To ANNIE ADAMS FIELDS
[early 1865], Philadelphia
My dear Annie
Half asleep—I sit down to write to you—not I hope to send you the lees of the day. But talk of running three periodicals like steam engines? Why, a baby uses up twice the motive power! Think what a woman is worth by night when all day she has been in momentary expectation of seeing that infant hope of the world brought in choked by a pin or strangled on a coal or whatever else its fingers can lay hands on— A woman too who has a husband that has taken to fancy work at tools for exercise, and whittles and files away all regard for wife or family—
Look upon us as virtually divorced by means of this last hobby— My place is quite filled by ‘bits of wood with a beau-ti-ful grain’ etc. etc. If I can bring my ears back from the din of the saw and sandpaper I will be glad to hear the music you promise us—
Seriously, though, you ought to see the pretty little brackets and stands which this husband of mine makes in the hour before dinner. I am quite proud of his new talent.
Indeed we would have liked to see your collections for your friends— I think the autographs would have interested me most. I hope you did not part with one of Keats which I remember you had—
I envy you the power of doing such substantial good—
Have you any breath of spring in your sea gales yet? Here—for a day or two—we have had May dawns and November nights. The day beginning warm rosy and smiling, and ending with sobbing and sullenness. We are talking every day of the sea and of our summer to come—hoping to go out-of-doors by coming near it— But beyond weather, and such quiet talk and quieter home doings, we have nothing in our life to tell you. It needs a quiet indoor life to temper the outside influence in these times—
Mr. Davis, who is sitting beside reading something which draws out occasional terrific outbursts against Presbyterianism, grows pacific and human for a moment to send his love—
Thank you in Baby’s name for the kiss— Write soon, on you own behalf, dear Annie—(I just proposed to Mr. F. you should write in mine).
Your sincere friend
R. H. D.
1. John Keats (1795-1821), English poet.