Text: Susan Archer Weiss, “Chapter 15,” Home Life of Poe (1907), pp. 88-89


[page 88:]



Of Poe’s business and literary affairs in New York, and subsequently in Philadelphia, his biographers have fully informed us, but with little or no mention of his home life or his family. All that we can gather concerning the latter is that never at any time were their circumstances such as would enable them to dispense with the utmost economy of living, and that, as regarded the practical everyday business affairs of life, Poe was almost as helpless and dependent upon his mother-in-law as was his child-wife. But for this devoted mother, what could they have done? — those two, whom she rightly called her “children.”

Poe was sadly disappointed in his hopes of obtaining literary employment in New York, and but for Mrs. Clemm’s opening a boarding-house on Carmine street, an obscure locality, the family might have starved. Here, however, he seems to have turned over a new leaf, [page 89:] for one of the boarders, a Mr. Gowans, a book-seller on the next street, declares that in the eight months of his residence at Mrs. Clemm’s, and a daily intercourse with Poe, he never saw him otherwise than “sober, courteous, and a perfect gentleman.” Being a stranger in New York, he was removed from the temptations which had assailed him in Richmond, and this fact should be noted as a proof that, when left to himself, he showed no inclination to indulge in dissipation. Of Virginia, Poe’s wife, then fifteen years of age, this gallant old bachelor says, in the exaggerated style of flattery common in those days: “Her eyes outshone those of any houri, and her features would defy the genius of a Canova to imitate. Poe delighted in her round, childlike face and plump little figure.”






[S:0 - HLFP, 1907] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Home Life of Poe (S. A. Weiss) (Chapter 15)