THE LIFE AND CHESS OF PAUL MORPHY                                                                                                                                                                                Edge to Fiske



February 4, 1863

My dear Fiske

Pray, do not be too prompt in condemning the tardiness of my reply, for in this case at least, it can be justified. I have purposely abstained from returning an immediate answer to your favor, in the hope of being enabled to take a trip to Vienna, not for the sake of
chess-playing, but activated by the very natural desire to see you after such a lapse of time as has gone by since my last visit to New York, and inquire about old friends and associations made doubly dear by the sad events that are transpiring in our distracted
America. Much as I would enjoy a visit to Germany for those and other reasons, I am sorry to say that it will not be in my power to leave Paris at present. I am here with my brother in law and part of my family, the remainder being in New Orleans. We are all
following with intense anxiety the fortunes of the tremendous conflict now raging beyond the Atlantic, for upon the issue depends our all in life. Under such circumstances you will readily understand that I should feel little disposed to engage in the objectless strife of the chess board. Besides, you will remember that as far back as two years ago I stated to you in New York my firm determination to abandon chess altogether. I am more strongly confirmed than ever in the belief that the time devoted to chess is literally frittered away. It is, to be sure, a most exhilarating sport, but it is only a sport; and it is not to be wondered at that such as have been passionately addicted to the charming pastime should one day ask themselves whether sober reason does not advise its
utter dereliction. I have, for my own part, resolved not to be moved from my purpose of not engaging in chess hereafter. The few games that I have played here have been altogether private and SANS FACON. I never patronize the Cafe de la Régence; it is a
low, and, to borrow a Gallicism, ILL FREQUENTED establishment.

Hoping that you will excuse my dilatoriness, and wishing you
health and happiness,

                                                                     I remain Yours truly,
                                                                     Paul Morphy

P.S. Sybrandt begs to be kindly remembered to you.