Text: James A. Harrison, “Chapter 13,” Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe (1903), Vol. II, pp. 348-370


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[page 348:]

CHAPTER XIII.

APRIL, 1849 - SEPTEMBER, 1849.

THE PATTERSON LETTERS; “STELLA;” LECTURES IN RICHMOND.

——————

POE TO PATTERSON.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

NEW-YORK: April 1849.

DEAR SIR, — No doubt you will be surprised to learn that your letter dated Dec. 18 has only this moment reached me. I live at the village of Fordham; about 14 miles from New-York on the Harlem Rail-Road — but as there is no Post-Office at the place, I date always from New-York and get all my letters from the city Post-Office. When, by accident or misapprehension, letters are especially directed to me at Fordham, the clerks — some of them who do not know my arrangements — forward them to West-Farms, the nearest Post-Office town, and one which I rarely visit. Thus it happened with your letter — on account of the request which you made Mr. Putnam, I presume “to forward it to my residence.” I have thought it proper to make you this explanation, lest you may have been all this time fancying me discourteous in not replying to your very flattering proposition. [page 349:]

I deeply regret that I did not sooner receive it; and had it reached me in due season, I would have agreed to it unhesitatingly. In assuming “originality” as the “keystone of success” in such enterprises, you are right; and not only right, but, in yourself, almost “original” — for there are none of our publishers who have the wit to perceive this vital truth. What the public seek in a Magazine is what they cannot elsewhere procure.

Should you not have changed your mind on the subject, I should be pleased to hear from you again. I do not think — (in fact I am perfectly sure of the contrary) — that a Magazine could succeed, to any great extent, under the precise form, title, and general plan which (no doubt hurriedly) you have suggested; but your idea of the duplicate publication, East & West, strikes me forcibly.

Experience, not less than the most mature reflection on the topic, assures me that no cheap Magazine can ever again prosper in America. We must aim high — address the intellect — the higher classes — of the country (with reference, also, to a certain amount of foreign circulation) and put the work at $5: — giving about 112 pp. (or perhaps 128) with occasional wood-engravings in the first style of art, but only in obvious illustration of the text. Such a Mag. would begin to pay after 1000 subscribers; and with 5000 would be a fortune worth talking about: — but there is no earthly reason why, under proper management, and with energy and talent, the work might not be made to circulate, at the end of a few years — (say 5) 20,000 copies — in which case it would give a clear income of 70 or 80,000 dollars — even if conducted in the most expensive manner, paying the highest [page 350:] European prices for contributions & designs. I need not add that such a Mag. would exercise a literary and other influence never yet exercised in America. — I presume you know that during the second year of its existence, the “S. L. Messenger” rose from less than 1000 to 5000 subs., and that “Graham,” in 18 months after my joining it, went up from 5000 to 52,000. I do not imagine that a $5 Mag. could ever be forced into so great a circulation as this latter; but, under certain circumstances, I would answer for zo, ooo. The whole income from Graham’s 52,000 never went beyond 15,000 $: — the proportional expenses of the $3 Mags. being so very much greater than those of the $5 ones.

My plan, in getting up such a work as I propose, would he to take a tour through the principal States — especially West & South — visiting the small towns more particularly than the large ones — lecturing as I went, to pay expenses — and staying sufficiently long in each place to interest my personal friends (old College & West Point acquaintances scattered all over the land) in the success of the enterprise. By these means I would guarantee, in 3 months (or 4) to get 1000 subs. in advance, with their signatures — nearly all pledged to pay on the issue of the first number. Under such circumstances, success would be certain. I have now about 200 names pledged to support me whenever I venture on the undertaking — which perhaps you are aware I have long had in contemplation — only awaiting a secure opportunity.

If you will write me your views on the subject — as much in detail as possible — and if they accord in any degree with mine — I will endeavor to pay you a visit at Oquawka, or meet you at any place you suggest, [page 351:] where we can talk the matter over with deliberation. Please direct your reply simply to New-York City.

Very Respy.  
Yr Ob. St.  
EDGAR A. POE.

E. H. N. PATTERSON Esq.

POE TO WILLIS.

[Ingram.]

FORDHAM, April 20, 1849.

