Imágenes de páginas

[To Mrs. Storrow.]

SUNNYSIDE, October 27, 1856.

After Pierre's return from France to England, he made an expedition to the end of the world-in other words, to the Orkneys! It was in those islands that the branch of the Irving family from which we are descended vegetated for centuries; once having great landed possessions, ultimately losing them.

Pierre found a highly intelligent circle of society existing at Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkneys, principally composed of persons from Edinburgh, holding official stations. He was hospitably entertained by them, in a style of elegance which he had not expected in that remote region.

At Shapinsha, the island whence my father came, Pierre was shown the house in which he was born, and whence he emigrated about a century since. It is a house of modest pretensions, and still bears its old name of Quholme (pronounced Home). In the flourishing days of our family, it must have owned the greater part of Shapinsha. Mr. Balfour, the present proprietor, received Pierre very hospitably in his noble residence of Balfour Castle, and submitted to his inspection a chest full of deeds and documents of several generations, showing how, by piecemeal, the landed property passed out of the hands of the Irvings, and centered in those of the family which at present hold it. Pierre brought home one of those documents, given to him by Mr. Balfour, three or four centuries old, bearing the name of one of our ancestors, with the old family arms of Three Holly Leaves. He also brought home a genealogy of the family, which some official gentleman, curious in antiquarian research, had digested from deeds and other documents existing at the Orkneys, and in the public archives at Edinburgh. This genealogical table, which is officially certified, establishes the fact of our being descended from the Irving of Bonshaw, who gave shelter to Robert the Bruce in the day of his adversity.

[ocr errors]

You are going to pass the winter at a city I never visitedAt the time I was in Italy, a cordon of troops was drawn round Tuscany, on account of a malignant fever prevalent there, and I


was obliged to omit the whole of it in my Italian tour. I also failed to see Venice, which I have ever regretted.

Your letter of last June mentions your being just returned from an excursion of four days at Touraine. It recalled a tour I once made there with your uncle Peter, in which, besides visiting the places you speak of, we passed a day or two in the beautiful old chateau of Ussy, belonging to the Duke of Duras, the Duchess having given me a letter to the concierge which put the chateau and its domains at my disposition. Our sojourn was very interesting. The chateau had a half-deserted character. The Duke had not fortune enough to keep it up in style, and only visited it occasionally in the hunting season. There were no traces of former gayety and splendor-a private theatre, all in decay and disorder; an old chapel turned into a granary; state apartments, with stately family portraits in quaint, antiquated costumes, but some of them mouldering in their frames. I found, afterward, that the Duchess had hoped I might be excited to write something about the old chateau in the style of 'Bracebridge Hall;" and it would indeed have been a fine subject.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


HE letter which follows is addressed to a young author, to whom Mr. Irving had before written encouragingly in acknowledgment of the presentation of his first work :

[To Mr. Charles Lanman.]


SUNNYSIDE, March 2, 1857.

I am suffering a long time to elapse without acknowledging the receipt of the copy of your work * which you have had the kindness to send me, and expressing to you the great delight I take in the perusal of it. But when I remind you that I am approaching my seventy-fourth birthday, that I am laboring to launch the fourth volume of my "Life of Washington," and that my table is loaded with a continually increasing multitude of unanswered letters, which I vainly endeavor to cope with, I am sure that you will excuse the tardiness of my correspondence.

*Adventures in the Wilds of America.

I hope the success of your work has been equal to its merits. To me, your "Adventures in the Wilds" are a continual refreshment of the spirits. I take a volume of your work to bed with me, after fagging with my pen, and then I ramble with you among the mountains and by the streams in the boundless interior of our fresh, unhackneyed country, and only regret that I can but do so in idea, and that I am not young enough to be your companion in reality.

I have taken great interest, of late, in your "Expedition among the Alleghany Mountains," having been campaigning, in my work, in the upper parts of the Carolinas, and especially in the "Catawba country," about which you give such graphic sketchings. Really, I look upon your work as a vade mecum to the American lover of the picturesque and romantic, unfolding to him the wilderness of beauties and the variety of adventurous life to be found in our great chains of mountains and system of lakes and rivers. You are, in fact, the picturesque explorer of our country.

With great regard, my dear Mr. Lanman, yours ever very truly,


By the following brief notes to myself, it will appear that the fourth volume of the "Life of Washington" was going through the press, and that he was prone to make modifications and corrections during the process :


SUNNYSIDE, March 20, 1857.

Page 161 must be carefully collated with the manuscript. There are two places where I cannot supply the deficit.

I have struck out some lines in page 172, so that the chapter may end on page 173, and save the great blank in page 174. The printers appear to be fond of ending a chapter at the top of a page.

I have no doubt of getting the Inauguration into this volume; but the printers must not make blank pages unnecessarily.

SUNNYSIDE, Monday Evening. There is a passage in, I think, De Rochambeau's "Memoirs," about the sending in a flag, at Yorktown, to Cornwallis, to obtain permission for Secretary Nelson to leave the town; and about his being brought out on a litter, being old, and ill with the gout. I wish you would copy it, and send it to me with the next proofs, as I wish to make immediate use of it. You will find De Rochambeau's "Memoirs" in the American department of the Astor Library.

If it is not in De Rochambeau's "Memoirs," it is in Chastellux; but I think it is in the former.

It was in Chastellux.

I send you the page which was missing.

it, as I now do all the canceled pages.


SUNNYSIDE, March 22, 1857. Fortunately, I had impaled

SUNNYSIDE, Tuesday Evening.

I shall send no copy for a day or two, for I am fagged and

a little out of order, and need rest; and I wish to be careful about the ensuing chapters, which I have been patching, and must revise to avoid muddling. I shall be heartily glad to receive the last proof


Not long after this note was written, Mr. Irving received a visit from Mr. Charles Lanman, who had recently sent him his "Adventures in the Wilds of America," for which he makes his acknowledgment in a letter just given. On his return to his residence, at Georgetown, Mr. Lanman gave a detail of his visit in a letter to Peter Force, Esq., entitled, "A Day with Washington Irving," which was published in the "National Intelligencer," and inclosed in an epistle from the writer to Mr. Irving. This is his tardy but characteristic acknowledgment:—

« AnteriorContinuar »