Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 04,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 414-542


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[page 414, unnumbered:]

SECTION IV

LIFE IN BALTIMORE, MD., AND RICHMOND, VA., 1831-1837

THERE are various records of Poe as going directly to the modest home of his aunt, Mrs. Maria Clemm, then living in Mechanics Row, Wilkes Street, later called Eastern Avenue, — at that time between the suburbs and Baltimore City, about a mile from its center and in the southeastern part where the larger vessels docked. Because Henry Poe died there some four months later, it seems probable he was then living under the roof and care of his aunt. There Edgar was given a welcome, and probably shared with his brother, in breaking health, the rear attic room of this house of which Mrs. Clemm and family occupied some part. Because Mr. Whitty quotes Edgar as living with his Cairnes relatives when, in the summer of 1831, he met a Miss Devereaux — a dark-eyed beauty whose parents came from Ireland” — and she said he had come to live with his aunt Mrs. Clemm, also as the Cannes’ name is not found in the Directory of that time, it seems that some of his grandmother Poe’s family — Cairnes — must have been living in this house with herself, her daughter and granddaughter — Mrs. Clemm and little Virginia. [page 415:]

Maria Poe — born March 17, 1790 — when twenty-seven, married, July 13, 1817, in St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore, her late cousin’s husband, William Clemm, Jr., a man of some property. This marriage was not favored by his five children. Mrs. Clemm found herself a penniless widow, Feb. 8, 1826, when her husband died in their South Street home. Of her three children, Henry was born Sept. 10, 1818; he went [page 416:] West in 1831; later on, went twice to sea; in 1835 he was employed at a granite stone cutting business in Baltimore, and finally died unmarried; her daughter, Virginia Maria, born Aug. 22, 1820, died Nov. 5, 1822; her youngest child, Virginia Eliza, born Aug. 13, 1822, was not yet nine years old when her Cousin Edgar — and future husband — became one of her mother’s household in the spring of 1831.

Mrs. Clemm’s circumstances seem clearly stated after her husband’s death by her own letter(1) to a former member of the judiciary. In this letter she wrote:

SIR: — I am not personally known to you, but you were well acquainted with my late husband Mr. Wm. Clemm . . . also with many of my connexions. For their sakes as well as for my own I venture to solicit a little assistance at your hands. For a long time I have been prevented by continual ill health from making the exertions necessary for the support of myself and children, and we are now consequently enduring every privation. Under these circumstances . . . I hope you will . . . give me some little aid . . . the merest trifle to relieve my most immediate distress.

Very respy,

MARIA CLEMM.

In 1831 Mrs. Clemm was forty-one years of age, and besides devotedly caring for her aged mother — bedridden with many ailments since 1827 — she also supported herself and two children by sewing. Though frail in health, it is of record that Henry Poe was — for a while after his return from his sea-voyage — employed as a clerk in the counting-house of Henry Didier, who was said to have adopted young Poe; but no public record of such action can be found. Edgar [page 417:] then was, for reasons best known to Mr. Allan, in receipt of a small annuity from him. It may have come from the solemn promise to his wife who was gone, or receiver’s and donor’s mutual knowledge of the latter’s misdeeds, including the slur on Poe’s own mother, that at Baltimore her son found to be false; or, from a natural wish to be thus considerate for conscience’ sake. But, however given, this stipend was then a godsend, as Poe fully realized when it was cut off with the life of Mr. Allan, March, 1834. Mrs. David Poe’s (Senior) small pension, Edgar’s like annuity with meagre pay for fugitive press-articles, Henry Poe’s salary — too trivial for print record — until it failed with his health, and Mrs. Clemm’s hard earnings were probably shared in some ways and kept the household in modest comfort. But Edgar gathered his wits and precious MSS. together in that back attic room with a firm purpose of life service to literature. This, no doubt, was confided to his failing brother, who in turn imparted his own unfortunate love affair that sent him sea-roving far from Baltimore, and his travel stories by lands and waters from the shores of sunny Greece to frozen Russia, with his sailor shore scrap there — too trivial for public record — that placed him in durance by a brief lien on his liberty at St. Petersburg, and his return voyage from Riga to Baltimore. Of this experience Mr. Whitty writes: “Ingram wrote me, the U. S. Consul and others advised him they never received application from anyone named Poe at St. Petersburg for aid, and I have never been able to verify that part of Henry’s story”; but it found acceptance by Baltimore authorities, and [page 418:] Henry may not have used the name of Poe. However, all this with his previous gay ways was telling in deadly effects on Henry Poe now. Modern sanitary precautions against contagion of consumption had no place nor part in the protection of his brother Edgar, whose own malevolent heritage of nerve-exhaustion was in no way helped by this close association. Undoubtedly Henry’s waning activities and life made one of many reasons that, from their attic room, Edgar, to swell their care for and share of domestic accounts, wrote, May 6, 1831, soon after reaching Baltimore, to Mr. William Gwynn:

DEAR SIR, — I am almost ashamed to ask any favour at your hands after my foolish conduct upon a former occasion — but I trust to your good nature.

I am very anxious to remain and settle in Baltimore, as Mr. Allan has married again and I no longer look upon Richmond as my place of residence. This wish of mine has also met with his approbation. I wish to request your influence in obtaining some situation or employment in this city. Salary would be a minor consideration, but I do not wish to be idle. Perhaps (since I understand Neilson has left you) you might be so kind as to employ me in your office in some capacity. If so I will use every exertion to deserve your confidence.

Very respectfully yr. ob. st.,

EDGAR A. Poe.

I would have waited upon you personally, but am confined to my room with a severe sprain in my knee.

Poe’s reference to “foolish conduct” seems to have been in some prior to West Point, misty, 1829 connection with Mr. Gwynn, obtained through Neilson Poe. Dates do not seem to affirm it was a possible print [page 419:] in Mr. Gwynn’s paper — of Poe’s April 1st flying hoax advent, from the old Shot Tower to the Lighthouse. This (hoax) notice may have been posted up in Mr. Gwynn’s newspaper office. The crowds who went to see this daring feat after hours of waiting dispersed in no good humor with the hoax-maker.

From William Clemm, Jr., and his first wife — Harriet Poe — came all the descendants of Neilson Poe, Sen., who happily married their second daughter, Josephine Emily, at Elmwood, Md., Nov. 30, 1831, following Edgar’s spring return to Baltimore. Until 1835 they lived in Frederick County, Md. Neilson — some four months younger than Edgar — born August, 1809, was a law student of William Gwynn, noted “Counsellor at Law” and editor-owner of the Federal Gazette, of which Neilson Poe became assistant editor. [page 420:] In 1835 he became editor and proprietor of the Baltimore Chronicle, and then lived at 66 Liberty Street, in that city. He was admitted to the bar before he became of age; practiced law in Baltimore until 1878; then accepted, by request of Governor Carroll, the Chief Judgeship of the Orphans’ Court, which he retained until his death, January, 1884. His leaving Mr. Gwynn — as noted in Edgar’s letter — occurred in the spring of 1831. No doubt his later association with the Baltimore Chronicle served his Cousin Edgar. Because to him some weeks of waiting brought no answer to his appeal to Mr. Gwynn, notwithstanding that letter held the truth — then unknown to Mr. Gwynn — that Poe was never an idler from choice, the writer turned to his 1829 Baltimore literary acquaintance, [page 421:] young Dr. Nathan C. Brooks, who had lately opened a school at Reisterstown, near Baltimore, to ask for a position as assistant. Dr. Brooks later told a friend that he regretted that there was no vacancy, as he knew Poe was an accomplished scholar.

During these spring and early summer days no doubt Henry and Edgar Poe saw much of their cousins, the five children of their Aunt Eliza — who died about 1823, aged thirty-one — and Mr. Henry Herring, a lumber dealer of Baltimore. “His home, in 1833, was on Asquith Street, near Pitt, and his lumber yard, City Block,” writes Mr. John Parker, Librarian of Peabody Institute Library, Baltimore. Mrs. George K. McGaw — whose father’s second wife was Mary Estelle, daughter of Mr. Herring — and his nephew Mr. Louis Griffin, both affirm other records that Edgar was always a welcome visitor at the Herring home. And besides these comely cousins, there were other damsels young and fair who claimed at least passing attention from these two attractive brothers, Henry and Edgar Poe. From the New York Herald of June 14, 1903, is the noting of a slender romance of a pretty little Miss Kate Bleakley, to whom Edgar wrote verses and letters in 1831, when her father, Matthew Bleakley, was proprietor of the Armistead Hotel, on “short Swan Street” between Market Space and Jones Falls. From her — as Mrs. Henderson of Fulton Avenue, Baltimore, when eighty-seven years old — it comes that Edgar, in the bravery of his cadet uniform, and his brother Henry, “a frail young man then employed in the city,” called upon her When a girl of fifteen. Concerning the poet and herself she firmly stated: “Oh, no, not a [page 423:] sweetheart, only a friend,” and described hint as “a very pretty man” with dark eyes, dark curly hair and some years older than herself. She added, “We always called him Mr. Allan Poe.” At seventeen Miss Bleakley married W. B. Paine; as his widow with two children she married Mr. Henderson. Her letters and verses from Poe were treasured by her bright young daughter, Annie Paine, who, for safe keeping, took them on her visit to New Orleans, where, when she died of yellow fever, they were burnt.

It appears that Edgar, free, but fresh from West Point, could not at once sever its thrills and drills from himself; which record is in the “Introduction” by Joseph Leon Gobeille to Perdue’s “Poe.” Gobeille wrote: “Not every one knows Poe was a cadet at West Point, cashiered before the close of his first year; fewer are aware that with his wonderful power of assimilation and appropriation he had become a thorough soldier. His sword manual was well-nigh perfect, and it was his delight to gather the gamins of Baltimore into companies when, it is said, he brought them up into ‘units of four,’ long before that method was common in tactics.” Yet Edgar’s unusual maturity and adverse experience now placed him not past that age when youthful fancies “lightly turn to thoughts of love” ; and for the time being — perhaps to stifle remembrance — all that was fair in maiden form, including his little cousin Virginia, claimed his fervid but flitting attentions; not without, however, some encouragement, as in all like events of his life, from such dear charmers of men. During his 1829 Baltimore stay, Edgar came into kinship touch with his Cousin [page 424:] Elizabeth Herring — then fourteen — and in the way of his boyhood’s usual fondness for girls; but his affection for her at sixteen — in 1831 — grew stronger and made him a frequent caller at her home until 1834, “during the morning or afternoon when he could see her alone,” writes Professor Woodberry, who added that Poe’s attentions to his daughter were not approved by Mr. Herring, because Edgar was a cousin, “poor and inclined to drink.” Mr. Whitty states: “It is shown that Poe was temperate and not addicted to drink at this period.” Mr. Whitty adds: “There met an assembly of young girls at the Herrings: Poe wrote in some of their albums and among them, in that of the most intimate of all Elizabeth Herring’s associates — a niece of Dr. James H. Miller, October, 1833, Sat. Visiter Prize story judge of ‘ MS. Found in a Bottle.’ When Miss Herring first married — at eighteen — these two girl friends exchanged albums. In both were Poe verses. Miss Herring’s album is still in existence and its Poe poems noted, but her friend’s album, containing Poe’s verses and other Poe items, went astray,” after it was owned by Mrs. E. M. Smith — Poe’s “Cousin Elizabeth.”

Mrs. McGaw states that Mr. Herring was a practical man of business but of free hospitality; and although his family was large his home was always open, and with special care for Poe whenever he was in Baltimore. However, Edgar called Elizabeth “fair Cousin,” made himself generally fascinating, read to her and wrote verses in her album, some lines of which are: [page 425:]

TO ELIZABETH

Would’st thou be loved? then let thy heart

From its present pathway part not —

Be everything which now thou art

And nothing which thou art not:

 

So with the world thy gentle ways,

And unassuming beauty

Shall be a constant theme of praise,

And love — a duty.

E. A. POE.

But true to his muse always, these lines were later revised as pleasing tributes to various shrines of winsome loveliness that caught his passing fancies along life’s great highway. Yet two records(2) claim these transfers were made with no damage to Miss Herring’s heart; for Edgar’s “fair Cousin” Elizabeth, in late 1834, married Mr, Andrew Tutt, of Virginia and some means. Mrs. McGaw writes that Miss Herring was said to be very beautiful and Mr. and Mrs. Tutt were voted the handsomest couple in Baltimore; they made their home in the little town of Woodville, Virginia. Mr. Tutt lived less than a year after his marriage, dying of tuberculosis, and abroad it was thought. Mrs. Tutt not long afterwards married Edmund Morton Smith, master of a Boys’ School in Baltimore. To her half-sister, Mary Estelle Herring, Poe later gave a copy of his 1831 edition of “Poems,” also a larger book bound in leather with gold tracings containing his “William Wilson.” On its fly-leaf in a beautiful clear hand he wrote: “To Mary Estelle Herring from her affectionate cousin Edgar Allan Poe.” Both gifts are treasured by her daughter Miss [page 426:] Ella L. Warden of Baltimore. Mr. Witty notes the “William Wilson” book as “evidently The Gift issued in 1840.” It is pleasant to know that the Herring family reported Edgar as “invariably kind and courteous, susceptible to the charm of women but never breathed by word, oral or pen, aught against ideal womanhood.”

From Mrs. McGaw it comes that Poe would spend his day with the family, entertaining them and himself by writing on long, narrow slips of paper, which he would roll tip tightly and throw to the children, when would follow a scramble for them, but, is added, most unfortunately these rolls were consigned to the waste basket almost before the ink was dry; confirming that ‘a prophet is without honor in his own country,’ or family.” As Mrs. Edmund Smith — Elizabeth Herring — noted, her cousin Edgar was calling on her “after his return from West Point ‘til her marriage” in 1834; she added of Poe, “he came at short intervals on flying visits from Philadelphia.”

There is a Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Jan. 19, 1809, record that Poe told Editor John R. Thompson, of the Southern Literary Messenger, that while living in Philadelphia, during the epidemic of cholera, he became deeply impressed at sights of the dead and the dying; and one evening, upon going home in the stage, he dropped into a troubled sleep, dreaming that a great black bird flew into his room and sat above his door, filling him with unspeakable horror by saying: “I am the spirit of the Cholera, and you are the cause of me!” Because Joseph Jackson, Esq., of the Philadelphia Ledger staff, affirms this cholera epidemic of that [page 427:] city occurred in 1832, Poe must have been there same time in that year. Mr. Whitty’s Poe “Memoir,” page xxxvi, notes Poe wrote for the New York papers in touch with Major M. M. Noah, Editor of the Evening Star; also for Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser and Sunday Mercury, of Philadelphia, about this time. These statements are affirmed by Professor Killis Campbell, who found in the Jan. 14, 1832, issue of the Saturday Courier Poe’s “Metzengerstein — the Hungarian myth”; in the March 3, 1832, date his “Duc de l‘Omelette,” a weird fantasy which shows Satan — as a gambler — can lose; the June 9th issue gave “A Tale of Jerusalem”; the Nov. 10th, “Loss of Breath” entitled, — “A Decided Loss,” which depicts the double horror of hanging and burial alive, also said to be aimed at German metaphysics; the Dec. 1, 1832, issue gave “Bon-Bon,” entitled “The Bargain Lost,” wherein the Devil poses as a gourmand of human souls. The New York Tribune, Nov. 23, 1919, notes of “Bon-Bon” and other Poe tales, as a “Story by Poe done Word for Word into a Play.” Short stories by Poe, with only slight changes, have been adapted to play form by William Barstow and presented at Princess Theatre. In “Bon-Bon“, the spoken lines of conversation are as written by Poe. Description of characters and setting are as he pictured them. “Lenore,” “Tell-Tale Heart,” “Gold-Bug” and “Lionizing” are to be presented later. These plays are said to bring out the fact that Poe was possessed of a very distinct and — well-developed sense of humor, not always fathomed by Dr. Griswold and some others. Sunday Evening, Feb. 29, 1920, occurred [page 428:] the “Lenore” performance — for the benefit of “Poe Memorial” — at Little Theatre, New York. Mr. Thomas Ollive Mabbott writes, that the “A . . .,” of later “Bon-Bon” issues, who sells his soul is, in this early Courier print, named in full as M. “Arouet.” He is referred to by Poe thus: “(Here His Majesty repeated a name which I do not feel myself justified in indicating more unequivocally.) “It is interesting to recall that François Marie Arouêt, 1694-1778, did not take the name of Voltaire until 1718, and in his birth name connection, to recall also that Poe read French well from his Manor House School days, at Stoke Newington ; and his French record was a high one at the University of Virginia, where with special pleasure he read “Histoire Particulière” by Voltaire. — Many references affirm that Poe was very familiar with Voltaire’s classics. Therefore this 1832 anonymous “Bon-Bon” naming of “Arouêt” seems clearly a Poe hoax on Voltaire and his classics. And Poe’s maturer “impersonal,” revision tactics briefed the name “Arouêt” to merely “A . . .”

Professor Campbell states these Poe prints appeared “anonymously” and, in later revised forms, had other printings. But their Philadelphia appearance from January to December, 1832, would affirm other records as to Poe being in that city some parts of that year. Professor Campbell adds, that the Saturday Courier, rival and imitator of the Saturday Evening Post, began early in 1831, and July the 31st issue offered a “prize of $100 for a short-story contest,” for which Poe probably sent his tales the date required, Dec. 3d. But the Courier of Dec. 31st noted this [page 429:] prize was won by Miss Delia S. Bacon of New York and Shakespeare associations, for her love story “Love’s Martyr.” Mr. Mabbott gives the names of the judges of the prize contest as David Paul Brown, William ill. Meredith, John Musgrave, Richard Penn Smith, Morton McMichael and Charles W. Alexander. It is added that Alexander — publisher of Burton’s [[Gentleman’s]] Magazine later on — and McMichael were “later” better known to Poe. “Love’s Martyr” appeared in the Jan. 7, 1832, date of the Saturday Courier. The next week’s issue gave Poe’s “Metzengerstein,” possibly sent for the prize contest. In any event this print of it definitely dated Poe as writing prose tales in 1831 and his probable presence in Philadelphia some parts of that year. Returning to this year’s spring and summer, and the failing health of wayward, captivating Henry Poe — “of singular personal beauty,” some records of him read, “and of genius” too; for he left unpublished effusions which seemed to show a promise at least for English expression, some say, equal to his brother’s, but whose concentration of purpose and persistent industry were not dominating characteristics of the elder brother. With Henry’s waning days went his clerkship, and no doubt Edgar shared with Mrs. Clemm the cares and expense of his brother’s illness until his release Aug. 1, 1831. From Mr. John Parker, Baltimore, comes: “In the Baltimore American, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 1831, appeared: ‘Died last evening, W. H. Poe, aged 24 years. His friends and acquaintances are invited to attend his funeral this morning at 9, from the dwelling of Mrs. Clemm, in Wilkes Street.’ ” Mr. William J. McClellan notes, [page 430:] from copy at the Maryland Historical Society, of Records of the First Presbyterian Church, page 273, — “List of Burials by Dr. William Nevins, 1831: 3 Aug. — W. H. Poe.” Interment therefore was of this date.

In some way rumor fastened Henry Poe’s St. Petersburg adventure on Edgar, who was said to be too sensitive of his dead brother’s name to correct the mistake, by reason of which “this story stuck to himself.”