MY DEAR WILLIS; — The poem which I enclose, and which I am so vain as to hope you will like, in some respects, has been just published in a paper for which sheer necessity compels me to write now and then. It pays well — as times go — but unquestionably it ought to pay ten prices; for whatever I send it I feel I am consigning to the tomb of the Capulets. The verses accompanying this, may I beg you to take out of the tomb, and bring them to light in the Home Journal? If you can oblige me so far as to copy them, I do not think it will be necessary to say “From the Flag,” — that would be too bad. — and, perhaps, “From a late paper” would do.

I have not forgotten how a “good word in season” from you made “The Raven,” and made “Ulalume,” (which, by-the-way, people have done me the honor of attributing to you) — therefore I would ask you (if I dared), to say something on these lines — if they please you.

Truly yours ever,  
EDGAR A. POE.

[page 352:]

PATTERSON TO POE.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

OQUAWKA, May 7, 1849.

DEAR SIR, — Yours of April is before me, and I hasten to reply. I feared that my letter had never reached you (and had contempl.), or that other engagements had prevented your replying. You ask me to give (me) you my views upon the subject of our present correspondence “as much in detail as possible;” this I shall proceed briefly and concisely to do. (Your remarks, especially as they are strong.) Your opinions, strengthened as they have been by experience, have had their weight in convincing me that it would probably be better to establish at the outset a high-priced, and correspondingly high-toned periodical, which would, without doubt, win a generous and extended patronage from a genius-appreciating public. When I wrote you before, I had not given the subject that consideration (necessary to) which it deserved, — my principal object at that time being to enlist your sympathies and interests in a periodical (to be published by me), the literary contents of which should be exclusively under your control, believing that such an enterprise would prove successful, not doubting that even a cheap Magazine, under your editorial control, could be made to pay well, and at the same time exert a beneficial influence upon American Literature. But I certainly think that a Magazine (upon) such as you suggest, would yield a handsome income — probably a “fortune worth talking about” — and also subserve the interests of Literature to a much greater extent.

Our Literature is, just now, sadly deficient in the department of criticism. The Boston Reviewers are, generally, too (contracted in their views) much affected by local prejudices to give impartial criticisms; the Philadelphia Magazines (are) have become mere monthly [page 353:] bulletins for booksellers; Willis does not, with his paper, succeed, even tolerably, as a critic; in fact, I seldom find any (review) critique so nearly according with my own idea of the true aim and manner of criticism as were yours, while you had charge of that department in Graham’s and Burton’s. I wish and (am not alone in the wish) to see you at the head of an influential periodical, where you saw (speak at) —

As you do not appear to be pleased with the (plan) name suggested by me, I will leave to you the task of selecting an appropriate name, and would suggest that you make it unique — something that will be at once taking and will sound well. Make out a list of contributors and write a prospectus, and forward to me as soon as you can, so that I may at once commence operations — or, if it would be more consonant with your views, I will visit New York if possible by the first of August, prepared to purchase suitable materials to (comm) fulfill my part of the work, and then consult with you more deliberately upon minutiae.

My plan then (with certain modifications which we may agree upon) is thus:

I will furnish an office, and take upon myself the sole charge and expense of Publishing a Magazine (name to be suggested by you) to be issued in monthly numbers at Oquawka, Illinois, containing, in every number, 96 pages, of the same size of those of Graham’s Magazine, on good paper and new bold-face long primer (literary critical reviews to be set in smaller type) at the rate of (five) $5 per annum. Of this magazine you are to have the entire editorial control, furnishing, at your expense, matter for its pages, which can be transmitted to me by mail or as we may hereafter agree upon. (The profits none.) You can make your own bargains with authors whose contributions you secure, and I am to publish upon the best terms I can — each incurring the expenses consequent upon his own department — and we are to share the receipts equally — the books to be faithfully kept in [page 354:] the publication office at Oquawka, and one-half of all receipts from subscriptions, and private and agency sales to be forwarded to you monthly, by mail or as you may otherwise direct.

