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To William H. Prescott, Nahant.

Woods' Hole, Sunday, August 14, 1842.
my dear William,—you will be glad to hear that the rest of your manuscript is safe.1 . . . . We were just ready for it, having, a few hours before it came, reached the antepenultimate chapter of the first portion of the manuscript. Last night, when we went to bed, we left poor Montezuma moaning out his life, in the hands of his atrocious conqueror. I cannot bear to have his sufferings prolonged, and as the next chapter despatches him, we shall go through it at once. I should feel much more satisfaction if it were Cortes himself, who richly deserves all that Montezuma suffers, and more too.

Meanwhile, I am going slowly through the whole the second time; not having, till to-day, finished the second book. The first time going over, especially in the more interesting and exciting passages, I am quite unable to attend to the smaller matters of style and phraseology. But what I do note is put on separate paper. Afterwards it is jotted down, in pencil, on your manuscript. The whole is not much; and even in the little I have seen fit to mark, I do not suppose you will often agree with me, and shall never know whether you do or not, for they are trifles so unimportant that I shall not remember them myself, when I read again the same passages.

There can be no doubt of your success. The subject is not so grand and grave, and you do not have such opportunity for wisdom and deep inquiry, as in ‘Ferdinand and Isabella,’ but it is much more brilliant and attractive. It reads like romance, and there is a sort of epic completeness about it, which adds greatly to its power and effect. But these are things we will talk about hereafter. . . . .

We are all well,. . . . and we have gone on with great quietness and peace since I wrote you last. Mr. Mason and his two daughters spent three days here, last week; but they were up stairs all the forenoons, so that I have been lord of all below. In the afternoon Jeremiah came out with his politics, dark enough. But Gallio careth for none of these things. . . . . We deserve what we get, and shall deserve it if we get worse. . . . . Tyler will, I think, take a full loco-foco Cabinet, and sail on a sea of glory to the end of his term, when he will disappear, and never be heard of afterwards. In six months it will be matter of historical doubt whether such a man ever existed. . . . . Addio, caro.

G. T.

1 Manuscript of the ‘Conquest of Mexico.’

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