Dear Julia – Rev.Leonard Swain

New York Wed. morn.

Dear Julia

I have just walked down to the Bible House with Mr. Clapp and while he is opening and reading his thirty or forty morning letters I will write a word to you to tell you that I made my journey with safety and comfort and am this morning quite as well as could be expected. When I first got into the cars at Providence it was very close and warm, I felt quite uncomfortable with headache, but when I took off my overcoat and got a little ventilation through the cars I felt better and for the rest of the way had a very pleasant ride. The country looked most beautifully after the rain, the grass so green, the foliage so tender and fresh and bright, whole banks of violets for miles along the track, I thought Henry would have been in ecstasy to see them. It was cloudy all the way till we reached New Haven about four o’clock when the sky appeared, the sun shone out and for the rest of the way to New York it was “perfectly splendid.”…I got into New York about 71/2 o’clock and walked to find Mr. Clapp’s. But it took me a long time to find it. They were very glad to see me and gave me a tumbler of milk and some toast for supper. I was afraid when I went to bed I was going to have a bad night for my head ached somewhat but I slept well and this morning am as well as ever. They have the most delightful place, the large green yard or park of the Episcopal Seminary right in front of the house full of trees and singing birds and making it look quite like the country. There was a fine thunder shower and the thunder was most strange: it sounded as if it was a hundred miles up in the air. This morning it is all clouded over again and looks as if it would stay so all summer. But it is quite warm. Mrs. Clapp gave me my drink of milk and tells me I shall have it every day…But what a great and wonderful city New York is. The magnificence of the houses and hotels and streets is almost beyond anything we saw in Europe. I hope you will see it some day.

I hope you are all well and are having a good time while you don’t have a poor sick cross papa to take care of. Give my love to Grandmother, Aunt and the children. Write to me before Saturday. If any letters come for me please put on a new stamp and direct them to me here.

And now good morning to you all.

From your affectionate papa

L. Swain

Leonard Swain

Leonard Swain

Commentary is by Susan Swain Tabor, from the biography in progress of her great grandfather, the Rev.Leonard Swain:

Written from New York City, the following excerpt is taken from the Rev. Leonard Swain’s last extant letter to his teenage daughter Julia in Providence. It is undated, but the presence of violets on the banks of the railroad bed between Providence and New Haven would likely indicate a time-frame between mid-April and early-May, normal bloom time for violets. The year is most likely 1868 or 1869. Leonard is visiting his friend, the former minister of Beneficent Congregational Church (1855-1865), the Rev. Alexander Huntington Clapp, D.D., living in current-day Chelsea. Henry is Leonard’s youngest child, born in 1863. Leonard is gravely ill, his health having declined over the course of several months. His wife Julia previously passed away, necessitating Grandmother Swain and others to help care for the children.

Susan Swain Tabor

Susan Swain Tabor is the great-granddaughter of CCC’s first minister, Leonard Swain, and is currently writing his biography. She is first and foremost a mother and a grandmother. Careers have been counseling disabled persons, agency management in the rehabilitation field, and general management and sales in a calendar company. She currently is a manager of family owned commercial real estate. She received her BA in English literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1966 and a M.A. in Counseling from Rhode Island College in 1980. Hobbies include gardening, growing vegetables in her large garden for the Food Bank, reading, and writing.

Posted in Poet Laureate.