnd the earth that was rocky 
and sterile may be smoothed aud wave iu mauy a 
wheat field, or smile with flowers and nourish bird and 
bee. The bees will not thank me for their honey, nor 
the flowers for their fragrance, but by so much the 
world will be the richer. Not that I am impelled by 
so abstract a motive. Ou the contrary, I blast rocks 
because I have a natural tendency to gunpowder, and 
for so many shillings a day, still the benificence of 
the thing does uot make the work less welcome. And 
last night I was really glad not to be happy. There 
is so much suffering in the world that you cannot help 
that it seems to be a kind of pleasure to suffer with 
them. I should be afraid to be happy. I don't mean 
happy exactly, either, for I am happy as far as that 
goes, but I mean satisfied^ and that I am indeed not. 
There are ever and ever so many things to enjoy, but 
to be satisfied is another thing. The happiest thing of 



570 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

all is that we are so inwardly self-sufficient. I sup- 
pose it is the dissimilarity between the outward and 
inward world* that makes friction, but it would be a 
bane and no blessing to have the friction removed by 
bringing the inner down to the level of the outer. If 
you were a mere lawyer and had no higher ambition 
than to gain cases, you might be a more contented 
man but not happier. I think it is only the surplusage 
of people that I care for. People who are just ade- 
quate to their circumstances, just woi'th their weight 
in bread and butter, are very comfortable, and often 
agreeable and convenient for especial occasions, but 
you would never dream of writing them letters, 
though you may send them regularly printed bulletins. 
But nobody and nothing, not even courts and blasting 
rocks, can take you away from yourself. It is all 
noise and dust and confusion, but you have only to 
walk home and the sunset opens to let you in, and to 
all things unlovely and angular you may say. Shut, 
Sesame ! You are monarch of all you survey, and all 
the things your life has missed, and all it has ever 
lost, come to you. Dreams are facts, and possibili- 
ties are e very-day life, and every-day life is the King- 
dom of God, which is a Bible truth, because the Bible 
says it is within you. Now do you not see it is of no 
consequence to be rich ? because no money can buy 
you a farm in the Delectable Land, and for all your 
agricultural tastes, real estate is of more value there 
than anywhere else, though I don't object to farming 
if one has plenty of money. There, you see, is where 
money is necessary. 

I have a word or two to say regarding Longfellow- 
ishness. Did you ever know two sweeter poems than 
" The Children's Hour," and "Weariness"? Now 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 371 

when you say sweeping bad things, put in the twinkl- 
ing good things too, and L. is surely a musical poet. 
He sings well, and he is a good man. And do not 
swear about Renan. There is not half so much 
blasphemy in him as there is in some of our good 
D.D.'s and I am Orthodox and can say that. By 
the way, did you observe the different tone assumed 
by the " N. A. Review" towards Renan and Alger 
on the one side, and Gillett on the other? Reuan and 
A. were tenderly admonished, and poor Gillett was 
vigorously demolished. I think I am not sectarian, 
if I am, I do not know concerning which sect, but, 
I despise the bigotry that can consort with an educa- 
tion sufficient to edit the " N. A. Review," and smile 
at the wildest errors of its own sect, while it squints 
fearfully at the slips of another. 



[To Mr. Wood.] 

February 9, 1864. 

I see that I am to be handed down to immortality 
in the guise of reading-books. I am incorporated 
into a series of some sort of practical readers, but of 
what selection is made I am ignorant. Don't laugh 
at my Stumbling Blocks and don't expect me to give 
up my icouoclasm because the world persists in bow- 
ing down to false gods, and don't lose faith, though 
my mother since hearing of your dissipation at 
parties thinks you have not much faith to lose ! 

My father has been long ill, and my hands are 
quite full. My brother's and their wives, one or more, 
are here nearly all the time. My mother and I are 
alone with him to-night. Though I have not the 
quiet and leisure to write letters, I can very easily 



372 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

manage to read them, so piay do your part towards 
benefiting the world, by conatitiiting yourself a private 
Christian Commission and furnishing the Hamilton 
hospital with suitable reading. Nothing but original 
matter is needed. 

[To Mr. French.] 

February 10. 

I like to write letters. I believe it is a weakness 
and I unfortunately have all the foibles of my own 
sex, and all the faults of yours, but still I like to 
write letters and especially I like to write where there 
is a little unexplored ground. There is no particular 
exhilaration in walking down and up and up and 
down the same gravel path, though it may be tamely 
pleasant if it is not also a covered way, and even 
then there is a degree of enjoyment in the mere 
motion, but it is a great deal nicer to go down a lane 
where you have never been and know not whence it 
came nor whither it leads, but only know you struck 
into it all of a sudden, and will perhaps strike out 
again just as suddenly but meanwhile the apple 
trees are all abloom, and the gray walls green and 
graceful with swaying vines and vocal with tiny life. 
I am not deceived for all the blue sky and splendid 
sun. I know there are snow-banks underneath, but 
I know something more than this which makes me 
happy, that violets and anemones and blood-root and 
spring-beauties are under the snow. You are mis- 
sionary ground and you must be converted. What, 
are you better than the Emperor Aurelius? You 
talk of the past as if it held the elixir of life, and 
of the future as if it had no certain treasure in its 
bosom. For me, I am not sure of the past, but if 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 373 

there is any present I am sure of tlie future. Life 
is not made up of this spring, or next summer, or 
last winter. Life is one. Next spring is only a 
lifting up of the fair and fragrant spring that under- 
lies all life, lifting itself up above the snows and frosts 
which have overgrown it but can never crush it, and 
will finally die away in the sunshine that never dies. 
Winter is not " just as good," and never will be, 
and you know it. Even if you are shut up in a city, 
the very knowledge that the " birds are singing else- 
where " is an unspeakable blessing. It is not the 
music that you hear, but the songs that sing them- 
selves in your heart that make the melody of life. 
When I am ready to fly out with impatience of the 
clang of tin pans and iron kettles it is just those 
otherwhere singing-birds that make it all tolerable, 
for I know that somewhere, somewhere, there must be 
a land where pans and kettles are unknown, and the 
robins have it all their own way, and there I mean 
one day to pitch my tent. I shall feel just so at 
fifty. What difference will it make? It is not an- 
other but only the fiftieth part of the same spring. 
If God only gives me health and independence there 
never will, I think there never can come a time when 
I shall not grow green and teuder and fresh and 
happy with the leaves ! Memories are nothing. That 
which has been is nothing to that which shall be. 
One of the few things I don't know, and cannot 
understand is, why evil is let run wild in the world. 
I can understand why it should be let in, but not why 
it should be let loose. 

I want you to feel confident of the future. Don't 
suppose that I don't think you are a good Christian, 
but I want you to feel that the one thing real is not 



374 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the past, but the future. Do not tell me that is a 
matter of years. I am old enough to have had every 
experience under the sun, and I have had most of them, 
and what I have not felt in mj'self I have felt in 
others, so it is all the same. One way or another I 
rather think I have felt pretty much all there is to feel, 
and though Orion and the Pleiades shine brightly in 
the past, they will pale their ineffectual fires before 
the splendors of the far future. The Delectable Land 
is not indefinite. It is my homo. It is there only 
that I shall be really myself. What am I here? 
Hair and hands and circumstance, a merino dress and 
a broom and a frying-pan, which things I hate, and a 
small residuum of me. And you ask me what I shall 
care for in the spirit-land ! Ask me what I care for 
here ! There I shall have all beautiful things and I 
shall Ije beautiful. No conceptions can equal the glory 
tliat shall be. Music and poetry and painting help 
us, I suppose, to lay hold on the skirts of that glory, 
but it is only the fringe of the garment that we grasp. 
Why, this life is beautiful only so far as it is trans- 
parent and lets the other life shine through. Think 
of going into a world where the brooms and the 
dusters and the court-i'oom crowds fall off from you, 
and nothing is left but that which is truly your oiotiest 
self. I don't want any new senses in Heaven, that 
is, I shall not clamor for them. I am contented with 
those I have. I can get all the pleasure I want 
through them, of that kind. In fact, if two or three 
things could be altered I think this world would make 
a very good Heaven as it is, but because the two or 
three things cannot be altered my principle is just do 
what has to be done here, and in the next world we 
shall perhaps be a step or two higher. If you are 



\ 



w 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 375 

good and I am good,, perhaps on some " Heaven- 
kissing hill" we shall talk this matter over and you 
will sec how wrong and Pagan you are, and how righ"*; 
and Christian I and because you will then be good 
and have lost all your pride and vaiu-glory you will 
not mind admitting your error, and because I shall 
then be myself because the little speck of me, which 
is all I care for here, will have expanded there and 
become everything that is me, I shall not have the 
smallest difficulty in expressing my opinions and shall 
talk you blind the first evening, for I fancy it will be 
always sunset there. We shall be at work in the 
morning, but shall have glorious evenings, and we 
shall be so good ourselves that the sunsets will not 
reproach us. Think of yourself with every wicked 
wish and passion and purpose melted away, and 
nothing left but pure gold. I am so accustomed to 
be alone that I am always entertaining company to 
myself, and if you should not care to take a walk with 
me I shoukl be quite happy to take the walk by my- 
self, and instead of talking to you I should talk with 
the brooks and the biixls, who are never tired, or at 
least have no tongues to say so, which is just as well. 
At the same time there are advantages in a human 
companion sometimes, and I consider it very kind and 
courteous in you to let me write to you, only I do not 
wish to go too far and turn an act of courtesy and of 
pleasure into an act of forbearance. Rude behavior, 
rudeness of manners, moral rudeness, I abhor with 
my whole soul as the next thing to sin and sometimes 
sin itself. I want every good and happy thing to 
come to this country and build it up in the nurture 
and admonition of the Lord. You always seem to 
say easily everything you have to say which must 



376 GAIL HAMILTO^"\S LIFE IN LETTERS 

be very charming and yet very likely may be only 
your style, and you do not mind the bits you give for 
the ingots of gold that it pains you to be forced to 
leave behind. 

February 16. 

I can see very well that you are laughing at me, 
which is very just, for I can easily believe I wrote 
what deserved to be laughed at, at least if I did under- 
take to give a definite idea of Heaven. In fact, the 
fault 1 find with all the books I ever read on that sub- 
ject is that they are definite, when I think it should 
be left to revelation and imagination. I do not call 
you a Pagan because you cannot see what is invisible, 
but because not seeing you will not believe, and so 
will not be blessed. You lack faith, which is the 
evidence of things not seen. I know no more than 
you what lies in store for us in the future, but when 
God declares that it is something so beautiful, so 
glorious, as never to have entered into the heart of 
man, I take Him at His word. What do I do then? 
I conceive the very highest that I can and rest on 
that. I cannot think what Heaven is, but I can take 
out of the earth everything that loveth and maketh a 
lie, everything that defiles, everything that is dis- 
agreeable. I paint it in all the colors of the sunset, 
and breathe upon it the fragrance of the summer, and 
people it with all the great and good and wise and 
witty and charming people people who never mis- 
understand you and are not selfish and that is not 
Heaven no when I enter Heaven if through God's 
goodness I do enter it, I shall be disappointed, but it 
will be because Heaven is so much more grand and 
delightful than the poor little weak notions I had 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 377 

formed of it on earth. I do not believe God hoWs 
out to us hopes which he never intends to fulfil, and 
so I make the most of every pleasure here, but witl 
the happy feeling underneath that the pleasure is only 
a faint foretaste of the joys that shall be. Not a 
lily-of-the-valley, not a bird upon the tree, not the 
ripple of a brook but has somewhat to say of Heaven. 
You say that we shall neither marry nor be given in 
marriage. So Christ said, but He added that we 
should be as the angels in Heaven, and that I have no 
doubt is something infinitely better. What is marriage 
here? A little speck of honey in a hogshead of 
vinegar. But in Heaven there will be something of 
which earth-marriage is a type, but which will be all 
honey and no vinegar. Y'ou may depend upon it 
there is something in Heaven which corresponds to 
marriage because that which alone gives marriage 
vitality and worth, that alone which lifts it above the 
eai'th is a need, an element of the soul, and if the soul 
dies not, its elements cannot die. You would not be 
yourself without your memory. You do not marry 
on account of your memory, but that thing which you 
do marry on account of is as essential to your identity 
as your memory. If there is one thing I cannot abide 
it is settling down into anything. Do you know the 
great trouble is that people "marry and settle." 
They would better be hung. " Settle " is just another 
word for growing set and crusty and routiney. When 
you have levelled one forest turn to fresh woods and 
pastures new. Cultivate the soil till yon have ex- 
hausted its possibilities. I do not believe in exhaust- 
ing them anyway. We often think we have when we 
have not. It is our own slight farming, not the field, 
that is exhausted, and we often think we have 



378 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

fachomed our friends when it is that our short liues 
have given out, not that we have touched bottom. 
Every human soul is infinite and you cannot settle 
down with it if you have any appreciation of it. If 
you have but eyes to see you will always be making 
new discoveries. 

I do not live in a nest, I live in a cave, and my 
present busy-ness is, and has long been, to repair a 
breach in a wall that was made some forty odd years 
ao;o, and of which, of course, I must be entirelv 
innocent. The nuts and blackberries are very good, the 
squirrels and ground-mice are my companions, and 
birds in their summer rambles. "We understand each 
other well. The trees have much to say to me, and 
the hills and I have a fellow-feeling. My amuse- 
ment is to go up to the fence and peep through. 

" God's own profound 
Is above me, and round me the mountains, 

And under the sea 
And within me my heart to bear Avitness 

What was and shall be." 

If you ask twenty peo[)le who live right around me 
not one of them will tell you this I alone know it. 
People often irritate me because they think I am in 
the world, and they want me to do this and that 
and the other, which would be quite the thing to do, 
if I were indeed in the world, but they never see that 
I am not. I should like to be there. I look with 
pleasure on the people who are there. I think I 
should have done somewhat if I had been there, but 
I was born in the cave, and all I can do is to work 
from it, and do the best 1 can in it. I thiuk I can do 
more for other people thei'e than I could if I stood 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 37^ 

with them in the world, and that, I suppose, is ^he 
reason I was born there, but for myself directly \1 
cannot do overmuch in the grotto. You have mapped 
out only, here and there, an island in your life, but I, 
am good in geography, and I can draw you the coast- 
lines of your continents, and I see only a fair and 
fruitful laud. 

You wonder who sees your letters, T do not wonder 
who sees mine. I trust you entirely. When I write 
to people, T commend myself entirely to their dis- 
cretion except in specific instances when they have no 
data to reason from, and then I say, " Do not men- 
tion this to any one," but in usual cases I assume that 
the person to whom I think it worth while to write, is 
a person of sufficient discrimination to know what to 
do with my letters. I make no stipulations, and if I 
should be mistaken, and you should make an un- 
worthy use of my confidence, I might be angry with 
you, but the fault would primarily be my own, for not 
having sagacity enough to discover your real char- 
acter. I know my own surroundings, you know 
yours. I know the persons who are sympathetic, so 
do you. I am perfectly certain that you will not dis- 
close anything of mine where it will be unnaturally 
done, and if it were necessary for me to say to you, 
do not show this to such an one or other, I should not 
write to you at all. You are at liberty to do what- 
ever you will with my letters, guided only by your own 
sense of propriety and honor and delicacy, if indeed, 
they are not all one. It is perhaps too much to ask, 
that you shall have the same confidence in me as T 
have probably given you no grounds for it yet 
there is nothing else to trust to. 



380 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

. [To Mr. Whittier.] 

February 27, 1864. 

My dear Friend : I am very glad I did not write 
you the letter I have been going to write you for two 
or three days, because now your letter is the spon- 
taneous growth of the soil, and shows that you do 
think of me sometimes with malice aforethought. 

Lilly wrote me that your sister was not well, but 
it is very sad that one must go to Connecticut to hear 
from one's neighbors, though I should not in the least 
mind going to the Rocky Mountains to hear that she 
was well. I would go straight over to you this after- 
noon, if it were not that my father is quite ill, and it 
is necessary that I should be at home. He has not 
been well for a long time, but last night in the night 
we thought him rather worse. This morning he is up 
and seems comfortable. 

I have much confidence in the spring, if we can 
only get over a few weeks now and there is always 
healing in its wings. 

Good- by, you dear peoples you 

from Me. 

March 2, 1864. 
My dear Mr. Wood : Both your letters have 
reached me, but the continued and increasing illness 
of my father has prevented, and still continues to 
prevent, a satisfactory reply. He is now confined 
almost entirely to his bed and is very weak. We have 
secured a nurse. He seems to have no violent disease, 
but suffers from a general debility. I do not know 
when the book will appear, but you will pi'obably 
have as eai'ly a copy as may be. Do not, however, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 3f^j 

let your expectations be greatly raised. The m^'ost 
plentiful the book will reap will undoubtedly be dis- 
approbation, lurching sometimes into contemptuous 
pity and sometimes into unsparing abuse. It is not 
heterodox enough for the heterodox, and orthodox 
enough for the Orthodox. 

I thought you would choose a note rather than no 
letter, and have therefore written. Believe me, 

Very truly yours, 

M. A. D. 

[ To Mr. Whittier.] 

Hamilton, March 5, 1864. 
Dear Friends : My father died yesterday at 
twelve o'clock without pain or struggle. He only 
ceased to breathe. My visit will of course be post- 
poned. The funeral will be on Monday at two o'clock. 
He was seventy-six years old on the seventh of Febru- 
ary. He looks pure and peaceful, and dying seems to 
me less terrible. 

Yours very affectionately, 

M. A. Dodge. 

Oh, what a m^'stery is all this life and death ! What 
is it that lies beyond ? Why does a man die ? What 
has the future ? We are born into the world and we 
die out of the world, and what is it all? 

We buried my father on Monday, not in the tomb 
of his ancestors, which is already crowded with its 
silent population, but in a grave in the southerly part 
of the churchyard under the shade of a young ever- 
green. I went there the other afternoon, and it was 
very pleasant and sunshiny. 

Of the thirteen members of my father's brother- 



;382 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and-sisterhood, only one brother remains. They all 
li ved to be married, and till the youngest was past 
, eighteen. My grandmother died at ninety- four. 
There are no grandsons in the county, and the place 
that has known my family for centuries will soon 
know it no more. 

Hamilton, Mass., March 13, 1864. 
Mr. James : 

Dear Sir : On the second day of last January I 
received a very pleasant aud very valuable letter from 
some one who did not give his name. Yesterday I read 
a book, " Substance and Shadow," and I am almost 
certain the writer of my letter aud the writer of that 
book are one and the same person. I hope you will 
not think I am trying to discover what you do not 
wish me to know, but the letter was so kind that I did 
want to thank the writer, and this book is so much 
like it that I am sure you are the one, and so I cannot 
help thanking you. If you do not remember writing 
such a letter perhaps you did it in a dream, but it 
must have been you. Your book interested me 
intensely. I have not quite finished it. There are 
parts which I do not understand, and parts which 
quite take my breath away, and places where I think 
if I could get access to your writing-table, I should 
watch when you went out and then steal in and draw 
my pen through a sentence or two. You would of 
course be very angry when you saw yourself printed 
with all my erasures, but I should only laugh in your 
face and you would soon grow amiable again and con- 
fess that I was right. But for all a few trai) inter- 
ruptions, one feels that he is walking over a stratum 
of solid, primitive, granite truth, and he acquires 
strength from the tread. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 38k 

I am trying to work a little in your kingdom, bmy 
with so much less of power and insight that it seems ' 
almost presumptuous to think of myself as a worker 
at all. Yet soaie may receive a little illumination 
from my flickering caudle who would be dazzled blind 
by your flood of sunshine. People may be benefited 
by fragments of truth when they are not strong 
enough to accept a system of truth. 

Do forgive me for this letter if you are not the one. 
I can thank you for the book, you know, anyway. 
And if you are the one, I thank you for the letter 
more than I can tell. 

Most truly and gratefully yours, 

Mary Abby Dodge. 



March 23, 1864. 

My dear Sir: Friend, I was going to say, but 
perhaps after reading this letter you will be less dis- 
posed to assume such a name, so I fall back on the 
safe generalization. 

Your letter was very good and kind, and gave me 
much pleasure, but I am afraid I must have deceived 
you in some way, though nothing was farther from 
my intention. I finished your book last Sunday and 
was most deeply and almost painfully convinced of 
the infinite distance between us. Your letter only 
made the difference more obvious, but not more 
actual. When I expressed to you my satisfaction in 
your book, I did not mean, in the least, to put myself 
on a level with you or to give the smallest intimation 
that might lead you to suppose that I was capable of 
" intellectual sympathy " with you. It was only your 
letter that made me ventui'e to write at all. I may 



r- 



84 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 



a^ave " intellectual maturity," but it is the maturity of 
1 the violet which, at most, is slender and short-lived, 
and not that of the elm, deep-rooted, and outlasting 
generations. The violet is not without its uses, you 
know, but it won't do the elm any good. I wish I 
could understand your book, for I know that it is some- 
what, but no preface can explain it to me, because 
the obscurity lies in my brain and not in your sen- 
tences. I never was equal to metaphysics. Hike its 
results, but I do not like its processes. I can see but 
not share your delight. Kant, and Schlegel, and Sir 
William Hamilton, are nothing to me. I cannot bring 
myself to be interested in their theories, but you gird 
at them with true knightly ardor. I cannot tell that 
they are wrong, because I do not know what is right. 
Now do not cast me off entirely. My frankness 
ought to commend mo a little to your good graces. 
And indeed I am not wholly given over to intellectual 
fatuity. There are portions of your book that I do 
thoroughly take in, and subscribe to, with all my 
heart and soul. I recognize them, not as true, but as 
a part of the eternal truth of the universe funda- 
mental and unchangeable. I rest in it with the deep- 
est satisfaction. And that makes me all the more 
sorry that I do not comprehend the whole, or do not 
comprehend it clearly or accurately enough to be at 
one with it. I think after a while I shall read the 
book again and maybe, you know, I shall have 
grown nearer to it. One grows so much in a short 
time. 

You see I only look at things on the surface. That 
is my weakness. My strength is that I see them as 
they are, and not as tradition, or prejudice, or popu- 
lar oi)iniou, represents them. Anything that the sua 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 385 

shines upon and the wind bi'eathes upon is in my 
domain. You go delving down among the roots of 
things, into the subterranean caverns where thoughts 
are made. I cannot go there with j'ou, but when you 
come out I find I stand on the same ground wlaere you 
have planted yourself. That on the one hand gives 
me confidence in the right line of your unseen, under- 
ground motion. How came I not only to acquiesce 
but exult in your assertions, if I were not in some 
measure capable of understanding their import and 
their necessity? You speak of " Mill on Liberty," a 
book tliat I read with an unutterable inward solid 
satisfaction, something deeper than delight, as deep 
as peace. Do you not see that I must respect myself 
the more for enjoying what Mill wi'ites, and you write 
up? So with a perfect consciousness of what a reed 
I am to lean on, I yet contrive to gather a little con- 
tent from various sources. As a staff I am nothing, 
but perhaps I can make a little music. 

Though I do not wish you to think of me any better 
than I deserve, neither do I wish you to think of me 
any worse. Fumbling blindly at your palace-door, I 
am not entii'ely sure that there is any me. 

If after all this confession you still care to know 
my thoughts, I will, with your permission, send you 
a book which will soon be published by Ticknor & 
Fields. It is only a fragmentary thing all my 
things are fragmentary. But travelling my by-ways 
I occasionally strike into your highway, and there I 
think you will reach out your hand in friendly greet- 
ing. You must remember, too, that I had a different 
starting-point from you. I set out from a low-land, 
rather boggy, thickly tangled, densely peopled, and 
overhung with dark, low clouds. You, I suspect, 



?M GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

began on a broad and sterile plain, harder to live on 
than mine, but easier to leave. I am not nearly so 
far up the mountain-side as you, but it is much that I 
am even at the mountain's base. Of one thing I am 
sure, we are one in " the great humane drift of our 
thought." I am in no danger of letting that be 
obscured, for it was that which drew me to the 
book. You will do your great; I shall do my little. 
I shall whisk off a few thistle-heads with my stick ; 
you will bend your Atlas shoulders under the vine- 
yard and lift it up into the sunshine but both to 
the same end that wine may be borne to parched 
lips. 

I feel very sadly that this is not at all such a letter 
as you crave, and as I fear you look to receive, but 
if the great boon of your life is to be found in giving, 
you have still the best of authority for calling your- 
self most blessed. 

I am very truly and gratefully yours, 

M. A. Dodge. 

[To Mr. Whittier.] 

March 30, 1864. 
My dear Friend : Thanks for your kind words, 
you know they are coin of the realm to me. Your 
letter- pains me. Death to me is not dreadful, but 
disease is. If she did not suffer I should not mind 
the loss of health. It is the very goodness of God 
that strikes me with terror. He is utterly good, yet 
he lets such terrible things happen, and where can 
one look for refuge? Nevertheless, do not think this, 
for it is right now and in the end it will be seen right 
and the best thing. Doesn't it give you light at the 
heart's depths to think of the future the exceeding 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 387 

and eternal glory, so exceeding that it is even a 
weight of glory? Wherefore, comfort ye one another 
with these words. Don't be cast down. I see such 
an ineffable brightness before you. I don't see, I 
suppose, the darkness that surrounds you, yet I feel 
the shadow of it, but the light is just ahead. 

Give my love to that darling little drooping, sensi- 
tive plant in this pell-mell world, and to your own 
blessed self, and don't mind my adjectives, which 
won't suit your Quakerly reticence, but they are the 
sweetest matter-of-fact. 

Good-night and always good-morning. 



[To Judge Fkench.] 

April 5, 1864. 

Your letter quite terrifies me. My iguorance on the 
subject of Agricultural Colleges is unfathomable and 
inconceivable. In one paragraph I have fallen upou 
an idea in your letter, but as for being of the smallest 
use to you in founding your college, I must beg you at 
once to disabuse yourself of any dream of such a thing. 
I have no doubt everything I shall say has been said 
before twenty times. It is only that I thought I 
might reach a class of people whom you regular agri- 
cultural writers could not or do not reach, the people 
whose prejudices are baked brown and close and 
hard. Don't misunderstand me to be assuming any 
undue ignorance. Modesty is not my forte. I know 
what I do know, but especially I know what I don't 
know ! And your Agricultural College is just one of 
those things. 

I do not design to advance any new theories, but 
only present a few that I have always had lying 



388 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

about. On one point, however, I am certain, that is? 
in my own mind, the boys should be governed by 
their sense of honor and not by rules, but everything 
depends on tact in management in that case as well 
as in every other. As for business I do not believe 
there would be any good in talking it over with me. 
Yon don't seem to know what a reed I am to lean on, 
or to make music with, too, for that matter. The 
only use of me is to make me into a pen, a gray 
goose quill, the wherewith being already to your 
hand. 

April 6, 1864. 

I am living here very quietly just now. My little 
pupil is going to school, so I am released from the task 
of hearing her recitations and from the responsibility 
of her education. My mother and I are alone in the 
house, but we have two families in the other one, and 
that makes it much less lonely. It will be far more 
pleasant when the summer comes. As yet we have 
very cold, wet, unpleasant weather. The appendix 
to winter is far more wintry than the winter was 
itself. 

Last January, New Year, I received a very charm- 
ing letter from some one who did not sign his name. 
The other day I was reading Henry James' ' Sub- 
stance and Shadow," and I became convinced that the 
writer of that book and of my letter were one and 
the same. I accordingly despatched a note to him 
and found my surmises were correct, since which time 
I have taken to myself great credit for my sagacity. 
Have you seen the "Veil Partly Lifted" ? It is ])y 
some Furness. Do you know anything of him? I 
consider it a quite remarkable book. I have Jean 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 389 

Paul's "Campauer Thai," but have not yet had time 
to examine it. A book of essays by Chancellor Hoyt, 
of the St. Louis University, has been engaging my 
attention of late. How many good books there are 
if one had but time for them all ! But of reading as 
well as making them there is no end. I am just now 
largely engaged in the poultry business. We have 
twelve hens. Withiu a month they have laid con- 
siderably more than twelve dozen eggs that is, 
twelve dozen beside all we have cooked and we 
have also a hen setting. The chickens are due in a 
fortnight and I look for their appearance with great 
interest. Do you not think I have done very well for 
a beginner ? 

Thursday morning. So far yesterday and now 
children are making day musical with their chatting 
and laughing. How beautiful is the racket of chil- 
dren's awaking in the morning ! They are so full of 
life and laughter. The birds are singing, too, and the 
spring is surely coming, though it is cold to-day. I 
am very busy these last few weeks and shall be, prob- 
ably, till summer. Then I shall take more time to be 
lazy in. 

April 12. 
I have not read any of the papers you mentioned, 
because, as Sydney Smith might say, it prejudices 
one so to know anything about his subject. I had 
these few things I wished to &ay, and I thought it best 
to say those clip and clear, and not try to do too 
much. Perhaps I may one day give another blow at 
it, but I think this i)aper is quite long enough for a 
comfortable reading. I know and have read so little 
about this matter that what I have said may be quite 



390 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

stale, flat, and unprofitable, only that paper is seven 
cents a pound and we keep it to buy crockery with. 

All I wanted to know about girls in this college you 
have told me, though in a very snappish and unbe- 
coming manner. Women are not a distinctive feature 
in this college ; that was the point I wished to be in- 
formed of. I have therefore said nothing about that 
department. You will see I have confined myself to 
safe, if not to sounding, generalities. In discussing 
the construction of the college the woman question 
might come into play, liut in my paper it would have 
been out of place. I agree with you entirely which 
must relieve your mind greatly about girls and boys 
in school, but if you could give up your occult pro- 
fanity) as if I should not know the Evil One under a 
Scotch plaid !) and look about you, I think you would 
find there is a great deal for girls to do in an Agri- 
cultural College besides dusting and ironing. But 
you are a man, poor creature, and what can one 
expect ? 

Wednesday morjiing. One thing I forgot I think, 
and so does my mother for whose opinion I suppose 
you care no more than you do for mine that if this 
is printed it ought to be done anonymously. Nobody 
will have any confidence in me, but if they think it is 
some man who wrote it, it may have a feather's weight. 
It was my settled will and purpose to keep myself 
entirely hidden from knowledge or conjecture from 
beginning to end, but the world, the flesh, and that 
Wicked One, whom we veil under an apostrophe, have 
conspired to thwart my purposes and have partly suc- 
ceeded, so far at least as to think, or to take for 
granted, that my pen is of the feminine gender. Be- 
sides, also, I suppose I have written so much trash 



\ 

\ 
\ 

\ 

BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 391 

that I shall not easily get credit for anything like 
sound sense. I will onl}' say this one thing more. 
Don't look at my paper in the light of what it is not, 
but of what it is ; and don't say I have made much 
ado about nothing, because that is all I have to make 
an ado about. 

April 18. 

It gave me a great deal of pleasure to know^ that 
you were pleased with my paper. My mother desires 
her compliments, and says she is very glad of the 
picture, as she never before had a distinct idea of 
John the Baptist. I think John's head is very judi- 
cial. Do you suppose he ever in his life said a funny 
thing? Did he ever do awkward, headlong, wild, 
hateful things and not know anything about them till 
they were done, and then tear his hair in impotent 
remorse? Do you suppose he knows anything about 
a life, an experience, an atmosphere utterly unlike his 
own? Could he understand that expression is often 
tangent-y, spasmodic, convulsive, unreal, by sheer 
force of force, and not of choice ? I know that he is 
gentle and generous, nevertheless he looks clear-cut 
and self-possessed, and finished, and could he tolerate 
a farm over-grown and over-tangled with wild vines 
and many a thorn, in consideration of a little fruit 
pleasant to the taste and good for food, and to be 
desired to make one wise ? Would he forgive a moun- 
tain of sand for a little diamond-dust? Never, never, 
never. And we will not ask him. Every one must 
live his own life. 

You read me an eloquent lecture on the subject of 
the cardinal virtues ! It is pleasant to utter an inno- 

1 Photograph of Judge French, which he labelled John the Baptist. 



392 (iAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

cent little inoral reflection and be snapped up immedi- 
ately as if one had in serious faith broken the Deca- 
logue in a hundred pieces gives one a delightful 
sense of security, spontaneity, abandon! However, 
since you choose to make a mountain out of a mole- 
hill, I am ready to meet you on the mountain-top. 
You sweep the whole circle of the world, nay of the 
heavens above and the earth beneath, past and pres- 
ent. The resources of our own language are not suf- 
ficient, but you bring up from the Romish priesthood 
which you despise, feathers for the barb which you 
let fly at me. Well, tinder an Ossa on Pelion piled 
am I any less right than on it? Listen to me. 1 have 
a Sunday School class, a big one, two pews full. 
I cannot abide teaching of any kind. It is immeas- 
urably and unspeakably irksome to me to sit down 
before people aud drill things into them. All the 
good I like to do is what I can do alone in my own 
room. Now here is another person who delights in 
teaching for its OAvn sake. She is never so happy as 
when so engaged. But I think I have no right to do 
what I like to do, come home and be by myself, so I 
break in upon my sacred time and stay at Sunday 
School and teach my girls. Am I not more virtuous 
than the other one who onh^ stays because she likes 
it? I mean, do I not in that act exhibit or call into 
action more virtue than she ? Again : the people are 
not greatly given to literature. To induce them to 
read I offered to lend my books. They accepted the 
offer, and I now have a list of thirty or so names and 
forty or fifty people who on a set day come aud take 
a certain part of my books to read. Now my books 
are among the few things dear to me. Every book 
that I put into this circulating library I withdraw from 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 393 

my private hoard. I must of course divest it of all 
its value to myself. It loses all its sanctity. It be- 
comes common and unclean. Now will you tell me 
there is no more virtue in my lending these books to 
Tom, Dick, and Harry, and their wives and daughters, 
than there would be if I did not care at all for books 
and would just as soon lend them indiscriminately as 
not? " What sacrifice is it to an angel to do right? " 
None. But know ye not that by reason of the supe- 
rior virtue which our sacrifice ministers to us, we shall 
judge angels ? You surely do not need to be told that 
the judge is higher than those he judges. 

Won't you, for old friendship's sake, put this fact 
and the explanation into an appendix of my biogra- 
phy, so that I may not suffer with posterity as well 
as with my contemporaries ? As the fashion seems to 
be nowadays to write lives while people are living, 
my life and sufferings may start up any day, so be on 
the look-out, please. 

Mr. Flint's supposititious incubation was most im- 
pressive, because, from circumstances, I have lived 
much among hens the last few weeks and have learned 
their habits, and especially the calm, stolid, placid 
pertinacity of a hen on thirteen eggs ours have fif- 
teen, though, but that does not affect the principle. 

Mr. Fields is not only a handsome man, but one of 
the nicest men in the world, straight-forward, genial, 
simple-hearted, though in the thick of the city. I like 
him very much, and he has the sweetest wife, and 
beautiful, too, and they are as happy as can be. 

Remember that you are not working for yourself 
but for other people, and when you see men doing 
mean and idiotic things, let your thank-offering for 
not being like them be, not the Pharisee's unseemly 



394 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

exultation, but a diviue patience and long-suffering. 
Now you need not laugh at that, for I think it is good 
gospel. And do not be anxious over-much for the 
country. You have not to bear its weight on your 
shoulders. I think we ought to do everything we can 
do and then not fret. Of course fretting is largely a 
matter of temperament. It seems to me I love my 
country as deeply as any one can, at any rate any one 
with no more knack at loving than I have, yet I go 
to bed at nine o'clock and sleep " like a top " till sun- 
rise, but I have such a strong confidence " that some- 
how good will be the final goal of ill," not only in 
country but in everything. Now don't think I mean 
to set up a superior faith to yours. The process by 
which I arrive at results may be simply shallowness 
or a natural torpidity, nevertheless the results are 
desirable, and if you can come at them by a round- 
about road of faith in the Divine goodness, so much 
the better. 

Next Sunday I purpose to go to Amesbury to see 
the beloved Whittier and his sick sister. The week 
after I go to Boston. If you look out of your win- 
dow, down Washington street, and see a woman com- 
ing up like Tennyson's Maud, " tall and stately," " a 
face sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," a cer- 
tain queenly air, a natural authority something 
which people instinctively take off their hats to 
come down from your window and greet me, for it 
will be me. 

[To Mr. Henry James.] 

April 18, 1864. 

I want to write to you because I have ever so many 
things to say so many in fact that I don't think it 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 395 

is of the least use to begin. On ^ome of them indeed I 
shall not begin, and indeed don't you find sometimes 
that the very things you want to say most you cannot 
say at all? It seems as if your thought is a great 
ledge of rock, and you have only one little crowbar 
to quarry it all out with. 

I have been thinking a great deal the last three or 
four weeks a great deal forme, I mean and of 
my kind of thinking, which I don't suppose is pre- 
cisely like that of Newton or Archimedes, but then 
when a chicken speaks it is always understood that he 
speaks chickeuly, and not in the character of a phil- 
osopher. And I was going to bring several of ray 
stopping-places to you. You know you go on in one 
direction awhile and then you bring up against some- 
thing. Well, those somethings I thought I would 
look at through your spectacles, but since I have begun 
this letter it has occurred to me that I was so blind 
when I began your book that many things must have 
escaped me, and it certainly would be very impertinent 
to ask you questions that you have already answered. 
How very strange it is that you never see anything till 
your eyes are opened to it ! You walk about among 
naked truths, but if you have not come to the need of 
those truths you may tread on one end of them and 
they may fly up in your face and yet you won't see 
them. Now it seems to me as if in the last few 
weeks I might almost say Heaven has been opened 
to me. I am sure I have had glimpses into a new 
world. Do you know I understand your book so 
much better since I have been thinking it over after I 
had finished it than I did while I was reading it. I 
see that some of its positions have always existed in 
our own creed and Bible in solution. Never you 



396 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

mind, will you, if I mix metaphors a little? In a 
letter there is no need to have everything in a straight 
line. But the fact is, jjeople have practical beliefs 
which never give them the smallest trouble till some 
one starts up and puts their belief in words and casts 
it into their teeth, when they make a great outcry. 
Now we good Orthodox people, and I am Orthodox, 
too, and one of the best of them, may read Sunday 
after Sunday that it "is God that worketh in you to 
will and to do," and that "ye are dead and your life 
is hid with Christ in God'' yet we shall none the 
less flout at your theory, which seems to nie only the 
system of the truth of which these are incidental frag- 
ments. But fortunately, or rather necessarily, truth 
is indivisible, and so all its parts are consistent. So 
when you once get hold of one part, every other part 
bears on it for confirmation. Since you have by main 
force projected and interjected this idea, I seem to 
see so many things bearing witness of its truth. It 
gives kernel to shell. It gives light to twilight. It 
gives order to chaos. I wonder will it explain every- 
thing ? As soon as your new edition comes out I am 
going to read it again, and with a pencil in my hand, 
and then you must look out, for I shall come to you 
unmercifully and demand explanations at the point of 
the bayonet. Of course a writer cannot undertake to 
write so that stupid people can understand him, but 
the mnn who does not write down to my level will 
have a very small audience ! There's modesty for you. 
And so, what a person who is no more stupid than I 
cannot understand, it is meet, right, and your bounden 
duty to explain. Also please to remember tliat when 
you write a book you don't write it at least you 
ought uot to write it for the delight of the few, but 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 397 

for the elevation of the many. Consequently it ought 
not to be of half so much importance to you to know 
how it affects the great lights that rule the day, as it 
is to know what it does to the lesser lights that only 
come out by night. The first shine by their own 
radiance and will shine anyway. The second have 
only a borrowed light and must be shone upon. 

There is another thing in your letter which gave me 
so much satisfaction. I suppose you have forgotten 
all about it. But you do not know how many people 
there are who say to me, or to my friends, that they 
should think all this popularity and fame, etc., would 
make me vain. Now, apart from the fact that there 
are two sides to popularity, at least to mine, and 
supposing even that there were only one side, and 
that the sunny one, I still cannot conceive what cause 
or provocative of vanity exists, and it rests me that 
you look at such a thing just as it is. I cannot say 
anything when people talk so, for if they can talk so 
1 don't know whether they can be made to understand 
the truth. Vain ! I think it is the incitement rather 
to the profoundest humility to a complete self-disap- 
pearance. I should as soon think of the Virgin being 
vain to have been selected to be the mother of Christ. 
For every power God has given me I feel utterly 
glad and grateful. I rejoice in myself. I am de- 
lighted that God did not make me dull, and indifferent, 
and heavy, and I am, I will not say delighted, I 
ought rather to say awed, that He has, I believe, 
made me the medium through which He conveys some 
of His truth and consolation, but I never heard that 
an aqueduct pipe ever set up to be vain or self- 
conceited. I only pray that I may keep myself pure 
and transparent, that the holy light may shine through 



398 (JAIL HAINIILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

me clear aud bright. Now I think this is what you 
mean, but so I have always felt. I do not either 
believe that the heavenly light is necessarily a "dim, 
religious light" always. I believe that it may be the 
light of fun and frolic, of love and laughter. I think 
jou can do good by sunshine as well as by rain, and 
I think the good God sends His message to men by 
putting mirth into their lives as well as by repentance. 
I hope you think so, because if you do not, you must 
think mc very often false to my errand. But don't 
you know you can help a man under a burden if you 
can make him forget it^ even when you cannot take it 
away from him. When people write to me and tell 
me that I have done them good, that makes me happy. 
I enjoy making their lives a little brighter. I thank 
God that instead of giving me a wash-tub, or a needle, 
or a broom to work my work with, he has given me 
a pen, and a whole country for my family. I do not 
always feel so. Sometimes I seem to myself to be 
neither one thing nor another, not a man and not a 
good kind of a woman, and indeed as a woman I am 
not worth much, and sometimes I am disgusted with 
some things. As a respectable society woman I am 
a good deal of a failure, but as a human being I am 
very glad that "I am what T am." If I had been 
made greater and deeper I should have been more 
glad, but I am very glad to be as I am. 

I think you are very, very kind to write me such 
nice letters. I shall not pay your sagacity so poor a 
compliment as to depreciate my worthiness to receive 
them, but I can answer for it that they do not fall 
upon un appreciative ground. One ought to do what 
is given him to do, whether men will bear or whether 
they will forbear, alone as well as with a multitude. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 399 

Nevertheless, I think recognition is one of the most 
delightful things in this world. I am ashamed to say 
that I do become irritated sometimes at the per- 
verse stupidity of people. You need not tell me that 
that is very wrong and poor return to make, for I 
know it all, and that, besides, it reduces me to the 
level of that which irritates me. I only state it as a 
fact, I do not justify it. You must understand that 
I fear I know much better than I do, but then I 
always trj' to keep my standard from trailing. 

Now let me take my turn and give you a little ex- 
hortation, Do not you fear to die and leave no sign 
of having lived to some purpose. You say you do 
not succeed in communicating 3'our convictions. But 
I know that conscientious work is never lost. Don't 
you ask me how I know, for I cannot tell you, but I 
do know it, and you may believe me. Thought will 
set itself free. Benevolence will work itself out. 
Nothing can confine them, and if there is not one 
person in the country who fully takes in your plan, 
all the same your work is not lost. Perhaps one will 
take in a brick here, and another a window-seat there, 
and a third a cornice, and so, by fragments it may be, 
the whole temple is reproduced. Why look at me 
am I not receiving of your fulness, not completely, 
but as a pond may receive of a sea? and, moreover, 
it is a pond that has more than one outlet. Y'ou pour 
into me and through a thousand little brooks ; when I 
have once mingled your waters with mine, I shall send 
them out again. They will not be "the sea, the sea, 
the open sea," but they will go in dew-drops and 
spray, they will spring up in violets and mayflowers, 
and the earth will be green and the meadows gay, 
and is not that something to be happy for? I am 



400 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

afraid you make no account of anything smaller than 
oaks, but dear me I how many people do you suppose 
there are who live upon oak-trees ? 

