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To Mrs. S. B. Shaw.

Wayland, 1858.
There is compensation in all things. My ignorance and my poverty both have their advantages. You can never take such child-like delight in a little picture, engraving, or statuette, as I do. Now, while I write, Beauty keeps drawing me away from my [99] letter. I stop with my pen poised in air, to contemplate my Galatea, my St. Cecilia, my Flying Hour of the Night, my palace in Venice, my young Bacchus, my glowing nasturtium, and my vase of tremulous grass. Decidedly, there are many compensations for those who are poor, and have never seen the world.

The landscape in front of the window is lovely. No sharp frost has come to blight the foliage, and the scenery is like a handsome woman of fifty, whom Time has touched so lightly that her girlish delicacy of beauty is merely deepened and warmed with a few autumnal tints. Thus gently may you glide into the frosted silver of a bright old age! It must be so, dearest, because so many are cheered by your heart warmth.

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