Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe... In Baltimore and Beyond

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Poe's Baltimore Letters
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A letter Poe wrote to his foster father John Allan asking that Allan and he reestablish a more friendly relationship

[Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Allan - October 16, 1831.]

Baltimore. Octo: 16th 1831.

Dear Sir,

It is a long time since I have written to you unless with an application for money or assistance. I am sorry that it is so seldom that I hear from you or even of you — for all communication seems to be at an end; and when I think of the long twenty one years that I have called you father, and you have called me son, I could cry like a child to think that it should all end in this. You know me too well to think me interested — if so: why have I rejected your thousand offers of love and kindness? It is true that when I have been in great extremity, I have always applied to you — for I had no other friend, but it is only at such a time as the present when I can write to you with the consciousness of making no application for assistance, that I dare to open my heart, or speak one word of old affection. When I look back upon the past and think of every thing — of how much you tried to do for me — of your forbearance and your generosity, in spite of the most flagrant ingratitude on my part, I can not help thinking you myself the greatest fool in [page 2] existence, — I am ready to curse the day when I was born.

But I am fully — truly conscious that all these better feelings have come too late — I am not the damned villain even to ask you to restore me to the twentieth part of those affections which I have so deservedly lost, and I am resigned to whatever fate is alotted me.

I write merely because I am by myself and have been thinking over old times, and my only frie[n]ds, until m[y] heart is full — At such a time the conversation of new acquaintance is like ice, and I prefer [w]riting to you altho' I know that you care nothing about me, and perhaps will not even read my letter.

I have nothing more to say — and this time, no favour to ask — Altho I am wretchedly poor, I have managed to get clear of the difficulty I spoke of in my last, and am out of debt, at any rate.

May God bless you —

E A P.

Will you not write one word to me?

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