If one thousand subscribers can be secured in advance (and I have your assurance that they can), I am desirous of publishing a Magazine of this character. Your plan for procuring subscribers strikes me as having been happily conceived, and from its very “originality,” exclusive of your own extended personal popularity, must succeed admirably. On my part, I think my influence probably would extend to probably 500 subs., but I depend mainly upon your name, which (whatever may be the title you may propose) must form a part thereof. The fact of your editorship must also be well displayed in the prospectus.

Oquawka is comparatively an unimportant point, but I think that such being the case would not injure at all the circulation of the Magazine. Those who would become subscribers, would be induced to do so by their confidence in the abilities of the Editor, and the names of the contributors — and after the appearance of the first number I would guarantee that none will be disposed to cavil at the style or manner of publication. Here I can, situated as I now am, do my work at a less outlay, do it as neatly, and enjoy every mail advantage that I could at St. Louis, being but 30 hours’ travel from that city, and being situated immediately upon the Mississippi, with daily connection with the Northern Canal and St. Louis, and directly upon the great daily mail line from the East, through Penn., Ohio, and Indiana. In short, I could have no advantage in St. Louis that I may not avail myself of here — while here my expenses would not be so great as they would there, at least not in the beginning; — when the Magazine circulates five thousand copies it may be to our interests to publish it elsewhere — time will tell. [page 355:]

I have decided upon 96 pages — exclusive of cover; thinking that we had better begin with a work of this size. If, at the end of the first year, our circulation should justify, we can make a favorable impression as regards the stability of the work by enlarging to f r z pages or perhaps even to 128 pp.

I should expect you to be at one-half the cost of printing, say, 100 (perhaps a somewhat larger number) copies sent to editors in payment of insertion of prospectus.

If my plan accords with your views, you will immediately select a title, write me to that effect, and we will both commence operations. I will visit you at New York during the latter part of July or 1st of August, when we can settle minutiae and write out prospectus. We ought to put out the first number early in January next. Let me hear from you immediately.

And now that business is over — a word in your private ear. In conversing with a gentleman from Boston last year, upon the relative merits of some of our leading writers, I mentioned your name, and was surprised that he did not at once agree with me in my estimate of your poetic powers. He confessed that he had read a review of some of your poems and concluded that they were scarcely worth his attention. He had not even seen the “Raven.” I lent him this, besides several fugitive pieces of yours in my possession — “William Wilson,” “Murders of the Rue Morgue,” &c., and afterwards “Eureka,” a copy of which (the last in the city) I had just a little while before procured in St. L. The preface of this work he said was sufficient, if he had never read another of your writings, to convince him that Edgar A. Poe was a man of gigantic mind. I was thus the humble instrument in removing for the

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NOTE. — This is a memorandum, rather than a letter, and is copied verbatim, including italicized parentheses, which are in many cases obscure, but seem to involve alternate modes of expression, The text is copied from the publication of the Caxton Club. — ED. [page 356:]

POE TO PATTERSON.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

NEW-YORK — May 23 — 49.

MY DEAR SIR, — Your letter of the 7th. came to hand in due course of mail; but I have delayed my reply for a week, that I might deliberate well upon your proposition. You will comprehend the caution with which I feel it necessary to act, when you refer to my former letter, in which I endeavored to explain to you the ambition of my views and the importance I assign to success in the Magazine enterprise. If we attempt it we must succeed — for, so far as concerns myself individually, all my prospects, pecuniary as well as literary, are involved in the project — but I shrink from making any attempt which may fail. For these reasons, I have thought long and carefully on what you propose; and I confess that some serious difficulties present themselves. They are not insuperable, however, and, if we bring a proper energy to the task, they may be even readily overcome. Your residence at Oquawka is certainly one of the most serious of these difficulties; and I submit to you whether it be not possible to put on our title-page “Published simultaneously at New-York & St Louis” — or something equivalent.

However, these are points to be discussed when we meet — for, upon the whole, I say Yes to your proposition. Enclosed, you will find a title-page designed by myself about a year ago: — your joining me will, of course, necessitate some modifications — but the title &c should, for many reasons (to be explained hereafter) be adhered to. [page 357:]

We will find the 7 months between now and January brief enough for our preparations. It will be absolutely necessary that we begin at once. To-day I am going to Boston & Lowell, to remain a week; and immediately afterwards I will start for Richmond, where I will await your answer to this letter. Please direct to me there, under cover, or to the care of John R. Thompson, Edr. of the “South. Lit. Messenger.” an receipt of your letter (should you still be in the mind you now are) I will proceed to St. Louis & there meet you. We can then visit N. York together, or I can continue the tour, as may be agreed on. In the meantime I will do what I can in Boston & Virginia — without involving your name in the enterprise until I hear from you.