From various sources come of Poe and his “Baltimore Mary” that their one — year romance(3) from summer to summer of 1831 to 1832 — began through a back attic window’s flirtation wherein figured handkerchief signals and air-line kisses between the top stories of Mrs. Clemm’s home, — Mechanics Row, Wilkes Street, and the home garret-lights of her father, Mr. Devereaux, around the corner at No. 38 Exeter Street, Baltimore. Mary was fair at seventeen, with Titian-toned hair, and eyes both soft and brown. She otherwise must have been of sweet and irresistible force to the high-spirited but nerve-strained young poet, in constant touch with the double invalidism of his grandmother and brother; also with added gloom and shadows of the latter’s recent death full upon him. But to Mary, her attic swain appeared his actual “five feet eight in stature,” of fine slender figure, erect carriage, with a quick, soldier’s-drill step. His dark hair, “fine as silk,” was “worn long, brushed back over his ears; his eyes were large, grey, full and piercing; his nose long and’ straight; his mouth finely cut with beautiful but sad expression, and his complexion was clear olive. His voice was pleasant, musical; [page 431:] but “it was his manner that most charmed.” It appears he always wore a black frock coat, buttoned up, with a cadet collar, his shirt collar turned over, with a black, loose knotted cravat. This seems a graphic description of Poe at twenty-two, and as he appears in the miniature painted by Henry Inman in the early spring of 1831. But, in mentioned ways, he had claimed so much of Mary’s consideration that her mother asked, “What takes you so much upstairs, Mary?” Their home joined that of their landlord, Mr. Newman, who also had a daughter Mary, and the stoop of each house had an inner as well as an outer balustrade. One summer afternoon found the two Marys, each sitting on her own stoop and chatting as girls will, when young Poe, passing on the opposite side of the street, on his way home, bowed to them. Miss Newman asked Mary if she knew him. The answer was, “No.” Then Miss Newman said he was Edgar Poe who had just come from West Point; also, that he wrote poetry, and added: “There comes Mr. Poe across the street. Oh, isn’t he handsome?” As “Mr. Poe” came up the Newman steps Mary was coy, on the stoop, and turned her back. He greeted Miss Newman, who introduced him to Mary, then answered a call made for her in her home. Thus it was that Poe met his “Baltimore Mary” face to face. He told her she had the most beautiful hair he ever saw — it was auburn, worn in frizzed puffs each side of her face — “the hair that artists raved over.” After this meeting there were many, and sendings too, of little Virginia, not only with verses and notes but once for a lock of those shining tresses. Poe told their owner that [page 432:] his favorite name was “Mary,” and “often quoted Burns, for whom he had a great admiration,” to prove it. From that time Poe went to see his “Mary” “every evening,” she said. Time probably dimmed from Mary’s memory Poe’s 1832 Philadelphia flights of other records — “for a year”; and, until the night of their final quarrel, “he never drank a drop” so far as she knew. Mary noted that Poe believed he was born to suffer and this “embittered his whole life.” His relations with Mr. Allan, whom Poe called “father,” were not pleasant. Yet in speaking to Mary of his first love, Poe gave her the impression that its earliest romance was approved, if not planned by Mr. Allan, who later — probably after the disturbing episode between them, when Poe was fifteen — arrayed himself with Elmira’s father against it. Mary wrote: “Poe once gave me a letter to read from Mr. Allan in which the latter said, referring to me, that if he [Poe] married any such person he would cut him off without a shilling.” This letter indicates that Poe was in Mr. Allan’s mind when making his will in 1832. Dim records indicate Mary was a Catholic. Poe’s “Catholic Hymn” in “Morella,” written about this time, would suggest his attending that church with her. Mary said they never talked of his poetry then or in later years, as he would have thought it conceited. She said that Poe always liked her father and talked with him a good deal. ‘Mary told of a rainy day with flooded streets that found a young lady stranded on a corner crossing, and her surprise when “Eddie came up behind her, picked her up in his arms and carried her across the street.” Then with wet [page 433:] feet he went to tell Mary all about it. She knew the rescued maiden as the daughter of a rich man living on the Point; and when the fair one asked Poe to whom was she indebted, he gave her his card, and “with her,” Mary noted, “it was love at first sight.” Because he thought her “a beautiful girl,” and it his duty to go and see her, caused Mary to do some side flirting with her friend Mr. Morris; sing for him Eddie’s favorite song, “Come, rest in this bosom,” etc., which he promptly snatched from the piano and threw on the floor; but the syren sang on, said she knew it by heart, which acts naturally resulted in the usual lovers’ quarrel after Mr. Morris left. One summer moonlight night when Eddie and Mary were walking over the bridge near her home, and at the far end was a minister’s house, he took her arm and urgingly said “Come, Mary, let us go and get married; we might as well get married now as any time.” She was frightened, returned home and he followed. Mary said “We had no definite engagement but we understood each other,” and added: “He was not then in circumstances to marry.” On this score ‘Mary’s brother was emphatic. But the parting of their ways came for the young lovers one night when belated Eddie came to tell Mary he had met some cadet friends who took him to Barnum’s City Hotel, where they had a champagne supper and he. had come as soon as he could to explain. Barnum’s was one of the largest hotels in Baltimore, built in 1827 on Calvert Street, near Market. The post office was on the ground floor and Philadelphia stages started from this locality; both facts explain Poe’s “accidentally meeting” his cadet [page 434:] friends there. But at Barnum’s they gave Poe the drop too much — “a glass made him tipsy and he had more, that night” — which made a lover’s quarrel that was final, with “returned and unopened letters.” Perhaps the Baltimore Evening Times opposite, and other press offices near by Barnum’s Hotel, moved Poe to meet “returned and unopened letters” by print of “six or eight verses on inconstancy, To Mary D —— ,” whom, she said, her “friends recognized in them,” Several able experts have made exhaustive research of Baltimore papers covering this period of 1832. The only, even Poesque, verses found — by Mrs. Jennie E. Fitzpatrick — answering in any way Mary’s picturesque, long-distance memory description are six, under “Miscellaneous,” in Saturday, June 16, 1832, date of the Baltimore Times. They concerned others as well as herself, which Poe probably told her; they were unsigned and entitled, — [page 435:]

WOMAN’S HEART

First take a feather and lay it upon

The stream that is rippling by —

With the current, behold in a moment ’t is gone

Unimpressive and light as a sigh.

 

Then take thee a dear and precious stone,

And on the same stream place it —

Oh ! mark on the water on which it is thrown,

In its bosom will quickly encase it.

 

Or take a crystal, a stainless glass,

With a crayon upon it, trace

A sentence or line, and watch how ’twill pass —

A breath will its beauty efface.

 

Then take a diamond, pure and bright,

And write some modest token.

’Mid cold or heat — in shade or light

’T will last till the crystal is broken.

 

And thus with the tablet of woman’s pure heart,

Where the vain and the idle may try

To leave their impression — then quickly depart

Like the feather, the scroll and the sigh —

 

But once be engraven on this tablet a name

And an image of genius and worth,

Through the changes of life it will still be the same,

Till the heart is removed from the earth.

Had Mary read Poe’s “Romance,” “Bridal Ballad” or “To One in Paradise,” she might not have been so certain that she only was concerned in these “six verses” on “Woman’s Heart,” of which he may have sent a MS. copy entitled “To Mary D —— ,” to her. Poe’s Pegasus was ever and essentially a [page 436:] roving creature, both in poetry and prose fields of personalities. But one of Poe’s letters, sent by Virginia, formally addressed to “Miss Devereaux,” and upbraiding her in no uncertain terms, she not only opened but showed it to several of her family, including her Uncle James, who, indignant and without her knowledge, wrote young Poe a very cutting letter that he considered insulting. Poe promptly bought a small cowhide and forthwith chastised the writer in his store domain; but aided by his wife and two sons, his tormentor left the scene with his coat riven from collar to waist, and thus with his gamin friends en train the young man presented himself at Miss Mary’s home, related proceedings to her father, and on her appearance “he took the cowhide from his sleeve” — it could not have been a big one — and casting it at her feet he said: “There, I make you a present of that.” He asked to, and did “see her alone,” blamed her for showing the letter that caused the trouble, and she told him she did not wish to see him again. “At the same time it was breaking my heart,” she said, and added: “My uncle had no business to take it up. I could have done so myself.” Later on Mary said, she was ill for some time after.

Miss Devereaux voted little Virginia “a delicate school-girl of lovely disposition, violet eyes, and dark brown hair; her sole beauty resting in the expression of her face.” And, was added: “Mrs. Clernm was very poor yet kept everything as neat as wax.” However, neither Poe nor his Mary was enough brokenhearted never to marry another — as she did later, settled in drew York City, and on a visit to Philadelphia [page 437:] met Poe, his wife and Mrs. Clemm on the street, stopped and talked with them, and by their wish went with a cousin and spent an evening in their Spring Garden, North 701 Street, home. There Poe’s Mary sang, at his request, his favored song, “Come, rest in this bosom,” — far which he thanked her, then escorted herself and cousin home.

Perhaps Poe wrote to no one throughout his later troubled years more intimately than he did to Frederick W. Thomas,(4) “nephew of Isaiah Thomas, founder of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., and author of, ‘The History of Printing.’ ” His brother, E. C. Thomas, learned printing, then went to Charleston, South Carolina, for the book business; there he married a Baltimore lady. They went to Providence, R. I., where their son, Frederick William, was born, Oct. 25, 1808, after which the family returned to Charleston. An accident when four years old, and a later fall, lamed young Thomas for life. Study and debating made him an elocutionist. He read, scribbled and studied law; practiced with his father but differed in politics to a degree that parted them. During an illness, and urged by his sister Frances, he wrote “Clinton Bradshaw”; later he went to Philadelphia; there met kindness from Mr. Carey of Carey & Lea; then lectured at various places with small returns. In stature, Thomas was five feet, nine inches, compactly built, somewhat stout; dark complexion, and his hair worn long and wavy over a high forehead; eyebrows square and full, beneath which were a pair of keen, deep-set, black, humorous eyes; his nose was straight, lips faultlessly chiselled and equally [page 438:] expressive of levity or sarcasm. This handsome, dark man had marked intellect, courteous manners, more from the heart than mere forms. He walked with a stout cane, one hand behind his back, and his eyes bent, in thought for his lameness, on the pavement. Thomas knew Henry Poe, his gaieties; was his rival in the mutual-losing love affair that sent Henry to sea from Baltimore. Just when Edgar and Thomas came into personal touch is not definitely known. Dating from a March, 1836, Richmond letter, he continued Poe’s friend for life. Thomas, as the Richmond Enquirer associate of Judge Robert W. Hughes, gave him much of rare interest concerning the poet; and through Judge Hughes came the “Sketch of Poe” by Thomas to James H. Whitty, Esq., of Richmond, Va. From Mr. Whitty’s “Poe Memoirs” it comes that Thomas moved from Baltimore City to the country in 1829, and thus lost sight of Henry Poe. In 1831 Thomas went to Cincinnati and for some years traversed the West along the rivers Ohio and Mississippi. On a later, fine steamer pleasure-trip from Pittsburgh to New Orleans, Thomas met James Tuhey, a native Irish man and member of the steamer’s crew. He possessed unusual musical ability, with special proficiency as flutist and in telling stories, — fascinations which beguiled Thomas for hours in a quiet corner as listener to this sailor’s lore. But he, in turn, observed Thomas’ MS. work for the Cincinnati press, and inquired if his companion was writing poetry. Being answered “No,” Tuhey said so much MS. reminded him of a Baltimore acquaintance named Poe — not Henry, but Edgar A. Poe, whom Tuhey met when recently living [page 439:] at Fells Point, in that city. There he also knew a family named Cairnes, some connections of Poe, and at their house he often saw Poe. From copyright courtesy of “Artist,” William J. High’s “New Poeana” (traditions in the family of his grandfather Joesph B. Jenkins) in the Baltimore Sun, June 26, 1921, it comes that Poe, when in Baltimore, lived with his cousin Mrs. Beacham, in a house then No. 9 (now No. 28) Caroline Street, corner of Bounty Lane. Some of their family, named Cairnes, were staying with her. Mrs. Beacham (a widow) later owned and occupied No. 15 (now No. 34) Caroline Street. Mr. High states: ‘‘ She, like ourselves, was a close friend of the poet and his family.” In 1840 Poe gave his picture to the Jenkins family in remembrance of their many kindly favors bestowed on him. :1Ir. High adds: “This quiet old neighborhood was occupied in Poe’s day by a very substantial business and professional class, among whom was the portrait painter James H. Harley, whose portrait of Governor Hicks . . . adorns the State House at Annapolis . . . the old City Springs, Baltimore, nearby, another exclusive residential section, with its quant old square in Poe’s time [he] was in the habit . . . of enjoying its quiet sombreness, its stately trees and splashing fountain . . . [He went there] to muse to his heart’s content.”

Of Poe Tuhey spoke as staying with one relative, then another, and later spending all his time with Mrs. Clemm. He added, that “Poe wrote for the newspapers but earned small pay.” Concerning his parting with Miss Devereaux, Tuhey continued: “Poe became despondent after this,” and “went with Tuhey [page 440:] in a sailing vessel to the coast of Wexford, Ireland, and back. It was on this voyage that Tuhey had seen Poe’s manuscript,” brought to mind by that of Thomas. Most likely Henry Clemm — then in his fifteenth year — went to sea at this time. He was again noted as “at sea” by his cousin Edgar in 1835. Undoubtedly such a voyage did Poe much good between the late summer and mid-autumn of 1832.

About this time Poe’s early Richmond friend, Ebenezer Burling, then living in a small frame house on 9th Street, adjoining Swan Tavern, was being attended by Dr. George Rawlins for cholera, from which he soon died and was placed to the right of the pathway leading from the entrance to old St. John’s burial-ground.

Of Poe’s depression Tuhey noted, that before leaving Baltimore, in 1834, he often met Poe at a house on Caroline Street, near Wilkes, Fells Point, and there he would sit for hours listening to sailors’ stories of the sea; the only interruption being now and then a tune from Tuhey’s musical flute. Poe was absorbing sea lore for his tales.

On page 397, Vol. II, of Dr. Woodberry’s “Life of Poe,” 1909, begins the print of his never completed tale “The Lighthouse.” Mr. James H. Whitty has more of this Poe hand script, of which its writer seems to have therein rather clearly stated why, these fragments never became more than fragments. In 1820 the construction of the lighthouses on Bodkin and North Points, of Baltimore harbor, was begun; and in 1829 both were, if not finished, advanced enough to claim special attention from all visitors — including [page 441:] Poe — then in that city. His ‘‘lofty ‘Light-house appears to have had personal exploration by himself at an early date, and with special attention to interior details of which “the floor was but 20 feet below the sea,” at high tide — the distance from the bottom inside shaft to the summit was “180 feet” at least. Poe stated “It seems to me that the hollow . . . interior should have been filled with solid mansonry. . . . [This fact with other reasons seems definitely to point that Poe’s description applies to an 1829 date, and inspection of one of these two shore lighthouses. What follows, in these fragment scripts, certainly indicates a rough sea, far, offshore experience of his own, probably written when outward bound with Tuhey in 1831. In due time Poe realized that the different conditions and writing dates of his fine literary effects would make impossible his unusual illogical connections.] I have heard seamen [page 442:] say, that occasionally, with a wind at South-West, the sea has been known to run higher here than anywhere with a single exception of the Western opening of the Straits of Magellan. No mere sea, though, could accomplish anything with this iron-riveted wall — which at fifty feet from high-water marl: is four feet if one inch. . . . The basis on which the structure rests [Here rests Poe’s reason for “fragments”] seems to me to be chalk. . . . Jan. 4. [1833?]” The MS. is in Poe’s hand-scrip, very clearly written, without an alteration or erasure, on narrow strips of blue paper.

As far back as Aug. 19, 1829, some six months after his first wife’s death, it appears there occurred the first break in Mr. Allan’s health. A letter of that (late from Mrs. Charles Ellis to her husband told him that “Mr. Allan goes tomorrow to Virginia Springs, he has been sick, complains of being weak and nervous.” A year and some months hence, Oct. 5, 1830, Mr, Allan married Miss Louise Gabriella Patterson. In simple justice to his manhood it is noted that Mr. Allan claimed in his will that he advised his future wife of existing disturbances owing to his past marital failures. From high authority Mr. Whitty learned, that with true Scottish caution Mr. Allan — prior to his second marriage — placed all letters and other belongings of his late wife in a trunk under lock and key and had it taken to his warehouse for safe keeping. A March 26, 1831, letter of Mrs. Ellis told her husband that the second “Mrs. Allan gave her long talked of party last evening,” and “all came home much delighted.” But the end of that year [page 443:] found Mr. Allan’s health failing; for, from Mr. Whitty’s “Memoir” of Poe(5) it comes: “The Richmond court records show that John Allan was putting his earthly affairs in order, and making his will April 17, 1832. The will was prepared by an able lawyer, but Allan was so fearful that the clauses troubling his conscience might not be carried out, that he rewrote and repeated them himself in his will. It is said about this time he occasionally intimated a desire to see Poe, before he died.”

The supposition is that promises made to his first wife concerning Edgar had not been entirely fulfilled, and that the “annuity” Poe noted in his letter Baltimore, November 8, 1834 — to Jno. P, Kennedy, Esq., as coming from Mr. Allan must have been a part of this promise. While his relations with Poe were not friendly they were still unbroken. Mr. Whitty was told by an old Baltimore printer, Askew by name, that he carried letters from Poe to Richmond prior to 1835; that he was in communication with Miss Valentine; had messages from the old Allan servants Dabney Dandridge and Old Jim,(6) and in other ways was kept informed as to the Allan household. Mr. Whitty also notes that the rumor of Allan’s ailing condition had reached Poe and he told judge Hughes that understanding Mr. Allan wished to see him and having in view a reconciliation, Poe went to Richmond about June, 1832, While there are several widely conflicting stories as to this call of Poe at the Allan home, yet in the light that he had no feeling against the second Mrs. Allan at that time, the most logical account of all seems to be that he was refused [page 444:] admittance to see Mr. Allan. Being refused such admission, Poe turned and left forever all the dear memories of his few month, — from June, 1825, to February, 1820, with some weeks in 1827 — there, that were cherished by the first sweet mistress of that household, who was ever to him the fondest and most devoted of mothers. The dreamer’s shrine she had made of his room had been dismantled, and in this as in all else, her beatific presence there was for him and all time dethroned.

Whatever may be thought or said as to refusing admission to Poe, this fact, on the second Mrs. Allan’s part, stands consistently strong and clear as indicating her mind concerning Edgar Allan Poe, while she is quoted as saying: “All I have heard of him from those who have lived with him was a tissue of ingratitude, falsehood and deceit.” As Miss Valentine and Mr. Allan were the only white people who had “lived” with Poe it is safe to say such an account of Edgar could never have come from his “Aunt Nancy.” In any case that very unlikely tale of Poe forcing himself into the sick-chamber of Mrs. Allan and her infant son, besides being beneath the dignity of Mrs. Allan’s circulation, seems not borne out by dates, notwithstanding its mention by several writers on Poe, Also one must agree with the highest authorities on Poe, the man, that “such a proceeding was not Poe’s way.” But stunned by the closing of that door on his youth, Poe realized results meant to him “The Tall of the House of Usher.” Several records agree that the unhappy young man turned his bewildered steps to his own and his foster-mother’s friends the Mackenzies, [page 445:] and in the heat of “refused” admission related it as just noted; he received comfort and financial assistance from them, and more from his “Aunt Nancy” when she heard he was at Duncan Lodge. After a short stay Edgar left for Baltimore. While one wonders how Miss Valentine could hold her stand for Poe in the Allan home, where her stay might have continued by reason of her means being managed by Mr. Allan, it would be interesting to know if she actually saw this beloved child of her sister’s heart at this time. It is said that soon after leaving the stately mansion whence his foster-mother was borne forever, her boy sought her spiritual presence within the citadel of silence on Shockoe Hill, and over her narrow home there, hitter tears were shed with longings unutterable in, “Oh, for the touch of a vanished hand’ ” and the sound of that voice which was still. But certain is the record of Mr. Edward M. Alfriend, Richmond, onetime Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, concerning the first Mrs. :‘Man’s relations with Poe as being “always of the tenderest affection. He was most happy in his life with her. He said she was the best of women, and in her death he had sustained the greatest loss of his life; she had given him a mother’s

love and he gave her hack the love of a son. In speaking to my father of her. Poe said: In Mrs. Allan’s death died the happiness of my life.’ Poe always visited her grave when in Richmond, and was often seen to weep bitterly when standing by it. Poe’s nature was sensitive — he would weep over a pathetic story.” Of an earlier visit to the Allan’s Mr. Archibald Pleasants said: “Some one read Hood’s ‘Bridge [page 446:] of Sighs,’ [or some other lines of like pathos] and Edgar, then a well grown boy, wept bitterly during the reading.” Mr. Alfriend added: “Later Poe and my father became friends and he noticed this quality in him.” But Poe’s battle for bread was on, and as Richmond then offered no field for this fray, the young man, undaunted, returned to Baltimore; and perhaps it was at this time, disheartened, that he met with his ‘Vest Point friends who claimed him for their champagne supper, in consequence of which occurred the parting from his Mary, and the disturbing followings of that event. And likely this double pressure on his nerves may have occasioned the sailing vessel voyage with James Tuhey to “the coast of Wexford, Ireland, and back,” as noted by Mr. Whitty. He adds, “Poe took up occasional newspaper work, writing for the New York and Philadelphia press.” But, says Professor Woodberry of Poe then, “His true life was in Aladdin’s garret,” and added, “All that really matters is, that there he discovered his genius for the prose tale, both imaginative and satirical.” While this prose must have had earlier birth date, there is no doubt that necessity then energized Poe’s efforts for perfecting “The Tales of the Folio Club” to their 1833 form, sent for Prize Contest to the Baltimore Saturday Morning Visiter.

