Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to HIRAM POWERS, dated April 6, 1862.
Your letter of the 3:, which I received yesterday, partly from the exceeding beauty
of the thoughts it so gracefully expressed, partly from the generosity of your
offer, and partly from the fact that it was from , moistened my eyes
inconveniently, for a time, and--to pass from the grave to the gay--the first thing
I said, after I "came to," was: "Well, I declare, I'll give Powers my book, as Regaldi did to Baruffi." You must know
that last summer we had-- what is so rare a thing in these stone-built towns of
fire in Turin, in which our very particular friend the abbé Baruffi, who has been a great traveler & knows every body, lost all his curious collections, letters & papers, and a very valuable library. After the fire, he met Regaldi the poet, who said to him: "My dear abbé, I am sorry you have had a fire; I suppose your copy of my poems was lost, but never mind, I'll give you another!"
You never knew I had made a book. T'is a thick
8vo, on the English Language, has gone through four editions in America in two
years, & has just been republished by Murray in London.
Well, as I said, when I get copies--I have none now--I'll send you one and then we shall be even!
I must go to London, whenever the bookseller, who is publishing book of mine, gives me the signal. He now says May 10', but as I can't get the manuscript to him, I fear it will be the 20'
Mrs Marsh would, on some accounts, prefer going to Florence while I go to England, but on the other hand, there are some reasons for going next week, with our niece, whom, if the deaconesses (to whom Mrs M. writes today) will take her, we mean shall go Sunday or Monday.
Now, two questions. 1. How long will she need to stay at
2'. Does it make any difference to you whether she goes next week, arriving, say on the 14 or 15, or whether she waits till some uncertain time in May? Could you answer this in two words, in time for her to pack her bundle to go on Sunday the 13' if that seems best?
The news from home are good, not as good as possible, for I won't be satisfied till old James Buchanan and twenty southern rebels are hanged. Young folks aren't of much consequence. T'is only we old ones that are just right. But still, they are , and so we are glad to hear good news of the bride & bridegroom. We'll have dinner ready for 'em at 5½ P.M. on the 31' of May--that is, if we ain't some where else. My wife sends thanks & love & so on, without end.
Yours trulyG. P. Marsh
H. Powers Esq
[The following is written at the top of the page beginning "Turin Apl 6 1862"] Isn't it odd that you should have offered me the thing in the world I most wanted, and least expected to be able to have---a bust of my wife from your hand? Tis the realization of a dream, which happens to a man but once in his life.
References in this letter:
Marsh's The Origin and History of the English Language, and of the Early Literature It Embodies, was published in 1862; a revised edition appeared in 1885.
Marsh's Lectures on the English Language, a revision of lectures he had delivered at Columbia University in the winter of 1858-1859, was published in 1860; revised editions appeared in 1861,1872, and 1885.
Carrie Marsh Crane, Caroline Marsh's niece, daughter of her brother Thomas, accompanied the Marshs for a number of years during his tenure as minister to Italy. She died in a shipwreck in 1874.
Powers, as a gesture of friendship to Caroline Crane Marsh (1816-1901) and her husband, George Perkins Marsh, American ambassador to Italy, had her sit for a bust in June 1862. The marble replica made from the plaster cast, presented to the Marshes in late 1864 or early 1865, is now in the Fleming Museum of the University of Vermont.