Holmes Writes Lady Castletown to Share Thoughts About His Recent Reading and an Anecdote Involving Richard Harding Davis and Charles Dana Gibson [Manuscript]. Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. [1841-1935]. [Castletown, Lady Clare (1853-1927)]. [Autograph Letter Signed "Yours, OWH" to Lady Clare Castletown, Boston, January 21, 1898]. 10" x 8" bifolium, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court letterhead, content filling rectos and versos of both leaves. Faint vertical and horizontal fold lines, negligible ink show-through in a few places. $3,500. * 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 in the late 1890s. Holmes, then an associate justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, offers interesting remarks about books he read recently and tells a joke about Richard Harding Davis. Addressed to "Hibernia," the pet name he often used with her, the letter reads, in part: "I am thinking so much as to my chances of seeing you this summer. Your book - The Washington Ford has given a real thrill. The human mind is perfectly mechanical. Even when it feels most spontaneous. I probably have told you before, how, when I had a wound in my heel, I would see man after man as he approached irradiated with the same self-congratulatory smiles, and there would follow a reference to Achilles...I have not any serious big job at hand either of reading or writing and for the last day or two I have amused myself with 'Gossip of the Century' one of the endless number of books of this sort which give one a thin entertainment. I would rather read about D'Orsay and Ashton Smith and Robbins the auctioneer than about...all the saints of the Tennyson Cult who would so have liked to be geniuses if God had made them that way.... I heard a story the other day told of Richard Harding Davis (whom you met) and [Charles Dana] Gibson (the man who draws pretty girls). Probably it has been told of others. They come to a restaurant and sit down and give their order and then leave the table for a moment. On their return they find two others sitting at it. They make a row and the others are transferred to another table. After feeding, feeling ever amicable, RHD goes up to the others, hopes he has not inconvenienced them, and says 'perhaps it ma.
Book number 71642