I fancy that I shall be able to meet the current expenses of the tour by lecturing as I proceed; but there is something required in the way of outfit; and as I am not overstocked with money (what poor-devil author is?) I must ask you to advance half of the sum I need to begin with — about $100. Please, therefore, enclose $50 in your reply, which I will get at Richmond.

If these arrangements suit you, you can announce the agreement &c to your friends & proceed as if all was signed and sealed.

I enclose a poem from Willis’s “Home Journal” & would be obliged to you if you could have it copied (with Willis’s editorial prefix) in some paper either in St Louis or Oquawka: — enclosing me the copy when you write.

Cordially yours,  
EDGAR A. POE.

E. H. N. PATTERSON, Esqr. [page 358:]

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Ingram.]

FORDHAM, June 16.

You asked me to write before I started for Richmond, and I was to have started last Monday (the 11th) — so, perhaps, you thought me gone, and without having written to say “good-bye” — but indeed, Annie, I could not have done so. The truth is, I have been on the point of starting every day since I wrote — and so put off writing until the last moment — but I have been disappointed — and can no longer refrain from sending you, at least, a few lines to let you see why I have been so long silent. When I can go now is uncertain — but, perhaps, I may be off tomorrow, or next day: — all depends upon circumstances beyond my control. Most probably, I will not go until I hear from Thompson (of the S. L. Messenger), to whom I wrote five days ago — telling him to forward the letter from Oquawka, instead of retaining it until he sees me. The reason of the return of my draft on Graham’s Magazine (which put me to such annoyance and mortification while I was with you) was, that the articles I sent (by mail) did not come to hand. No insult (as I had half anticipated) was meant — and I am sincerely glad of this; for I did not wish to give up writing for Graham’s Magazine just yet — I enclose the publisher’s reply to my letter of enquiry. The Postmaster here is investigating the matter, and, in all probability, the articles will be found, and the draft paid by the time you get this. So all this will be right. . . . [page 359:]

You see I enclose you quite a budget of papers the letter of Mrs. L—— to Muddy — Mrs. L—— ’s long MS. poem — the verses by the “Lynn Bard,”(1) which you said you wished to see, and also some lines to me (or rather about me), by Mrs. Osgood, in which she imagines me writing to her. I send, too, another notice of “Eureka,” from Greeley’s Tribune. The letter of Mrs. L—— you can retain if you wish it.

Have you seen the “Moral for Authors,” a new satire by J. E. Tuel? — who, in the name of Heaven, is J. E. Tuel? The book is miserably stupid. He has a long parody of the “Raven” — in fact, nearly the whole thing seems to be aimed at me. If you have not seen it and wish to see it, I will send it. . . . No news of Mrs. L—— yet. If she comes here I shall refuse to see her. Remember me to your parents, Mr. R——, &c. — And now Heaven for ever bless you —

EDDIE.

I enclose, also, an autograph of the Mr. Willis you are so much in love with. Tell Bardwell I will send him what I promised very soon. . . . My mother sends you her dearest — most devoted love.

POE TO MRS. LEWIS.(2)

[Ingram.]

June 21.

I have been spending a couple of hours most pleasantly . . . in reading and re-reading your “Child of [page 360:] the Sea.” When it appears in print — less enticing to the eye, perhaps, than your own graceful MS. — I shall endeavor to do it critical justice in full; but in the meantime permit me to say, briefly, that I think it well conducted as a whole — abounding in narrative passages of unusual force — but especially remarkable for the boldness and poetic fervor of its sentimental portions, where a very striking originality is manifested. The descriptions, throughout, are warmly imaginative. The versification could scarcely be improved. The conception of Zamen is unique — a creation in the best poetic understanding of the term. I most heartily congratulate you upon having accomplished a work which will live. — Yours most sincerely,

EDGAR A. POE.

