previous next


I have no doubt you think you do. I have no doubt you think that this love—which, as you yourself say, becomes such a part of your nature that you don't show it, and, you might add (if it were not doggerel), know it—is strong passion and devotion; but it is n't. So far as it has any character, it is more habit than anything else. You lead — not you particularly, but all the Eastern people— two lives: one, the outside life of society (which is hypocrisy); the other, the life of love, family, or otherwise, which is real: and you have plenty of support for both, and very little care for either. But wait until you only have support for one, the outer, and none at all for the other, the inner. Wait till you have to treasure up memories of each little act of affection, in place of having the realities about you daily, and you knowing all the time that these very realities exist, and you can't get at them. Did you ever read of Tantalus, of Ixion, and the other reprobates? Wait till distance blinds you to the faults, and exalts the virtues, of your friends, and you love them with a love the more absorbing and complete because it finds no response in daily life, and because it is all your inner and real life. Then, my dear, you won't call me a truculent border ruffian.

Pshaw! what nonsense for me to write this stuff for you to laugh at! I love my friends, and that you know full well, that gave me leave or (if I might correct Shakespeare) provoked me to speak of it.

Bloomington, Mo., December 16, 1858.

I have returned from a scouting expedition after game, cold, angry, and generally ill-humored. A ‘Merry Christmas’ to you all at home there.

I send you a song which we shall sing to the tune of “Benny Haven's, Oh!” at our Christmas supper.

Our fires are blazing cheerily,
     Our loaded tables groan,
The wine is circling merrily
     Among us here alone.
But our thoughts are wandering sadly
     To the days of long ago,—
To the days when we so gladly
     Saw Christmas wassail flow.

And the long years, whose passing
     Hath left its many stings;
And the young hopes, whose glassing
     Mirrored such noble things;

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Lickskillet (Missouri, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Christmas (3)
Tantalus (1)
Shakespeare (1)
Ixion (1)
Benny Haven (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 16th, 1858 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: