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the publication, adding that the reading world might not be content with these literary "skimmings," while waiting with impatience the appearance of a uniform edition of his works now out of print. I added: "Make all dispatch with the preparation of your uniform edition, and then to work to complete your 'Life of Washington,' and take your ease forever after."

In reading the reply which I give below, the reader will bear in mind that my ill-starred epistle was dispatched in advance of the receipt of the author's interesting letters of the 14th, giving me an insight into the character of his new labors, dwelling with such evident satisfaction on his "literary freak," and showing the attraction he felt in the theme.

SUNNYSIDE, April 15, 1847.


I am glad I did not receive your note of this morning before my new work was beyond the danger of being chilled by a damper. You can know nothing of the work, excepting what you may recollect of an extract of one of the Chronicles which I once published in the "Knickerbocker.”* The whole may be mere "skimmings," but they pleased me in the preparation; they were written when I was in the vein, and that is the only guide I go by in my writings, or which has led me to success. Besides, I write for pleasure as well as profit; and the pleasure I have recently enjoyed in the recurrence, after so long an interval, of my old literary vein, has been so great, that I am content to forego any loss of profit it may occasion me by a slight postponement of the republication of my old works.

These old Morisco Spanish subjects have a charm that makes me con

*Pelayo and the Merchant's Daughter.

tent to write about them at half price. They have so much that is highminded and chivalrous and quaint and picturesque and adventurous, and at times half comic about them.

However, I'll say no more on the subject, but another time will ride my hobby privately, without saying a word about it to anybody. I have generally found that the best way. I am too easily dismounted, if any one jostles against me.

The letter of the 14th, which, had it been received earlier, would have prevented my second unlucky epistle, like a thing "born out of due time," came straggling in on the 17th, two days after the letter just cited had been received by me. I was sufficiently annoyed at the consequences of the untimely potion I had so unwittingly administered, especially with the insight now afforded of the character of the work; and I wrote him immediately, explaining and recanting as far as I could, but in vain. He had been disconcerted, and would not resume the theme.

In the following letter, however, written a fortnight later, he returns to the subject in his characteristically playful vein, his annoyance having passed off almost with the letter that gave expression to it.

[To Mrs. Pierre M. Irving.]

SUNNYSIDE, April 30, 1847.

The girls say you can come up to Sunnyside as soon as you To-day my "women kind" of the kitchen remove bag and baggage into the new tower, which is getting its outside coat of


white; so that, when you come up, you will find it, like the trees, in full blossom. The country is beginning to look lovely; the buds and blossoms are just putting forth; the birds are in full song; so that, unless you come up soon, you will miss the overture of the season-the first sweet notes of the year.

You tell me Pierre was quite distressed lest any "thoughtless word of his should have marred my happy literary mood." Tell him not to be uneasy. Authors are not so easily put out of conceit of their offspring. Like the good Archbishop of Granada, that model and mirror of authorship, I knew "the homily in question to be the very best I had ever composed;" so, like my great prototype, I remained fixed in my self-complacency, wishing Pierre "toda felicidad con un poco de mas gusto."

When I once get you up to Sunnyside, I shall feel sure of an occasional Sunday visit from Pierre. I long extremely to have a sight of him; and as there seems to be no likelihood of my getting to New York much before next autumn, I do not know how a meeting is to be brought about unless he comes up here. I shall see him with the more ease and confidence now, as, my improvements being pretty nigh completed, he cannot check me, nor cut off the supplies.

Tell him I promise not to bore him about literary matters when he comes up. I have as great a contempt for these things as anybody, though I have to stoop to them occasionally for the sake of a livelihood; but I want to have a little talk with him about stocks, and railroads, and some mode of screwing and jewing the world out of more interest than one's money is entitled to.

God bless you and him, prays your affectionate uncle,


Late in the winter Mr. Irving had commissioned his brother-in-law, Mr. Henry Van Wart, then on a visit to this country, to purchase a saddle-horse for him. He had not mounted a horse since he went to Spain, but be

gan to feel the necessity of this sort of exercise. March 5th, Mr. Van Wart writes him: "I have at last succeeded in finding a horse which I think will suit you, and purchased him for $110. He is handsome, and the besttempered, gentle creature I ever saw; and I think you will take much pleasure in riding him." The horse, after being kept in a stable in New York for several weeks, and used and trained by Mr. Van Wart and his son Irving, was brought to Sunnyside toward the close of April. Here is the first report to me of his qualifications by the long-dismounted equestrian, dated April 26th :—

The horse purchased by Mr. Van Wart is a very fine animal, and very gentle, but he does not suit me. I have ridden him once, and find him, as I apprehended, awkward and uncomfortable on the trot, which is the gait I most like. He is rather skittish also, and has laid my coachman in the dust by one of his pirouettes. This, however, might be the effect of being shut up in the stable of late, and without sufficient exercise; but he is quite a different horse from the easy, steady, quiet "parson's" nag that I wanted. I shall give him one more good trial, but rather apprehend I shall have to send him to town, to be sold for what he will fetch.

April 28th, he writes me :

In my letter, the other day, I spoke rather disparagingly of my new horse. Justice to an injured animal induces me to leave the inclosed letter open for your perusal, after which you will hand it to I. V. W.

Here follows the letter inclosed :

SUNNYSIDE, April 28, 1847.


In a letter to Pierre M. Irving, the other day, I gave an unfavorable opinion of the horse, as it regarded my peculiar notions and wishes. That opinion was founded on a slight trial. I yesterday took a long ride on him among the hills, and put him through all his paces, and found him fully answering the accounts given of him by your father and yourself. His trot is not what I could wish; but that will improve, or will be less disagreeable as we become accustomed to each other, and get into each other's ways. He shies a little now and then, but that is probably the result of having him kept in the stable of late, without use. Daily exercise will in a great measure cure him of it. He canters well, and walks splendidly. His temper appears to be perfect. He is lively and cheerful, without the least heat or fidgetiness, and is as docile as a lamb. I tried him also in harness in a light wagon, and found him just as gentle and tractable as under the saddle. He looks well and moves well in single harness, and a child might drive him. However, I mean to keep him entirely for the saddle. To conclude: when you write to your father, tell him I consider the horse a prize; and if he only continues to behave as well as he did yesterday, I hardly know the sum of money would tempt me to part with him.

1 now look forward to a great deal of pleasant and healthy exercise on horseback-a recreation I have not enjoyed for years for want of a good saddle-horse. It is like having a new sense.



And he did enjoy his first rides wonderfully. stead," he says, "of being pinned down to one place, or forced to be trundled about on wheels, I went lounging and cantering about the country, in all holes and corners, and over the roughest roads."

In less than a month, however, the same horse was conducted to the city by the nephew to whom the pre

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