My Dear Hawthorne--
If you thought it worth while to write the story of Agatha, and should you be engaged upon it; then I have a little idea touching it, which however trifling, may not be entirely out of place. Perhaps, tho', the idea has occurred to yourself.-- The probable facility with which Robinson first leaves his wife & then takes another, may, possibly, be ascribed to the peculiarly latitudinarian notions, which most sailors have of all tender obligations of that sort. In his previous sailor life Robinson had found a wife (for a night) in every port. The sense of the obligation of the marriage-vow to Agatha had little weight with him at first. It was only when some years of life ashore had passed that his moral sense on that point became developed. And hence his subsequent conduct-- Remorse &c. Turn this over in your mind & see if it is right. If not-- make it so yourself.
If you come across a little book called "Taughconic"-- look into it and divert yourself with it. Among others, you figure in it, & I also. But you are the most honored, being the most abused, and having the greatest space allotted you.-- It is a "Guide Book" to Berkshire.
I dont know when I shall see you. I shall lay eyes on you one of these days however. Keep some Champagne or Gin for me.
My respects and best remembrances to Mrs: Hawthorne & a reminder to the children.
If you find any sand in this letter, regard it as so many sands of my life, which run out as I was writing it.
Return to Melville's letters to Hawthorne
Return to Melville Home Page
Please address all correspondence on this Site to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Life and Works of Herman Melville is brought to you by Multiverse.