Annie Adams Fields

Dublin Core


Annie Adams Fields


October 25, 1862, Wheeling 

Dear Annie

I wrote to you after you left home and meant to sit down and have a long talk with you, but a young lady friend dropped in on me—one of those exigeant people who absorb every moment—you know?  She has just gone an hour ago. And I am seated by a red charred fire and clean hearth, with the dullest of gray rains outside, a pile of letters beside me.—  Yours first, Annie dear.

Do you know sometimes I reproach myself so much for my visit to Boston. I think, why did I not show more how happy I was? Make them love me more? At times, looking back over all the wasted years I feel as if I could say, I have lost not a day—but a life.

No matter.  I did not mean to speak in this way.

The point in your letter that pleases me is that you will come to see me in the spring?  You will? I never break a promise and I shall hold you to yours, under any circumstances. I don’t insist on your coming this winter— I’ll tell you why soon but Annie dear if I were in a squatter’s hut in our coal region in the spring (I can’t think of any thing worse than that) I would claim your visit and make you so welcome that even you, or ‘Jamie’[1] would not see the potato skins in the corner nor the pig under the bed. I would. My very heart would take you in. You don’t know how I remember my visit, nor how I can care for people I once accept.

I am glad Dickens likes ‘Tom.’[2] I wish very much to obtain a place in one of the best English magazines and write only for that and ours.  Have your read the Christmas story yet?[3] Tell me what you have thought—not about the story—but on that subject—and what help has suggested itself to you.[4] I remember talking to you—one day—about it only slightly though.

The same mail brought a note from Mrs. Fremont[5]—with yours. I am so glad the story is finished. She wants me to review it.[6] I hope most earnestly it may succeed. She is near to me—everything that concerns her. The best critique I ever heard on Jessie Fremont was—“A genuinewoman.” Could words say more? I had a long letter from Kate Field,[7] which I will answer soon.  She laughs at my want of time—but it is a literal fact—more’s the pity. I will hope for a long letter from you soon, full of home news. Tell me too how the bay looks in this golden October air? Does it know I’m gone? I think it does. I tell you true when I say that.

Will you tell me who painted your Ariel? I often think of it and have forgotten who. I wish I could give you some home news. Only we all sit well that I am most glad to say. My mother[8] desires me to send her love to you. She knows you so well, now. Wilse[9] is out or he would have a message. Remember me to Mr. Fields. Do you know we tried a dish we had at your house, made out of cold lamb etc? You gave me the recipe and I gave it to the cook, and it proved to be un grand success—so every now and then Pa[10] says let’s have Mrs. Fields’ pudding—  But the chowder and the fresh salmon! My feelings overcome me. They are not Good bye.

Yours with much love



[1] James T. Fields’ nickname.

[2] Charles Dickens published “Blind Tom” as “Black Blind Tom” in All the Year Round.

[3] “The Promise of Dawn.”

[4] The story was about a prostitute and her child.

[5] RHD’s friend and author Jesse Benton Fremont (1824-1902). They met when Fremont’s husband, Gen. John C. Fremont, was stationed in Wheeling and RHD stayed with the Fremonts on her 1862 trip to New York.

[6] RHD’s unsigned review of Benton’s The Story of the Guard appeared in the January 1863 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.

[7] Field (1838-1896), American author and journalist.

[8] Rachel Leet Wilson Harding (1808-1884).

[9] Her eldest brother, Hugh Wilson Harding (1835-1906).

[10] Richard William Harding (1796-1864).


S. M. Harris


S. M. Harris, “1862-10-25
Annie Adams Fields,” Rebecca Harding Davis: Complete Works, accessed March 31, 2023, http://rebeccahardingdaviscompleteworks.com/items/show/94.

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