<br><h3> Chapter One </h3> <b>1866</b> <p> <p> This letter was addressed in the main to Eakins's friend and classmate William (Billy) Sartain, and deals with the fine points of language and word origins. Ranging from English to Latin, Italian, French, and German (which, following a convention of the day, he called Dutch), Eakins demonstrated a characteristically analytic approach, showing (or showing off) his wide knowledge of the subject. At the end of the letter he added a note on German linguistics for Billy's sister Emily. <p> William was a son of the venerable John Sartain, a noted Philadelphia engraver and friend of Benjamin Eakins. William was close to Thomas, both boys having attended Zane Street elementary school and Central High School together. Like Eakins, William studied to become an artist, first in Philadelphia, and then in Paris. Although William gained some popular success, he is forgotten today. <p> Emily, the daughter of John Sartain, was a Philadelphia portrait painter and engraver who had studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under the aging Christian Schussele in 1864-70. For a time she and Eakins were romantically linked, but by 1868, the relationship had cooled. In later years she served as the principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. <p> <p> <i>June 12th.66.</i> <p> Dear Billy, <p> Naf, of which when I last saw you, I did not know the root, comes, losing a t, from the Latin Nativus (Nol & Chapsal) and therefore coincides exactly with our Natural and Ingenuous. <p> The principal idea of natural qualities as applied to persons, is that of those passively received, as opposed [to] those acquired by their own doing, and here we can build many synonyms. <p> Artless. This word of your suggestion is very strong, because of the frequent contrast of nature and art. <p> Unaffected. Ad, to. Facio, (feat, fact, factory[,] etc.) to make. Not made, brought, put on-to. <p> Unassuming. Ad, to. Sumo (sumptuous, etc,) to take. <p> Open. The Dutch [<i>sic</i>, read German] of the verb to open is to auf-machen, to make up. I conceive our open to be formed in a similar way from the root of our to pain. The word is then discovered, that is nothing is concealed, nothing has been pulled over, or affected. <p> Sincere. Sinc without Cera, wax. (Schmitz & Zumpt.[)] One of the meanings of Cera is a paint for women. The second definition of naf in Nol & Chapsal is sans fard, and the first definition of Fard by the same is "Composition cosmtique qui imite les couleurs naturelles de la peau["] [a cosmetic compound that imitates the natural color of the skin]. I think cera is contracted from to smear as our marrow is from the same word. In contracting a word, it often happens that one language will lose one letter and another another [<i>sic</i>]. Example. Lat. Monstrare. Fr. Montrer. Ital. Mostrare. <p> Unpretending. Tendo, to stretch, Prae. Not to hold or stretch before. <p> Undisguised. Guise has probably the radical sense of drawing on, covering, holding or containing (See Webster on Wise.) Nol & Chapsal bring it from the same source. <p> Candid. (Candidus, white.) From the root to cant, whose purest, most abstract signification is in the phrase to cant a stone. From this we have to tilt as in the phrase to cant a barrel over on its side. Hence cant, to whine as a beggar, as the Dutch sprechen is to break (to cant) out (A. Cyclopedia) Latin, Canto to sing, English, chant, canto. Latin, Canto, to sing, English, can, to be able, press forward. From this comes also the sense to dart-rays, to shine, to be clear. Hence Candidus white. Hence, candidate. <p> Simple. Sine, without, ply. P-ly, To lay upon, or over or to (Webster.) whence our apply, comply, reply, complex, implicate, etc. and plait, but this last word when applied to shirt bosoms I have always heard called pleet, and this is not in my dictionary or I know not how to spell it. <p> Unstudied. Study. To set the mind to. Steed & Stud. <p> Frank. Prank, franchir, friend, frango[,] etc. <p> Unpremeditated. Nearly the same as Unstudied. There are I suppose many more. <p> I have made mention of the