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Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans


Full text of letter:

Washington, D.C.

Feb. 12, 1894

Cher Ami: —

Your letter — the receipt of which I acknowledged in my scrawl to you this morning — was a rare treat, like the letters that you used to write; not one of those mean little scribbles like your last of which I so complained. But pray, my dear Paul, what means that oath of yours to ‘hereafter always appear before me in company manners’? ‘Twas an idle oath, mon ami for you know you couldn’t always (if ever) treat me like company — in that cold, formal way that you so thoroughly dislike, so unlike our friendship, which is so warm, so genial, so unrestrained. Now confess, Paul, could you get up on stilts and remain on them even with me? Nay, now you could not, and I know it. If I was too severe on you in my last letter, you will forgive me, and in the future I shall bear with all your moods and chide you not. When, however, your letters be short, mon bon ami, make them I do entreat more savory — better a drop of distilled rose water than a pint of aloes.

The account of the Testimonial tendered you, was very gratifying to me I take the deepest interest in your successes, and you can never please and delight me more than by sending me an account of them. How very vividly the little roun-de-lay you sent me, recalls that last night we were together. What a dull, dismal, murky day it was! Fit day for the parting of two such friends as we — even the heavens wept that we should part so soon.

You will perhaps regret to hear that I am still confined to the house. I am much better however and expect to go out this week if the weather clears. It has been sleeting all day, and there is not promise now of fairer weather tomorrow. I hope that Jupiter Pluvius has not shed any tears over your Indiana trip, and I also hope that my unavoidable delay in returning to you the program and clippings occasioned no serious inconvenience.

And now I shall be compelled to close as some one has called.

I commend thee to kind Fortune and thy Muse divine.



Primary Item Type

Personal Correspondence


This item is part of the Paul Laurence Dunbar House collection at Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio. The collection contains items from 219 N. Summit St., Dayton, Ohio (later 219 N. Paul Laurence Dunbar St.), the home Dunbar purchased for his mother, Matilda J. Dunbar, in 1904. Paul Laurence Dunbar lived there until his death in 1906; Matilda lived there until her death in 1934. It is now the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, part of the National Park Service.


Paul Laurence Dunbar, primary sources, Black history, Black poets, prominent Ohioans