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To Hugh S. Legare, Charleston, S. C.1

Boston, December 29, 1839.
my dear Legare,—After the old Anglo-Saxon fashion, I wish you a Happy New Year, and doubt not my greeting will find you well in possession of it; for your letter has a cheerful tone about it. You were just arrived at your own home,—if such a desperate bachelor as you are has anything, or deserves to have anything, that is such a real comfort,—and your heart seemed to feel light. I rejoice at it, and counsel you, while you make the most of what you have, to add the rest,—as it were the shirt to the ruffle,—as soon as you find a good chance. Your present wheels, like those of Pharaoh's chariots in the Red Sea, will drive more heavily the farther you go in your journey. . . . .

It is true, as you say, that our old friend Hita, or Hyta, speaks doubtfully of the place where the glorious Alonso de Aguilar, of the Ballads, fell But there is really no doubt about it. It was in the Sierra Vermeja. One of the most picturesque passages in the history of any country is the account by old Mendoza, of an expedition by the Duke of Arcos, in the days of what is quaintly called the Rebellion of the Moors,—say 1570,—and of his finding in the Vermeja the bones of those that perished with Alonso; a passage you will enjoy the more if you will compare it with Tacitus' account of the finding, by Germanicus, of the bones of Varus' lost legion, which the old Spaniard has so exquisitely used, and stolen, as to make his very theft a merit and a grace. Do read it. It is in the fourth book of the proud old courtier, and fully confirms the ballad. . . . .

Gray, Prescott, and the rest of tutta quella schiera,—as you call it, and you might have added benedetta,—are well. We dined together yesterday, and wanted you cinquieme, Sparks being the fourth. . . . . We are all well in my house, and enjoy a quiet winter and many most agreeable evenings. I am teaching five or six very nice girls, of

1 the Hon. Hugh Swinton Legare, already mentioned more than once (see Vol. I. pp. 278, 450, and 488), had gradually reached a position of much eminence in the United States. He was a statesman, with opinions and views of the broadest character, who, in the nullification troubles in his native State of South Carolina, in the years 1832-33, was a firm and influential adherent of the Union, in opposition to the local sentiment of the State. The friendship between him and Mr. Ticknor grew warmer, and their intercourse more frequent. Mr. Legare had been a member of Congress, but was at this time (December, 1839) practising his profession (the law) with almost unrivalled distinction in South Carolina.

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