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joyous nature, and I think it is her rich, mellow, genial temperament, which pours itself forth in her voice like liquid amber.
I thank you, my dear friend, for saying a kind word for me to such of my acquaintances and intimates at Saratoga as I came away without seeing. I made several delightful acquaintances there, whom it is probable, considering my time of life and my retired habits, I may never see again; yet I shall always retain them in choice recollection. Really, such an easy, social intercourse with the intelligent, the matured, the young, the gay, and the beautiful, rallies one back from the growing apathy of age, and reopens one's heart to the genial sunshine of society.
Farewell, my good friend. Give my kind remembrance to your wife, and that "discreet princess," your daughter; and tell Mrs. R—— I shall ever remember her as one of the most striking and interesting features of my visit to Saratoga.
Yours very faithfully and affectionately,
Two days after his return from Saratoga, he addressed the following letter, in response to an intimation that a club of young men of the city of New York had associated for literary improvement, and denominated themselves the "Irving Literary Union :"
[To Richard C. McCormick.]
SUNNYSIDE, August 9, 1852.
MY DEAR SIR :
Three weeks' absence from home has prevented an earlier reply to your letter of the 21st of July, and to the letter of your society which accompanied it. I now thank you heartily for the kind expressions of your letter, and assure you that I appreciate most deeply the esteem and good-will manifested by yourself and your associates in adopting my name as a designation for your literary union.
To inspire such sentiments in the bosoms of the young and ingenuous, is one of the purest and dearest rewards that an author can receive; and as my long and desultory career is drawing to a close, I regard such demonstrations on the part of my youthful countrymen as a soothing assurance that, with all my shortcomings, and however imperfectly I may have performed my part, I have not lived entirely in vain.
With great respect, your obliged and humble servant,
"When this club held its anniversary gatherings," says Mr. McCormick, "which were public, and occasions of peculiar interest to its members and their friends, an invitation to Mr. Irving to attend was always sent, and always promptly and courteously accepted; but the modest author never managed to get to the city!"
A breakfast with the delightful prima donna Sontag, whose early appearance he had witnessed at Prague some thirty years before, is thus alluded to in the following
[To Miss Mary M. Hamilton.]
SUNNYSIDE, September 20, 1852.
MY DEAR MISS HAMILTON :
When I engaged to join your party on the 28th, I was not aware that the following day was the last Wednesday in the month, when I have to attend the stated meetings of the executors of the Astor estate, and the trustees of the Astor Library. I cannot be absent on this occasion, as it is the last meeting of the Library board previous to Mr. Cogswell's departure for Europe. Should you set off on Tuesday, I can join your party at any designated place on Thursday.
I set off this morning for Mr. Kemble's, in the Highlands, to be absent until the last of the week.
How the breakfast went off at Mr. King's, at Highwood; and how the Sontag looked, and moved, and conducted herself; and how I admired, but did not talk with her; and how I returned to town with the S-'s, in their carriage; and how I went with Mrs. Sto Niblo's theatre; and how Mr. S was to join us there, and how he did not join us there, but left me to be her cavalier for the whole evening, and how I wondered that he should trust such a charming wife with such a gay young fellow : all this, and more also, I will recount unto you when next we meet. Until then, farewell. Yours truly,
November 10th, 1852, he writes to Mrs. Storrow :
George Sumner has been twice up here: once on a visit to us, and another time at the H-'s. He was, as usual, full of floating history about the men and the events of the day; having mingled in the most striking scenes and among the most striking people of the countries in which he has travelled and sojourned. I really was heartily glad to meet him again, for he is altogether one of the most curiously instructed American travellers that I have ever met with. Mr. Mitchell (Ike Marvel, author of "Reveries of a Bachelor," "Dream Life," etc.) came up from town, and passed a day with us while Sumner was making his visit.
I have taken a great liking to him, both as an author and a man.
I close the year with the following letter to his publisher, who had sent him, the day before Christmas, a parcel of books for the acceptance of the "young ladies," with the remark that it would require a good many more if he were to begin even to suggest the obligations which had been incurred by the honorable and pleasant privi
lege of being associated with his name even in his “hum
[To George P. Putnam, Esq.]
MY DEAR SIR:
Your parcel of books reached me on Christmas morning. Your letter, not being addressed to Dearman, went to Tarrytown, and did not come to hand until to-day.
SUNNYSIDE, December 27, 1852.
My nieces join with me in thanking you for the beautiful books you have sent us, and you and Mrs. Putnam for your wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
For my own especial part, let me say how sensibly I appreciate the kind tone and expressions of your letter; but as to your talk of obligations to me, I am conscious of none that have not been fully counterbalanced on your part; and I take pleasure in expressing the great satisfaction I have derived, throughout all our intercourse, from your amiable, obliging, and honorable conduct. Indeed, I never had dealings with any man, whether in the way of business or friendship, more perfectly free from any alloy.
That those dealings have been profitable, is mainly owing to your own sagacity and enterprise. You had confidence in the continued vitality of my writings. You called them again into active existence, and gave them a circulation that I believe has surprised even yourself. In rejoicing at their success, my satisfaction is doubly enhanced by the idea that you share in the benefits derived from it.
Wishing you that continued prosperity in business which your upright, enterprising, tasteful, and liberal mode of conducting it merits, and is calculated to insure; and again invoking on you and yours a happy New
I remain, very truly and heartily, yours,
AT NEW YORK, ON HIS WAY TO BALTIMORE.— LETTER FROM BALTIMORE.MEETS THACKERAY IN THE CARS. HOSPITABLE RECEPTION AT BALTIMORE. -DEPARTURE FOR WASHINGTON.- LETTERS FROM WASHINGTON.-AT WORK AMONG THE ARCHIVES OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT.-A MINIATURE ANCHOR PRESENTED TO HIM. ITS HISTORY.-TABLE-TIPPING.-REMINISCENCES OF THE FAMILY OF THE EMPRESS OF FRANCE.-LETTER TO MRS. KENNEDY, AFTER HIS RETURN TO SUNNYSIDE,
N the course of the preceding year, Mr. Irving had promised his friend Kennedy, the Secretary of the Navy, to pay him a visit at Washington; and "having occasion to rummage the public archives for historical information," he sets out on his journey in the beginning of January.
January 13th, he writes from New York on his way: "The day of my arrival in town I tried to get a ticket to hear Sontag, but, finding there was trickery in disposing of seats, I went off in a huff to the other house, and saw Alboni in the 'Somnambula,' which she performed to admiration."
On another evening before his start, "feeling in want of city amusement," he writes, "I went to Wallack's, and saw the old play of the 'Road to Ruin,' played in excel