1861-11-26, James T. Fields
To JAMES T. FIELDSNovember 26, 1861, Wheeling
May I shake hands with you in our Virginia fashion? You have made the day a very happy one for me. I cannot tell you what old childish fancies surged up at the sight of Longfellow and Hawthorne. Mr. Holmes’ face is not what I expected. Thank Mrs Fields most earnestly for me. She ought to thank God for such a face–it must be so natural to love her. It is quite en regle for me to ask for your own, isn’t it? I make it so at any rate;— please send it. I have wished to see it for a long time. For mine, you will understand that it “had best be hushed up among my friends” when I tell you there is but one copy of it extant. But as soon as this fog allows the sun to attend to his business, I will send one to Mrs Fields.
If you are contented with the end of the story, so am I. I only intended to kill Dr. Knowles at Manassas, but he may as well see the war out, I suppose.
Yours truly R.B.H.
1. The Fieldses often sent RHD small portraits of the authors they published and occasionally of themselves. These portraits were of the author Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), and the physician, poet, and author Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1884).↩
2. En règle (French): in order; by the rule.↩
3. Manassas or Bull Run was the first battle of the Civil War, resulting in a Union defeat.↩