From overseas it comes that Poe’s “Stories of mystery and imagination created a world record for the English language. He constantly and inevitably produced magic where his greatest contemporaries produced only beauty. His houses were haunted, his woods, enchanted.”(7) [page 447:]

Lord Alfred Bruce Douglas(8) notes of Poe that at all times “in his writings there is never a word of grumbling at his surroundings, which must have been often so ugly and drear. Here, if anywhere, we have a case of absolute self-absorption, an unrivaled power of living in a vision,” of which his “Mary” or “Cousin Elizabeth” were only passing mortal parts, with fair little Virginia, of so much later consequence, flitting here and there in between.

Aside from these damsels small and all, Poe about this time came into friendly touch with Lambert A. Wilmer, later author of “Our Press Gang,” which includes noting of Poe. January, 1832, Wilmer began his eight months’ editorial management of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, which was a new literary weekly owned by Charles F. Cloud, who later brought into [page 448:] this venture his brother-in-law, W. L. Pouder, and John H. Hewitt — prior editor of The Minerva and Emerald, musician and writer of songs. To The Visiter Poe, William Poe, his brother and Brantz Mayer became contributors. The enterprise prospered for a while, until the editors fell into dissensions, lampooned each other, then fell out of their partnership and into the law courts, Aug. 10, 1832; settlement occurred in late October, when Wilmer left Baltimore. Later, The Visiter went to T. S. Arthur, who still later turned it over to Dr. J. Evans Snodgrass [page 449:] Poe’s physician friend — in whose hands it lingered a while and then expired. Notwithstanding its wide circulation only one year’s file is known to exist. This is owned by the Misses Seip, Catonsville, Md., descendants of Editor Charles F. Cloud.

Charles Ferree Cloud, born February, 1808, at twenty was owner and editor of The Elkton Press (Cecil County, Md.). February, 1832, Charles F. Cloud and William Ponder started The Saturday Visiter at Baltimore, comes from his niece Miss Elizabeth Cloud Seip. Of her uncle she adds: “He was a gentleman of the Old School, punctilious in deportment, and a purist in English; he is one of the precious memories of those who knew him well.” Editor Cloud’s estimate of Poe’s English expression probably caused his introduction by Mr. Cloud to Mr. Kennedy; also The Visiter’s editor to start the book from print of Poe’s “Tales” by subscription.

In “Our Press Gang,” Wilmer’s unique work issued after Poe’s death, and in “Recollections of Edgar A. Poe,” of May 23, 1866, Baltimore Daily Commercial print, their writer has something very definite to say of press treatment given himself; also, as to his Baltimore association with Poe from January, 1832, until late October of that year. Then Wilmer, forlorn and on foot, left that city and did not come in touch with Poe again until 1834 or 1835. In this work Wilmer used no uncertain words in regard to Poe, saying: “The late Edgar A. Poe has been represented by the American press in general as a ‘reckless libertine and confirmed inebriate.’ I do not recognize him by this description, though I was intimately [page 450:] acquainted with the man and had every opportunity to study his character. I have been in company with him every day for many months together; and within a period of twelve years I did not see him intoxicated; no, not in a single instance . . . And, with respect to the charge of ‘libertinism’ . . . Of all men that I ever knew he was the most passionless; his writings are a confirmation of this. . . . The female creations of his fancy are all either statues or angels. His conversation, at all times, was as chaste as that of a vestal, and his conduct . . . was correspondingly blameless . . . He lived in a very retired way with his aunt, Mrs. Clemm.” All this with the interval sea-voyage — seems very definite as to localizing Poe from January to October, 1832. Wilmer continued: “And his moral deportment, as far as my observation extended, was altogether correct. His time appeared to be constantly occupied by literary labors; he had already published poems, and written several minor romances, afterwards, in ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.“’

Mr. William J. McClellan notes that Poe frequented the City Assembly Rooms and Library, corner Holliday and Fayette Streets. This Library, begun in 1796, and located on the second floor, consisted of a large, valuable collection of books, including rare old issues and affording important reference facilities that undoubtedly aided Poe in his “Pinakidia or Tablets“classics printed in the Southern Literary Messenger, 1835 and 1836. Stockholders of this Baltimore Library held rights of admission but generously granted privileges for use of the books. The City Assembly [page 451:] Rooms included a large ballroom, and supper room on the second floor, card-room and kitchen quarters below and all claiming due attention from fashionable Baltimore of that time. A line drawing — by Colonel Jno. H. B. Latrobe — of this Library appears by courtesy of Mr. McClellan, from “Pictures of Baltimore, 1832,” by F. Lucas, Jr. high lights of Baltimore literati then glowed within The Tusculum Sanctum of Letters, dominated by William Gwynn, Esq., and his followers of prior mention; but The Seven Stars Tavern — south side of Second, now Water Street, between Market and Harrison — was where the younger set of press writers of those clays met. The rare picture of The Seven Stars also comes from the courtesy of Mr. McClellan. But of Poe himself Wilmer continued: “In youthful clays his personal appearance was delicate . . . and I never saw him in any dress not fashionably neat. . . . I often wondered how he could . . . equip himself so handsomely considering his resources [page 452:] were scanty and precarious enough. Almost every day we took long walks in rural Baltimore and had long conversations on a variety of subjects. He spoke with reverence of. Coleridge’s ‘towering intellect ’ ; had no faith in Wordsworth ; called Dr. Johnson ‘scurrilous’ and admired Tennyson when he was neglected by the English.” Wilmer found Poe’s disposition “affectionate” and himself “tenderly devoted” to his aunt, and his cousin Virginia, then a lovely child of ten, who was also a pupil, pet and companion of her cousin Edgar. From the late Mr. E. L. Didier it comes, that one day \\ ‘hen Wilmer, Poe and little Virginia — “who never would be left behind” — were taking one of their country strolls, they chanced to pass a graveyard during a burial service, and found themselves attracted to the stricken mourners at the grave-side, where Virginia was so touched by their grief that her tears fell with theirs and to this emotion soon came the tears of her cousin Edgar, of whom was written, “he had no heart-loved no one but himself.” Yet he wept at a stranger’s grave. Of Poe’s habits, Wilmer stated: “but for one or two incidents I might have supposed him to be a member of the cold-water army.” Professor Woodberry notes one, — “when Poe set out some Jamaica rum at his lodgings, a customary courtesy in the South, and drank moderately with his guest”; the other was, — “when Mrs. Clemm scolded the young man” for coming home “not himself” the night before “from a tavern supper” — possibly the champagne supper with his West Point friends of prior mention, “but,” adds Professor Woodberry, [page 453:] “as if it were a rare occurrence.” Wilmer was undoubtedly aware of Poe’s so-called “fracas” with Mary’s uncle, and thought with her that her uncle brought this disturbance on himself.

Sometime in early 1832 Mrs. Clemm moved her invalid mother and household from Mechanics Row, [page 454:] Wilkes Street, to No. 3 Amity Street, Baltimore. The picture of this house is due to Mr. William J. McClellan, who believes it was Poe’s Baltimore home from 1832 to 1835 mid-summer. The Directory of 1833-34 gives Mrs. Clemm’s address as “3 Amity St., between Saratoga and Lexington Sts.” Mr. McClellan was advised by a barber living opposite for thirty-five years, of several changes in this locality. Mr. Whitty notes it “greatly different from their former Fells [page 455:] Point home at the other end of the City.” Poe was fond of the water front near this Point, but now all about was “as dry as the Sahara desert,” notes Mr. Whitty.

But Poe was busy there, writing and revising his verses. One of these poems, recently found by Dr. John C. French, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in the April 20,1833, Baltimore Saturday Visiter, is entitled “The Serenade.” Evidently of evening twilight — perhaps at Fell’s Point — Poe wrote:

“At rest on ocean’s brilliant dies

An image of Elysium lies

Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,

Form in the deep another seven;”

Poe used here the old form for “dye.”

Condensed notings from Dr. French’s Poe paper(9) are “I have recently been fortunate . . . to learn that Vol. [page 456:] III, of the Visiter has been preserved by descendants of the proprietors, who have kindly permitted me to examine it. Besides affording first-hand information about the contest so momentous in Poe’s life, the volume contains one new poem . . . by Poe and two more. . . . probably . . . his work.” Dr. French reprints these “two” — signed “Tamerlane,” a name of many Poe associations. One is entitled “To —.” Its last verse gives Poe’s seeming touch of fateful sadness in:

“Sleep on, sleep on, some fairy dream

Perchance is woven in my sleep —

But, O, the — spirit, calm, serene

Must wake to weep.”

Over the third poem-verses on “Fanny” — broods the song of the dying swan and possibly veils Poe’s one-year slender romance and its rupture with “Mary D——.”

Mr. Whitty finds a close connection between the “Serenade” and Poe’s 1831 text of “Israfel” some lines of the latter being revisions from the “Serenade.” He adds, “ ‘Tamerlane’ signature to the other two poems might seem odd, but it was Poe’s way of doing things.” The first Mrs. Allan seems etherealized in the second poem “To —.”

For all concerned sped that year of 1832 into the summer of 1833. A July 16th Richmond letter from Elizabeth Ellis to her father noted, “Mr. Allan very unwell.” Another, of the 18th, from Mr. Allan noted, “I am starting early next week for White Sulphur Springs.” So passed these waning days of life with him until July 27, 1833, at Richmond, he wrote Mr. Ellis: “Ther. 95. My health greatly affected by it. [page 457:] I feel weak — I with all my family start Monday, stay 2 or 3 days at Byrd — then on to Sulphur Springs. Mrs. A. myself, Miss V. 2 children and 2 nurses, 2 drivers, five horses forms an expensive cavalcade. My sweet little Willie Galt is getting over his teething.” Meanwhile the foster-son of his father’s pride in early years, now in his young manhood, who by virtue of the gift divine — genius — and ambition for perfection of English expression, education, the small annuity, with other bestowals of Mr. Allan, was working out wonders of poetry and prose in another back-attic Baltimore room, under the same roofage with his aunt Mrs. Clemm.

John Lofland, the Milford Bard,(10) born at Milford, Del., March 9, 1798, after various vicissitudes obtained enough of medical, literary and fashionable attainments, which with dextrous use of his pen and wits, that early — under the double spur of need and stimulants — brought him a revenue of $30 and more a week. His unique advertisement included: “The Milford Bard will write for any person in the L. S., Lectures and Orations on any subject, from $5. to $1.; Songs, Poetical letters $3.; inscriptions for Tombs from $3. to $5.; Songs and Poetic Addresses to Ladies $5.; Poetry for Albums 5 cents per line; Acrostics $1., etc.” February, 1828, his verse, press-prints, were issued in book form entitled “The Harp of Delaware.” Later, at Baltimore, came his “Confessions of an Opium Eater,” from which Poe may have obtained some ideas for his “horror” stories. But the Bard was a power in his prime, with ladies in love with him and his rhymes, also acting as second in bloodless duels [page 458:] when all parties met “the crowing cocks with mirthful songs and liquor bedewed wits.” During this time at Baltimore there was a clique of Bohemians whose object in life seemed to be free and happy, also “able to write for other fools”; and only knights of the quill, brush or footlights dared enter their circle. They were in elegant gear when money was flush, and less elegant when money was none; and one’s surplus was ever at the command of friends. Among this galaxy [page 459:] of wits that sparkled at The Seven Stars — that housed the first Odd Fellows’ Lodge assembly in our country — were Edgar Allan Poe, for his purpose; William Poe, and his brother; John McJilton, T. S. Arthur, Branz player and the Bard. They were seven. Arthur was said to have identified himself with The Seven Stars in their devotion to letters. Perhaps the same might be said of Poe. But Timothy Shay Arthur, born 1809 in New York, was taken when a child to Baltimore and apprenticed to a tailor. He soon “quit all of the goose but the quill.” “Subordination” issue brought him popular notice. “Ten [page 460:] Nights in a Bar Room,” made a forceful play and claimed wide attention. In 1841 he started Arthur’s Magazine in Philadelphia, which he continued by dictation after he became blind. John McJilton, born in Baltimore, 1805, was first a cabinet-maker. then wrote for the press, served literature as “Giles McQuiggin.” With David Creamer, October, 1836, McJilton started The Monument, a Baltimore weekly connected, in 1849, with the Baltimore Patriot; he later entered the Episcopal Ministry, had charge of a large New York City church, was noted as a pulpit orator and died April, 1875. Branz Mayer, born in 1809, was one of the ablest writers found in the “Baltimore Book.” [page 461:] He went to St. Mary’s College, traveled in Europe, China, Indian Sea Islands and Mexico. One of his works was “Mexico as it Was and Is,” and he was one of the founders of the Maryland Historical Society.

One evening when a table in a back room of The Seven Stars was thus well surrounded and liquid inspiration set the tongue of every man extolling his own talents, Poe said the could write more verses in a given time than any man present. The Bard said he would try his skill with Poe if he would let the wager be the cost of an evening for the whole party at The Stars. The offer was accepted, and the trial fixed for the next afternoon. The Bard won in quantity if not in quality, writing several more verses than Poe. The wager was paid, the party greeting the dawn of the following day with diluted songs and recitations. And perhaps this deflection on Poe’s part, in company with McJilton, the future minister, was for Poe the “second” indulgence mentioned by Wilmer. Yet no doubt Poe’s casual touch with these younger writers and editors of Baltimore, such as Wilmer, Arthur, McJilton, Brooks, Hewitt and Dawes, met in the twinkling light of The Seven Stars and elsewhere, brought to Poe his 1833 spring action on the Baltimore Saturday Visiter’s offer of $50 for the best prose story and $25 for best poem to be sent to its office, on Market and Gay Streets, No. 1, South Gay Street, prior to Oct. 1, 1833. Dr. Jno. C. French writes “These sums are repeatedly stated in that paper.” Doubtless during Wilmer’s editorial connection with that issue he printed many items from Poe’s pen.

Instinctively Poe was not only given to writing [page 462:] but to much reading of metaphysics, travels and poetry, for all of which the Baltimore Assembly Rooms Library gave him indulgence at that time. While no definite date seems of record as to his first prose efforts aside from the destroyed story of “Gaffy” and weird sketches read to his university of Virginia college-mates, it appears that up to this summer of 1833 Poe could have been no idler, for then, at Baltimore or elsewhere, he had brought into literary form some sixteen “Tales of the Folio Club.” He uniquely [page 463:] introduced the Club as “a mere Junto of Dunderheadism,” noting its intentions “to abolish Literature, subvert the press and overturn the Government of Nouns and Pronouns.” Poe selected six of its tales, amongst which was “A Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” also “A Descent into the Maelstrom” — to the latter M. Poletz traces Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea” — and some verses, “The Coliseum,” from “Politian,” a drama he was writing, and sent them to the Visiter editors and their appointed three judges of this literary contest. They were John P. Kennedy, Esq., author of “Horse Shoe Robinson,” the then recent attractive sketches “Barn Swallow,” etc.; Dr. James H. Miller and Colonel John H. B. Latrobe. Of Saturday Visiter contest Dr. French writes, that the offer of prizes first appeared in the June 15, 1833, issue and was repeated at intervals until Sept. 7th. In part it read:

PREMIUMS

The proprietors of the Baltimore Saturday Visiter feeling desirous of encouraging literature, and at the same time serving their readers with the best that lies within their reach, offer a premium of 50 dollars for the best Tale and 25 dollars for the best Poem, not exceeding one hundred lines, that shall be offered them between the present period and the first of October next.

The names of the chosen three judges follow, with details and this notice:

“We wish those who may write for . . . premiums to understand that all manuscripts submitted will become the property of the Publishers.” [page 464:]

From Mr. Latrobe’s account of the judges’ mission, it comes that they met one pleasant afternoon in the back parlor of his home, 27 Mulberry Street, near Charles, and seated around a table provided with old wine and good cigars began their critical task; that he, as the youngest, opened and read the packets of prose first, then the poetry, with a near basket to hold rejected items. He noted that most were namby-pamby and of the sickly, sentimental, Laura-Matilda style. Some were condemned after several sentences; a few were set aside for reconsideration, with further failure, and the judges had almost concluded there was nothing of worth, when Mr. Latrobe noticed a thin quarto-bound book, so unlike the other items that it escaped attention. Opening it, there was revealed an envelope with a motto like the one in the book. Instead of the usual cursive MS., the writing was in Roman characters, like printing. While he read the first page to himself, Dr. Miller and Mr. Kennedy filled their glasses, lit their cigars and when their host said “that we seemed at last to have a prospect of awarding the prize, they laughed as though they doubted it and settled themselves in their comfortable chairs as I began to read. I had not proceeded far before my colleagues became as much interested as myself. The first tale finished, I went to the . . . next, and did not stop until I had gone through the volume, interrupted only by such exclamations as ‘capital,’ ‘excellent,’ ‘how odd,’ and the like from my companions. There was genius in everything. . . . There was no uncertain grammar; no feeble phraseology, no ill-placed punctuations, no worn-out truism. . . . Logic [page 465:] and imagination were combined in rare consistency. Sometimes the writer created . . . a world of his own . . . a world so weird, so strange — . . . and withal so fascinating, so wonderfully graphic, that it seemed . . . to have all the truth of reality.” The analysis of complicated facts won the lawyer judges; accurate scientific knowledge charmed their colleague, and the pure classic diction delighted all three. While it was difficult to choose between “A Descent into the Maelstrom” and “A MS. Found in a Bottle,” the latter was selected and awarded the $30 prize, “because of the unquestionable genius and great originality of the writer.” They opened the envelope that identified him and found within its note the name of “Edgar Allan Poe.” The three judges refilled their glasses, relighted cigars and entered on a critical mission of poems, ‘but found only two worth noting: “The Coliseum,” of which its print-writing revealed the author as Poe, was voted the better, but as be had won the prose prize the judges swayed their decision to award the second prize to Mr. John H. Hewitt’s all but forgotten “Song of the Winds,” over the signature of “Henry Wilton.” Dr. French notes, that Hewitt’s use of the pseudonym was due to his being at that time editor of the Visiter, also that the “Song of the Winds” is in his volume “Shadows on the Wall.

The Oct. 12, 1833, issue of The Visiter announced the decision of the judges, which in part was:

. . . Of the tales . . . were many of various and distinguished excellence; but the singular force and beauty of those sent by the author of “The Tales of the Folio [page 466:] Club” leave us no room for hesitation in that department. We have accordingly awarded the premium to a tale entitled “A MS. Found in a Bottle.” It would scarcely be doing justice to the author of this collection to say the tale we have chosen is the best of the six offered. We . . . cannot refrain from the expression of the opinion that the writer owes it to his own reputation, as well as to the gratification of the community, to publish the entire volume. These tales are eminently distinguished by a wild, vigorous, and poetical imagination, a rich style, a fertile invention and varied . . . curious learning. . . . (Signed) 1. JOHN P. KENNEDY

2. J. H. B. LATROBE

3. JAMES H. MILLER.

Of “A MS. Found in a Bottle” the Oct. 19th Visiter noted: “The following is the tale to which. the Premium of Fifty Dollars has been awarded by the Committee. It will be found highly graphic in its style of composition.” And that issue gave this fantasy “of splendid scenic effects and ocean views,” “The MS. Found in a Bottle,” as “the production of Edgar A. Poe of Baltimore.” Up to this time none of the three judges had met Poe, but the day after the prize award was press noticed, the publisher called on Mr. Kennedy and gave that fine man, always so ready and willing to aid industrious merit, an account of Poe and his work, which moved — Mr. Kennedy to request that the young author should call at his office. By this act was begun one of the most beneficent friendships of the poet’s entire life.

