To Hugo Fritsch [Before 8.7.1863]
My honest thanks to you, Hugo, for your letter posting me up not only about yourself but about my dear boys, Fred, Nat Bloom-always so welcome to me to hear personally or in any way any & every item about them. Dear friend, the same evening I rec'd your letter, I saw in the New York papers (which get here about 5 every evening) the announcement of Charles Chauncey's death. When I went up to my room that night towards 11 I took a seat by the open window in the splendid soft moonlit night, and, there alone by myself, (as is my custom sometimes under such circumstances), I devoted to the dead boy the silent cheerful tribute of an hour or so of floating thought about him, & whatever rose up from the thought of him, & his looks, his handsome face, his hilarious fresh ways, his sunny smile, his voice, his blonde hair, his talk, his caprices-the way he & I first met-how we spoke together impromptu, no introduction- then our easy falling into intimacy-he with his affectionate heart thought so well of me, & I loved him then, & love him now-I thought over our meetings together, our drinks & groups so friendly, our suppers with Fred & Charley Russell &c. off by ourselves at some table, at Pfaffs off the other end-O how charming those early times, adjusting our friendship, I to the three others, although it needed little adjustment-for I believe we all loved each other more than we supposed-Chauncey was frequently the life & soul of these gatherings--was full of sparkle, & so good, really witty-then for an exception he would have a mood come upon him & right after the outset of our party, he would grow still & cloudy & up & unaccountably depart-but these were seldom-then I got to having occasionally quite a long walk with him, only us two, & then he would talk well & freely about himself, his experiences, feelings, quite confidential, &c. All these I resumed, sitting by myself.
Hugo, that's the way I sat there Wednesday night till after midnight (the pleasant Virginia breeze coming up the Potomac) and certainly without what they call mourning thought of the boy.
Dear Hugo, you speak of your all remembering me and wish to see me, it would be happiness for me to be with you all, at one of your friendly meetings, especially at Fred's room, so pleasant, with its effect I remember of pictures, fine color, &c. to have the delight of my dear boys' company & their gayety & electricity, their precious friendship, the talk & laughter, the drinks, me surrounded by you all, (so I will for a moment fancy myself,) tumbled upon by you all, with all sorts of kindness, smothered with you all in your hasty thoughtless, magoificent way, overwhelmed with questions, Walt this, Walt that, & Walt every thing. Ah, if one could float off to New York this afternoon. It is Sunday afternoon now, & perhaps you are at this moment gathered at Fred's or at your house, & having a good time.
I suppose you were at Charles Chauncey's funeral-tell me about it, & all particulars about his death. When you write, tell.