Great Barrington July 20, 1822.
I cannot tell how it is, but when I have a letter to write and at last set myself seriously about it I am always surprised at seeing how long I have delayed it. But I have infinitely less patience [when] I expect one from a friend.
I know in some measure how to feel for you under the dreadful mis- fortune you mention. 1 I have myself a little daughter playing under my roof and when I make your case my own I can judge of the sharpness of your sufferings. Yet you know how to apply to these sorrows the best consolations in store for them. It is true that nature must have its way, and the first burst of grief cannot be restrained, but the memory of those whom we loved so much at last becomes a sacred and cherished companion to us, that comes in aid of our virtue and comforts us under the falsehood and unkindness of the world. We find that desolate as our situation at first seemed to be, our friends are not altogether lost us; we commune with their images in our own hearts.
And then we reflect that we ought [not] to grieve, for they have past through all the sufferings that God has provided to educate and chasten those he loves, and now they can suffer no longer;--and with regard to ourselves, life has something more and better for us to do than to brood forever over the loneliness and darkness of our own lot.
I hope you will get the better of your invisible enemies as Dennie once called them the nerves. 2 Let me be your physician. I rec[om]mend then the air of the fields, and exercise in the garden. To talk of early rising I suppose would do no good--you and your doctor have settled that point.
The review of the Idle Man in the North American is certainly a very cautiously written production. 3 I have, as well as you, no doubt that the author was instructed where he ought to find fault, and how small a measure of reluctant praise it would do to bestow. Why should he couple the Club Room 4 with the Idle Man in that article? I cannot tell, unless it