Mr. Latrobe(11) noted, that in those days his office was in Mechanics’ Bank building; and Monday, Oct. 21st, 1833, he was seated at his desk when a gentleman [page 467:] entered and introduced himself as the writer of the prize story, saying he had come to thank one of the committee for the award in his favor. Of this, his only meeting with the poet, Mr. Latrobe distinctly remembered that Poe was “middle size”; his figure, “remarkably good”; that he carried himself erect and well, as one who had been trained to it”; that he “was dressed in black and his frock coat was buttoned to the throat, where it met the black stock” then worn. “Not a particle of white was visible. Coat, hat, boots and gloves had evidently seen their best days; but . . . mending and brushing” had made them presentable. “There was something about this man that prevented criticism of his garments,” this was only later recalled. The impression was, that the award was “not inopportune. Gentleman was written all over him. His manner was easy and quiet, and although he came to return thanks, . . . there was nothing obsequious in what he said or did. . . . His forehead was high, and remarkable for the great development at the temples, . . . which you noticed at once” and never forgot. His face was grave, sad, except when in conversation, then it became animated and changeable; his voice, “was very pleasing in its tone, . . . and his swords were well chosen. . . .” Poe took an offered seat and they talked a while on various topics; then he said, Mr. Kennedy, on whom he had called, had promised him literary influence for employment, and the query as to his present occupation was answered by his stating that he was engaged on a voyage to the moon; and at once he went into a learned disquisition of its scientific bearings as given in “The [page 468:] Adventure of One Hans Pfaall,” and with increasing fervor that carried his listener with him ‘til the upside-down turn took place as a climax; then he apologized, laughed at himself and soon after took his leave.

There exist verse and letters records, that Poe sent to Dr. Miller’s niece — of his name — at Westminster, Md., that indicate their writer’s like appreciative call on him, also an acquaintance with them both. James Henry Miller,(12) born at Millerstown, Pa., Jan. 20, 1788, became an A.M. at Dickinson College, Carlisle, 1808; graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, 1810; he practiced at Gettysburg; went to Baltimore in 1825; founded Washington Medical College, Baltimore, 1827 (where Poe was cared for in his last illness); was professor there until 1842; edited A. P. W. Phillips’ “Nature and Care of Diseases,” Baltimore, 1831; and died May, 25, 1853. Dr. Miller was of special professional and scholarly eminence and one or more Poe letters indicate professional attention given their writer by this judge of “A MS. Found in a Bottle.” The prize-winning story before long made Poe the “talk of the town.” Dr. French states, “that Poe took to heart” — naturally — the judges’ advice to publish “Tales of the Folio Club,” as was proved by The Visiter, Oct. 26th, noting this work as about to go to press, and published by subscription at $1 per copy; and with warm praise for the author, also soliciting subscribers. But the Nov. 2nd issue printed: “Mr. Poe has declined publication of ‘Tales of the Folio Club.’ It is his intention, we understand, to bring them out in Philadelphia.” This was by Mr. Kennedy’s influence, that finally failed on this score. [page 469:] In the Oct. 26, 1833, Visiter appeared Poe’s poem “The Coliseum,” with no allusion to the prize. But Mr. Kennedy interested himself in “the forlorn young genius’ ”; used his influence with Lea & Carey — whom Poe had personally met in 1829 — in view of their Philadelphia issue of “Tales of the Folio Club yet with only the near result of their writer going to that city and “The Visionary” of these tales being sold to Godey’s Lady’s Book for January, 1834. Of this tale — in later print — as “The Assignation” — the Jan. 2, 1886, New York Critic noted as in some ways Poe’s best — and of “such a mixture of bitter and sweet that it clings to one’s memory like a ballad. The characters are sharply and consistently drawn, motives clear and convincing the more incredible the action grows.”

After the announcement of the Visitor prizes,(13) Mr. Hewitt — who was awarded the $25 second prize — noted a call at his office made by Poe to ask him to waive his claim, to this poem prize, but to take the money, willingly disclaimed by Poe, who cared only for the honors which, he had been informed, he had fairly earned for his poetry as well as his prose. While time approves Poe’s pardonable pride in “The Coliseum” lines in contrast with Hewitt’s verses, “The Song of the Winds,” the record shows that this unusual request was not granted. But Editor John H. Hewitt noted, Poe at that time was “a slender, handsome, well-formed young man — with a broad forehead; large magnificent eyes, dark hair inclined to curl; his face thougtful [[thoughtful]], sad and rather stern; disposition, somewhat overbearing, and he always dressed neatly [page 470:] in his palmy days — wore Byron collars — a black stock and looked the poet all over.” Hewitt later added: “I never saw him under the influence of drink or narcotic but once, and cannot endorse such stories.” This agrees with Mr. Whitty stating, — “Hewitt testifies to Poe’s sobriety and repudiates the talk of his libertinism.” In knowing Poe well — Hewitt, as a pressman, knew whereof he was talking.

In the heat of the poet’s new, prose-prize glory friends this made for him and the influence for the issue of his prose volume, it was the recollection of Colonel Thomas Ellis that Poe had heard through a friend — a Richmond letter from ]us early, devoted school-mate Robert M. Sully — that Mr. Allan was dangerously ill and had spoken kindly of him. Doubtless all these items induced l‘oe to make a last venture to see his foster-father at Richmond. A logical account of this effort seems, — that Poe was again refused admission to the house “by the orders of Mrs. Allan,” perhaps in accordance with. those of her husband’s physician, who then barred visitors from Mr. Allan’s room. One record is, that “He was never told of Poe’s calls on him.” An illogical account of this second call is, that on entering the Allan home, Poe met Mrs. Allan, who did not recognize him, and putting her aside — an unlikely act on his part, or hers — he went directly to Mr. Allan’s room, where he was recognized at once, and Mr. Allan seized his cane, shook it at the young man and ordered him to leave the house; and without a word Poe departed. In any case Mr. Allan was then a dying man, and he met, it; also, that the time would not be long before [page 471:] he would be nearer the wife who had left her foster-child to his promised consideration, than to those of earth then so dear to him. On the brink of that other world, such a picturesque, unseemly brawl was not a logical occurrence, and no more creditable to Mr. Allan than to Edgar Poe. In connection with the flimsy reason given as to Allan’s “Note” alleged to have been forged by Poe for the money — undoubtedly officially — sent to obtain his substitute for U. S. Military Service at Fortress Monroe, March, 1829, and “spent by him,” certainly the law-court’s decision later silenced this ugly charge, with damages awarded to Poe. This very definite fact probably also touched with cautious discretion the Richmond root of this fantastic fabrication of Poe’s second venture to see Mr. Allan. As this visit to that city failed his foster-son’s desired purpose of reconciliation with Mr. Allan, Poe soon returned to Baltimore. Farther than noting that “Mr. Allan’s second marriage” as well as “some follies on my own part” had much to do with this estrangement; also, that “Mrs. Allan and myself quarrelled” — concerning the disposal of his books, etc., “and Mr. Allan, siding with his wife, wrote me an angry letter to which I replied in the same spirit,” few other words of Poe concerning the second Mrs. Allan have been found. In simple justice to Poe it is significant to note that all of the second Mrs. Allan’s relatives and connections did not share her views concerning him, as is in evidence by the warm friendship always cherished for Poe by her cousin, Mrs. Julia Mayo Cabell, a social leader in Richmond and not one to recognize a man justly stigmatized. Also General [page 472:] Winfield Scott, who married Mrs. Allan’s aunt, Maria Mayo, when once asked to assist the later forlorn poet, not only answered with hearty sympathy, possibly for untold good reasons, but said: “I wish I could make it $500, I believe Poe to be much belied. He has noble and generous traits, which belonged to the old and better school.” Certainly General Scott was in an environment for close acquaintance with facts as they were; and it is well understood that notwithstanding the social and financial prestige enjoyed by Mr. Allan and his second wife in Richmond, neither of them was of Old Virginia grace, stock or “school.” But governed by his heart — and tactless as all genius is — Poe left Richmond with his quest a failure in both ventures for a reconciliation with Mr. Allan, according to Dr. Philip A. Bruce and others. It is possible, but not likely, that Poe-letters in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, may cause further revision of the foregoing statements on scores they cover. But a gleam of satisfaction as to his literary efforts came to Poe in the print of “The Visionary,” one of the “Folio Club Tales,” in Godey’s Lady’s Book, January, 1834, as of prior mention. This story made a second advent in Southern Literary Messenger, July, 1835; a third in 1840, and its fourth in Broadway Journal, 1845, and therein entitled “The Assignation.” It then caused Poe to be charged with filching from the German of E. T. W. Hoffmann’s “Doge and Dogeressa” and curiously enough, then and later, as “not knowing a word of German.” About 1835 began a growing interest in German Letters through Scott’s and other earlier translations, issued in English and [page 473:] American periodicals. Of both, Poe was a close reader, but the “Visionary” was written prior to 1833; and Poe’s later corrections of translator’s errors as to the strict sense of German words, with his 1848 Richmond rhapsody, that Colonel John Montague later traced to German classics, spoil this point of his critics as to Poe “not knowing a word of German.” Scholarly equipment came all too easily to Poe for him to be satisfied with magazine gleanings or any superficial knowledge on literary and many scientific scores.

Mr. McClellan sent a March 10, 1834,(14) press notice that Mr. Herring had bought, commanding Hampstead Hall, at that date, and was erecting at great expense, a large, elegant house Avith delightful pleasure grounds, in every way worthy of citizens’ patronage, to be opened May 1st and superintended by himself. This venture concerning his Herring cousins must have claimed some attention from Edgar about this time so soon to be invaded by calamity for him, as at Richmond, Dec. 16, 1833, Mr. Allan wrote Mr. Ellis:

I am now becoming anxious to obtain a final settlement of Business of our old firm of Ellis & Allan. My Health is perhaps as good as it ever will be. While therefore I can attend to these matters it were wise to do it. I feel assured that you are equally solicitous as

Yr Friend & Servant

JOHN ALLAN.

March 19, 1834, Mrs. Ellis wrote her husband: “Nancy Valentine called at the store today, & told Thomas [their son] that Mr. Allan was very sick.” [page 474:] March 27th, Charles Ellis, Jr., wrote his father: “I inform you of Uncle Allan’s death — today at 11 o’clock very suddenly — he was sitting in his Easy-chair by himself and had not Mrs. Alan been called in by the cries of one of the children he would not have been known to be dead for some time. She found him laid back, noticed the difference in his appearance directly & brought assistance by her screams. The two Mr. Galts have arranged the funeral for Saturday.” March 29th, Thomas Ellis wrote his father: “Uncle Allan was buried this morning at 12 o’clock. His death created much sensation & his family appear deeply distressed.” Of the brothers, William and James Galt, Mr. Whitty notes the latter as executor of Mr. Allan’s will. So it was that John Allan answered his soul’s summons before the Eternal’s Judgment-seat. And one wonders what message he bore to the sweet wife of his youth concerning the child of their early pride and her heart. Perhaps he conscientiously believed he had done his entire duty by Poe in bestowing on him — in all truth — the best possible education; and that then he was a full-grown man. But Allan as fully realized the precarious returns for arduous pen industry; also that Poe was adapted to no other calling; yet, the man of means did not see fit to continue from his surplus of comforts the small annuity that hertofore had kept the wolf from Poe’s door.

Various records indicate that, whatever of courtesy Poe may have lacked, he lacked not truth in attributing to Mrs. Allan money motives in her marriage; at least in so much that she loved not the man enough [page 475:] to abide by his last will and testament, which, not being agreeable to her wishes, she renounced, according to Mr. Whitty, Dr. P. A, Bruce and others. Also, because Richmond open-court records in the lawsuit to break her own will stated: “Mrs. Allan was a woman of vigorous intellect, with likes and dislikes, attachments and resentments, one so self-reliant and high-spirited that no one dared approach her with any testamentary suggestions,” — this transcription is no breach of courtesy. And for this reason, it is said, no one could influence this lady in favor of her own grandchild — for some cause estranged — none could wonder at her consistency in any objection to [page 476:] Mr. Allan’s financial consideration of his conscience obligations, created during his first marriage and known to his second wife; also much less wonder that this renounced will made no mention of Poe. But whatever were Mr. Allan’s wishes, his widow’s rigid turn of his will cut off all but heirs-at-law and those remembered by her own good pleasure. In Henry B. Hirst’s “Sketch of Poe,” March 4, 1843, Saturday Museum, Philadelphia, as to Mr. Allan and his widow appears: “Mr. Allan left him nothing. His widow refused” Poe “his private library. To be sure he never treated the lady with a whit more of respect than that to which he thought her, as a woman, entitled.” Yet by none of his three fine sons, nor in their father’s fortune, will his name be perpetuated, as happens by the mysterious ways of Divine Wisdom through the name and fame of his rejected foster-son, Edgar Allan Poe. Again have time and genius most gloriously paid the poet’s debts, and for far more than he obtained on mere mortal money scores from Mr. Allan. And perhaps it is but justice to think that his power of conscience would give Mr. Allan — if living at this present time — such belief.

Poe was again in Baltimore, and then under no illusions as to the serious demands on his faculties for simple existence. His friend Wilmer — then twenty-nine — had been no less unfortunate, as, for some reason, concerted action of his press-associates adverse to his interests had caused him to leave Baltimore on foot to seek his fortune elsewhere. Therefore, as Wilmer’s friend, Poe was not likely to be favored by the Saturday Morning Visiter triumvirate, [page 477:] — Messrs. Cloud, Pouder and Hewitt. Perhaps Poe’s strict discipline of Hewitt related by him as caused by his Minerva sharp criticism of “Al Aaraaf,” may also have been mixed with Poe’s as sharp defense of Wilmer, who, Hewitt said, “measured poetry as he would type, and judged its duality as a gauger would [the] proof of whiskey.” But it is known that Editor Wilmer of the Visitor approved Poe’s prizeless poem“The Coliseum” — whatever he may have said of Hewitt’s “Song of the Winds,” to which the poetry prize was awarded. Tradition credits Hewitt with parting Poe from the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. However, Mr. Whitty writes, “Poe and Hewitt later met in Washington on good terms.” Prior to Wilmer’s departure he and Poe were in serious consultation as to their united issue, in Baltimore, of a high-class literary periodical despensing the “usual fearless, independent and sternly just quality of criticism,” which idealism Edgar Allan Poe cherished and made heroic efforts to realize up to his dying day. With Wilmer’s departure, October, 1834, no doubt went Poe’s waning hopes in the venture at this time; yet it is of record that he sent this absent friend a prospectus for their intended magazine. Concerning it and Mr. Thomas W. White’s near Richmond offer to Poe, Wilmer later wrote: “The grand intellectual illumination we proposed to make in Baltimore was necessarily postponed.” And for the time being Wilmer and light went out of Poe’s world of work. Worry and want, hastened by the failing annuity, after the death of Mr. Allan, delay of Caret’ & Lea to issue, or pay fo┬▒, “Tales of the Folio Club,” and precarious [page 478:] earnings from press prints, caused Poe, notes Mr. Whitty, to haunt the newspaper offices and resorts during these dark, trying days of 1834. Mrs. Clemnl’s devoted care of her helpless, paralyzed mother, with constant bread and butter demands on her own efforts, must have been a severe strain on her time, strength and purse, with proportionate levy on Poe. No doubt it was about this time he was befriended in these dire straits by the hospitality of and money loans from Mrs. Samuel F. Simmons, who from 1831 to 1833 lived on Fawn Street, \vest of Exeter, and from 1834 to 1835 on Bank Street, west of Exeter. After her death came of Poe this record: “ ‘He had a friendly sympathizer in the late Mrs. Sarah P. Simmons, who, on many occasions, rendered him financial and other help. Poe wished to repay her in some lvay for her many kindnesses and presented her with the MS. of ‘Morella.’ ” Neither signed nor dated, it was closely written, in imitation of printing of his early efforts style, on one side of small folio paper, and perhaps when he was an earlier visitor at the Simmons’ home, when thinking himself one too many for care in that of his aunt. “Morella” was one of the six “Folio Club Tales” submitted for the Saturday Morning Visiter prize. The first stanza of Poe’s “Catholic Hymn,” in this MS., appears from page ?14 of “Complete Poems of Poe,” by James H. Whitty’s print of it all:

“Santa Maria; turn thine eyes

Upon the sinner’s sacrifice

Of fervent prayer, and humble love,

From thy holy throne above.” [page 479:]

Mrs. Simmons treasured this MS. throughout her life; finally gave it to her daughter, of Howard County, Md., who, on her death in 1904, left it by will to her physician. Later it was sold at auction. The autumn waning of 1834 brought its writer face to face with grim want. There is a whispered rumor that a long-clue note of his brother Henry bore Edgar’s name as all endorsement, and failure to meet its payment occasioned his enforced stay for a while under the roofage Baltimore provided for debtors of that time. Even if true, Poe no more than shared the curtailed liberty, on such scores, with no less distinguished personages than Light-Horse Harry — father of General Robert E. Lee — and James Monroe, one time President of the United States. All were in financial straits for the time being and with no intention of repudiating rightful claims.

Able, expert and official examinations of Baltimore Prison records,(15) covering the dates involved, fail to reveal the name of Edgar Allan Poe. But force of adverse conditions induced Poe to write to Mr. Kennedy for his influence with Carey & Lea to make some advance on the delayed issue of “Tales of the Folio Club.” In this letter, and for the first time, Poe gave a very clear idea of his extreme need to Mr. Kennedy, then living at 62 North Charles Street, Baltimore. Poe’s letter was dated “Baltimore, Nov. 1834,” and in it he wrote

Dr SIR, — I have a favor to beg of you which I thought it better to ask in writing, because, sincerely, I had not the courage to ask it in person. I am indeed too well aware that I have no claim whatever to your attention, [page 480:] . . . Since the day you first saw nie my situation in life has altered materially. At that time I looked forward to the inheritance of a large fortune, and, in the meantime, was in receipt of an annuity sufficient for my support . . . allowed me by a gentleman of Virginia (Mr. Jno. Allan) who adopted me at the age of two years both my parents being dead) and who, until lately always treated me with the affection of a father. But a second marriage on his part, and I dare say many follies on my own . . . ended in a quarrel between us. He is now dead, and has left me nothing. I am thrown entirely upon my own resources with no profession, and very few friends. Worse than all this, I am . . . penniless. Indeed no circumstances less urgent would have induced me to risk your friendship by troubling you with my distresses. But I could not help thinking that if my situation was stated — as you could state it — to Carey & Lea, they might be led to aid me with a small stun in consideration of my MS. . . . in their hands. This would relieve my immediate wants, and I could then look forward more confidently to better days. At all events receive the assurance of my gratitude for what you have already done.

Most respy, yr obt st,

EDGAR ALLAN POE.

However Poe indulged his fancy as to expecting the “large fortune” of this letter, it was a manly, frank and open admission of his “own follies,” being words of mixed meanings — in lack of tact as to siding with his foster-mother’s cause, etc.; also in fair credits to Mr. Allan in prior care and later given annuity. This might have been given because of the realization that Poe knew its donor’s delinquencies, also that its recipient then knew that the slur cast on his own mother was false; and it might have been the annual interest on [page 481:] the first Mrs. Allan’s own funds of which Poe wrote of — by reason of her death-bed request, granted by her husband — as “the large fortune” he failed to get; and it would have seemed “large” to him then. Research records found, have revealed as true many much-doubted Poe statements. And it may be well to give its donor the benefit of instinctive generosity, of which no one can make other expression than in his own way, which was cut off by death.

After an interval of some weeks — long ones to the anxious and hungry — Poe’s foregoing letter and a second appeal, Mr. Kennedy answered at Baltimore, Dec. 22, 1834, that he had the later note, and on receipt of the first he had at once written to Carey to do something speedily — to make some advance on the book; but Carey’s reply came when its recipient left for Annapolis, whence he recently returned; that Carey advised he would go on to publish, but profit was doubtful, — not from want of merit, but small books of detached tales seldom yielded enough to obtain their copyright. He advised selling some of the tales to annuals. Mr. Kennedy wrote that Poe would not object if hook issue right was reserved. On this score Miss Leslie selected one of prior print, “A MS. Found in a Bottle” at a dollar a page. Of this $15, sent to Mr. Kennedy, he wrote:

I will hand [it] over to you as soon as you call upon me, which I hope you will do soon. . . . If the other tales can be sold in the same way, you will get more than by exclusive publication,

Yours truly

JOHN P. KENNEDY, [page 482:]

To Mr. Kennedy’s first letter(16) of Poe, H. C. Carey replied, NOV. 21st, 1834, “I will see to your friend Poe this day or tomorrow, etc.” Nov. 26th, Mr. Carey mentioned items noted by Mr. Kennedy’s answer to Poe’s second appeal, and added: “writing” was “a poor business unless a man can find a way of taking public attention — not often done by short stories.” And if “by prior press or periodical print” Poe could obtain a name, his book of the same tales would later be worth more than now-unknown as he was. “Direct me,” concluded this letter to Mr. Kennedy. Realizing that the influence of his name would naturally move Poe to withdraw the “Folio Club Tales” from the subscription print of the Saturday Morning Visiter office, a venture certainly known to Mr. Kennedy, made him probably especially active with Carey for Poe, and thus for a while drove the wolf from the younger man’s door. But even in Baltimore this hunger — wolf howls, with icy winds that bite their sharp sway through the winter months there.

