Annie Adams Fields
To ANNIE ADAMS FIELDS
October 25, 1862, Wheeling
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’ 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.’ 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? Tell me what you have thought—not about the story—but on that subject—and what help has suggested itself to you. I remember talking to you—one day—about it only slightly though.
The same mail brought a note from Mrs. Fremont—with yours. I am so glad the story is finished. She wants me to review it. 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, 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 desires me to send her love to you. She knows you so well, now. Wilse 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 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
 James T. Fields’ nickname.
 Charles Dickens published “Blind Tom” as “Black Blind Tom” in All the Year Round.
 “The Promise of Dawn.”
 The story was about a prostitute and her child.
 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.
 RHD’s unsigned review of Benton’s The Story of the Guard appeared in the January 1863 issue of the Atlantic Monthly.
 Field (1838-1896), American author and journalist.
 Rachel Leet Wilson Harding (1808-1884).
 Her eldest brother, Hugh Wilson Harding (1835-1906).
 Richard William Harding (1796-1864).