...I see you are getting back to your old dispute with me on the purpose of life, by means of an attack on my self-esteem. You are quite right in the point you make. I do think too much about my own productions and myself generally. Stick to that and you may kick me all day long. I will not go down into the rough-and-tumble, nor mix with the crowd, nor write anonymously, except for mere literary practice. My path is a different one; and was never chosen in order to suit other people's tastes, but my own. Of course a man can't do this without appearing to think a great deal about himself and perhaps doing so in fact. The very line he draws, requires care to observe, and is invidious to everyone else. In America there is no such class, and the tendency is incessant to draw everyone into the main current. I have told you before that I mean to be unpopular ann do it because I must do it, or do as other people do and give up the path I chose for myself years ago. Your ideas and mine don't agree, but they never have agreed. You like the strife of the world. I detest it and despise it. You work for power. I work for my owwn satisfaction. You like roughness and strength; I like taste and dexterity. For God's sake let us go our own ways and not try to be like each other. Ever Yrs H. [May 21, 1869] C Massachusetts Historyical Society, reprinted with permission of Harvard University Press