Don't you think it is nice for me to be setting you 
right? 

Nevertheless, I am very truly 

Your friend, 

Mary Abby Dodge. 



April 19, 18G4. 

My dear Brother : Your letter reached us at the 
end of a five-days' journey, whicli we consider a 
remarkably short passage. I write now just to speak 
of your coming home next winter. The longer you 
stay out there without coming home the easier it will 
be to stay, and the harder it will be to come home ; 
while nothing, it seems to me, is of so much importance 
as to keep bright the links that unite us. It is so 
much easier to keep them so than to polish them up 
after they shall have become rusty, and we think you 
have been away long enough. As for the boy, of 
course we do not expect him to hold his hands all day, 
or his tongue either, but you can have the bed-room 
and the sitting-room. I shall have a fire in my room 
and in the parlor, and if mother gets tired of his 
chatter, as she very likely will at times, she can go 
away and be quiet. Every year diminishes tlie 
chance of a reunion. Of course we shall not expect 
you to remain here all the time. I suppose Beverly 
and Salem and Cambridge will claim y <u a part of it, 
but even here, with many books and papers, I think 
you could pass a very comfortable winter. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 401 

[To Mk. Wood.] 

May 6, 1864. 

It is nearly nine o'clock and the labors of Hercules 
were but a pastime compared with the work which I 
have been doing to-day, and these many days. House- 
cleaning did 3'ou ever hear of it? You men do not 
know what the toils of life are. The dreadfulness of 
house-cleaning ! The uproar, tlie everything out of its 
place, and company to dinner ! We have had a buxom 
Irish wife to wash the house, and another to wash the 
movables, but still there are so many thousand things 
that no one can do but your own self, and one is so long 
in the doing of them, and the worst of it is, it won't 
stay done. With what pleasure would one breathe 
dust and swim in a tub for a week, if he might have 
diyness and cleanness the rest of tlie year. On the 
contrary, the dust gathers at one end of the house 
before the other end is dry from its bath. Neverthe- 
less, house-cleaning is a good thing. It gives such a 
charming fragrance of soap-suds, and it weans one 
from the world. 

When one has a farm to carry on and various live- 
stock to care for, besides a great variety of public 
duties, what can one do? I have been to-day, for 
instance, besides house-cleaning, gardening. That 
is, I sat down in the midst of the hubbub this morning 
and drew a plan for a small garden. Now you see I 
know nothing in the world about gardening, but then 
here I am. So I " turned to" and have produced a 
very respectable grass-plat on paper and have 
sent for the seeds. What will come up remains to be 
seen, though as yet nothing has gone down. But the 
weather now is warm and dry. Summer has come 



402 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

upon us suddenly like a strong man armed ; may the 
good Father protect our armies, who iu this sweet 
month of May are reaping the bloody harvest of all 
our sins and our fathers' sins ! 

As for burning up the papers you send, begging 
your pardon, I shall do no such thing, so long as 
paper is five cents a pound. I sold fifteen pounds the 
other day and bought a lovely glass pitcher which 
went straight off and cracked and is now bound up 
with rose-ribbon and you talk of burning papers ! 
No, sir. I have read Herbert Spencer's boolv on 
" Education" and like it mucli. A great many nails 
he hits with wonderful accuracy square on the head. 

The "Stones of Stumbling" will very likely be 
triturated as you suggest, and in some points they 
will doubtless deserve it. They were piled together 
many years ago, some as many as five, and the 
monument in all its parts and proportions may not 
now suit even my own ideas of symmetry. Never- 
theless, the line of beauty and the line of truth may 
both be found there. As for the stoning with stones, 
I have been in these meteoric showers before, and did 
not find them so formidable as to create a panic, 
though they are not so pleasant as June sunshine. 
Reform the world, I will, or perish iu the attempt. 
You may sit over your wine and pleasantly assert that 
they deserved to be damned and doubtless will be, 
and take comfort in the thought, but I shall go out 
into the highways and hedges and compel them to 
come into the temple of the Lord so far as may be. 

I made a visit to Whittier's a fortnight ago. His 
sister is ill, quite ill, I think with a painful and 
enfeebling disease, they fear an affection of the spine. 
Her spirits are excellent, almost unnaturally so. He 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 403 

keeps up, too, wonderfully. I called at Mrs. Spald- 
ing's also on the way home, and found her in the 
midst of house-cleaning, but she has learned in what- 
soever state she is never to be taken aback. I have 
had an invitatiou to teach in a female seminary in 
Andover. Salary not large, but duties not onerous. 
Also I have had an invitation from Dr. and Mrs. Dio 
Lewis to visit them. Perhaps I shall go sometime, 
but not at present. I have too much to do. For two 
Sundays we have had home-preaching. I was at 
Amesbury one of them and attended the Friends' 
meeting, which was very nice. Nothing was said the 
first hour or so, and we just sat in the sunshine and 
had a " good time." What an economical way of 
supporting the gospel that would be, and how much 
good it would do every one to sit quiet an hour a day, 
not talk at all ! We are blessed in our quiet Sundays. 
We get the truth about as soon as you do after all, 
and not under half so deep a heap of rubbish. I 
hope for victory, but I have been running through 
Fanny Kemble's " Georgia Journal," and slavery was 
so utterh' infernal a thing that I don't know whether 
this nation can ever be purged from it and whether 
therefore it is fit to live. One consolation is that, bad 
as it is, we belong to the best part of it. 

Do not you allow yourself to be over-excited about 
all these things. AYashington has been in danger of 
capture too many times. 

[To Mk. James.] 

May 7, 1864. 
My dear Friend : The very first words I have to 
say to you are to apologize for my unpardonable 
carelessness in giving you a wrong name. I beg you 



404 txAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

to believe that it wns not because I had not taken the 
trouble to charge my memory with your name. But 
I know a real Horace James, and I suppose in an 
absence of mind I must have put his name on your 
letter, though I was not aware of the fact until you 
mentioned it. But you see what an advantage it is 
to be so distinguished that your townsmen need only 
a slight hint to recognize the man who is meant ! 

Also, I did receive your letter, the one you sup- 
posed lost. What I meant about forgetting was that 
as it was three or more weeks since I had shot through 
your atmosphere, and as I was not particularly large 
or brilliant, you might have supposed that this next 
appearance was a new comet and not the old one re- 
turning in its orbit. So I wished to settle the ques- 
tion of identity. That was all. 

With many misgivings I send you the book of which 
I spoke. I hardly know whether I want you to read 
it or not. I have not yet read it myself and I cannot 
tell how truly it expresses ray present opinions. 
Please to remember that much of it was written at 
least two or three, and some of it, I think, as many 
as five years ago. Do not suppose I say this to 
deprecate your vmf.ivorablc criticism. I believe I 
know you much better than 1 know many people who 
call me "Abby," and tiie only thing I fear is that you 
will find in it a disappointment from which you are 
too generous not to feel i)ain. So I pray you to 
look for nothing but a feeling after the truth, an 
occasional grasping of it, and of this I am sure, a 
very steady and settled desire to strengthen the 
weak hands, confirm the feeble knees, comfort the 
sorrowful hearts, and beat back a little the waves of 
soro doubt and difficulty wherewith formalism besets 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 405 

Chrisl's little ones. At a few points I reckon on 
your sympathy, and everywhere I believe you are 
large enough to make allowances, but do not make the 
mistake of supposing that I expect you to go heart 
and hand with me through thick and thin. 

I " guess" you made a mistake in your last letter 
and answered somebody else's, thinking it was mine. 
But I shall not take pains to correct the mistake. I 
am glad any letter gave you pleasure, whether Lauuce- 
lot's or another's. Happiness does not come in 
bowlders generally, but in pebbles, and so I think 
we ought all to be very thankful when we receive 
such a pebble, and how much more delightful to give 
one. And how beautiful it is that things are so 
arranged that we don't have to do good. We only 
have to go about our business and the good does 
itself. What you design to accomplish of beneficence 
often fiiils. It is what flows out from you spontane- 
ously, the virtue that goes out from you by some 
casual touch that makes your real worth in life. So 
I suppose every inward victory, of which we fancy no 
one knows, has its outward expression, its Te Deum, 
and though nobody may have seen the struggle, many 
may wax fat on the fruits of the peace. The little 
bits of moral instruction which I deal out to you I 
make no extra charge for, so you need not be restive 
under them. But it is a comfort to know that one 
need not wait for any other world before lie belongs 
to the Shining Ones, but even in this he may radiate 
light, nud leave, wherever he goes, his trail of sun- 
shine. Only people have rather come not to think 
much of simple, honest sunshine, but want some far- 
fetched, unearthly, supernatural gleam that is not half 
real and never produces solid results. 



406 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

There was an idea in your letter and, by the way, 
you live among ideas, do you not ? Now, for me I 
have and so have most of my contemporaries so far 
as I can judge experience chiefly with fancies and 
fragments. I sit down among little bits of broken 
glass, sometimes gay- colored and beautiful, but if 
ever I find a ruby or even an agate among them, I 
call in my friends and neighbors to rejoice and we 
have a bonfire and a celebration. But you write a 
friendly letter and lo ! the moment I open it, out drop 
peai'ls and diamonds, all set and fitly joined together. 
Well, there is one comfort. If you have been mov- 
ing you have had to step down from your rainbow 
and loclv up your precious stones and give all your 
energies to the furniture and to keeping your temper. 
I lay particular stress on the temper because that is 
my weak point. We have been house-cleaning, which 
is nearly as bad as moving. But then it is nice to 
feel that your whole house has had its baptism. 
The dust gathers again, but you are better for the 
purification. 

But what I was going to say was that you had an 
idea in your letter which, when I saw, I coveted. 
Frederick Schlegel bought one once of his brother 
William for a flannel waiscoat. I don't suppose I 
have anything that would be of value to you, but I 
cannot relinquish the idea ; it fits in exactly to a little 
niche I am carving out, so I want you to exercise 
your benevolence and give it to me. "All for love 
and nothing for reward." If you don't give it to me 
you will do mischief, for I shall certainly steal it. I 
know my virtue is not strong enough to resist the 
temptation, and then you will be consumed with re- 
morse for having made Israel to sin. Do you submit 



BUSY YEARS IN HAIVOLTON 407 

gracefully or grumbliugly ? For submission it must 
be. 

Moral (H. J. loquitur) : Never leave diamonds 
about among lapidaries. 

Thank you and Mrs. James for your invita- 
tion. Do you think I shall accept it? Not the least 
in the world. Why should I? It would not do any 
good. Why no,t let well enough alone? Where 
people meet through letters, that which meets is really 
their own selves. When they meet in person, there 
are so many impertinences that you never can tell 
what is what. I will not say never, but not often, 
for a long while, and sometimes not at all. At least 
that is the way with me. The more you see me the 
more you won't know me. I sit in my room and 
write to you. It is my very own self speaking to 
you, without embarrassment or distraction. There 
isn't any world. There are no social duties. We 
might as well be pure souls. But if I go to Ashburton 
Place, I must see that my bonnet is right, and I shall 
have dusted my dress, and you will have to stop and 
brush your hair before you come down, and the light 
will shine in my eyes and dazzle me, and I shall drop 
my handkerchief, and cannot find my gloves, and so 
I shall be altogether very uncomfortable, and there 
won't be any vie at all, only an awkward parcel of 
dry goods that never had any perceptions. I don't 
object to incarnation. I think, theoretically, the body 
is the friend and servant of the soul, and, practically, 
too, I suppose in most cases, but for some reason or 
other, in the Divine arrangement, I was made dif- 
ferent from other people. What is to most expres- 
sion is to me an incumbrance. I have not any real 
medium of communication with my kind except 



408 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

through my pen no trustwortliy medium. My lips 
refuse 

"To utter 
The thoughts that arise in me," 

and my hand has no cuuuing to work, and if I should 
come aud see you I should be only a miserable and 
forlorn woman. While in my own domains I am 
monarch of all I survey. So do not attribute my 
absenteeism to original sin, but only to original mis- 
fortune, and believe that I Avould not fail to avail my- 
self of your kindness if I did not know that it would 
give neither of us the smallest satisfaction. You 
would not l)elieve it was I, and I should not myself if 
I did not know. 

Just one word more about the book. Do be- 
lieve, if you can find it in your heart to do so, that T 
am better than it. I think I am better than any book 
I ever wrote, or, 1 fear, any that I ever shall write. 
Nothing satisfies me. I catch glimpses of the beauti- 
ful Truth. 1 know I hear her voice and feel her 
coming, but I only lay hold of the hem of her robe as 
she passes by, and I have but a fragment and a 
fragrance. The lovely form escapes me. Neverthe- 
less, I can do no otherwise than seek her, for it seems 
to me that the search for truth is better than the pos- 
session of all other treasures. You will surely not 
do me the injustice to suppose that I launch my 
advice and opinions from any assumed superiority of 
character or position. In fact, I do not know that I 
ever analyzed my motives, or thought much about it 
anyway. I write because I do write, because I must 
write, because I will write. Yet nothing that I have 
ever written has seemed to me adequate when it was 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 409 

accomplished. My life gives me great joy, but also 
great unrest. 

I am not sure that what I have said will indicate to 
you what I mean, but perhaps your own experience, 
or imagination, may help you to the meaning. I 
have talked a great deal about myself in this letter, 
but then what is the use of writing letters if you can- 
not talk about yourself. At least this is true, that it 
is the one subject in the world of which I know more 
than any one else, and one in which I must confess 
that I feel extremely interested ! 

It is the most charming evening possible, and I am 
going to Boston to-morrow, and to Ashlnirton Place, 
which I know, because I once had a friend there, and 
I shall leave a parcel in the front entry which will be 
this letter, and a book, and perhaps something else. 
So will you please stay quietly in the house till I am 
safely away from it. I suppose I might send a lad 
with it, and perhaps I will. We will see. 
Good-night. 

Very truly yours, 

Mary Abby Dodge. 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

May 18, 1864. 

It seems that my silly question has given you a 
very unnecessary uneasiness. But I only put it to 
you because it seemed so absurd, and I thought you 
would enjoy the absurdity. Nothing is farther from 
my mind than to take up teaching again. Why, Mr. 
Wood, you seem quite blind to the fact that "I am 
in the full tide of a successful career " ! ! ! ! I am 
not growing rich over-fast, but I am keeping pace 



410 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTJ:RS 

with my exertions. I have all the money that I need. 
My books have brought me something like two thou- 
sand dollars. That I am keeping for future years. 
What I want is ten thousand dollars. Mr. P^ields laughs 
at me, but if I live and have my health I shall get it, 
and if I don't live I shall not want it, and if I do not 
have my health I shall not blame myself for not 
getting it. Do not suppose that I am setting my heart 
on that sum, or bending my energies to it, or " skimp- 
ing " myself in any way for it. But I want to be 
independent, if it is God's will, as long as I live, and 
I think six hundred a year will enable me to live in 
the country, as long as I do live, above want, and in 
a state of comparative ease and elegance. 

The money that I have received and have not spent 
is in government bonds, and safely deposited in Bos- 
ton. This is almost entirely what I have received 
from my books. The magazine papers keep me in 
bread and butter and calicoes, and keep me " hand- 
somely." I don't go into furs and diamonds and laces 
quite so much as I might like if I had the purse of 
Fortunatus in my pocket; but those are only luxuries, 
and I have everything that is necessary, and I treat 
myself to that best luxury of giving, upon every occa- 
sion. The sale of ni}' books goes on. Mr. Fields spoke 
of "Country Living," especially, the last time I was 
there. I have scarcely any hopes at all about my new 
liook, only tliat I shall not be absolutely torn in pieces. 
Private criticisms have been generally favorable hith- 
erto, but when it is published Mr. F. and I agree 
that the dogs of war will be let loose. I am quite at 
ease on the score of money. I mean that I have no 
anxiety about it. My disposition to become the pos- 
sessor of ten thousand dollars is simply that I may be 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 411 

independent. I think tlie mere fact of dependence 
has such a tendency to lower one's standard of living, 
and I have no reason to suppose myself better than 
my kind. So I pray not to be led into that tempta- 
tion. Now you good, benevolent, kind man, do not 
you go to fretting your heart thinking that I am poor. 
It is a pity that I am not, but I am not. I feel rich, 
I do indeed. 

It is pleasant to receive things from your friends, 
and still more pleasant to give them. If I could give 
things to my friends I should be much better satis- 
fied to receive gifts from them, but I have not the 
pretty art of making knick-knacks, and I am so out 
of the world, out of this and absorbed in another, that 
I don't know what is going. I applied to Whittier in 
this dilemma, and he said I could not give to the many 
that gave to me, of course, but that my writings made 
me friends, and that probably they felt that I had 
done them so much good and given them so much 
pleasure therein, that it was a great pleasure for them 
to show a token of it, and I could do a good turn to 
some one else. So he comforted me, and I mean 
always to "give to every one that asketh " of me in 
charity, if so be I may return to the poor a part of 
the benefit which the rich do to me. 

My time is fully occupied, and more than occupied. 
I have continued calls in writing which I am forced 
to decline. I could earn much more mouey than I 
now earn, but I sliould do it at the expense of both 
my character and my reputation as a writer. I pre- 
fer to do nothing which shall not improve myself. 
Excellence is far more valuable to me than money. 
I want a reputation, but I want it to be for qualities 
Avliich may commend themselves to the best people. 



412 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I have every encouragement. Mr. Fields is contin- 
ually encouraging I should perhaps say rather than 
urging me forward, which of course he would not 
do if he were not in a degree satisfied with me. He 
says very fine things of my papers, and he is con- 
stantly asking for more. He gets my books up him- 
self, proposes to have them as books, I mean, and 
is strenuous that I write only for them, to which I am 
myself also as strongly inclined. 

My circle of friends comprises some of the very 
nicest people in the world, and I have directly and by 
roundabout ways very honoring praise from people 
whose mere attention would be no small compliment. 
I am sure you will not do me the injustice of thinking 
that I say this by way of boasting. I only say it in 
a mercantile way just to ease your mind, and because 
I know you will find a great deal of pleasure in it. 
Of course I have also a great deal of censure, but my 
nice things so entirely outnumber and outweigh my 
disagreeable ones, that the latter are a sheer and clear 
benefit to me. " I speak as a fool, but ye have com- 
pelled me." I could not ask greater success, consid- 
ering the capital I work on. I only wish that I were 
more worthy of the regard which I will not say 
I have won, but which generosity has bestowed 
upon me. But you may be sure I would impoverish 
you and every friend I have in the world before I 
would go back to teaching again ! 

Does Nelly O'C. mean Mr. Henry James' book 
" Substance and Shadow " ? If so, I can tell her that 
I read the first part in a rather bewildered manner, 
but as I went on it seemed to me that I had struck 
a bed of primitive foundation granite. There are 
parts which I do not understand, and there are pass- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 413 

ages which I would have altered, but to my thinking 
it holds solid truths that refresh and rest my very soul. 
You must excuse the egotism of this letter, but you 
know it was all on your account. I took a slice right 
out of my afternoon on purpose to relieve your mind. 
What gratitude ought you not to feel ! "Was gratitude 
one of the Apostolic virtues? Truly yours, 

M. A. D. 

[To Mr. French.] 

June 3, 1864. 

Isn't it beautiful now? I have been out and 
watered all my plants. I stood and looked at that 
little square bit of land, and thought what was the 
use of taking such a world of trouble with it when here 
is this whole round globe spread out before me, and 
behind me, and on every side of me, more beauty 
than I can take in, though I stand looking from 
sunrise to sunset and all night long. How foolish 
to stake out a square yard and devote yourself to it, 
when every hill and valley laughs you to scorn in in- 
solent rivalry, and an old wall with a blackberry- 
vine is more graceful, more picturesque than anything 
which your own hand my hand I mean can train 
with infinite pains. I wish I had nothing in the world 
to do but be out-doors all the time, and look and listen. 
The trees are all abloom, and knee deep in lush grass, 
the air is filled with the summer snow of petals, and 
the birds are holding high carnival. Everything is so 
busy, and my busy-ness is to see it. Life is in full 
career, and I think people ought to stand aside and 
let it work. I buried a chicken to-day under a sod, a 
poor little thing that just nipped open a bit of shell 
about as big as a five-cent piece an ancient coin in 



414 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

use among the Egyptians. Then he was tired and 
gave it up. But what I admired was, how beautifully 
he was packed. His little head and feet and wings 
were folded so compactly, there was no crowding and 
no room to spare. There are two little doves, too, 
under the barn eaves, and I can climb up and watch 
them, little horrid jelly-things with holes for ears, and 
breathing all over. The mother-dove turns into a fury 
and beats me with her wings prodigiously, but I am 
determined to see how she manages. Now I suppose 
I might as well stop here as go on all night. In fact 
there are so many things happening now that it seems 
a pity to waste time on words. It seems to me as if 
everything is made over new in the spiiug and every 
spring is a new astonishment. Every March I believe 
the grass will never grow again, and every May it 
waves like the sea. 

I think it is boy-slaughter in the first degree to 
wake boys in the morning. I rather think Nature 
knows when her children have slept long enough, and 
does not need any lawyers to issue a writ of manda- 
mus. What a writ of mandamus is I know no more 
than your famous " forty-year-old-unborn-hereditarj' 
infant," but I wanted some kind of law- Latin to vindi- 
cate my legal abilities and learning, so I took that. 

And I thank you, samp is not cracked corn. Have 
I been living on it all my life to be told by a little 
New Hampshire judge that I don't know what it is? 
Sir, samp is not cracked corn. It is as whole as my 
heart. I will not send to Pierce's for a bag of 
hominy. My sister gets what they call samp in 
Boston, and comes home crying aloud for the real 
article, which is one- third lye, one- third ashes, one- 
third potash, and the rest corn and milk. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 415 

June 7, 1864. 

My dear Mr. James : Now we are coming to blows ! 
I sailed down your letter as smoothly and as serenely 
as possible, the sun shining, the flowers abloom on 
both banks, the birds singing in the tree-tops and 
suddenly comes a crash ! I struck a snag, but you 
need not think I am going to give up quietly and sink 
without a struggle. So here is the struggle : 

The only reason why I have the smallest modesty 
in stating my views is, that I am not sure I under- 
stand yours. A man who begins his book by turning 
the world upside down must be approached warily. 
It may be that in your book you have explained away 
every objection that I shall advance, and there a 
second advancement may seem an impertinence, but, 
as I have intimated before, I did not then understand 
the book so well as I think I should now. I am going 
to read it again as soon as that addition comes out. 
But with all the enlightenment it may give I dare say 
there will be plenty left beyond my comprehension, 
and all the intelligence I can plunder you of through 
the medium of letters will be so much clear gain ! 

You say " soliciting and expecting a personal, 
instead of a purely spiritual salvation at His hands." 
But may not salvation be personal and spiritual? 
What is spirit? Is it not as personal to me as any- 
thing? More personal than anything? Is not my 
spirit more truly me, more truly personal than any- 
thing else? Y'ou say, "We all of us unhesitatingly 
assume the truth of our personal relations to God and 
suppose that any improvement in our intercourse with 
Him must come from some modifications of those 
relations ; whereas in truth our natural personality is 
merely a stepping-stone of His towards the great per- 



416 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

sonality of the race as represented or constituted by 
society, is at best a temporary purchase of His upon 
the associated or public consciousness." Do you 
mean by this that our natural personality is or ought 
ever to be merged in the great personality of the race, 
that our private consciousness is ever to be lost, in 
this or in any world, in a public consciousness? 
Because, if you do, I do not agree with you. It seems 
to me all one with annihilation. I would just as soou 
have no life at all as to have no conscious, separate, 
individual life. What possible comfort can there be 
in creeping through eternity as an infinitesimal part of 
one huge centipede called society. I waut to be my 
own self, clip And clear, and if I cannot be that I 
would rather not be anything. I don't believe you 
mean this, but if you don't, what do you mean? You 
understand, please, I believe in the advancement, in 
the growth, in the purification of society but I hold 
it is to be done uot by annihilating, but by elevating 
the individuals who compose it. By worliing on you 
and trying to make a good Christian man of you, I 
am doing far more for society than I could by 
attempting to destroy your consciousness and individ- 
uality and knead you somehow into the general mass ! 
You say, " Nothing is more unhandsome in us than 
the consciousness of our being loell pleasing in our 
proper persons to God." Practically I suppose that 
must be admitted to be true of most grown-up per- 
sons. But must it be true? Is it not our sin and 
shame that it is true? Is there any inherent neces- 
sity laid upon us? I suppose a rose, a bird, a baby 
are well pleasing to God. He takes pleasure in the 
little child phiying on the floor. He takes pleasure 
in everything which He has made which remains 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 417 

very good. He loves to see people as strong and 
healthy as He meant them to be. He takes pleas- 
ure when they cultivate the mind and all the powers 
which He has given them. He is pleased when 
they resist temptation, or are kind, and loving, and 
charitable, and do what He wants them to do for 
love of Him or love of each other, isn't He ? I sup- 
pose there are few of us who could say that we always 
do this, but if we ever do do it if we ever feel our 
hearts aglow with love to Him and purpose to do 
right, is it vanity, is it vanity to believe then that we 
are pleasing to Him that He is pleased with us ? 
May we not be so at one with Him that there shall be no 
jar in our relations, " I in them and they in me"? 
You see I do believe in our personal relations to God 
not to the exclusion, but the inclusion of the whole 
human race. If God be not personal to us, how can 
we love Him ; I cannot thrill out to an abstraction. 
It seems to me Christ came to assure us of God's 
personality ; that we might have something definite to 
take hold of. There is no " self-complacency " to 
go back a little in feeling ourselves in harmony 
with the Divine, for the more you feel so the more 
you feel that it is God that worketh in you to will and 
to do of His good pleasure. Maybe that is just what 
you mean, I do assure you, Mr. James, that I feel 
as if I were imposing upon your good nature to go 
blundering along as I do. It seems as if you have a 
right to demand that I shall understand you better 
than I probably do, and if you think that your book 
really does make this all clear, then do not you by 
any means go and write it all over again, but simply 
say it is in the book and I will unearth it there. 

The theory which you propound explanatory of my 



418 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

reluctance to meeting you is very good as a theory, 
but you are travelling down toward the centre of the 
earth to find something that lies on the surface. In 
fact, I do not think there is any cause or reason for 
such reluctance. At least I do not know that I am 
conscious of any. It is simply an instinct. It is 
simply that when I should hear you coming up the 
steps, my heart the actual physical auricle and 
ventricle one, I mean would of a sudden beat so 
hard that I could not speak perhaps, and not breathe 
for a minute and not have the least power to do any- 
thing but keep the life in me. And I, perhaps, 
should not get quite over it all the time you would 
see me, and should say and do what was really un- 
natural to me, and should fail to see the point of 
what was said to me or to understand things which 
really do come within the scope of my powers. I 
don't believe such simple material facts need any 
explanation, do they? If we should ever lose this 
" nimbus of flesh" I think I should feel differently. 
If I could only be my own proper self, if I could 
only meet you as I really am, I should not mind. 
But however that may be, pray believe me that there 
is at least no want of faith in you. I trust you en- 
tirely. You have already shown a delicacy most 
rare, and I do not believe it would be possible for you 
to trespass upon me. The only way in which you 
cause me "the slightest embarrassment" would be 
simply in being a person at all ! Do not suppose it 
possible that I willingly dwell on these facts. I do 
not know that I should be wrong in saying that they 
are the most painful of my life. It is the one bond- 
age that chains me, and death alone can deliver me 
from the body of this death. But I speak of it 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 419 

rather than that you should suppose it to be anything 
in yourself which causes the reluctance, that I fear 
to find in you anything below the highest. Your 
instinctive reverence is more grateful than words can 
say. I shall indeed be much disappointed if you fail 
me. Undoubtedly, like all the rest of us, you have 
your faults. I dare say you are occasionally unrea- 
sonable. Very possibly you are depraved enough 
to fret sometimes at the " little wife " who is twice 
as good as your High Mightiness, perhaps you are 
cross to the children and too particular about trifles, 
though for all these things you are heartily sorry 
afterwards and atone for them as far as possible by 
increased gentleness. I make no doubt you have 
half-a-dozen hobby-horses and pet weaknesses and 
all that, but I am sure you try to be good and keep 
your banner out of the mud, and I am sure that 
your idea of life and worth is high and high-aiming. 

You anticipate the time when I shall be a " serene, 
placid, lovely old lady." But that time will never 
come even if I live to be an old lady at all. Serene- 
ness will never come to me in this world. Yet I 
have such possibilities of calm ! But it would be 
very selfish to sigh for quiet when it is a most un- 
descived blessing that one is permitted to work, to 
be a co-worker with God. I would be willing to be 
turbulent all my life, to dwell in the very teeth of the 
tempest rather than be stagnant. And for all the 
turbulence, I feel somewhere, very deep in, a fountain 
of peace, unsealed, but to be, one day, and inexhaust- 
ible. Meanwhile faith is the substance of things 
hoped for. 

Perhaps some day I shall get into your thought 
enough to be able to talk rationally and to the pur- 



420 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

pose, and then I shall be glad to talk upon these 
matters instead of writing, but as it is, I am afraid 
T should stumble at every step and weary your 
patience. So don't you think it will be better to con- 
fine ourselves to artillery practice at present, and 
not come to a hand-to-hand conflict. And yet I 
should really like to have you come down to Hamil- 
ton. It is very pleasant here these bright June 
days. Do you think you could forget that you ever 
wrote to me make believe you never heard of me 
know nothing about me onl^- that your grand- 
father was my great aunt's first cousin, and you would 
like to explore the village where she lived? Should 
you like some pleasant day to come down at noon 
and sit in the sunshine or walk over the hills or drive 
about the country and you keep talking all the time, 
and I not speak a word ? I should like it very much, 
but then you see it would be very selfish in me, for I 
am afraid you would not get out of the country so 
much good as I should get out of you. 

Very truly yours, 

M. A. Dodge. 

June 9, 1864. 

Mr. Norris and Jerry are iu the 100 days' Volun- 
teers at New Bedford. George Norris is Assistant 
Lieutenant of Engineers, I think it is, in a gunboat. 
Mr. Tibbets son was taken prisoner in one of the 
late battles under Butler. Mr. Tressel's son lives 
on the old Robert Dodge place was wounded iu the 
Cold Harbor fight. 

Mr. Gage wants me to go to Germany with them 
next winter. They will spend two months in England. 
Cannot tell till I know whether you will be here or 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 421 

not. Mr. and Mrs. Fields were going to spend the 
day with me yesterday, but they had word that her 
brother was a prisoner in Gordonsville, and he must 
try what could be done towards effecting an exchange. 
Dr. Smith's farm was all planted, except a few white 
beans which wei'e to come up in the fall and make 
them rich. They had sold over $200 worth of eggs 
to buy sugar to sweeten the rhubarb. "We, too, have 
a glut of rhubarb and a dearth of sugar. Whittier 
writes me that his sister has been very sick since I 
was there, and he thought she was rapidly failing, 
but he hopes now she is really better. Una Haw- 
thorne wrote me a very nice letter after her father 
died. She said for his sake they could not mourn. I 
saw Hawthorne when I was in Boston about a week 
before he died. He had come there to start on his 
journey with Pierce. He was very sadly changed 
since I made that most delightful visit at his house a 
year ago. 

June 21, 1864. 
My dear Mr. Wood : I have no business to be 
writing to you now, but since you must needs go and 
get up a sunstroke, I suppose I shall have to leave 
my beaten track and go off in a tangent towards 
Washington. Now I pray to know if you went out- 
doors at noonday and sat on the curb-stone? I do 
not see what other way there was for you to expose 
yourself to such an infliction. You must have wooed 
the sun with malice aforethought. Quod erat demon- 
strandum. I dare say you did it partly on purpose 
that you might have an excuse for going over your 

books and papers. Years ago Dr. used to make 

my eyes heavy with unshed tears by his pathetic anni- 
versary sermons, wherein his own approaching with- 



422 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

drawal would be feelingly predicted. His people bore 
his prophecies with an equanimity that astonished me, 
but they were right. What is the case to day? Dr. 

has lived long enough since then to turn his 

parish upside down with " rage, resentment, and de- 
spair," played witch-work with the colleague whom 
they had provided for him, forced him to resign, 
resigned himself, and is at this moment, 1 doubt not, 
an eye-sore to the people. Similarly you, Mr. George 
Wood, in spite of all your wills and your post-mortem 
arrangements, will live to call up, on at least twenty 
separate occasions, my unmitigated wrath, and on 
occasions without number will stir me up to small 
modified resentments, on all which occasions you will 
be in the wrong, and I in the right, though you will 
never confess it. Still, notwithstanding the many 
years that I trust lie before you, it seems to me that 
I would not, as a general thing, take my after-dinner 
naps on the curb-stone. 

Your copy of " Stumbling Blocks," if you care for 
such an implement of agriculture, goes with this let- 
ter. If the public will only take half the delight in 
hanging, drawing, and quartering the author that you 
do in prophesying such an event, "Eyes, look your 
last." 

Your arrangement of your papers reminds me to 
ask whether you keep my letters. If so, what do you 
do with them ? I wish you would bring them on with 
you when j^ou come this summer, and at any rate 
arrange them so that in case of your death, or of mine, 
no wrong hands could touch them. People are so 
careless of propriety where their curiosity is concerned 
that one cannot be too careful. I would like best to 
have you bring them to me, that I may have them 



BUSY YEARS IN HAiAIILTON 423 

under my own hand. Yours, for the last two years, 
I have in apple-pie order. The former years are pre- 
served, but in the higgledy-piggledy style of archi- 
tecture. I mean to arrange them this summer accord- 
ing to the dates. The weather is lovely, but very 
dry, and I spend all my spai'e time in watering my 
garden. I am very well, and so would you be if you 
would remember about the curb-stones. 

Yours most truly, 

M. A. D. 

[To Judge French.] 

July 1, 1864. 
It seems to me that two summers ago I was on the 
top of Agamenticus with somebody who was visiting 
the John V. Hales, and who could not go somewhere, 
or could not stay longer, because she was to be at Mr. 
Erencb's wedding at such a time. I wonder if it was 
not this same B. B. who writes from his iron Para- 
dise. I return his letter with many thanks for the 
glimpse into a pleasant home, and for the flavor of peas 
and strawberries, though the cream and butter story is 
rather suspicious. Nevertheless, this sunshiny grove- 
green, fountain-playing, shadow-flickering letter gave 
me a pang. "Why, do you suppose? It was that 
m.attress. I don't suppose any one thing has wor- 
ried me more than what should I do to be house- 
keeping? To be sure, I have never been required to 
keep house, and of all the things that may happen to 
me that stands in the dimmest distance. Neverthe- 
less, when any housekeeping feat is announced I feel 
a shudder of incompetency through my inmost frame. 
Never, never could I undertake to pull a mattress to 
pieces, and pick a barnful of hair and make it over 



424 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTP]RS 

into sixty dollars. I believe, however, I think I do, 
at any rate, that men's and women's tastes are one by 
nature, and different only through education, habit, 
custom. I suppose if I had been brought up to 
housekeeping I should have liked it, but having; lived 
a sort of man's life, I look upon all the details of 
ordinary woman-life as wearisome and intolerable 
drudgery. Men have been suffered to take their ease 
in their inn till the world has come to think it a cus- 
tom ordained of God, and women have so long "run 
the machine" that ditto. But as soon as one is 
freed a little from that routine, lo ! she shares all a 
man's repugnance to it, and if a man had been ti'ained 
in a kitchen and a laundry, doubtless he would expect 
nothing better. Which proves that the difference 
between the male and female life is one of custom 
and not of nature. 

In one of your letters you ask me when a baby's 
soul comes into the body. I don't know as a general 
thing, but my soul came to me when I was fourteen 
years old, to the best of my knowledge and belief. 
That is, I began to be born then, but I don't suppose 
I shall be fully out of the shell as long as I live 
(pardon the slight mixture of races) . The fact is 
that the universe exists layer within layer. The soul 
has no end of skins, as far as I can see. You burst 
one integument and are in a new world ultimate. 
But after a while you burst another and are in 
another world. The world is constantly new created. 
The robin's world is not my world. It is only this 
spring that I have been born into a chicken's world. 
Now I look at life from a chicken's stand-point. 
Indian meal wears a new aspect. Eggs and fresh 
hay and barns have put on different features and 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 425 

assumed different relations. With every added ex- 
perience I suppose your plummet sinks lower and 
lower into the ever unfathomable depths ! 

For my flower garden, my ambition never went 
beyond having flowers for the house, but then if you 
are going to plant, you might as well plant in curves 
as straight lines. They are more pleasing to the eye 
and they give flowers just as well. It is very dread- 
ful to have a sound of battle in the land and great 
destruction, but is it any more for us than slavery 
for the negroes? "Will all the physical agony and 
mental torture produced by these three years of war 
balance the pain of a hundred years of slavery? In 
all the slaughter I seem to hear an awful voice ring- 
ing out the awful command, "The cup which she 
hath filled, fill to her double." It is sad ^o know 
that the innocent are perishing for the guilty, but 
thus it has been and shall be, under the sun and 
what did Smith O'Brien say? 

" Whether on the gallows high, 
Or in the battle's van, 
The fittest place for man to die 
Is where he dies for man." 

July 6, 1864. 
My dear Mr. James : Is it a month, or a year, 
or ten years, since I wrote you? So many things 
have happened since that it might be a century. 
What a strange thing is this writing ! Two people 
live their lives so entirely separate, with interests and 
acquaintances, experiences and plans so entirely 
apart, and then each leaves his world for a moment 
and knocks at the gate of the other, and they ex- 
change greetings, compare notes, and are up and 



426 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

away again, sailing through unknown skies. Yet the 
acquaintance of letters is likely to be a much more 
real thing than the acquaintance of external I'elations. 
I don't believe your grocer or your milkman, and 
perhaps your next-door neighbor, knows you half as 
well as I. Perhaps they know what you are, and I, 
what you will become, I am not quite sure. I must 
think about it. The people whose life satisfies and 
strengthens me are my kinsfolk and acquaintance 
whether I find them ringing the doorbell or Ij'ing in 
wait for me on the book-shelf. How came you to 
write to me in the first place? I mean, how came 
you to know there was any me ? and where I lived ? 
I heard them all talking about you in Concord last 
summer, Emerson and Alcott and the rest, but I 
did not know you, and I had not read your book, 
and so I watched the men and forgot what they said. 
So much sense is there in meeting people. Q. E. D. 

If I am abrupt never mind. There is much to say 
and why should we waste time in introductions ? You 
say "we are naturally mortal, not immortal." You 
do not mean that our inward soul-life is mortal, do 
you ? You do not mean that without redemption man 
would be absolutely annihilated? That men and 
horses and cows were all included in the same fate 
till God took upon himself the form of man and by 
that selection made man forever after immortal. If 
you do not mean that, I think you have used words 
that seem to mean it. If you do mean it, on what 
grounds do you say it? It is very good discipline 
for you to write to me ; I represent the great " many," 
and you the great few, and when I keep pulling you 
down to verbal explanations, instead of pouting, you 
miist smile, and be thankful for somebody who will 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 427 

make you interpret yourself to the world you are to 
benefit. I am as intelligent as the general mass, and 
if I do not comprehend, what shall the stupid do and 
wherewithal shall they be enlightened? I should 
think we might fall short of God's immortal fellow- 
ship and yet be immortal. 

Then again, while I admit everything you say 
regarding the Divine origin of every good and perfect 
gift, I can but think that you sometimes confound 
pleasure with pride. I think you arc entirely and 
exhaustively right in defining spiritual fellov,^ship with 
God and in describing His object of action; but is 
His utter beneficence incompatible with a conscious- 
ness of Himself, His loveliness, His perfection? If 
your natural goodness is every moment a Divine 
creation so much the more may you take pleasure. 
A beautiful woman is a Divine creation. No credit is 
due to her for her symmetry and texture and color, 
the gloss of her hair or the gleam of her eyes. So 
much the more is it not vanity but an appreciation of 
the beautiful for her to enjoy her own beauty. To 
be vain or proud is a very different thing from taking 
pleasure. You need not claim the least credit for 
your good qualities, for they are not yours, but God's, 
and it is downright pride and ingratitude yes it is, 
Mr. James ! for you not to take pleasure in reflect- 
ing on them. Don't you take pleasure in living in 
Ashburton Place rather than in Ann Street? It is no 
doing of yours. If you had been born in Ann Street 
without sufficient spiritual energy to get out of it, you 
would be living there still in wretched degradation. 
But do not say that I counsel you to take on airs and 
set up a coach and crest because you live in Ashbur- 
tou Place ! 



428 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

So far as your letter was an explauatiou of its 
predecessor it was entirely satisfactory. That one 
should he " pleasing to God " by his natural gifts in 
any other sense than a bird or a flower is pleasing, 
seems almost a mathematical absurdity, or, in fact, 
that he should be pleasing to himself. One derives 
his intellect, his fancy, his grace, his beauty from the 
Divine through a human medium just as much as he 
derives his hair. To say that one cultivates these, 
and another does not, and therefore the first deserves 
credit, hardly alters the case, for the energy which 
enabled the first to persevere in cultivation was also, 
like every other perfect gift, from the Father of 
Lights. Do we not agree here? If not, you must 
change your opinions at once, for I am right ! 

All the trouble is that you, Mr. James, the philoso- 
pher, the metaphysician, confound innocent pleasure 
with guilty and absurd pride, while / discriminate 
and use words with enlightened and accurate regard. 
But if you are docile and persevering, I shall pres- 
ently pi-actise you so much that you will come to be a 
very clear and beneficial writer ! (You know I must 
encourage you a little.) 

Your postscript letter was not neeessarj' to the elu- 
cidation of the preceding one. Do not give me 
credit for more stupidity than I have a right to. 
When a hint is given me I can sometimes follow it in 
the right direction without a whole letter of instruc- 
tions. But yours did indeed present to me in a clear 
and beautiful light the wholeness of certain truths 
which, for myself, I had but partially seen. At the 
same time it opened out to me in another direction, 
and I want very much to ask you a question or two 
to get your views on one or two things which I have 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTOX 429 

been long turning over but I am determined I will 
not till I have read your book. Now tell me 
yes or no is that preface yet published ! If not, 
can't you please to publish a private copy ? take it to 
the printers and tell them to print one and bind it 
and advertise it, as, to your certain knowledge, it 
is very much wanted. 

When I was in Boston, why did you go to the 
" Congregationalist " office for me? Do you see that 
paper? I don't think I shall write to you again till I 
have read " Lights " and "Shadows and Substances," 
and such things. I hope you are enjoying the sum- 
mer. It is short, but so beautiful ! 

Yours most truly, 

M. A. D. 

July 18, 1864. 

I know I ought to be very sorry that you have 
been ill, and really I suppose I am ; but when I think 
what a grand letter you wrote me in the midst of it, 
I believe, on the whole, I don't much care. Not that 
you wrote me any letter at all, for you say yourself 
that you must answer mine a week hence, so what 1 
had this morning counts for nothing, and this which 
I am writing is only a parenthesis to tell you how 
keenly I enjoyed your incidental portrait of Concord. 
It is better than anything I ever read in print. I 
read it to my mother, but she hardly has sufficient 
data fully to take in the flavor, and if I should show 
it to two or three of my friends who are discreet, 
would you be very angry and never write to me any 
more ? There is so much truth underlying its humor, 
and I think it is too good to be wasted on me. 

