The Letters of William Cullen Bryant - Vol. 1

By William Cullen Bryant II; Thomas G. Voss et al. | Go to book overview

would still lie in wait to make us relax the activity required of us. The persuasions of ease, the more powerful suggestions of weariness might induce us to defer doing our duty to some other moment when it might be done as well, and the opportunity of performance might thus imperceptibly go by and escape us forever. So powerful is the influence of the feelings over the reason.

Excuse this effusion of philosophy.-- I hope you study to make the situation of our father during his illness as comfortable as possible. I had long been anxious without much success to hear of his health before I received your letter, and had hoped to hear that it was better. 2

I was much pleased with the specimen of your drawing which you sent me. It was well done, and I think you have made unusual proficiency.

I would write you a longer letter if I had time. I think you will see in this the marks of haste.-- But you may write me in answer as long a letter as you please-- My love to the family--

Your affectionate brother and friend
WM. C. BRYANT

MANUSCRIPTS: Weston Family Papers (final); NYPL-GR (draft, mistakenly headed "Cummington").

1.
Sally's letter is unrecovered. She was obviously impatient with her brother for his neglect, for she had written her mother several months earlier from Northampton, "I do not take it very kind of Cullen that he did not either come and see me or write to me." Undated letter [ cNovember 10, 1818], BCHS.
2.
Peter Bryant had been ill again with lung trouble since October. Though he had been able to "ride out" in an emergency to "set a couple of broken arms" suffered by two neighboring ladies who were thrown from a wagon, his practice was now borne largely by his former pupil Samuel Shaw, whom he had taken as a partner. Sarah to Sally Bryant, November 21, 1818, and Peter to Sally, November 13, 1818, Weston Family Papers; Bryant Record, pp. 92, 94. Sally had left school in Northampton about the middle of January and come home to Cummington. Sally to Charity Bryant, February 15, 1819, Sheldon Museum.

56. To Edward T. Channing

Great Barrington 25 March 1819

Dear Sir

Your favour of the 8th. inst. has been received. To commendations so flattering as you are pleased to bestow on me, coming from such a quarter, I hardly know what to say. 1 Had you seen more of those attempts of mine concerning which you express yourself so favourably, your opinion would perhaps have been different-- [I]f in some instances I have been successful, I may have been so by accident. The lines I sent you you are at liberty to dispose of as you think proper; but do not, by any means, take any trouble to make a place for them in your Journal, and above all, do not let them appear if they are not worthy of it. 2

I have not the Backwoodsman but I have seen some extracts from it --enough to give me some opinion of the work and I agree with you in

-88-

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