contrast of nature and art, and of how the last synonyms depended on a passiveness of being born (for that is Nature.) Yet Nature and Art are but the same words. Nature is from L. Natus, born, and this from Gnatus, and this from Gigno or Geno, to generate, bear, create; and Nature is what is created or shaped; that is the Creation. Tell Emily to look in her Dutch dictionary[.] Now Art (so thinks Webster) is but a contraction of the word to create. (See Art, Create, Cry, Can[,] etc.) <p> <p> * * * <p> It's time to go swimming. I saw the lightning bugs last night. <p> <p> * * * <p> Dear Emily, You called my attention to the childish word liefer, Deutsch, lieber. Did it ever strike you that even such a verb as to love implies and contains motion as its principle [sic] element, and that one always loves to and not away from a person. I have an affection for him, (Translation, to make forwards to). I have an inclination for him. I yearn towards him (Ich habe ihn gern.) How close then comes love to laufen. Laufen brings us to the English life, live, leave. Another class of verbs, having the same radical meaning that is of going towards, are those of intention. I have the intention says I tend towards. I propose says, I put forward. I will (ich will) (wollen) is the Latin volo to stretch forward (Deutsch Welle, a wave) and this brings us toValeo, to be strong, from a going forward. A man therefore while he lives goes after the fashion of a clock, er luft, he lives. How are you? How goes it? Valeo. I am well. T.C.E. <p> <p> This letter was undated, but its subject and style reflected Eakins's thinking around the time he left for Paris in September 1866. As in his letter of June 12, 1866, to William, he wrestled with the fine points of literature, in this case analyzing passages from Virgil's <i>Aeneid</i> and Dante's <i>Inferno</i>. The majority of Eakins's text was written in Italian, with quotations in that language and in Latin. In other letters, Eakins alluded to William's, Emily's, and his group study of Dante-an exercise that must have been carried out at a high level of linguistic sophistication. <p> <p> <i>[undated, ca. September 1866]</i> <p> [To Emily Sartain] <p> Non era ancor di l Nesso arrivato Quando [noi] ci mettemmo per un bosco, Che da neun [nessun] sentiero era segnato. Non fronda [frondi] verde, ma di color fosco; Non rami schietti, ma nodosi e involti, Non pomi v'eran, ma stecchi con tosco. Non han s aspri sterpi, n s folti Quelle fiere selvagge, che 'n [in] odio hanno Tra Cecina e Corneto i luoghi colti. Quivi le brutteArpie lor nido [sic, read nidi] fanno, Che cacciar delle Strofade iTroiani Con tristo annunzio di futuro danno. (Dante, <i>Inferno</i>, canto 13, 1.1-12) Versione del Sig. Cary. ______. Less sharp than these Less intricate the brakes, wherein abide Those animals that hate the cultured fields Betwixt Corneto and Cecina's stream. <p> <p> * * * <p> Ho questa sentenza, la quale, domenica sera passata, o per la tardezza dell'ora, che, si non porti sonnolenza, almeno causa spesse volte alquanto di stupidit, o per una attenzione da una quasi lunga lezione troppo divenuta minore, o per uno svenimento delle mie idee, o forse piuttosto per un smarrimento di queste, altrove a lor diletto state andate, o per altra cagione alcuna, non fu potuta tradurre, di nuovo esaminata; e spiegato ho, esaminandola, ed ove e come a me manc allora il pigliarne il senno, il quale io sto per dimostrarti in poche parole; e per venir ai punti, accui: <p> ben possibile che fiere abbiano sterpi,ma certo per soggiorno o abitazione e non altramente; perciche sterpo vale a dire (non lo tradurr) rejeton qui frousse du chicot ou des racines d'un arbre sec; chicot significando, venendo quella parola del spagnuolo chico piccolo, (1.) reste d'un arbre. qui sort de terre, (2.) branche morte ou en trs mauvais tat. (3.) reste d'une dent casse (4.) maladie des chevaux. <p> Per noi possiamo apertamente vedere la significazione della sentenza, ed eccola: <p> Quelle fiere selvagge che hanno in odio (perciche sono elleno selvagge) i luoghi colti tra Cecina (fiume poco lungo da Livorno) e Corneto (una citt) non han (avverti per abitazione) s aspri sterpi n s folti, che hanno quel bosco il quale il Dante ha test descritto. <p> <p> * * * <p> ["]S'elli [egli] avesse potuto creder prima,["] Rispose il Savio mio, anima lesa Ci c'ha [ch'ha] veduto pur con la mia rima [<i>sic</i>, original not italicized] Non avrebbe [<i>sic</i>, read averebbe] in te la man distesa. (Dante, <i>Inferno</i>, canto 13, l.46-49) <p> <p> Questa del Savio rima trovasi quasi nel comminciamento del terzo libro del Eneid. L'istorietta d'un uomo che ebbe nome Polidoro, e conciosiacosach [<i>sic</i>] ella ti debba forse alquanto interresante essere (perciche se non dimentico, tu l'hai gi poco fa letta) io intendo in piccola parte di ridirla. <p> [horrendeum et] dictu video mirabile monstrum. [Latin] vedo un mostro meravigliosa cosa essere detta [Italian] Nam, quie prima solo ruptis radicibus arbor [Latin] Or (c') un albero il quale siccome prima , essendo state rotte le sue radici, dal suolo [Italian] Vellitur, huic atro liquuntur sanguine guttae svelto [Latin], e gotte di sangue atro da cui sono stillate [Italian]. Et terram tabo maculant. Mihi frigidus horror e maculano colla lor tabe la terra [Latin]. Un orrore frigido [Italian]. Membra quatit, gelidusque coit formidine sanguis [Latin] mi per-cuote le membra, ed il mio sangue gelato da formidine coagola [Italian]. (Virgil, <i>Aeneid</i>, bk. 3, l.26-30) <p> <p> * * * <p> Andai jersera a casa Signor Waugh. Non sta egli molto meglio, se ho ben inteso qual che mi stato detto. fiebole [<i>sic</i>], e non ancor la sua malattia arrestata. Thos. C. Eakins <p> Adesso, io son per partirmi, Bella, cara Emilia, Addio. <p> <i>[Translation from Italian and French.]</i> <p> I have this passage that could not be translated when I looked at it again, last Sunday evening, either because of the lateness of the hour, which, if it doesn't make me sleepy, at least often makes me a little stupid, or because my attention flags after a long lesson, or because my thoughts have been lost, or perhaps rather because they have wandered, having gone to their loved one, or for some other reason. And in considering the passage, I explained where and how I failed to catch the sense of it, as I am about to show you in a few words. And to come to the point, I may say: <p> It is quite possible that wild animals may have thickets but certainly for a place to visit or for a home, and not otherwise; since sterpi [thickets, or decaying shoots] (I won't translate it) means a sprout that grows from the stump or roots of a dessicated tree; stump, a word coming from the Spanish Chico-little, signifying (1.) remainder of a tree appearing above ground, (2.) a branch that is dead or in very bad condition, (3.) remnant of a broken tooth, (4.) a disease of horses. <p> So we can clearly see the significance of the passage, which is: <p> Those wild animals that hate (since they are wild) the cultivated places between Cecina (a river a little distance from Livorno) and Corneto (a city) do not have (note-for habitation) thickets so sharp or so thick as have that forest that Dante just described. <p> The poem of Savio is to be found almost at the beginning of the third book of the <i>Aeneid</i>. The little story is of a man who was named Polidorus, and as it [the poem] may perhaps be of some interest to you (since, if I remember rightly, you read it a little while ago). I intend to retell it in brief. <p> I see an awful portent, wondrous to tell. For from the first tree that is torn from the ground with broken roots, drops of black blood trickle and stain the earth with gore. A cold shudder shakes my limbs, and my chilled blood freezes with terror. <p> <p> * * * <p> Last night I went to Mr. Waugh's house. He is not much better, if I understood rightly what was told me. He is weak and his illness has not yet been arrested. Thos. C. Eakins <p> Now I am about to leave, lovely, dear Emily. Farewell. <p> <p> In this letter, Eakins dealt with the planned meeting in New York with his friends William (here called Willie) and Emily. The occasion was his departure for Paris, to become a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the official government art school. <p> <p> <i>Philada.