As a matter of fact, I do not wonder that Emerson 



430 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

should be a little sober when he used to smile. You 
have such a hearty, unconscious way of taking the 
breath out of one's body. You riot about among 
people's beliefs with such evident good-natured good 
will giving everybody " a dig," tremendous but 
'jolly;" great names and small names are all one 
to you ! Sir "William Hamilton finds himself hob-a- 
nobbing with any Tom, Dick, and Harry, and all 
mercilessly pelted by the same shower of stones. 
Kant and the pigmies are brayed in one mortar, and 
in such a rollicking manner that one can but laugh 
whether he knows anything of their deserts or not. 
If anybody can soundly box more ears in one para- 
graph than you do in the note on page 253, I should 
like to see him do it. 

You spoke of Mr. Sanborn, and I suppose you 
know him. I saw him a little in Conpord. He seems 
to me a man of parts and culture, but very bitter. 
Once in a while, when this bitterness has been very 
marked, I have been almost indignant as in a no- 
tice of Mr. Ticknor's " Life of Prescott," in which he 
went so far out of his way to be disagreeable that it 
was quite impressive. But I generally feel only a 
deep regret and a profound pity. (The latter would 
make him feel nice, wouldn't it?) I think he must 
have had such ravages of his inner lift; before he 
could have suffered such a change. lie seems to me 
to have so much ability that I have felt sometimes 
that I wished I could live near him and be his friend, 
and sweeten him, and soothe him, and smooth him. 
I almost know I could. You need not think that is 
very presumptuous. It does not imply any especial 
gifts or attainments. .But I think people are gener- 
ally disagreeable and sour because they have been 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 431 

sourly met, and all I should do in such cases would 
be just to restore the balance of then- ingredients by 
showing to them the reverence, the regard, the defer- 
ence, the love which is the due of one human being 
towards another. Love and reverence are my great 
panacea for every sickness under the sun. 

As for Mr. Alcott, 1 am quite shocked at your pro- 
fanity. If he is a Z he is surely the sage-est 

looking one that ever was. What can be more like a 
benign old philosopher than his tall figure and his 
pale face, and his beautiful white hair and l>eard? 
And then he talked to me, and I was awed, and took 
me into his study and showed me things, and came 
to my house on purpose to see me, and that com- 
pleted the conquest ; and I thought him a very, very 
wise man, and the angel Gabriel could not convince 
me that he does not look like one. I don't remember 
anything in particular that he said, but he looked like 
Plato himself. 

Mrs. Hawthorne invited Miss Elizabeth Hoar to 
the house while I was there, and I spent an evening 
with her. Did I make her acquaintance? Well, I 
walked round her and if I were wholly the wild beast 
that I seem, I should say that I made her acquain- 
tance, but because under ever so many hides there is 
a little angel folded up and tucked away, but trying 
always harder to get out, I say no, I did not make 
her acquaintance. But I saw her eyes and her lips, 
and her hands and her movements, and I know that 
clay could have worn such light only from tlie shining 
of a beautiful soul. "And yet," you say, " she reads 
Greek like old Person." Now, Mr. James, I object 
to nothing here but the " yet." What have I got hold 
of in this unknown correspondent of mine ? I thought 



432 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

it was a rare but real creature, a roan with a spirit 
that goeth upward and not the spirit of the beast that 
goeth downward to the earth. And now he says, 
" and yet ! ! " So I am, contingently, his friend, 

M. A. D. 

August 12, 1864. 
My dear Mr. James : It is my present design to 
give you what the world's people call a trouncing. 
You surely deserve it, and richly. When common 
people see things awry, I can stand it, but what were 
your clear eyes given you for, but to discern the form 
and position and relations of things just as they are? 
And do you suppose I will let you come to me with 
your views all zig-zag and not attempt to straighten 
you out ? You need not cry for mercy and forbear- 
ance on the strength of the "sovereignly amiable and 
excellent little wife," and her "admirable culture," 
and Moses and all the prophets. I appeal to Cfesar, 
to that very sovereign herself. It shall be just as 
Mrs. James says. If she thinks she has trained you 
so thoroughly that it is not possible for me in any 
respect to set you right, I yield at once. No, on the 
whole I won't, for wives somehow become so demor- 
alized b}' living with their husbands, that they cannot 
look upon them as abstract beings right or wrong, but 
as Franks and Henrys whose qualities are all concre- 
tions, and their worse reasons have therefore no sort 
of difficulty in appearing to wife's eyes the better 
reasons. 

The first count of the indictment is the matter of 
Elizabeth Hoar and her Greek. I shall have very 
hard work with you because good and evil are so 
mixed together in your opinions that it is difficult to 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 433 

shoot at this without hitting that. I agree with you 
in desiring to have women distinct and different from 
man. I agree with you that if she could become like 
unto one of us us means you here it would be 
the last calamity that earth could suffer, but you, O 
faithless and perverse man, have not trust in nature. 
You seem to think that woman must be kept away 
from the tree of knowledge lest she should thereby 
become manny. I don't think you could make woman 
like man if you should goad and lash her to it. Y'ou 
can warp her away from her own true type, but you 
cannot make her like yourself. I believe so strongly 
in the adequacy of the Divine power to the Divine 
pui'pose that I believe all 3'ou men have to do is to sit 
still and see the salvation of the Lord. Only let 
women alone, let them study or sew, let them follow 
the bent of their own nature, give them leisure, oppor- 
tunity, freedom, and never fear the issue. Y^ou see 
how poor and mean all art and science have left our 
common life, and not unnaturally you desire women 
to let them alone ; but you wait ! Let woman look into 
art and science, and see whether they have not some- 
thing in them for the adornment of this very life. 
Mr. James, you men don't know yet what there is in 
the world for the world. You have looked with only 
half an eye. You have touched the world with mas- 
culine hands. What remains is for women to retouch 
it to beauty and holiness and grace. It is altogether 
become filthy. You see it and in despair cry out to 
women to keep "hands off." Not so. It is filthy, 
but it has all possibilities of the utmost purity and my 
cry to women is to take hold of it and scrub it up till 
we shall have out of the old a new Heaven and a new 
earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. That is an ele- 



434 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

gant figure, isn't it? It is oue that appeals to women 
much better than I wish it did. You yourself see 
proofs of the truth of this, but you are so impressed 
with your foregone conclusions that they do not prove 
anything, but are to you simply inexplicable. You 
see that a woman gets out of her Greek something 
which men do not get. You see that out of the strong 
comes forth sweetness, but instead of going on from 
particulars to universals, instead of saying, " Why, 
this lovely white lily sprang from the very mud that 
only soils my boots. Then there must be somewhat 
in the mud that I did not find, some pure principle 
akin to the sun and stars," you stand and stare and 
say, ' ' and yet she reads Greek ! " 

Mr. James, you are head and shoulders above ^^our 
kind, a Saul among the brethren, in this matter of 
women. Nevertheless you hav not attained all truth. 
Believe that a woman may become more intellectual 
without becoming less personal, believe that woman 
never can be a true student of art or science from 
"mere ostentation," believe that the self-same things 
which have ministered only emptiness to man's self- 
suflflciency shall minister fulness and grace for grace 
when they thrill beneath a woman's finer touch. I 
say these things not including myself. I seem to 
myself to stand without. I claim none of the finer 
attributes of my sex. I am not in the world. But I 
can put my " listening ear to the harmonic shell," and 
I know there is a melody there which would bring 
heart-healing if the world would but soothe itself 
to listen. I would "level all barriers between the 
sexes," because I believe the sexes are so eternally 
and inmostly separate and distinct that they need no 
barriers but only the utmost freedom to develop at 



& 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 435 

their own sweet will into a beauty and strength that 
the world has never dreamed of. You might as well 
put a Chinese wall around the earth to keep it from 
becoming the sun. 

And let me tell you, Mr. James, that Mrs. Haw- 
thorne is one of the sweetest, loveliest, mother-est 
women I ever saw. I mind not whether she takes 
root on common earth or upper air; her leaves are 
green, her blossoms fair, and her fruit such as rejoiceth 
the heart of God and man. Her feet may not be on 
terra firma, but they are beautiful upon the moun- 
tains. She is full of loving kindness. I do not know 
how broad her sympathies are, but they are very deep. 
In her home she is a nursing mother, replete with all 
tenderness. Y^ou do not know how beautiful her life 
is, and how beautiful is her family. 

I have read your last letter over as I have read 
all your letters many times ; and while I have to 
thank you for much light, making of old truths a new 
revelation, and while I am especially grateful to God 
for the spirit that is in you, which seems to me 
rich and rare, I cannot help thinking that you go a long 
way round, where I should make a short cut across 
lots. Nevertheless, I have a profound respect for 
every person's individuality, and the problem of life 
has not given me so little disquietude that I should 
look with indifference upon any attempt at its solution. 
If you find solace and peace in 3'our way, and in that 
alone, then go your way and the blessing of the Lord go 
with you. For me, it seems more simple and no 
less satisfactory to believe that every good gift and 
every perfect gift is from above, that every evil and 
wicked thing is from below, and to love the good 
God directly and outright. I do not think that one 



436 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

is any moi'e dear to God than another, for He loves 
all the souls that He has made, and died for Arnold 
and the Borgias just as truly as for Paul or Luther ; 
but I cannot believe it is necessary for me to 
undergo the illumination of an experience like the 
Borgias in order to come into contact with reality. 
The germs of all evil are sufficiently obvious in the 
heart to hint what its fruit may be without their ex- 
panding into full-grown trees. I am not careful to 
dig below my own consciousness to ascertain what is 
the me and what is the not me, and between what you 
take out of me on the one side as Divine, and on the 
other side as diabolic, I cannot see that there is much 
of human left to work on. Yet here I think the 
difficulty rather in the expression of the fact than in 
the fact itself. Practically I find it not hard, but 
most easy, natural, and grateful to give all glory to 
the Lord, but I must truly tell you that I do not 
know of any old nature with which I have so deadly 
a quarrel that I cannot even tolerate its pleasant 
things. It seems to me that you think of a nature 
created absolutely new by Christ, while I think of a 
redemption so complete that the old nature is the 
same as new. I like the old nature that He gave me 
at first, so utterly clarified by Christ's blood as to 
contain no longer anything common or unclean, 
now pure, I mean capable of being pure, such a 
nature as God meant and witnessed in its far-off 
completion to be sure, when He pronounced it very 
good, such a nature as He designed, from the founda- 
tion of the world. In this nature it seems to me 
tliat whatsoever things are just, honorable, lovely, 
pure, and pleasant have their fitting place. And 
with all these I am not conscious of any reluctance 



BUSY YEARS IX HAMILTOX 437 

to ascribe all things good to God, the only good. I 
am not conscious of taking any pleasure in anything 
except as one with Him. If I am sure of anything, 
I am sure that I claim it seems almost irreverent 
to say it even for denial no consideration from the 
Most Hisfh, above the meanest idiot or the most 
hardened villain of the earth. On the contrary if it 
were possible to speak of claims they would have 
the greater right, being the greatest sufferers from 
creation. The robber and murderer may not have 
sinned against so much light in robbing and murder- 
ing as I, in fretting or losing my temper, and so 
his crime may be less guilty than my sin. And I 
hope that somehow good will be the final goal of 
ill, even of an ill so sore as his. So far as I have 
had an opportunity to observe the respectable and 
the disreputable I can much more easily reconcile 
my own eternal loss with God's justice than I could 
the loss of the miserable wretches who seem never 
to have had a fair chance in life. 

I have no doubt that your theory seems to you 
positively self-luminous, but you have come to it by 
regular steps and you stand on the inside of it 
and see all its bearings. And you have done me 
great sen-ice, but a service that lies in the line of 
my theory rather than yours. I incorporate into my 
life all of yours which I can assimilate, and con- 
sider it legal plunder, but I cannot comfort you 
by becoming any less " deucedly respectable," even 
for so good a purpose as you propose. You do more 
for me by helping me to the interpretation of my 
dream than by relating to me your own. The Evan- 
gelist commends his Evangel, is its best commen- 
tary, yet cannot make all its crooked paths straight. 



438 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

But cannot we be good friends even if we do not 
stand on the same plane ? 

Yours most truly, 

Mary A. Dodge. 

Later. 

I am afraid this letter looks as if I fancied I 
had weighed your system in the balance and found 
it wanting. Nothing of the sort. All I say is, such 
knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high, I 
cannot attain unto it. It seems to me that I can 
get to God more easily. You thread a labyrinth 
for the narrow way. But you have the thread and 
an inward light, which though it does not shine 
upon me strongly enough to take me safely and sim- 
ply through your path, has yet shed a very Ivindly 
and timely illumination upon mina. 

I wish I could say something to assure you how 
very deeply I am mindful of your what shall I 
say ? Kindness is not quite the word perhaps 
courtesy will do if you distend it with all the fine- 
ness and meaning it can hold. But I shall not come 
any nearer my meaning by keeping on, so I will bid 
you good-night. On Wednesday I go to Peter- 
borough, N.H., for a week or two. Once more. 

Very truly yours, 

M. A. D. 

[To Judge French.] 

September 2, 1864. 

I send you the verses you asked for. Tliey were 

written on tlie eve of the Presidential election eight 

years ago, "in the heat of youthful blood," but don't 

mention this fact, for they fit now quite as well as 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 439 

they did theu ; and I have a small hope that they may 
do a little service now, and I fear if they were known 
to be so old they might be considered superannuated. 
They were originally sent to the " N. Y. Times," but 
as they did not appear there, and as I was then a 
novice in the ways of newspapers, I supposed they 
were clean given over, and sent them to a Hartford 
paper, perhaps the " Courant," where they soon ap- 
peared, but to my great dismay the day before elec- 
tion brought them out as large as life in the "Times." 
However, I was not arrested for forgery, and justice 
still sleeps. I have told you these things because you 
know what an inexhaustible delight it is to talk about 
ourselves. 

Did I say my sweet peas came up ? So they did, 
about six inches, and then they stretched out their 
tiny fingers imploringly and died with all their sweet- 
ness in them. Not a single bud or blossom, not the 
simulacricula of one (you think in Latin and the Latin 
comes: Pope's "Essay on Man"). So I am not 
pacific on the subject of sweet peas, and I entreat you 
not to be leguminous when I am lugubrious. 

About " Agricultural College." Mr. D. says I must 
not speak against your being president, there is no one 
else fit, and it is unpatriotic. Pray consider, therefore, 
that every iron word of discouragement is transmuted 
into golden instigation. I know I am a selfish person, 
self-centred, self-thihking, a miserable and unworthy 
creature, who look upon things in general in their 
relations to me- ward. Why do not moral writers have 
clearer ideas of what selfishness is ? They talk as if 
to be selfish is to do selfish things. Nonsense. You 
may do beneficent things every day of your life, sac- 
rifice all your inclinations to others' good, give your 



440 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

body to be burned, and yet be all the while inwardly 
dwelling on your own self, and so on the very pinnacle 
of selfishness. 

Your picture is right up and down handsome, and 
there is no use in mincing the matter. "Pretty they 
that pretty do " is a maxim well enough for the nurs- 
ery, but it falls to pieces when taken out into the air, 
and becomes Pretty they that pretty are, " of whom 
what does St. Paul say ? " 

I think you did very wisely in not specifying my 
" obliquity." Nothing is more impertinent or more 
useless than to tell people their faults. The proba- 
bility is that they know them already a great deal 
better than you do. Doubtless the very thing of which 
you deem me guilty is the glory of my innocence, nay, 
the very crown of my virtue. You pride yourself on 
your carpentering and your close-clipped hedges. My 
good sir, just add to all your office, shop, and out- 
door work Mrs. Pamela's and the housemaid's (I 
don't cook) share, and then question whether you can 
be justly accused of neglect, even if Rome is not buUt 
and finished in a day ! I thank you for your kind 
offer to " come over and tell me what to do," but I 
assure you you would be much more serviceable to 
come over and do it. I know perfectly well what to 
do now but to get it done, lioc opus hie labor est. 
Henry, thou reasonest well when thou sayest it is not 
necessary to take hold of people in order to be friendly. 
For well thou knowest that on the day when thou 
takest hold of me I shall elude thy grasp and thou 
wilt have under thy hand only a pillar of salt, which 
thou wilt immediately trade off with the Southern Con- 
federacy, while I shall stand on some far hill-top and 
mock at thy discomfiture. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 44 1 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

September 13, 1864. 

Will you please say to Mrs. Bridge that I was at 
the mountains when her note came, and did not get it 
till it was too late to send to her at Saratoga, and I 
knew not whither from there the angel had sped her 
flight. However, as you and she effected a conjunc- 
tion, it is just as well as if I had written. How time 
works for us if only we will lie still and let him ! 

So little Peter Parker still lives. I have wondered 
many times whether his precious little body held 
together. I wish j'ou would tell me something about 
him. Is he pretty? Is he bright? Is he like other 
children, or is he like his father and his mother? Can 
he talk? And is his father's soul bound up in him? 
Is he wisely entreated ? I do hope he will live to be 
a joy and pride to the good man his father, and the 
good woman his mother, all the days of their lives. 

Fie upon you, that you cannot even sit down to 
the communion table without having a fling at Con- 
necticut ! Why, Mr. Wood, if you should ever, with 
so bad a spirit, be admitted to heaven, you will go 
prying about to see if the sardonyx and jasper are 
not glass, and, finding there is no deception, I fear 
not even the genius loci will not prevent you from cry- 
ing out "Ha! ha! no Connecticut people here 
that's plain ! " 

Mr. Curtis invited me to his wedding, which was to 
be a fortnight or so ago, but I did not get the invita- 
tion till after the deed was done. He is married to 
a Miss Hubbard, daughter of ex-Governor Hubbard 
of Maine, and one of the best of women a real 
"fine lady." A friend has been moaning for me to 



442 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

come to her wedding, and at last I concluded to go, 
and went to Salem for a new dress, since you cannot 
attend weddings in rags. But ray dressmaker is going 
to be married herself, and has " shut up shop," and 
in all Salem was not a dress that I would stoop to 
look at a second time. I wanted a white corded mus- 
lin, or a very thin gossamer, something also white. 
So I have given up the wedding altogether, and I did 
not want to go in the first place. I don't like to go 
to weddings anyway, unless they are in church and 
people I don't know. For me you may prepare your 
bridal gifts whenever you like, but Mr. D., though 
a very warm friend of mine, is the husband of one 
wife and blameless as St. Paul would have him, and 
the father of four children, so I shall hardly come at 
much silver-plate through him. You see I count upon 
your being mulcted in nothing less than a silver 
service, to say the least, upon that interesting occa- 
sion. 

I stayed in Peterboro' a week, and much enjoyed 
the quietness, the mountain air, the cream and cus- 
tards, and nothing to do, the drives and walks 
and talks. Since I came home I have been vari- 
ously and busily occupied with friends, both in the 
flesh and on paper. Not much to speak of but a 
good deal to think of and to do. At present we are 
thinking a good deal about election. The Lord send 
u,s right hearts and right hands to vote for the truth 
and for righteousness. One of our boys, a three 
years' man, has just come home, full of fire for Grant 
and victory. Good- by. 

Yours truly, 

M. A. D. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 443 

Septehiber 16, 1864. 

My dear Mr. James : I wrote you a very thorny 
and prickly letter yesterday, and I am afraid you 
won't want me to write you another, so I am going 
to hurry up this before you have time to tell me so, 
and then you Cannot help yourself. 

I did get your letter in Peterboro', and I was rap- 
idly working down to its place in the pile when a 
second one came and stole its brother's birthright, 
and keeps stealing it, for there are quite many things 
I wish to say in reply to your last, and one is that I 
am not "preparing to publish" anything on the sub- 
ject you mentioned, for it is already prepared, and 
only awaits the slow movements of the steam-press 
and the Presidential election to " stun with its giddy 
larum half the town," especially that half that lies in 
the immediate vicinity of Ashburton Place. And I 
was going to send you an early copy, but I don't 
think I shall now, unless you beg for it very hard 
indeed. I suppose I can have my head cut off as well 
as another, but I don't think it is my duty to send up 
by telegraph the ax that is to do it. I always thought 
it was very cruel in the old schoolmasters to make 
boys go out into the woods and cut and trim the very 
twig they were to be flogged with. 

And so you are going to sit still in heaven and not 
speak unless you are spoken to. Oh, but you need 
not try to make me believe that. Or, if you do, you 
will keep making signs to me to come over and make 
you a speech, so that you can be released from your 
self-imposed vow, and I am so amiable that I shall 
do it, and I shall talk much better than I can now, 
and I shall show you what a wicked man you are to 
live within the sound of the Boston church-going bell, 



444 GAIL HAI^nLTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

under the droppings of Dr. Kirk's sanctuary, and talk 
about profane Sundays and holy Mondays ! Oh-o-o, 
anybody might know you were a man, and did not 
have the washing to see to. Then, too, my tongue 
being loosed, I shall show you how sadly you are out 
of sorts to me- ward, and you will be filled with re- 
morse, and beg my pardon with tears in your eyes, 
and then I shall feel so badly that I have made you 
unhappy that I shall forgive you right away before 
the impression is half deep enough, and I should not 
wonder if you should go and do the same thing over 
again. But do not you impose upon my good nature 
even in heaven. 

To make a descent from heaven into our vestry 
do we have a winter course of lectures? We do not, 
sir. '" A course of lectures," a citizen of Hamilton 
might say with Pet Marjorie, " is a thing I am not a 
member of." And as to Cailyle, if I should mention 
his name to my friends and fellow-citizens, they would 
immediately ask me if he is a Union man or " Copper- 
head." Remembering Troja in nuce, I could not 
depose and say that he was as loyal as one could 
desire, and they would at once decide that no vestry 
of ours should be opened for the like of him. But 
that will make no difference to you, Mr. James, be- 
cause I never, no, never, go on the platform to shake 
hands with the lecturer, and if I knew it was you I 
should sit behind a post and go straight out the mo- 
ment lecture was over, and watch you through the 
blinds the next morning, because you would have to 
go by my house on 3'our way to the station. 

Mr. and Mi's. F. were down here the other day, 
and I asked them about you. You will understand I 
should not demean myself by any coarse questioning. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 445 

I choose to know of my friends only what they choose 
to reveal, but I got no good from my fields, for they 
answered up with such an enthusiasm of regard that 
they might as well not have spoken at all. I did not 
want to know whether your friends like you or not, 
but whether you are such a person that people who 
have no armor and no arms would be likely to be shot 
down dead by you, and that I did not find out. 

As for your inviting me to Ashburton Place, I 
assure you it is quite out of the question, l)ecause 
there would be how many? Garth, and Harry, and 
"my daughter," and Mrs. James, four more reasons 
for my not going there than there are for your not 
coming here. I know what a nice family it is, for 
the F.'s told me, especially the queen-mother, and 
when you are sitting in your corner in heaven, with 
them all around you, I shall walk in with the utmost 
nonchalance, and greet you all around as composedly 
as if you had all been rocked in my cradle, and we 
shall immediately enter into the liveliest discussion, 
won't it be nice ? and not have a thought about our- 
selves. 

' ' All instincts immature. 
All purposes unsure, 
Thoughts hardly to be packed 
Into a narrow act, 

Fancies that broke through language and escaped ; 
All I could never be. 
All, men ignored in me." 

Won't it be charming to have it all set free, and every 
one be himself to the very utmost be all that God 
made and meant him to be ? 

To go back to Peter boro', at which you had a 
fling, of course it is not so nice ns Northampton. I 



446 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

suppose the best place out of Massachusetts is not to 
be compared to the worst place in it, nevertheless, 
Peterboro' was very well to do, with its green hills 
and running waters and Monadnock for inspiration. 
It was the mountains in a modified condition, and 
rides on the top of a stage-coach, sometimes high up 
on mountain ridges, and sometimes through woods so 
close that you seem to be driving your coach and six 
through a golden-green tube well, it is not North- 
ampton, but it is very well in its way. So far from 
the people being "set up" by my advent, I assure 
you they maintained the greatest tranquillity, and had 
not even a suspicion that a chiel was amang 'em takiu' 
notes, as indeed there wasn't, so I ate my baked 
apples, cream, and custards, in deep peace, like any 
other l)oarder, which was very satisfactory. 

The letter which you sent to me at Peterboro' con- 
tained a very clear statement. I think I comprehend 
it, and I think, too, tliat one reason why 3'our view^s 
are hard to be understood and easy to be denied, and 
will therefore not command, at any rate for a good 
while, the popular acceptation, is because you use 
words in a sense different from their ordinary one. 
It seems to me that the main difference between 3'ou 
and theologians at large is tliat you believe to the 
depth what they believe only superficially. You carry 
things out to their meanings, while others let them 
slide out of sight after the first step or two. For in- 
stance, your ideas of good and evil, in their origin, 
are, I suppose, taught in every church in Christendom, 
but I never saw any one, except you, who ever in- 
quired what there was left after the universal affirma- 
tion of God and the devil, and the consequent entire 
negation of self. Up to that point I can accompany 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 447 

you with equal step, but after that I only follow, 
longo intervallo. I agree with you just as I agree with 
Euclid, I assent to the simple truth of your proposi- 
tions, but T could not originate them, and I shall, I 
am sure, constantly be making combinations which 
will prove beyond doubt that I have forgotten these 
first principles, and therefore never did become thor- 
oughly imbued with them, because 

"All that is, at all, 

Lasts ever, past recall; 
What entered into thee. 
That was, is, and shall be." 

What I mean is this : I understand well enough that 
our phenomenal life is not our real, true, everlasting 
life, but that the true life is hid with Christ in God. 
But what is the "us," the "our"? If our life is a 
continual spiritual communication from God, where is 
the dividing line between us and God? When He 
made a living soul what did He make? Did He 
make us absolutely without spiritual capacity, so that 
at some definite time after we were born He must 
communicate to us His spirit. Himself, or else we 
should die out of life just like a sunset? Is our im- 
mortality only a subsequent gift, a complement? 
And if this be so, what is the sign of His coming? 
When does our immortality begin? Who gives the 
signal, who commences the work? And if we die 
before this spiritual inflow of God begins, what be- 
comes? Is there a mere physical, mental resurrec- 
tion for the merely physical and mental power? 

And again after these lines of communication 
between God and the soul are opened, cannot one 
then approach God directly? Shall not one then 



448 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

speak with God face to face, as a man speaketh with 
his friend? 

If you keep answering my questions you will have 
a new volume of essays written before you know it, 
and I will publish them, (X la Whately, as "James' 
Easy Lessons." 

Yours very truly, 

Mary Abby Dodge. 



September 17, 1864. 
To His Excellency the Judge, greeting : 

If you had not been naughty and written your let- 
ter on Sunday, perhaps I should have answered it so 
that you could have received the answer this week. 
Instead of which you have been forced to languish 
through all these many days without it ! Do you not 
see now that virtue alone is rewarded and vice pun- 
ished, outside a court-room? But there, poor creat- 
ure, I do suppose you are so dis-taste-ed with the 
thieves and rogues of the six days, that it makes 
quite a Sunday to sit down and write to any one who 
is not " up" for trial, no matter how much he or she 
may deserve sentence. That is why I always thought 
it would be nice to marry a lawyer. He would have 
to do with people so very bad, and greedy, and dis- 
honest, that his wife would seem good and whole- 
some and pleasant to him, even if she were not the 
very Queen of the Antilles for unselfishness and so 
forth ( !). I told a lie up yonder, for I never thought 
of it till this minute, but it has made a violent im- 
pression on me. Consult Mrs. "Pamela," I Uke 
to use that name, it seems so stately and Old 
English, and report her opinion on the subject. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 449 

About my picture ; for the eleventh time let me tell 
you that I haven't any card picture. I cannot have 
a picture, because the sun won't take me. He shuts 
his eyes close, and passes by on the other side when I 
go a-photographing. He winks up at Lyra and the 
dog star as soon as he espies me, takes off his hat to 
Orion, and sits down in Cassiopeia's chair, staring all 
about him, and to every attempt to make him look in 
my direction he reiterates only that he "don't see" 
me. Project from your imagination a picture which 
shall represent to your mind's eye, Horatio, all you 
would have me be, and then make believe that it is 
me pardon the grammar for the sake of the eu- 
phony. 

Thank you for your good will in promising to de- 
fend my book, but I rather think you will find it quite 
enough to defend yourself. Besides, the book, like 
Massachusetts, needs no defence. There she is, I 
shall say to the waiting world, behold her, and judge 
for yourselves. There are title page, finis, covers, 
and chapters, and there they will remain for ever ! and 
if you, my friend, can show yourself friendly only 
by the wrong in that book, 1 despair of ever finding 
in you anything but a foemau. For that book, O 
Gaul, is what Mrs. Browning would call "a blotch 
of light." Do you ever read Browning ? I do. I read 
him right straight through, not ' ' Bordello, 'J but ' ' Dram- 
atis Personffi," and "Men and Women," and such. 
Seven-eighths of it I don't understand, but the other 
eighth has more substance in it than most people's 
whole. Nobody says things obliquely like Browning. 
You know the old prophets are supposed to have had 
two meanings to their prophecies, one a secondary 
and ultimate meaning, the other the primary, local, 



450 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

temporary one. Browning is such an old prophet. 
He says things finely, but he means magnificently. 

The summer dies lingeringly, but it dies. Oh, woe 
is me, who want it always summer, who live only in 
the summer ! Just so far as it is winter I am con- 
gealed. I have no outward life. Once I wrote a 
poem, "Summer Gone," and you may well believe 
it was lovely. It wasn't a poem, it was a wail. 

If you publish my letters you will wake up one 
morning and find the world all on tiptoe about a new 
book that has appeared over night, called "Tit for 
Tat ; " and when you come to open it you will find it 
is your own epistles, as large as life. 

[To Mr. James.] 

September 21, 1864. 

Can't I understand a parable as well as another? 
The words of the wise, and their dark sayings? I 
did not come to you by the regular way of introduc- 
tion and handshaking, and sit down and behave 
myself through an intolerable half-hour, but you 
found me cradled in an " Atlantic Monthly," and left 
on some stone door-step or lower vestibule of your 
life. 

I have no business to be writing you now, and that 
is why I persist in doing it. I always did have a 
passion for putting my head into the lion's mouth, 
and if his jaws do not yawn wide enough it is I for 
taking hold and giving them a stretch ! The which 
also I am now forward to do. 

I don't wonder that you " beg off." Anybody 
that could read that letter of mine, and then malign 
it as you did, htis need to entreat that Nemesis would 
stay her hand. But Nemesis has you and is not go- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 45 1 

ing to let you go for all your sighs and tears. Why, 
it was a lovely letter ! I would be willing, as pai'lia- 
mentarians say, to go to the country on that letter, 
and you see if I wouldn't get all the votes. It is 
little to say it was logical, it was logic itself, and 
you talk of John Locke and Dr. Channing ! You 
must know in your heart that neither the one nor tke 
other could write a letter that should begin to com- 
pare with that. It might have been more elegant, 
but it would not be half so convincing. The facts, 
my philosopher, I suppose to be these : that letter 
knocked away all the props on which you have been 
accustomed to lean. It revealed to you the abysm 
of error into which you have been falling for a time 
longer than it took a person I may not name, but 
whom you consider a gentleman, to fall into a place 
which I deem it more fitting not further to designate. 
The consequence of a revelation so sudden, and a 
discomfiture so entire, was that you were speechless, 
and if I could only have held my tongue which, by 
the way, I never could do I should have come off 
with all your flags, cannon, and munitions of war. 
But I must needs go and write another letter at which 
you clutch as a drowning man clutches at a straw, 
and over that recover breath to assume a new posi- 
tion. And what are some of the features of this 
new position ? Why, in the first place, this man steps 
up and as good as tells me I don't know anything I 
I who know Latin, and Greek, and French, and Ger- 
man, and Spanish, at any rate, know which is 
which, if I don't know which is, and all the ologies, 
and osophies, and ographies that amount to anything, 
and what I don't know I make up, so it's all one as 
if I knew them. I who am such a learned woman 



452 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

that my neighbor affirms, with horror depicted on 
every lineament, that he would not for the world have 
women in general know so much as I do, and here 
comes a man not six months out of Rhode Island and 
informs me that I am a Kuow-Nothing ! He surely 
has every confidence in the sweetness of my temper 
if he has none in my acquisitions. Fortunately his 
confidence is not so ill-placed as his faithlessness, yet 
I may entreat with Sir Anthony Absolute, " Don't put 
me in a passion ! " for there is no telling what I may 
be left to do. 

" A truce to essays," yon cry sagaciously, having 
fared so ill in my essaying hands. "A truce to 
besiegers," doubtless cries young Hood below At- 
lanta. " A truce to navies," frantically gesticulates 
Mobile before Farragut's victorious ships, and I doubt 
not, if we could get at the truth, we should find that 
Mr. Jefferson Davis entertains so very mean an opin- 
ion of Grant and his army that he would like nothing 
better than to proclaim " a truce to fighting," and im- 
mediately take ship and bury his name and fame in 
some shadowy isle of Eden lying in dar-k purple 
spheres of sea in the back yard of Locksley Hall. 
But there can be no truce to the wrong ; now then 
dear, discomfited, down-cast yet defiant metaphysi- 
cian, why not own up like a major-general and con- 
fess though a fox you are watched by a crane '^ Say 
right out fair and square with becoming humility, " O 
thrice and four times learned! Peccavinms." 

But rave not thus ! and I won't be hard upon you. 
You beg me to be good. I am sorry to disoblige 
3'ou, but I wasted all the early years of my life in 
premature goodness, and shall have no opportunity for 
any works of supererogation at this late day. I do 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 453 

suppose I was the goodest, gravest, sedatest, vir- 
tuousest, little girl that ever was, but it never came 
to anything, so then at fourteen I turned about and 
was bora and began new. 

And by the way, it just occurs to me that your phil- 
osophy turns the key in the lock I have been vainly 
trying to pick these many years namely, how I 
came to be both so good and so learned ! I hope 
this will leave you in a more Immble and docile frame 
of mind than it has found you, and if it does, you 
will owe it all to me, who, through evil report and 
through good report, will you, nill you, am your firm 
and faithful chastiser and friend, 

M. A. D. 



[To Judge French.] 

October 7. 

Don't you see what an inexpressible comfort and 
solace underlie all grief where you see that the grief 
is a thing of dust and ashes only, and the com- 
fort is as infinite as God ? Nothing but moral bad- 
ness reaches beyond this world, and why should you 
break your heart over anything which, however dread- 
ful, is not that? Now don't think I am just saying 
this. I believe it from the depths of my heart. I 
don't know whether I should be so well able to act 
upon it myself as I am to recommend such action to 
you. I don't like to have people fret and whine, 
but I dare say a good real heart-cry does good, and 
if you want it you shall have it. If he sleeps well 
I don't see how he can help getting well. 

The new book is a very hateful and quarrelsome 
little l)ook, but 1 hope it will bring forth the peace- 



454 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

able fruits of righteousness, especially in those that 
will l)e exercised thereby, of whom you are chief. 

October 29, 1864. 

The beauty of liking people is that you can talk to 
tliem without saying anything, according to my think- 
ing. There was a woman once hanging clothes to dry. 
Her baby came up and took a pillow-case from the 
basket, dragged it along, and liold it up for her to 
hang. It did not help her much, for she had the pil- 
low-case to wash over again, but she caught up the 
baby and hugged and kissed him as furiously as if lie 
had been a washer, wringer, and mangle, all in one. 
By the way, what is a mangle ? I don't know, nor 
you either for that matter, but it is something about 
washing-day. I saw the word yesterday, and impress 
it into service before the new gets rubbed off. Now, 
don't be in a pet. I scarcely ever am with any one I 
really like unless it is something moi'e than a pet, 
something so fatal as to prevent all future free inter- 
flow. I never did see anything so badly put together 
(humanly speaking) as I am. I have no end of rudi- 
mentary good possibilities, but they never can come 
to anything. I might just as well be a stupid, dingy, 
ignorant Irish washerwoman, for all the personal ser- 
vice I can do anybody. I cannot be any more avail- 
able to you or anybody else in a rational way than a 
brickbat, and yet there is so much good in me if it 
could only be brought to bear. I suppose if I really 
were a brickbat I should not feel at all out of place 
shying at people's heads all the time, but as it is I 
cannot help thinking it looks like a waste of material. 
However, it is all only to show you that you never 
ought to be vexed the very least little bit in the world 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 455 

at anything I do, and especially at anything I don't do, 
because you know if it is a pin's point to you it is a 
bayonet's thrust to me. I dare say the world will 
get along well enough without me. Only perhaps I 
might be a little more comfortable not to be so zig- 
zag-gy. 

We had a one hundred and fiftieth anniversary the 
other evening, and an extract was read from Dr. 
Cutler's fifty-years-ago sermon, in which he told his 
hearers they must answer one day for the manner iu 
which they had listened, and he for the manner in 
which he had preached. I thought, as I sat there, 
that has happened. They have answered. The great 
day has come, and undoubtedly they were all sur- 
prised at the turn things took. Now, what will it 
matter a hundred and iifty years hence, and still more 
a hundred and fifty thousand, even if a few years 
were dropped out of earth? If only those that re- 
mained planted iu us the seeds of truth, " the hate of 
hate, the scorn of scorn, the love of love," we can 
well afford to wait awhile to let them germinate. 

I have been committing no foolishness in the 
atmospheres, but a great wisdom. Nevertheless, let 
me loathe and abhor it while I can, because the mo- 
ment it comes out, you know, I must stand up for it. 
I am not in the least afraid of losing my friends, as 
you will see, but when I wake so early in the morning 
that it seems to be night I have great shudders some- 
times, but in the daylight I fear nothing. Neverthe- 
less, I hate the necessity that brought forth that book.^ 
After a thing is out of my hands, and before it is in 
them again, I experience the ^jet'ne fort et dure. I 
do not remember what I have said, and I imagine all 

1 " A New Atmosphere." 



456 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

sorts of fearful things. Unseen evils are the most 
formidable, and this time the eclipse is so long that I 
have time for all manner of suggestions, 

I have no complaint of my own to make against 
anyone, nor do I live alone 

" God's own profound 
Is above me, and round me the mountains, 

And under, the sea, 
And within me my lieart to bear witness 

What was and shall be." 

All this gray sky and gray trees and gray earth, 
what is it but a mere surface fact, the shadow of the 
great idea ? Under all the lifelessness and the dismal 
monotone of no-color, the sap is flowing and the true 
life only waits its summons to leap into spring. Down 
in the underworld the birds are singing, the fountains 
flowing, the violets shining, and the angels of God 
working in the vineyards. In such company can one 
ever be alone ? I might say, as a little creature on 
the house-top of Dickens calls to the old man, " Come 
up and be dead." For so it is the true life lies in 
the underworld, and all that is good in this is only 
a kind of trap-rock interjected through the fissures. 
Now you understand, of course. You know geology, 
don't you ? 

If you are chosen I shall congratulate as heartily 
as Hawthorne did Pierce on his election " vVh ! 
Frank, what a pity ! " 

I was not in Boston and did not see the " Kearsarge," 
but I wish I had seen it. Harriet Prescott went to 
the Sailors' Fair and was bewildered with the chang- 
ing splendors. We shall have it reproduced one day 
with added lustre. That is one of the best of girls, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 457 

a hero in a woman's heart. Nothing is half good 
enough for her. 

There is a great deal of sorrow in the world, and it 
seems to me there must be a final heaven for every- 
body. My only remaining uncle on my father's side, 
very dear to us all, lies at the point of death. His 
only child, a son, unmarried, has only a long loneliness 
before him. All the large families that settled on 
and around the old homestead have died away, and 
moved away, and left my uncle and his wife and son 
alone, the last of the group, and my very heart aches 
with the loneliness. Sometimes, do you know, it 
seems to me that I cannot endure all the pang and 
heart-ache in the world. All the sorrows that I know 
multiply themselves by the infinite sorrows that I 
know not, but only feel, and it weighs down upon me 
so heavily that I cannot tell whether I was ever born, 
and long for annihilation. What one can do in alle- 
viation is such a drop to the ocean, and if God is 
good, if there is any true God, I think he must give 
to all these suffering ones some great gladness, by and 
by, which shall compensate them for having been 
created. I suppose that is heterodox, but if Ortho- 
doxy consigns us to destruction, what can heterodoxy 
do worse ? I don't much care about the modus ojye- 
randi apart from the great sacrifice, but I do not see 
how I can ever be satisfied if the wretched people are 
not finally blessed with the smile of the Father and 
the Creator. 

Hamilton, Mass., October 31, 1864. 
I trust, Mr. Wood, that you take no credit to your- 
self for your long letters. I would fain believe that 
you recognize the fact that it is a great pleasure to 



458 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

you to recount your adventures, and that you are 
under great obligations to me for lending you my ears, 
my countryman, and giving you a constituency. 
Upon which assumption I will confess and avow that 
your letters are very clever, and you need not be sur- 
prised, some twenty or thirty years hence, to see them 
issuing from a printing-press under the title "' Shadows 
set Free," or ' ' The Letters of my Double." Of course 
the Substance remaining itself, the letters must come 
from the Shadow. 

To take up the most important part of your letter 
first. I like very much your suggestion about my hair, 
and lack only the moral courage to adopt it. If I 
ever do secure sufficient nerve, I shall certainly go 
through the world shorn, and I am glad I have at 
least one supporter already assured. Meanwhile, rest 
serenely in the conviction that " rats" and mice are 
strangers to my hair nay, they will not even go into 
the trap which I have set for them up garret. 

There is much in your letter that needs no reply, 
though it is all interesting. The politics I read, 
ponder, and inwardly digest. Mr. Welling I follow 
along the tortuous course in the "Intelligence," and 
only regret that his fine powers are not enlisted on the 
right side. What a pity he has not a little of some- 
thing, perhaps it is ideality, that would 'crown his 
intellect with the upper light ! As it is, he will uever 
knock the stars. 1 met your polished Robert C. 
Winthrop the other day. I was driving with an 
acquaintance of his who is so outraged by the turn he 
has taken that he refused to look at him and kept 
his eyes steadfastly fixed on me, which was much 
more sensible. 

I am surprised that you should ask me my author- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 459 

ship of certain articles. In the first place, did you 
ever know me to acknowledge any of my sins of 
omission or commission ? In the second place, where 
have you burrowed that you have not read " Essays on 
Social Subjects"? In the third place, don't j'ou see 
that a saying no may at some future time necessitate 
a saying yes ? It is a pity, Mr. Wood, that one can- 
not read your very witty and brilliant political romances 
without wondering; how much allowance must be made 
for your vivid imagination and your strong sense of 
poetic justice ! Now I suppose you will put on your 
dignity and lose your temper. 

For the rest I went to Boston the other day and to 
the German Opera. But then I went to the Sunday- 
school Convention two days previously, steadily, so I 
think I shall have absolution. Query : How much 
Sunday-school Convention is necessary to offset one 
evening of German Opera ? I have arrived at several 
conclusions. One is that as a civilizer the opera is 
superior to the Sunday-school, as a Christianizer they 
are about on a par. Another conclusion is that the 
present style of waterfall is not half so fine a feature 
of natural scenery as the original style was. A third 
was that music is a splendid thing. It is well you 
were not there to hear, as you would have fancied 
yourself on the borderland of " Future Life," and might 
have astonished your friends by apostrophizing Mrs. 
Jay or Perpetua ' ! 

