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Catalog Number KSa020588
Collection Kate Strong Historical Library
Object Name Letter
Dates of Creation 1841/02/01
Scope & Content Norwich Conn., Feby 1st, 1841
My dear Mount,
What a fellow you are to close your letter to me with the following passage: "Excuse the liberty I have taken in writing you." After my repeated expressions of regard for your character and genius, it was not right-but no matter-I'll forgive you this time.
The sketch with which you commenced your letter was "masterly." The lights and shadows were well disposed the drawing was admirable-and the "impression" it is calculated to have on those who are in love wonderful. But you did not know that my lady-love was in a city south of N.Y. I came to Norwich, merely to spend two or three months "at home," among a host of friends whom I love most tenderly and who love me in return. I spend my time sleighriding, reading, writing and loafing, glorious employment which I delight in.
I wish you were here-cant you come and spend a month with me? I'll show you lots of pretty women and some beautiful, fit for you to paint. Only come, and I'll devote the whole of my time to your entertainment. I have lately returned from Boston, one hundred and ten miles from here, but our "iron horses" go there in four hours-there is a new and splendid railroad to that city. I did not have time to see any painters, but one, and that was young Burnham. I wish you knew him; he is indeed a rare fellow, and possesses the talents of a great artist. I am glad that you do not allow your affliction to depress your spirits too much. Mourn not for the dead, but rather for the living-for those who are poor, persecuted, and friendless those who have never known the luxury of a holy feeling -a love for nature, and above all for God. Leaves have their time to wither and die, and so it is with man. But leaves do not always die only in autumn. I have seen a leaf, eaten away in early spring by a worm, in the sunshine of summer had given it a mellow tinge. What reason have I. or any other youth, to expect that it will not be so with me or him? My motto is, therefore, "be prepared to die."
Since I saw you in New York. I have visited your brother Shepard several times. I was not disappointed in him. I really did not think he was so good a man, so fine a painter. I was very much pleased with his wife; and his child I thought a beautiful and noble boy, who has his equal however in the person of my own little brother. I like the way that Shepard talks. I love and cherish any man, who resorts to his own domestic circle for happiness. That, after all is the place to be happy. I pity the man, who cannot be happy with the wife of his bosom and his children, preferring the gaudy pomp of the theater, or the company of the bar-room. I hope to spend yet many more pleasant evenings, with your brother and his interesting wife. They know not how much I think of them. When Shepard exhibits that "velvet hat" of his in the academy, I shall do what I can to point out its beauties. I dont think you could better it. I dont know the author of Peter Cram. Whenever I see any thing which I think would please, I'll send it to you. The next Southern Literary Messenger will contain a piece by your brother. It has been published in an obscure newspaper, and therefore I sent to my friend the Editor an original-its the same thing. I hope you will write me whenever you have a moment's leisure. I don't care how often. Wont you make me a confident about your plans and doings in painting?
I like to hear particulars concerning those I admire. I write as I feel. Pardon my hasty conclusions for one of my sisters has just asked me to take her to ride. The robes are in the cutter, the long-tailed bay is at the door covered with bells, and I am oft-so good bye
Your friend
Charles Lanman