Chicopee, April 1, 1855.If you could in any way get hold of a tenth part of the letters which I enjoy myself writing to you after I get to bed, you would, though an “infinite shoeblack,” be satisfied with our correspondence; but through the post-office,—why, the very thought of sitting down and patching together a letter is insufferable to me. “Silence is golden and speech is silver” ; but pens, ink, and paper are mere rags, galls, and goosequills. .... Laughing and talking on paper may do very well for——, but by Plato! for me it is too absurd.
June 24.Your last letter was really delightful, by far the balmiest I have got since I came here. I only wish you could find time to write oftener. I am glad to hear that the pantaloons are finished, not however because, as you hint, I think it “necessary to exclude work” to make life “gracious as roses.” There is, of course, a poetry in pantaloons, as well as in woman and youth; but the point I insist on is that you are not yet able to enjoy it. For our family, work is absolutely necessary; but by Plato! our lives need not for that cease to be poems. Roses work; there is a good deal of force-pumping to be gone through before a rose can get itself fairly opened; and force-pumping, your ears will tell you this evening, is rather hard on the muscles. But you mistake, I think, in not choosing more judiciously the sort of work. Roses never think of forcing their red juice into their roots. If they did, their poetry would soon vanish; but beets don't find this work at all prosaic. On a fine day like this I can fully understand that the joy of swelling and swelling should make it highly poetic. You feel the necessity of a choice in great things,—such as settling my profession,—but in small things, I am afraid, you are inclined to overlook it. Sweep rooms,—that you can do poetically; but don't make any more pantaloons at present. Even George Herbert's Elixir can make that but poor prose for you. The pleasure of sewing at an open window I fully enter into. The happiest afternoon I ever knew (and I use the word happiest in its highest sense) was passed at an open window, the first of the season, filing away on cast iron. I am thinking that you did not understand my meaning, when I endeavored to convince you that the need of work is a disease; I mean that the “divine men” have no such need. However, I will not go into that discussion again. The ‘Heroes’ of the world have certainly needed work, and had it, and done it well; and it is Heroes that we must try to be.