We have had our one hundred and fiftieth anni- 
versary here last Thursday evening, the 27th of 
October. It is not I who am one hundred and 
fifty years old, but the church, of which I am chief! 
But not, perhaps, the chiefly orthodox in the com- 

1 Characters in " Future Life or Scenes in Another World." 



460 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

mon acceptation of the term. We had sundry 
extracts from old sermons and old records, singing, 
not operatic so much as rheumatic, and a very 
good meeting. Seven of the old families are still 
extant in the town, one of them the Dodge. Did 
you know we have a new minister? His name is 
French. He is young, good-looking, good presence, 
and very satisfactory, in fact, rather more than satis- 
factory. We ordained him on the 29th of September, 
for which occasion we provided cold chicken and 
et-cetei'as for a houseful, but as it rained Columbiads 
and Armstrongs that day only three or four came, 
and we browsed on our spoils for a week in a very 
contented frame of mind. The meeting-house was 
pretty well filled, and if it had been pleasant I dare 
say our streets would have run with spectators. I 
went to the morning council that examined the min- 
ister in posse. Mr. Wood, you who know everything, 
tell me instantly who it was that said, " Behold with 
how little wisdom the world is governed." At the 
Sunday-school Convention I tramped about much 
with our friend Spalding, of Newburyport, and was 
brought into juxtaposition with Rev. Charles Beecher, 
of Georgetown, who has sorely vexed the righteous 
souls of Parson Pike, of Rowley, and the Rev. 
Withington, of Newburyport, and others. He roared 
me gently as a sucking dove, and indeed you know 
the serpents of heresy have no fangs for me. 

Our Rev. Johnson has returned from Europe and 
called here the other day. He is a fine young man 
and I like him much, but I wait to see what he will 
become. We have a regular church house-cleaning 
whenever we ordain a minister. 1 scrubbed all the 
entries, stairs, and the whole lower tioor, unpainted, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 461 

yes I did ! Qui facit per alium facit per se ! and 
stepped around daintily in muslin and ribbons. Your 
Miss Webb called on me a little while the day before 
ordination. I received her booted and spurred, as it 
were, having just come up out of the swamp with my 
arms full of leaves. 

We went to Salem the other day, four women nnd 
a girl, of course the horse whisked around under 
the carriage, of course it was close by a lailroad 
ti'ack, and J., heroic as ever, jumped over the wheel 
so that the cars did not come along and run over us 
while I was pulling the horse around right. Do you 
want more heroism? Well, some of the Hawthornes 
have been to see me, I took them home to Montserrat, 
came back alone at night, stable horse, dark, never 
used to driving, got home safe. What do you think 
of that? My Gages have gone to Europe without 
me. My Murphys have gone out West and they return 
no more. 

Mr. Dodge gave an agricultural address over to 
Amesbury the other day, which Mr. Whittier told me 
was the best they had ever had, and another obscure 
but worthy person, a native of Hamilton, wrote a 
song for the same corporation, which was the queen 
of songs, as I forced Messrs. Whittier and F. to 
admit. You know that Whittier has lost his sister, 
but Heaven has gained her. It is a dismal day. We 
have not had so fine a fall as usual, but several fine 
days, one glorious maple tree and many magnificent 
scarlet oaks. Now, with many hopes for the election, 
the army, and the literary but shadowless secretary 
of the treasures, I am all that there is of 

M. A. D. 



462 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. James.] 

Hamilton, October 31, 1864. 

My dear Friend : I don't remember what I wrote 
in iny last letter, but I think I did answer yours, only 
you were indifferent and put it away in your mummy- 
case, unrolled. 

This and this and this is the truth of life, says 
one. Yes, this the truth of life, says another, in an 
imperceptible flash, but adds alone aloud, " the world 
has not yet attained the truth the truth seems to it 
only lawlessness, would indeed be chaos and old 
night to it, because it can as yet see of spiritual verity 
only its grossest outward symbol " therefore I say 
of this spiritual truth, go by its light alone whitherso- 
ever it leads, but for the sake of those who must be 
left behind in all the deeper darkness, go not over the 
height of the shining hills where the light leads. You, 
Mr. James, sit in your skj'-parlor, up in your 
heaven-kissing attic, and browse upon the eternal fit- 
nesses of things. I walk about on the pavements 
and pastures and muse upon the present amelioration 
of things. I don't scold you because you live in the 
blue sky, and you shall not scold me because I dwell 
on the green earth. The blue sky is a royal magnifi- 
cence and munificence, but the green earth, though 
low and gross, is necessary to its existence. You 
cannot have the spiritual sky without the material 
earth. T want the color and purity and clarity of the 
sky to penetrate the earth till it shall become a very 
heaven, to which end here T am down in the earth 
delving, and you sitting on a cloud reviling me ! 

And what quarrel have you, pray, with the angels? 
And what has the devil ever done for you that you 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 463 

should set him up above Grabriel and Michael? And 
even if you do, by what right do you call these latter 
"sentimental"? Oh! I never .saw any one needed 
tinkering so much as you do. Most people are so far 
wrong that it is quite hopeless to do anything for 
them. All that remains is to tear them down and 
begin new. But you you have ever so much good 
material, admirably seasoned, only you are naugh 
knotty sometimes, and stubborn to plane and saw and 
chisel. Yes, my dear Mr. James, it pains me to be 
forced to see and say that you repeat with delight in 
a living truth the very same thing for saying which 
you have previously hung me on a Haman's gallows ! 
But you say it in a sesquipedalian, high-and-mighty 
metaphysic way, while I say it homelily, and bread- 
and-butterly, and the consequence is you do not 
recognize it. You do not see your pet when he 
comes in homespun. He must be tricked out in the 
velvet and cockade wherewith you have decorated 
him . 

If I understand you at all aright, after all your 
"vain searching" you have found only the truth 
wkich I have found without any searching at all. I 
hope this does not sound pert to you, for it does to 
me. But it is not. I may say that I did not find it 
at all. It lay in my wa}', the next natural thing, and 
I simply adopted it as I did the sunshine and the 
dew. I do not think it possible that you can be any 
more strongly convinced than I of the typical nature 
of our personal relations, nor does it seem to me that 
you can be so deeply impressed by it as I, for it is at 
once the rule, the guide, the solace of my life, not 
sought after and seized, not reasoned out, but felt 
out, presenting itself to my consciousness, apart 



464 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

from all proof, utterly irresponsible to logic. It is 
so ti'ue to me that life has positively no value any 
farther than it is the natural oiitworkinij of the in- 
ward essence. And you come up and ask me if I 
believe thus and so I 

This main underlying organic truth is mine ; but 
when you cut it up into all manner of shadowy ques- 
tions, then I do not know what you would be at. 
What is the fruit of the tree of knowledgre of sood 
and evil? Is it in destruction of the fruit of the tree 
of life? I should think the innocence of wisdom in 
distinction from the innocence of io'uorance was the 
direct fruit of the tree of knowledge. 

I sympathize with poor Mrs. James about the coal. 
I have no doubt she leads a pretty life with her Socra- 
tes, and I am heartily glad she has temper enough to 
make y(ju blot your letters in consternation. It is so 
much better than to sit meekly down in a snow-bank 
and freeze. I had several things to tell you, but 
there is imminent danger of my writing again. 

For the present, severely' but kindly yours, 

M. A. D. 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

November 21, 1864. 

Three letters have I received from you, or rather a 
preface, a letter, and a postscript, for which, see my 
munificence, I have returned you a book, a newspa- 
per, and am now writing you this letter after a hard 
day's work on my French raglan of 1851, which my 
sister and I are fashioning into a sack of 1864, all 
because I lh(mght it was a pity you should not have 
a letter to celebrate Thanksgiving with. 

The last shall be first, viz., the postscript. I will 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 465 

return the pen to you with some misgiving, for I do 
not quite see how metal pens can be made into goose 
quills. Still people who have to do with the " Gen- 
tleman in Black " accomplish strange transformations. 
Just here, for I must say things when I think of 
them, did you see that Julia "Ward Howe had a poem 
at Bryant's festival? My sister came home Saturday 
noon, and we talked you over well ! It is much more 
interesting to have people who know your friends 
than it is to know them only yourself ; and as we all 
three now know you, why, we never need lack a 
theme ! Should not you like to be behind the door? 

For the main body of your letter, Mr. Wood, you 
merit not merely a letter, but a lecture in reply. For 
you to be haranguing me on heterodoxy is well, 
entertaining, to put it very mildly. Whenever you 
see an organ and a monkey in the street do you not 
always ponit it out as a foretaste of future life ? And 
because I innocently mentioned the opera and Sun- 
day-school in the same breath, why, you work your- 
self up into octavos of wrath and anxiety ; and yet 
in this very letter you say worse things about Sunday- 
school than I did in my letter which the " Congrega- 
tioualist" would not print. The fact is, you wish to 
rove at your own sweet will, biit you want me to fol- 
low sweetly in the paths of peace, never mind whether 
they lead aright or astray. 

My dear Mr. Wood, your letter shows me one thing, 
that your animosities are confined to this world, there- 
fore I hope that in the "Future Life" you will be able 
to live in peace with the brethren. The poor E's hav- 
ing departed this life, I see you have rather given them 
over and turned your guns against Boston, "Fire 
away ! " I would say to you as the Quaker did to his 



4G6 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

friend, " Fire awa)', thee can never go to Heaven till 
thee gets all that bad stuff out of thee." Now I should 
be sorry to be sitting on that heavenly hill where you 
place me, and see you climbing up to its sides fulmin- 
ating thunders against the "Boston Trauscenden- 
talists," some of whom very likely will be within hear- 
ing, for I trust that through the greot Divine mercy 
many of them will bow in worship to the God whom 
now they ignorantly worship under some vague ab- 
stract name. And, by the way, I don't know so 
much about these things as you seem to know, but 
have you not saddled the Bostonians with a sin that 
does not belong to them ? That God is an unrelated 
being, and cannot therefore be known to men, is 
taught liy Herbert Spencer, but I have never heard 
it from the Boston oracles. Perhaps, however, Bos- 
ton is only a generic and not a local name with you, 
as we speak of the "Lake School" of poets. Are 
you quite sure that you are not drawing on your im- 
agination for some of the romantic facts which your 
memory has the credit of furnishing you? I never 
saw Margaret Fuller, indeed she died while I was in 
school, but to have exercised such an influence as she 
did over people, it seems to me that she must have 
had some other weapons than "glittering and sound- 
ing generalities." "Will you give me the date and cir- 
cumstances of J. R. Lowell's remark about being born 
twice? You will pardon my cross-examination, or 
you may avenge yourself by cross-answering, but you 
very well know, Mr. Wood, that any one that knows 
you as well as I do, knows, too, that one must be 
wary if he would elicit from you the truth, the whole 
truth, and nothing but the truth. You know how 
many times I have routed you with great slaughter by 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 467 

just pinning you down to name and date ! You know 
very well how only last summer, when my sister and 
I were driving with you, you began a very vivid but 
evidently truthful description of a day at a mild water- 
ing-place hotel, but how very soon, under the lash of 
your tyraimical imagination, you were galloping off 
into a wilderness of "cats, rats, and mice"! That 
you cannot deny, and if you can, here is my sister 
just come upstairs who can cover you with confusion. 
Then again, Mr. Wood, I am sorry to be forced to 
say, but I fear it is true, that your objections to my 
becoming heterodox lie not so much in the injury that 
will be suffered by my spiritual nature as that which 
will be inflicted on my literary reputation ! If I attack 
the great forms of faith in Christ, what shall T find too 
late ? Why, that my power will be gone ! You never 
can get over the carriages of the nobility and gentry 
that Baptist Noel forfeited when he went over to the 
Dissenters. Oh, Mr. Wood ! Is there no such thing, 
then, as inward prompting ? Could Baptist Noel do 
otherwise than he did, if baptism or sprinkling be the 
question you Baptists say it is? However, in real 
earnest, I assure you that you need have not the least 
anxiety on my account. If you knew me as well as, 
with your opportunities, you ought to know me you 
would see that the more I am thrown into contact with 
any one form of religious belief, or disbelief, the less 
likely am I to adopt it. I shall probably remain an 
Orthodox Congregationalist as long as I live, but to 
my latest breath I shall doubtless be at war with my 
brethren. If I were a Baptist I should remain a 
Baptisl, but a fighting Baptist; if a Unitarian, a 
Unitarian, but pugilistic still. In whatever sect my 
associations had been formed, I should have found 



468 (iAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

truth enough entangled with error enough to take me 
all my life to disentangle. So far as you fear any influ- 
ence of Boston transcendentalism upon ray faith, in 
the way of social power, your fears cannot be any 
more groundless. I am certainly not wont to be over- 
awed in matters of opinion. But at the same time I 
accept all your warning as gratefully as if it were 
needed, knowing that it proceeds only from the kind- 
est and worthiest motives. 

"What makes me write letters to all the world? Do 
you suppose I call it benevolence ? Not a bit. It is 
just because I like to write. I like the world enough, 
but I certainly should not lay myself out in reams for 
pure affection. Now just you stand up and lay your 
hand on your heart and tell me, if you can, that j^ou 
don't really like to take a set of clean nice note-paper 
and fresh ink, and a good evening, and sit down and 
write. 

Why do you think that the States must come back 
with slavery ? Why cannot the next Congress give us 
the Constitutional Amendment just as well as the last? 
I shall never ground arms until slavery is abolished. 
Go on with your political " Romances." I dare say 
the air of romance which they have is owing to your 
way of putting things. In Mr. Seward's hands they 
would doubtless read like the gravest State papers, 
and not be any truer. 

I never did see the "Social Essays" till they were 
printed in Boston. Does " New Atmosphere " seem 
to you sufficiently orthodox? I heartily commiserate 
you in the reading, but it is one of the wise arrange- 
ments of a benevolent Providence, that in this world 
the innocent as well as the guilty must suffer the pen- 
alty of sin. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON" 469 

As for Mr. Longfellow's peccadilloes, I do not be- 
lieve ill them. They are always trumping up stories 
about plagiarisms. So now "The Raven" was stolen 
from a Persian poem. Suppose he did get '' Evange- 
line " from Hawthorne, what then? Did not Shak- 
spere cril) bodily and boldly from the old plays? 
Virgil copies Homer like a school-boy, and nobody 
says anything; and I should like to know if Peter 
Schlemihl did not walk through the length and breadtli 
of Germany before he set his foot on our Western 
shores. Mr. Wood, you must fight down all these 
stories and not entreat them tenderly. Anybody can 
make a mountain out of a mole-hill. Do you stand 
with your shillelah and affirm resolutely that the mole- 
hill shall stay a mole-hill. 

My connection with the "New Magazine" will be 
as close as I choose to make it. I shall have none 
of the labor to do, the scissorings, selecting, etc. I 
should never undertake anything of that sort, it would 
be so very irksome to me, but advice, you know, and 
opinion I am always ready to give without much urg- 
ing. Poor man, you know it to your cost. 

My mother and sister desire their kindest regards 
and I am judiciously, sometimes severely, but always 

Very truly yours, 

M. A. Dodge. 

I did not know of Mrs. Piatt's death. She was a 
woman of a thousand brilliant and courted, yet 
considerate and tender-hearted. I admired her 
much. 



470 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. French.] 

December 19. 

It was selfish in me to write you a letter that should 
leave an impression of sadness. But in truth I had 
cause for sadness in my own heart. The sudden and 
severe illness of my uncle, death-struck almost from 
the beginning, was not a hilarious event, and I felt 
the loneliness of my aunt and cousin so deeply that I 
could not shake it off. Sometimes it seems to me 
that I suffer things more sharply than the people 
themselves suffer them. Then I had a cold on my 
lungs, so that every breath was an annoyance, a thing 
that never happened to me in such measure before, 
and never but once in any measure. Then when I 
looked at you there was a heavy shadow, and in an- 
other direction tliere was another shadow. Well, 
what I ought to have done was to sit still till the sun 
came out. 

Now, first, my cough, after making a brave fight, 
is quite gone ; secondly, my aunt, having a good woman 
for a companion in her desolated house, is settling 
down to her new half-life and my uncle's memory, 
freeing itself from all remnant of infirmity and dis- 
ease, gathers soft lights and is blessed. You are 
emerging from shadow slowly into the sun, and my 
other friend sees day breaking. For all which let us 
give God thanks. 

A part of your letter rather amused me, more than 
your serious opinions are apt to do. I really do not 
exactly know whether I am a happy woman or not. 
I never thought much about it one way or the other. 
This I know, that if I were obliged to crystallize on 
the spot, and with things as they are, and no other 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 471 

futurity, I should be a very miserable woman. I 
know, too, that if I were forced to consider my pres- 
ent attainments as the highest possible point of acqui- 
sition in knowledge or in happiness I should be 
a very miserable woman, but with constant activity 
and a deep, underlying hope, "a fire in my heart, 
and a fire in my brain," I cannot conscientiously call 
myself unhappy. It is only, however, when I com- 
pare what I have found with what I conceive to be 
possible, that I have any doubts on the subject. 
Looking at the life which presents itself to me in 
dreams, and then at the life by which I find myself 
surrounded, there is room perhaps for a shiver. I 
often rouse myself from the one for the other with a 
smile at the discrepancy. Yet even this does not 
make me unhappy, for I have so large and deep a 
hope, which you would incontinently pull to pieces 
with your remorseless logic, but which, thank Heaven, 
would immediately grow again as good as new. But 
when I compare my life with the lives around me, 
with nine out of ten of all the lives I know, I esteem 
myself indeed favored of Heaven, and thank God for 
a most undeserved preeminence of happiness, and 
pray that I may do good enough to my fellow-beings 
to compensate them, as it were. Here is where your 
reasoning amuses me. I do not deny that through 
weakness, weariness, impatience I may sometimes 
be a little in the trough of the sea, but it is not on the 
crest of any billow that I ever saw, that I would have 
my ship go riding. I never have thought, nor pro- 
fessed to think, that the actual unmarried life wns so 
happy as the ideal married life, but I assure you with 
entire seriousness that nothing which my own life has 
missed has given me a tithe of the disturbance, I 



472 GAIL HAIVIILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

might almost say despaii", which I have found in the 
terrible bewilderments of the married lives I have 
seen. I could well do without happiness myself if I 
could only see a possibility of happiness in the expe- 
rience of others. It is not so much not to have experi- 
ences ; a certain emotion yourself, though it may be 
the deepest and richest of all, because you have all 
the eternities before you ; the dreadful thing is to have 
felt and failed. That appalls me. This I can assure 
you most truly, and if you are my friend you will be 
glad of the assurance loneliness, as you mean it, is 
a sensation which I have never felt, to the best of my 
knowledge and belief. I am afraid to be in the house 
alone nights, and day-times, too, for that matter; but 
let me know that there is a trusty person downstairs 
to keep out robbers and ghosts, and I can sit in my 
own room day and night alone, and never tire. I do 
not mean that I do not know an aloneness, nor that 
I cannot conceive of something that would be better, 
but as far as mortal companionships go, T have, let 
me see, at least five men and no end of women who 
are more friends to me than most men are to their 
wives. I find in them more sympathy, more resource, 
more sustenance, more tangible, practical, honest, 
real help than most women find in their husbands, 
and two of them, at least, and perhaps three, and 
possibly four, are more agreeable to me than most 
husbands arc to their wives. I like their society bet- 
ter, they exert themselves far more to entertain and 
please me, they have more consideration and chivalry. 
You will say I don't know what husbands are to their 
wives, but make me believe it if you can. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 473 

January 11, 1865. 

The fact is you have made so many displays of 
clear vision that you almost deceived me into a belief 
of universal clarity, and so I thought I would sweep 
away a little mist that seemed for a moment to 
obscure you. But the mist was as solid as granite, 
and I only bruised my fingers. It is the second time 
in my life I have been confronted with outr6 reasons 
for simple facts of that nature. The first time it was 
face to face, and I was stunned into silence, which is 
easy for any personal presence to do. This time, un- 
fortunately, it was pen to pen, and then I always find it 
difficult to hold my tongue. Hereafter we will dismiss 
the serious affairs of life, and discuss agricultural 
colleges. Harvard University, and other frivolities. 

Your two ill-bred, ignorant Irishers may or may 
not be the happier for their marriage. If their ill- 
breeding and ignorance could be confined to them- 
selves I should not forbid the banns. Ignorance 
clubbed together is no greater in bulk than ignorance 
separate ; but it is morally certain that in the course 
of time they will have brought into their household 
seven other spirits more ignorant and ill-bred than 
the first, and surely nine deformed and degraded 
souls are a greater evil than two. Parents and sisters 
and brothers and sisters may not be uniformly lovely, 
and yet help you to " grow in grace," but they are 
born to you. Husbands and wives go by favor ; and 
though from a broken arm you may learn patience, 
which is a Divine virtue, you would hardly think of 
putting your arm under a locomotive that you might 
learn the Divine virtue of patience. 

I hope you will accept the Agricultural College, for 



474 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

I think it will be the best thing both for the college and 
for yourself. As you don't seem to look forward to 
Heaven very cheerfully, it seems a pity you should 
not get out of earth all you can. For me, I am 
afraid I am hopelessly transcendental, and I foresee 
we should not get on at all well together, either in 
this or any other world, except, indeed, on your prin- 
ciple of trituration. 

I hear this morning that our friend Mrs. S. has a 
son, in which I rejoice for two reasons : first, because 
in a general wa}- I am sorry for every baby girl that 
is born ; and because, secondly, if a boy baby ever 
can come to anything it will be under Mrs S's 
training ! 

I went to mill the other day and w^as weighed, to 
the extent of a hundred and nine pounds ; with my 
cloak and "things" on a hundred and fifteen. I 
understand, as I never did before, "the mills of the 
gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small." 
Mother wanted her meal finej and consequently we 
had long to wait, but I watched with great interest. 

[To Miss Palfrey.] 

Hamilton, January 24, 1865. 

My dkar Fkiend : I wish you were at hand to read 
Virgil with me. You cannot think how much I enjoy 
it not the mere reading only, but everything about 
it. (That is a lucid sentence.) The text is a mere 
rivulet running through a meadow of association, and 
hints and all manner of connections that I saw nothing 
of when I read it as a girl at school, where, by the way, 
I perceive I was a far more exemplary person than 
your ladyship. So far from doing " no more studying 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 475 

than I could help," T did all the studying I could get 
hold of. In fact, I fear all my goodness came out 
in my early days, and that is the reason why I have 
been so bad since I was grown up. I wish you would 
read " Azarian," for I think it has a great deal of 
power, and power of a kind of which Miss Prescott 
had before that given but small indication. By the 
way, she sent to me a little while ago to know if I 
could tell her anything about E. Foxton. An un- 
known correspondent of hers had requested her with 
the greatest eagerness to tell him something about that 
gentleman, whose story of "Herman" he considered 
to be the very finest in all American literature. I did 
not feel at liberty to divulge my conjectures, because 
I think personality is always to be vigorously re- 
spected. 

My dear, I hope you will find it in your heart to 
like me a little, notwithstanding all the rough work I 
am doing. Heaven forbid that I should stand on my 
safe knoll, and see the wild waves swallowing up my 
people, and make no effort for the rescue. My toss- 
ing lifeboat is less graceful than the little skiff which, 
as Virgil says, or something like it, cleaves the 
green trees in the [)lacid lake ; but perhaps it is not 
wholly out of place. 

[To Judge French.] 

January 25, 1865. 
What is the good of quarrelling in a world like 
this? Of course we are all of us more or less out- 
rageous to our friends at times, and we may as well 
own up to it and let it alone. My mother says you 
have all been poisoned. It was my arrows that did 
it, undoubtedly, only you will not confess. As to 



476 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

your eyes, I am sure you have nothing to complain of. 
I have been half blind ever since I was two years old 
and have seen more at that than was for my comfort. 
All you have to do is when you are looking at pleas- 
ant things like me, open the double eye and shut the 
single one, and when you are looking at unpleasant 
ones, vice versa. That is good Latin, isn't it? Any- 
way, if you grow blind I will come to see you, for I 
don't care about my looks either, and I will lend to 
the rhyme of the poet (myself) the beauty of my 
voice, till you shall bless the darkness that unfolded 
to you the heaven of my song ! My voice is, in fact, 
something between a shriek and a howl, in poetry I 
don't know what it might be, but you will know 
when you, I beg your pardon, go it blind ! 

I see some of the abuse of you in the newspapers 
and don't believe a word of it. Now see how differ- 
ent I am from you. You read something about me 
and go right and believe it and tell all the neighbors. 
Why can't you be good and trustful, and think like 
young Abijah, you may see some good thing can be 
found in me even if the world, the flesh, and the relig- 
ious newspapei's do affirm the contrary? It does not 
seem as if people can do anything for people when 
trouble, actual trouble comes. Everybody must 
bear his burden alone. If I cry my eyes out about 
you it won't cry your eyes in. 

I don't believe your brother described me in his 
journal. It was somebody else. He never saw me 
but a little speck, and then he did not remember me 
from five hundred others, and besides, I wasn't in 
Washington till I was ages past twenty, some kind of 
ages you know, little children's for instance, and I 
did not wear my hair like a boy's, it was parted in 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 477 

the middle like a girl's, if it ivas short, and oh! I 
wish you would not mention the subject of hair. 
You never would if you knew what a source of 
annoyance it is to me and my family. My one con- 
solation is that I am getting on towards the time 
when it will be lawful to wear a cap and then I hope 
to have some peace of my life. Now I have only 
pieces, mere jumbles. Well, and to make assur- 
ance of your brother's mistake doubly sure, I never 
was a w^oader in anybody's presence especially, only 
wonderfully heavy for anybody w^ho had so much 
sense. Now then if you have anything nice and 
pleasant and highly imaginative to tell, out v^ith it, 
but if it is disagreeable, pre-Raphaelitic, and true to 
the life, daudite vivos what does that mean? I 
press it in at a venture. 

January 30. 
I am afraid I am getting into the pious f raud-ulent 
way, but if I am, I alone shall bear it, while if I 
should blurt out the stories which seem to be rife, I 
should salve my conscience at the expense of the 
peace of the whole family, and I am sure the Lord 
told Samuel out and out in so many words that it was 
not necessary to tell the whole story, even when the 
suppression of part put an entirely different com- 
plexion on the rest. 

February 13, 1865. 

My dear Mr. Wood : A budget received from you 
on Saturday violates the Constitution in telling me 
that you are sick, so I infer that you are violating 
your private constitution in some manner not herein- 
before mentioned. Wherefore, I have to desire that 



478 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

you will at once adopt the fashion of the hour 
which is Constitutional Amendment. 

I have four different parcels from you since my 
last to you. One a queen bee, the others small 
working bees, let alone various insects in the shape 
of ' Punch," and other papers, which are now making 
the tour of the neighborhood. But I wonder that 
your right hand did not wither in writing such terrible 
heresy about Edward Everett. In fact it is quite 
possible that your illness is a direct consequence of 
such unparalleled audacity. Edward Everett, who 
we are all agreed is the greatest man that ever was 
thought of, and will continue to be until some other 
distinguished Bostonian dies ! Don't you see how 
magnanimous we are here in New Englaud? A man 
may sin, but he has only to repent, and we forgive 
him and bury him with every honor. 

I agree with you regarding the "sheeted ghosts." 
I suspect the Blairs, even bearing Olive Branches. 
But as the report has been spread before the people, 
it seems to me that the President's part has been 
wisely taken. If anything must have been done, I 
do not see that it could have been better done. But 
I like not anything that brings that wretched rebel 
and traitor and starver of prisoners, Jefferson Davis, 
into even temporai-y relations of equality and amenity 
with respectable Northern people ! 

To ascend at once from politics to personalities. 
As for the raglan, money cannot buy, in these days of 
shoddy, cloth so heavy and every way desirable as 
this French cloak of eight years ago ! Oh, you petro- 
leum parvenu ! Don't you know that newness is not 
always worth? Oh, unfortunate, infatuated man, 
smitten with judicial blindness, not to see that gold is 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 479 



none the less gold because the land is flooded with 
paper currency. Shall I discard my yellow eagles 
because greenbacks are "all the go"? You sweep 
over a page with your all-comprehensive charges, 
and all-amusing stories, and I follow you up with an 
interrogation point. Y"ou ought to be very thankful. 
If you had no check your centrifugal I mean truth- 
ifugal force would dash away with j'ou into some cold 
outer space where you would never more be heard of. 

I don't on principle accept your presentation of 
Boston principles. It is never safe to trust your 
opponent for a fair and full exposition of your 
belief. 

"Moods" I have not read. "Emily Chester" I 
have read, and do not feel myself tainted in the 
smallest degree by so doing. There is no tainting 
element in the book. It is pure as the snow that 
spreads over this New England where I write, and 
no one can see anything impure there unless his organ 
of vision is impaired. But the truth is that our 
standard of right and wrong is so low that evil 
seems to us good, and good evil. Of all the criti- 
cisms of "Emily Chester" which I have read, very few 
show any real comprehension of the book. They 
know what they are talking about, but they know 
very little of what that book talks about. 

My aunt, Mrs. Caldwell, of Ipswich, was buried 
about a week ago. She died after a week's illness 
of lung fever. You may have seen the notice of her 
death in the "Congregationalist." She was very dear 
to us all, a remarkable woman, of great independence, 
spirit, ability, and amiability. She was a little 
younger than my father. 



480 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. French.] 

March 1. 

I went to Newburyport to hear Mr. Garrison cele- 
brate Washington's birthday in his native town, 
from which five and thirty years ago he was thrust 
out. So there he sat upon the platform, a bland old 
man with a shining white head, a few side-locks 
brushed smoothly down by his ears, a conservative, 
solid-mau-of -Bos ton-looking person, with not the 
smallest evil design against the existing order of 
things. Mr. Colby, is it, the Editor of the 
" N. Herald," who blows hot and cold as occasion di- 
rects, was tropical that night and blew fever heat, but 
William Lloyd stood it like a man instituting, I 
suppose, an equilibrium from all this present eulogy 
with past obloquy. That evening I was invited to 
supper with him and the next morning drove over 
with him to Whittier's, where I remained till Saturday, 
feeling as I always do with Whittier a kind of demi- 
goddess, simply by force of association, not from 
any inward spouting. And so Garrison and Whittier 
reminisced, with Mr. Ashby and me for an audience, 
and I saw the inside of many things of which I had 
previously seen only the outside, and even that often 
through a glass darkly. I also went to a concert 
in Newburyport. Miss Carr sang. Miss Carr is a 
Newburyport girl. Miss Carr came on the stage, a 
dream of beauty. Now your sardonic soul laughs. 
How, you sav, can a Newburyport Yankee be that? 
We have dreams of Italian beauty, of Greek loveli- 
ness, but oh, old Essex County, where are the charms 
that sages have seen in thy face ? In Newbui'yport, 
sir, in Miss Carr's wavy hair and waxen face and 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 481 

delicately clearly pencilled eye-brows, in her doll-like 
( !) beauty, informed with a sweet young soul, and 
beauty and soul made doubly beautiful by the mod- 
esty, simplicity, and unpretence which cliaracterized 
her. See now. They are sending me the "Lady's 
Book " from Philadelphia, and I looked into it last 
night and discovered several things, and thereupon in 
our family circle a discussion arose and revelations 
were made, and they tell me that these beautiful 
waterfalls and Greek curls and all the lovely bows 
and crinkling things wherewith " my sisters " make 
themselves beautiful are as likely as not false. You 
can buy them at the barber's. You do buy them at 
the barlDer's. Why, then, I might have waterfalls and 
Greek curls as well as another. But I know they 
would all come tumbling off just at the crisis of fate 
and bring me to shame. 

I saw Mrs. S's baby in the bath-tub. He is six 
weeks a fine baby as babies go, but a most comi- 
cal little frog, squirming about in the water with dis- 
tress pictured on every lineament of his droll little 
face, a most un-huraan little creature, and it dolh not 
yet appear what it shall be. And I saw Mrs. S., too, 
who, ' most gracious lady," all this while entertained 
me in royal style as she always does. 

Nothing is the matter with your eye. I had a fork 
stabbed into mine once, but 'twasn't anything. It 
squints a little, but that's nothing. My lovers tell me 
it makes me look interesting. It's blind too, but what 
of that? One eye answers every purpose. To be 
sure, there is this difference between us that my 
beauty never was injured by it, for the very best of 
reasons, while your comeliness has sufficient existence 
to be in danger. Now good-by, and mind your eye ! 



482 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

For the " Congregationalist " I have written little 
for three mouths. My last effusion was a tilt in favor 
of Dr. Blagden, but it was refused admittauce. The 
fact is, Mr. Wood, I suppose I am getting too rad- 
ical, or something. But really, I am the one who is 
Orthodox, and they are falling away after profane 
and old wives' fables. 

Mr. R., the escaped Union prisoner, has been down 
to see me. He is turuiug an honest penny with his 
adventures. But Jefferson Davis did a good thing 
when he broke his " plighted faith," and kept those 
sharp-sighted men in prison to witness, eye to eye, the 
atrocities which he caused. 

I went to see Mr. John Porter in Newburyport. 
Isn't he the nicest old man that ever was, with his 
beautiful long white hair, and his tall figure scarcely 
bent, and his gentle, gracious manner? Old age is so 
lovely when it is lovingly Avorn. His daughter was 
ill and I did not see her, nor Harriet Prescott, who, I 
fear, is failing before her time under a burden too 
heavy for such slender young shoulders as hers. Did 
I tell you I saw " Zeuobia " in Boston the other day? 
I won't tell you what I think of it, because it was made 
by a Boston girl, and you would only scoff, entirely 
regardless of the fact that she was, and I suppose is, 
a friend of the Brownings, and therefore must have 
somewhat of either wit or worth. 

[To Mr. James.] 

March 20, 1865. 

My dear Friend : I think I should feel happier 
if you would let me just this once tell you how 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 483 

much I thank you for all your patience and goodness 
and kindness to me. It seems to me as if you are 
going away from me thinking all the while that I have 
reckoned your friendship a common thing. 

I should have counted it all joy if I could have 
held you within sight all my life, but it is a very great 
joy to have known you for a year. It makes me 
feel guilty to think how entirely I have the best 
of the bargain. I know I have given you a little 
pleasure, but you have given me solid good that 
will last me as long as I live. I don't think I have 
rejoiced in you because you spoke kindly words to 
me, though that was very pleasant, but then I al- 
ways made allowance. I knew that what you saw 
was not I, but a little rosy cloud exhaled from 
your own imagination in which I sat hidden away 
as snug as a grasshopper in his foam you don't 
know what that means because grasshoppers don't 
grow in Ashburton Place, but never mind, / know, 
but what I was going to say is, that if in 
any other way I could have come to an equal knowl- 
edge of your thought I should have held you, I 
think, in the same regard. So that now, you see, 
I do not lose you, I know with an inward satis- 
faction that somewhere there is living such an one, 
and if one man has found heaven's gate, then 
surely there is a Heaven and all men will yet press 
into it. So all that I care for in you I own and 
hold forever. 

Therefore, when you look back upon this don't 
think it is all thrown away. In one sense it is, I 
suppose. Probably the thing you thought to do can- 
not be done, and I cannot prevent your disappoint- 
ment. But when the sunshine came I felt that it 



484 (^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

was warm aud that it came from heaven, and yoxh 
know it is the sun's way to shine upon the evil 
and the good, and not think it time lost. 

I am permanently rich in having known you, this 
little while, and I would not for the world you 
should lift an eyelash to look my way and leave 
your own. All I desire is that you shall believe, 
whatever else I may or may not be, I am always, 
most truly and inwardly, your loyal, grateful, and 
reverent friend, though I am too little and too far off 
to be of any account to you. 

Quod erat demonstrandum. 

M. A. Dodge. 

Men with all their badnesses are so susceptible of 
goodness that simple sincerity will shame all their 
badness out of sight. Meet them on the ground of 
their best and they will give you no other ground to 
stand on. If I judged men only by their relations to 
my own self, I should hardly have a word to say. 
They may be ever so wrong-headed, but practically 
they always turn to me right-hearted. I only see 
what men are at their worst by looking at them as 
you look at faint stars obliquely. What men are 
to their wives, to their dependents, that men are. 
They are capable of better things, but that they are. 
The time languishes because woman cannot reveal 
herself. The great burden of material life, which her 
shoulders were never made to bear, weighs down 
upon her, and the whole creation groans and travails 
in pain as a consequence. With the consent and by 
the interference of the great mass of men the ox, the 
mule, the draught horse is regnant in the female man, 
aud the woman is held in abeyance. How can she 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 485 

reveal herself? If you will use fine gold for pots and 
kettles, how can you cause that they shall not be dis- 
o;uised with crock? 

Look at me. I have friends on every side who de- 
lio;ht in me, men and women who come to me for 
joy, and solace, and strength. Is it because I am 
better, or brighter, or stronger than other women? 
Not the least in the world. I am constantly meeting 
women whose shoes' latchets I am not worthy to 
unloose, but to whom nobody ever comes. ' It is 
solely because I have never been overborne by hard 
physical labor, nor undermined by the unspeakable 
disappointments of marriage. God has suffered me 
to keep my life in my own right hand. I have never 
been crushed I have never been oppressed. These 
other women, better than I, with more capacity than 
I, with higher possibilities than I, are mere household 
drudges, insignificant wives, uncommanding mothers, 
because they are buried under an Ossa on Pelion 
piled, of degrading labor without supporting love. 
They passed in their youth under the yoke of a man, 
and the yoke was hard and the burden heavy. And 
just as long as their necks are bowed to them, women 
cannot reveal themselves. The sole advantage that 
I have over other women is, that I stand in the sun- 
shine. If I were married the chances are ninety-nine 
in a hundred that I should be digging in the dark, 
down in a cellar where all the dead-alive women are. 
People are accustumed to see beasts of burden, and, 
accordingly, when they see me, a woman, they are 
pleased with the novelty. 

You understand, Mr. Henry James, I think you 
are deeply and thoroughly right in your main idea. 
I do not remember that I ever met a man, hardly a 



486 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

woman, whose underlying principle was so satisfac- 
tory, so ultimate, so restful as yours. So far as I 
come ill contact with men, they unconsciously swerve 
into my orbit, never mind if the metaphors don^t 
"go on all fours," because I am a woman under 
full headway ; and in the collision of sincerity with 
falsehood, or perhaps I ought to say error, the error 
must go down. When a man comes so near me that 
I can touch him, he cannot help himself, but turns 
into pure gold or at least the pure gold that existed 
in him in solution is precipitated into visibility ; and 
if I were a wandering Jewess, and could be the wife 
of every man I see, I never would touch pen to paper 
to reform the world. Mind, I could not have done it 
if I had manned him before I had myself waked to 
consciousness, but I could do it now. But you see 
that is impossible ; so I can only do the next best 
thing, and work for men and women at a disadvan- 
tage. 

What woman does for you, Mr. James, is to " put 
your spiritual instincts on the research of infinite 
things" by her " formal loveliness, grace, and tender- 
ness." But suppose by the severity of your exactions 
you mar her loveliness, maim her grace, and forbid 
her tenderness? Suppose yoa impel her downward 
so entirely that even her own spiritual instincts are 
well-nigh lost, and all her soul becomes of the earth, 
is it encouraging rivalry between the sexes for me to 
tell you so ? When we see a man beating his wife, 
will you stand apart and talk to him of " vivified self- 
hood," and shall I flow around him in silver silence? 
Not a bit of it ! I will double up my fist, and give 
him one good, sharp, stinging blow between his eyes, 
and if it knocks him down so nuich the better. Nine 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 487 

men out of ten are so pachydermatous that they don't 
know they are touched unless they are felled. Then, 
while he lies conscience-smitten, his wife may pro- 
ceed to array herself in white robes, and his own 
outraged spirit shall return to him again. I will pour 
in oil and wine, you shall feed him with your heavenly 
manna, and presently we shall have him sitting with 
his wife clothed in fitting garments and in his right 
mind. But till the beast within him is stabbed, all 
your music of the skies is but as the clatter of sound- 
ing brass and tinkling cymbals. 

Can you not see that I am as far as possible from 
instituting any rivalry between the sexes or aiding 
any battle? I am for peace, for harmony, for unity. 
I do believe that the world is a failure because it has 
been so exclusiveiy man's world ; but then I believe 
it would have been just as much a failure if it had 
been exclusively woman's world. The world's work 
needs to be done by man and woman together. But 
by world's work I do not mean simply digging canals 
and hewing stone, but making of earth heaven, which 
surely can be done, for the kingdom of God is within 
you. In science, art, politics, is there no spiritual 
truth and beauty hidden under all this coarse outward 
seeming? I verily believe there is, and that it will 
throw off its cerements and rise into lovely life when 
the vir<dn-born Messiah bids it come forth. In the 
treatment of science and politics the womanly element 
has had hitherto little part. We should have fared just 
as ill had the manly element been omitted ; but when 
both are brought to bear on the same end, though not 
perhaps in the same way, we shall see how that which 
was so base and dull held in its ungainly bosom the 
very brightness of the firmament. 



488 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Is this rivalry between the sexes? 

The thoru-tree will never produce figs, but since 
God made it, it must have its uses, which we will dis- 
cover, and its beauty, which we may learn to love. 
The paving-stones will never be rubies, but they may 
become very precious stones when they bear up the 
feet that are swift to do only good. You say that 
men recognize women as God's shrine in our nature 
only, etc., etc., as they are content to make home 
sweet and holy. Content content why, it is 
the one sole longing and love of women to make 
home holy and sweet. They have no other thought 
or desire, and all that these women want is the possi- 
bility to make it so. 

And I belong to the woman's rights women. I 
belong to all to those who suffer, and those who, 
however, clumsily, are trying to mitigate suffering. 
The brawniest Amazon that ever stalked over the 
pavement, the vilest harlot that ever crouched in the 
cellars beneath it 1 belong to them all. I have 
not gone through the world with my heart naked, 
shuddering against all the world's woes, and quiver- 
ing with all its pain, that I should gather my skirts 
from the dust and walk softly away to green pastures 
and still waters. I am pure, I am blameless only 
just so far as I go down into these sad places and 
pour over them all a warm, human sympathy. If I 
hug my virtue, away in some vale of Tempe, I am of 
all creatures most vile. What shall be my thank- 
offering to God for having set my feet on a dry 
place, if not unceasing effort to help all struggling 
souls to come up hither to me and breathe with me 
the pure air and stand by my side in the sweet 
sunshine? 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 489 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

March 27, 1865. 

The Mr. R. of whom I spoke is A. D. Rich- 
ardson, one of the "Tribune" correspondents, who 
was eighteen months in Rebel hands. He is a gentle- 
nianl}' person, of wit and liumor, very agreeable, not 
handsome, a good writer, well informed, etc. He is 
a kind of Bohemian, and he thinks I am, but I am 
not, nor should I, on any account, think of going to 
New York. I have neither the desire nor the inten- 
tion to seek society of any kind, nor to use any ap- 
pliances. Y"ou, Mr. Wood, as I have often told you, 
are clean given up to the pomps and vanities of this 
world. You use fine-sounding phrases in your let- 
ters, but you know you would give every cent of your 
twenty thousand dollars, this minute, to have me, a 
handsome woman, at the head of a marble Fifth Ave- 
nue sort of house-ruling society, and you a witness 
and worshipper! Don't you know that? Now I dare 
say, if these things were in my power, as you think 
they are, I might set higher value on them than I 
do ; but as it is, I am extremely well content with my 
country hills and my spring chickens, and I seriously 
think your game is not worth the candle. As a para- 
graphist for any paper, I think I should lose every- 
thing and gain nothing. I rather think, if I grow 
good all I can here, I shall do very well. At any 
rate, here is the place where God has put me, and 
here I stay till He bids me hence. 

