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TSI

Stowe to her husband

 

TSI
TSI | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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Stowe to her husband Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) had a dream start to her career as a novelist with the hugely successful Uncle Tom’s Cabin, written in 1852. Stowe published eight more novels and dozens of short stories. From available accounts, she enjoyed a happy and busy home life with her husband Calvin and their six children. This is a letter written 11 years after their wedding, in which Stowe reflects on the joys and sorrows she shared with her husband.

January 1, 1847

My Dearest Husband, I was at the date of marriage a very different being from what I am now and stood in relation to my Heavenly Father in a very different attitude. My whole desire was to live in love, absorbing passionate devotion to one person. Our separation was my first trial - but then came a note of comfort in the hope of being a mother. No creature ever so longed to see the face of a little one or had such a heart full of love to bestow. Here came in trial again sickness, pain, perplexity, constant discouragement - wearing wasting days and nights - a cross, deceitful, unprincipled nurse - husband gone . . . When you came back you came only to increasing perplexities.

One might naturally infer that from the union of two both morbidly sensitive and acute, yet in many respects exact opposites - one hasty and impulsive - the other sensitive and brooding - one the very personification of exactness and routine and the other to whom everything of the kind was an irksome effort - from all this what should one infer but some painful friction.

But still where you have failed, your faults have been to me those of one beloved - of the man who after all would be the choice of my heart still were I to choose - for were I now free I should again love just as I did and again feel that I could give up all to and for you - and if I do not love never can love again with the blind and unwise love with which I married I love quite as truly tho far more wisely.

In reflecting upon our future union - our marriage - the past obstacles to our happiness - it seems to me that they are of two or three kinds. 1st those from physical causes both in you and in me - such on your part as hypochondriac morbid instability for which the only remedy is physical care and attention to the laws of health - and on my part an excess of sensitiveness and of confusion and want of control of mind and memory. This always increases on my part in proportion as I blamed and found fault with, and I hope will decrease with returning health. I hope that we shall both be impressed with a most solemn sense of the importance of a wise and constant attention to the laws of health.

Then in the second place the want of any definite plan of mutual watchfulness, with regard to each other’s improvement, of a definite time and place for doing it with a firm determination to improve and be improved by each other - to confess our faults one to another and pray one for another that we may be healed.

Yours with much love

H.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017