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• TREMONT HOUSE, BOSTON, X
October 31st, 1832. $ My Dear VANGRIFTER, — You will readily admit that a silent man makes but an indifferent coach-mate. A taciturn guest may pass very well for once — but on the second or third visit, you cannot help feeling that he is a bore; and, thereupon, make up your mind to scratch his name out of your invitation-book. I do not even except a good listener, unless he happen to be, at the same time, a good laugher. Then, I grant ye, he is a man to be made much of.
Now I, as a STRANGER, (and as such, considering myself the guest of the people among whom I am staying,) do not wish to pass for a dull, idle, good-for-nothing sort of person.
I am proud to acknowledge that I have experienced many, and unexpected kindnesses, since I have been in this country. Do not think, my dear Van, that I am contented with entering a memorandum of my gratitude in my journal.
On the contrary, I have a strong desire to requite, in some measure, the civilities I have received at the hands of yourself, and your countrymen, by making myself as amusing and agreeable as possible, while I am here present among you.
Will my“ PRENTED NOTES," think you, be found either amusing or agreeable? You say, yes! You have been good enough to laugh (and sometimes to cry) at my stories — you have chuckled over my sketches — you first encouraged me to take notes -- you have frequently urged me to put them into print.
Well, sir, I have followed one part of your advice. I have taken notes — I now send them to you. Put them into print — if you dare!
And here, that you may feel quite at your ease on the subject, let me assure you that I have told no fibs, to please anybody. I will have no soft swellings on my tongue. I am no lampooner, or scandal-monger. If anything be found incorrectly stated in my pages, I beg it may be set down to the — shortness of my memory.
I have, also, to request that — if you resolve upon publishing the inclosed, - you will ask your BROTHER CRITICS to be good enough to admire me in the — right places.
I know I shall be found dull occasionally, - but I really must protest against having my dulnesses extolled, and copied out, in magazines, reviews and newspapers. Praise injudiciously bestowed, has too frequently (even in our own days,) been the ruin of young authors, young actresses, and young cooks !
Let there be no mistake, Van ; - 1 speak now, principally, of the authors, actresses, and cooks of England, about whom, of course, I know most.
By the way, - add a note to the reader, that he is at liberty to borrow as much wit, as he pleases, from the book, and to spend it liberally among those friends at whose houses he is most frequently invited to dine ; - but beg of him not to tell how any of the stories END. I would ask this as a particular favor, because I should like to be read by others as well as himself.
Lastly, my dear Vangrifter, — knowing your propensity to retail at second hand the good sayings of others, - if you should ever be tempted to quote any of the opinions, , matters, or things, herein recorded — take care that they come in aptly, and to the purpose — that you understand what you do quote — and that no ESSENTIAL words are: left out!
Yours, sincerely, (in haste,)
COSTARD Sly. P. S. About the TITLE — what think you ? “A Summer at the Tremont?”. That sounds well, and there are precedents in abundance — witness —“A Winter at Long's"— “Six Weeks at Stevens's" –"A Month at Fladong's," &c, &c. I think you told me you read (or redde, as Lord Byron writes it,) one or two of the above named, when you were last in London.
· NOTE, IN ANSWER TO THE ABOVE, FROM DR ZACHARY PHILEMON
VANGRIFTER, TO COSTARD SLY, ESQUIRE: My dear Friend, - I beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of your packet, and the letter accompanying the same.
I will gladly take upon myself the trouble of getting your book through the press. It is a book to be read
aloud in the long evenings. But why leave out some of my especial favorites? You have neither sent me “ The Voice in the Crowd” — nor “ The Husband without a Wife” — nor even “ Cousin Peter's Cousin.”
You will be pleased to recollect, also, that I bargained · for “ The Irishman in America,” and “ The Fangle Fam
ily.” However, there is matter enough, and more than enough, for two volumes; and if the book takes, (of which, I think, there is little doubt,) we can cram the above mentioned into The Second Series.
As to the Title – upon my life, that is a matter which requires serious consideration. I do not like the one you have suggested. Your work is totally unlike the books mentioned in your P. S. Suppose we call it -“ A Voice from the Tremont” ? Or what say ye to “ The Tremont House Papers”? I am inclined to think the latter would be the most appropriate - the most taking - the most catching. Certainly, the most dignified.
But, by the way, you have said little or nothing about THE TREMONT HOUSE, itself. That must be supplied. You must send me a preface, or introductory chapter, or — or something of that sort ; in which, you know, you can make proper mention of that establishment, and then go on to explain the plan of the work, &c, &c. Yes --yes — I must have a preface, before I can settle matters with my worthy publishers.
Mrs Trollope has the impudence to assert that “no Comic publication has ever been found to answer in America !" Don't believe it. If that assertion frightened you, be discouraged no longer. I assure you, we love to laugh as well as our neighbors.
It is true, (as a writer in the American Quarterly ad