Mr. Edward Everett I shall have to put on the 
shelf with the Connecticut saints. Y'ou grow rabid 
at the mere flutter of his mantle. But your insinua- 
tions against Whittier pass by me as the idle wind ! 



490 (iAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Don't you see that what might be fulsome in Bos- 
ton might be magnanimous in Amesbury? Whittier 
knows nothing of all you say against E. E. He has 
probably seen him only as I have seen him "a 
rose of Academe." He has stood up against him all 
his life till the last four years with a bravery un- 
daunted. But now, standing on the grave of his 
fallen foe, he generously forgets all his evil, so far as 
possible, or merges it in the purer glow of the sunset 
hour. 

By the way, I gave one of your portraits to my 
Minnesota sister to take home with her. She desired 
me to say that she had taken a great deal of pleasure 
in your letters this winter, and expected to take a 
good deal more in looking at your picture in her 
Western home. They have "Future Life," so that 
they feel tolerably well acquainted with you. They 
left for Minnesota a week ago Saturday. I went to 
Boston with them, and we went to see and hear the 
Great Organ, which really seems to me more grand 
every time I hear it. Such tempests of sound, and 
such tender little thrills of melody. 

I don't think I was made for an editor. I should 
lose more by failure than I should gain by success, 
and success I could not compass. The undertaking 
would be too difficult, and my reputation now is 
ahead of my deserts. One of my unknown admirers 
sent me an elegant picture the other day, elegant and 
beautiful and nicely framed. I have " lots " of 
books sent me, and I am as busy as a bee from 
morning to night, week in and week out, and the 
summer is coming, and the blue-birds and robins 
have been here a week, and the grass is already 
growing green on our bank, and altogether it is going 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 491 

to be very nice when it grows a little warmer, and I 
get well of my cold. Good-by. 

[To Judge French.] 

March 27. 

If I ever see your sister H. I am going to have one 
talk about you. She is a bright woman, and she 
knows you, and is not your wife ; three things not 
often combined, yet all three necessary to a satisfac- 
tory talk, such as I propose to myself. I don't know 
whether I should like to be "a little, young, pretty 
girl always," or not. I should have to try it first to 
see, and I don't know what you mean by going off 
into such a series of fireworks about me. If I say 
the least little innocent thing, such as anybody might 
utter without thinking, why up you fly in a shower of 
fiery sparks to descend and consume me. And your 
notions about beauty I beg your pardon are all, 
or chiefly, nonsense. Pretty people are just as clever 
as ugly people. I don't doubt Miss C. is the most 
sensible girl of her circle. Anyway, she sings finely, 
and that is something. Do you imagine I should be 
any more silly than I am now, if I were tall, with dark 
eyes and smooth hair, and manners, and presence, and 
dignity? And don't you believe you would be an 
unpleasant sort of man if you had had a kingdom, 
and an army, and freedom and glory, and had lost 
them all, and had to have your picture taken while 
you were trudging through the dusty streets barefoot 
and chained behind the coach of the man who had 
conquered you? And if you had not seen Miss IIos- 
mer's portrait I should have thought the first thing 
you would do when I asked you how you liked it 
would be to go immediately and see it. 



492 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

April 3. 

If my hand seems somewhat shaky don't mind it. 
Just as I sat down to write you a wretch of a pedlar 
came to the end door. I opened it and he came in, 
I falling back gradually. He was so odd that after 
he had gone I went to the window to see what became 
of him. He had disappeared, and I went into the 
parlor to look up the road, and there was the miscre- 
ant looking in at the window. I was so scared that I 
lost all consciousness of fright (sensible, isn't it?), 
and I went to the front door and flung it wide open, 
and ordered him away, and the villain was as gallant 
as you please, ' Vay-y fine parlor, vay-y fine par- 
lor," and bowing and smiling. Oh, how I wanted to 
be a man and knock him down, and now I am afraid 
he was taking observations, and will come back to- 
night and break into the house. What do you think? 
I wish I was skilled in gunnery. Isn't there a shoot- 
ing-school in Boston where I could take lessons? If 
the war should be over pretty soon don't you suppose 
I could get a pair of Columbiads cheap ? 

Well, I have alarmed the neighborhood, and now 
things must take their course ; but the vile creature 
looked so strong. I foresee I shall not write you any 
kind of a letter, for that pedlar keeps running in my 
head. Besides, I am watching ail the time to see if 
he comes back. Oh, if there wasn't ever any night, 
how glad I should be ! I can stand things in the day- 
time when I can see them, but this darkness that peo- 
ples the earth with phantoms, and turns all things 
into giants, and dragons, and ghosts ! What a pity, 
what a pity that Eve ate the apple, and then there 
wouldn't have been any pedlars. We have a great 
Indian war-club, and if I can get at him just as he is 



BUSY YEARS IX HAMILTOX 493 

climbing in at the window about midnight, I shall 
knock his brains out without the least remorse, and 
think it is the best use they can be put to ; but I am 
afraid I shan't wake up till he gets all in, and then 
it'll be my brains. 

April 4. 
You ought to be very anxious, but I don't suppose 
you are, still I am going to relieve the anxiety which 
you ought to feel, by informing you that I still live, 
and that, thanks to the excellent police system which 
I improvised yesterday, we slept in peace. Thanks 
to that and Providence, of course, I mean. I went 
up street and asked a man who was going to Parish 
meeting to watch the pedlar, and see what became of 
him. So he did, and when the pedlar came back the 
man came too, and marched into the barn and around 
the house as lordly as if he had been one of the family, 
which I thought was very kind in the man, don't you? 
and then I gave him fifty cents and asked him to be 
at the station when the trains came, and see that ttie 
pedlar went away, and come and tell me, which he 
did, ringing the bell at ten o'clock at night, and I got 
out of bed and went to the window, and concluded 
the business. Meanwhile, Mr. D., with his usual kind- 
ness, had come over and spent the evening, and Mr. 
French, the minister, ditto, almost which is what we 
call a levee in Hamilton, and to-day the old clock 
licks as usual, and I am 

Yours respectfully. 

Atid Richmond is taken 

" For joy -bells and chorus 
The passion comes o'er us 
To ring and to sing 
For the tidings that bring 
The downfall of treason in vision before us." 



494 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Unfortunately, somebody has stolen the halyards, 
or something, of our flag, so we cannot raise it, and 
we have no voice for our joy. 

But there is one thing I have as well as you, my 
learned and honorable friend, and that is maple mo- 
lasses. It came from Keeae, sir. It came from 
Surry, sir, which is beyond Keene. It is not molasses, 
sir, it is syrup. It is the molten Liquid of Life, sir. 
It is the distilled essence of sunshine, ruddy as the 
wine of Haflz, and sweet as the voice of Contarina. 
It is four dollars a jug, sir, and the jug sixty -five 
cents, and I wish we had a row of them all around 
the house, big enough to contain Ali Baba and his 
Forty Thieves. Now, if your fountain among the 
reeds will spout up a constant stream of maple syrup, 
why count upon my constancy? My flower-garden is 
A'^ery well, thank you, and deserves to be remembered. 
It is a little under the weather just now, but as soon 
as we get the old shop moved up for our pantry, and 
a^man to come and plough, and plant, and sow, then 
I know another man whom I am going after to come 
and trim up my garden, and I am going to pick out 
the stones from it, and pave a pathway through the 
front yard, where it is all grass now, which is lovely, 
but damp. The peonies are already coming up, and 
I am taking time by the forelock and watering the 
garden now, so, if it have a camel's stomach, it will 
not suffer from next summer's droughts. 

If things would be sure to happen just as you want 
them to happen I should be delighted to see you, 
but they never do. Something awkward would come 
and spoil everything. I will tell you, if you will be 
good and not cross, and I am good and we get into 
a beautiful world after this, I will be very intimate 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 495 

and particular friends with you and invite you to my 
house on the slightest provocation. But you must 
not sro about amons; flowers and fruits and fine voung 
ladies and pots of butter and then take credit to your- 
self for not being cross. You must be pawed and 
clawed from morning till night with disagreeable 
things, and still be amiable. That will be something 
to reckon on. You should have seen the house I saw 
in my dreams the other night, and it was mine, so 
stately, and all shadowed with vines and magnificent 
trees, and summer breathing through all the coolness 
such an indescribable air of comfort, and dignity, 
and elegance, with all manner of rural loveliness 
blooming and breathing over it, in which respect it is 

not unlike 

Yours very truly. 

Hamilton, April 15. 

My Dear : I meant to write you to-day, but the 
dreadful news this morning has dispirited us all and 
there seems little interest in anything. The time 
seems chosen for the purpose of making the shock 
greatest, and we can only say with " Perley," God 
help the United States ! There is doubtless good to 
come from this great calamity and wickedness, but 
as yet it is impossible to see what the good is. It is 
no new thing for kings to be assassinated, but such 
butchery as this has seldom been seen and never in 
this country. 

Mary came last Friday in the midst of the rain and 
stayed till Monday morning. Parker Pillsbury also 
called in the afternoon at the front door ; I thought 
he was an agent and opened the door just a crack, 
but when he announced his name I admitted him to 



496 ftAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

full communion. He stayed for an hour or so was 
odd, individual, interesting. He designed to lecture 
here, took dinner at Mr. Israel Brown's, and won him 
over to his side. 

In the afternoon Jose and Melly came, and Mr. 
Dodge brought me a copy of " Skirmishes and 
Sketches." He had been to Boston and seen Mr. 
Fields, who told him that they had had very large 
advance orders for it, that it was all ready to be pub- 
lished but they were waiting for the excitement to 
abate somewhat alas, that it is not abated but swal- 
lowed up in a new aud more terrible one ! Alas for 
the good man cut down in his prime ! Alas for the 
country that has lost its first citizen ! 

" For the Stars on our banner grown suddenly dim, 
Let us weep in our darkness, but weep not for him." 

I hope he read my note with his own eye but I sus- 
pect it is doubtful. I told him his rest should be 
glorious when it did come, but I did not think it would 
be so glorious, nor so swift in coming. 

Wednesday evening I went to P. Pillsbury's lecture. 
It was interesting aud well received, but was more 
retrospective than reconstructive, and was therefore 
less valuable than I had hoped it would be. The 
audience was small and so was the collection. " Red 
Letter Days" is going through the press. 

Spring, 1865. 

Wednesday I had a letter from a Mrs. Pitman of 
Providence, a friend of Whittier's, who had learned 
from him that he thought I might go to Quarterly 
Meeting at Newport, and wished me to visit her in P. 
Thursday (25) Dio Lewis sent me another invitation 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 497 

to visit them at Lexington, which was declined with 
thanks. Dr. and Mrs. Flitner called a few minutes 
to answer a letter which I sent to uncle and aunt and 
which Mrs. Cowles declares ought to be published in 
my memoirs. 

Harrison Porter came over and killed our rooster, to 
my deep regret. He was the best rooster I ever saw. 
I have heard of their being gallant, but never saw one 
before but he was a model of chivalry, the very 
soul of unselfishness, clucked like a hen to her chicks, 
and never seemed to eat anything almost flew at 
me whenever I made trouble amons; the hens. But 
he is gone into a chicken-pie ! I had a letter from 
New York offering unlimited salary to contribute to 
the new paper "The Nation," also from Philadelphia 
ditto for another paper. Both declined. Thurs- 
day, Fast Day, we went to Manchester, resolving 
that we would have kept the day scrupulously if 
it had been the day first appointed. Also we had 
a half intention of going to church, and as the bell 
rang in Beverly Farms just as we got there, we halted 
and went into a Baptist meeting-house and heard a 
very loyal sermon. 

[To Judge French.] 

April 27, 1865. 
I am going to write to you to say that I send you, 
with this, a copy of " Skirmishes and Sketches," 
which I happen to have in my possession. I should 
have sent it before, only it is not worth sending. 
We have fourteen chickens, all healthy and handsome, 
and I have bought some flower seeds, and a prairie- 
rose, and a bush-honeysuckle, and a d-e-u-t-z-i-e (?), 
and geraniums, and daisies, and feverfews, and things. 



498 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and a man came and set out the great trees, and I 
shall put in the mustard seeds myself, and to-day is 
cloudy and warm and I have been out-doors three 
hours, including breakfast and a few such trifles. 

The pedlar did not do any harm by looking into 
the window. I like to have people looking in at 
windows, it is so social. 

I congratulate you on your watch-chain, but dear 
me, I have two, and watches besides. One is in my 
watch-case, and the other is planted in the Connecticut 
valley somewhere. The fii'st my scholars gave me, 
and two summers ago I went to walk in Hartford 
across the fields and lost it, and then a man gave me 
another, a beauty, in a hunting-case, and don't you 
tell of it, for my mother does not know it to this day. 

Was not I good to keep it from her ? I killed three 
hundred thousand caterpillars yesterday. Fire. But 
a good many of them are alive this morning. 

May 6, 1865. 
My dear Mr. W. : I have three letters from you 
like Jeremiah's figs, the last good, very good, the 
first very bad, not fit for the pigs. No, Mr. Wood, 
I will not flatter you. The letter you send me this 
morning is so excellent that I am moved to have it 
framed and glazed, taken to the meeting-house, and 
read from the pulpit at the very least. The last long 
one that preceded it was so bad that I was quite out 
of conceit with you a hateful, fault-finding, " can- 
tankerous " spirit, which you must cast out neck and 
heels if you expect ever to have a good time with 
Mrs. Jay and Perpetua, and Frankie, low, mercen- 
ary, worldly, self-sufficient, evil-concentrating. Now 
I suppose you expect me go into particulars. Not 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 499 

I to justify my accusations. No, sir, I have not 
looked at the letter since that morning, and now you 
have come out a gentleman and a Christian once 
more, so let by-gones be by-gones. By the way, 
what would you give to read 3' our "character" by 
Mrs. Rollins. She understands you extremely well, 
I think, considering she has seen you so little, but 
she is a seeing woman, and of uncommon intellectual 
acuteness and power. 

Your little carte de visite (is that the way to spell 
it?) is going into the handsomest frame that can be 
found for it. 

My new dress is a kind of travelling-dress. Mrs. 
F. and I bought it. I was up there staying three or 
four days, and we went shopping and I bought every- 
thing she told me to an English straw hat, trimmed 
with blue and brown velvet, with a stunning blue 
feather, long and twisted and the most magnificent 
color, price that would have delighted the pomps and 
vanities of your worldly heart, and an elegant and 
fashionable sack, with alarming buttons, the prettiest 
in Hovey's (I believe it was) warehouse, and no end 
of pockets stuck all over it, and this dress, soft dove- 
colored stripes, trimmed with brilliant blue cord and 
tails and all, and, do you believe, I put on my trappings 
and pranced down into the parlor to show off, and 
now, says Mrs. F., you can travel from one end of 
the United States to the other ! Oh ! and a pair of 
boots, and I am going to send to New York for 
Stewart's gloves, and then ! 

Now, miserable man, you know how you gloat over 
such vanities as these and then talk "Baptist" and 
leathern girdle and wild honey in the next line. I 
have some wild honey, by the way. I sent up to New 



500 (iAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Hampshire for some maple syrup, the very golden 
juice of the sun, and, if possible, I will save "a 
drap " against you come next summer. I am not 
sure it will keep. If you should see the way I eat it 
you would not be very sure either. 

I work out-doors a great deal, and a great deal 
more in the house, and am busy from morning till 
night, and often think what a mercy it is you don't 
live in Hamilton, because you are such an idle person, 
you know, and would be lounging about so much, but 
I should turn you into the garden and set you at work 
weeding ! 

Thank you for your good words anent the new 
book. I have not had a very overweening opinion of 
its merits, and should not have sent you a copy only I 
knew you would be sending for one if I didn't. 
However, I hope it may strike others more favorably 
than it does me. Don't you mean "New Atmos- 
phere " all the time you are talking about " Stumbling 
Blocks " ? I don't think the latter has been partic- 
ularly abused by the "religious press," and I know 
that the former has, to its and my great advantage. 

Politically, I agree enthusiastically with every word 
of your letter, and wish your views might be carried out 
to the letter and in the spirit. The " N. Y. World" 
comes, and I read it. It may be able, but I have 
thought it was a Satanic ability. ' ' Harper's Weekly," 
"Punch," the "Army and Navy Journal," are also 
here and welcome. I expect the ' ' Unitarian Monthly " 
is going to follow Edward through the heavens, and 
make all the " illustrious and sainted men," as one of 
his eulogists has it, take off their hats to him. I 
wonder whether he will be on good terms with Mr. 
John Brown up there. I believe, on my soul, you 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 501 

will look askance on him for the first century or two, 
at least. 

Mr. Todd, formerly of Newburyport, now a gentle- 
man at large, spent the evening here the other day, 
and has sent me a very curious breast-pin made of an 
oil-nut in its natural state, if you will believe me. I 
like to work out-doors. Mrs. F. sent me down a 
"Anonymous," which came to her from "My Farm 
at Edgewood," but her garden is not ready to receive 
it, and mine is. I went to the little church in C, 
horrid! Yes it was, and you would have said so 
such a stamping and ranting. In Boston we went to 
hear a Mr. Carroll read Browning, which he did very 
finely. I never heard any one read Browning so well. 
Miss Palfrey was at tea with us, a most brilliant, 
entertaining, and agreeable woman. We have four- 
teen little chickens, the loveliest, healthiest, hungriest 
little rogues you ever saw. 

M. A. D. 

May 9, 1865. 
My Dear: Tuesday I had a letter from Mrs. 
Spalding, in which she informed me that she had 
sprained her wrist badly, and that my " Christ as a 
Preacher " was mischievous and heretical. I went 
over to Mr. D's to show my hat he informed me 
that it made me look like a saucy girl of sixteen. 
They have had a great meeting at Savannah, about 
the assassination. Friday your letter came and one 
from E. H. She says that was a terrible night 
in Washington horror and amazement all night 
long. She saw the inaugural performance of A. John- 
son. She says "he did not seem so much like a 
drunken man as one under some demoniacal influence. 



502 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

His better self seemed all the while struggling against 
some malign spirit." She says she " never saw a 
human being's face so redeemed and glorified by ex- 
altation of sentiment as Mr. Lincoln's was that day. 
It was fairly radiant. It was as if this world were 
slipping away from his grasp and a better opened to 
him." " Robert has deported himself in the manliest 
manner." She says of "New Atmosphere": "All 
women and all independent thinkers like it," and 
sends her love to you. Friday afternoon Avas pre- 
paiatory. 1 killed caterpillars all noon time, chased 
Mrs. Porter's hens home, and then went to lecture, 
meditating by what scriptural authority the church 
appointed a preparatory lecture, anyway. I don't 
remember that anything of the sort was done in the 
Bible, but I was a little taken aback when I got there 
to hear Mr. Sewell congratulate himself that he was 
going to have two this week ours as well as his 
own. But he didn't deceive me. He didn't come for 
the delight of it, according to the best of my knowl- 
edge and belief, but because Mr. French was moving 
and wanted him to preach for him, and he would 
preach one of his old sermons for Mr. Sewell next 
day. However, if I could do all the talking at lect- 
ures I dare say 1 should like two a week as well as 
they. Saturday I had a nice letter from Mr. "Wood, 
one of his best. He says, too, that it is thought Mr. 
Johnson was drugged, that a very pious lady from 
Nashville who had known him, I think, from a child, 
said that he never was drunk, or to that effect, and 
that ex- Vice-President Hamlin, who has known him 
for twenty years, says he has always been a sober 
man. 

President French sent me a new instalment of 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 503 

"religions press" criticism, headed "Moral Pesti- 
lence and Death,'' "Bad as Bad Can Be," etc. 
N. Y. O. (not O. Y. F.) seems awaking to the true 
state of the case and says but for the religious news- 
papers, etc., the book "would have perished at its 
birth in its native corruption." 



[To Judge French.] 

Mat 9. 

By the way, what you say about the law adds to 
the irrepressible conflict in my mind. Are law and 
politics necessarily so bad? May they not be puri- 
fied? I don't like to think that any profession or 
occupation demands a low living, because there your 
immovable force comes in contact with your irresistible 
body. Oh, how that sentence has wabbled around 
wrong ! If my arm were not so tired, aching, I would 
be eloquent here, there is material enough, but you 
see what I am at, don't you? 

Y'ou can't see me "because I wear a veil." I do 
everywhere for that matter, but a lace veil out-doors. 
I am such " a little, timid, tender person," you know, 
such a dear little, delicate lily of the valley, knowing 
no sterner duty than to give caresses and fits to a few 
caterpillars now and then, a fragile, drooping, sensi- 
tive plant, whose clear and eloquent blood speaks in 
her cheeks, and so distinctly wreaks that you might 
almost say her body thicks. Let us have rhyme 
whether we can catch reason or not. 

No, I have not read the " Aimless and Anxious Fe- 
males," but it sounds attractive, and I wish you would 
send it to me as you did Wendell Phillips' speech, 
but you won't have the same inducement that you did 



504 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

then, a column of personal abuse of me, that was 
what made 3'ou so forward to send that paper, and Dr. 
Vermilye, no, it wasn't either, it was your own kind 
heart, and I am a heartless, ungrateful miscreant, 
and I thank you with all my heart. I did not write 
your name in " S. & S." ^ of malice aforethought. It 
is not worth while, but I will write it in as many 
" New Atmospheres" as you please. That is a book 
to live or die by, for the truth that is in it is not of 
an age, but for all time. It may be roughl}- hewn, 
but you must always have 3'^our pioneer with his pick- 
axe before your Grecian temple can go up. There 
is a most lovely bird prinking himself in the apple 
tree. 

Hamilton, May 24, 1865. 

My dear Sheikh : What is the good, I should like 
to know, of being a Quaker if you are going to lose 
your sweet temper on every little provocation, just 
like a world's people? I thought Friends were 
equanimous, and never swore at you nor anything. 
But you call me " a woman," and in the news- 
papers that dash always means a wicked word. Now 
then ! 

Besides, my dear, you told a fib. Don't you know 
you did? Did you not begin with saying that you 
did not know that it would be any satisfaction to me, 
etc., etc., when j'ou Tcnew it would be the greatest 
satisfaction ? Oh ! yes, you did know it perfectly 
well. You know that if no one else in the world 
cared for it if, indeed, every one abused it, and it 
amused you for a day or in a storm I should be 
glad I wrote it all the same. That is the second 

1 " SkirmiaheB and Sketches." 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 505 

count in my indictment. . . . As to violating con- 
fidence, my friend, that is impossible, for thee never 
gave me any to violate. Thee knows I never could 
get anything out of thee but by main force ; and 
when I thought I had thee fairly started, and could 
begin to sit back in my chair and take mine ease in 
mine inn, thee would be sure to break off short, and 
run into the closet for a handful of wood, or do some 
other unnecessary and utterly irrelevant thing. I 
mean to have that wood-room walled up next time I 
come, or else I will take m}' chair and sit down in 
front of it, as they did at thy favorite Episcopal 
Church in Salem last Sunday to prevent the rector 
from preaching. Think of that, Master Bi'ooke ! 
The church spending the holy Sal)bath day in a 
brawl ! The direct descendant of St. Peter fisti- 
cuffing his wardens away from the vestry, and 
marching through the streets with his robes on his 
arm, and a procession of the faithful trotting after 
him to his own house to hear the gospel of love dis- 
pensed (with). Well, who knows whether some- 
thing equally regrettable will not happen to you if 
you don't confide more in me ? If you would trust 
to my honor, and say, " Abig'il Jane, I purpose to 
give thee the history of my life and sufferings from 
the beginning down to a period which is within the 
memory of men still living," why I should be all 
ears. There would be no tongue left in me. As it 
is, I have to pursue knowledge with such infinite cost 
of time and pains that I am sure what I get is fairly 
earned mine in fee simple, to have and to hold, for 
better, for worse. 

Beside, it is all nonsense what thee says about 
" not necessary," and all that. On the contrary, it 



506 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

is the central tank and fountain around which the 
whole temple and if I can't have the tank, you 
can't have the temple so give me back my story 
and take your northeast rain-storm. And I don't 
believe thee cares one bit, anyway. I know /don't. 
It's no use thee thinking thee is going to have thy 
way all the time. They flatter thee up the people 
do all about till thee think thee can lord it over a 
snipe like me most unconscionably. Well, I'm not of 
much account, I know ; but I will speak out occasion- 
ally, and thee may scold to thy heart's content. I 
like thee scolding and I like thee smiling, and I hui-1 
defiance at thee. Thee says thee cannot look into 
Annie Fields' face and blame her for anything, but 
thee makes up for it the moment thee looks in my 
face ! I shall not go to Newport, but you better go. 
They will all be so delighted, and they will take care 
of you if you are sick, and cosset you up beautifully. 
I'd go! 

June 7. 

A good somebody over in Newburyport, whom I 
never saw, has sent me dozens of plants, and Mr. 
D., the good man, came over in the rain and set 
them out under au umbrella. Now if you make a 
mistake there, it nnist be from inborn intellectual 
fatuity and not from anv want of clearness in the nar- 
rative. But I told the tale for the moral's sake, which 
is to you- ward. See how Mr. D,, who makes no 
professions, comes and works in my gravel bed while 
some one whom I could mention, who swears eternal 
fidelity, stands afar off and only lifts up his voice in 
laughter at my poor little thirsty orphans. There are 
people I know skilful in corn and kine, but where in 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 507 

their hearts are the beautiful virtues of modesty and 
charity? And not even echo finds her tongue in 
response. I have had many roses this year, and each 
rose lias had many bugs, and they have all thriven. 
Think how many homes I have made happy. 

Of course a politician, or a lawyer, or a merchant 
may be a good, true, honest man as I very well know, 
but they are very often not, though we have sore need 
of such good men. Now I know nothing about it of 
mine own self, but you don't think the best in the 
world of law, and there is great talk of knavery among 
the others, but Dan will have only beautiful things to 
do all his life. He will only have to work his material 
into the best possible shapes. I think his bracket is 
lovely, and I have put them both up in my room under 
an engraving of one of Landseer's pictures, tell him. 
We have not had canker-worms this year, and only 
one last year, but we have had caterpillars, which to 
me are more dreadful, if there is any degree in the 
horror with which I regard them. I think these feel- 
ings are by instinct. Certainly I never had any fright 
or any teaching, yet all these creeping things are inex- 
pressibly loathsome to me. I don't object to fli(;s, or 
the winged animals generally, though I don't like 
rose-bugs. 

In looking over your letter I find you signalize the 
first of June by dining on crackers and milk. A 
remarkable coincidence, for when I was in Boston I 
dined on crackers and milk at Mrs. Haven's saloon, 
and nice milk it was, too, and a great deal of it, more 
than I could eat, to my sorrow, and I had them put a 
great lump of ice in it, and it was delicious. You 
know I was excited and all a-fever as usual, and the 
mere thought of eating well-nigh choked me, but the 



508 (^AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ice-cold milk was a refrigerator. "We have it a great 
deal at home in the summer. My mother and I drink 
neither tea nor coffee. 

June 24, 1865. 

I told you I would write you a lovely letter, and so 
I will, but I don't know what it will be about. I went 
up to Boston to see vou and comfort you for your lost 
gold watch, but I could find nothing of you, and so I 
meandered into the Mt. Vernon Church and took 
council with the Reverend Fathers assembled there. 
I had a fine time of it. The clergy and all the elect 
were downstairs, and all we old wives and profanuvn 
vulgus were in the galleries, and no passing to and 
from to speak of, and nobody saw me, and I saw 
everybody and sat still and at rest. Now why did 
not you just drop in and indulge in notes and com- 
ments ? I think it would have been charming, I 
assure you, that our Orthodox brethren were a highly 
respectable body, and I was very strongly confirmed 
in my Calvinism. If I had not been Orthodox before 
I should have become so on the spot. Men, not 
principles ! 

Later. 

I never drank a cup of tea nor of coffee since I was 
nine years old. Then I went away on a visit for the 
first time, and the coffee did not suit me, and I thought 
it was less trouble to do without it altogether than to 
get it right, and never have touched it since. 

Life always sat very loosely on me. I have no 
particular plans for this world, and never did have 
any. I just live along from day to day, taking things 
as they come. Better has happened to me than I 
ever dreamed of happening to me, but far below what 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 509 

might happen if the order of the universe were 
changed. I have no hope of any personal revenue 
from the future beyond what the past has brought 
me, and I do not know that I ever was sanguine. 
The only personal ambition I recollect was when I 
shonld have left school to have a steel-colored silk 
dress with a large cape, and not to marry any one till 
I had taught school a year. I never had the steel- 
colored silk, and I did teach my year, but I found 
no great sorrow in the one, and no great solace in 
the other but other things have come and a change 
of base followed, and somehow it does not seem as if 
there was any me at all. I am, like the late Confed- 
eracy, a mere shell. Somewhere, I supect, hidden in 
some remote corner, the germ of a person with large 
personal life lies unseen, and will one day, under 
other skies, spring into light and then it will be me, 
but for the present, I am one, and another, and all 
souls, but in the great stress of the world there is no 
room for me. In a crowd whoever can hold himself 
in abeyance ought to do so, for the great throng 
have no consciousness and no choice but to be obvi- 
ous. But when I do live, how I shall live ! 

Thank you for your honeysuckle. I have a little 
one that fills the air with fragrance. Now good-by. 
Be good and you will be happy, at least you will be 
much better off than if you arc not good, and if you 
are not just so happy all the time you must not mind 
it. They are all doing very well at home, I doubt 
not, only they all want you, and Pamela, strange to 
say, thinks you are the nicest old dear that ever was, 
and is afraid you will get all tired and dusty and un- 
comfortable, and the children are wondering if it will 
be a week, or a month, before you will come, and I 



510 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

think it is not much when you come, seeing, wherever 
you are, there is a good brave man who sparkles so 
on the surface that one might think him but a glassy 
inland pool if he had not eyes to see, under the 
sparkle, honest, still sea-depths none the less pro- 
found for the sunshine that plan's over them. And 
when an angel goes down and troubles the waters, I 
hope my friend will remember that it is an angel, a 
messenger from heaven and not to be too sorely 
dismayed. 

I "guess" he thinks I am his grandmother by the 
way I talk to him, but the moment I really care for 
anyone, I always begin to feel sort of grandmotherly 
towards him, her, or it. 

[To Mk. Wood.] 

June 26, 1865. 

You will be delighted to know that I have been 
strengthening my bulwarks by watching the proceed- 
ings of the council now assembled in Ashburton 
Place, though I watched from the galleries and took 
only a limited and entirely private part in the discus- 
sions. But it is worth while even to look on the 
Columbiads of Congregationalism Bacon, Button, 
the Beechers, the Sturtevants, Todd, Thompson, 
Park, etc. Governor Buckingham is a fine-looking 
gentleman, really fine and gentle as I looked down upon 
him, and the assistant moderator, Colonel Ham- 
mond, a layman of Chicago, is one of the most execu- 
tive Executives I ever saw. I like to see him act, he 
seems to have the Council so well in hand, and knows 
just what to do, and does it. Nothing inspires confi- 
dence like confidence, with facts to stand on. But 
why am I telling all this to a poor forlorn Baptist, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 511 

who has neither part nor lot in Congregationalism ? 
Why, simply to give an account of myself, not in the 
least to "aggravate" him. But some of the scenes 
where I have "assisted" have been of no denomina- 
tional interest, but lay hold on large issues of state as 
well as church. The response to the foreign delega- 
tion. Quint's, Thompson's, Vaughan's, Raleigh's, 
and Beecher's speeches, was extremely interesting, 
more so than any report will tell you. I was just 
glad to see England arraigned and explaining, though 
I was glad, too, that matters took a turn not only 
pacific, but fraternal. Yet how great an eye-opener 
is success ! But I think we shall not build vou a 
church in Washington. It seems far better to build 
in our waste places, than where there are already 
plenty cumberers of the ground. 

In liking the " Ilenriadc " you only side with the 
majority, who must be simply pleased with the home- 
liness and rusticity of the subject, as the paper has no 
other especial merit. But I suppose many people are 
reminded by it of their early experiences :ind so the 
one touch of nature makes the whole world Idnd 
towards it. " Skirmishes and Sketches," I am told, 
goes very well. The " Folly in Israel" has been op- 
posed, but courteously, in the "Sunday-school Times." 
With this letter goes also the last proof of a sixth 
book by a well-known popular author. It is, however, 
only a children's book, and will make no especial stir 
in the world, let us pray heaven. 

Your protest against turning Unitarian shall go 
upon record, notwithstanding we the Council have 
declared that we are no more Trinitarian than we are 
Unitarian. There's for you. But the trouble with 
you is not that you call a spade a spade, but that you 



512 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

call a silver sugar-spoon a spade, and see it as a 
spade, and use it spade-wise. However, it is not 
worth while to distress yourself about this, especially 
as I know you won't. 

And I am charmed by your proposition that I lay 
to your credit your printed letters. Pray do the 
same by me, and our correspondence will conduct 
itself voluminously, summarily, and in a way much to 
be regretted by the post-office department. 

I shall not go to Quarterly meeting. And Whittier 
is not going, either. He says as he could get no one 
to go with him he concluded not to go at all, and 
betook himself to the mountains, which is much better 
for him, I think. 

I wish you would look about and see if you can 
find something prett}' for a monej^-holder. The other 
day I lost my purse in Boston left it on the counter 
at Chandler's, with twenty-five or thirty dollars in it. 
They were honest, and restored it ; but, on examining 
it, I found I should be quite ashamed of advertising 
it. It is all burst out, and battered, and shabby, 
and I want something new, and fresh, and pretty, so 
that if I lose it it will be worth finding, and I shall 
not blush in knowing that men call it " mine." 

I found a whole pile of letters waiting for me when 
I got home. Tbe Ashbys have sent for me to go to 

The Laurels to-morrow, and the s to meet them 

at Gorham, N.H., which is simply impossible, but I 
design to go to The Laurels, as I have declined for 
several years, but I hate to go, there will be so many 
people there, and I shall be dreadfully looked at, but 
I shall wear my veil, and keep it down, and make 
the best of it. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 513 

June 30, 1865. 

A lady came to me iu the cars and asked if this 
was Miss Hamilton? I said no. Had I been thought 
to resemble her? Not that I ever heard of ! Oh ! why 
she asked was because she was going to The Laurels, 
and she thought I might be going, too, and she feared 
she might have taken the wrong day. I said /was 
going to The Laurels, too, and it was all right. You 
should have seen the breathless attention and aston- 
ishment of Messrs. Benson and Cutler during the 
colloquy, which I maintained with the utmost frank- 
ness and gravity. "Why," said Mr. Benson when 
she had gone, "doesn't she mean Gail Hamilton?" 
"I don't know what she meant," I replied emphati- 
cally, "I only answered what she said." They 
agreed I should make a good lawyer. At Mr. Spald- 
ing's I found Lucy Larcom and a Professor Webster. 
After talking awhile he asked me if I lived in New- 
buryport. I said no, I lived in Hamilton. What ! 
you are not Gail Hamilton? Oh! no, not at all. 
Well, I was entirely different from the idea he had 
formed but being from the town of Hamilton he 
did not know but that, etc., etc. Lucy Larcom 
opened wide eyes at me, but I went on talking, and 
it all passed off. It was a fine day and we went to 
The Laurels in a steamer and two gondolas lashed to 
its sides. Maria Mitchell, the astronomer, was there, 
about fifty or so, iron gray hair in curls, dark and 
rather masculine complexion, fine eyes, peculiar mouth, 
rather full lips, talks rapidly and a little recklessly 
like me saucy and witty, and funny and entirely 
original and very natural and gives you an idea 
of strength not in the least seminary-ish, or teacher- 
ish, or fine lady-ish, or pedantic. Mrs. Oliver was 



514 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

there also, my Lynn friend, with INIrs. John B. Alley, 
Mrs. Bubier, sister of Mrs. Sewell Annable, Julia 
Hayes, Lucy Everett, Abuer Goodell, and three hun- 
dred more, and Whittier. He was in tolerable health 
and good spirits saw the Fields at Campton, had a 
poem read, which I told him I could liave written if I 
had only thought of it, and he wished I had read it. 
The number of my admirers was quite wonderful to 
see, but, as I remarked to Whittier, it is sometimes 
convenient to be lionized, because you get so well 
waited on. Miss Mitchell brought her niece to me, 
remarking that she was of the gushiug age, and just 
silly enough to be enthusiastically carried away by 
me. Going home Professor Webster edged himself 
in by me and brought forward Professor Park's ' ' re- 
spectable man," declaring that he supposed I denied 
my identity in the same way. I assured him that I 
never denied my identity that my name was ou the 
town records and I always answered to it. Never- 
theless he expressed his own and his wife's regard for 
me, and I sent her a spray of laurel. Mr. Todd was 
there and had sent me by letter the night before a 
five-hundred dollar Treasury note and a ten-dollar 
bill but unfortunately not payable till two years 
after a treaty of peace between the United and the 
Confederate States. 

July 3, 1865. 

Beloved Brethren : We will take for the sub- 
ject of our discourse, " Trouble." The sermon natu- 
rally divides itself into two heads : 

1. Roomatic. 

2. Cut-worm, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 515 

whicli, unfortunately, has many heads. Now, Alice, 
rheumatism is a bad thing, and I can sympathize 
with Jamie, if not with you, out of the depths of my 
own personal experience, for I well remember how I 
used to stand by " maw-maw, hand in buony " (hers), 
" finger in mousey " (mine), when she was having her 
" spells," but I think I never arrived at your vaga- 
bond's hard-hearteduess, and extracted amusement 
for myself out of her groans. But although mother 
has had rheumatism, it has, as you know, not fol- 
lowed her up constantly by any means, and therefore 
I hope youi'S will be equally lenient, and even more 
so. 

Next the cut- worm and the chine (h) bug and the 
grasshopper. Well, I don't know what they mean, 
but I have a theory of things in general which in- 
cludes them, and you shall have the benefit of it 
forthwith. I am inclined to think that the whole 
human race is to be looked at as one individual. It 
is created for some unspoken purpose, but just now, 
and for a good while, it is to be educated. We shall 
not find the end, the object of its life, in this world, 
for here it is only put to school. Plagues, diseases, 
earthquakes, wholesale railroad accidents, wars, and 
chinch-bugs are its defects, which it must grow strong 
to overcome. By its wisdom it has extracted the 
terror from thunder-storms, or is on the way to do 
so. Whole districts suffer from drought, and will 
continue to do so until the race has learned the true 
method of irrigation. Locust and grasshopper and 
canker-worm will devour, until man, instigated by their 
ravages, will have devised some way to conquer them 
and reduce them to their true sphere. It is at once 
man's promise, and his doom, to have dominion over 



516 GAIL PIAMTLTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the earth, and till he establishes such dominion, until 
he has learned and located all the forces of nature, 
set them all in their just position, and given them all 
their proportionate work, saying to this one "come 
up hither," and to that one " thus far shalt thou go 
and no farther," until he has thus dominion over 
them, they will continue to vex and thwart and tor- 
ment him. Otherwise, he would not take pains to 
fulfil his destiny. If these rebellious subjects did 
not trouble him he would sit down quietly under his 
own vine and fig-tree, and never attempt to subdue 
the world. As it is, the canker-worm here, and the 
potato-i'ot then', and the cattle-disease in a third place, 
and the tornado in a fourth are constantly reminding 
man that his kingdom is not subdued, and constantly 
inciting him to new efforts. 

But this great individual, the human race, is made 
up of separate individuals, just as if every drop of 
blood and ever}' cell of the tissue in a man's body 
were a sentient being. So while the race is going 
through the process of education that process bears 
hard on the individual. And if this world were all, 
if there were no revelation, I should say it was a ver}' 
unjust and cruel arrangement. It will be a thousand 
years before the great laws of Iiealth are known and 
obeyed ; meanwhile you are suffering from rheuma- 
tism. What comfort for your lost corn do you find 
in believing that at some far distant future all your 
loss will have tended to make men discover just how 
to keep chinch-bugs down to numbers which will be 
harmless? It was necessary to teach the world the 
barbarism of slavery, but the starved soldiers in 
Libby and Andersonville and Saulsbury were none 
the less wretched for that. "Well, I take it the thing 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 517 

is just this, while the great individual Race is grow- 
ing, the small, individual Man is growing still more. 
The Race lives only for this world, the men that com- 
pose it have an after life. It is a world within a 
world. The good which we see is the means. The 
end is something wliich we do not see. All these 
things must happen for the profit of the race, even 
though the individual man is crushed beneath them, 
but he can afford to be crushed, because another life 
awaits him. The race cannot afford to be crushed, 
because this world is its only theatre. Now these 
very things that crush him, man, may turn to his 
highest good even in this world, and especially in 
the next. What belongs to this world is of secondary 
importance, even of but third and fourth importance. 
It is a thing of temporary account whether you have 
three or ten acres of corn ; a hundred years hence it 
will be all the same. But a hundred and a thousand 
years hence it will be of great consequence whether 
the ravages of the chinch-bug made your patience 
stronger, and led you more closely to the Divine 
Bestower of all things. To be poor or to be rich is 
of itself of no moment, but to make poverty and 
wealth conducive to upright character, to gentle liv- 
ing, and truthful speech and charitable thought that 
is the true work of life. Money brings just as truly 
trial as lack of money. When the world shall have 
thoroughly learned righteousness, we shall have no 
squalid poverty, but meanwhile this squalid poverty 
may work out enduring riches. The almost universal 
prevalence of sorrow is to my mind a strong proof of 
immortality. There must be some future state in 
which all this sorrow shall be shown to have had a 
great work to do. It is well nigh impossible to find 



518 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

any grown person who has not known anxiety and 
perplexity, and has not needed to exercise much faith 
and patience, and this faith and patience is of more 
real and lasting worth than the greatest worldly pros- 
perity. So, then, we have two things to console us 
in trouble. First, as all our suffering comes from 
some violation of law it will tend to tl;e discovery of 
that law, and so to the ultimate benefit of the human 
race ; and secondly, long and long before the human 
race can I'eap any benefit from it, we ourselves, on 
the spot, may turn it to the very best of purposes, 
to forming a noble character may bj- it lift our 
thoughts away from this world where so much is 
wrong to another world where all will be bright ; and 
so every trouble is but a reminder of the eternal 
happiness. '-Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye 
steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work 
of the Lord forasmuch as ye know that your labor 
is not in vain in the Lord." 



September 21, 1865. 

Thursday Mary came up in the morning and went 
to the reception with us in a great market wagon fur- 
nished with seats, something like a mountain wagon. 
The reception was very successful. There was plenty 
of food and very good, no rudeness, no rushing to 
the table, no boisterous laughing or talking. Every- 
thing was done decently and in order. After the 
white dancing was over Elias Haskell, his two daugh- 
ters, and another man danced. It was as good danc- 
ing as I ever saw, graceful, elastic, and lithe, not- 
withstanding their uncouth figures and large, heavy 
feet. Mr. French went away before the dancing 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 5 19 

began. Mrs. D. said she had done all she could 
warned Mr. French away, and told Peters ^ to get 
under the table and she would put the table-cloth over 
him. Mr. James wants to come down and see me, 
but I told him he had waited so long he might as well 
wait a little longer till I get my new carpet and then 
come down and inaugurate it. 

