Text: James A. Harrison, “Chapter 10,” Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (1903), Vol. II, pp. 277-286


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[page 277:]

CHAPTER X.

FEBRUARY, 1847 - DECEMBER, 1847.

FORDHAM.

——————

POE TO ——— [[G. W. Eveleth]]

[Ingram.]

NEW YORK, Feb. 26, ‘47

MY DEAR SIR, — Some weeks ago I mailed you two newspapers which, from what you say in your last letter, I see you have not received. I now enclose some slips which will save me the necessity of writing on painful topics. By and by I will write you more at length.

Please reinclose the slips when read.

What you tell me about the accusation of plagiarism — made by the Phil. Sat. Ev. Post surprises me. It is the first I heard of it — with the exception of a hint in one of your previous letters — but which I did not then comprehend. Please let me know as many particulars as you can remember — for I must see into the charge. Who edits the paper? who publishes it? &c. &c. &c. About what time was the accusation made? I assure you that it is totally false. In 1840 I published a book with this title — “The Conchologist’s First Book: A System of Testaceous Malacology, arranged especially for the use of Schools, in which the animals, according to Cuvier, are given with [page 278:] the shells, a great number of new species added, and the whole brought up, as accurately as possible, to the present condition of the science. By Edgar A. Poe. With illustrations of 215 shells, presenting a correct type of each genus.”

This, I presume, is the work referred to. I wrote it in conjunction with Professor Thomas Wyatt, and Professor McMurtrie, of Philadelphia — my name being put to the work, as best known and most likely to aid its circulation. I wrote the Preface and Introduction, and translated from Cuvier the accounts of the animals, &c. All school-books are necessarily made in a similar way. The very title-page acknowledges that the animals are given — I according to Cuvier.” This charge is infamous, and I shall prosecute for it, as soon as I settle my accounts with “The Mirror.” —

Truly your friend,  
E. A. POE.

CHIVERS TO POE.

[Griswold Collection.]

WASHINGTON, GA., Feb. 21st, 1847.

MY DEAR FRIEND, — As I have not written to you in a long time, perhaps you would like to hear from me. In the first place, I am well and hearty, and long to see you. I received the paper, containing your letter and the notice of your writings, some time ago. I was delighted with your letter — that is, with the idea that you had got well again — and hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you may remain so. I am sorry for your wife, because she suffers pain — but am sorrier for you, because, from what you say, she is nigh to the Angels, and you are recovering your strength to fight against the Devil, and parley with his emissaries — fools. If you [page 279:] will come to the South to live, I will take care of you as long as you live — although, if ever there was a perfect mystery on earth, you are one — and one of the most mysterious. However, come to the South and live with me, and we will talk all these matters over at our leisure. I do not intend this for a letter, but just scratch it down to let you know that I am still in the land of the living — which perhaps, you would just as soon not know as to know. What do I care for that — that is your own fault, if it be so — not mine. By the bye, have you ever seen a little Poem of mine entitled a “Song to the River Pa,” any where? If you have, you have seen a better notice of you than you ever took of me. But what of that? I have something now that you will like. If I could get hold of something you have written lately, I should like it. Can’t you send me something? I read your tale of the “Spectacles” to some ladies here the other day, and they shouted — particularly at that place where you speak of the old lady’s “Bustle!” When they heard of the “Universe of Bustle” maybe they did n’t laugh — “up to the hearing of the Gods.”

I sent you a Tale some time ago, entitled, I believe, “The Return from the Dead” — or some such title. Well, I wish you to look over it, and correct any error you may see in it, and envelope it as at first, and direct it to Frederick W. Bartlett, Esq., Atlanta, Ga. He has written to me for something for his paper, and I have nothing but that, which, perhaps, will suit him. He is a great friend of mine, and the Editor of the “Atlanta Luminary.” I will notice your poems in the next No. I have spoken to him of you, and he likes you. Correct whatever error you may detect, and send it to him. I will be in New York next month, and hope to see you. Send me any paper you can get hold of, for, although I get “Byrons” now, I want more. Believe me the true friend of Edgar A. Poe; and if you don’t believe it, it will make no difference — I will still be your friend. Give my sincere respects to your [page 280:] wife, and tell her, from me, to be in hopes of pleasure here on earth yet, out of sickness; but, that, whatever may be her fate in this life, there is rest in Heaven. There is a Place where the Angels are crying,

Come, come to the Pure Land lying

Far up in the sky undying —

Where is rest forever more.

