In a letter dictated to his sister Sophia, Thoreau writes to Myron Benton in reply to his letter of 6 January:
I thank you for your very kind letter, which, ever since I received it, I have intended to answer before I died, however briefly. I am encouraged to know, that, so far as you are concerned, I have not written my books in vain. I was particularly gratified, some years ago, when one of my friends and neighbors said, “I wish you would write another book,—write it for me.” He is actually more familiar with what I have written than I am myself.
The verses you refer to in Conway’s “Dial,” were written by F. B. Sanborn of this town. I never wrote for that journal.
I am pleased when you say that in “The Week” you like especially “those little snatches of poetry interspersed through the book,” for these, I suppose, are the least attractive to most readers. I have not been engaged in any particular work on Botany, or the like, though, if I were to live, I should have much to report on Natural History generally.
You ask particularly after my health. I suppose that I have not many months to live; but, of course, I know nothing about it. I may add that I am enjoying existence as much as ever, and regret nothing.
Henry D. Thoreau,
by Sophia E. Thoreau