POE TO ———. [[G. W. Eveleth]]

[Ingram.]

NEW YORK, June 26, 1849.

On the principle of “better late than never” I avail myself of a few moments’ leisure to say a word or two in reply to your last letter — the one from Brunswick.

You have had time to form an opinion of “Eureka.” Let me know, frankly, how it impresses you. It is accomplishing all that I prophesied — even more.

In respect to D———. By a singular coincidence, he is the chief of the very sect of Hogites to whom I refer as “the most intolerant and intolerable set of bigots and tyrants that ever existed on the face of the Earth.” A merely perceptive man, with no intrinsic [page 361:] force — no power of generalisation — in short, a pompous nobody. He is aware (for there have been plenty to tell him) that I intend him in “Eureka.”

I do not comprehend you about my being the “autobiographer of Holden’s Magazine.” I occasionally hear of that work, but have never seen a number of it.

“The Rationale of Verse” appeared in the last November and December numbers of the Southern Literary Messenger. In the February number I published (editorially) a review of “The Fable for Critics” — It is not much. Lowell might have done better.

I have never written any poem called “Ullahana.” What makes you suppose I have? I enclose the last poem (of any length) which I have published (i. e., “For Annie”). How do you like it? You know I put much faith in your poetical judgments. It is from Willis’s H. Journal. Do you ever see the Literary World?

Touching the Stylus: Monk Lewis once was asked how he came, in one of his acted plays, to introduce black banditti, when, in the country where the scene was laid, black people were quite unknown. His answer was: “I introduced them because I truly anticipated that blacks would have more effect on my audience than whites — and if I had taken it into my head that, by malting them sky-blue the effect would have been greater, why sky-blue they should have been.” To apply this idea to the Stylus — I am awaiting the best opportunity for its issue; and if by waiting until the day of judgment I perceive still increasing chances of ultimate success, why until the day of judgment I will patiently wait. I am now [page 362:] going to Richmond to “see about it” — and possibly I may get out the first number next January.

Write soon and more frequently. I always receive your letters with interest.

Cordially your friend,  
EDGAR A. POE.

Please re-enclose the verses.

POE TO GRISWOLD.

[Griswold Collection.]

NEW YORK, June 28 — 49.

DEAR GRISWOLD, — Since I have more critically examined your “Female Poets” it occurs to me that you have not quite done justice to our common friend, Mrs. Lewis; and if you could oblige me so far as to substitute, for your no doubt hurried notice, a somewhat longer one prepared by myself (subject, of course, to your emendations) I would reciprocate the favor when, where, and as you please. If you could agree to this, give me a hint to that effect, and the MS. is ready. I will leave it sealed with Mrs. L. who is unaware of my design — for I would rather she should consider herself as indebted to you for the favor, at all points. By calling on Mrs. L., and asking for a package to your address, you can at any moment get it. I would not, of course, put you to any expense in this matter; — all cost shall be promptly defrayed.

Truly yours,  
EDGAR A. POE.

[page 363:]

POE TO PATTERSON.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

RICHMOND, July 19.

MY DEAR SIR, — I left New York six weeks ago on my way to this place, but was arrested in Philadelphia by the Cholera, from which I barely escaped with life. I have just arrived in Richmond and your letter is only this moment received — or rather your two letters with the enclosures ($50. etc.) I have not yet read them and write now merely to let you know that they are safe. In a few days — as soon as I gather a little strength — you shall hear from me in full.

Truly Yours ever,  
EDGAR A. POE.

E. H. N. PATTERSON, Esq.

POE TO PATTERSON.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

RICHMOND, Aug. 7, 49.

MY DEAR SIR, — The date of your last letter was June 7 — so that two months have elapsed since you wrote it, and I am only just now sitting down to reply. The fault, Heaven knows, has not been mine. I have suffered worse than death — not so much from the Cholera as from its long-continued consequences in debility and congestion of the brain — the latter, possibly, attributable to the calomel taken.

