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Catalog Number KSc032719
Collection NY Historical Society
Object Name Letter
Dates of Creation 1841/01/30
Scope & Content New York, January the 30th, 1841
Dear Landman,
The repeated tokens of your remembrance of me I have left unacknowledged to this late date. Your goodness will pardon the omission.
During the illness and at the recent death of my brother Henry my mind has been most grievously exercised. I intended to have written you the evening of the day that brought me the melancholy intelligence of his death-but immediately took leave of my wife and little boy and crossed to Brooklyn, was seated in the last train of cars and had 50 miles to ride that night. We moved on-slowly at first-for the moment I felt as if the weight of my own heavy heart might be the cause. It was not that, but the "laws delay" for as soon as we had passed the city bounds, away we hurried at a furious rate-the cattle scampered off at our approach-I wondered not at their timidity. There is something startling in the puffing engine, its terrific whistle and alarm bell I finished my journey in a stage-at eleven oclock was with my afflicted relatives, at the home of my child-hood. Before entering the house I stood alone for some minutes -the dark clouds suddenly disappeared and the bright moonlight came down and rested upon the roof of that ancient dwelling-place-my heart was full-I bowed my head upon my hands and wept like a child. This is truly a world of change. I thought of our boy-hood-by the light of the same moon how oft we had tugged our little sleds to the surrounding hill-tops, then turning with a look, perhaps a shout of consious joy, together we glided to the valley below-now the voice of him of whom I had come to take the last fond look was as silent as those snow-capped hills
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My Mother had not retired, but waited my coming. I found her calm in her grief. She had lost her first born child-as she spoke of his sufferings and death, her voice trembled, and failed. She pressed my hand, and in one deep-long look of affection seemed to say, "'tis to my remaining children I look in part for support in this trying hour." My Mother has been familiar with such afflictions. My Father died at middle age-he was her first and only love-happily I bear his name, for I often fancy she delights to speak it; and to dwell upon his virtues is her chief happiness. I went to my room, but could not sleep-a torrent of strange thoughts passed through my brain, such as in after life I may not be able to guess of. Early next morning I sat by the remains of my departed Brother, where but a week before we parted with mutual blessings. I tried to make a sketch of him but failed. I looked at his paintings that hung about the room, and then upon his firm and solemn face. 'Twas a lovely day; our venerable minister, more than 80 years of age, headed the funeral procession -we rode a distance of 3 miles to the church-yard-at the grave I stood beside his afflicted wife, and as the last rites of funeral was being ended, I felt her trembling hand and heard the sobs of her fatherless children. 'Twas past -soon after we were seated in our carriages, the horses had become impatient from long waiting and they swiftly whirled us on our way to the house of mourning. I look back upon it all as a strange dream-such is life. I have review'd this letter-'tis a curious affair, but I know to whom I send it. If I write at all, must dwell upon that which is uppermost in my mind. Friend Landman, our little association is broken. In addition to the common ties of brotherhood, we were bound together by other sympathies-with one
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exception, we all followed the same profession-to its many vicissitudes, we have been alike familiar. My Brother thought to the last that painting was the principal cause of his disease-that he had "nursed the pinion that impelled the steel."
The Southern Literary Messenger is received. I have perused it with much pleasure-especially your Sabbath Evening Thoughts are full of excellence and that unaffectedly pious feeling that touches the heart. I think no one can read them with a just appreciation and not find himself profited. The Courier is at hand, the nameless Essay pleases me, if possible more than when I first heard it.
I miss your society because your companionship suits me exactly. Those of my many acquaintances whom I would choose as my friends are very few. I have not called upon any painters since you left, therefore can say nothing of the Art that will interest you. My Wife desires her respects; my little boy is sleeping near me, as you have seen him.
Very Truly Yours,
S. A. Mount
Chas Lanman Esq