"Don't you Feel a Sort of Settled Intimacy as the Result of Time and our Writing and Every Thing?" [Manuscript]. Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. [1841-1935]. [Castletown, Lady Clare (1853-1927)]. [Autograph Letter Signed "OWH" to Lady Clare Castletown, Boston (?), April 10, 1897]. 10" x 8" bifolium, content filling rectos and versos of both leaves. Light toning, vertical and horizontal fold lines, minor tears to folds in two places. $3,000. * This letter dates from the early years of Holmes's lengthy correspondence with Lady Clare Castletown, an aristocratic woman with whom Holmes had an intense flirtation. Holmes, then an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, offers interesting remarks about the statesman John Hay, the historian Henry Adams and the recently-published book Farthest North (1897) by the Norwegian Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen. The letter reads, in part: "To answer your question about our Ambassador [Hay], I first met him when I was returning from the war and he was Lincoln's Secretary. I had some talk with him on the train and thought him an intelligent man. Then I saw him in Paris in '66 and thought the same, but regard him as having a rather a thin varnish on an imperfect Civilization. He has had much experience since then I know and no doubt has learnt much. (...) He is a friend of Henry Adams, a son of our Minister to England, which is a mark in his favor as the Adamses are a clever lot-that's that. (...) My most interesting experience in the way of general reading is Nansen's book (Farthest North). It is beautiful as a Greek statue. (...) [N]othing could be more enchanting than to see a man nearly killing himself for an End which derives its worth simply from his having affirmed it. You see the pure ideal in concrete-nonsensical and sublime. (How much we could tell each other if we met again. Don't you feel a sort of settled intimacy as the result of time and our writing and every thing? For oh oh oh, I wish."
Book number 71500