I have at length, however, been able to give your propositions full consideration — and I confess that I [page 364:] hesitate. “To fail” would be ruinous — at least to me; and a $3 Magazine (however well it might succeed (temporarily) under the guidance of another) would inevitably fail under mine. I could not undertake it con amore. My heart would not be in the work. So far as regards all my friends and supporters — so far as concerns all that class to whom I should look for sympathy and nearly all of whom I propose to see personally — the mere idea of a “$3 Magazine” would suggest namby-pamby-ism & frivolity. Moreover, even with a far more diminished circulation than you suggest, the profits of a $5 work would exceed those of a $3 one.

I most bitterly lament the event which has detained me from St. Louis — for I cannot help thinking that, in a personal interview, I could have brought you over to my plans. I fear that now it is too late. But a Mag. might be issued in July very well — and if you think it possible that your views might be changed, I will still visit you at St. L. As yet, I am too feeble to travel; but by the time your reply to this reaches me, I shall have gained sufficient strength to set out. It is not impossible, indeed, that, with energy, the first number might yet be issued in January. I will, therefore; await, in Richmond, your answer to this.

Very cordially yours  
EDGAR A. POE.

[page 365:]

PATTERSON TO POE.

[Hutchinson Collection.]

OQUAWKA, ILL., Aug. 21, 1849.

EDGAR A. POE, Esq.

MY DEAR SIR, — Yours of the 7th inst. was received last night, and I hasten to reply. I am truly glad to hear that you are recovering your health, and trust that it will soon be fully restored. You cannot enter into the joint publication of a $3 Mag. with “your heart in the work.” Well, what say you to this? —

In publishing a $5 magazine, of 96 pp., monthly, — page same size as Graham’s — in bourgeois or brevier (instead of long primer and brevier, as first proposed), it would be necessary for me to make an outlay of at least $1,100 (this amount including a supply of paper for three months for 2,000 copies). Now, if you are sure that, as you before thought, 1,000 subscribers can be obtained who will pay upon receipt of the first number, then you may consider me pledged to be with you in the undertaking.

If this proposition meets your approval, you may immediately commence your journey to St. Louis — making easy stages through the South and operating on your way — so as to reach that city by the middle of October (say the 15th), keeping me advised of your progress, as you proceed, by letter, say every two weeks. I will meet you at St. Louis, by the time mentioned, at which time I shall be more at leisure than before, and can then settle on arrangements. You may associate my name with your own in the matter, the same as if I had met you in person.

Adopt your own title. I leave this matter to you as belonging peculiarly to your department. (Remember, however, published simultaneously at New York and St. Louis.) The first number can be issued in July — it is [page 366:] now too late to do it in January, and it would not be advisable to commence at any time other than the beginning or the middle of the year. I will try to be in St. Louis on the 15 of October, if your answer to this be favorable i until which time I bid you God-speed, and beg leave to sign myself,

Most truly yours,  
ED. H. N. PATTERSON.

P. S. — I send this via St. Louis and Vincennes, and will make a duplicate via Chicago to-morrow.

Yours,  
E. H. N. P.

POE TO MRS. CLEMM.

[From MS. in possessions of Miss A. F. Poe.]

RICHMOND, VA.,  
Tuesday — Sep. 18 — 49.

MY OWN DARLING MUDDY, — On arriving here last night from Norfolk I received both your letters, including Mrs. Lewis’s. I cannot tell you the joy they gave me — to learn at least that you are well & hopeful. May God forever bless you, my dear, dear Muddy. Elmira(1) has just got home from the country. I spent last evening with her. I think she loves me more devotedly than any one I ever knew & I cannot help loving her in return. Nothing is as yet definitely settled — and it will not do to hurry matters. I lectured at Norfolk on Monday & cleared enough to settle my bill here at the Madison House with $2, over. I had a highly fashionable audience, but Norfolk is a small place & there were a exhibitions the same night. Next Monday I lecture again [page 367:] here & expect to have a large audience. On Tuesday I start for Phila to attend to Mrs. Loud’s poems — & possibly on Thursday I may start for N. York. If I do I will go straight over to Mrs. Lewis’s & send for you. It will be better for me not to go to Ford ham. — don’t you think so? Write immediately in reply & direct to Phila For fear I should not get the letter sign no name & address it to E. S. T. Grey, Esqre. If possible I will get married before I start — but there is no telling. Give my dearest love to Mrs. L. My poor, poor Muddy I am still unable to send you even one dollar — but keep up heart — I hope that our troubles are nearly over. I saw John Beatty in Norfolk.

