1864-02-14, Annie Adams Fields

Dublin Core


1864-02-14, Annie Adams Fields


[February 14, 16, 1864], Philadelphia

Sunday I waited until today to write dear Annie, so that our welcome home might be fresh to you when it came. It was so good in you to just say a word to us on reaching New York–the very night. I knew you thought it, but one doesn’t often feel like pen and papers when there is most waiting to be said. Be sure and be gossipy in your next letter and tell us all you did in New York—and about the Fremonts[1] and your friend Mrs. Botta too. You foolish girl to accuse yourself of disloyalty to anybody! You are one of the two or three people I know who are loyal to their friends as to their country. It is so much easier to vow allegiance to a great vague idea than to shoulder all the [] peccadilloes and—laskings[?], to make a word—of people and to defend them too with as much zeal as you used for Miss Prescott[2] the other day.

No indeed, Annie Fields converted me more to a belief in Annie Fields than in Miss Prescott’s usury of the buried talent.

But how ungracious and coarse this seems to me! I had no thought of saying a hard thing of her. God knows how I know that I am unfit to judge another on that ground. I think my motive was pure—but don’t let us say thing more of it.

I want to tell you about ourselves since you went away, but each day has been so quiet and uneventful it would tire you, maybe. Carrie[3] went away on Wednesday—the house is very still—the air is warm and the sunshine clearer than the day you were here— We read and walk and I sew a little and so the time has been full of a deep breath of content and waiting.

Your coming was such a real fresh wakening-up touch—neither of you know what good it did us both—though perhaps you would know if you could hear us going back to every part of your visit as we sit here in the evenings, and always promising ourselves the time you will come to see us—sometime. Today is Clarke’s day at home. I don’t know why, but it seems more restful and brighter than even many of our quiet days before—to hold the essence of many Sundays in it. He has a pure white Calea[4] in the window to catch the sunshine—it being St. Valentine’s day—you know—so I find my eyes going to it—every little while and sometimes I go and look in a certain drawer where everything is tiny and white[,] a knit cap of ‘music-thoughts’ among the rest and so not seldom my eyes have been wet a little all day. [5]

Tuesday morning— I laid down my note and yesterday could not finish it. Today—only to say—good bye until tomorrow. I will write a longer note then. I want to talk to Mr. Fields about those little papers—but just now I only want to say—how near and dear you are to both of us and how heart warming it was to see your faces only for that glimpse of time— Clarke is gone down street or he would have a page of messages—

With all love, I am yours


1. Jessie Benton and Gen. John C. Frémont, mutual friends living in New York City.

2. Harriet Prescott (Spofford) (1835-1921), American author and poet.

3. Carrie Davis Cooper, RHD’s sister-in-law with whom they are living at present.

4. Calea ternifolia, also known as the calla flower, is part of the aster family.

5. RHD is eight months pregnant.


S. M. Harris


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



S. M. Harris, “1864-02-14, Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed July 22, 2019, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/182.