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He injured himself by it last summer; and I would not have anything happen to him for all the hay in the country.
Farewell. The weather is so hot that I cannot write, nor do anything else but play at bowls and fan myself.
With love to all, your affectionate uncle,
On the 6th of July, I wrote him that I had concluded the perusal of his manuscript the day before, and that the impression I communicated in my former letter had gained strength by what I had since read. Familiar as I am with the story," I add, "I have been equally surprised and gratified to perceive what new interest it gains in your hands. I doubt not the work will be equally entertaining to young and old.”
The following is his reply:
ELLICOTT'S MILLS, July 8, 1853.
MY DEAR PIERRE :
I have just received your letter of the 6th, which I need not tell you has been most gratifying and inspiriting to me. I thank you for writing it; for I was looking most anxiously and dubiously for your verdict, after reading the narrative of the war, in which the interest, I feared, might suffer from diffusion, and from the difficulty of binding up a variety of enterprises and campaigns into one harmonious whole. I now feel my mind prodigiously relieved, and begin to think I have not labored in vain.
I left Bath shortly after I wrote to Kate. We had intended a tour among the Alleghanies, but the intense heat of the weather discouraged us, and we determined to postpone that part of our plan to another
Returning to Cassilis, we passed a few days more under the hospitable
roof of Mr. Andrew Kennedy, where I saw something of a harvest home in the noble valley of the Shenandoah.
Leaving Cassilis on Wednesday morning, we arrived here before sun
Tell Sarah I have received her letter of the 1st July, but cannot answer it at present. To tell the truth, though my excursion has put me in capital health and spirits, I find I cannot handle the pen, even in these miserable scrawls, without feeling a sensation in the head that admonishes me to refrain. Think, then, how gratifying it must be to me to learn from your letter that I may dispense from any severe task work in completing my historical labor.
I feel that my working-days are over, and rejoice that I have arrived at a good stopping-place.
At this period, he did not think of continuing the Life through the history of the administration, but proposed to make the inauguration of Washington his "stoppingplace." Hence his premature felicitation that he had reached the end of his "working-days." He was yet to give a great deal of handling even to the part he deemed finished; but when he returned to Sunnyside, it was with the desire and intention of preparing the Life at once for the press-an intention frustrated by the condition of his health.
EXCURSION TO THE SPRINGS.-NIAGARA, ETC.-EXTRACT OF LETTER TO MISS MARY E. KENNEDY.-OGDENSBURG REVISITED.-LETTER TO JOHN P. KENNEDY.-EXTRACT OF LETTER TO MRS. STORROW.-HIS FINAL RESTING-PLACE MARKED OUT.-SETS OFF ON AN EXCURSION.― LETTER TO MISS SARAH IRVING. THE IRVING HOUSE. TRAVELLING ON HIS CAPITAL.-THE ST. NICHOLAS HOTEL.-EXTRACT FROM LETTER TO MISS CATHERINE IRVING,EXPEDITION TO WINCHESTER AND GREENWAY COURT.-RETURN TO SUNNYSIDE.-LETTER TO MRS. KENNEDY.
JOR some time before he went to Virginia, in June, 1853, Mr. Irving had to lay aside the pen almost entirely, "having overtasked myself," he says, "and produced a weariness of the brain that renders it an irksome effort even to scrawl an ordinary letter." On his return, though in excellent general health, he found himself still unable to resume his literary occupations, and thereupon determined to set off for Saratoga, the waters of which were of such service to him the preceding year, and might be this; "though," he says, "I believe all that I require is a good spell of literary abstinence."
He did not remain long at the Springs. "I feel a little fatigued with the bustle of the place," he writes, August
6th, a few days after his arrival, "and the
The following letter, written after his return home, will continue the story of his travels. His reminiscence of the Ogdensburg of his boyhood will recall a similar passage in another letter in the third chapter of the first volume.
[To Miss Mary E. Kennedy.]
SUNNYSIDE, September 8, 1853.
MY DEAR MISS KENNEDY :
Indisposition has prevented me from replying earlier to your welcome letter of the 4th August, which I received about three weeks since, on my return from Saratoga.
The hot weather was as intolerable at Saratoga as I had found it at Berkeley Springs; so, after passing about ten days there, I set off on a tour with your uncle John, who wished to visit the F-s, at Buffalo. We went by the way of the lakes, and had a magnificent sail (if I may use the word) down Lake Champlain in a steamer to Plattsburg, whence we made a night journey by railroad to Ogdensburg. Here we passed part of a day-a very interesting one to me. Fifty years had elapsed since I had visited the place in company with a party of gentlemen proprietors, with some ladies of their families. It was then a wilderness, and we were quartered in the remains of an old French fort at the confluence of the Oswegatchie and the St. Lawrence. It was all a scene of romance to me, for I was then a mere stripling, and everything was strange, and full of poetry. The country was covered with forest; the Indians still inhabited some islands in the river, and prowled about in their canoes. There were two young ladies of the party to sympathize in my romantic feelings, and we passed some happy days there, exploring the forests, or gliding in canoes on the rivers.
In my present visit, I found, with difficulty, the site of the old French fort, but all traces of it were gone. I looked round on the surrounding country and river. All was changed. A populous city occupied both sides of the Oswegatchie; great steamers ploughed the St. Lawrence, and the opposite Canada shore was studded with towns and villages. I sat down on the river bank, where we used to embark in our canoes, and thought on the two lovely girls who used to navigate it with me, and the joyous party who used to cheer us from the shore. All had passed away --all were dead! I was the sole survivor of that happy party; and here I had returned, after a lapse of fifty years, to sit down and meditate on the mutability of all things, and to wonder that I was still alive!
From Ogdensburg we made a voyage up the St. Lawrence, through the archipelago of the "Thousand Islands," and across Lake Ontario to Lewistown, on the Niagara River, where we took a carriage to the Falls. There we passed an insufferably hot day, and parted in the eveningyour uncle to go to Buffalo, I to Cayuga Lake to visit one of my nieces; whence I went to Syracuse to visit Mrs. B- and then hastened homeward. All this tour was made during a spell of intensely hot weather, that deranged my whole system. The consequence was, that, the day after my return home, I was taken down with a violent fever and delirium, which confined me several days to my bed.
He had hardly got rid of his fever, and was still in a state of great debility, when he addressed the following letter to the friend and travelling companion with whom he parted at Niagara Falls :
[To Mr. John P. Kennedy.]
SUNNYSIDE, August 24, 1853.
MY DEAR KENNEDY :
After much weary travelling by land and water, by night and day, through dust and heat and "fell morass," I reached home on Wednesday