One can truly believe Poe was grateful and pleased with that $15 obtained through the grace of Mr. Kennedy, yet perhaps with some other fragments of uncertain coming they could scarcely keep the young writer either well fed or warm from December, 1834, to March, 1835, which facts again forced the hunger-haunted youth on Sunday, March 15, 1835, to Write Mr. Kennedy. How urgent was its writers’ need this letter shows:

DR SIR, — In the paper . . . handed you with this note is an advertisement to which I . . . anxiously solicit your attention. It relates to the appointment of a teacher in a [page 482:] Public School. . . . I have marked it with a cross so that you may readily perceive it. In my present circumstances such a situation would be most desirable and if your interest could obtain it . . . I would . . . remember your kindness with the deepest gratitude. Have I any hope? . . . The 18th is fixed for the decision . . . and the advertisement has only this moment caught my eye. This will excuse my obtruding the matter on your attention today. Very respy

E. A. POE.

That very day Mr. Kennedy invited Poe to dine, at his 62 North Charles Street home, and perhaps no more pathetic regrets were ever penned by genius in extreme want than these

DR SIR, — Your kind invitation to dinner today has wounded me to the quick. I cannot come — and for reasons of the most humiliating nature in my personal appearance. You may conceive my deep mortification in making this disclosure to you — but it is necessary. If you will be my friend so far as to loan me $20., I will call on you tomorrow — otherwise it will be impossible, and I must submit to my fate.

Sincerely yours,

E. A. POE.

It was certainly this occasion and this loan in connection with Poe to which Mr. Kennedy referred in his “Diary,” from which a condensed noting is: “It is many years ago . . . I found him in Baltimore in a state of starvation. I gave him clothing, free access to my table and the use of a horse for exercise . . , in fact, brought him up from the very verge of despair.” Until Poe’s dinner regrets advised Mr. Kennedy of their writer’s desperate straits his benefactor could not know the young man’s need of more than the [page 484:] hitherto given kindly wise literary counsel. But henceforth John P. Kennedy, Esq., was not only the poet’s mentor but personal friend, as only the Almighty’s creation of a gentleman knows how to fill out the finest meaning of that vitalizing word. And Poe’s no less fine understanding of it, years later, made this grateful expression: “Mr. Kennedy has been, at all times, a true friend to me — he was the first true friend I ever had. I am indebted to him for life itself.” These words affirm not only how near starvation Poe must have been, but also throw some light on the devitalizing effects this condition must have had on his inherited nerve exhaustion. Three months — more or less in time — of cold, hunger and mental stress would seriously impair the constitution of one starting such conditions in robust health. And to hypercritical censors of Poe, the foregoing tests of their faculties are suggested prior to further indulgence in adverse scoring of one whose disabled nerve heritage was thus not infrequently and acutely assailed.

Carey & Lea’s still delayed issue of Poe’s “Tales” caused Mr. Kennedy to advise sending some to the Southern Literary Messenger, a monthly periodical that Thomas W. White began at Richmond, Va., August, 1834.

One record(17) is that Thomas Wyllis White, born at Yorktown, Va., was not a literary man, but an excellent printer who obtained such equipment at Boston, Mass., where experience and observation stimulated his enterprise to make the Richmond, Va., venture of his magazine.

One early morning of August, 1834, a well-known [page 485:] man, rather portly for his height, in neat attire, which included a long black coat and beaver hat, made his way down Main Street, Richmond, to 15th Street. There he went up the outside steps to the second floor, over Archer’s shoe shop, and sat down in the back room, his job-printing office. Soon, his foreman, William McFarlane, and John W. Fergusson, one of his boys, appeared and handed the proprietor the first number of the Southern Literary Messenger fresh from the stitcher and binder the prior night. And Thomas W. White saw, with pardonable pride and hope, this timely fruition of his long, persistent energies.

James E. Heath — a Virginian of literary culture, First State Auditor and author of “Edge Hill“with selfless devotion served this magazine, as an able editor, for nine numbers of Vol. I.; and continued to be the adviser and friend of its owner and printer. But in No. 9, Southern Literary Messenger for May, 1835, appeared, that there had been made an “arrangement with a gentleman of approved literary taste and attainments to whose special management the editor’s department had been confided.” Mr. Whitty writes, that this editor was Edward Vernon Sparhawk, a New England poet born at Bucksport, Maine, 1798. He was of high literary ability and author of “Hours of Childhood,” issued in 1820. Mr. Whitty believes Poe met Sparhawk when the former was in Boston, 1827, search for literary work. The Boston, 1827, Directory notes an “Oliver Sparhawk, Merchant, No. 60, State Street,” who must have been one of that unusual family name. [page 486:] “Berenice,” by Mr. Kennedy’s direction and Poe’s reference to him, was sent to Mr. White, and attracted Editor Sparhawk’s attention to the extent of a very flattering notice in the March issue of the Messenger; also, from its owner, a letter quest of this story’s author to Mr. Kennedy. In his April 13, 1835, answer was: “Poe did right in referring to me! He is very clever with his pen-classical and scholar-like. He wants experience and direction, but I have no doubt he can be made very useful to you. And, poor fellow he is very poor. I told him to write something for every number of your magazine, and that you might find it to your advantage to give him some permanent employment.” Mr. Kennedy noted to White, the Carey & Lea’s year — old promise to issue Poe’s “Tales”; and of Poe, as being “highly imaginative and a little given to the terrific”; that he was then at work on a tragedy — “Politian” — but was turned by Mr. Kennedy to do a writer’s drudgery for needed money. This letter concluded with: “I have no doubt you and he will find your account in each other.”

While “Politian” is ascribed by Mr. Whitty to be “written about 1831” by Poe and included “The Coliseum” — in part — that was printed in the Oct. 26, 1833, Saturday Morning Visiter, it was the “deserved,” but “failed,” poem for the prize, as the judges noted, because Found in a Bottle” had won its writer of both subjects this prose prize the prior week. But this April 13, 1835, letter of Mr. Kennedy noted Poe as then at work on a tragedy, which as “Scenes from ‘Politian,’ An Unpublished Drama,” appeared — by part and first print — in Southern Literary Messenger [page 487:] for December of that year and more of it in the January, 1836, issue. Mr. Whitty calls attention to Poe’s “Pinakidia Tablets” — Southern Literary Messenger, 1836 — wherein is: “Politian [or Angelo Poliziauo, of Florence] the poet and scholar was an admirer of Alessandria Scalia.” Mr. Whitty adds, that “ ‘The Lover’s Appeal,’ Poe mentioned as ‘ English,’ is found among the poems of Sir Thomas Wyatt.” Some records note “Politian” was founded on Jeroboam O. Beauchamp’s murder of Solicitor General Solomon P. Sharp of Kentucky, “Nov. 6, 1825,” as noted by Thomas O. Mabbott, from the Saturday Evening Post, July, 1826, account of the execution; the suicide of Beauchamp’s wife, and its attempt by himself. This tragedy was also treated in William Gilmore Simms’ romance, “Beauchamp.” issued in 1842. “Politian” was translated into French by Monsieur W. Hughes (Wm. O‘Gorman), and was highly favored in France. The original MS. — once owned by Mrs. S. D. Lewis — is now in Mr. J. P. Morgan’s New York City Library, where special literary treatment has been given it by Thomas Ollive Mabbott. His complete edition is to be hoped for at an early date.

The April, 1835, date of Mr. White’s Messenger gave Poe’s “Morella.” It and “Berenice” were voted of creative force, but horror tales. “Berenice” begins with a Latin motto from Ebn Zaiat. Dr. Richard Gottheil states: Ebn Zaiat’s real name was Muhammed ibu Abd Ahmalik Alzaijat. He, much loving a slave and mourning her death, was advised to seek consolation at her grave. Of this counsel he wrote: “My friends say — ‘ If thou wouldst only visit her [page 488:] grave‘; but I answered, — ‘Has she any grave other than my heart?’ ” This sentiment seemed to supply Poe the theme for “Berenice,” over which perhaps also brooded shadows of his own first love, whose only grave was in his heart of hearts. But this “Berenice” story was also an able analysis of acute fears and sensations as produced by disease and drugs; possibly some reflex of an ugly dream dominating its writer in one of his depression attacks, and perhaps tinged with some reading of “Confessions of an Opium Eater,” by the Milford Bard, Jno. Lofland. This might also have colored “Morella,” in itself so “rife with horror” of a mother’s spirit in full “moral maturity passing into her new-born child” and with breathless dread of vague results. Of their writer one record(18) is, “Poe’s limitation was his aloofness from the unscholarly masses.” Poe “was fascinated by many questions concerning the ultimate meaning of things but never was guilty of anything like Irving’s ‘Tale of a Young Robber.’ ” Concerning Poe’s “horror tales” appears in The Edinburgh Review: “If Poe is Laureate of the Darkness — he is also the silver starlight with its soothing stillness and its dreams — the soul thrown back upon itself to brood upon its own imaginings.”

Yet, April 30, 1835, Poe wrote Mr. White concerning “Berenice”: “. . . Your opinion of it is very just. The subject is by far too horrible, and I confess that I hesitated sending it to you especially as a specimen of my capabilities. The Tale originated in a bet that I could produce nothing effective on a subject so singular provided I treated it seriously. . . [page 489:] You may say all this is in bad taste. I have my doubts about it . . . To be appreciated you must be read, and these things are invariably sought after with avidity. . . . Such articles as the ‘MS. Found in a Madhouse’ . . . ‘Monos and Daimonos’ of the ‘London New Monthly’ — the ‘Confessions of an Opium-Eater’ and the ‘Man in the Bell’ of ‘ Blackwood.’ The first two were written by no less a man than Bulwerthe” Confessions’ universally attributed to Coleridge — although unjustly. Thus the first men . . . have not thought writings o f this nature unworthy of their talents. . . .”

In No. 9, May, 1835, Southern Literary Messenger, was Poe’s “Lionizing,” editorially noted as an “inimitable piece of wit and satire — fun on nosology in literature,” and far antedating that of “Cyrano de Bergerac.” This number gave Mrs. Buckler’s (wife of Poe’s physician) answer, said to be inspired by Poe, to Mr. Wilde’s lines, “My Life is like a Summer Rose”; also some critical notes credited to Poe. In his May 30, 1835, letter to Mr. White was noted the receipt of $5 and an order for $4.94 as coming from him — through Mr. Kennedy — to be “very welcome”; that Mr. K —— ’s delayed book — “Horse-Shoe Robinson” — would reach Richmond for the June number of the Messenger; also, regrets as to his own inadequate critique of it, occasioned by ill health, concerning which was: “I was so ill as to be hardly able to see the paper on which I wrote, and finished it in a state of complete exhaustion. I have not, therefore, done anything like justice to the book, and I am vexed about the matter; for Mr. Kennedy has proved himself [page 490:] a kind friend to me in every respect, and I am sincerely grateful to him for many acts of generosity and attention.” This attack was probably Poe’s first touch of heart trouble of 1841 definite record. Poe mentioned the complaint of his criticism of “Confessions of a Poet” by “Himself” (Laughton Osborn); his critic added: “The book is silly enough . . . ”; and as to the charge of not reading it, stated: “But seriously, I have read it, . . . and was very much amused. . . . Poe told of his notices of the Southern Literary Messenger in Baltimore papers; also his satisfaction with remuneration from Mr. White by: “My poor services are not worth what you give me for there.” Poe concluded: “The high compliment of judge Tucker is rendered doubly flattering to me by my knowledge of his literary character.” This letter is important on points of Poe’s ascending prospects; the disastrous effects of his pinching poverty creating his first serious attack of nerve “exhaustion” (and after this 1835 break in his health — when twenty-six — Poe was never again a well man); his grateful appreciation of Mr. Kennedy; also, of ‘Mr. White’s remuneration for recent contributions; Baltimore service rendered Southern Literary Messenger, and Poe’s own intelligent and deep interests in its welfare. The Poe touch of Laughton Osborn has a later given interest. On all these scores Poe’s letter was of qualities that would naturally attract Mr. White’s attention in his search for an assistant editor for his Messenger. One of his letters — owned by ‘Mr. Oliver R. Parrett, Chicago, Ill. — shows that as early as Feb. 17, 1835, its writer was in earnest quest of an editor by [page 491:] this appeal to Lucian B. Minor, Esq. In this letter was:

MY DEAR SIR — I earnestly again invite you to my editorial chair, . . . for which service I will hand you . . . $600. per annum. To be sure the salary is not an enormous one . . . nor yet are the services which I should expect from you enormous . . . half a dozen hours per week would consume all I would have to pour into your ear . . . and . . . 24 hours in the week would be amply sufficient for you to nourish my Messenger. . . . Your “stipend” from me is as certain as if it were promised by Chief Justice Marshall . . . I do nothing without giving God all the thanks . . . I firmly believe he will not suffer me to fall thro’ in the vocation . . . to which I am almost enthusiastically devoted. . . .

Yours truly,

THOMAS W. WHITE.

Rec. 20 Feb. ‘35.

One wonders if God Almighty moved White’s heart to pay Poe $520 a year, and $280 less than the “stipend” of “$800, per annum” offered to “Lucian Minor, Esq.,” by White “to nourish” his Messenger. These points are covered and suggested by Mr. White’s foregoing letter.

Poe wrote Mr. White,(19) June 12th, as to the receipt of his letter; magazine sent; kind inquiries concerning his health and added: “I am glad to say . . . I have entirely recovered — although Dr. Buckler, no longer than 3 weeks ago, assured me nothing but a sea voyage would save me.” Poe noted the review of Marshall’s “Washington” and his own critiques of the Messenger in the Baltimore Republic and American; also insisting on no remuneration for same, as writing [page 492:] them was “a pleasure — no trouble whatever.” This letter concluded with congratulations on obtaining the services of Mr. Sparhawk as he had a “high reputation for talent.”

The Literary Messenger for June printed Poe’s story “Haas Phaal.” It was noted “as a long one that will appear short” to readers, and “will add much to his reputation as an imaginative writer,” and hinted “a voyage to the moon may not be a matter of mere moonshine.” Poe’s intention was to make use of scientific knowledge in the creation of this fiction. The Lancet, London, April 13, 18(95, inquires if Professor Ramsay’s new gaseous element, helium — until recently thought to exist only in the sun — was not known to Poe, because of “Hans Phaal” reference to “a particular metallic substance . . . a constituent of azote . . . its density 37.4 less than that of hydrogen . . . and a dozen demijohns of a very common acid, &c.” Helium “is obtained from the mineral cleveite by sulplulric acid’s action upon it, and is lighter than hydrogen,” Incidentally, three weeks later, Richard Adams Locke’s “Moon Hoax” deluded many readers of the New York Sun. It was written on very similar lines, and of later mention with “Hans Phaal.”

June 22, 1835, Poe wrote Mr. White concerning the tactful treatment of periodical details with special reference to his Messenger; of Charles B. Shaw — author of “Allegheny Levels” — its contributor and Poe’s own friend; noted sympathy as to Mr. White’s recently lost son; his own strict attention to punctuation, and, of most importance, Poe answered the query made as to the writer going to Richmond the ensuing [page 493:] winter by: “. . . nothing would give me greater pleasure. I have been desirous for some time of paying a visit to Richmond, and would be glad of any reasonable excuse for so doing. [This statement seems in close touch with “Poe’s desired explanations with Elmira,” noted by Mr. Whitty.] Indeed I am anxious to settle myself in that city, and if . . . you hear of a situation likely to suit me, I would gladly accept it, were the salary even the merest trifle. I should . . . feel myself greatly indebted to you if through your means I could accomplish this object. What you say in the conclusion . . . gives me reason to hope . . . you might find something for me to do in your office. . . . If so I should be very glad, for at present only a very small portion of my time is employed.” With more details as to the Messenger, Poe concluded with what one high Poe authority regards as a hoax query, “Who is the author of ‘The Doom‘?” This story’s print does seem to point truth, in “the legend that Poe was in a Richmond law office for a few weeks,” in 1827, prior to crossing the sea for library research. To the July, 1835, Messenger, Poe sent “The Visionary,” which appeared under this title in Godey’s January, 1834, issue. This July Messenger also gave his verses, “To Mary,” written earlier, perhaps, for Miss Devereaux. On page 146 of “Poems and Tales of Poe,” Charles M. Graves refers to Miss Mary Winfree, Chesterfield, Va., as the original of Poe’s “To M ——.” But true to his muse of many masks, these lines were later revised for Mrs. Osgood; yet in its heart of hearts was veiled the floating wraith of the poet’s first, lost love; and with herself, he wished for explanations. [page 494:]

This summer of 1835 gave many trying home days to Poe; also to Mrs. Clemm to a greater degree; for July 7th her mother, his grandmother, widow of General David Poe, was released forever from years of helplessness and suffering, at the age of seventy-eight. In their home, No. 3 Amity Street, Baltimore, her funeral services were held the next day. Mr. William J. McClellan notes: “In the American and Com. Daily Advertiser, July 8, 1835, was: ‘Died yesterday morning, July 7th, in the 79th year of her age, Mrs. ELIZABETH POE, relict of Gen. Poe, of this city. Her friends are requested to attend her funeral, without further invitation, from the residence of her daughter, Mrs. William Clemm, in Amity Street, at 9 o’clock this morning.“’ In “her Will, dated Feb. 13, 1826, and proved Sept. 6, 1838, Elizabeth Poe(20) bequeathed all her belongings to her daughter Mrs. Clemm.” This was but an act of justice, as Mrs. Clemm for years had devotedly cared for her bedridden mother. So passed a saintly soul to her full reward; and she left no idlers in her daughter’s household, which included her son — of seventeen, employed in a granite stone-yard — her daughter Virginia, then almost thirteen; and her nephew, Edgar A. Poe, of twenty-six years. The family money calls were many and urgent then, and July loth Poe wrote Mr. White that his letters of the 14th and 16th, with $20, were at hand; and in such connection Poe mildly suggested: “Look over ‘Hans Phaal’ and Literary Notices by me.

. . . There are thirty-f our columns in all. ‘Hans Phaal’ cost me nearly a fortnight’s hard labor, and was written especially for the ‘Messenger.’ I will not, however, [page 495:] sin so egregiously again in . . . a long article.” Of Poe “mild protest” Mr. John S. Patton, University of Virginia Librarian, wrote: “That story contained more than 20,000 words. . . . That, without the literay [[literary]] notices, was surely worth a great deal more than $20, which Mr. White listed for all.” It is interesting to note that March, 1919, $770 was obtained by the American Art Association, New York, for a copy of “Hans Phaal” MS. With a powerful glass Mr. Arthur Swann then discerned Poe’s carefully crossed-out verse, in italics, heading this MS. story. The early print verse is credited to “Tom O‘Bedlam’s Song.” It reads:

“With a heart of furious fancies

Whereof I am commander,

With a burning spear and a horse of air,

To the wilderness I wander.”

Mr. Swann notes this “Hans Phaal” MS. copy as owned by the Misses Deborah B. and Sarah Martin, of Green Bay, Wis., who obtained it from their late uncle, Rear Admiral Melanton Smith, whose mother was a sister of Mrs. Mary Osborne, who knew Poe and Mrs. Clemm well; and from one of them this MS. was thought to have come to her.

