To ANNIE ADAMS FIELDS
June 3, , Philadelphia
I waited to finish this before writing so that I could send it in—I hope Mr Fields will like it. But I’m afraid it is too long for one number and it would not be condensed so I leave it to Mr Fields’ tenderest mercies. I was so sorry about the proof—really and unfeignedly sorry—I did not want to give so much trouble to any one least of all to you, or your ‘Jamie’ who are always so considerate in every way. Your letter came Monday evening and I sent the proof copied fairly so that they would receive it Tuesday noon, I think. Would that delay the magazine? I don’t know when I have been so vexed about anything—
And so you have been ill? Annie, you have been doing too much of some sort of work—head or otherwise—tiring yourself out—soldier work very probably—I am glad you have gone to the hills—and will send this via your farm-house. I was with you, I think this time last year—and very likely you have been doing now just as you did then, planning and keeping your brain busy to give others pleasure. I don’t forget how you had my visit and Mrs. Hawthorne’s and a wedding all to manage at once and did it so smoothly and with such well oiled machinery beneath that a wheel never jarred. But I knew and remember— The list for Mrs Wallace came. I had no idea that Mr Fields would send her more than half a dozen books, Annie—but still I think she deserves that he should do even as much as he has. It was very generous.
Mr. Davis wants his respect sent with more emphasis than usual, and I know that is the reason. I don’t know at all about delivering these messages, Madam Annie— If you were a Gorgon it would be quite another thing—but when one’s husband produces your photograph with the remark I generally hear—to strangers[—] I feel very doubtful in my mind
By the way—the other night he showed it to a very grave white-headed old gentleman that we all respect very much: He looked at it silently a minute and then looking up said ‘She is so lively I would kiss her even behind the ear.’ And when we laughed went on quite seriously to say it was the kind heart in it that charmed him. ‘I never saw a kinder face.’ He’s a grandfather but he has kept his eyes clear I think pretty well.
We are all well now I am glad to say at last
I’ve been very busy finished this for you—going out every day though with Clarke either in the country or in town.
By the bye—again Annie I forgot that this story had no name until this evening and now it is too late to think of one as I want this to go at once. So I will send it in a day or two and write you a letter instead of these poor letter notes. I do want to have a good talk with you but I would like to give you outlines of some people I see—philanthropists, litterateurs—people with missions and [cotton?] umbrellas. It is as well I don’t see you, though, or I might descend to gossiping[,] who knows? Mr Davis sitting beside me—cigar in mouth—sends his love— That I should so bear and live!
Good bye dear friend—Write to me saying you are well and write very soon. Remember me to Mr F—in some pleasant way to put that proof sheet clean out of his head
1. Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809-1871), a painter and spouse of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
2. Sarah Pelham Wallace, a widow whom RHD was helping via the Fieldses to establish a circulating library.