[To Mr. F.] 

September 23. 
I am sorry you are gone to Amherst. It was so 
nice to have you in Boston where I could run in and 
out and rest myself with the sight of your kindly face 
and the sound of your pleasant voice, and now you 
are miles and miles beyond reach, and my bird is 
dead and buried in a corner of my garden, and my 
garden itself is dust and ashes, dead of thirst while I 
was in Vermont, and besides, by and by, I was going 
to have an inaugural ball to commemorate the re- 
habilitation of my rooms, and invite you and have 
"refreshments," and where are you? AVound all uo 
in a cocoon of Agricultural Colleges and boarding. 
But then you are doing a good work, and I ought to 
be thankful the right man has got hold of it, and I 
am. Y'ou will be the first President. Only think 
what an old man you will be when posterity gets hold 
of you, a solemn stalking-horse (what that is I don't 
know) , as Cotton Mather and his like are to us. How 
few there will be who will feel that you ever made 
jokes or laughed heartily, wrote letters to me, nice 
ones too, and some not so nice, quite ill-natured, in 
fact ! "Where do you suppose you and I will be when 

1 The minister and deacon. Ed. 



520 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

the antiquarians are hunting up our dates in some old 
biographical dictionary, and what shall we be? 

October 7. 
One fact worthy of note I must not forget, that 
there is a telegraph running through Hamilton, though 
we shall derive little benefit from it except the 
pleasure of seeing it run. It follows the high-road. 
The wires are not yet up, only the poles. Last Sun- 
day Professor Jewett preached very acceptably the 
one who lost his leg by a railway accident several 
years ago, and then invented another in some points 
superior to the original. At the P.O. I found I had 
lost ray purse. I instituted a search and discovered it 
lying on the grass in front of the barn, where it had 
dropped the night before ; about twenty dollars in 
it. Thursday I had a letter from Whittier saying 
that he was ill and could not come, but would come 
some other time, unless the invitation was like rail- 
road tickets "good for this day only." Whittier's 
niece is going to school at Ipswich after Thanksgiving, 
and he wants me then to come over and make a long 
visit, and says: "Thee shall sleep on feathers above 
and below like a Dutch woman if thee like, and say 
and do just what thee pleases, and I will be pleased 
with everything." Friday evening in the coach came 
Judge French. We went over to Mr. D's for an hour, 
as they wanted to talk about the college. Mr. D. 
was expecting a negro lecturer there, and when we 
came supposed it was he and his wife till we were 
fairly in the house. His first coolness and his sec- 
ondary surprise were very comical. When we came 
back we got a little lunch, and sat up talking and 
walking, for he can keep still no more than I till I 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 521 

asked him what time it was. He said, oh ! no mat- 
ter, he didn't know what time it was. I said it must 
be as much as ten o'clock, and then he took out his 
watch and said it had been ten o'clock 'twas now 
about quarter after twelve, whereupon we adjourned 
the meeting. He went away in the 8.30 train. He 
is good-looking, rather short, very clean and nice, 
very penetrating eye, nervous, entertaining, says 
quaint little things in a quaint way. We had been 
disputing about something, and I said, " Mr. French, 
I am persuaded at heart we think alike if we could 
only know." "I flatter myself we don't," with a 
funny look that makes you laugh in spite of yourself. 
He is gentlemanly and orthodox, though, as he says, 
"not grossly so." He says he would rather be a 
puppy in a basket with three other puppies than pres- 
ident of a college in Amherst with only one other 
president in town, and he in the other basket ! 

I had a letter lately from Mr. Gage in Gotha, where 
the second wife and most of the children of Perthes 
live, and he knows them well and says they are in 
every sense the best people of Gotha. There is not 
a descendant of Perthes living who does not do honor 
to the founder of the family which I think is very 
remarkable. Mrs. Kev. Pike of Rowley drove over 
yesterday and brought Miss Annie Jacques, daughter 
of old Dr. Jacques, to whom mother used to go to 
school. They only stayed a short half hour. 

[To Judge French.] 

October 16. 
It is remarkable to see how full-grown men and 
women will behave like very children, but the world's 
work has to be done in spite of their weakness and 



522 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

evil behavior. Here, now, is tliis Agricultural Col- 
lege to be got under way, and you are the man to do 
it, and, if all sorts of pettinesses are to be encoun- 
tered, wh}'', then, you must encounter them, that's 
all. You must look at what is to be done, not at 
what stands in the way of its doing. When you are 
vexed by mean little personal piques, and small 
views and narrow jealousies, you must inwardly re- 
solve yourself to pass by a thousand leagues on 
the other side of them, so 3'ou shall malve even 
these stumbling-blocks stepping-stones to greatness. 
Above all things, don't let them sour and sharpen 
you, and destroy your peace of mind. I don't sup- 
pose any great thing was ever done without being sur- 
rounded by just such a fog of little things, only we 
don't always see them. 

Now if you pin me down to syllogisms, why, I 
confess I have not the smallest reason to offer for 
writing to you. I don't doubt your grandmother said 
all these things to you hundreds of years ago, and 
your mother repeated them, and "Pamela" fortifies 
you against all ills every day of her life, let alone 
your own good sense. Still, there never can a pie 
come mincing up but up jump I, and must immedi- 
ately put my finger in it. Moreover, don't you know, 
we all do things, sometimes, because we like to do 
them, rather than because we really expect to accom- 
plish anything by them? If you had broken your 
arm I should run in to see you next morning, with- 
out the smallest expectation of setting it, but simply 
because it was a matter of concern with mc that you 
had broken your arm. Well, now, isn't it a great deal 
worse to have stupid persons breaking your plans, or 
at least, straining and cracking them, than to have 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 523 

the forces of nature thumping at your bones? If yon 
only could come down and see me this morning ! 
There is a nice coal-fire, and it is so dismal out-doors. 
If all nice people could be born old friends how nice 
it would be ! There is this, however, that when things 
go smoothly I don't think I care much about people 
anyway, but when the rough and rasping comes, why, 
then I feel as if I would like to do something. I 
rather think I was born for adversity, as against pros- 
perity. When people are happy I don't in the least 
know what to do about it, except let them alone. 
When a gale ruffles the surface then you may at least 
keep a lookout. When you get tired and fretted you 
must comfort yourself with the end in view and 
what did the old Frenchman say? " Rest? I sliall 
have all eteruity to rest in " or something like that, 
somebody said. 

Quite an event happened in church yesterday. A 
miuister got hold of an idea, not our own, but a 
neighboring clergyman, a man of rut and routine, 
got a real, living truth on his lips, and announced it 
as the theme of his discourse, and I sat wondering 
whereunto this thing would grow, and mentally warn- 
ing him, a la Joe Gargery, " Pip, old chap, you'll do 
yourself a mischief. You can't have chawed it, 
Pip ! " However, he did no more harm with it than 
a child with a silver dollar. It was too big for him 
to swallow, so he did not strangle, and he was not 
strong enough to hurl it away, so he neither lost it 
nor broke the windows with it, but quietly put it in 
his pocket, and walked home under his umbrella, 
complacently unconscious of the jewel he had been 
sporting with. 

Now you have got into the Agricultural College, 



524 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

and yon must stay there till you can get into heaven, 
and never look back. It won't be a great while, any- 
way, and it does not matter much what we do for 
the few years we are here, if it is only honest work 
honestly done. And this is manifestly and preemi- 
nently your worlc. If it were all plain sailing any- 
body could do it. But if the sea is stormy so much 
the more need of a skilful mariner. 

Wherefore, I pray, the very God of peace sanctify 

you wholly. 

October 20. 

They are getting up a barrel of clothes here for the 
contrabands, and trying to get money enough to buy a 
new furnace for our side of the meeting-house. I 
gave a little money rather dubiously, as I am just 
now undecided as to whether it is not the best thing 
to tear down all our meeting-houses, throw ecclesias- 
ticism back to chaos, and see if we cannot crystallize 
anew into some better forms. At least, I should be 
glad of something that would make people study the 
Bible. However, I go to church regularly walking 
orderly and keeping the law like Paul, though I do 
not believe in it any more than he did by law I 
don't mean the doctrine of the Bible, but the com- 
mandments of men. 

[To Judge French.] 

November 14. 

I don't believe that stupidity is the essence of 
religion, nor strangeness the essence of reverence. 
It seems to me the good God himself must look upon 
sundry of our ecclesiastical antics as very ridiculous, 
let alone those which are something worse. I think 
you like me a little and I am very glad. I mean that 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 525 

you rather like me than otherwise. Every additional 
friend helps you to keep yourself in countenance. I 
don't know that humility is my weakness. I believe 
it is not generally so considered, but it always rather 
surprises me to be tolerated, I seem to myself so 
so dreadful, somehow, that I don't see what kind of 
eyes they can be that see otherwise. 

I do not think it is in the least odd that you should 
treasure up Mrs. S's letters if they are as good as 
those she writes me. They are better than most 
books. I should expect you to do the same with 
mine if they were one half as good, and not onl}^ 
that, but to publish them after my lamented demise, 
and my sole regret would be that I should not be 
alive to read them myself ! "What I should like in 
this world is perfect freedom of circulation among 
moral atomies just as there is among the physical 
atoms in water and air. I suppose it is on account 
of the hardness of our hearts that society is solid and 
not liquid. Nobody wants everything of anybody, 
but you do like one thing from one, and another from 
another, and if only there were no palings to forbid, 
how would one '' gather honey all the day from every 
opening flower" and nourish for himself such juicy 
life ! I see quite well that it is best as it is because 
life in ordinary is so very, very, very low but one 
can conceive it might be so high and heavenly that 
we might mount up with wings as angels. I some- 
times wonder whether the earth always will be so 
badly off as now. Certainly our lungs have a possi- 
bility of adaptation to sweeter airs, and our eyes are 
not blind in a purer light. Now you will be sure to 
say here that I think I am too good for this world. 
No, I don't think anything of the kind. I am not too 



526 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

good for the world as God made it, but I think I 
could stand a little better world than society has made 
it over ! I am not very good, though, and it does 
not matter much one way or the other. You need 
not give your false date to Mr. D. and your true 
one to mc, for he writes letters on Sundays, and 
reads the papers, and such things, which I don't. 
There is seldom any use in trying to reproduce things. 
You know I tried to make you all along be content 
with such things as yc have, and you are come to it 
at last. 

AVhat am I writing? A letter to you. My plans 
for winter? Nothing, only to live on, and on, and 
ou, till I am called hence ; and if God will only con- 
tinue to me health and strength to work, and work, 
and work, I will ask for myself nothing more ; that 
is, you know, nothing very strenuously. But, then, 
the Lord does not always give you what you ask ; so 
it is well always to be prepared for the worst, and 
the best way, I suspect, is to think nothing about it. 
I am real glad to be alive. I am glad I was born in 
the first place. It does not seem as if there was nny 
world till I came into it. Is that modesty? And 
when I think of the possibility even of living forever, 
and the sun growing every day brighter and the skies 
bluer, and the infinite heavens opening up to you, 
isn't it glorious? I wonder if lever shall sit down 
and have a real good long talk with Paul. I believe 
I like him the best of them all. I can't conceive he 
should ever take the least notice of me ; but if he 
should give lectures I could go and hear them, and 
there is so much true in heaven that one could very 
well afford to wait. If he is as far ahead there as he 
is here I should have to wait pretty long. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 527 

It is lovel}' Indian summer to-day, but the winter 
is upon as, for all that. And under the winter lies 
the spring hidden, and under all the springs the sun- 
shine of an unspeakable spring. Let us be as good 
as possible, that we may enter into its peace. I 
should like to see you to-morrow, but of course I 
cannot. I think it is an absohite pleasure to wish to 
see people and can't, compared with what it is to hate 
to see them and must. Do you suppose you would 
know it if I did not like you? Seems as if you 
would. Yet there are people whose faces enrage me, 
and they don't know it. I have the most violent 
dislike mere physical repulsion towards people 
against whose character I have nothing to say. I 
don't like to dislike persons, but I can't help it 
sometimes. 

Now good-by. Let not your heart be troubled 
about anything. I stood at the Salem station yester- 
day when both trains were expected, and the platform 
was crowded, and wondered whether, in the eyes of 
angels, we were more than so many ants crawling in 
and out of a hole. But Christ died for us. ITou 
can't get over that. And I suppose an ant is well 
enough off so long as he does not know there is an I, 
and so is not envious. Good-by. Be kind to me 
always, and believe that I wish to do you only good, 
and not evil, all the days of my life. By kind I mean 
you are always to interpret me according to your 
wishes, and not necessarily according to my mani- 
festation. Yet what hope is there that you will, 
since the Bible says that man looketh and must 
on the outward appearance, the Lord alone in the 
heart? and then I am afraid, too, the heart isn't any 
better than what is outside of it. 



528 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

November 16. 

I went to Boston Wednesday to Charles Street. 
At three o'clock a little diimer-party of five or six 
was sprung upon me unawares, which explained Mr. 
F's anxiety that I should be there that day. Miss 
Palfrey was of the number, and Mr, and Mrs. James, 
and Mr. Quincy, of Quiucy, son of Josiah, and grand- 
son of the first Josiah. I enjoyed it very much. 
Mrs. James is a fine woman, physically and morally, 
healthy and happy, and with great good sense. Mr. 
James is very funny, and uncommonplace and enter- 
taining. Mr. Quincy has a sliglit defect in speech 
and hearing, but is geutlemanly and refined. Aldrich, 
the poet, "a little New York poet," as one of our 
Boston solid men said, was there the latter part of 
the evening. 

November 27, 1865. 

In sight of Mrs. Spalding's house I saw Mr. G. W. 
Curtis just going in. He stayed there all night, so I 
had the pleasure of seeing something of him. After 
the lecture, Harriet Prescott, a Miss Andrews (who 
wrote "Seven Little Sisters," etc.), and a Mr. Hale 
came in by invitation, and we had oyster supper and 
talk, and a little more of the latter after they were 
gone, and went to bed about 1 A.M. Mr. Curtis is 
as agreeable in private as he is pleasing in public. 
He is natural, geutle, manly, refined, simple and 
unpi'etending, and quiet. I liked him very much. 
There is a certain lackadaisicalness in his published 
portrait which is not seen in his face. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 529 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

November 23, 1865. 

Desire my regards to Mrs. Bridge, and make my 
congratulations concerning tlie new carpet, but I think 
it can hardly be fairer than mine. Mine is of my own 
choosing. I might almost say of my own invention, 
since I described what I wanted, and this was pro- 
duced, and I had never seen anything of the kind. 
This, do you care to know, is a bed of moss, soft 
and damp and deep with little vines creeping through 
it, with the coolness of summer brooks breathing out 
of it and their murmur whispering up from its green- 
ness. Here the sunlight falls and rests, here the day 
softens its whiteness into dim religious light, and here 
my Madonna and her child, my poets and my dreams 
of fair women, my angels, and my wildwood flowers 
find a fitting background for their loveliness. Do 
not talk to me of carpets ! And through the windows 
the earth is putting off her robes of summer, yes, and 
her gorgeous autumn trappings, too, and the blue skies 
are doing their best to make us forget, in their splen- 
dor, the glories that have vanished. 

Miss Nettie's bonnet, I trust, is a little ultra. Her 
too adventurous pencil, let us hope, is hovering on the 
borderland of romance. My bonnet has not yet 
come home. When it does so I shall be better able 
to garner for you its golden drops. Meanwhile, my 
new dress is made and bordered with the most exqui- 
site chenille fringe, whose texture, color, and price 
would throw you into raptures, and a morning dress 
of poetic gray, the ashes of most tropical roses, 
bordered with silken green of the buds whence they 
sprang, rows upon rows, or you might spell it r-o-s-e 



530 GAIL PIAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

if you like, and fronted witli pearl buttons, shining as 
the stars, and trailing in all its green and rosy length 
behind me ah ! you should see that, if " a thing of 
beauty is a joy forever," but not upon me, lest your 
vision should fail to discern the appositeness of the 
([uotatiou. 

I went to Newburyport the other day and refreshed 
myself with my friends there, but Harriet Prescott is 
grown sadly thin. She is over- worked or she over- 
lives in some way. I met also a very charming Miss 
Andrews, one of a very charming family, painters of 
pictures and makers of books. 

I am going to have a new ring. An old friend and 
school-mate of mine ^ has just come home from a ten 
yeai's' wandering round the world, with an honest 
heart and a wholesome face, and brought me a bit of 
yellow gold, which I think can best be kept mine by 
being circled around my finger, so I shall have a souve- 
nir of the world and the eternity that preceded it. 

My mother desires to be remembered, and so does 
my sister, who receives your messages with that defer- 
ence which is your due, and reads your stories with a 
trust beautiful to see, but difficult (for me) to com- 
mand ! 

With which poisoned dart good-night. 

[To Judge French.] 

December 16, 1865. 

I am quite interested in your little honey-bee of a 
Hatty, who so skilfully has bought her cell, so neatly 
spread her whacks, and labors hard to store it well 
with the sweet food she makes. Only don't let Major 

> Oliver S. Cressy, Hamilton, Mass., died in 1900. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 531 

Bijah make haste to be rich. They are perfectly well 
off if they will only think so, and there is so much 
dignity in being grand in a small way ! 

You said if I did not much prefer to meet you than 
St. Paul in the skies, you would drop the correspon- 
dence ! Drop, then, for 1 don't. I never saw such an 
effect as a little social elevation will have even on a 
modest man. Before you were President you were 
agreeable and knew your place. Now you assume 
the god, affect to nod, and seem to shake the sphere, 
and you call Paul logical and hard, Paul with all 
his glow and glory, his logic throbbing with inward 
fire that shines through so bright, you are ready to 
think it not logic at all but passionate persuasion. I 
know they had poor low ideas, for such belong to 
their age, but you don't like people for their ideas 
but for themselves. Their character is much more 
themselves than their opinions. You say we have 
been improving too? But have they not eighteen 
hundred years the start of us in Hamilton I mean 
Heaven? Truly that was a mistake, and don't you 
suppose they are better off for being all that time iu 
Heaven and born, than we are for being on earth 
and not born, till a few minutes ago? I expect to 
enjoy Paul and the others, too. I think he was wrong 
in some things. I think if he had had more good 
women among his acquaintance he would have liked 
us all better. But that was a mistake of the head, 
not of the heart. I think he was just the man whom 
a right sort of wife would have finished up, and he 
would have made her happy. And I hope the time 
will come when I shall sit down by Paul, and take 
his two hands and say in what beautiful heavenly 
words I may know how to use, "Paul, beloved, 



532 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 



glorious, manly, fiery, dear old Paul, almost as soon 
as you got to Heaven, didn't you know you were 
wrong, and aren't you glad to have me like you, 
and won't 3'ou go and take a walk some time and 
tell me all about it?" And he will be just as sweet 
and gentle and smiling and good natured as an 
angel can be who was a good sort of man to begin 
with, and has been growing good all the time for 
eighteen hundred years, and is therefore pitiful to 
all poor little know-nothings lost in the snow like 
me. 

Thank you for your haggyrogometer, but we don't 
want it. We've got a pump in the sink. It won't 
pump anything, to be sure, but there 'tis. We've 
got a new well, too, with four feet of water in it 
and likely to stay there, unless we walk down and 
dip it out. Still, it is a handy thing to have round. 
Have you seen the face in "Robertson's Life and 
Letters"? I think it is a wonderful face, and he was 
a wonderful man too, a little morbid, owing proba- 
bly to disease, not so strong as he would have been 
if he had been quite well. If he had only been a 
little stronger we should never have known how 
strong he was as the measure of our weakness 
is the measure of our strength if we conquer it. 
However, as a general thing, people judge you by 
what you complain of, not by what you endure, so 
that the outcry does really sometimes diminish the 
pain. Yet hardly in his case for his sorrow was 
loneliness which is irremediable. But should you 
think any one who was happily married could have 
suffered so from mere loneliness? Are not husband 
and wife company? Suppose outsiders did oppose 
to meet them was his mission. I am sorry I 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 533 

began on this subject, for its proper treatment re- 
quires an octavo volume with a preface, appendix, 
and copious illustrations. And then you wouldn't 
read it if I wrote it. A Merry Christmas to you 
and a Happy New Year. 

January 17, 1866. 

I meant to send you a letter yesterday, not that 
you deserve one at all at my hands, but I had a quite 
nice little fit of sickness, headache and chills, and 
fainting and onions, and hot water and everything, in 
good shape. To-day I am better, but not quite 
natural again. Sore throat and such things, you 
know, and nothing tastes right. So give me the credit 
once of being ill. 

You have written me two letters, both of which 
need attention. Your letters are generally rather 
provoking. That word has two meanings, you know. 
Doesn't the apostle, or some of your favorite friends, 
speak of provoking to love and good works ? Perhaps 
that is the kind you mean. I am always afraid you 
have forgotten all about your own letter, and if you 
don't recall it you must take my word for it that I 
asked you a civil question, and you replied with a page 
or two of utterly irrelevant what I do not ill-char- 
acterize when I call it "stuff." I ask you some- 
thing about Mr. Robertson, and you reply with a 
tangle of talk about my husband and children, besides 
a great deal of bad talk about the man himself. I 
believe I loill write a paper and put you in it. 

What has the resurrection of the body to do with 
husband and wife? If there's enough of you left in 
the next world to be yourself who cares what is 
gone. For my part, I can't say I have such an 



534 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

admiration of ray body as to make things hinge on it 
so much. 

What do I do all winter? I am as busy as a bee 
from morning till night only yesterday, when I lay 
on the sofa all day, a heap of blankets burning hot, 
and with a hard headache, meditating whether we 
were not irresistibly gravitating towards univei'sal 
suffrage, and upon the general tendencies of things. 
"We don't have a great deal of company, and we don't 
go away much, but the days are never long. But we 
do have the best of company. Swinburne has been 
down here for three weeks or so, charming me with 
his choruses, and Mill is always here at call, which is 
about once a year. He is a great rest and solace and 
hope to me. I have a call evei'y evening from Louis 
Napoleon, but I cannot say I find him very entertain- 
ing. But he brings a very charming companion 
one About. In fact, it would take me a long while 
just to name the people who come to see me, and who 
talk their very best in my society. But I see them 
only in the evening all the morning I am frittering 
away my time about the house, and the rest of the day 
I am fretting other people with my gray goose quill, 
and in the evenings I have my receptions. I know 
all about M. Angelo, Esq., and his bar, and when 
you come down here to read Tennyson, I will tell 
you, I wish this was a nice letter, but I know it 
isn't as well as 3'ou. But don't you think it is good 
in me to write at all when I am sick, just to please 
you? Now if you had been having roasted onions 
and hot paving-stones and things all night, you would 
think you must have Pamela waiting upon you all day 
by inches, as she would and be glad of the chance. 
I wish you would pay her my regards and say to her 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 535 

that I am glad to bear her say some sensible things 
which I believe, but which if I state are at once met 
with "you don't know anything about it." 

I am very busy indeed. I shall not go to Wash- 
ington this winter. 

I am glad you had fifty dollars to send to your 
mother and that she had a son to send it to her. 
What is going to become of me when I am old and 
gray-headed? I don't know and I don't much care if 
I can only have my health and my senses. But you 
know, don't you, that by an injury when I was a little 
child I lost the sight of one eye, and there comes over 
me a great dread sometimes lest I may lose the other, 
and have a horror of great dai'kness. If I were 
married I should have somebody whose duty it would 
be to look after me, but, on the other hand, how 
fearful to be such a burden on anybody's hands, so I 
congratulate myself after all that there is nobody who 
must do it, whether or no. There will be some little 
room for choice. I hope I shall have money enough 
to take care of me in case worse comes to worst, but 
I find myself sometimes involuntarily trying to buy 
off Providence. I sort of bargain with the Lord if 
He will only give me my senses and a usable degree 
of health I won't mind any amount of work or dis- 
appointment, or abuse, or anything of the sort. And 
I hope He will, and anyway you are sure He will do 
what is not only right but best, so let us not worry, 
you and I, about the future, but trust and for the 
rest, help, Lord, our unbelief ! 

It is quite touching that you should have to make 
such an exertion to be amiable. It comes just as easy 
to me! except in the matter of onions. The utmost 
I can do for you there is to promise not to eat them 



536 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

when I am expecting you. Still, you are an improve- 
ment on Byron, who never wanted to see a woman 
eat at all. You can bear the act, but reluct from 
certain departments. How unfortunate that the 
pleasing vegetable should have such low associations. 
It is sweet to the taste and good for food. Can't we 
get Miss Prescott to write it up, extol its globular 
shapeliness, its pearly hues, its pungent sweetness, 
the succulent strength it distils in the underground 
crucibles, etc., etc., etc., and so rescue it to higher 
compauy and a loftier life ? One can no longer say 
Miss Prescott. I am glad she is married. 

My verses what made you think of that ? You 
don't know what an avalanche you were attempting 
to pull down on your head when you asked for all I 
have. I have written quantities of it first and last ; 
a good deal that is not in my possession now. AYhat 
ode do you mean? I send you two, not odes, but 
versicles, but they both had something to do with 
farming, if that's what you are after. I don't know 
when they were written, and I send you some others 
that I happened to know were in a box and send-able. 
But most of my verses were written long ago, in the 
depths of an obscurity that I never dreamed would be 
penetrated, and were, therefore, very much more, 
very different from what they would have been, had 
the coupling of my name with G. H. ever occurred to 
me as one of the possibilities. My only hope is that 
they will be allowed to rest in peace in the old news- 
papers where they lie buried. For the greater part, 
they are but the outcry of a lost soul, and of no sort 
of literary value. I cannot tell you with what infinite 
pity I look back upon the unspeakable loneliness and 
bewilderment of m^* youth. It does not seem that I 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 537 

am the same person. I sometimes think the sorrows 
of young people are the saddest things in life. It is 
so overpowering. They do not know how to locate 
them any more than your fellows know where to put 
the college. I don't know whether my experience is 
common to the race or not. I don't know that I had 
any more external trouble than others had, or have, 
except that there is no sense in fighting it out on 
this line indefinitely. Only you see how I could not 
possibly think of sending you those safety-valve ver- 
sicles. 

What strange things moods are! Does it or 
doesn't it seem sometimes as if you are at a liquid 
heat, and all your secrets melt out of you, and when 
you cool and harden again you execrate it all, and 
pray to be turned forever into cast iron? Now, I 
want to say something here, real good, and I want 
to say it real hard, but I am afraid you would laugh. 
T know there are concomitants, circumstances, and 
things under which I could say it, and it would be 
very sweet and solemn, and nobody would think of 
laughing ; but paper is so white, and ink so black, 
and writing so definite, and snow so cold. Do you 
think I have lost my mind? I never liad such a great 
sight to lose. 

Society is chiefly impersonal, and you may as well 
make up your mind to it; and my society will always 
be for you fragmentary and unsatisfactory. Do you 
see there the quiet lurking assumption that if it were 
not fragmentary it would be satisfactory ? But the 
truth is I am a sort of irrepressible conflict, always 
starting out and drawing back, which gives me a 
jerkiness that is, to say the least, not pleasing ; so 
you need not ladle out the fact to me under the head 



538 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

of recent intelligence ; and the next letter I write to 
you is going to be about reconstruction, and the solar 
system, and the extradition treaty, and similar sensi- 
ble objective, but not objectionable; I might say 
therefore not objectionable. 

February 5. 

I shall not write you much of a letter this time. 
I have such a pile of them to dispose of that I shall 
snub all those who are good enough to stand snub- 
bing, of whom you are chief, and this ink is so 
hateful ! My kingdom for a bottle of good black 
ink. 

I went to Amesbury Tuesday, and ate ambrosia 
and drank nectar on Olympus till Thursday, and 
really did have some honey from Hymettus. It was 
bitter. But for the name of it I would far rather 
have my own maple syrup, "Italian sunset," 
wrought from the life of New Hampshire forests, of 
such lucent sweetness as you and Pamela well know. 
From Amesbury to Newburyport, and on board tbc 
new ship " Montana " from stem to stern, and am 
learned in mastheads, and forecastles, and between- 
decks, and the cabin M'as all velvet and shine and 
lovely ; but oh ! to go to bed in a box ! Would one not 
better wait till one can see foreign countries with less 
trouble ; and I went on a sleigh-ride, and was thank- 
ful for the kind hand that drove mc ; but oh ! it was 
so cold ; and when you wish to be civil to me, ask me 
to come in and sit on the sofa, or to take a drive into 
the country some fine midsummer morning, but don't 
ask me to go sleigh-riding. And Friday evening 
Mrs. S. up and gave a party, and Saturday I came 
to Ipswich, and visited my constituency, and then I 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 539 

came home, and put off my silks and fine array, my 
smiles and languished air, and turned Cinderella, and 
made up the coal fires, and here I am. 

My verses, well, you show a very carping dispo- 
sition as well as great and unjustifiable avarice. Be 
thankful for what you get, sir, and be warned by the 
unhappy fate of your gi-eat ancestor, Oliver Twist, 
" Take the good the gods provide thee." I know by 
your letter which one you have been reading most, 
and been most impressed by. It is the "Battle 
Song," especially the two lines 

" Have you counted up tlie cost, 
What is gained and what is lost? " 

Well, did I not tell you it would be so? And if 
you have made a disastrous exchange with your 
mind's eye, Horatio, must I put on sackcloth and 
ashes? and my blue dress still in its first freshness. 
I think it was very good of you to take me around to 
those places in Boston. I am deeply convinced of it, 
because the Police Court and such things can have 
very little charm for you who have lived there all 
your days. Sometime, perhaps, it will come iu my 
way to do something for you. Probably I shall not do 
it, long disuse having marred the faculty ; but I will 
please myself with thinking that I shall, which will 
be the next best thing. 

I would not go to Washiugton, it is so cold, and 
the houses there do not know how to warm them- 
selves. The blessing of Heaven rest upon you aud 
yours ! 

And if I say yours truly will it be blessing myself? 
Well, I need it, too, so 

Yours truly. 



540 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

February 19. 

My mother wants me to go to Washington. She 
informed me Saturday night that she thought I was 
confining myself too closely, that I was growing old 
faster than I ought, and I had better go to AVashing- 
ton. I didn't. I went to bed instead and slept all 
night soundly ; got up Sunday morning and stirred 
round among the coal fires and got up a color, and 
then struck an attitude before the glass, and informed 
her that I thought I looked real young and handsome. 
She was obliged to admit both counts, though she 
rather demurred on the latter. But, of course, you 
can't look so fresh and strong after six days of work 
as you can in the morning when you are beginning to 
rest. And then as if to drive me to despair and octo- 
genariaiicy at one fell swoop, you must needs come 
up and shame me on the subject of my curls, as if I 
was not ashamed enough already, especially in view 
of what they will be a few years hence. I have the 
consolation of knowing that caps are becoming to me, 
but how dispose of the waste land that stretches be- 
tween curls and caps ? As for you or any other man 
telling me to comb my hair out straight and put it up 
in the orthodox fashion simply because I happen to 
be the last of the three /'s you may tell me " till the 
sun grows cold and the stars are old " and I won't do 
it, because why should a woman make a fright of 
herself? My hair looks better down than it does up. 
Nature speaks louder for down hair than for up hair. 
Art's hair is always down more than it is up, and it is 
only a frightful tyrant who would have mc go 

I stopped just there and went down to breakfast 
and the post-office, and have forgotten what I was 
going to say, so I will foreclose the mortgage with a 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 541 

sentiment which is always in order, viz., Britons never 
will be slaves ! 

And you are in Washington. I wonder if anybody 
is alive now that was there when I was there. D. W. 
Bartlett, of the "Independent" and " Congregation - 
alist," I knew a little. There were the Parkers and 
the Lindsleys, and one B. B. French I saw one even- 
ing, and Jane C. and her mother, who were individual, 
and always amused me greatly, and Mr. George Wood, 
if you want to talk about me, he is your man, and 
Mr. Welling, of the "Intelligencer," I used to know; 
he always knew everything, and Mr. Goodloe was a 
good sort of man, and there was a clever little artist, 
I have forgotten his name, I wonder what has 
become of him. Well, I won't go on with my cata- 
logue, only I hope you will have a nice visit. The 
Rollinse^" are nice. He is the Commissioner of In- 
ternal Revenue, and she is a gem of a woman. 

Why don't you ask me to explain the bar of Michael 
Angelo when I keep forgetting it? Because you fear 
your own discomfiture and disdain recoiling on your- 
self, but I have no pity on you and here it is. Don't 
you know that in heraldic phrase the " bar" is one 
of the " honorable ordinaries " of the escutcheon? It 
consists of two lines drawn horizontally across the 
field, and contains one-fifth part of it. 

Now I suppose Mr. Tennyson meant to say that his 
friend Arthur w^as one of nature's noblemen that, 
like the great Italian artist, the shape and conforma- 
tion of his eyebrows, and that part of the forehead 
directly above, bore an ungainly resemblance to the 
heraldic bar, and gave to his whole features the stamp 
and impress of a rank such as no heraldic escutcheon, 
however richly emblazoned, could bestow. 



542 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

' ' The king can make a belted knight, 
A Marquis, Duke, and a' that." 

But to make a raaa of noble soul, endow him with 
true genius, and write upon his brow, in legible char- 
acters, the appropriate heraldic emblems of such a 
nobility. 

I will tell you somebody I like General Howard. 
He is charming. Have you read "Snow-Bound"? 
If you don't delight in it henceforth we are 
strangers. 

It is lovely to-day, and only think how near to 
spring ! But it has been a good old winter to me, 
and I won't complain of it. The hens suffered them- 
selves to be deceived by the sunshine, and have been 
cackling away famously. My, how beautiful mud is 
with the sun shining on it ! You know summer lies 
luider it, and I don't object to being in it if I am 
properly equipped. Don't you think Helen's story is 
a nice one? I like to read good things. Only when 
I read other people's things it makes me hate my 
own. 

March 7. 

It is as cold as winter and windy as March. But 
the hounds of spring are on winter's traces, says 
Algernon Charles, and I water my garden already 
every morning against the drought of August. One 
of our hens laid a pair of Siamese twins eggs the 
other day. This is a plain, unvarnished tale. If 
they keep till next summer I will show them to you. 
There is a little canal that joins them, only it is broken 
in two. 

AVill you please present my sincere regard and 
condolence to P. and M. ? The latter I know very 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 543 

well from a beautiful new mattress which she once 
made out of an old straw bed or something, with 
everybody in Washington to help her except the 
Commissioner of Public Buildings, who coldly stood 
aloof and was content to be the historian of the ex- 
ploit. Are the hyacinths out in the Capitol grounds ? 
Oh, how beautiful they used to be ! I wish it might 
be summer all the year round. I wish I lived in 
a garden-house. How lovely it was in the hot- 
houses in Washington, all dewy and cool, just as it 
was in the garden of Eden -which Bcla Benjamin 
has preempted, according to your account, for his 
own use ! Must I then leave thee (in) Paradise ? 

[To Mk. Wood.] 

March 12, 1866. 

Your following out the parallel of Andy Johnson 
and Moses was very ingenious and quite profane, 
which is nothing remarkable for you ! Fred. Douglass' 
" Moses and Pharaoh " was apt, was it not? Things 
are pretty bad to be sure, but I don't think we have 
come to quite so narrow a pass yet as to call for a 
dissolution of the Universe. The fact is you are so 
impatient to verify your conjectures about the ora- 
torios of Heaven and the sermons of the Golden- 
mouthed Chrysostom, that, not content to wait the 
slow footsteps of time, you seize the smallest hitch in 
affairs as an opportunity to end the world. A general 
"smash-up" is your grand panacea for all ills. I 
imagine you rubbing your hands in glee over every 
new development of iniquity, and saying exultantly, 
Oh, ah ! Now it's coming. For my part I am willing 
to do a little more tinkering on the old earth before I 
fling it into the furnace altogether. 



544 (>AIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

[To Mr. French.] 

March 26. 
Fortunately when my canary, Cheri, died he left a 
trunkful of seed with which I have regaled the poor 
little birds. They come hopping under the window 
homely little things just like mice what do you call 
them? I wish tliey would come on the roof of the 
piazza, but they don't yet. When Cheri died I was 
glad for one thing he always seemed lonely, and I 
felt it was too bad to keep him alone, and I could 
not have the care of little birds, and I think it is 
wicked to bring even little birds into life unless you 
can give them the best chance at happiness. Why 
don't you read " Snow-Bound "? I have had another 
bad cold, but it lasted only three days for I wrapped 
my head up so violently that the cold had to go off to 
get a breath of air. 

March 30. 
Major's verses are something better than pretty. 
The poetry of them has a basis of solid fact. What 
nonsense a sensible man will talk about love ! The 
sensible man here means you, and it naturally fol- 
lows that the nonsense is yours. In some respects 
you are sensible, you have a fineness of sense quite 
rare indeed, but you have a materialistic way of 
thinking quite shocking. You can never seem quite 
to cease being surprised that M. E. loves her hus- 
band, who is twice as old as she. Will you be so 
good as to tell me whether our loves must be strictly 
contemporary, must be always a matter of time? Do 
you suppose if you and I should go to Heaven we 
shall confine ourselves to the society of those who 
were born about the same year we were ? Don't you 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 545 

see that in this world the disparity of age constantly 
diminishes? The difference between a day-old baby 
and a five-year-old baby is Heaven-wide, but five 
years at fifty is just nothing at all. By the time a 
woman is thirty years old I take it she knows what 
she likes as well as she knows it at fifty. Her tastes 
will strengthen and purify themselves all that time, 
but will scarcely change their direction. The kiod of 
character that pleased her at thirty will please her at 
fifty. Now if a woman at thirty sees a man whose 
mental stature and moral grace meet her standard, 
why should she even think of how long it has taken 
him to attain it six or sixty or six hundred are all 
one. 

As for his love for her, I don't know about that. 
Sometimes it seems to me that men love their second 
wives better than their first. Or is it only that they 
better know by experience a woman's nature and so 
are more tender of her, are less inconsiderate and 
more watchful, know more, and therefore behave 
better. If there is love there need be no theorizing, 
since that adjusts all things. 

Oh, how little you know of the realities of life ! 
Dreaming away the happy hours in your rural retreat, 
while here am I fronting its stern realities. Since I 
began this letter, intending to finish it at one sitting, 
how many things have happened. First, down comes 
a new writing-desk and chair, the former full of little 
nooks and drawers and shelves, so that I cannot get 
things out of order however hard I try ; the latter a 
great lounge of a thing, green rep, black walnut, a 
reclining-chair swinging back, you know, when you 
wish, and of course my old table and go-cart are 
hustled aside without ceremony. Then the man came 



546 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

to see about the pump, and then the well betrayed 
symptoms of caveinatura all your learning won't 
help you in unravelling that, so I will just tell you it 
is the Latin future infinitive, and means being about 
to cave in, and I have been tearing around through 
the country at the greatest rate, but preserving always 
that sweetness of temper which makes me beloved by 
all who know me. And I have two rings, one new, and 
one old re-stoned and generally renovated and made 
into a seal ring, and this day is the very queen of 
days, warm and full of sunshine and heart-opening 
and I am as bland as this April day for all the caving- 
in of the well, and the thumby fingers of our Irishman, 
who is good-tempered enough, but not stocked with 
original ideas, and not gifted with power of adapting 
the original ideas of others to practical uses. And 
more than all, Mr. Bradley's bone factory is burned, 
bones and all, I see by the morning's paper, and where 
is my phosphate of lime to come from that was to turn 
my wilderness into a rose garden? For it was Mr. 
Bradley who promised me unlimited phosphate as soon 
as the spring opened. And the spring has opened so 
smilingly, and to think that as long as you live the 
spring will open just so every year, and if one only 
has health to enjoy it, how happy one may be ! Spring 
always gives me a kind of on-look into the next world, 
somehow. I always think of heaven in the spring, 
and the rainbow of promise is never so bright, so 
glorious, in its perfect arch. Every good thing and 
every pleasant thing seems more possible. It is 
easier to hope and to love and to believe. And now 
I have had a new entry lamp come, the most splendid 
thing in bronze and gilt and red glass, only I am 
afraid it is too fine for our quiet ways do you think 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 547 

it is too fine ? and it has broken in upon my heavenly 
meditations in a very earthly way. This letter is per- 
fect patchwork. I don't more than begin a sentence, 
and somebody comes, or something happens. 

Is it " hard for a woman to have no home of her 
own, no husband and children"? Well, perhaps you 
are right, but the trouble I have happened to see in 
the world has come so largely iu connection with the 
husband and children that possibly I have failed to 
give to the other side the attention it desei'ves. I 
suppose the husband-and-child idea is the natural one, 
but we have so mistaken the letter for the spirit, and 
so crushed the spirit under the letter, and so crucified 
the spirit with the letter, and so lost the spirit and 
exalted the letter, that sometimes I feel rather dis- 
gusted with the whole thing, and would fain have a 
century or two of silence and darkness if perhaps our 
holy things might throw off their defilement and the 
whole earth be sweetened and sanctified. I am glad 
you gave Helen the money. I wish men would always 
be good to women. It is so much the truer way. It 
is horrible to have to claim things, to demand justice, 
to defend yourself. I saw the first robin yesterday 
morning, a great red-breasted, bold fellow he was, 
hopping about my garden and picking up his crumbs 
to begin housekeeping. It is so fascinating now. I 
think it is all very well to mate our pretty birds if our 
pretty birds wish to mate, provided always Birdus is 
able to provide for the wants of Birda and, further, if 
Birdus and Birda together can take proper care of 
Birdies, let them fill their nest at their own sweet will 
and make the heavens ring with music. Do you not 
say so, little Robin Red-Breast? No, you say nothing 
9,bout it. You only hop over the wakening buds and 



548 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

thegreening bank, and sing " like mad," because you 
and your wee wife have no prudential reasons, and no 
inherited evils, but just live and love in blameless 
unconsciousness and when we get to that it will be 
a happy day for us. 

If I can think of it I am going to seal this letter 
with my new ring. I was out gardening this morning. 
I should be glad to be out-doors, if it were only to 
pick up stones, and there is plenty of tha,t to do on 
our farm. I wish you would come down and see how 
lovely Hamilton is in warm weather. There is noth- 
ing under Heaven like this thrilling, glorious, warm 
sunshine. My honeysuckle is all budding out, and I 
think the two little elm trees that were set out last 
fall are in the same predicament. 

Yours respectfully. 

April 18. 

You speak of the diversity of tastes that come with 
difference of years. Very true, and if that diversity 
exists it just keeps the two people apart. They don'!; 
think of falling in love with each other. If they do 
fall in love it shows simply that the resemblance, or 
rather the the relation, that exists between them 
is deeper, more essential than any outward circum- 
stance can mar. That is all there is about it, and if 
you go and say anything more it will be irrelevant 
and probably irreverent. Then you say men don't 
fall in love with men, nor women with women. Beg- 
ging your pardon, they do, not very often, I fear, but 
if you had read your Bible a little more I think you 
would have known that Jonathan's love to David was 
great, passing the love of women. 

It does not require a great deal of sagacity in your 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 549 

Excellency to discover that I do not think the love 
between married people is heavenly and purely spirit- 
ual when I have thundered from the house-tops these 
dozen years that it is too often, indeed shamefully 
often, of the earth, earthy. But pray, you, do not 
deny the possibility, and occasionally the existence, 
and sometimes the proper preponderance of the 
heavenly element. 