Mr. Whitty definitely states: “This story was not included in ‘Folio Club Tales,’ but was of later date. Poe left a good record of this tale and how it came to be written.”(21) All of this will appear in the near issue of Poe’s “Tales” edited by Mr. Whitty. Undoubtedly its even finer script than those sent for the Saturday Morning Visiter, October, 1833, prize was [page 496:] caused by the high praise bestowed by judges on their script and remarkable composition. This MS. has been mounted between gauze and handsomely bound in blue Levant leather. Returning to Poe’s July 20, 1835, letter, he continued, — in sympathy for Mr. White’s impaired health, press notices of his Messenger, that its comments of Messrs. Pleasants and Paulding on “Hans Phaal” were “judicious” and “highly gratifying”; noted the inclosure of Oct 12, 1833, Baltimore Saturday Visiter comments of the prize judges on “Tales of the Folio Club” and their author, with a request for their Messenger reprint. This was complied with in the August, 1835, number. Poe also desired special mention that both prose and poetry prizes were first awarded him, but the poetry prize was transferred later because he had obtained the higher prose prize — so he had been advised by Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Latrobe. Poe referred to some special ink sent, and his review delayed by possible but untenable reason of Chief Justice Marshall’s death.

The August, 1835, Messenger gave Poe’s “Bon-Bon” — as of prior noting — a tale in which Satan figures as a devourer of human souls. And in this number also appeared Poe’s four verses “To Sarah,” signed “Silvio.” Concerning them Mr. Whitty states,(22) that in a note in his “Duane” copy of the Messenger — found by him at Boston — “this poem and an unpublished story were both acknowledged by Poe.” Mr. Whitty adds: “The lines were evidently intended for Sarah Elmira Royster, his early sweetheart.” Written also on his near return to the Richmond scenes of this first, lost love tragedy, perhaps [page 497:] Poe was over-keenly moved by the pathos of it all and placed in print a message of forwarning [[forewarning]] he realized could not be transmitted in writing. Full of unutterable sweetness and as unforgettable heartache is the last of these four verses in,

TO SARAH

In such an hour, when we forgot,

The world, its cares, and my own lot,

Thou seemest then to be,

A gentle guardian spirit given

To guide my wandering steps to heaven,

If they could stray from thee.

Lifting this curtain to the scene of these lovers’ last parting — whenever that may have been — these words seem to delineate in angelic light Sarah Elmira’s young shining significance in it. And upon this, his heart’s enshrined idealism of beauty, life’s curtain never rang down for the poet or man until Oct. 7, 1849.

Thomas O. Mabbott writes(23) that in Vol. I, “Index of the Southern Literary Messenger,” Poe stated that “a stanza of Sappho’s Ode, ‘To the Beloved Fair,’ was in his poem ‘To Sarah.’ ” Mr. Mabbott adds: “This paraphrase of Sappho is in the last stanza of Poe’s poem. The acknowledgment of his debt is characteristic of Poe, and probably accounts for his failure to use the piece in his collected poems.” But it served Poe well in its .August, 1835, Richmond print.

During these Baltimore years, from May, 1831, until March, 1834, by well utilized leisure made possible by the annuity from Mr. Allan, Poe’s energies had produced “Tales of the Folio Club” and perhaps [page 498:] a score or more poems, including the “unpublished drama of Politian.” Also, as a devourer of books and periodical literature, Poe was going to school; a school in which his own genius was master; and its craft-conned lessons were both editorial and critical expression.

Concerning the much said of Poe’s borrowings from E. T. W. Hoffmann and others, Professor Woodberry notes: “It was . . . from the magazine world . . . that Poe’s tales sprang, brooded over by a genius great in its own nativity, which from the beginning had more vitality of its own than it ever borrowed from others.” But the cessation of the annuity from Mr. Allan — sent with no sacrifice by its donor — placed Poe face to face with actual starvation, and at an age — well known to Mr. Allan — when men reach a crisis in life which has serious bearing for good or ill upon their physical future. Since the 1827 leaving of Mr. Allan’s bountiful table — for whatever of Edgar’s nervous strains under his foster-father’s roof, he had been well nourished there, and it is likely he never was elsewhere for any length of time — the failing of such support, with added heavy and incessant tax upon his mind and body, brought Poe to this life crisis with his heritage of impaired nervous equipment so seriously depleted that, with so few favoring fortunes, after his twenty-sixth year, Edgar Allan Poe was never again a well man. And no life of the poet can be justly written without giving these forceful facts closest consideration. That his mental equipment was enriched by years of constant study and active scholarly experience his later works afford abundant proof; nor [page 499:] was his mind ever dethroned excepting at intervals, during his attacks of nervous exhaustion producing congestive delirium, caused mostly by hunger and over-work, but at times aggravated by stimulants’ indulgence, for relief; this his physique could not withstand, according to the eminent nerve specialist, Dr. Edward B. Lane. Yet science has emphatically endorsed opinions of Doctors Lane, Charles G. Davis, and other high authorities that, although stimulants were “beyond the power of mortal resistance for relief of such nerve-victims, Edgar Allan Poe was not insane.” However, with this Baltimore break in Poe’s health began his heart trouble, notwithstanding his usual “abstemious habits” in the home of Mrs. Clemm; it also started the perceptible, creeping progress of that fearsome “depression” which he never could understand nor vanquish. And he never realized, with all his defeats, that stimulants — then generally taken for every ill — only increased the deadly pace of his own depression, which he later feared might lead to the subversion of his mentality. This, Poe’s only fear, hung over him like the sword of Damocles, and with all its impending frightfulness created the horror of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” which tale was undoubtedly a transcription of one of Poe’s distressing depression dreams.

Various records reveal that the poet left Baltimore about mid-summer, 1835; probably after the readjustment of Mrs. Clemm’s home after the death of her mother, July 7th of that year. Poe’s call was from Richmond, Va., to assist Mr. White, who bad already parted with Editor E. V. Sparhawk. In a Richmond, [page 500:] Aug. 18, 1835, letter to Lucian Minor, Esq.,(24) Mr. White wrote: “I have, my dear sir, been compelled to part with Mr. Sparhawk as regular editor. . . . He will, however, continue to assist me. Mr. Poe is here also. He tarries one month and will aid me all that lies in his power.”

The September, 1833, Southern Literary Messenger gave “Lines Written in an Album,” by “E. A. P.” They were revised from their former tribute to his cousin Elizabeth with the transferred courtesy to Miss Eliza White, a daughter of Thomas W. White, owner of the Messenger. This time these lines began

“Eliza, let thy generous heart

From its present pathway part not,” etc.

This September Messenger also gave Poe’s prose satire, “Loss of Breath. A Tale neither in nor out of Blackwood.” A gruesome story of a hanging and a burial alive, perhaps another nightmare from under one of its writer’s “depression spells,” was utilized for this unique farce, a travesty on the sharp methods of Blackwood’s, with which Poe was later to come into a closer but, alas, as it seems, a nameless touch! In contrast to this fascinating farce Dr. Woodberry notes of Poe’s parable, “Shadow,” of “The Folio Club Tales,” that “within its . . . page or two, is at once the most noble and most artistic expression of his imagination.” Poe described it as “The Shadow neither of God nor man, nor of any familiar thing.”

Thus early Edgar Allan Poe had made his place in the world of letters, had won enough recognition from Southern and other press scores to serve Mr. White [page 501:] as assistant editor for his Messenger. At last Poe had found for the future an opening congenial to his mind. Among the many to whom Poe appealed in the interest of the Southern Literary Messenger was Dr. Robert M. Bird, Philadelphia, author of “Shepard Lee,” 1836, and who carne into later, personal touch with Poe. Cheered by Kennedy, praised by Paulding — as “decidely the best of all our young writers . . . I might add all our old ones, with one or two exceptions”: also others of that time and equal eminence were generous in like measures: therefore, Poe could well begin this service on a buckling salary of $10 per week and of royal contrast to the no revenue of his prior year. So all seemed now of rosy hue and promise for the future in his press office duties and renewal of Richmond friendships: the Mackenzie household with his sister there, Aunt Nancy, the Stanards, the Sullys and others of his boyhood years, lvhich once only included also his first, lost love, an episode Mr. Whitty records. It is pleasant to picture Poe in the glow of this hard-earned success ascending, with a spring in his step, that outside stairway which led to his coming editorial career. This began in the office of the Southern Literary Messenger, southwest corner 15th and Main Streets, Richmond, Va. The desk he used so faithfully there is now owned by Mr. James H. Whitty of that city. But at Baltimore the home that sheltered his roofless head through stress and storms was now a doubly broken one, by the recent death of his grandmother and his own later departure from it. His fair little cousin, Virginia, who idolized him through their man — dark Baltimore days, was frail of health and [page 502:] inconsolable, although her brother Henry was then with his mother and sister. Mrs. Clemm, since her mother’s death, had no sterner duty than that to her little daughter; and her cousin Edgar shared to the utmost [page 503:] Mrs. Clemm’s devotion to Virginia. No doubt the loneliness of his aunt and cousin without him was imparted most touchingly to “Buddie” — as they called him — at Richmond; and Poe would have been less than the grateful mortal that he was, had he not wished to share his modest good fortune with these two beneficent angels of his forlorn past. All this seems to have been floating in Poe’s mind when he was deciding to live in Richmond, where he first boarded with a Mrs. Poore on Banks Street, facing Capitol [page 504:] Square, and in whose home also lived her son-in-law, Thomas Cleland, and his wife. Undoubtedly through the “convivialities of Southern social life” with old friends and new, strayed that specter of Poe’s might-have-been happiness, in still attractive personality of his lost love “Elmira” — Royster Shelton. Certainly they met, and the forceful beauty of her character as pictured by his poetic pen must have finally triumphed for them both. It was this beauty Poe worshipped in woman! “Silvio’s” last verse of “To Sarah,” of December, 1835, Southern Literary Messenger printing, all too vividly portrays some such dream, or actual meeting.

So Poe, as “Silvio,” again at Richmond in 1835, met the foe in himself, that he thought he could, and did, command by virtue of a rare woman’s aid and friendly, timely, stoical counsel in one long, lingering look of eloquent silence. But anxiety, continuous worry on known and unknown accounts, the grieving of little Virginia and Mrs. Clemm, to whom Poe turned for anchorage, coupled with his grateful affection for the care and comfort so generously given by them to him when such devotion meant life itself, — all this brought on his dreaded depression. This, in turn, led Poe to seek relief in stimulants, which, with his — at this time — increasing congestion results, cost him his editorial position. Concerning this attack, Poe — at Richmond, Sept. 11, 1835 — wrote Mr. Kennedy, that a recent letter from Dr. James H. Miller (this reference affirms dim records of Dr. Miller’s personal touch with Poe, which included letters, verses, etc., to Hiss Miller, the Doctor’s niece) advised Poe, [page 505:] Mr. Kennedy was in Baltimore. This hastened expression by letter, the impossible to express orally, of the writer’s “deep sense of gratitude” for frequent, effectual and kind assistance. Poe wrote:

Through your influence Mr. White has been induced to employ me in assisting him with the Editorial duties of his Magazine at a salary of $520. per annum. The situation is agreeable to me for many reasons — but alas! it appears to me nothing can now give me pleasure — or the slightest gratification. Excuse me, my clear Sir, if in this letter ) — on find much incoherency. My feelings at this moment are pitiable indeed. I am. suffering under a depression of spirits such as I have never felt before. I have struggled in vain against the influence of their melancholy. — You will believe me, when I say that I am still miserable in spite of the great improvement in my circumstances. I say you will believe me, and for this simple reason, that a man who is writing for effect does not write thus. My heart is open before you — if it be worth reading, read it. [This and other items indicate Poe had given some very personal accounts of himself into ‘Mr. Kennedy’s confidential keeping.] I am wretched, and know not why. Console me, — for you can. But let it be quickly — or it will be too late. Write me immediately. Convince me that it is . . . at all necessary to live, and you will prove yourself indeed my friend. Persuade me to do what is right. I do not mean this. I do not mean that you should consider what I now write you a jest — oh, pity me! for I feel that my words are incoherent — but I will recover myself. You will not fail to see that I am suffering under a depression of spirits which will ruin me should it be long continued. Write me then, and quickly. Urge me to do what is right. Your words will have more weight with me than the words of others — for you have been my friend when no one else was. Fail not — as you value your peace of mind hereafter.

E. A. POE. [page 506:]

Surely this letter is a soul’s cry of mortal anguish! a striving for light and might that make for right. And with so fair a present setting, for future fortune, what else than this spectre of his lost life-happiness could it have been that was stalking abroad, through the reviewing of scenes inseparable from his first lost love, and with a daring that shattered all, save his soul’s resolution for its integrity. Hence came Poe’s call, “Urge me to do what is right.” These words were not italicized by the poet’s pen, but were emphasized by his incoherent or subconscious knowledge of the brink upon which his depression stood for self-destruction.

Of this attack Mr. White wrote Mr. Minor, Sept. 8, 1835: “Poe is now in my employ — not as editor. He is unfortunately rather dissipated — and therefore I can place very little reliance upon him. His disposition is quite amiable. He will be some assistance to me in proof-reading.” September 21, Mr. White continued: “Poe has flew the track already. [Prior sentence suggests a need of both editor and “proofreading.”] His habits are not good. He is in addition a victim of melancholy. I should not be at all astonished to hear that he had been guilty of suicide.” These letters are of special importance in marking the pernicious progress Poe’s nerve-malady was making under his present circumstances, aside from the shock of the episode noted, most favorable to mental and physical health. His last attack, certainly then of congestion, occurred the prior May when, at Baltimore, he was “hardly able to see the paper” upon which he wrote the review of Mr. Kennedy’s book [page 507:] for the Messenger, and this spell was no doubt due to starved and overworked energies causing Poe’s appeal to Mr. Kennedy prior to this dazed state that dominated the review of his book. In his Sept. 19, 1835, answer to Poe’s Richmond, September 11th, letter was:

My DEAR POE, — I am sorry to see you in such plight as your letter shows you in. It is strange . . . when everybody is praising you, and when fortune is beginning to smile upon your hitherto wretched circumstances, you should be invaded by these villainous blue devils. It belongs to your age and temper to be thus buffeted, — but be assured, it only wants a little resolution to master the adversary forever. Rise early, live generously, and make cheerful acquaintances, and I have no doubt you will send these misgivings of the heart all to the Devil.

Mr. Kennedy seems to write “misgivings of the heart” advisedly, without the prior italics appearing. But even this best friend of Poe did not apparently grasp the adverse fact for him, that “cheerful acquaintances” of those days’ hospitality, like Mr. Allan, bought their whisky by the barrel and imbibed accordingly; and it is of many records that refusal to drink with a friend was regarded by many as an insult. To stand one’s cups measured manhood of that time, and those who declined were voted milk-sops. Nor did Mr. Kennedy ever realize that Poe’s physical inability to withstand stimulants caused him either isolation or its alternative, nervous wreckage. A woeful choice, but a problem Poe faced henceforth for life. With this heritage and Poe’s various environments, one may [page 508:] well question if Mr. Kennedy himself could hare made a more heroic struggle, or achieved more of accomplishment, than did Poe within the following fifteen years, when seemingly stricken, so often with success just in sight, almost within his grasp. Mr. Kennedy’s letter continued: “You will doubtless do well henceforth in literature, and add to your comforts, as well as to your reputation, which it gives me great pleasure to assure you is everywhere rising in popular esteem.” Mr. Kennedy suggested Poe’s writing some farces to sell New York managers. In conclusion of Poe’s Sept. 11,1835, letter to Mr. Kennedy, was noted Mr. White’s wish for a contribution from Mr. Kennedy; that The Gift — 1836, Annual of Miss Leslie — was out and contained the “MS. Found in a Bottle,” — Poe, in its place, had sent “Epimanes” to Mr. Carey, and knew not why he had not issued it (or “Four Beasts in One”), or “Siope” (“Silence”); that Mr. White would print “Tales of the Folio Club,” and wished to learn through Mr. Kennedy if Carey & Lea would appear nominal publishers. Poe asked if Mr. Kennedy had seen Locke’s “Discoveries in the Moon,” and if he thought it suggested by “Hans Phaal.” Poe noted it singular that when he first thought of writing a tale of the Moon the idea of Telescopic discovery came to him, but he dropped it, yet concluded from little incidents and remarks in “Discoveries” that “the idea had been stolen from Hans Phaal,” signed “E. A. Poe.”

Of Poe’s conclusion Mr. Kennedy’s reply noted that others than Poe had remarked coincidences between “Hans Phaal” and “Lunar Discoveries”; [page 509:] that the New York Transcript was reprinting side by side “Moon Hoax” and “Hans,” for comparison. Poe was asked to tell White that that writer was “overhead in business” and “can promise never a line to living man.” In Mr. Carey’s letter from Poe at this time undoubtedly appeared indications of the serious bondage of nerve-exhaustion against which he was struggling; for in an Oct. 4, 1835, letter to Mr. Kennedy from Mr. Carey was: “I do not know what to say respecting Poe. I should care nothing about aiding him as you propose, but I should like to be sure he was sane.

On Poe’s recovery, having in mind his stranded aunt, good Mrs. Clemm, and their inconsolable Virginia, he turned for his soul’s anchorage to them, their care and comfort as well as his own. Mrs. Clemm’s letter advising him of the proposal of Virginia’s halfsister, Mrs. Neilson Poe, undoubtedly moved their “Buddie” to some unusual thinking, which resulted in the only possible means to keep inseparable his aunt, his cousin and himelf [[himself]]; and this was the marriage, Poe later told Mrs. Whitman, he made “solely for the happiness of his wife,” whom, however, he added, he “loved devotedly.” In any case this “loneliness and grieving” of Virgina and Mrs. Clemm, and some such understanding to which they all seemed to have arrived, — with Poe’s hopeless lost-love affair well known to all concerned, — came to the knowledge of Mr. and Mrs. Neilson Poe. They wisely thought of Virginia as “much too young to marry,” for, born Aug. 13, 1822, she had but by a month entered her fourteenth year. They were right; therefore they — living at Elmwood, [page 510:] Frederick County, Md. — offered to take Virginia into their own family and care for her as one of themselves until she was eighteen, then should she wish to marry her cousin Edgar she should be free to do so. But as no mention of Mrs. Clemm is of record, whom their means might not have allowed them to include in this plan, however wise, it meant separation of mother and child, which neither had the courage to face, but which, Poe being in Richmond and this plan then unknown to him, they could have arranged it at Baltimore. While it might have been better for all concerned had Mrs. Clemm gone alone to Poe — as no one so well knew as she his nervous disability — yet, in full knowledge of the entire situation, she wrote him of the offer of Neilson Poe and his wife concerning Virginia, and in such a way that Poe was stirred to answer her from Richmond, Aug. 29, 1835, imploring her not to separate Virginia from him; and with such pathetic sincerity that at least his strong cousinly love for the child was placed beyond question. She seemed the only solace from “his early wail of ‘The Vital Stream‘: — ‘See — see — my soul, her agony!“’ notes Mr. Whitty, adding a touch of the “high-born kinsmen” who wished to bear his “Annabel Lee” away from him. On this score Poe left Richmond for a family conference, which resulted, according to date of license, — Sept. 22, 1835, the last one issued that day, — in Virginia being married to her cousin Edgar in Old Christ Church, Baltimore, by Rev. John Johns, later Episcopal Bishop of Virginia State. He, however, made no return of the license record, and aside from statements of Mrs. Clemm, there exist no known [page 511:] complete proofs of this marriage. But her heart was thus eased from fears of being shorn of its nearest and dearest; therefore, with this precaution — and it seemed no more against separation of the three — Poe left Baltimore the next day for Richmond; but no doubt he was preceded by an apology letter to Mr. White which claimed from him this answer; condensed, and dated Richmond, Sept. 29, 1835, it began “Dear Edgar.” It stated that its writer must “be content to speak” in his “plain way”; that he firmly believed Poe to be sincere in all promises but had feared that he would fall again through “sip of the juice”; Poe was advised of reliance on his Maker for safeguard. Mr. White noted: “How much I regretted parting with you is unknown to any one on this earth except myself. I was attached to you — and am still . . .” This letter advised, that if Poe would content himself in the writer’s, or some other private family, where no liquor was used, and not live at a tavern, there would be hope. This would indicate that Poe spent some part of his first, 1835, stay at Richmond at some hotel. Mr. White added: “You have fine talents, Edgar — and you ought to have them respected as well as yourself. . . . Separate yourself from the bottle and bottle-companions forever! Tell me if you can and will do so. . . . If you should come to Richmond . . . and again be an assistant in my office, it must be especially understood . . . that all engagements on my part would be dissolved the moment you get drunk. No man is safe who drinks before breakfast.” That Poe won back his place seems certain by the writer’s added business details as to a Cooper article then in form, that might [page 512:] cause trouble also, as this letter concluded: “I am your true friend, T. W. White.”

