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Lot #418
Bret Harte

Harte sends two manuscripts to Longfellow: “I do hope some interest you find ... will repay you”

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Harte sends two manuscripts to Longfellow: “I do hope some interest you find ... will repay you”

American author (1836–1902) best known for his colorful tales of California pioneers, including the much-anthologized story “The Outcasts of Poker Flat.” ALS, three pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 8, September 27, 1875. Harte writes from Cohasset, Massachusetts to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In part: “I enclose with this the Novel [Gabriel Conroy, the first part of which was published in the following month] and Play [Two Men of Sandy Bar]. You need not return the former for ten days; the latter I beg you will accept finally—only promising that its publication is suspended until its first appearance on the stage…. I do hope that some interest you may find in the Novel will repay you for the trouble of reading it. I want you to believe that the trial involves no duty of acknowledgement and adds nothing to that pathetic pile of unanswered letters on your library table…. The peculiar page-headings are the publisher’s own—part of his ‘dreadful trade,’ and necessary, he tells me, for ‘advertising.’ Don’t read them. I am hoping you are better; at least that my … remedy has not proven ineffective. I trust to see you again before I leave for New York….” After signing, Harte adds a postscript, signing again with his initials: “The Novel may be returned to the care of Mr. Osgood.” Longfellow was evidently one of a very few members of the Eastern literary establishment that Harte trusted and respected. Harte later wrote of a walk home with Longfellow from the house of James Russell Lowell: “I was to have the man I most revered alone with me for half an hour in the sympathetic and confidential stillness of the night….” Intersecting mailing folds and a touch of subtle toning, otherwise fine, clean condition. A most notable association between two giants of nineteenth-century American literature! R&R COA.

Auction Info

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  • Dates: #331 - Ended March 12, 2008