Nor is it Providence at all, but President, who has 
mixed up things (with some personal malice, con- 
cerning which I shall maintain a dignified silence), in 
putting children into the hands of " two foolish young 
creatures," instead of " sensible, considerate spinsters, 
who know how to take care of them." Providence 
originally made perfect arrangements, but presidents 
and judges and others have so spoiled their part of 
the play that the whole is in danger of failure. But 
the remedy is to carry out the designs of Providence, 
not to bring in any new ones of our own. I should 
think any one who had been familiar with police 
courts or with the world at large would feel that the 
" mother's inspiration," or the father's, or somebody's, 
is very much at fault, or stands very much in need of 
outside assistance. At any rate, it would seem diffi- 
cult to pronounce one's self, on the whole, quite satis- 
fled with results ; and till results are most satisfactory, 
the world must submit to see spinsters, considerate or 
otherwise, dinging at processes. 

Your chronological argument is be^'ond praise. 
Seeing life is so short in this world and so long here- 
after, is it any matter whether children are educated or 
not, or taken care of or not, here? I will endeavor 
to answer you with patience. If by leaving the chil- 
dren uneducated and to themselves we simply de- 



550 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

layed their development, if they would thus remain 
in ever^^ respect babies, in short, if it were merely a 
question of time, the case would be a plausible one ; 
but when you reflect that no such thing is possible 
that no education is mis-educatiou you will see 
that the eternity of life, so far from being a ground 
for neglect, is the strongest reason for unceasing- 
vigilance. As the soul is to grow on forever, is it 
not of the first importance that it should start sym- 
metrical ? Mere intellectual information or mere 
happiness is of second consequence, there will be 
time enough for them by and by, but character must 
be seen to now. There is not a moment to spare. 
The president of an agricultural college needs not to 
be reminded of the character stamped upon a tree by 
the first few years, perhaps months, perhaps weeks of 
its existence. 

As for infants being foredoomed to wrath, I be- 
lieve we are all foredoomed to logical sequences ; 
that men do not gather grapes of thorns or figs of 
thistles in this world or any other. And uow I am 
going over the hills and far away to " the house where 
I was born, the little window where the sun came 
peeping in at morn. He never came a wink too soon 
nor brought too loug a day. Yet never have I wished 
the night had borne my breath away." I also am going 
to a sugar party that is, we are going to send our 
jug to New Hampshire for syrup. 

What injunction do you want off your college, and 
what do you expect me to do about it ? Tell you how 
sorry I am , and then get laughed at for my pains ? 
and good enough for me. The fact is, people can 
help one another in gardening and cooking and dress- 
making ; but when it comes to trouble you must bear 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 551 

it yourself. What another person can help you there, 
is not visible to the naked eye. It is fearful some- 
times when one has a revelation in a flash of one's 
isolation, but generally we think of nothing but our 
gregariousuess. 

I have been and got back again a charming 
walk. Winter went away suddenly after noon, and 
summer came warm and welcome. If you had been 
with me on the bright hill-sides I do not think even 
that could have disturbed my enjoyment. I thought 
of you down by the brook, and wished I could sliow 
you the clear water flowing over golden pebbles. No 
Pactolus could be more beautiful. Oh ! it is glorious 
to-day. It was perfect delight out on the hills all 
alone ; no road, nor house, nor anything in sight; all 
the life behind me and all heaven before. How inex- 
plicable, mysterious, can't-give-a-reason-for-it-ous, is 
joy and sorrow, too one's moods. 

April 28. 

That little picture is just one of the darlingest little 
things I ever saw in my life, and I have a great mind 
not to send it back. It is a frolicsome little rosue : 
one to be hugged and kissed and played with into a 
frenzy of fun. Ask Dan if he is not sorr}' he had to 
grow up, for he cannot ever be so nice again as he 
was then ; not but that he is very nice now, but never 
a sweet little morsel. That is how I like Dan 
small and cunning and unconscious and eager. And 
here is a good place for a short sermon to come in, 
and this is the text : 

" The Lord puts the character of the tree into the 
inmost heart of the seed, and no caie and no neglect 
can change it forever," and so forth. We learn from 



552 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

our text, first, that no education, no genius ever will 
insure a man against error egregious and dreadful 
muddle. For here we have a president of an agricult- 
ural college telling wicked stories about the good 
Lord as fast as he can run a pen, and giving the lie 
to all agricultural dogmas besides. For we all know 
that care and neglect do change the character of trees 
and men, though they do not change their nature. 
An apple-tree that has been well cultivated has a very 
different character from one that has been neglected, 
though it is still an apple-tree ; and President French 
is requested to present himself for admittance to the 
infant class of some primary agricultural school to 
learn the rudiments of the science. 

No, I do not care about fishing, though I have no 
objection to catching sardines from a tin box in a sea 
of oil, and I like broiled mackerel, something 
tender, and salty, and buttery, and nice, but I don't 
like to see fishes wriggle with a hook in their tongue. 

Here is a suggestive little juxtaposition in a letter 
I received from a distinguished friend lately : " Come 
down and help us begin life anew. I am going to 
keep account of the expense of feeding people." And 
1 suppose you think I am a good one. Thank you ; 
well, 1 am. I am healthy and hearty, should have 
shocked Lord Byron, and would have done it with a 
good will for his silly conceit. 

I was not born in any house you ever saw, so they 
say. Some day in sunshiny weather, when you 
happen to be down here, I will take you across the 
fields to the places where I grew in sun and shade. I 
wish you would stop talking about love and women, 
and things you don't know anything about. There 
are colleges and farms, and books, and plenty of sub- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 553 

objects for intelligent and useful conversation without 
running your head against a stone wall. I never did 
see a man who combined such extremes of wisdom 
and absolute dead-set, wilful stone-blindness. There ! 
I wonder if I had better cut off the head of my 
Siberian honeysuckle. I bought a jack knife for the 
purpose the other day, but as I stand meditating over 
it my heart misgives me. I should like to live on a 
great farm which had a splendid farmer at the head 
of it, and plentj^ of men for the body of it, and women 
that were cunning in butter and cheese, with nothing 
to do but to go from pillar to post and see things 
grow, and watch the chickens and goslings and birds 
and other little ducks. That is my world. You see 
how near I come to it. But one never can be thankful 
enough that one is well, and comfortable in mind, 
body, estate, and friends. So when I say what I like, 
you understand I am not fretting about what I may 
happen not to like in all its ramifications. It would 
be very wicked and unnecessary. When I compare 
my situation with that of most others, I am afraid to 
think a thought of even fretting because laborers are 
deceitful, which is, I believe, my chief trouble nowa- 
days. But then, you see, I am prompt myself, and 
it shatters my patience sadly to have people promise 
to come in a week and not come for a fortnight. And 
people that belong to the church, too ! ! Do you not 
like to have nothing to do, not permanently, of course, 
but just for a little while, in spring, say, nothing in 
particular only stroll about and soakxn the warm, lazy 
air? 



554 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

May 17, 1866. 
Enjoy life as it goes, let the crickets sing under 
your hearth and the mice nibble upon it, write joyfully 
on your ancient desk, we have just such a one in 
our kitchen, sniff the scent of the apple-blossoms, 
and be at peace. I wanted much to hear Mr. Durant 
when I was in Boston, but I think he was not there. 
I have great hopes of him. I heard Mr. E. I do 
not like him I do not believe in E-dom. I do not 
impugn his motives or his character. If he would be 
a good, quiet man and come down to Hamilton and 
carry on a farm, or work in a shoe-shop, and go to 
prayer-meetings he would doubtless be of use in the 
world, and a valuable accession to society, but 
preached up in Dr. Kirk's pulpit and printed up in the 
" Cougregationalist," and put forward in all the 
churches, I consider him an evil thing under the sun. 
That is my impression from one half day's experience 
of him, and how ever is the world going to be re- 
deemed, will you tell me that? I wanted to find out 
something about the revival and I went to one of the 
Park-street prayer-meetings. It was held in a cellar, 
for one thing, and it was dark and dingy and dismal 
out of the bright, warm, sunny, living street into the 
gloom, it struck me with a chill. Nobody was there, 
after awhile people strayed in by ones and twos, all 
women to a man ( !), old and wrinkled and ugly and 
desolate looking. Now, I don't object to these 
women that they were old and ugly. On the contrary, 
I have great admiration for such, self-conceit being 
my great weakness and if they, being desolate and 
forlorn, can find comfort in prayer-meeting it is as 
good a result as prayer-meetings can show. AVell, 
after awhile, a few persons came in who seemed to be 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 555 

still living, to have part and lot in the present world, 
men and women. And the singing and praying 
went on without lagging, but without enthusiasm, 
without manifest liearty delight and uuconqueraMe 
purpose. And if this is a revival prayer-meeting, 
what is a prayer-meeting without revival, and if this 
is Boston in a religious excitement, what is Boston 
when she is dead in trespasses, in sins? And if re- 
ligion is not for the young and gay and happy and 
fashionable and learned and aesthetic, go to ! 

I went to Boston to see some friends sail for 
Europe, and on the clean deck of the steamer, witli 
sky and sea so blue, so calm, a voyage to Europe 
seemed no more than a river-sail, and the old lougins: 
held me one breathless moment. If I should outlive 
ray mother I may go to Europe, for my life then will 
have no special value, and if the sea swallows me up, 
I shall hardly be missed. Yet I think I could scarcely 
bring myself to go unaccompanied by some one whose 
business was to look out for me in case of shipwreck. 
I am not afraid to live alone, and we must die alone, 
whether or no, but I should not like to drown alone. 
I should not like to plunge down alone into the horror 
of waters, but with some friend who would hold me 
all tight, and hide my face, it seems less terrible. 

My mother desires her regards and begs you to send 
her two of your turkeys' eggs. You will have five 
left then, and can alTord to be generous. She has 
been in vain pursuit of turkeys' eggs all the spring. 
The turkeys hereabouts have struck and lay no more. 
If you prefer not to send the eggs you may send two 
turkeys at Thanksgiving, which will answer every pur- 
pose, and will do thus far more service to humanity 
than l)y pointing such false and flippant morals as 



556 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

mar the beauty of your last letter, the only reply to 
which may be found in the second person-al pronoun 
governing an intransitive verb, whicli in one sense 
means to be in a recumbent position which sense I 
do not employ in this case. 

My garden is dreadfully dry and stony. Rain is 
going out of fashion. If the soil equalled my soul 
I should crown you with flowers. As it is, exercise 
is my largest crop. But the country is rich witli 
beauty. I look out every day with surprise. The 
apple-trees are beyond measure beautiful and deli- 
cious, one huge cluster of sweet-scented flowers, and 
not many caterpillers ! and how the earth contrives 
to be so lovely and insouciant under the frame of the 
brazen skies I cannot divine. 

I am attending Professor Blot's lessons in Salem. 
They are very nice, I think, but I get so tired seeing 
so many people, and getting in and out of cars every 
day. I am dreadfully tired of people. People are 
made up chiefly of eyes. When people go to Am- 
herst do the Amherst people look at them ? If you 
go into church will they loiter round the door till you 
come out? "When you go into a shop will you see 
the clerks nudge each other, and you try to look un- 
conscious and make a sorry failure of it? And will 
you please to tell me on what general principle the 
Universe is hung together, in such a way that a little 
notoriety brings you all the disagreeablenesses of a 
great fame? Why should their mortal life be teased 
who will have no compensations of immortality ? 

I woukl not have the steeple. P. will wrest it 
from you and turn your Agricultural College into a 
Unitarian meeting-house. That is the way they did 
with our Orthodox churches in my young days, carried 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 557 

off the plate and the books and all the church prop- 
erty, and made it over into a Unitarian society, but 
they left us the truth, whereof we are glad. 

[To A Sister-in-law.] 

June 6, 1866. 

Mother is given up to millinery and reading novels. 
First she " did up " a cap washed it and made it 
over. It has puffs in front and lapels behind, and 
gimp on top, and blue ribbon for strings. Novels 
she gets up mornings and sits up nights to read, and 
I expect she'll be clamoring to go to a theatre before 
long. I walked over to Ipswich and back this morn- 
ing, started at six, got there at half-past seven. 
Went to see about getting a teacher for Mr. Curtis 
who is always in a teacher-phobia. I did not intend 
to walk back, but it was so pleasant that I con- 
cluded I would. A pair of men met me just as I 
was out of the woods, and one of them stepped up 
to me and said " Miss, would you accept a little 
robin? " I asked him why he did not let it go, and 
he said it was too young to fly. I took it and carried 
it a little way, but concluded that Nature would 
know better how to take care of her robin than I, 
so I let him go and he hopped off. Yesterday Cap- 
tain Waters from Cherry Hill Farm and his niece 
came up to see me. 

Last Sunday afternoon Rev. Mr. Se well's little 
girl, who had been left at home in charge of her aunt, 
ran away while her aunt was asleep, went over to the 
church and walked in. Her aunt awoke, missed her, 
ran after her, and got up just in season to miss hold 
of her dress as she marched in at the church door. 
She had on an old sack and a big old Shaker bonnet. 



558 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

Her father saw her the moment she came in, and 
watched her as she slowly passed up the aisle, looking 
in at each of the pews, and when she got to his he 
beckoned to his father-in-law, just pausing a moment 
in the sermon, and Miss was taken iu and cared for. 
They said IMr. Benson quite shook with laughing, and 
a smile went through the church. 

You talk about driving with baby, and your mother- 
in-law used to drive to Ipswich and back in a chaise 
with a baby on each side of her and one in her arms ! 

June 28, 1866. 

My dear Mr. Wood : Your letter came this morn- 
ing, and I hasten to say that wo have about concluded 
not to go anywhere this summer, but to try the novelty 
of staying at home. "We have not been at home all 
summer in many years. Eat the main point is that 
we are thinking it possible we ma}' take a journey to 
Minnesota in the fall to visit my brother, and, if so, 
we don't care to tire ourselves with jaunting in the 
summer. 

I hardly know whether I had better tell you that I 
have been attending Professor Blot's course in Salem. 
You will be expecting me to spend my time and 
strength in cooking you up all manner of savory 
messes, which, no indeed, I shall not do ! I only 
wanted the theory. I had no intention of practice. 
I go for a division of labor as a fundamental princi- 
ple of domestic as well as political economy. He 
told us how to make French rolls, but encouraged us 
at the same time by assuring us that it was e?e-pos- 
sible to make them as good as they were in France ! 
However, the lectures were very valuable and very 
interesting, and I am glad I went. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 559 

1 have seeu very few notices of " Summei' Rest." 
The righteous soul of the ' ' New York Herald " is 
vexed, and advises that the book should not be read 
by very young persons, lest it should unsettle their 
religious belief. So if you are not well-rooted and 
grounded in baptism you better stop where you are ! 
The book's private circle seems to be uu usually well 
satisfied. I should have been verj' glad to hear what 
you have to say about it, and you know letters never 
tire one unless I have to write them ! But I do not 
want you to exert yourself to do either the one or 
the other for my sake, during this hot weather. It 
seems to me that it takes so little to make one ill 
when the weather already makes one languid. 

There are a few thiugs I should like to do, but I 
don't see the way clear to them ; and, after all, it 
does not make much difference how things go in this 
world. Nothing has an end here. It is only to grow 
good, and if you do that it matters little what the 
means are. Don't you know that, Mr. Treasurer? 

July 7. 
I went to see Whittier yesterday. I carried him 
over some oranges and cherries all heaped together, 
and flowers stuck all over them, and honeysuckle 
wreathed around them, real pretty, because he 
is sick. By and by I said, "How could you seem 
so glad to see me when you have such a headache 
all the time? I don't believe you were. Tell me now 
your first feeling when you kuew I had come. Re- 
member all those cherries and oranges I brought 
you. Were you glad or sorry?" " Oh ! " said he, 
" I did not see the oranges till after I had seen you. 
If I had seen them first it might have made a differ- 



560 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

ence." I suspect the religious newspapers have 
learned wisdom, and will crush uie with a masterly 
inactivity. They state a general dissent, but they 
enter into no particulars of any sort or kind ; and if 
" S. R." dies prematurely I shall surely inscribe on its 
tombstone, " Died for lack of abuse." 

Our young roosters have set up their first crow 
since I saw you. It was not much of a crow, but 
my loving ears recognized it. Do you suppose now 
there is any accession to his dignity among his race? 
Have they any assumption of togas any power of 
vote? Will the hens consult him in any difficult case? 
Will he snub the young chickens, and grow polite to 
the pullets, and screw his neck around to see if his 
tail feathers are growing well? You don't know 
anything about it. How many worlds there are, and 
we enter into none ! Did I tell you I set out two elm 
trees last fall ? They are both alive. I suppose the 
buttercups and dandelions that have rotated into 
children will be playing under them a hundred years 
hence ; and some one, more thoughtful than the rest, 
will tell them that his mother told him that an old 
Miss Dodge set out those two trees. His grand- 
mother's grandmother told her grand-daughter, lie 
believed, and I shall not be any more alive to them 
than a mummy, and here I am just as alive as can 
be, as alive as ever you will be, you saucy young 
rascals in posse. An old Miss Dodge indeed ! 

As for flies, I like them. I think a fly is real good 
company. I spent a good part of one rainy Sunday 
afternoon watching them. How do you suppose life 
presents itself to a fly? "When they get too numerous 
for comfort we just buy a little poison paper, and 
death comes to them with no dread or fright, only as 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 561 

a fragrant and luring feast, a sweet intoxication. 
Oil ! I wouldn't give up the flies for anything. 

My garden is blooming. I have planted it with 
corn. There is one tomato vine has five apples. 
I shall turn it over to portulaccas anotlier year. We 
have three times as many pears as we had last year. 
Last year we had one. I have been reading Bristed's 
"Five Years in an English University." How he 
does take the conceit out of our American colleges ! 
Do you know anything of the man himself? I like 
Thackeray. I know his men all drink and smoke, 
and some of his women are fearfully weak, though 
he has, perhaps There, I won't finish that. There 
is no use in saying a little about anything when the 
little speaks with an uncertain sound. If one could 
have a mtdtum in parvo it would be worth while. 
Mr. D. is in doleful dumps about me, so it is quite 
sad to see. Still he offers beets and green peas as 
usual, with unflinching kindness, which I accept with 
undiminished appetite. Strange to see how one can 
be such a heretic, and yet so robust. 

July 31, 1866. 
All that is best in all that I look for. If I attain 
Heaven at all I count confidently on finding there all 
that I love here; not for any valid reason, perhaps, 
but none the less for that. I am so sure that God 
will keep his promise, not in the letter merely, but in 
the spirit. How confident was Paul ! I like to read 
him sometimes just to revive my faith in the future, 
just to share his certainty ; such things, I think, you 
sometimes get by mere contact, sympathy. Anyway, 
nothing is worse than to pretend to a belief which you 
do not possess, and nothing else is [torn] than to 



562 tJAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

think you believe what you do not know you do not 
believe. But this at least is sure, to do one's best in 
this world is the best for all worlds. Hope in the 
future is for comfort, not for life. Do you remem- 
ber saying something about a, paternal feeling? I did 
not think of the absurdity of it at the time. No, I 
don't feel so, however you do. I consider myself as 
your equal, thank you, sir! I am as old as I ever 
shall be. After thirty I don't think years make much 
difference. I mean that one has attained a certain 
stage of maturity, and though one keeps on and on, 
of course, yet the type of his character does not change. 
The range of my tastes is, I suppose, as definitely 
formed and outlined as yours, and I never think of 
there being any disparity of years between us. 

Remember, when I talk I am talking from myself 
only, that is, in the abstract. I don't judge for, or 
of, any one else. What another has done may have 
been the best thing, taking everything into the 
account, but I, abstractly thinking, may reckon it 
not the best thing. 

All that is necessary, however, at present, is that 
you believe. I would on no account say or do any- 
thing that would give you a moment's pain or even 
discomfort or uneasiness or any sort of annoyance, 
and that I am, I believe, without malice, without 
hypocrisy, without guile. 

Most truly. 

Your Friend. 

Is this an intelligible letter from dim recollection, 
I should say or not ? In the first place, it is diffi- 
cult to talk about things without mentioning them 5 
and lastly, and finally, it is written with a galloping 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 563 

pea against time. What does that mean? I don't 
know. What do you think of the Atlantic cable? 

Saturday Night, Near Ten O'clock. 

Hamilton, Aug. 11, 1866, 

Dear Friend : Both your letters were very pleas- 
ant to nie, and they came to me when I had much 
need of pleasant things. My mother was taken very 
suddenly ill with paralysis, and for a time this house 
looked to me very desolate, and I seemed to see be- 
fore me a freedom that was dreary, but at present 
the sixth day it looks more as if her life might still 
be spared for comfort and enjoyment, if not for any 
active occupation. 

I wanted to say to you that I was not harsh, as 
indeed I had no right to be, for he is the most gener- 
ous of men. He is a real good, honorable man, but 
it is a sad waste of material for anybody to fall in 
love with me. But it is all over now, and nobody 
hurt. It is a remarkable proof of the deceitfulness 
of the human heart that, after all, I believe I am not 
so much concerned lest I have done an unhandsome 
thing as 1 am that you should think I have done so. 
Quite a difference, you perceive, as great as 
between conscience and vanity ? 

You talk about being satisfied with an indefinite 
theory. I am not satisfied with that, but with the 
fact. I only amuse myself with the theory. Given, 
by revelation, the fact of future life, and you may well 
enough imagine it what you like, with the pleasant con- 
sciousness that the utmost stretch and range of your 
imagination must fall within the scope of the reality. 
Is it not so? If the Bible is true we certainly have 
the existence and the perfect satisfaction of another 



564 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

life. If the Bible is not true one thing is as likely 
to happen as another, so I am not far wrong either 
way. I think sometimes that, looked at in the light 
of reason, friendship is not much of an institution 
after all. It extends the sphere of your sorrow. 
You assume the troubles of another in addition to 
your own. What have I gained by knowing you? A 
whole new circle of anxiety. Will's health, another's 
something, the constant battling and bother of this 
new college, with the consciousness of not being able 
to lift a finger to amend anything, only stand by and 
see the things going on, and grind my teeth a little 
metaphysically. Well, then, do I wish I had never 
known you ? Oh, go to, you little goosey ! Is reason 
all the will that moves us puppets? Aren't there 
strings twitching us every which way? I have with 
all youi- bafflings and buffetings a pleasant picture of 
you in your inner home, with all your good children, 
how supremely happy you are in that, with the 
royal Lord Pam.,who not only appreciates you, which 
women often do, but whom you appreciate, which men 
seldom do, but which you do simply because you are 
yourself, because you see things where men usually 
see nothing, or rather something else. A man may 
stand manfully the brunt of a hundred battles and 
make no outcry-, only ride gayly through it all. Shall 
I therefore see only his gay bearing and not the human 
heart under his armor, his blue coat, to speak 
modernly? What am I made human for but to in- 
terpret him? 

September 7. 

Mother continues comfortable, goes downstairs, 
sits up all day, was out in the garden to-day, eats 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 565 

heartily, and seems improving. We have about de- 
cided to attempt the journey, and now intend to leave 
the last of next week, trying if possible to be at Niag- 
ara over Sunday. 

Whittier says in his letter, " If I were going to 
leave New England I should go to Minnesota. I 
wish I was there now, and Amesbury was there, and 
Boston and Hamilton, and all the good folks I love. 
When thee gets back again I hope thee will come up 
and make a visit, and tell me all about thy sight- 
seeing and adventures. Thee knows how glad I shall 
be to welcome thee to my fireside provided thee 
doesn't touch tlie brasses ! " 

Hastings, Minn., October 6, 1866. 
Dear Fuiknd : I wanted to answer your letters right 
away, but there is so little quiet time, though if time 
were ever quiet one would suppose it would be on the 
boundless prairies. But all is so new. I know now 
what the Ciucinnati people told me years ago that that 
was not the West. This is the West, this broad lift of 
field and meadow shoreless as the sea (which is not 
shoreless at all, by the way) . We have just got home 
from a trip to St. Paul, Minneapolis, beautiful cities 
set on the bold bluffs of the Mississippi. Minnehaha 
Falls, the most delicate and dainty in the world. I 
went behind them and then to their foot, and their 
daintiness changed into a fierce northeast rain storm 
that deluged me and beat my breath away. And there 
are the falls of St. Anthony, which are no falls, but 
rapids, most fierce and practical, too, and we went 
into the various mills that his Saintship turns, and out 
to Lake Calhoun with its mathematical circle and its 
beaver dam and its oak groves which we contaminated 



566 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

or consecrated with onr canned peaches, and oysters, 
and tongues pickled and fresh, and further still to 
Fort Suelling, once the outpost of civilization, now 
its centre, one may say. And indeed this is a great 
country, and I felt great enough myself rolling in 
splendor through the prairies in a barouche proffered 
us by a Member of Congress, and so, of course, rather 
statelier than any common carriage. We have a few 
more excursions to make, and then in about a week 
we turn southward, through Cincinnati and Washing- 
ton, and I know not how many more cities. Perhaps 
I shall go down to Tennessee and North Carolina, but 
I think not now, as the cholera seems to abound there. 
I am not especially afraid of it, but I would not need- 
lessly run any risk. ^ 

Hamilton, November 26, 1866. 
Well, I am home again since last Tuesday, and 
nobody came to help us till Thursday, and I worked 
so hard that I got lame and cross. I cared for 
nobody. I was not fond of you at all. That is the 
way work always works with me, makes me misan- 
thropic and hard. So you have left the Agricultural 
College, and I am glad of it, not glad for your lost 
plans, but it was by no fault of yours. Only it seems 
to me you will have a more independent life now. 
Anyway, your letter was grand. I had not time to 
read it, so I just stood up and glanced at the opening 
sentence and gradually sank into a chair and read the 
whole, the water cooling, and the flies enjoying a little 
longer lease of life. Poor things ! during our absence 
they went into winter quarters, thinking everything 
snug and comfortable, and then our coal fires deluded 

1 Narrative of this journey in " Wool Gathering," published in 1867. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 567 

them into a hope of summer, and out they came, buz- 
zing sociably and rubbing their eyes a little, and then 
up comes the poison and poisons them, every one. I 
only hope the Legislature will be stirred up about the 
college. 

I bought a farm out West. Indeed I bought my 
sister and I a house and barn and all the things, so 
as to have a shelter in my old age, you know. Still 
I have a dollar or two left, and I will share it with 
you in the last ditch, so don't be uneasy about money 
matters, and as for leisure, how could your idle hands 
be better employed than in writing to me? 

I have not seen Helen's "Ma Hubbard," nor any 
advertisement of it, and I doubt if there be any such 
book. The audacity of your telling me it is three 
dollars a copy ! I hope it will sell like fury ( !) and 
wake up Mr. Ticknor to the fact that he has stories 
of hers buried in his garden. This is such a wicked 
world that there is nothing like a little success to 
make people appreciate you. My sistei''s health is 
much improved, thank you, as how could it fail to be 
when we have lived out-doors these two months? 

Sometime I am going to find out what Mrs. 

thinks of you. Just now she is buried deep full many a 
fathom under Thanksgiving pies, and I am reminded 
anew of what a worthless worm am I. My Judge, I 
never made a pie in my life. Nor a shirt. Nor a 
loaf of cake. Nor a pudding, to the best of my 
knowledge and belief. In fact, the list of things that 
I never did, and never want to, is sublime in its in- 
finity. 

Some day I shall run in to see you, from 9.30 to 
4.00. But on the day I come, so far from having 
nothing to do, there will be three men waiting to see 



568 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

you about a water claim, five will be making their 
wills, seven will have quarrels to settle, and thirteen 
wish to sue for bad debts, so I shall only open the 
door a crack, peep in, and run away. You will think 
you heard a mouse and that is all. I am glad Hatty 
has a serv^ant. A husband without a servant is a 
blessing so disguised as not to be recognizable. 

Your ducks are not very enterprising dying one 
at a time. My brother's jumped into the cistern by 
the dozen. That is the difference between Eastern 
and Western energy. I stayed in Minnesota till October 
16, then sailed down the Mississippi by sun and moon- 
light gloriously, slept at Chicago the night General 
Butler was there and spoke under our window, then 
to Indianapolis, and slept on its flatness fearfully, 
then to Cincinnati \'isiting, thence October 22 to 
Louisville by sun and moon shine on the Ohio, slept 
at Nashville, then to Chattanooga, up Lookout Moun- 
tain and over the battle-ground, then to Kuoxville to 
fight Burnside's battles o'er again in pleasant weather, 
with pleasant friends, thence by way of Bristol, 
Lynchburg, etc., to Washington, where we stopped a 
week, sight-seeing and visiting ; drove to Mt. Vernon, 
thence to Gettysburg, thence to Harrisburg, then New 
York for a week or so, then by way of Meriden 
home. And I like to think of you back in Boston 
again. 

Now don't, prithee, be discomforted. The spring 
lies so surely under the snow, and even winter treads 
softly as yet. Next Saturday I go to Newburyport 
with my niece to school, and I remember so vividly 
m}' own first school-going, and here is a new genera- 
tion coming up. Oh, I think we, who have lived, 
should have such unspeakable pity and tenderness for 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 569 

those who are beginning to live. It isn't of any 
account being happy yourself, to what it is to soften 
life for those who come within your scope. I don't 
mean being unhappy, but simply to lack perfect hap- 
piness, or even positive happiness. One can enjoy 
vastly many things without it, and with it one would 
be in so frightfully small a minority, that how could 
he help a fearful looking-for of impending change? 

Good-night, dear friend, President, or presided 
over, it makes no odds to me, so you are yourself 
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. For me 
you must take me, spots, wrinkles, and all, or leave 
me altogether. 

December 14. 

My last budget I scut Tuesday. For news, one of 
our chickens has broken its leg, which I have mended 
by having its head cut off, that is homoeopathy. 
That night I went to Salem, to hear Agassiz lecture. 
I was very much pleased with him. 

December 28. 
Sa}' to Mr. Ford, in whatever civil phrase you choose, 
that I " can't, shan't, and won't" write for his paper. 
I have, as the Ollendorfs say, neither time nor mind to 
write. It is very well for you, who have both, to go 
under the water, but I find it all I can do to breathe 
in the air. Really, I have no time to do half the 
things I want to do, and I have nothing in particular 
to say in a religious newspaper. It is so long that they 
have refused to print my wayside words, that I don't 
have anj' wayside thoughts come to me nowadays. 
Besides, I can pull my Orthodox string as hard as I 
like and no harm done, but let me give ever so gentle 



570 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

a twitch to the Baptist cord and down comes a 
shower-bath on my head and takes my breath away, 
which the Baptists would be very glad of, perhaps. 
And I do not like this way of giving your papers in- 
terest by talking about living people, though I like 
Mrs. Stowe who does it. I think it is cultivating a 
bad taste in the people, who are greedy enough of 
gossip and personal details now. 

If I write at all for the " W. &. R." it shall be for 
love and not for money. If anything comes to me 
that can be pressed into your service you shall have 
it, but what's Ford to me, or me to Ford, as Shak- 
speare says, that I should lay myself out to please 
him. But if you reply for me reply with great polite- 
ness. Translate me into hypocrisy thy name is French ! 
I had something better than sherry Christmas Day : 
Whittier's prose books sent to me by his own saintly 
hand, and Mr. Prang has sent me a brood of chick- 
ens which do everything but chirp, and some lovely 
mosses, and a bird's nest and things. I think they 
are beautiful. 

As for your cannot-help-it-philosophy, I do not 
believe in it. It may be true as a present fact, but 
not as an ultimatum. It is a devil's breastwork to be 
beaten down, and not a natural division of land and 
water to be made the best of. I can never, I think, 
believe that God has put eternal death into human 
hands, and has not put there life. I suppose one 
may safely take for granted, that there always will 
be wickedness in the world, but that does not make 
that it is not wicked and should not be opposed, and 
while every creature of God is good, every natural 
(juality that he has implanted in the human being 
innocent, it is also true that selfishness and reck- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 571 

lessness and grossncss are wretchedl}' wroug and 
fatal. 

It seems to me that the love between men and 
women is in its deepest spirit god-like. It is of the 
earth, earthy only because we dwell so much in the 
outer courts, and do not discern the divinity within. 
In every aspect it is a type of something so heavenly 
that it can in no way be revealed, but by a way which 
concerns the penetralia of life. God will not be 
seen by unrecognizing eyes, so they see only the out- 
ward form, which is not God at all. Yet God is there 
to him who is spiritually discerned. It is true, you 
say, we do not often speak of these things, but not 
because they are unworthy, but because we are. To 
me there is no stronger sign of total depravity than 
that crust of profanity and uncleanness and frivolity 
which so widely overlays the most sacred mysteries 
of this life. They are not to be talked about, for 
they belong to the things which will not bear rough 
usage. From people whose whole thought and living 
is o.'irthly one expects but earthliness, honest per- 
haps, and homely, but not raising us higher. But 
they who have education and observation and religion, 
surely they ought to lift us up and not drag us down. 
But I don't think, at least I am afraid, that knowledge 
does not spiritualize, and much of our religion does 
not seem to help the matter. Some are naturally 
swans, and some are naturally swine (it was not the 
alliteration that lured me there) , and the one is white 
of its own nature, and to the other everything is mire. 
Y^et the Divine idea is swans, not swine, and so, I 
think, with proper pains and the grace of God, we 
shall all one day begin to show the white featlier 
unless lazy people like you look around and fold theii' 



572 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

soft hands and say, despairingly, we cannot help it, 
" or rather they cannot help it." It is very difficult 
to teach right doctrines, but I should be greatly 
pleased if our sage bishops and other clerg3' would stop 
teaching their iufernalities. Is it so hard to hold one's 
tongue? I never tried, so I can't tell. Did I send you 
a December pansy? I picked some more Christmas. 
Monday morning. I have read this over, and if I 
had time to write another I would not send this. It 
is always fatal to my letters to keep them over night. 
This looks as if I were some white-winged angel 
soaring up out of sight of the common herd. It is 
no such thing. I don't pretend to be any better than 
other people. I put myself down among them all, 
and belong there, but I won't say, because I don't 
think, that is the right place. Moreover, because we 
are on the earth is no reason why we should not look 
at the stars and try to get up there by and by, and 
get other people up, too. 

January 3, 1867. 
There is no need of raising metaphysical distinc- 
tion about the meaning of create. Whatever the 
immortals do, you know that souls never do come 
into existence witliout mortal agency, and it's no 
matter when they begin or where they were before. 
They are here now, and that is our lookout. We are 
not responsible for God's part in the matter, and so 
we need say nothing about it, as practical duty, 
though of course there is no Avrong in thinking and 
theorizing, if it does not interfere with right acting. 
I trust it will turn out that the relation of most hus- 
bands and wives will be temporal and temporary. I 
am sure I don't want to go on writing " New Atmos- 



BUSY YEARS IX HAMILTON 573 

pheres " to all eternitj', and I know I never could 
hold luy tongue, even in heaven, if there were such 
actions as are going on on earth. I can't carry out 
my ideas of "conjugal love" in a novel, people, 
well, it is too public. That's the trouble. I can't 
preach and I can't practise, and here I have an ideal, 
and I am confident it is the only reality. 

Time won't show it, perhaps, but if you are good 
all 3'our life, maybe you will see it in some white 
shining star. 

I had a note from Whittier, who says he will show 
me the picture of Sumner's wife when I come up, 
and "Just think of it! instead of taking his carpet- 
bag and starting off for the Washington cars as afore- 
time, he went this winter, filling a coach with his 
family, Mr. Sumner and Mrs. Sumner, and Mrs. 
Sumner's child, and Mrs. Sumner's child's nurse, and 
Mrs. Sumner's little dog. Sumner wrote and told me 
what he was going to do, and I told him to go ahead, 
and that I would support him in this crisis as in all 
others, and am glad for his sake, for I hear she is 
good and worthy, and, best of all, loves him." 

I have a very fine flock of birds under my window. 
I feed them well with canary seed, and they pay me 
well by coming to eat it, and chirping under the win- 
dow. Mr. Whipple came in with another album 
from a friend of his, who would like " quite a piece," 
which I gave, copied from Bacon ; catch me writ- 
ing " pieces " of my own in albums ! Might as well 
ask for the money and done with it ! 

January 23, 1867. 
Mt dear Mr. Wood : Why a man who sets up 
housekeeping in the skies at will should go and bang 



574 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 



his head against the pavement for the sake of " see- 
ing stars," I cannot conceive. Ordinary people 
might take that method of studying astronomy ; but 
such a Peter as you, who holds in his hands the keys 
of heaven, and pays a morning call there with as 
much nonchalance as he eats his breakfast, might be 
supposed beyond the necessity of such violence. 
However, you have saved your skull this time, some- 
what to my astonishment, I must confess, and I hope 
you will preserve your equanimity and your equilib- 
rium for the future. 

1 have received your manuscript of Mrs. Smith's 
flight to the stars. No note came with it, but I sup- 
pose it is not suited to the temperature of the briny 
Atlantic. Augusta and I have both read it with the 
greatest amusement, but I should never think of its 
being published. We only wanted you present to 
laugh with us. It is so exquisitely absurd and 
grotesque. Augusta said it was just like you, sitting 
back in the carriage and talking 3-our mingled religion 
and fashion. Oh! you are too absurd. What shall 
I do with this book ? You are the very oddest man 
and writer I know, or, at least, think of at this mo- 
ment. How came all these quips and cranks into 
your common-t<?nse New England head? I think you 
are born out of place and time. You belong in the 
dusty tomes of some quaint old library. 

Galore is a dictionary word, I Ijelieve, perhaps a 
little antiquated. I rather think it is as old as 
Chaucer. 

January 26, 1867. 

Poverty is a means of grace. Poverty is the dark 
sky in which the stars shine out with a brilliance 
which the sunshine of pi'osperity dazzles into ob- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 575 

scurity. Poverty is the nursing mother of virtue and 
genius, and is doubtless a blessing. I shouldn't like 
it, but then I haven't got it. 

What you say about Irish children is false in fact 
and demoralizing in tendency. Here we live, and 
next door live the Irish. Ours is a family of seven 
children, and of the two Irish families, one has one 
child and the other has none. Now, then, where are 
your statistics? And for all practical purposes the 
soul begins with the body, when it begins at all. We 
do not infrequently see bodies walking about without 
any souls in them ; but, on the other hand, we don't 
see souls stripped from bodies ; and all you and I 
have to do is to look out for visible souls. 

We have had a snowstorm, I have amused myself 
walking over the fences. Mr. D. amused himself 
blowing down his chimneys. The snow-birds come 
by the half dozen, and I feed them with canary- 
seed. The apple-boughs lie on the snow, and I stood 
among them and thought of the beauty and bloom 
gathering tliere and the songs preparing to sing. I 
wish I could make you believe in a change of seasons. 
One can always bear the frost so well if he smells the 
flowers beneath. Don't you fret yourself about the 
frames. Get off as cheaply as will be at all pretty. 
But I think those ferns and vines are beautiful. You 
spoke of the chromos being make-believe oil paint- 
ings. I want them to be honest chromos, just cheap 
prettinesses. You know there is no demoralization 
where there is no deception. We have had company 
all day and I have done nothing. Winter is more 
than half over, and it has been so decidedly winter 
that I expect spring will be in a hurry. Only think 
that all your life long every year you will see the 



576 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

grass growing and the air softening into fruit and 
flowers ! My gray little homely birds are only the har- 
bingers of what will be so brilliant. I think already 
of the damp mosses and the cool shadows and the fra- 
grance of sun-steeped pastures, all brown and burnt, 
and cracl<ling under your feet. Dreadful, isn't it? 
but the sun seems so powerful then. I wonder if 
one ever could get tired of summer. Do you ever feel 
as if you were a duplex and triplex and tweuty-plex 
person? 1 do. Seems as if you might take me out, 
one box after another, and they are not in the least 
alike. Don't sink into life so deep as to be buried 
alive. You can't ever see your hand before you, so 
what is the use in being anxious ? And if you could 
see your hand, what better off are you? 

February 5, 1867. 
You are the dearest creature, and I would tell you so 
if it weren't that you would say it was all loaves and 
fishes and picture frames. It isn't. They came yester- 
day and I think they are beautiful. You can't tell how 
much I thank you for them. Those rustic frames are 
as lovely as possible, and just as suited to the wild 
grace of the vines, and all of them are beautiful and 
only show how much better a fair soul looks in a fair 
body, as I always told you. I am going to capture 
a carpenter to hammer in some hooks. I wish you 
had come down with the pictures, and wouldn't we 
have had a good time hanging them ! I would not 
only say to my servant go, but go hang ! I am afraid 
that is almost wicked, now. I won't say it any more. 
But 'twas only the centurion who said it in the first 
place, and I don't know that I am bound to pay any 
special honor to him. That book of Clark's, well, 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 577 

now, I don't care to read anybody on theology who is 
not standard in his own set. Does Clark compel 
your assent and respect ? If he does not I will none 
of him. I want light. I don't waut feeling after the 
light. I can do that myself. What I would do if I 
were rich would be to have you come here and turn 
this unsightly wilderness of a farm that I live on into 
something pleasant for the eye and 'good for food. 
All it has to recommend it now is pure air and sun- 
shine. That is much, to be sure, but it could have 
those in abundance and beauty too. Such a home as 
I saw of mine in a dream once ! Ah ! my dear, we 
weren't meant to have our homes in this world, were 
we ? And you won't heartily believe in any other, so 
there we are. 

I have troubles, too. My hens don't lay more than 
an egg a day, and the pump has frozen up and the 
pipe burst or something, and my ungrateful birds, 
after I had bought them two quarts of canary seed, 
went and left me just because there was a thaw 
and you are very wrong about their being nuisances, 
for they don't destroy our strawberries. "We haven't 
any for them, and if they will be so good as to eat 
our sour little bitter cherries they are doubly welcome. 
I wish you could stuff one of my Regan-and-Goneril 
birds that frequented the bank when I dispensed 
charity a magnificent gray ami white calm-souled 
creature, who squatted in the snow as reposef ully as if 
it had been a bed of down. And no matter if all men 
born of women preexisted, all I say, it is of no prac- 
tical importance to us, but you loill run head-first 
against that blank wall and stand there and beat 
your brains out, and I come up and lead you away, 
and the minute I look up, there you are at it again ! 



578 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

You ought to read the autobiography of Heinrich 
Stilling if you want to know some other perplexity 
than your own. It is a curious, naive, gushing book- 
ful of tears, and embraces, and kisses, and telling 
tales out of school, but with a good deal of solid 
sense and sound religion besides. 

February 20. 

Did I speak to you about " Henry Holbeach "? It 
is one of the most attractive books I have seen this 
many a day. It confirms one in the faith somehow. 
Did you ever notice the different spontaneous re- 
sponses we give to books. Some we assent to in a 
sort of negative way because we really can see no 
flaw in the reasoning. Others we spring to with 
instant recognition. 

Mr. D. has rather gone over to the opposition 
about my letters. Since he has been away I have 
written him several, perfectly so-so letters they were, 
too. The other day he came up on an errand and in- 
vited himself here to tea, to our great satisfaction, and 
broke out : " I don't wonder people want you to write 
letters to them." To-day he was up again and said 
he got a letter from me yesterday, " and a beautiful 
letter it was, too ! " The fact is, I don't suppose he 
has been accustomed to any but business letters all 
his life. He is one of the best of men, honest and 
true, and it really did me good to see his round ruddy 
face smiling in at the door. I never heard of your 
Platonic attachments. I know very well which class 
I should fall into. I am not very intellectual, but I 
am religious. A gentleman asked me last Saturday 
how I liked the minister. I said "I hated him! 
that's how I liked him." When I heard, however, that 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 579 

he was a Methodist brother I held m}' tongue. I don't 
feel any call to chastise my neighbor's children, nor 
to refrain from chastising my own ! Do you mean to 
say that I grow less agreeable as I grow old ? On 
the contrary, I think I improve vastly, and by the 
time I get to be eighty I expect to be a belle and a 
beauty. May you be there to see ! 

