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[176] N. B.—There is an agreeable, romantic feeling in sitting up and trimming your solitary lamp when the whole world are stretched in repose. And this romantic feeling is especially heightened when one is writing law, as if the dry bones of our science at this dead hour sparkled with phosphorescent light. The palpable stillness about you, especially in a city, and the triumphing feelings which throb in your veins from the consciousness that you are one of a very few who, at that witching hour, are enjoying consciousness, enable you to work with ardor and attention. Abstraction at that time will visit you, and the thousand cares of the world seem to have passed away in that hum of business which some hours since died upon your ears. Night! I almost wish there were no day; that we could never ‘peep through the blanket of the dark,’ but always live under those genial influences which the spirits of the other world have selected as most agreeable, and as those under which they visit this earth,—‘that witching hour when ghosts and goblins walk.’

If I do not wish to hear the cock-crow I must to bed. Believe me, by night and by day, in darkness and light,

Especially yours, C. S.

To Charles S. Daveis.

Boston, 4 Court St., Aug. 8, 1836.
my dear Sir,—. . . Your opinion of my father's conduct and statement was grateful.1 I have not yet had an opportunity of communicating it to him. I assure you, however, of his cordial thanks for your kind feelings. The public will have a victim, and his situation seemed to present him as the fit offering.

Let me ask pardon for the negligent detinue of your papers, amounting, I fear, almost to a conversion.

While I am writing now, Mr. Metcalf,2 the best common-law lawyer in our State, enters. I propose to him your case, not stating the venue or the names of any interested in it. He says, in his sententious style, ‘The administrator will hold.’

Yours faithfully,


1 The slave-rescue case, ante, pp. 24-26. The omitted parts of letters to Mr. Daveis refer mostly to purchases of books which Sumner made for him in Boston, points of law on which he was consulted by Mr. Daveis, and letters received by either from Europe, which were interchanged.

2 Theron Metcalf, the reporter, author of digests and law reports, and of ‘Principles of the Law of Contracts,’ and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. He died, Nov. 13, 1875, at the age of ninety-one.

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