29 Chestnut St Boston May 23d '86
My dear friend
I do not mean to reproach you but really-endeavor as I will to avoid the filth that is thrown at me in common with all public persons, my friends persist in reminding me of it, only through them (who rarely direct my attention to any good that is published of me) do I learn what a debased monster I am.-The night of my fall at the Academy in New York,
wh was repeated in a more serious manner in Phila & again here (this last behind the scenes, however), I wrote to Edwina a full account of it & prepared her for the howl which would doubtless be raised about it. Had not my friends rushed into print on my behalf the accident would have been unnoticed, but a disappointed agent of my & a set of unpaid 'blackmailers' of the Press saw in that defence of me-against the abuse of our paper only-a good opportunity for their attacks. It has been, is & will (I hope) always be my part to ignore
the filthy "assassins of the Press" (as Forrest termed the so-called critics) and I have, for years, made it a rule to read no theatrical papers or gossip. Yet, as I have told you, my dearest friends fail not to advise me of the fact that I am a fiend incarnate & utterly demoralized. Howells was lately asked if he had seen the savage criticisms in the Gazette of his late works. "Do you suppose that I have no personal friends?" he replied. "O that mine [every?] would write a book" (I quote from mouldy memory) or act upon a theatre!--My friend, I am in no danger-spite of evil
influences & ill reports concerning my health & my domestic affairs all goes well. Do not be alarmed at this letter-'tis but one of several of the kind that I have written to other friends in every port of America on this topic-the first was to my dear old school-marm, in Balto, who knew me as a tiny boy & wrote several imploring appeals to me. My thanks for your goodness and yr invitation (wh I cannot accept) are deeper than I can express. Kindest regards to yr husband and blessings for you both.
Yr friend ever E.B.
Writing in haste & after so many letters of the same tenor I find that I have repeated myself & made other faults. Good night!