[,] Mon.[,] Sep.17/66</i> <p> My dear Emily, <p> I received your letter of Friday on Saturday, and delayed answering that I might consult with Willie. I leave here in the midnight train of Wednesday or Thursday and sail from New York in the Pereire on Saturday. Willie expects to spend the last of the week with you in New York where I can see you Friday evening or Saturday morning. He suggests a picture gallery as the place of our meeting and parting. Tom <p> <p> Eakins wrote Emily in Italian four days before sailing for France. His tone was stilted and sentimental, almost a parodic or theatrical style of writing. Except for a few grammatical errors, his knowledge of the Italian language was commendable. <p> <p> <i>Filadelfia, i 18 di Set. 1866.</i> <p> Mia cara Emilia, <p> Da Willie il tuo secondo viglietto [<i>sic</i>] ed italiano ricevuto ho e con piacere di molta pena miscolato letto; e addiviene il piacer d'un sentimento che m'assicura che andato via non sar dimenticato e che una cara amica della mia partenza si dorr. Ma qui nel animo mio surge grande tristizia, tristizia avendo Emilia; e credo che non passer giammai. Nondimeno dacch io abbia sovente udito dire un cotal proverbio, maggiore la ventura stata divisa e diviene per compassione il dolore minore, e conciosiacosa ch mi sia gran mestier di consolazione, ti prego, accioch non m'uccida il mancar di questa, di compiangere del mio dolore. Io mi parto non che da un amico, ma da tutti. Mio buon padre e la dolce mamma mia lascio e vo in una contrada straniere, certo non Inghilterra, ma ancora straniere assai, non essendovi o parente, o amico, o dei miei amici, amico; e vo solo. <p> Mio padre m'aspetta: non posso finire. Vedrotti a New York. Scrivi a Willie od a me. Ringrazia da mia parte le tue ostesse. Non avr il tempo di farlo io. Tom. <p> <i>[Translation from Italian.] <p> Philadelphia, 18 Sept. 1866</i> <p> My dear Emily, <p> From Willie, I received your second letter in Italian, and I read it with pleasure mixed with a great deal of pain. The pleasure derives from a sense of assurance that although I am gone, I shall not be forgotten, and that a dear friend grieves at my departure. But here in my soul, great sadness arises, because Emily is sad; and I think it shall never go away. Nevertheless, since I have often heard the proverb that says happiness becomes greater when it is shared, and pain becomes lessened by compassion, and because I have a great need for consolation, I pray you, so that I may not die from lack of it, to take pity on my suffering. I am leaving not just one friend, but everyone. I am leaving my good father and my sweet momma and go to some strange country, certainly not England, but much stranger still, there not being here a relative or a friend or a friend of my friends; and I go alone. <p> My father is waiting for me: I cannot finish. I shall see you in New York. Write to Willie or me. Thank your hostesses for me. I shall not have time to do it. Tom. <p> <p> Eakins sailed to France on the <i>Preire</i> on September 22. The ocean voyage would take him to the French port of Brest, and from there he was to travel to Paris by rail. At sea he wrote his mother one of the longest letters he ever penned-a letter that revealed values and convictions that he appears to have held throughout his life. He wrote not only about the food, the living quarters, and the sea but also about individuals he met, as well as class, nationality, and religion. His views about humanity were strongly held and not without prejudice. In essence, he showed himself to be morally upright (if not self-righteous), opinionated, and antiaristocratic. And he was above all a keen observer of human character flaws, and was quick to point them out. <p> <p> <i>Atlantic Ocean, 2 or 3 hundred miles from France, Oct. 1, 1866</i> <p> <i>(Continues...)</i> <p> <p> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>THE PARIS LETTERS OF THOMAS EAKINS</b> Copyright © 2009 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.<br> All rights reserved. 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