Yours forever,  
THOS. H. CHIVERS.

E. A. POE, Esq.

P. S. — I do not intend this for a letter, but write to let you know that New York is not the place to live in happiness. I have lived there, and know all about it. Come to the South. The stage is coming.

Farewell!  
T. H. C.

POE TO MRS. LOCKE.(1)

[Griswold Collection: MS.]

NEW YORK, March 10, 1847.

MY DEAR MADAM, — In answering your kind letter permit me in the very first place to absolve myself from a suspicion which, under the circumstances, you could scarcely have failed to entertain — in regard to me — a suspicion of discourtesy towards yourself in not having more promptly replied to you. I assure you, madam, that your letter, dated Feb. 21, has only this moment reached me. Although postmarked Lowell &c in the ordinary manner, it was handed to a friend of mine, for me, by Mr. Freeman [page 281:] Hunt of the Merchants’ Magazine, without any explanation of the mode in which it came into his hands or of the cause of its detention. Being still too unwell to leave my room I have been prevented as yet from satisfying myself on these points, and of course cannot now delay replying to your noble and generous words even until I shall have an opportunity of making inquiry.

Your beautiful lines(1) . . . is here at a time when I was indeed very ill, and might never have seen them but for the kindness of Mr. Willis who enclosed them to me — and who knew me too well to suppose as some of my friends did that I would be pained by so sweet an evidence of interest on the part of one of whose writings(2) . . . fervid and generous spirit which they evince he had so often heard me express sympathy.

At the same time I could not help fearing that should you see (in “The Home Journal”) my letter to Mr. Willis in which a natural pride which I feel you could not blame impelled me to shrink from public charity even at the cost of those necessities which were but too real — and an illness which I then expected would soon terminate in death — I could not help fearing that should you see this letter you would yourself feel pained at having caused me pain — at having been the means of giving farther publicity to an unfounded report — at all events to the report which (since the world regards wretchedness as a crime) I had thought it prudent so publicly to disavow. In a word, venturing to judge your noble nature by my own, I felt grieved lest my published [page 282:] denial may cause you to regret what you had done — and my first impulse was to write you and assure you even at the risk of doing so too warmly of the sweet emotion made up of respect and gratitude alone with which my heart was filled to overflowing. While I was hesitating, however, in regard to the propriety of this step — I was overwhelmed by a sorrow so poignant as to deprive me for several weeks of all power of thought or action.

Your letter now lying before me, tells me that I had not been mistaken in your nature and that I should not have hesitated to address you — but believe me, dear Mrs. Locke, that I am already ceasing to regard those difficulties as misfortune which have led me to even this partial correspondence with yourself.

CHIVERS TO POE.

[Griswold Collection.]

WASHINGTON, GA., April 4, 1847.

MY DEAR FRIEND, — I wrote you a kind letter some time ago, but have received no answer to it up to this time. What is the matter? Where are you? Are you in the Cave of Trophonius, or where, that I cannot get the mere scratch of a pen from you? I long to hear from you. What shall I say to induce you to answer my letters? I have been thinking of late that you have never received it. Is it so? If not, why not answer it, and tell me where you are, what you are doing, and what you intend to do?

I had the Home-Journal-Article republished in the “Atlanta Enterprise,” and ordered Dr. Fouerden to direct the paper to you — He is a fine fellow and a good Poet — a man of fine talents — and wishes to become [page 283:] acquainted with you. From what I have said to him of you, he is determined to write to you. If he does so, speak to him kindly, as I know you will, for he is a man of real talents, and my sincere friend. You must not mind my half sheets of paper. I am not in a City now, and write with the first thing I can get hold of. I know you know my heart, and why should I get thin French paper to tell you how I am, and how I wish you to be? What I feel ought to be engraved on brass with an iron pen. You will have seen before this, perhaps, an account of my newly-invented Throwstring Mill for spinning, doubling and twisting silk, about which I wrote you some time ago. I am spinning silk on the one I invented now. I received a letter from Charles J. Peterson today in regard to communications for his “National Magazine.” Did you ever see a Poem of mine in Graham, entitled “Agnus, or, the Little Pet Lamb?” If you ever have, tell me what you think of it. You will see a poem on you in the next No. of the “Atlanta Enterprise,” which will show you what I think of you. I wrote you to send “The Return from the Dead” to Bartlett of the Luminary; but if you have not sent it to him, send it to Dr. Wm. Henry Fouerden, of the “Atlanta Enterprise” — as he has written to me for something for his paper. I have made you an ocean of friends since I saw you last. Write me immediately upon the reception of this. How would you like to come to the South and establish a paper here? Write to me.

