1863-12-late2, Annie Adams Fields

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1863-12-late2, Annie Adams Fields


[Late December 1863], Philadelphia

My dear Annie

I could not answer your note in Wheeling—for every moment was occupied with my father[1] who was weaker than I thought to find him. Not dangerously ill but enough to make him nervous and even morbid in his desire to have me with him. It was not a very merry Christmas, though a quiet and deeply happy one for us. When I came home—yesterday I found Christmas all over again. They[2] had wreathed and arched our home with evergreens—placed my gifts in an almost bower and bade me welcome. And [] green letters on the fireside and your dear face was there with its very wreath too waiting to welcome me—I was almost sorry you had told me of it for then the surprise would have been complete— It was a beautiful likeness, Annie, the only one I entirely like of you. The outlining of the features is so soft and delicately fine and the artist has caught one of the finest meanings of your face. We all like it much. Tomorrow I hope to see it in a pretty frame. I must tell you such a stupid thing of myself—Do you remember writing a note to Clarke in answer to one about the Ode[3]— While I was gone, he discovered and read it—for the first time—I had taken my own note from your envelope and never seen the other—I was especially vexed as in it you spoke of a chance of coming here. Is there a chance? How really heart glad I would be to see you—I have so much to tell you often—sitting here alone, that I cannot write. Tell me when you write if you yet think of coming—and try to do it, dear Annie. It will be impossible for us to go to Boston this winter and I do so wish to see you, if only for a little while.

I am glad you liked my Christmas story.[4] I did not—my heart did not make me write it—only in so far as it was done to gratify Clarke—

Tell me about your Eve and all your Christmas—Our little ones[5] were very happy as Kriss Kringle returned a gracious answer to most of their letters. I must stop now for it is very late and I have a little note to write to Mr Fields— Give him our warmest Christmas greeting wish and for yourself Annie—think of the love we feel

Yours always


1. Richard William Harding (1792-1864).

2. RHD’s husband, L. Clarke Davis, and sister-in-law, Carrie Davis Cooper.

3. Annie Adams Fields’ first book publication, Ode Recited by Miss Charlotte Cushman, at the Inauguration of the Great Organ in Boston (1863).

4. “The Promise of Dawn: A Christmas Story” appeared in the January 1864 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

5. Carrie Davis Cooper’s children.


S. M. Harris


Richard Harding Davis Papers, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia


S. M. Harris, “1863-12-late2, Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed January 27, 2023, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/165.

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