My dear Helen:
Thanks for the friendly, “Little Corporal"
1 ________ (can’t read- flower on top of word) himself in his hand- some new (can’t read behind flower) two or three mornings ago and whose pleasant stories have been greedily devoured by Jessie and Millie who are bright children and excellent judges of a good thing - “ in juvenile literature”, Hannah Thurstine(?) ________ Am ________. I’m glad she is bestirring herself in respect to the use of an implement which she handles so gracefully and at the same time with so much strength.
You are the young person who was to be “newsiest of the newsy” I believe! Where are your fruits? I indebted you, (with much useless sagacity) before leaving our native shores and you are my debtor still. This scrawl is one way of saying “Awake thou that sleepest”! Do not let it make its long journey in vain.
As for myself- I have now spent two charming, affluent months on foreign shores. ’Twere vain to tell a tithe of all I’ve seen and learned and taken highest pleasure in . As I have opportunity I mean to “write up” , fully and explicitly, there things, and if nobody will publish them, will dose you with manuscript on my return ! Already I have dispatched two or three envelopes full of “accounts” (Otherwise than financial)-with what success you will know long before I do. For on Thursday of this week we leave for Paris and on the 4 th of August we start for Russia with a gentleman and his wife- a her ______. Known to Kate and her family for years. We shall visit Sweden , Norway , Denmark , Finland and go to St. Petersburg- perhaps to Turkey and the Holy Land . You see we plumed our wings for a long flight, that dismal day we left dear Evanston and all our friends behind. I can not tell you how I relish this sort of life. The constant change- the intense interest- the pleased eye, the soothed and delighted ear- the splendid sense of freedom- all are new and fascinating to me. To have rowed on Derwent water on an evening when every breath was full of balm and sweetness- when the still water mirrored England’s sublimest hills; when the loveliest islands ever made sent forth sweet sounds of flute and song from their crafty recesses;- to have mused in the arbor where Wordsworth with his pure and lofty voice- to have stood beside his grave and Southeys- to have haunted with thoughtful step the haunts of Burns- of Walter Scott, of Allan Ramsay; to have heard Dr. Bonar preach and Spurgeon plead with sinful ______; to have grown familiar in with the choral service in wonderful Cathedrals; to have heard Little Patti Sing- these are experiences to hold as a rich possession all one’s life;- not transient but abiding with increasing richness in one’s memory. Such names as these will give you, who so fully can appreciate such things, a hint of what has taught and charmed me: The Scottish Highland’s- the Irish Lakes- the Giants Causeway- the rich old city of Dublin and the mercurial Belfast, Glasgow, and Liverpool; the rivers Clyde- Ayr- Tweed-Wye- Isis- Thames- (Not to mention “Bonny Doon”) Mt. Ben Nevis, Helvellyn, Skiddaw, and Blencathara, Edinburgh, Holyrood Palace- Melrose and Dryburgh Abbeys; Abbotsford- oh I won’t try to name them any more. Some day you’ll see them for yourself and get the good out of them as one must in his own way. But we’ve not seen the Continent! We have been tarrying in countries usually ignored by tourists at least this may be said of Ireland , a country we shall ever recall with unmixed pleasure and to which we expect to return before we go home. Ah (page 4)everything makes us love Home- meaning America- Evanston and the people who care for us- as we did not know how to do when were there. I should regret ever to look upon this side of the ocean with a tithe of the affection I must always feel for that side! My dearest wish is to learn and become all that I can, which absent, their, returning to dispense all of good, in every way, that lies within my power- sheltered, meanwhile, in the sweet, sacred home- nook which is for every heart the truest and the highest place at last. But give me first the voyage- and afterward, the harbor;- first the flight and then the nest. So great good, Heaven may not have in its majestic purpose and if not, I wait. For you my dear Helen, as for your noble sister there is choice good in store, I steadfastly believe- the good which only makes a woman’s life “like the swell of some sweet time.”
Write me frankly from your heart, as I so naturally wish to you. Tell me all items of news about yourself, Minerva, the family and all the people that I especially “affect”- you know them. Believe me ever your true and loving cousin Frank.
1 “The Little Corporal” was magazine founded at the end of the Civil War and devoted itself to “fighting against wrong, and for the good, true, and the beautiful.” Frances’ cousin, Helen Brace Emerson, was Assistant Editor of the magazine. The main editor, Edward Eggleston was both a novelist and historian. The magazine was not particularly renowned for its literary merit, however its messages of morality was welcoming to their audience. From “19 th Century American Children and What they Read: Some of their Magazines” http://www.merrycoz.org/MAGS4.HTM, online, accessed 18 November 2004.