Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Frederick W. Thomas — November 26, 1841 (LTR-131)


Philadelphia, Nov. 26 — 41.

My Dear Thomas,

I am astonished to hear that you have not yet received the music, as, upon receipt of your last, I procured it of Willig, and put it into the hands of Burgess, our Magazine agent here, who promised to >>follow<< forward it to Taylor the Magazine agent in Washington. Taylor was to deliver it to you. You had better call upon him. It is the same man upon whom you had the draft.

You need not put yourself to trouble about Prentice's autograph, as we have now closed that business. I suppose you have not the December number yet — it has been ready for several weeks. The January no: is nearly prepared — we have an autograph article in each. Should Prentice send on his signature, however, I would be glad to get it.

In the Dec. no: you will see a notice to the effect that a Mr Richard Bolton, of Pontotoc Miss.i, has solved Dr Frailey's cypher. You must put no great faith in this announcement. Mr Bolton sent me a letter dated at a period long after the reception of our Magazines in Pontotoc, and fully a month after the preparation of the number containing the answer by myself. He pretends [page 2:] not to have seen my solution — but his own contains internal evidence of the fact. Three blunders in mine are copied in his own, & two or three corrections of Dr Frailey's original, by myself, are also faithfully repeated. I had the alternative of denying his claim and thus appearing invidious, or of sharing with him an honor which, in the eyes of the mob at least, is not much above that of a bottle-conjuror so I chose the last and have put a finale to this business.

Touching your study of the French language. You will, I fear, find it difficult — as, (if I rightly understood you,) you have not received what is called a “classical” education. To the Latin & Greek proficient, the study of all additional languages is mere play — but to the non-proficient it is anything else. The best advice I can give you, under the circumstances, is to busy yourself with the theory or grammar of the language as little as possible & to read side-by-side translations continually, of which there are many to be found. I mean French books in which the literal English version is annexed page per page. Board, also, at a French boarding-house, and force yourself to speak French — bad or good — whether you [page 3:] can or whether you cannot.

I have not heard from Kennedy for a long time, and I think, upon the whole, he has treated me somewhat cavalierly — professing to be a friend.

I would give the world to see you once again and have a little chat. Dow you & I —”when shall we three meet again?” Soon, I hope — for I must try & slip over to Washington some of these days.

Do you hear often from your friends at St Louis? When you write, remember me kindly to your sister Frances — if I may take the liberty of requesting to be remembered where, never having been known personally, there can be nothing to remember. We have had “Clinton Bradshaw” here (the confounded “devils” will print it Bradshawe) and the “Dedication” has set us all to thinking & talking about the “dedicatee”[.]

God bless you —
Edgar A Poe





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to F. W. Thomas (LTR131/RCL348)