Of Poe’s article on Cooper, Mr. White wrote Mr. Minor, Oct. 1, 183: “I have just seen Mr. Heath. He . . . can manage the autography for me. He proposes striking out Cooper’s and Irving’s names. . . . Give me your candid opinion of it. Poe is the author.” For reasons given, readers are referred to Poe’s “Autography” of Irving and Cooper.

During the decade 1833-1843, when Cooper ‘vas mercilessly lashed by the American press for his true but tactless comments on National failures, he was sturdily defended almost alone by Poe’s pen in such lines as: “We are a bull-headed and prejudiced people, and it were well if we had a few more of the stamp of Mr. Cooper who would feel themselves at liberty to tell us so to our teeth.” Poe’s unmerited abuse by the press of his day placed him in close understanding of and deep sympathy with Cooper.

Of Poe, “drunk,” in Mr. White’s letter, Mr. Whitty notes: “When Mrs. Whitman knew she was to break with Poe, she turned to ether. Man now, when crossed in love, turns to drink; and with what Poe had on his mind I can readily overlook his actions, when White was chiding him about this period. He was no more a drunkard then than on later occasions, which never lasted a great while. This is not trying to overshadow the fact he would listen to ‘Let’s take something’ — in these early Richmond days. I think it was of infrequent occurrence, as Poe admits: certainly it never interfered with his writings; and aside from White and Poe himself there is little if any testimony [page 513:] as to his drinking at that time.” Mr. Whitty omits the fact that Poe’s drinking at this time was preceded by the congestive “depression” he noted to Mr. Kennedy, and this was caused by the double torment in haunting response from its scenic touches of his first-love loss; also the threatened loss of his soul’s anchorage in the sweet white light of little Virginia in his life. And Mr. Whitty concludes with logic: “When Poe’s Baltimore trip secured her permanence for his future, he returned to best conditions.” That Poe’s first love saw and approved Virginia and her marriage is another and a later story. It appears that Edgar left Mrs. Clemm and Virginia at Baltimore to arrange their affairs and pack their belongings to send to Richmond.

Mrs. Harry January,(25) grand-daughter of Judge Neilson Poe, gives several items of intense interest from “a few precious, personal letters.” One written the autumn of 1835 by Poe at Richmond, to Mrs. Clemmis filled with assurances of his ability to care for Virginia; gives a description of their little home in Riclunond, which he would take, and expresses much resentment of what he called “cruelty of those who would separate him from his love.” Virginia’s half-sister Josephine and her husband Wished to keep this lovely young girl a little longer in school. But just below Poe’s letter to Mrs. Clemm was “a most tender love-letter to Virginia — the beloved written quite frankly beneath this letter to her mother! But to this girl in Baltimore — of the long ago — this seemed the natural way for ‘ Eddie’ to write her, as natural as her unchanging love for him.” It is questionable [page 514:] if Poe would have written to his first love — Elmira — in this way, and perhaps that explains his devoted life love for these two rare women who ever claimed the best in the poet’s power to give.

Of their going to Richmond, appears in Mrs. Clemm’s letter, dated October, 1835,(26) at that city, to William Poe: “We arrived here Saturday evening last. Edgar went to Baltimore for us. I do hope we will be happier here. My health is at present so bad, that I have had no opportunity of seeing the place, but I think I will like it. . . . Here, myself & daughter . . . have some one to love & care for us, there we had no one. . . . Eliza died in 1823 — leaving five lovely children. Her eldest daughter [Elizabeth, born October 13, 1815, married Andrew Turner Tutt December 2, 1834] is a few months married to Andrew T. Tutt [page 515:] of [Woodville] Va. I have two children living. My son is in his 18th year, and at the granite stone-cutting business in Baltimore. [This fact probably supplied the source of some Poe biographers locating him in a Baltimore brickyard, and he may have been seen in this stoneyard with or for Henry Clemm.] My daughter . . . is with me here, — we are entirely dependent on Edgar. [This statement more than indicates Henry Clemm’s inability to aid his mother — then in poor health — and sister.] He is indeed a son to me and has always been so. . . . He requests me to say he is obliged to you for subscribers. . . . Your father wrote to mine until shortly before his death. God in Heaven bless your kindness to me. . . .”

Mrs. Clemm, Virginia and Edgar boarded at Mrs. James Yarrington’s, southwest corner of Bank and 11th Streets. The house was a two-story brick, English basement structure. Poe and family occupied the first story above the parlor. Their windows overlooked the beautiful spacious grounds of the Capitol with that classic structure in their center. Poe’s side view opened on the southeast corner of Bank and 11th Streets — locating an open space and a carpenter’s shop. At Mrs. Yarrington’s no mention was made of that mystic marriage — craft undergone for its purpose at Baltimore. Therefore Mrs. Clemm was “Aunt,” and Virginia was “Cousin” to the handsome young editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in his early brilliant career at Richmond, until the following May. Gossips — never tongue-tied concerning attractive, marriageable young men — would have it that Mrs. Clemm designed to make her nephew doubly dear as a [page 516:] son, But the eyes of a fair young girl — other than his cousin’s — followed this youthful knight of the quill, and with a longing for his writing an address for her school Commencement Day, writes Mr. Whitty;(27) and, it seems, not without effect for this purpose by his grace and action. This fair one is noted by Mr. Whitty as Miss Harriet Virginia Scott, from whose home on Main Street she watched the popular young editor of the Messenger — who was looked upon as a great poet in those early Richmond times — daily passing to and fro between its office and his home. Years later — as Mrs. Thompson of Austin, Texas — she sent to Mr. Whitty one of the four or five stranzas [[stanzas]] of “Queen of May Ode” Poe wrote for her when she called with her attorney cousin, a friend of Poe, at the Messenger office on this quest. [page 517:]

Dame Rumor also created a flirtation between bright Editor Poe and Mr. White’s attractive blue-eyed daughter Eliza. Both were good (lancers, found mutual pleasure in such pastime and were always the best of friends; but never more, as has been affirmed by her sister, Mrs. Peter D. Bernard, and others. Then, too, there were pretty stories of play and teasing between the two cousins Edgar and Virginia, in his press-reading, and her quick little hand-capture of his paper, darting off with it like a flash of light with him in full pursuit and both with all the eagerness of two fun-loving children. In truth they were never scarcely more. In the “Valley of the Many Colored Grass” — seen from the heights of this Richmond City — their happiness floated over the “deep and narrow river, [that he named the River of Silence, and described as] brighter than all, save the eyes of Eleonora; . . . a soft, green grass, . . . besprinkled . . . with the yellow buttercup, the white daisy, the purple violet and the ruby-red asphodel that . . . “in their beauty “spoke to our hearts, in loud tones, of the love and glory of God.” These words betoken, not a transferred love, but that sentiment transfigured; — exalted was Poe’s love for Virginia; it was sanctified by sorrow, and its beauty of purpose in ministering to the happiness of others. In faithful affection for little Virginia and Mrs. Clemm, Poe’s life was no failure! There, in this ideal way, they “lived all alone, knowing nothing of the world without the valley — I, and my cousin and her mother.” Of this fair young “cousin” Poe continued: “The loveliness of Eleonora was that of the Seraphim; but she was a maiden [page 518:] artless and innocent as the brief life she had led among the flowers. No guile disguised the fervor of love which animated her heart.” It is said, frequent were their strayings about Richmond City; and that “Eddie” showed Virginia where rested his own young mother, close to the eastern wall of Old St. John’s shadowy, spacious, quiet green-acre; thence to the narrow home of his other mother so still in the silence of Shockoe Hill; and not far away, where lay so long, Mrs. Stanard, the rare first “Helen” of his “boyhood’s passionate” fancy.

It appears that September, 1835, and No. XIII, closed Vol. I of the Southern Literary Messenger with a success “gratifying” to its publisher-owner. With a break of two months in its issue, Vol. II began in December, 1835. It noted that the gentleman referred to in No. IX — Mr. E. V. Sparhawk writes Mr. Whitty — as filling the editorial chair retired with No. XI, “and the intellectual department is now under the conduct of the proprietor, assisted by a gentleman of distinguished literary talents.”

Oct. 20, 1835,(28) Mr. White wrote Mr. Minor: “Mr. Poe, who is with me again, read (your address) over by copy with great care. He is very much pleased with it . . . and intends noticing it under the head of Reviews.” Oct 24th, Mr. White suggested Mr. Minor’s sending a modest paragraph noting the Messenger as under the owner’s own editorial management, assisted by several gentlemen of distinguished literary attainments, and to introduce Poe’s name as one of others engaged to contribute to its columns, but with this caution, — “taking care not to say [page 519:] editor.” Mr. White concluded: “This I am sure you can manage for me, if you can possibly spare the time, now that Sparhawk has taken the field against me. I will speak to you on this when next I see you. I am in no little trouble. My wife is very sick now and has been for two days.” Mr. White’s invalid wife died when forty-three, Dec. 11, 1837. It is of importance to bear in mind that Mr. Sparhawk’s noted attitude indicates that Poe was not the only one who could not agree with Mr. White. But among those who took friendly interest in Poe’s “literary talents” was judge Beverley Tucker, author of “Partisan Leader.” Poe’s “Review” of it voted judge Tucker’s “George Balcombe,” upon the whole, “the best American novel. . . . Its interest is intense from begining [[beginning]] to end. . . . Talent of a very lofty order is in every page of it.” The review concluded with — “George Balcombe thinks, speaks and acts as no person, we are convinced, but judge Beverley Tucker ever precisely thought, spoke and acted before.” From Williamsburg, Va., Nov. 29, 1835, Judge Tucker wrote Mr. White of his Messenger and its hypercritical editor venture, a forceful jurist’s letter which noted the drastic Poe — treatment given “Norman Leslie,” by the New York Mirror editor, Theodore S. Fay. In Judge Tucker’s letter was: “The severity of criticism is right. But levity with severity is unbecoming judicial gravity. This is necessary to the authority of the sentence. Apply this to the review of ‘Norman Leslie.’ I have no doubt the fool deserves all and more. But the tone does not become the chair of criticism. . . . Besides, the author is a rival editor! Observe; I do not [page 520:] call everything levity which will raise a smile. Nor do 1 define it. The writer of that review needs no definition of it, and will readily avoid it when he chooses. As a critic he should always choose to avoid it. . . . I am much flattered by Mr. Poe’s opinion of my lines. Yet he will see, as I do, they are not poetry. . . . Original thoughts come to me ‘like angels’ visits, few and far between.’ To Mr. Poe they come thronging unbidden, crowding themselves upon him. . . . His history . . . reminds me of Coleridge’s. With . . . Coleridge’s virtues and success before him he can need no other guide. Yet . . . will he [Poe] admit me to this office? Without a tithe of his genius, I am old enough to be his father (if I do not mistake his filiation, I remember his beautiful mother when a girl) and I presume I have had advantages the want of which he feels. Now if by aiding you, I can aid him too, to discumber himself of the clogs that have impeded his progress, I shall kill two birds with one stone. . . . I said nothing of his Tale. It was because that had been praised as much as was good for him . . . no man ever attained to that distinction to which Mr. P. may fairly aspire by extravagance. He is made for better things. . . . If Mr. P. takes what I have said, he shall have as much more of it whenever occasion calls for it. If not, his silence alone will effectually rebuke my impertinence.” This able letter touched the keystone of the entire situation created by Poe’s review of “Norman Leslie,” and proved its critic’s later remembrance of editorial courtesy in point of time treatment of Cornelius ‘Mathew’s “Wakondah,”(29) after its escape from its writer’s Arcturus. [page 521:]

To Judge Tucker’s letter Poe himself at once responded. To this answer, judge Tucker replied, Dec. 5, 1835: “I have been congratulating myself on the success of my attempt to draw you into correspondence. . . . I did not mean to deny the deficiency of a certain style of criticism in demolishing scribblers, I merely said it was not judicial. It may make the critic . . . formidable to the rabble of literary offenders . . . odious . . . to . . . those . . . his sentence cuts . . . Respectfully with best wishes.” This month judge Tucker also noted to Mr. White as to Poe’s model critic — Sir Christopher North: “I admire Wilson, but he is an offense unto me by the brutal arrogance of his style of criticism.” Of Poe was added: “He did not give Fay(30) one blow more than he deserved, but . . . [blows] ought not to have come from a rival editor.”

Poe’s exceptions were taken, because he thought Judge Tucker’s letter to Mr. White might have with him undue influence; but Jan. 26, 1836, this atmosphere was cleared by a letter from Judge Tucker to Poe.

Concerning the Southern Literary Messenger contributors, appeared in No. XI: “Among these we hope to be pardoned for singling out the name of Mr. Poe; because such mention of him finds numberless precedents in journals on every side which have sung the praises of his uniquely original vein of imagination and of humorous satire.” So Poe, though not announced as the Messenger’s editor, soon became known as such far and wide.

Mr. Whitty calls attention to some lines of Poe’s notice — in December, 1835, Messenger — on Chief [page 522:] Justice Marshall, long known to their writer as a special friend and adviser of his foster-mother. Poe’s words were: “Our great and lamented countryman, fellow-townsman, neighbor and friend — for by all these names did a fortuitous conjunction of circumstances, including his own kind and prideless heart, entitle us to call him.” Concerning the writer Mr. Whitty adds : “While Poe labored at the editorial desk of the Messenger, Mr. White, as proprietor, traveled about Virginia for subscribers,” which increased both the subscribers and the expense. As to his Messenger and its editor, in a December, 1835, letter of James K. Paulding, New York, to Mr. White was: “Your Periodical is decidedly superior to any Periodical in the United States, and Mr. Poe is decidedly the best of all our young writers. . . . I might add all our old ones, , . . among which, I assure you, I don’t include myself.”

.Poe’s part of Jan. 2, 1836, Messenger was, “Scenes from ‘Politian,’ An Unpublished Drama”; his prize tale, “MS. Found in a Bottle,” and twenty-eight pages of critical notices. Prior December gave the merited caustic one on “Norman Leslie” by Editor Theodore S. Fay of the New York Mirror staff. Of its critique the late Hamilton W. Mabie noted: “What Poe had to say about writers and books was intelligent, discriminating and free from local lies. He had no patience with the sentimental romances of the day; he stood for good work and sound substance. In the December, 1835, Messenger Poe gave the stinging review of ‘Norman Leslie,’ then noted as a work of genius.” But Poe’s treatment of this product of that time inaugurated a [page 523:] new order of intellectual force in American literary criticism. Nov. 23, 1835, Mr. White wrote Mr. Minor of this “Norman Leslie” Review: “You are altogether right about the ‘ Leslie’ critique. Poe has evidently shown himself no lawyer, whatever else he may be.” December 25th, Mr. White told Mr. Minor: “All critical notices are from the pen of Poe — who, I rejoice to tell you, still keeps from the Bottle.”

In the February, 1836, Messenger appeared from Poe the “Duc de 1‘Omelette”; a poem, “The Valley of Nis,” of prior noting; a prose sketch of “Palestine” [page 524:] and thirty-two pages of critical notices. Of Poe, at this time, and his prospects are given a vivid reflex in his Richmond, January 22, letter to Mr. Kennedy. It noted receipt of his letter and its great influence on himself in: “I have, since then, fought the enemy manfully, and am now . . . comfortable and happy . . . you will be pleased to hear this. My health is better than for years, . . . my mind is fully occupied, my pecuniary difficulties have vanished. I have a fair prospect of future success. . . . I shall never forget to whom all this . . . is in a great degree to be attributed, . . . without your timely aid I should have sunk under my trials. Mr. White is very liberal and besides my salary of $520, he pays me liberally for extra work, so I receive nearly $800. [This, however, Mr. White thought merely “a stipend” in offer for “2d hours per week” work made to Lucian B. Minor, Esq.] Next year . . . I am to get $1000. . . . I receive from publishers nearly all new publications. ‘My friends in Richmond have received me with open arms, and my reputation is extending — especially in the South.” Such families as the Stanards, Sullys, Amblers and Mackenzies were among those mentioned “friends.” Poe continued: “Contrast all this with . . . [the] despair in which you found me, and you will see how great reason I have to be grateful to God — and to yourself.” Poe further noted the need of an attorney in connection with the death of Mrs. Catherine Clemm, of Mt. Prospect, near Baltimore, a relation by marriage of Mrs. Wm. Clemm, Jr., his aunt, and her daughter Virginia, then in the writer’s care at Richmond; that his aunt’s son, Henry, was then at sea, [page 525:] and both children, having one-fifth interest in the estate of the lady deceased, were minors. Mr. Kennedy’s opinion is asked on writer’s “editorial course” and “critical notices” of the Messenger. Poe’s letter closed with remembrances to Mr. Kennedy’s family and for himself the “highest respect & esteem.” It is of interest to learn that Mrs. Clemm’s son, Henry, was living, January, 1836, and at sea again. The lath of this month Poe wrote a distant cousin, George Poe, Alabama, of Mrs. Clemm, that he was aware of her trials for many years, and of what she had received from Augusta, Ga., cousins with the little the writer could add. That his editing the Southern Literary Messenger allowed him to offer her and Virginia a home — all boarding with Mrs. Yarrington for $9 per week from his salary of $800 per year. That Mrs. Clemm thought if she had means to open such a house she could support her daughter and herself. That writer would give $100, William and Robert Poe $100, and she desired a loan of another $100 from her cousin George. It is said the $100 was sent, but failed to obtain the purpose for which this loan was requested.

To Poe’s January 22nd glowing letter to Mr. Kennedy, he replied, February 9th: “I am greatly rejoiced at your success not only in Richmond but everywhere. My predictions have been more than fulfilled in regard to the public favor for your literary enterprises.’ ” He stated that Poe was strong enough to be criticised; warned him of his fault, “love of the extravagant”; that his bizarreries were mistaken and admired for satires, deserved for them, but not their writer, as [page 526:] satire was not his intention; said his grotesque was of the best stamp; liked his critical notices; warned him to be rigidly temperate in body and mind, cheerful, to rise early, work methodically, take regular recreation and frequent the best company only, — all of which would assure him success and comfort. Yet, again, Mr. Kennedy failed to recognize that in the “best of company,” in those days of the flowing bowl, lurked much that was perilous to Poe; even flowers of maiden innocence would charm their swains into proposing them a toast, of which Poe’s wits were master in expression but dethroned by its liquid indulgence. And a refusal of this “cup of kindness,” for declining which no explanation could be given, meant either social isolation or nerve-wreckage in its acceptance to Poe. Neither alternative could Mr. Kennedy understand because, with others, he did not realize Poe’s infirmity was nerve-exhaustion and not an enslaving appetite for strong drink. To Mr. Kennedy’s February 9th letter, Poe’s two days’ later reply noted its receipt “an hour ago.” This indicates that it took two days in 1836 for letters to go from Baltimore to Richmond. Poe admitted Mr. Kennedy as half right as to the “satire” charge; that the tales were intended for half-banter, half-satire — “Lionizing” and “Loss of Breath” were satires, or “at least so meant”; that the writer found “no difficulty in keeping pace with magazine duties.” In the February, 1836, number — in binder’s hands — “appear 40 pages of Editorial”; since last writing his salary was increased $104, by Mr. White, who was “liberal beyond . . . expectation,” and “exceedingly kind in every respect.” [page 527:]

Feb. 5, 1836, Poe, by request of Mr. White, gave his friend Mr. Lucian Minor very good reasons for changing the title of his article “The Necessity of Selections in Reading” to simply “Selections in Reading.”

In connection with Poe’s critical notices, the London Nation, June 16, 1909, gave: “He was the greatest journalistic critic of his time, placing good European work at sight when European critics were waiting for somebody to tell them what to say.” Of Poe’s own time, James Kirk Paulding, New York literary light and friend of Irving, wrote that Poe’s “Review of Drake and Halleck” was “one of the finest specimens of literary criticism ever published in this country.” Of Halleck’s “Alnwick Castle” Poe wrote: “The . . . fourth stanza belongs to a very high order of poetry. This is gloriously imaginative, —

‘Wild roses by the Abbey towers

Are gay in their young bud and bloom —

They were born of a race of funeral flowers

That garlanded in long — gone hours,

A Templar’s knightly tomb.

