That side-blow thro' Mrs Hawthorne will not do. I am not to be charmed out of my promised pleasure by any of that lady's syrenisms. You, Sir, I hold accountable, & the visit (in all its original integrity) must be made. -- What! spend the day, only with us? -- A Greenlander might as well talk of spending the day with a friend, when the day is only half an inch long.

As I said before, my best travelling chariot on runners, will be at your door, & provision made not only for the accomodation of all your family, but also for any quantity of baggage.

Fear not that you will cause the slightest trouble to us. Your bed is already made, & the wood marked for your fire. But a moment ago, I looked into the eyes of two fowls, whose tail feathers have been notched, as destined victims for the table. I keep the word "Welcome" all the time in my mouth, so as to be ready on the instant when you cross the threshold.

(By the way the old Romans you know had a Salve carved in their thresholds)

Another thing, Mr Hawthorne -- Do not think you are coming to any prim nonsensical house -- that is nonsensical in the ordinary way. You must be much bored with punctilios. You may do what you please -- say or say not what you please. And if you feel any inclination for that sort of thing -- you may spend the period of your visit in bed, if you like -- every hour of your visit.

Mark -- There is some excellent Montado Sherry awaiting you & some most potent port. We will have mulled wine with wisdom, & buttered toast with story-telling & crack jokes & bottles from morning till night.

Come -- no nonsence. If you dont -- I will send Constables after you.

On Wednesday then -- weather & sleighing permitting I will be down for you about eleven o'clock A.M.

By the way -- should Mrs Hawthorne for any reason conclude that she, for one, can not stay overnight with us -- then you must -- & the children, if you please.

H. Melville

Return to Melville's letters to Hawthorne
Return to Melville Home Page

Please address all correspondence on this Site to jmadden@mail.multiverse.com
The Life and Works of Herman Melville is brought to you by Multiverse.