“Awake! Arise! or be forever fallen!”

I consider Charles J. Peterson a perfect gentleman in every sense of the term. Do you know him? Write me word how you pronounce this name — Melpomene? Mark the accents. Also Calliope. There has been a dispute here about the true pronunciation of them. Don’t fail to do so; if you should, you would disappoint many. I know you know, and therefore, will abide by what you say. If you can get hold of the “Literary World[page 284:] send me a No., as I will not take it until I see a No. of it.

I will not tell you that I wish you well. I will be in New York the first of May; and if you don’t write to me before then, you may expect to be passed in the street without ever being recognized by me. Remember? I give you warning; and if it should be the case, you can’t blame me — for it’s your own doings. In great haste,

Yours forever,  
THOS. H. CHIVERS.

E. A. POE, Esqr.

RAMSAY TO POE.

[Griswold Collection.]

STONEHAVEN, KINCARDINSHIRE, SCOTLAND,
14 April, 1847.  

DEAR SIR, — I was duly honored with your kind favor of the 30 Decr last & have to apologise for my ingratitude in not sooner returning my best thanks for the trouble you had taken in replying to my enquiry regarding the case of M. Valdemar but I delayed from time to time in expectation of being able to find out the parties you enquire about of the name of Allan. I am however sorry to say that all my endeavors have been in vain.

There are a good number of the name here & hereabout, & I have made enquiry at all of them I could find but none of them appear to be connected with the families or place you mention.

If you can give me any other clue by which they might be traced I shall be most happy to do anything in my power to find them.

The Pamphlet on Valdemar is published in your name as the sole conductor & operator in the case so that I thought you could at once affirm or deny it, but from [page 285:] the tenor of your letter to me this appears not to be the fact.

I am Dear Sir  
Very Respectfully  
Your much obliged & obdt Svt  
ARCH RAMSAY  
Druggist

POE TO ——— [[G. W. Eveleth]]

[Ingram.]

[Undated.]

The editor of the Weekly Universe speaks kindly, and I find no fault with his representing my habits as “shockingly irregular.” He could not have had the personal acquaintance “with me, of which he writes, but has fallen into a very natural error. The fact is thus: — My habits are rigorously abstemious, and I omit nothing of the natural regimen requisite for health — i. e., I rise early, eat moderately, drink nothing but water, and take abundant and regular exercise in the open air. But this is my private life — my studious and literary life — and of course escapes the eye of the world. The desire for society comes upon me only when I have become excited by drink. Then only I go — that is, at these times only I have been in the practice of going among my friends; who seldom, or in fact never, having seen me unless excited, take it for granted that I am always so. Those who really know me, know better. In the meantime I shall turn the general error to account. But enough of this — the causes which maddened me to the drinking point are no more, and I am done with drinking for ever. I do not know the editors and contributors of the Universe, and was not aware of the existence of such a paper. Who are they? or is it a secret? [page 286:]

POE TO ——— [[R. T. Conrad.]]

[Aug. 10, 1847.]

See pp. 270, 271, Biography.

POE TO MRS. LEWIS.

[Ingram.]

November 27, 1847.

DEAR MRS. LEWIS, — A thousand thanks for your repeated kindness, and, above all, for the comforting and cheering words of your note. Your advice I feel as a command which neither my heart nor my reason would venture to disobey. May Heaven for ever bless you and yours!

A day or two ago I sent to one of the Magazines the sonnet enclosed. Its tone is somewhat too light; but it embodies a riddle which I wish to put you to the trouble of expounding. Will you try?

My best regards, with those of Mrs. Clemm, to Mr. Lewis, and believe me, with all the affection of a brother.

Yours always,  
EDGAR A. POE.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 280:]

1.  This is apparently the corrected draft of a letter from Poe to Mrs. Locke; it is not addressed or signed. It was given incompletely in Griswold’s “Memoir.” Mrs. Locke was probably the sister-in-law of Mrs. Osgood. — ED.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 281:]

1.  “Were written” is here crossed out.

2.  “With” . . . illegible.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - LLEAP, 1903] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Chapter 10)