Item #15360 Autograph Letter Initialed, to his Boston publisher "My dear [James R.] Osgood" Bret Harte.
Autograph Letter Initialed, to his Boston publisher "My dear [James R.] Osgood".

Autograph Letter Initialed, to his Boston publisher "My dear [James R.] Osgood".

[at a turning point of his life] Crefeld [Germany], July 22 / [18]78. Initialed "B.H." Both sides of a single leaf.

This is a letter from Harte to his Boston publisher James R. Osgood, at a major turning point in Harte's life. Harte is telling Osgood that he has just (four days earlier) arrived in the major silk center of Crefeld, Germany; his cynical language about the local populace indicates that he is not delighted to be there. (Harte's latest book, DRIFT FROM TWO SHORES, was just being published by Osgood.) Harte's letter reads:

I've got so much to do for these d----d silk spinners, who have the absurd idea that the Govt. has sent me out to listen to them, that mayhap I can't get my new Vice Consul up to the point of snubbing them properly, and will have to stay to do it myself. So if I'm not at the Hotel de Nouvel Opera [in Paris], nor at the English Church, nor at any of your familiar haunts of Vice on Sunday evening at 8 oclock nor early Wednesday morning, telegraph me here -- at my own (i.e. the Gov't's) expense -- if you cannot wait a day or two longer for your bereaved | friend | B.H.

Two years earlier, Harte -- with a wife and four children in Morristown NJ, in serious debt, and feeling that he had "mined out" his best stories -- went to Washington DC to try to arrange a deal with a new periodical. It fell through, so while in town he turned to family friends (Asst. Secretary of State Frederick Seward was his father's college classmate, W.D. Howells was married to President Hayes's cousin) -- to arrange meetings with the President where he successfully pled for an appointment -- which wound up being as Consul in Crefeld. Leaving his family in NJ with the promise that he would bring them over when he could, he departed on June 28, 1878 on the Suevia for London, then made his way to Crefeld, arriving on July 18th. Harte would never return to the United States. Harte would never see his family together again. Harte saw his wife just once again, when she briefly visited him in London almost 25 years later, not long before his death. (He almost immediately sought a transfer from Crefeld, and by 1880 got one, as Consul in Glasgow -- and lived the rest of his life in Great Britain, where he died in 1902.)

The letter is in very good condition (several folds, one of which has a one-inch split, and residue at the bottom of the back side from prior mounting). See William Sommers: "Bret Harte: The Frontier Writer as Consul." Item #15360

Price: $250.00

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