During the season of my strength I raged about my room for half the nights, invoking sleep (which once descended upon me so gently) in every way. One of those nights I was filled with the idea that I had a long interview with you, and I inquired in the morning if you had not been at the house the night before. As my strength wasted, I kept to my bed. It was only afterwards that I knew that, at this time, all my friends (except Longfellow) abandoned all hope of my recovery. Even Hillard, who held out long, confessed that, when he saw me bereft of strength and almost speechless, he went away thinking with all others that my end was at hand. Meanwhile I knew nothing of this anxiety. Felton laughed jollily each day by my bedside, and Hillard and Longfellow, the only other persons I saw, said nothing to excite my observation. But the strength of my constitution conquered; though the very day on which I felt within me the instinct of recovery, Dr. Jackson solemnly told me that my case was incurable, and that if I should live I never should be able to do any thing. To this I replied that I did not shrink from the idea of death; but to pass through life doing nothing, performing no duty, perhaps ‘a driveller and a show,’—this was more than I could bear. He replied, ‘Perhaps the vigor of your constitution will conquer all.’ Since then I have been gaining strength slowly, but each day. I am driven out nine or ten miles daily. As I meet friends, I observe the astonishment with which they regard me, apparently as one risen from the dead. Ben. Peirce said to me, in his artless manner, ‘Well! I never expected to see you again.’ For such a signal recovery another person would feel unbounded gratitude. I am going to say what will offend you; but what I trust God will pardon. Since my convalescence I have thought much and often whether I have any just feeling of gratitude that my disease was arrested. Let me confess to you that I cannot find it in my bosom. . . . Why was I spared? For me there is no future either of usefulness or happiness. Why have I said so much of myself? I intended this letter as a welcome home to you and your dear wife on landing. You will deem it, I fear, a sad welcome. I shall leave Boston, probably for Berkshire, as soon as my strength will permit. I long for a change of air and to taste the health of the country; but I do not count upon getting away before the 22d. If you are true to your promises, you will be here long before then. Farewell. Ever affectionately yours,C. S.
Hancock Street, Aug. 24, 1844.my dear Mrs. Waterston,—I have delayed thus long in acknowledging your most valued note of kindness and hospitality, that I might express to you, with my own hand, still trembling with fever, the pleasure and gratitude which it awakened. I have not been, and am not yet, in a condition to leave home; and, I assure you, in the imprisonment of my chamber I have panted for the green meadows and ancestral trees which surround your mansion.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.