Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Jane Ermina Locke — March 10, 1847 (LTR-251)


New-York, March 10. 1847

My Dear Madam,

>>Your kind letter of Feb. 21<<.

In >>replying to<< ans[w]eri[n]g your kind letter >>of Feb. 21<< permit me in the very first place to >>say<< absolve myself from >>any<< a suspicion >>of discourtesy to yourself<< — >>in not having<< sooner >>replied to you.<< which, under the circumstances you could scarcely have failed to entertain — >>a suspicion of in regard to<<< in regard to m> me — and >>suspicio<< one >>which it gives me the deepest regret<< a suspicion of my >>my<< very g[r]oss discourtesy towards yourself in not having more promptly replied >>to the<< to you. I assure you, madam, that your letter dated Feb. 21 — has only this moment reached me >>, and through a channel and<< A[l]though postmarked >>in<< Lowell &c in the ordinary manner, it was handed to >>me<< a friend of mine, for me, by Mr Freeman 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 >>too<< still too unwell to leave my room I have been prevented as yet from >>making inquiry respecting<< satisfyi[ng] myself on these points, and of course cannot now delay replying to your >>kind<< noble and generous words even until I shall shall have an opportunity of >>doing so. << making >>the inv the investigation<<. inquiry.

Your beautiful lines >>were written<< appeared at a time when < be[c]> [page 2:] I was indeed very ill, and >>I<< might never have seen them but f[or th]e kindness of Mr Willis who enclosed them to me — and who knew me too well to suppose >>that<< as some of my friends did that I I would be pained by so sweet an evidence of interest on the part of one of whose >>writings spirit<< <with> writings — >>of<< < with esp[[illegible]]> whose >>glowing<< fervid and generous spirit which they evince he had so often heard me express sympathy.

At the same time I could not help >>seeing and<< fearing that should you see my letter to Mr Willis >>published<< (in “The Home Journal” in which a natural pride which I feel you could not blame impelled me to >>disavow my necessities<< shrink from public charity even at the cost of >>disavowing<< < expense of truth at denying> those necessities which were but too real — and an illness which I t[h]en expected would >>a<< soon terminate in death — I could not help fearing that >>when you saw<< 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 a >>poverty<<< n unfounded> report >>which was unfounded<< — at all events to >>a<< the report >>of a poverty and a wretchedness<< which >>at all events<< (since the world regards >>it [[illegible]]<< wretchedness as a crime) I had thought it prudent so publicly to disavow. In a word >>judging<< venturing to judge your noble nature by my own, I felt grieved lest my >>denial lette<< published >>letter<< denial >>of<< my cause you to regret what you had >>written,<< done and my first impulse was to write you and assure <yo[u]> you even at the risk of >>speaking too war<< doing so too warmly of the sweet >>emotion of<< emotion made up of respect and gratitude alone with which, <your poem [had] > my heart was filled to overflowing. >>But<< While I was hesitating, however, in regard [page 3:] to the propriety of this step — I w[as o]verwhelmed by a >>trial<< sorrow so poignant as to deprive me for several weeks of all power of thought or action.

Your letter now lying before me, >>assur assures 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 >>shall<< am alreading >>begin[n]ing to<< ceasing to regard those difficulties as misfortune which have led me to even this partial correspondence. with yourself.

[[The following jottings appear after this:]]

Ind Inde

Indeed In Indeed





I Inde





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. E. Locke (LTR251/RCL677)