The passage is the noblest . . . to be found in Halleck, and I would be at a loss to discover the parallel in all American poetry.” Paulding’s approval moved Poe to ask Paulding to place the “Tales of the Folio Club” with Harpers in New York City, as no issue of them had yet been made by Carey & Lea, who had returned their MSS. with one tale missing. Feb. 20, 1836, Poe was advised of this MS. by Carey & Hart, who issued The Gift the following November, that search [page 528:] of their manuscripts failed to find Poe’s straying story which they thought Miss Leslie returned, but if later found, it would be sent to its writer. Paulding, failing New York success concerning Poe’s tales issue, wrote Mr. White that Harpers’ readers governed their decisions, made on the basis of profit and loss rather than the merit of a work or its author; that if Poe would lower himself to ordinary comprehension, prepare tales or a single work, they would make liberal and satisfactory terms with him. Paulding suggested that Poe should apply his fine humor and extensive acquirements to more familiar subjects of satire and added, that his “ ‘quiz on Willis’ and ‘burlesque of Blackwood’s’ were not only capital but understood by all.” Paulding also wrote Poe as to the character of work for Harpers’ acceptance. Their issue refusal was based on reprints and short stories not being popular. But they noted approval of Poe’s criticisms; the strong character of the Messenger reviews that would “prove highly pleasing to Mr. Paulding and Professor Anthon — but, above the understanding of but a few, they were too learned and mystical.”

George Dunlop, Esq., of the Standard office, Kilmarnock, Scotland, owned a Poe letter dated Richmond, Va., April 12, 1836, to William Poe, Georgia, in which appears that “press of business” prevented a reply to the kind letter of March enclosing $50 to Mrs. Clemm; Poe noted donor’s prompt, generous and frequent assistance as deeply felt by Mrs. C. and himself: that “she is, or will be so, that there will be no need of future tax on the kindness” of donor and his brother. Poe added, that Washington Poe of Macon, Ga., was [page 529:] a subscriber to the Messenger; writer sent thanks for an invitation to visit Georgia, and it would give him the greatest pleasure to show all attention to William and family should they come to Richmond. A few lines added by Mrs. Clemm were “Edgar handed me a note for $50, for which I am indebted to your kindness. Accept my sincere gratitude.”

But for the brilliant young editor the social glow of his men friends and maidens fair; the sway of song, dance and dinner functions were soon to be set aside for far more serious consideration of his own marriage to the endearing little cousin Virginia or “Sissy,” the child-light of his dark Baltimore years. And “Sissy” Poe called her to the end of her young life at twenty-four. In this venture “Buddy,” as his aunt and cousin called him, was assisted by Thomas W. Cleland, a pressman and son-in-law of Mrs. Poore with whom Poe had boarded in Richmond, who, as a good Presbyterian, gave surety, of all he knew perhaps, that the marriage bond required by law in taking oath, May 16, 1836, before deputy clerk Charles Howard that “Virginia E. Clemm is of full age of twenty-one years, and a resident of said city,” of Richmond, when, as a fact, the bonnie little bride was not quite fourteen and the bridegroom was full twenty-seven. Had this child-bride been a few years older, thirteen years’ difference in their ages would not have been amiss. But in this transaction one must wonder far more at Mrs. Clemm’s mature grasp of all possible details concerning it than at Poe; yet doubtlessly pretty, frail Virginia herself was the problem’s difficulty of [page 530:] solution from first to last. And perhaps the gathering force of her innocence in —

“Unaimed charms with edge resistless fall

And she who means no mischief does it all” —

settled for her mother and their “Buddie” this affair to her wishes. In any case the marriage ceremony was performed by Rev. Anlasa Converse, Presbyterian [page 531:] clergyman and editor of the Southern Religious Telegraph, the evening of May 16, 1836, at Mrs. Yarrington’s. Rev. Mr. Converse remembered Mrs. Clemm as, “polished, dignified and agreeable in her bearing” and as giving “her consent freely ”; also that the bride had “a pleasing manner but seemed very young” to him, as is noted by Professor Woodberry,(31) After the ceremony the wedding party called their friends into their room, where the marriage was announced and wine and cake were served to all. Mr. Whitty’s account of Poe’s wedding came from one of the poets guests; concerning the occurrence his record is: “Mrs. Jane Stocking was present at the wedding, which took place in the parlor of the Yarrington home, where Poe boarded, Mrs. Stocking, then but a slip of a girl, was full of thrills with thoughts of seeing so young a girl, like her own self, getting married; and also like Virginia, she was so little, that she found her best view of the ceremony was from the hallway door, where she obtained a reflection of the entire scene through a large old-fashioned mirror, which tilted forward a bit from over the mantle. All the boarders of the home, and all the poet’s friends, including Mr. Thomas W. White and his daughter Pliza, were present. Virginia was attired in a new traveling dress, and ‘yore her hat. After the ceremony and congratulations the newly wedded entered a hack, waiting on the outside, and went to a train for Petersburg, Va., where they spent their honeymoon.

“What a treat it was to hear for hours at a time such wondrous events from Virginia’s former little playmate! Mrs. Stocking at the time of the wedding [page 532:] was both young and shy, and on the occasion she said, that she could only look, and look about in bewilderment — for in that short ceremony of a few minutes she was picturing her little companion of the day before suddenly transported into matured womanhood; like in the fairy tales, she was wondering why Virginia didn’t grow taller and look different, à la Cinderella; that’s what bothered little Jane Foster the most; but Virginia looked natural, and never changed an iota.

“How childlike and bland it all now seems!” From Mr. Jno. W. Fergusson, then apprentice boy in the Messenger composing-room, was learned that Mrs. Clemm made the wedding cake and that he was one of the few who helped to eat it, when he was a mere lad of fifteen; that he did not know Poe well, but saw much of him in the office; and used to carry materials for the Messenger to Poe at the Yarringtons’ ; that he was ever kind and courteous and everybody liked him when himself, but under stimulants Poe was the very opposite of his normal self. From Mr. Edward V. Valentine’s “Notes” comes: “In the Richmond Enquirer of May 20, 1836, appeared: ‘Married — On Monday, May 16th, by the Rev. Mr. Converse, Mr. Edgar Allan Poe to Miss Virginia Eliza Clemm.” Mr. Whitty adds “Mrs. Jane Stocking, as Miss Foster, was one of Poe’s several wedding guests and among the few who went with the bride and groom to Petersburg Railroad Station to see them off on their few days’ honeymoon at that place. There, they were delightfully entertained at the home of Mr. Hiram H. Haines, Proprietor of the Petersburg, Va., Constellation, the principal [page 533:] Democratic press in the Atlantic States south of Richmond; and of which Poe’s good friend, brilliant Edward V. Sparhawk, was the editor; and at his home was shared the owners’ hospitality extended to Poe and Virginia. It is said these good times and thanks were subjects of later Poe letters to Mr. H. H. Haines, who died in early life in 1841, but only two of these letters are preserved by his grandson.” However, Poe and his bride were also entertained by Dr. W. M. Robinson, a writer of that time and place, to whom Poe referred in his Dec. 1, 1846, “Marginalia” as “Dr. R —— ” and noted with Willis, Mr. J. T. S. Sullivan and Mrs. S —— d, of New York, as one of only six “good conversationalists” he knew. Petersburg was also Robert Al. Sully’s birthplace; and Poe was no doubt in some family touch with him there at this time. Concerning the return of Editor Poe and bride from their honeymoon festivities in the “Cockade City,” it is recorded that his Richmond friends, the Stanards, Sullys, Amblers and others, promptly paid their respects to his wife. Robert Stanard ,vas then a prosperous lawyer and Robert Sully’s reputation since his return from study in Europe, in 1828, was a growing one and he, too, was a married man since 1832, father of his beautiful daughter Julia and his son, Robert M. Sully, Junior.

In the May, 1836, Southern Literary Messenger, Poe placed a poem, on “Death of Camilla,” by his friend Wilmer. From Poe’s own pen appeared a “Sonnet,” and “Irene the Dead” in its MS. phase but of many revisions, prints and another title, “The Sleeper.” A few of its early lines were: [page 534:]

“All beauty sleeps: and lo! where lies . . .

Irene, with her destinies !

. . . . . . . .

The lady sleeps: the dead all sleep —

At least as long as Love doth weep:

Entranc‘d the spirit loves to lie

As long as tears on Memory’s eye:”

It seemed to be Poe’s belief that only the beloved and remembered slept peacefully in God’s acre. Poe also gave to this May number editorials and critical notes wherein were favored Professor Anthon’s “Sallust” and Cooper’s “Switzerland.” Returning from his wedding trip to the late May desk-work for the June Messenger, Poe gave it an editorial and some fifteen pages of reviews. But June 7th, purse-pressure, perhaps owing to the modest May wedding extras, induced Poe to turn again to Mr. Kennedy, to tell him of a temporary difficulty, and a reluctance to apply to new Richmond friends; that Mr. White had bought a $10,000 home in view of renting it to Mrs. Clemm, who was to board himself and family. For this venture, Poe wrote that he had obtained furniture on credit to the amount of $200, prior to finding that the house was scarcely “large enough for one family”; that he was in debt for a small sum; and for this was asked $100 loan for six months to meet the $100 due in three months, and this would allow three months for his return of the loan. Beyond the “small sum,” Poe noted that he owed nothing; that he was then receiving $15 per week and was to have $20 in November. Poe made inquiry as to the estate of Mrs. Catherine Clemm; noted the Messenger as thriving beyond [page 535:] expectations; himself, with every prospect of success; and wished for a “scrap” from Mr. Kennedy’s portfolio, as his name bore weight in the South. Poe concluded: “I presume you have heard of my marriage.” This letter throws light upon what was passing in the minds of its writer’s family of three in their association with Mr. White; that his editor was finding within himself genius for criticism as well as editorial capacity; also that his money returns were acceptable for the present and promising for the future. But it also reveals some shortage of practical executive ability floating about somewhere between Mr. White and Mrs. Clemm to let Poe buy furniture for a house of unknown size and accommodations. Meanwhile the Messenger was fairly serving Poe by carrying his name and well-earned fame into the quickening arena of periodical literature where were in waiting for fierce editorial combat the Knickerbocker, the New Englander and the New York Mirror. With a clear cleavage Poe’s acute intellectual force usually dealt but simple justice by the “fall in” with his “broad axe”; and by such master-strokes as the Messenger’s pages reflected from Poe’s pen, its subscription list grew from five hundred to thirty-five hundred within nineteen months’ time; but by the caustic treatment given “Norman Leslie” in the December, 1835, issue of the Messenger, Poe had hurled his challenge at the feet of its favored young metropolitan writer, Theodore S. Fay, on the editorial staff of the New York Mirror, then among the best literary weeklies in our land. Thence came a lull with mutterings in its wake which presaged the storm, breaking some four months [page 536:] later. This flashed from the New York Mirror April 6, 1836, over:

“☞ Those who have read the notices of American books in a . . . ‘southern’ monthly which is striving to gain notoriety by loudness of its abuse, may find amusement in the sketch, in another page, entitled ‘The Successful Novel. The Southern Literary ‘Messenger’ knows ☞ by experience ☞ what it is to write a successless novel ☞.”

The sketch mentioned was a sarcastic editorial on Poe’s special attention to technical English; his hobby of “plagiarism” also included broad hints that the Mirror had rejected his shorter efforts as had Harpers his longer ones. Poe, on his mettle, replied (in April, 1836, Messenger), that he never in his “life wrote, or published, or attempted to publish a novel successful or successless”; and, standing on the success of his critical firing line, he added: “There was a time, it is true, when we cringed to foreign opinion — let us even say when we paid a most servile deference to British critical dicta. That an American book could, by any possibility, be worthy perusal, was an idea by no means extensively prevalent in the land; and if we were induced to read at all the productions of our native writers, it was only after repeated assurances froin England that such productions were not altogether contemptible. . . . Not so, however, with our present follies . . . We . . . forget, in the puerile inflation of vanity, that the world is the true theatre of the biblical histrio — [In the foregoing sentence Poe indelibly traced his fixed belief that “the world” was the supreme tribunal of “biblical histrio”; it also [page 537:] affirms of him the truth that Dr. C. Alphonso Smith expresses in: “It is impossible to localize Poe.”] . . . so far from being ashamed of the many disgraceful literary failures, . . . deeply lamenting that these . . . are of home manufacture, we adhere to our original blindly conceived idea, and thus . . . find ourselves involved in . . . liking a stupid book the better because, sure enough, its stupidity is American.” On these issues Dr. Woodberry notes: “What distinguished Poe was the audacity with which he took the unenvied post, [fearless of being esteemed unpatriotic] and the vigor with which he struck. . . . New Yorkers never forgave him.” Nor did New England! Col. W. L. Stone of the Commercial Advertiser, and W. Gaylord Clark of the Philadelphia Gazette, publicly denounced Poe; and among his own circle, the Newbern Spectator became his envious foe. But of Poe, the dauntless, Dr. Woodberry adds: “His end was justice if his manner was not courtesy. In fact his reputation as a critic would now suffer rather for the mercy he showed than the vengeance he took.” However, so stood Poe, the critic, with many public pressmen of April, 1836. In June, Harpers noted their reasons for returning his MS. to Poe, but added that they were pleased with his criticisms and took pleasure in sending to him all their books. Of the last number of the Southern Literary Messenger they wrote him: “Our opinion fully sustains the high character it has acquired for itself.”

At Hartford, Conn., April 23, 1836, Mrs. L. H. Sigourney wrote to Poe of her pleasure in the discovery of the editor of her favorite periodical, and its profit by the guidance of that powerful pen whose versatile [page 538:] and brilliant creations she often admired. But she called Poe’s attention to his critical noting that her poems resembled those of Mrs. Hemans, whose works were of some years’ later issue. To Poe’s June 4th apology Mrs. Sigourney replied, June 11th: “I hasten to assure you that your apprehension of having forfeited my good will is entirely groundless. . . . Do not, however, assume a more lenient style with regard to me . . . no traffick in civilities is as valuable in my opinion as sincerity.” These notings touched the pleasant phases of Poe’s adverse critical tactics.

July 30th, Poe’s hypercritical taste, in titles of subjects treated, moved him to suggest to Matthew Carey, Esq., Philadelphia, the alterations of affixed heading of “ ‘A Looker — on in Venice No. 2,’ to simply ‘On Study of the Learned Languages’ already set up.” Poe regretted some items as to Mr. Carey’s “Anthology” and “Sciences of Life,” and noted his “National Ingratitude” had attracted great attention. The real interest in these comments lies in Poe at twenty-seven being properly so sure of his judgment in such suggestions to a man seventy-six and Mr. Carey’s wide book-experience and recognition of Poe’s opinion.

From Poe’s Sept. 2, 1836, editorial reply to the Richmond Courier and Daily Compiler’s comments editorial, of prior Aug. 31st, charging him with “indiscriminiate cutting and slashing,” also like “laudation,” is learned: that from December, 1835, to September, 1836, Poe had received ninety-four books: seventy-nine of these were mostly commended; of seven, praise slightly prevailed in “Hawks, of Hawks-Hollow,” “The Old World and the New,” “Spain Revisited,” [page 539:] “Poems” of Mrs. Sigourney, Miss Gould, Mrs. Fllet and of Halleck; in five, censure was greatly predominant, while only three were deliberately condemned. They were,“Norman Leslie ,” “Paul Ulric” and “Ups and Downs.” Poe concluded that the last, “alone” was “unexceptionally condemned. Of these facts you may satisfy yourself at any moment by reference. . . . I cannot . . . doubt . . . your remarks. . . . were meant to do the Messenger a service and . . . you regard it with the most friendly feelings in the world. Respectfully, The Editor of the Messenger.”

As of prior noting, Poe’s literary and editorial ability lifted the Messenger’s circulation from seven hundred to five thousand, is one record, and another, from five hundred to thirty-five hundred in nineteen months’ service. Therein he gave it over one hundred and twenty-five reviews and editorials, — the last dated January, 1837. And of those who would stint Poe due praise, Mr. J. M. Robertson asks: “How do these estimate their own powers in relation to those of Poe?” However, the Messenger’s prosperity he firmly established, and to the extent that August, 1836, found its editor with a slow but steadily increasing income as well as that of its owner.

There are several records that in Poe’s early editorial life he made a so-called common-place book of excerpts that pleased him, that he had been collecting for years from various authors of his wide classic studies and readings. These, with his own timely, forceful notes upon them, served him as a store-house for future use: one instance being his “Pinakidia,” begun in the August, 1836, Southern Literary Messenger. [page 540:] Under these “Random Thoughts, Odds and Ends, Scraps, Brevities,” etc., has come to common clay light the source of the proverb, “Evil communications corrupt good manners,” as “found in ‘Corinthians,’ as a quotation and intended as such from ‘ Euripides.’ ”

In the August Messenger also appeared, as reprints from Poe’s pen, “Israfel”; “City of Sin,” later “City in the Sea”; some editorials and about eighteen critical pages, wherein ranged notings from Dr. Orville Dewey’s “Old World and the New” down to “Inklings of Adventure” by N. P. Willis, described then, with his “pretty face and figure”; and his writings were voted “fair, funny, fanciful and frisky.” In this number Poe’s friend Philip Pendleton Cooke, of Martinsburg, Va., also made his début.

From January to November, 1836, Poe came into first and far critical touch with the pen effusions of pretty Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet, with whose Circe visitations he later became personally acquainted, to the sorrow of Virginia, himself and others.

In the New York Nation, January 1, 1909, issue appeared Dr. Killis Campbell’s “Poe and the Southern Literary Messenger.” In his Poe-paper Dr. Campbell gives in full a Poe letter dated “Richmond Oct: 20, 1837,” written to Mrs. S. J. Hale, then editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. Illness sometimes played strange pranks with Poe’s pen; and while this letter-date would locate its writer then at Richmond, several facts controvert this view. Aside from the strenuous financial conditions of 1837 panic, Poe’s normal purse strictures would then have made prohibitive his going [page 541:] from New York to Richmond. Because he mentioned being “overwhelmed with business” by reason of his “late illness,” both facts point to the correct date of this Poe-letter to Mrs. Hale, as being “Richmond, Oct: 1836.” Then Poe could write in literal truth: “As Editor of the Messenger, I can however say that it will afford me sincere pleasure to do you any service in my power. I shall look anxiously for the ‘Ladie’s Wreath.’ ” This work was a selection of poems, by foreign and American “Female” writers, edited by Mrs. Hale, and “Entered according to the Act of Congress 1836. . . . By Marsh, Capen & Lyon, Boston.” This incorrectly dated letter also referred to Mrs. Hale’s letter in Poe’s “Autography,” printed August 1836. And of this Poe wrote: “I am surprised and grieved to learn that your son (with whom 1 had a slight acquaintance at West Point) should have been vexed about the autographs. . . . Most assuredly as regards yourself, Madam, I had no intention of giving offense — in respect to the ‘Mirror’ I am somewhat less scrupulous.” In August, 1836, Southern Literary Messenger print of Poe’s “Autography,” appeared: “Mrs. Hale writes a larger and bolder hand than her sex generally. It resembles, in a great degree, that of Professor Lieber — and is not easily deciphered. The whole MS. is indicative of masculine understanding. Paper very good and wafered.” Poe’s “less scrupulous” tactics concerning the Mirror were caused by that paper’s assaults on him for his caustic literary treatment of “Norman Leslie” (by its editor Theodore S. Fay) printed December, 1835, by Editor-critic Poe, in the Southern Literary Messenger. [page 542:] The Messenger September number claimed Poe’s editorial attention for some ten pages of mild reviews, and it concluded with: “The illness of both publisher and editor will, we hope, prove sufficient apology for delay in the issue of the present number and for the emission of many promised notices of books.” As to Poe’s illness, very likely his editorial success claimed social recognition that, on the old call of the “social cup,” his lack of physical nerve-force was unable to meet and master. Consequences followed to which he alluded in a letter accepting an article six days after leaving the Messenger service; and his excuse for delay, as caused by “ill health and weight of various and harassing business”; also, in a some years later letter, April 1, 1841, to his friend Dr. J. Evans Snodgrass, of Baltimore, in these words: “I certainly did give way, at long intervals, to the temptations held out on all sides by the spirit of Southern conviviality. My sensitive temperament could not stand an excitement which was an every-day matter to my companions. In short, it sometimes happened that I was completely intoxicated. For some days after each excess I was invariably confined to bed.” A Richmond friend said of Poe, “He resisted more temptations in a day than most men do in a year.” Records show that Mr. Allan bought whiskey by the barrel and wine accordingly: nor was he by any means an exception on this score in those days when to become “gloriously happy” by such ways was not considered disgraceful.

 


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Notes:

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[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 04)