Have you seen "Whittier's new poem? He has just 
sent it to me. I have not read it, but I know the 
best part of it is what he has written on the fly-leaf. 
I suppose the great mass of persons in the world are 
really incapable of friendship. No otherwise can I 
account for the clouds that seem to hang over so 
many. I am as far as possible from believing that 
friendship should, or can, encroach upon love. It 
seems to me they may run in parallel lines forever, 
since parallels never meet. I have a very great scorn 
for the notion you often find afloat that propinquity 
is the what do the theologians call it ? predispos- 
ing cause of love. It may be a sufficient cause for 
that bread-and-butter sentiment which keeps the pot 
boiling, and, of course, if two substances have the 
natural affinity the coming together is all that is 
necessary, but the natural affinity is the very thing in 
question. Oil and water are no more one thing in a 
dish-pan than they are out of it. And I wish there 
were high living enough in the world to be at least 
recognized as a ponderable and visible and appre- 
ciable thing in its own right. 

My sister says the reason your hens calculate so 
nicely is because they are so near the Obsei-vatory, 
and she has some stupid scholars she would like to 
shut up in your coop till their mathematics rose to a 
level with the bantams. I am raising chickens. I 



580 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

put fifteen foreign eggs under a hen last Saturday. 
First I knew she was on another nest. So now I 
watch her, and when she comes off I clap an old hood 
on the eggs and follow her round till she goes on 
again generally to the wrong nest, and set her 
right. If those eggs do turn into chickens they will 
owe it to me as much as to the hens. 

Yes, I have been over to Whittler's. Your heresy 
on the tent is such as deprives you of all claim on the 
story of my career there, so I will only tell you that 
we had a whole long evening to ourselves, Dr. Hayes 
having kindly volunteered to draw off the surplus 
population to lecture on icebergs, walrus, and such 
small deer. Then I went to Mrs. Spalding's, and had 
brilliant glimpses of her between relays of company, 
and she inquired for you. She is a superb woman. 
Her letters astonish me, every last one most. They 
are finished prose. It is like reading some elegant 
writer, a classic production. Now don't you go and 
praise her up to the skies for the purpose of taking 
me down, and don't you be always telling me how 
queenlike and elegant all your friends are. Don't you 
know it's only another way of telling me how dumpy 
and dwarfish I am? And besides, I don't believe they 
are very elegant. It is only a way you have of glori- 
fying yourself. I dare say when you are talking with 
people who will never cross my orbit you sing the 
same song about me. 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

April 16, 1867. 
Our housekeeper went away in March, and since 
then, with an Irish aide-de-camp for emergencies, my 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 581 

mother and I have kept the ship afloat. I am now 
become quite learned in beef-steaks and batters, and 
as house-cleaning has already appeared above the 
horizon, T suppose my knowledge will branch out into 
brooms and mops and scrubbing-brushes. 

Well, and I have been to Dr. G. of Boston, the 
hero of electricity and galvanism, and he lands you, 
sir, high and dry on the shores of empiricism ! What 
do you think of that, you man of all worlds, but the 
especial lover of this ? He did not advise recurrence 
to his galvanism for mother, thought it would be 
attended with danger. I also went to a clairvoyant, 
but that is a secret. She made a sad miss of it, but 
I got my dollar's worth of phenomena. She was 
voluble aneut the "Internals," but shy of the " Ex- 
ternals," which showed her sagacity. Y'ou know 
you can hazard almost any assertion about a person's 
liver, and he cannot contradict you, being generally 
innocent of all knowledge of the locality or condition 
of that scape-goat of an organ. 

You have been very cross of late that I know 
right well. You wondered why God did not rain 
down hail-stones upon the getters-iip of Catholic- 
Episcopalianism ! I rather think if speculative theol- 
ogy is to be punished with hail-stones you would 
better buy a new umbrella ! Heretic that you are, 
you would prove your orthodoxy by branding all 
other heretics. Well, it is not such a very uncommon 
thing, after all. 

Yesterday was our first spring day. The air was 
really warm, and to-day our peas are in and watered 
by a warm, steady rain. I have twenty little chickens 
as lovely as you ever saw. I have beautiful flowers 
in my room, house-flowers from my own plants, but 



582 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

tended by my friends. The house has been fragrant 
with heliotrope, that sweetest of scents, so impalpable, 
so penetrating, so deliciously suggestive. 

The ministers are all going away in this vicinity. 
Mr. Southgate and Mr. Fitz have resigned in Ipswich, 
and Mr. Sewell in Wenham. The latter takes a pro- 
fessorship in Bowdoin College. I went to Newbury- 
port to see the launch of the " Erie." It was 
wondrous beautiful. I had no suspicion a launch could 
be so grand and inspiriting. There was a great 
multitude, but no crowd. Afterward I called on Mrs. 
Spofford and her blue-eyed baby. She looked charm- 
ing and he promising not to put it too mildly. Her 
health has been indifferent, but she is now improving. 
My niece, Josie, is very happy with Mrs. Dimmick. 
I trust you are well and happy. That is trusting a 
great deal, isn't it? 

Yours as ever, 

M. A. D. 

April 13, 18o7. 
" It is done. Clang of bells and roar of gun send 
the tidings up and down." 

My dear 
They are here. 
But oh ! 
"Woe ! woe ! 
Is me 
To see 
Myself as others see me. 

I dare say they are good likenesses, but it is cruel 
in you to want to perpetuate them. The good God 
made me, and we cannot help ourselves, but he never 
made photographs, and State sovereignty extends over 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 583 

them. They are good pictures as art. I have not 
shown them and shall not show them to any one. 
On no account let Mrs. F. see them, and above all 
things keep me from being hung on the public gallows. 
Believe me if I ever hear of these being seen any- 
where, if they ever get into so small a public, it will 
be a lasting annoyance to me. My ouly objection is 
that they look just like me, and when I wish to be 
transparent and see ouly life and the world, why 
should you seize and fix me, an opaque body, to 
" stain the white radiance of eternity " withal? Now, 
I beg you at once to destroy them body and soul, 
negative and positive, and write and tell mc so. 
Then let us saints forget we have bodies till we are 
good enough to go to heaven and be clothed upon 
with immortality. 

I shall not go to Boston again to have my picture 
taken till it is warm enough to wear a white dress so 
I need not be obliged to discard my own clothes and 
be folded in a rag that has wrapped Egyptian mummies 
in Thebes' street three thousand years ago, for aught 
I know. I think that is one reason I looked so cross. 
I felt uncomfortable and ill-placed, and then I am 
cross besides, and my pitch-forked vision does not 
mend the mattei'. Do try and hunt up those missing 
photographs. Do I look like that, 1 wonder? I stay 
at home among mine own people and am full of other 
things and forget all about myself till I go out into 
the world, and then every once in a while I somehow 
get a glimpse of facts and am scared back again. 
This photograph is one of the glimpses. 

;\rr. Fields wants me to have the book a few chap- 
ters printed in the "Atlantic," before publishing 
in book form. He affirms that it is capital, and that 



584 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

when be is reading it he has to I'oll himself up into a 
ball and roll round the street to relieve himself. I 
don't think very favorably of his plan, and I hardly 
think I shall agree to it. I think it will have more 
dignity as a book than as a series of articles. Mr. 
Foster came over and planted peas, and we had a 
long conversation on intellect, ambition, books, social 
differences, in which we agree to a charm, both of us 
being eminently sensible. 

April 29. 

Your departure was speedily followed by the advent 

of with a thimbleful of cranberries, which was 

just as much an act of love, to be honored and 
thanked, as if she had brought a gold-mine. She 
could not think of anybody she should so much wish 
to have them as mother, and she said they were very 
good to eat uncooked, and asked me to try one, which 
I did, and affirmed in an agony between a smile and a 
pucker that it was very nice, why, yes, and immedi- 
ately backed out of the room and ejected it into the 
stove with enthusiasm. 

A letter from Professor Stowe lamenting that his 
wife and "Our Charlie" had left him the Thursday 
before, the former going to Florida, the latter to sea. 
They have a son. Captain Fred., on a cotton planta- 
tion in F., and I suppose they will go there to live. 
I am real sorry he is going away. Charlie has been 
to sea once, a Mediterranean voyage, and had a 
specially hard time of it, and came back more pas- 
sionate for the sea than ever. Also a long letter from 
Mr. Baxter telling all about Kate's wedding, and the 
most penitent apologies for not telling about it before. 
He says her wardrobe was gotten up by a lady friend 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 585 

in Philadelphia, and the only active participation he 
had in it was to pay the bills. Judging from the 
amount required to liquidate them, he is prepared to 
say it was complete and splendid. The wedding-dress 
was white ribbed silk, and cost a fraction over three 
hundred dollars. They will stay at home till July, 
and then take a house of their own. Mitchell is sec- 
ond in his class at college, with a prospect of soon 
becoming first, and Lewis has taken the first prize for 
declamation. Mr. is somewhat better, has dis- 
carded Dr. Kimball and taken a spiritual medium doc- 
tor, who orders a wash of Castile soap. There are 
some people who would not use it without an order 
from the other world. / have just bought nearly a 
pound of it good English. 

How I wish there might never be any such para- 
graphs set afloat! It is not going to be intensely 
funny, nor intensely anything. It has not a view in 
it moral, social, political, or landscapical not to omit 
theological. There is no problem that it is going to 
solve, nor any reform which it will advance. You 
need not say maliciously these are mere negative vir- 
tues. Make much of them, for it has no positive. 

Somebody has sent me an engraving of "Bierstadt's 
Rocky Mountains." I had a nice young cousin here 
this afternoon, and the moment she looked at my 
birds' nests and vines, she cried, "Oh! there they 
are, but how beautiful the frames are ! " I did not tell 
her whose taste they were. Do you think I will give 
all the glory to you, when by the simple process 
simple to me from long practice of holding my 
tongue I can get the lion's share of it myself? Speak- 
ing of lions, you will have to hurry up your Deutsch 
a little if you mean to keep ahead of me. I am read- 



586 GAIL HAISULTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 



ing 



" Lessing's Fables," and find his snakes and foxes 
very entertaining. 

Whenever a man does something annoying and irri- 
tating it puts me out with the whole world of men. 
I suppose it is just as bad for a man as for a woman, 
that is, I esteem it due to courtesy to say so, but the 
thought of being indissolubly bound to any one, to be 
forced to stand sponsor for all his obtuseuesses and 
pen'ersities and obstinacies and weaknesses, to be cut 
to the heart by every edged tool he chooses to use, or 
does not know that he uses, to have your most secret 
soul and life entirely at the mercy of some one else, 
with no hiding-place and no court of withdrawal save 
the abandonment of all hope Just here came your 
letter and house-cleaning and company, so, fortunately 
for you, my sentence remains unfinished. You have 
some very heretical and mischievous and abominable 
notions which it becomes my painful duty to extirpate. 
I do not object to your liking women because they are 
women, and in a different manner from men. That 
is in the nature of things, and I believe in nature most 
strenuously. And it is a great pity you did not put 
your letter into the post-office when it was finished, 
and so spare yourself that lamentable paragraph about 
love and friendship, and buds and blossoms. To be 
sure, a bud may develop into leaf or fruit, but a peach- 
bud never develops into a grape. Friendship is fruit 
as much as love is fruit. Friendship may flower into 
perfect beauty, yet never become love. Perhaps I am 
not competent to treat that subject. But certainly if 
love is something whose natural culmination is mar- 
riage, whose tendency is to absorption, something 
that makes you want to live all your life with some- 
body else, makes you icant to give up all your own 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 587 

life aud make it seem no risk to risk everything, why 
then love is something as far apart from friendship 
as the elm tree is from Mount Athos. Of course 
every person's capacity for the one or the other de- 
pends upon his organization. I dare say that the 
power of the two is generally combined. I cannot say 
that it always is. 

What you do like of me is something apart from 
head or hair something that is a great deal more 
me, and that will be me " when our good swords 
rust and our steeds are dust." I know it is not 
philosophy and it is not goodness. It is some- 
thing infinitely more impalpable and inexplicable 
than they. 

Have you read " Katharine Morne " ? Now, that 
Charles Dudley has noble traits. But I fear there 
are not many men wlio would write such a love-letter 
as that. It is so utterly high-minded. It makes a 
woman feel self-respect to be so addressed. I always 
feel better after reading Miss Palfrey's things. She 

says never anything low. Contrast her with , 

who outrages every avenue of approach. His last 
part, treating the minister and the girls, is vile- 
ness itself. As representing a class of the clergy 
it is entirely untrue. I should think he would be 
ashamed of himself to be able to conceive such 
thoughts, connecting things heavenly and things 
earthly in such an unholy alliance, carrjnng away 
his ministers and doctors with such fantastic whims. 
And what an absolute downright is it too much to 
say fool? he is in making Cynthia Badlara so 
overcome by the spectacle of a pair of bare baby- 
legs, as if you could not see them by the dozen any 
time, whether you have any of your own or not. But 



588 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

don't let us get angry and abusive. Say something 

good, and grand, and magnanimous. 

April 25, 1867, Friday. Good-Friday to you, 

and a charming home and a pleasant life, and 

amiable friends like 

Yours truly. 

The picture is come, and it is a beauty, and well 
worth its frame. How many times do you suppose I 
should stop to take a picture out of a portfolio and 
look at it? Now, whenever I choose to look up, there 
they are, my mountains, my mosses, my angels, 
my chickens. I don't know what the anticipations 
of your youth were, but mine have been a great deal 
better than filled by the actualities of age. I don't 
mean fame, or anything of that sort, but life is more 
keenly enjoyable than I had any thought it would be. 
To be sure, I had not much thought about it anyway, 
and what I enjoy is a sort of intangible thing, not 
easily defined in words. One thing I enjoy is the 
knowledge that I can live on nothing, or next to 
nothing, if it becomes necessary. My strawberries 
are doing well. I have not a strawberry in the world. 
I mean the plants, and I have had the walks turfed 
to keep down the weeds, and the grass still lives, and 
the peas are well up, and isn't it cold? 

Five of my chickens are gone. The other fifteen 
are growing homely, but they shall not lose their 
place in my heart. I am not of that fickle make to 
be won only by tlie charms of down and pin-feathers. 
Young Henry James, I think, is one of the most 
promising writers we have. His stories are studies. 
He has a way and a thought of his own. How much 
there is in this last story of his just begun. All his 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 589 

stories have body. His women, if they are wicked 
or foolish, have their own way of being so. They 
are not the old block women handed down by tradi- 
tion, with only the change of waterfalls and rats, or 
whatever is the last new style. I don't know. 



June 3, 1867. 

Mt dear Judge : Was I cross when I wrote my 
last letter? I am afraid so. Well, I had a reason 
for it. That is one thing remarkable about me. I 
am never disagreeable without some good reason, 
whereas you and the rest of the world will suffer 
yourself to lose your fine poise from any whim. But 
that day something had happened to me. I thought 
I was threatened Avith a loss of friendship, regard, 
respect, and so I took a sudden scorn of friends, 
and put on perhaps high-heeled boots, and went on 
the rampage. I am not fretful and ill-tempered 
around home. I hope you won't think I go cater- 
wauling over the house as I do in letters. I am 
not peevish and fault-finding and horrid, but I am 
stormy, not a northeast raiu-stormy or snow- 
squally, but a magnetic storm, you know, that raves 
and rages through sunshine and clear skies, and gives 
no sign except to the electricians. Unfortunately 
you are an electrician because you don't live with 
me. I can't be cross to people that are right before 
my face and eyes, so I have to discharge my thunders 
(electrical) through letters. 

Why should I cut the grass about the door? I 
want it high, and rank, and dense, and see it wave 
in the wind and shine in the sun ; and the birds are 
so brilliant, and saucy, and fat ! Young Henry James 



590 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

is the son of old Heury James, and old Henry James 
used to be one of ray friends. He took me up, think- 
ing he should make something of me. He very soon 
found out his mistake, and dropped me, but 
gently, so that my memory of him is not put to 
the blush even by this June morning. But while we 
had dealings together I found that on some points 
his views were more palpably, definitely, positively in 
consonance with mine than those of any other man I 
ever met. You are nowhere in the comparison. You 
are sometimes right concretely and by instinct. He 
was right abstractly and on principle. I disappointed 
him sadly, for I was not able iutellectually to com- 
prehend him, and though I knew it in the beginning, 
and told him so repeatedly, he would not believe it 
till he found it out of himself to his sorrow. Now 
we are good friends, but I have the advantage inas- 
much as my knowledge of him is a source of hope to 
me, while his knowledge of me has only given him 
another failure. That is who young Henry James is. 
He is the son of his father, of course. My Heury 
James is sometimes one of the most entertaining of 
men. lie has a way of surprising you that is highly 
amusing. My mother sighs over your mother get- 
ting breakfast. I don't want my mother to get 
breakfast, but I wish she were able to do it. I have 
had company the past week, and we have been living 
on a series of experiments. My sister was at home, 
and we made desperate assaults on the cook-books. 
Our guest paid the best of compliments to our 
experiments by cheerfully eating them up, but my 
mother is not overburdened with civility, and reminds 
us from time to time, "You were never made for a 
housekeeper." It looks like that certainly, but if I 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 591 

could ever discover what I ivas made for, the matter 
would wear a most hopeful aspect. 

You don't shock me with your talk, for I don't 
believe you. You are poddling around ankle-deep in 
ignorance, and think it is clear sightedness, and I 
wish you would stop talking as if I were an innocent 
Hottentot. Innocence and ignorance are very pretty, 
and for some reasons very desirable. If one could 
really do nothing to repress wickedness I think one 
would at least be far happier for not knowing that 
wickedness existed. But it would be absurd, as well 
as false, for a woman of my age to pretend not to 
know that the heart is deceitful above all things, and 
desperately wicked. 

I will tell you something. Do you know that 

some time ago wrote an infamous article in the " Con- 
gregationalist." Then one of my storms came on. 
I stood it as long as I could, and then I rose up and 

skinned Mr. F. would none of it, and Mrs. F. 

implored me not to print it, and said, or intimated, 
that it would injure me in the estimation of good 
men. I was prepared for the coarseness of bad men, 
but I confess I had not thought of the good ones. 
Mud is not becoming as a general thing, nor agreea- 
ble, nor to be desired as a cosmetic, but if I saw a 
woman struggling in slime, and a man in a black coat 
and white cravat thrusting her in deeper, and if it 
seemed to me that I could help her out I should 
plurjge in and do it, nor do I think I should be really 
assoiled, for I did not dabble in the mud from 
choice, but because it was mud, not rose-water, in 
which a soul was sinking. What would make me 
forever to myself unclean would be the thought that 
through fear I had withheld my hand when it found 



592 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

something to do. But I will hold the regard of no 
man or woman on the tenure of a false supposition. 
I will tell you a bit of a story about myself. I don't 
profess to be very good, you know I don't, and 
that is one thing that troubles me. I never meant to 
be known personally. I never wanted to have any 
woman behind the writer, but it got out, and I work at 
a disadvantaoe. So when I write about the goodness 
and gentleness, etc., of women, it might seem to be a 
sort of setting up of myself as one of them, but it 
isn't. I leave myself entirely out of the account. I 
am not like women. My life has been in such manny 
style that I have manny ways. Well, as I was going 
to say, a long while ago I could not have been 
more than seventeen or eighteen, and in all knowl- 
edge of the world, from simple lack of seeing the 
world, I was younger at seventeen than most girls 
are at fifteen I went a journey, and was put under 
the care of a man whose position and office were 
enough to guarantee his good character or ought 
to have been. He never spoke a disrespectful word 
to me, nor showed anything but a constant care for 
my comfort, anything that I could lay hold of. I 
was to go with him, and return with him, but there 
was something about him, or in him, so inmostly re- 
pugnant to me that, without saying any syllable to 
any of my friends there, I managed to evade him on 
my return. It came so near that at the last go-off 
I saw him come looking through the train for me, and 
I held my head down on the seat before me, and 
somehow disguised myself so that he did not find 
me, and I came away alone. I have never heard 
anything in particular of him since, till on my journey 
last fall I heard in the most casual manner that he 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMII.TON 593 

had quietly been turned out of his office and set aside 
generally for I don't know exactly what, but some 
immoralities. Now don't think me setting up for im- 
maculateness or anything of the sort, but I am not 
quite so bad as I should have been if after sensing, 
as the old people say, his character I had worked him 
a pair of slippers. I am glad, at auy rate, that mj' 
instinct there was a healthy one. It was no mani- 
festation to me, you see, that repelled me, but only 
the general aroma of his character. He was three 
times at least as old as I, and I say that if Myrtle 
liad been the girl the author would have us believe 
her, her instinct would have told her about the man 
without the clumsy intervention of the old Mr. What's- 
his-name. His little low transient surface attrac- 
tions are no more worthy of the name of love no 
not so much as the love of my hen for her chickens ; 
of a passion that holds the soul, fires and fuses the 
whole being, and gives a man power over heaven 
and earth, he is as ignorant as the beasts that perish, 
and it is an indignity to give to his weak and hateful 
emotion the holy names. 

Where are my chickens gone to? Over to Allen's 
swamp where the hawk's young barbarians are all at 
play, where admitted to that equal sky their pap and 
dough shall bear them company. My hens beat yours, 
for six of them lay six eggs a day, if I don't bring 
them in every day. I enjoy your children, and to 
see you taking such care of them and wanting to do 
so much for them. You have such opportunity to do 
everything for them, to make their life, as it were, to 
give them somebody on whom they can always lean 
and to whom they can always come. It is the next 
thing to God in this world. It is certainly God-like, 



594 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

giving everything and claiming notliing. Tlaere is no 
use in trying to adjure your life. You can only take 
what comes. The only thing of importance is to be 
as good as you can be. It won't be anything to 
boast of, after all, but there is nothing else. My 
hair I cut because I wanted to do something, and 
it always amuses me to cut my hair. I only cut 
it about a hand long, or a hand short, which is it? 
or handsome, which is better still. 

June 17, 1867. 
Just as we were sitting down to dinner the bell 
rang, and Professor and Mrs. Stowe appeared at the 
door. They had ridden from Andover to Georgetown, 
and from G. here, and were to go back to G. to din- 
ner at five. They stayed till near four o'clock. The 
first half liour I did not like her. After she came out 
to her lunch she glowed up and was very simple, 
natural, agreeable, and entertaining. About half an 
hour before she went away she gave out again and 
was silent, but I understood it and did not mind. He 
rallied her and declared she had not come up to his 
expectations. She told me coming out that the fact 
was she had talked just as much as she could, but of 
course as she had come twenty-five miles she was 
tired. She is plain at first sight, but not after five 
minutes. Her face is very attractive and her smile 
charming and sometimes very expressive. When she 
was silent it said a great deal. She said Professor 
Stowe was gone to Canada before she got home from 
Florida and she had not seen the critter since Febru- 
ary. They are not going to sell their Hartford house, 
but only going to Florida, winters. She says he has 
been round at a great rate trading on female sensibili- 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 595 

ties over going to Florida, and making people think 
he was the most abused man in the world. They are 
evidently very happy together. 

July 9, 1867. 

My dear Mr. Wood : I should think it was high 
time for you to leave Washington ; with typhoid fever 
taking on an epidemic form, and the summer heats 
raging their fiercest, the sooner you get out of reach 
of both the better. It is very sad to think of Marcel- 
lus' happy young wife leaving her new home and new 
life so soon. One feels that it is unnatural, that she 
was in some sort wrenched away from it, but perhaps 
now she looks down on us with infinitely greater pity 
than we look back on her. 

Must, however, may be too strong a word for 
anything that refers to self-knowledge ; neither society 
nor travel, nor education gives us that, perhaps hardly 
Christianity, at least not the infinitesimal doses we 
administer to ourselves. 

I liave been doing nothing in particular but a good 
many things in general watching seeds that never 
come up, and pulling weeds that never stay down, 
going and coming and keeping the wheel in such 
motion as I can command, but through all, I remem- 
ber that it is summer and that summer is little enough 
time to rest, and short to enjoy, so I take the benefit 
of it in every direction, and lounge and loll and idle 
in a way that would terrify an energetic Yankee, but 
I don't care. 

[Letter No. 2.] 

Friday. 
I have brought my letter home from the P.O. to 
tell you that I found there from what mysterious 



596 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

source I know not your letter, sent me from Boston, 
and looking us if the rats had paid their respects to 
it, and oh, my ! what a letter it is when you come to 
read it over in yonr sober senses ! You are as brave 
as Don Quixote, but you fight only windmills. I 
question the good taste and even the right ordinarily 
of doctoring hymns. But as for the doctrine and the 
policy of the two lines you quote " When God him- 
self comes down to die," and " When Christ the Lord 
comes down to die," there is no comparison to be 
made. The first is unscriptural and biusque. To 
the best of my belief and recollection it is always 
told us in the Bible that Christ died on the cross. I 
nowhere remember an assertion that God died on the 
cross, and such an assertion seems to me harsh and 
unwarranted. But then I make no pretensions to 
courage. Moreover, it seems to me little short of 
absurd your connecting poverty with Ortliodoxy 
yours or anothei's and wealth with heresy. What 
did your Orthodoxy have to do with your fifty cents 
a day in New York? And where, pray, do you find 
the people who become pallid in the presence of the 
superfine Boston Uuitarians? In your own brain 
alone. I never heard anything more ridiculous and 
baseless than this notion you have got up about rec- 
reancy and cowardice, excepting always Don Quixote 
and the windmill ! So far from the question being 
passed by, the one question which at this moment 
more than any other occupies the theological world 
is : " What think ye of Christ ? " ^ 

So also in your resolution of the Woman's Rights 
problem, you and the printed slip wherewithal you 
buttress yourself are alike wrong, and I might al- 

1 Title of a lilUe book by Qt. H., then just published. 



I 



BUSY YEARS TN HAMILTON 597 

most say alike slanderous, only you do not give me 
the concrete premises from which you draw your 
conclusions. So I can really vouch for nothing ex- 
cept that they are wholly and offensively wrong. But 
the printed slip gives its premises outright, so I can 
see at a glance the unreason and unrighteousness of 
its conclusions ; and let me tell you in all seriousness 
that I would ten thousand times rather stand with the 
Boston women, with their Liberal Christianity, Woman 
Suffrage, and all, than with the most rigid orthodox 
men, who see in their advocacy of a great cause only 
the upholding of " the free play of the passional ten- 
dencies of men and women unrestrained." 

August 2. 
We went to Beverly in first train, and from there 
with S. and C. in their carriage to West Beach to 
field-meeting. We enjoyed the beach and the drive, 
but the weather was dull and the meeting not bright, 
and there were too many people staring for my pleas- 
ure. The most amusing thing was a stranger step- 
ping up to Stan wood and pointing out Gail Hamilton 
to him. 

Hartford, Conn., 
Monday, August 19, 1867. 
Professor Stowe was at the station to take me home 
in state. It is a lovely place here in the midst of the 
woods, with a river close by, and littl<3 flower plats 
all about, and winding roads windows and doors 
opening into the woods on all sides. Hartford grows 
more and more beautiful every year. I went to 
church with Mrs. Stowe in the morning. Professor 
Stowe was to preach, but he was prevented by illness. 



598 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

He has not been very well for a week. Charles Beecher, 
of Georgetown, is here and preached in his place. 
Lilly Gillette and her husband came down this morn- 
ing ; also the Hookers, who have invited us all up 
there this evening. Mrs. Stowe wants to invite 
ever3body here to-morrow evening, but I advise 
against it. Charley Stowe is home from sea, brown 
and healthy, and a well-behaved, bright young fellow. 
He thinks he shall not go to sea any more says 
there is no money to be made by it, and thinks he 
shall study. The twins are at Stockbridge with their 
mairied sister, which Mrs. Stowe regrets. Mrs. 
Stowe says she thinks I should like them, and that 
they would like me. My room is on the lower floor, 
with a bath-room opening out of it. Mr. Stowe's 
study is on the top of the house, like Hawthorne's, 
the crow's nest, Mrs. Stowe calls it. There is a little 
flower-room, with a fountain, etc., in the centre of 
the house, and the dining-room, parlor, etc., open into 
it. My blue silk came out unspotted. I don't think 
the rain got inside my trunk at all, but there was lots 
of it. All along the railroad there were drowned 
fields great trees standing up to their knees in 
water ; fences just visible above the water, and the 
tops of potato rows appearing. As things look now 
I ought to have had ten new dresses instead of one, 
and stay a month ; but I shall go home the first of 
the week anywaj-, especially if 1 am not let alone. 
Mr. Stowe said yesterday that if I went to church 
everybody would see me and come, but I saw very 
few that I know. Of course, my own friends I want 
to see, but I don't want a lot of people who are 
simply curious. 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 599 

Septembek 5. 

I went to Gilmanton, N.H., first. It rained be- 
fore I started, and liked it so much that it kept at it 
all that day, and the next I wanted to go to Canter- 
bury to see the Shakers, but the clouds shook so that 
it was impracticable. Then I started for Hartford, 
and had to change cars every other minute or so till 
I got into the Boston and New York express train, 
when I gave over mutation and settled down to rid- 
ing, and got carried off towards Albany for my pains. 
Then I got out at Westfield, marked well her bul- 
warks, did not like the look of her for Sunday, went 
back to Springfield, had to stay in the station there 
from about eight till midnight, and then went to 
Hartford to the Allyn House, and in the morning 
drove out in silken state to Nook Farm and took Mrs. 
Stowe to church with me. Was not that dispatching 
business? They live in a lovely place. 

I did not see the Stowe girls at all. I saw their 
portraits painted, and I saw the picture of the long- 
ago-drowned son, and if there is any truth in faces, 
that is the face of a fun-loving, pure-hearted boy. 
Charley Stowe was at home all the time I was there 
an honest, affectionate, well-mannered bo}^ that 
anybody might be glad .to be father and mother 
of. 

I was a Nook Farmer when I used to be in Hart- 
ford, but it grows more and more lovely every year. 
Still, my dear, happiness does not lie in fine houses 
and trees, for Professor Stowe has a constitutional 
melancholy which all his fair surroundings cannot re- 
move, and the charming house set in its snuggery 
of trees, with the river rippling close by, sung to by 
birds, and watched over by all the guardian angels of 



600 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

nature would be sold to-morrow could a fit pur- 
chaser be found. 

Well, then I went to Meriden and stayed a day or 
two, and then back to Hartford to the Gillettes, 
original Nook Farmers, and I saw all my friends, or 
a good many of them, and heard of one who was in 
Hartford when I was there, and I was very fond of 
liim, and he was not hostile to me, and he has left 
Hartford a few weeks ago with his name tar- 
nished and his hopes broken ; nevertheless, I believe 
in him all the same. Imprudent and extravagant and 
impracticable, I dare sa}- he has been, for it was like 
him, but dishonorable in intent it is impossible he 
should have been. I have had my hair cut short, and 
such a forlorn, shaven monkey you never saw. I 
enjoyed my Hartford episode much. It is sort of 
delightful to do things once in a while. I didn't do 
anything, only was done to. Since I got home I 
have been as busy as swarms of bees, and shall be, 
I suppose, as long as I live in health, at least. 

[To HER Sister.] 

Professor Stowe writes deploring Florida and the 
association with niggers, alligators, and fleas instead 
of me ! but says his identification with his wife has 
only increased his admiration and love of her ; and 
when she says her health and happiness depend on 
it, what can he do? 

October, 1867. 

My lovely silk poplin that I have just had made 
over, short and gored, sack and jacket and t'elvet 
trimmings, I wore to tiuireh yesterday, and a friend 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 601 

invited me to drive home with her aud I did not want 
to, vet thought it would be a friendly thing to do, so 
I did it, and in consequence daubed my lovely gored 
blue short velvet silk poplin all over with wheel 
grease. Now tell P., and ask her if she knows any- 
thing that is death to wheel grease aud innocuous to 
silk poplins gored, azure, and lovely. You are 
always crying up P., especially as executive and 
efficient. Now, anybody cau execute butter and such 
things, but if she can churn joy out of wheel-grease, 
or wheel-grease out of poplin, let her now speak or 
else hereafter forever hold your peace. My sister-in- 
law is here, and has stuffed this house chuck full of 
pickles and piccallili and shirley sauce and grape 
pi'eserves and peaches and things. They squeeze out 
of every crack between the boards, and to-morrow 
she is going to make some fruit-cake to eat with them, 
and the apples are picked, and going out to play 
croquet, we are, with clear consciences, and balls 
and mallets, of course. Dickens is coming, aud 
Newburyport wants him for an evening, and offers, 
through me, three hundred dollars, and we are all 
snubbed, together with the announcement that every 
American evening will roll him in from fifteen hun- 
dred to two thousand American notes for his par- 
ticular circulation. Last week my last uncle died, a 
good and beloved man, eighty- four years old, who 
had suffered for forty years from an excruciating 
neuralgia, full of humor and fun and goodness, 
and I think Heaven must be perfectly heavenly to 
him. Now, do you suppose he has seen my grand- 
father, and does my uncle who was lost overboard at 
sea, in the night, fifty years ago, remember him and 
care for him? And I wonder if my droll, witty aunt, 



602 GAIL HA.MrLTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

who died two years ago, met him with some celestial 
knitting-work in her hand, and the}' are just now 
sitting down on some shady seat and hearing and 
telling all that has befallen. 

That soldier that wrote me from Chickamauga, you 
remember, did I tell you he has cropped out since he 
found himself in print, and has sent me the books 
which went to the war with him, and a sketch-book 
that he drew of himself in Libby Prison ? He is an 
editor in Cleveland now. Do you know how small 
your faith is? Because W. has got through the woods 
with $1,500 a year in his pocket and offers to help D. 
you think God is very good to give us children, but 
if one were curious I think one could cull from past 
letters of yours very grave doubts on the subject. 
Just as far as you can see your hand before you you 
believe in your hand, but if you can't see, why. there 
is an end of all wisdom under the sun. You don't 
seem to see anything before you but spectacles and 
roomatiz. Don't the same things lie before me, and 
ten times worse, inasmuch as I shall have nobody to 
hunt up my spectacles for me, or to make me hot 
lemonade and red flannel bandages for my sorrow 
and isn't everybody else coming to the same body of 
death ? For my part, life astonishes me every day as 
a curious phenomenon. I look back upon my past 
little self as a bug-man might look upon a new bug, 
and I see the sciiool-children go by and it amazes me. 
And I fancy how they will, by and by, read my name 
on a white marble slab with no more conception that 
I was a human being than if I were the marble slab 
itself. But as they grow up, and grow old themselves, 
they will gradually grow into the knowledge of me. 
Do you know we don't seem to be really born the first 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 603 

twenty years or so. We keep getting deeper and 
deeper into life till I reckon we plunge through on the 
other side. Harriet Preseott's baby was very bright 
and interesting. How nonsensically you talked about 
my busy-ness that it was all useless because I had 
my daily bread secure without it ! Is that what people 
work for their daily bread ? Does man live by 
bread alone, I should like to know? Is there nothing 
to do in the world but to repair the waste of tissue? 
And because one can do but little shall one take a 
lazy hand to that? 

Y"ou need not trouble yourself as to whether there 
are going to be any women folks among the angels. 
Unless you change some of your views speedily the 
prospect is too remote of its ever being a personal 
matter with you to make it worth engaging your seri- 
ous attention. 

Your mother and your brother are not a fair speci- 
men of Heaven, though they are your relations. Sup- 
pose, instead of being eighty, and in Chester, they had 
been just born in Heaven, one of them, and the other 
say twenty years old there would not they have had 
enough to talk about, and would not they have been 
full besides of plans for the new life might I mean? 
Why does any one tomd to make an excuse for a 
second marriage? If the victim of it is satisfied I 
cannot see that it is any one else's affair ! That is 
the way with Bayard Taylor and who else was it? a 
little while ago. I say let it all alone. It concerns 
only one man and one woman. Y^ou may say any- 
thing you like of second marriages in general, but of 
any one marriage in particular the public know and 
need know next to nothing, and I don't suppose the 
relations of this life are to be arbitrarily and rigidly 



604 GAIL HAIMILTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

reproduced or prolonged in Heaven. But they are to 
be refined and so renewed. If a woman has married 
the wrong man here I do not believe she is going to 
be his wife through all eternity unless, perhaps, he has 
really the root of the matter in him, and by a course 
of treatment turns out to be the right man after all. 
Professor Stowe says that Lady Byron, notwithstand- 
ing her husband's unspeakable atrocity towards her, 
always believed there was the germ of good in him, 
and that he will one day be restored to her in all his 
ideal sweetness. But if a man and a woman have 
begun in this world that good work upon each other 
which a complete love cannot fail to do, do you sup- 
pose Death will be suffered to cut it short ? / don't. 
Like will seek like there as here, and hold it all the 
longer and stronger. 

My poplin followed your advice and let the wheel- 
grease be but my sister tucked it in out of sight, so 
you won't see it when you come down, except in the 
suavity of ray manners. 

I am going next Friday, D.V., to see the Confer- 
ence turn and rend and devour one another over Mr. 
Charles Beecher, a devout person, and one that fears 
God continually, so far as I can judge. I wish you 
would be in my Sunday-school class, or I wish you 
would have a Sunday-school class and me in it. 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

October 18, 1867. 
I will not say that you do not sometimes in your 
letters offend my taste, but I dare say you could era- 
ploy the same negatives with regard to mine. In fact, 
I suppose there are few persons of positive taste and 



BUSY YEARS TN HAMILTON (305 

character who do not occasionally run against each 
other's positivisms. But in a world lil^e this, if we 
cut off all communication with those who do not in 
every respect suit us our circle would be exceedingly 
limited. 

" Wool Gathering " is of course a good book, and 
it is well you have read it, but when you and the saints 
get into the next world, I fancy you will have some- 
thing better to do than to pore such books, even if 
all Europe is in them. I do not have so strong an 
expectation or desire of going to Europe as I used to 
have, and if I went I fancy I should write no book. 
The associations would be too overpowering. By the 
way, there was a " Wool Gathering " on my shelf for 
you. But when it came you had left Washington, 
and when you were here, it slipped out of my brain- 
shelf, and so you slipped away without it. Now it 
has slipped into other hands, and if you are as disin- 
terested as you pretend to be you will rejoice in your 
loss, which proved to be another's gain. 

December 6. 

We all agree that you will never have paralysis. 
People t!iat have it suspect it not beforehand. " No- 
thing happens but the unexpected." Your heaviness 
was but a mood, not lightened, indeed, by thoughts 
on purgntory ! 

My brother and his family are with us from Min- 
nesota this winter, and the family wheels move on 
without armed intervention from me ; so I take little 
jaunts into space, having fortified myself previously 
with a silk and velvet suit which ought to answer 
even your ideas of magnificence, and which on a 
more stately figure would be magnificent. 



606 GAIL HAMILTON'S LIFE IN" LETTERS 

Salem has a new history for me since I read Mr. 
Upham's book on witchcraft. What a pretty hand- 
writing is that of your Margaret Dalrymple ! All 
the old chieftains come down from their heights to 
meet and greet this bonuie lass of theirs, and she 
lives quietly in Salem. We have sent away our little 
hand-maiden. She was a quiet-mannered puss, but 
otherwise unavailable, very fond of reading and 
playing, but with a deeply-rooted aversion to all man- 
ner of handicraft, and totally depraved on the subject 
of thoroughness. If you know any philanthropist who 
would like to adopt a heathen and turn her into a 
Christian, and so do good missionary work at home 
I can point out to him a line field of labor. 

Did I tell you that I was at the Conference which 
undid its own work two years ago about Charles 

Beeclier? The old stand-bys were there Dr. 

with his gray, abundant hair, and Elder bald, 

but stately. But ncjthing availed, and Charles Beecher 
stands again among the brethren. I am glad, because 
he seems to me too good to be outcast from any church 
fraternity. I think him a good man, and none the 
less so for being possibly a little bewildered. In 
fact, I suspect our certainty springs very largely from 
our want of thought from ignorance rather than 
from knowledge. 

I heard Charles Dickens read the other night. It 
is difficult to detach the reader from the writer, but 
both together are absorbing. My eyes ached all next 
day from the intensity of my gazing. I do not think 
his voice naturally particularly fine, but he uses it 
with great effect. He has wonderful dramatic power 
a command over his face which recalls the old 
stories of Garrick. He reproduces, recreates almost 



BUSY YEARS IN HAMILTON 607 

the characters with whom his pen has made you 
familiar. I like him better than any public reader I 
have ever before heard. He has less mouthing and 
unnaturaluess. There is much disappointment in this 
vicinity owing to inability to hear him. I sometimes 
think he will have caused far more trouble than 
pleasure by his visit. And on the whole, is it not 
yet a question whether life is not like Charles Dickens* 
visit. 

[To Mr. Wood.] 

December 30, 1867. 

On Saturday a wooden box was dumped on our 
piazza, and the wooden box, on urgent solicitation, 
delivered up a brown-paper package, and the brown 
package disclosed a leather case royally cushioned 
with satin and velvet of imperial purple whereon re- 
posed a lovely quartette of silver stuff, not untouched 
with gold. And on each piece the eye delighted to 
trace my monogram ; but on one piece, more preten- 
tious than the rest, we thought we discerned a G. W. T. 
to, etc., or G. T. W. Certainly there is a G. plain, 
and then there is an intertwining which may be a W. 
alone, or a T. alone, but looks most like a combina- 
tion of the two. I will treat you the next time you 
come here to a cup of tea such as never was dreamed 
of from my gold and silver store. Whoever sent it, 
it is the sweetest little thing you ever saw. Now we 
are on tlie theme of gifts, I must tell you that W hit- 
tier sent me his illustrated " Snow Bound," which is a 
charming work of art. In my " humble opinion " the 
illustrations are far finer than those of Maud Muller 
last year. Also another friend sent me an exquisite 
painting a buuquet of wild flowers, with every- 



608 GAIL HAMLLTON'S LIFE IN LETTERS 

tliiug but fragrance, a delight to me; whenever I look 
at them. A little enamelled and illustrated needle- 
case is a thing of which 3'ou have no conception, nor 
is it necessary you shall liave, nor of the other little 
trinkets which helped me to rejoice in the general 
jubilation. We trimmed our rooms with evergreen, 
and you don't know how snug and bowery they look. 
We shall keep it ou as long as it will keep green. 
Our turkey was so glorious in his strength that it has 
taken us ever since to eat him up, and he is not gone 
yet ! See the grandeur of New England poultry ! 

I went to see Nelly O'Conner at her sister's, and 
saw her and her sister and the seventeen little girls 
that revolve around them, and had an extremely 
pleasant visit for a little while. Mrs. O'Connor is so 
placidly young, and fresh, and lady-like, that one 
never tires of her. 

Let me tell vou fairly that when "Woman's 
Wrongs " are revealed to the light of day I don't 
intend to send you a copy. It is a book which you 
have no call to read and no occasion to possess, and 
may have a bad effect upon your unformed mind ; so 
whenever you feel an impulse to read it, you may sit 
down to Thomas u Kempis, or some other safe work, 
till the fit is over. You may be sure Nelly and I 
pulled you to pieces well between us, and if either of 
your ears burned about that time you may know the 
reason why. 



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Dodge, Mary Abigail 


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Gail Hamilton's life in 


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