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begging her to sing it." His love of music was a passion with him through life.

March 25th.-Wrote the following note-a copy of which has been sent me since his death- to a lady who had requested permission to dedicate to him a work, entitled "Domestic Annals of the Revolution," but the title of which was afterward changed to "Recollections of the Revolution" :

[To Miss Lydia Minturn Post.]


SUNNYSIDE, March 25, 1859.

Your note of March 9th, being directed to Tarrytown instead of Irvington, has been slow in reaching me. You have my full consent to the dedication of your forthcoming "Domestic Annals of the Revolution" to me, if you think it would be of advantage to the work, or a gratification to yourself. I only request that the dedication be extremely simple, and void of compliment.

With great respect, yours, very truly,


April 2d.-Received, in the morning, a letter from a young senior at Chapel Hill, N. C., telling him he had been so delighted with his four volumes of the "Life of Washington," that he had read them over repeatedly, and now wrote to beg him, not only for his own sake, but for the sake of the country, to write an account of the Presidential career and closing days of Washington at Mount Vernon. "Here is a request," said he, "that I think I will gratify at once." The whole of the fifth vol

ume was already printed, and waiting only the Preface, which was completed that very morning, before the receipt of the letter. He spoke sadly of his condition, as if he were failing. Great restlessness at night, with brief snatches of sleep.

April 3d.—His birthday-seventy-six this day. A dull, cheerless morning; overcast at dawn, and raining before seven. After breakfast, he showed me his Spanish Chronicles in manuscript "Don Pelayo," "Fernando el Santo," etc. In the midst of our conversation, a bunch of flowers was brought in from Robert, the most faithful of gardeners, a present for his birthday. Later, a beautiful bouquet from Mrs. followed. "Beautiful flowers," he exclaimed, "to a withered old man!" The dinner table. was decked with the bouquet, and the dessert enriched with various delicacies, presents from loving neighbors. All tried to be cheerful at dinner; but at the close, after a spasm of coughing had driven him from the room, and we felt the uncertainty of another birthday with him "on this bank and shoal of time," all rose from the table in tears.



R. IRVING'S health continued to fluctuate. Throughout the month of April there seemed to be a decided improvement, though he still had, at intervals, a return of his distressing nights. One symptom appeared, which gave us a good deal of anxiety, being quite new. It was a bewilderment on waking, which sometimes continued for half an hour or more; an uncertainty as to exactly where he was, and an idea that strange persons had been in the room-his dreams probably mingling with his waking. On the whole, however, he seemed much better; and, on the 20th, told me, on retiring to his room for the night, that he thought he could now get along by himself; but, on my assenting, immediately recalled the opinion, and said perhaps I had better remain a night or two longer. Fell asleep for about fifteen minutes, then awoke, and had a deplorably nervous night. He continued to improve, however, and,

on the 27th, determined to be present at the monthly meeting of the trustees of the Astor Library, but was prevented by rain. It was now more than four months since he had been in the city.

May 1st.-Read Henry T. Tuckerman's account of the Portraits of Washington, in the Appendix to the fifth volume. Pronounced it quite an acquisition.

On the 4th, went to town, and returned at half past seven, the better for the journey. Occupied his room alone that night.

May 9th.-Received the following letter from Bancroft, in acknowledgment of Volume V. of "Life of Washington":


Sunday, May 7.

Your publisher sent me, late yesterday, your fifth volume, to which I must entreat you to add your autograph, in evidence of the intention, which Putnam vouched for. I did not go to bed till I had finished all the last half of the volume; and my first moment this morning is to tell you with what delight, and, I add in all soberness, emotion, I read it. The narrative is beautifully told, in your own happy diction and style, felicitous always; never redundant; graceful and elegant. The throbbings of your heart are as marked and perceptible along the pages as in anything you ever wrote. But the charm is the loveliness that your portraiture sheds round the venerable patriot in his retirement. Much as I have read and studied about Washington, I was taken by the novelty that your ever fresh and warm manner has thrown about your sketch. Your hero dies like the sun in its beauty in a cloudless sky. After reading to the end, I began at the beginning. You have charmingly shown Washington's dislike of state; and you have hit off John Adams's character in perfection at a single touch.

Having had many

letters sent me about Randolph, I looked up your account of that sad matter; and I think your statement is a model of candor, indicating just the extent of Randolph's indiscretion, and no more; and I think the letter of contrition, which you insert, tends to exonerate Randolph from the deeper imputation, for it shows, at bottom, an honest heart, though his judgment may have grievously erred.

The sketch which Washington gives of Hamilton, on preferring him for the post next himself in the army, is the finest tribute ever paid to Hamilton's rare combination of talents. . . . . But I shall weary you; only I could not delay telling you how admirably you have, in my judg ment, combined, in this volume, grace of style, freshness, candor, and all the good qualities that make you the delight of your friends and the pride of the country.

I am ever, dear Irving, very heartily yours,


May 10th.-Received a letter from John P. Kennedy, proposing his going on a trip to St. Louis with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, which he declines, as follows:


[To John P. Kennedy.]

SUNNYSIDE, May 11, 1859.

I have had to decline the very tempting invitation of Mr. Prescott Smith in behalf of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. In fact, I am not in a condition to undertake the expedition proposed. I have been under the weather all winter, suffering from an attack of asthma, and a nervous indisposition brought on by overworking myself in endeavoring to bring my literary task to a conclusion. Thank heaven, my fifth volume is launched, and henceforth I give up all further tasking of the pen. I am slowly regaining health and strength, and am having my natural rest at night, for I suffered wretchedly from sleeplessness. Within the last two or three weeks I feel quite encouraged; but I still have to take great

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