Letter from G. P. A. HEALY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH and CAROLINE CRANE MARSH, dated July 26, 1854.
My dear Friends
I was delighted to receive a line from you both! I saw Mrs. Rotch last evening & her husband this morning into whose hands I placed the Review, upon which, I wrote your present address, that no mistake might occur. This morning I did not go to my Atelier before breakfast but sat in my "salon" alone, reading all about the Camel! I wish you could have seen how grand I seemed, I never enjoyed an hour's reading so much before, I said to myself if the time should ever come when I can do this once or twice a week, who knows, if my eyes will but last, but I may become quite a reading man!
Sweet Mrs Marsh, I do not remember if I told you I intended to present the Mother of my beautiful sitter with a kit-cat portrait of her daughter, never has a virtuous intention been so recompensed in this world before, on Saturday she gave me her first sitting on Tuesday I painted the delicate green dress & yesterday she sat & stood nearly all day, her Mother said she liked it better than the first! Poor dear Lady, she then little thought she was prasing her own property! I wish you could have seen her expression when I told her. Now I must tell you that I have worked all day to day, on that which you saw, it is now twenty times better! & this is my reward. The copy of Mr. Peabody's portrait has gone into engravers hands. Little Agnes came into town on Monday morning & behaved so well that Mr. Evans praised her & I gave her that, money & a kiss.
Last evening the Palmleys
& the Evanses started for Switzerland in a rain storm worthing of the U.S.A. & this evening it looks very like rain again. The Palmleys are to return in about a fortnight when they are to have our apartments for two months, or so, that they may be near their child about the end of September.
Last evening I received a letter from Mr. W. B. Ogden, he & the
Butlers are in Switzerland & are to be here in time for the grand fêtes on the 15
of August. By the way the Rotches are to leave early in the morning so you may expect your book
early next week. The heat has been extreme since you left, Dubourjal
& I dined with Madame Perignon on Tuesday when she like a sensible woman requested us to
take off our coats, which we did, & then we found it quite hot enough I was obliged to leave
at 8. as I went to Versailles; Madame Perignon was toutched when I told her of your
thoughtfulness respecting her just as you left the gate. I reached Versailles at 1/2 past 9
& found them all
in bed except Mrs Healy who is glad you are in so nice a part of London, I am sure you will get used to the smoke & dirt of that famous old city & that you will like it vastly by the time I receive a line from you just before you sail.
My dear Friends, in closing this hasty note let me say most devo[u]tly, God bless you, & be assured that I never think & speak or hear of you but that my heart yearns towards you. Our kindest regards to Miss. Buell, Sincerely
YoursGeo. P. A. Healy
P.S. I am sorry the work of Peter Paul Rubens has not reached me.
I wish I had the power of telling you the nice things our sevant has said of you all, & in rather timid tones, she remarked that your man servant was bien doux!
References in this letter:
Marsh published two works on the Camel: "The Camel," in Report of the Smithsonain Institution for 1854, 98-122. 33 Cong. 2 Sess., Sen. Misc. Doc. 24. Washington, 1855. The Camel: His Organization, Habits and Uses, considered with Reference to His Introduction into the United States. Boston: Gould and Lincoln, 1856.
The American financier and philanthropist, George Peabody (1795-1869) moved to England in 1837 where he specialized in foreign exchange and American securities.
The Philadelphia dentist, Thomas Wiltberger Evans (1823-1898) moved to Paris in 1846. He became the official dentist of Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie.
A wealthy Illinois railroad executive, William Butler Ogden (1805-1877), convinced Healy to move his family to Chicago where he guaranteed him patronage by the leading families in the area.
Edme Savinien Dubourjal (1795-1853) was a Parisian painter who specialized in portrait miniatures and watercolors.
Maria Buell, Marsh's niece through his first wife Harriet Buell, accompanied the Marshs throughout Marsh's tenure as minister to Turkey.
The American portrait painter, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894), was one of the most popular artists of his time. He is known for his paintings of presidents, statesman, and members of Society on both sides of the Atlantic. A native of Boston, he studied in France under Antoine-Jean Gros and established a studio in Paris. In 1840, the U.S. Minister to France, General Lewis Cass, introduced Healy to King Louis Phillippe, and his reputation was established in Europe. In all, Healy made thirty trans-Atlantic trips but settled in Chicago at the behest of a wealthy Illinois businessman, William Butler Ogden.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) the great 17th century Flemish painter.