Annie Adams Fields

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Annie Adams Fields


October 9, [1862], Wheeling

My dear Annie

I wonder if you think western savages are ungrateful. I meant to answer your letter very soon, but since then, my sister and mother[1] have been ill, and I, tired out, most of the time in body and mind. You are at home now, I suppose, from the sea shore for even here the chill autumn days have begun and we gather cozily about the fire in the evenings. Your letters are a sincere, real pleasure to me. They bring back Boston so vividly—a very bright summer day to recall—

I have written no letters lately except unavoidable ones, but have heard from several of our friends.  Mrs. Wasson[2] yesterday. You will always tell me of them all, wont you? I never forget anybody. And you must not forget your promise to visit me in my own home. The farther from the ‘centre of civilization’ that is the better for you, for did you not see what Mr. Dicey says of you all—“that you know Europe better than America.”[3] So if I summon you to an Illinois squatters hut, “it’s for your good, my child.”       I returned Miss Peabody[4] the letters. Do you know if she received them safely? And do you hear from Mrs. Hawthorne[5] these times?

Annie, I’m quite down-rightly hungry for a word from you all—  Do you see Mrs. Waterston[6] often? Remember me to her most affectionately. She has left a most pleasant tender memory with me of the home and the father and mother that ‘Helen’ guards.

Mr. Fields is well, isn’t he?  It is a long time since I heard from you, you know, so I make a catechism of this letter.

Will you tell Mr. Fields that the Christmas story is well begun, now. I meant it to be a child’s story, but another thought so took possession of me I had to put it down.[7] One which I think you and I spoke of. Ask Mr. Fields to keep a place for it. I hope—think he will like it. What number would he wish it for? I did not know how soon it must be there. For the same reason I did not write letters I have written very little lately, and now only apologize by this—a thing I hate.

My brother[8] sends his kindest remembrances my mother too. I—always—to you and Mr. Fields and all the lovely house, when I was so happy.  I think of ‘Ariel’ often at night at[sic] it plainly, my eyes being shut. Good bye—or let me say auf wiedersehen. I feel as it if would be a true prophecy today.

Yours true & earnest,

You  will write soon

[1] Emilie Mary Harding (Gow) (1842-1904) and Rachel Leet Wilson Harding (1808-1884).

[2]  Spouse of the Unitarian minister, poet, and Transcendentalist David Atwood Wasson (1823-1887).

[3] Edward Dicey (1832-1911), British journalist and author.

[4] Elizabeth Palmer Peabody; she had sent letters written by Dr. and Mrs. Channing to RHD.

[5] Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809-1871), artist and spouse of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

[6] Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy (1812-1899) spouse of Rev. R. C. Waterston (1812-1893); their daughter Helen had died in 1858.

[7] “The Promise of Dawn: A Christmas Story” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in January 1863.

[8] Hugh Wilson Harding.


S. M. Harris


S. M. Harris, “1862-10-09
Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed September 29, 2023, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/93.

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