God bless & protect you, my own darling Muddy. I showed your letter to Elmira and she says “it is such a darling precious letter that she loves you for it already.”

Your own  
EDDY.

Don’t forget to write immediately to Phila so that your letter will be there when I arrive.

The papers here are praising me to death — and I have been received every where with enthusiasm. Be sure & preserve all the printed scraps I have sent you & beep up my file of the Lit. World. [page 368:]

POE TO MRS. CLEMM.

[Griswold Collection.]

[September, 1849.]

[Fragment.]

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possible. Everybody says that if I lecture again & put the tickets at 50 cts. I will clear $100. I never was received with so much enthusiasm. The papers have done nothing but praise me before the lecture & since. I enclose one of the notices — the only one in which the slightest word of disparagement appears. It is written by Daniel — the man whom I challenged when I was here last year. I have been invited out a great deal — but could seldom go, on account of not having a dress coat. To-night Rose(1) & I are to spend the evening at Elmira’s. Last night I was at Poitiaux’s — the night before at Strobia’s, where I saw my dear friend Eliza Lambert (Gen. Lambert’s sister). She was ill in her bed-room, but insisted upon our coming up, & we stayed until nearly 1 o’clock. In a word, I have received nothing but kindness since I have been here, & could have been quite happy but for my dreadful anxiety about you. Since the report of my intended marriage, the McKenzies have overwhelmed me with attentions. Their house is so crowded that they could not ask me to stay. — And now, my own precious Muddy, the very moment I get a definite answer about everything, I will write again & tell you what to do. Elmira talks about visiting Fordham — but I do not know whether that would do. [page 369:] I think, perhaps, it would be best for you to give up everything there & come on here in the Packet. Write immediately & give me your advice about it — for you know best. Could we be happier in Richmond or Lowell? — for I suppose we could never be happy at Fordham — and, Muddy, I must be somewhere where I can see Annie. — Did Mrs. L. get the Western Quarterly Review? Thompson is constantly urging me to write for the Messenger, but I am so anxious that I cannot — Mr. Loud, the husband of Mrs. St Leon Loud, the hostess of Philadelphia, called on me the other day and offered me $100 to edit his wife’s poems. Of course, I accepted the offer. The whole labor will not occupy me 3 days. I am to have them ready by Christmas. — I have seen Bernard often. Eliza is expected but has not come. — When I repeat my lecture here, I will then go to Petersburg & Norfolk. — A Mr. Taverner lectured here on Shakespeare, a few nights after me, and had S persons, including myself & the doorkeeper. — I think, upon the whole, dear Muddy, it will be better for you to say that I am ill, or something of that kind, and break up at Fordham, so that you may come on here. Let me know immediately what you think best. You know we could easily pay off what we owe at Fordham & the place is a beautiful one — but I want to live near Annie. — And now, dear Muddy, there is one thing I wish you to pay particular attention to. I told Elmira, when I first came here, that I had one of the pencilsketches of her, that I took a long while ago in Richmond; and I told her that I would write to you about it. So when you write, just copy the following words in your letter:

I have looked again for the pencil-sketch of Mrs. S. [page 370:] but cannot find it anywhere. I took down all the books and shook them one by one, and unless Eliza White has it, I do not know what has become of it. She was looking at it the last time I saw it. The one you spoilt with Indian Ink ought to be some where about the house. I will do my best to (find — torn) it.

I got a sneaking letter to-day from Chivers. — Do not tell me anything about Annie — I cannot bear to hear it now — unless you can tell me that Mr. R. is dead. — I have got the wedding ring. — and shall have no difficulty, I think, in getting a dress-coat.

Wednesday Night.

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[Remainder of letter torn away, except]

also the letter. Return the letter when you write.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 359:]

1.  “Lines to Edgar A. Poe,” in the Lady’s Book, April 1847. — INGRAMS NOTE.

2.  “Stella.”

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 366:]

1.  Mrs. Shelton.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 368:]

1.  Poe’s sister.


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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 13)