Five pages, to "Dear Uncle William". Salisbury England, 26 June 1882.
In this lengthy letter, the American author reports on her improving health (rheumatism), writes of visiting Portsmouth Harbour and Stonehenge (on her trip with Annie Adams Fields), and asks about their mutual relatives back home in South Berwick, Maine.
... I came up from the Isle of Wight [where they called unannounced upon Poet Laureate Tennyson] to old Portsmouth... We saw the old man-of-war lying off in the stream on which Lord Nelson died... the harbor was full of vessels. It is a naval station like our Portsmouth [NH] ... Later we came to Salisbury... and went to see the famous old cathedral and then drove out across Salisbury Plain several miles to see the old Druid monuments of Stonehenge. The stones are enormous ... and you can trace the shape of the old temple though many of the pillars have fallen... Mrs. Fields sends you her regards and with much love I am Yours affectionately Sarah O. Jewett
Although she uses the pronoun "I" throughout the letter, the final sentence reveals that the trip was in fact with Annie Adams Fields, the recent widow of Boston publisher James T. Fields, who had died the prior year. In fact, this trip was the beginning of a life-long "Boston marriage" between the two women (a term deriving from Henry James's THE BOSTONIANS, published four years after this letter); openly living together, certainly the two women shared friendship and literary encouragement -- but some modern scholars believe the two women were lovers (Jewett wrote several tales that included romantic attachments between women, including her first novel DEEPHAVEN). Three months before this letter, Sarah had written to Annie: "Are you sure you know how much I love you... I think of you and think of you and I am always reminded of you."
Included with the five-page letter is the original envelope handwritten by Jewett (with cancelled 2½-pence stamp). Also included is an early postcard showing Jewett's home in South Berwick (unused, but with a penny stamp affixed), plus an unused card bearing the embossed SOJ monogram in the corner. The letter is in fine condition (folded as mailed, with one short tear in the end of one fold). Item #15371