Helen Hunt Jackson 1-1-20 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 1, Ms 0020, Box 1, Folder 20, Letters from Ann Scholfield Fiske (HHJ's sister) to her father Nathan Fiske, 1844-1846
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, June 1996
Addressed: Prof. Nathan W. Fiske. Waltham, Mass. Postmarked: Amherst, MS, Dec 10
[1840 or 1841]
My dear Papa,
I hope you have a good time. Mrs. Lewis sends her love to you and is glad that you enjoy your health. Sarah sends her love to you. Ma is as well as usual. Helen wont send her love because she is going to write herself. I feel very bad that you are gone. I am very well. There is a mountain five miles high in Asia called Himmalch. I got up to the head of my spelling class and kept up a whole week. It seems very lonely here without you. Ma says we are only making believe keep house. I hope you will be safe while you are gone and get home safe. I hope you will enjoy being with your father and sister and brother.
We get along very well. Mrs. Lewis hasn't had much temper while you have been gone. The weather has been pretty pleasant, but it snows now. I think it is pretty hard work to write letters and I think it is pretty hard work to learn to read well, to stop at every pause. I should be glad winter had come if you could have good travelling coming home. I learn a verse out of the Bible at school every day and I say it over to Ma every morning before I get up, and the first thing we do every morning in school is to read in the Bible. I learn a verse of a hymn from the little hymn book you gave me, every afternoon in school. Give my love to grandpapa and Aunt Maria uncle and aunt Fiske and all my cousins. Give my love to Charles too and tell him I'm glad he has such a nice barn to sleep in and I hope he has got over his lameness. I hope you will write back again to me.
Your affectionate daughter, Ann Scholfield Fiske.
After sun down of course, or "principle" wouldn't let me be keeping up my wicked acquaintance with you. (and I'm going to keep it up for all that carving knife, I suppose you thought a prohibition as to its use, would be the very thing to set your amiable spouse to using it, but depend upon it, it shall be tried upon no throats save geese and turkies. I was very glad to get a scrap of intelligence from you by Mr. Dickinson, and that you heard from us so soon by him; I thought very likely that package would get laid away in some of my father's place of snug deposit, and that it would not get into your hands this fortnight. You have certainly got along well so far this vacation, even from your own account, to which I always add one third, because you always have such a dreadful idea of the impression you make. Nobody would think you thought or cared one cent for their approbation, but you are as much pained by your perpetual failures as you call them, as some brethren I could name are delighted with their imagined popularity; I am glad you belong to the least ridiculous class -- anything but hearing a man talk about his smart sermons and addresses, and the breathless attention they have kept; nothing but politeness keeps me from saying pshaw to such boasting; you know we do hear it sometimes in our sitting room - it always sets me to fixing the fire or sweeping up, while you fix your eyes upon the coals and put your under lip over the upper. But I am covering a deal of paper without telling you anything about home. You know of our affairs up to Wednesday. Well Wednesday I sat down by the fire like a good sort of a woman to let out and let down and mend up a good warm quilt for my daughter Helen, -- I say my daughter so as to have you hit the truth when you contradict me, as of course you will, since we have never agreed as to which of us she belongs. In the course of the day an invitation came for Miss H. to attend a party of Miss Linnell's; I have known of some parties in the village at which lads have been present, and all have staid in the evening, so I was decided that H. must not go. I didn't tell her of the invitation till the day after, and in the mean time concluded that Friday would be as good a time as any for me to let her invite her young friends to take tea with her. I promised her they should some time ago, so off Miss Helen started Thursday morning to invite her sabbath school class and her neighbours to make her an afternoon visit the next day; you never saw anybody trip off happier.
She invited seventeen and at 2 o'clock Friday afternoon the young ladies began to assemble; in the course of half an hour, I went into the parlour among them and there were fourteen misses playing checkers, or putting together paper puzzles or trying their skill at battle-door or something or other. I believe they had a very good time. I gave them a treat of nuts and raisins in the middle of the afternoon, and 1/4 before 6 called them to supper at a long table in the sitting room - Immediately after tea they all went home but Jane Hitchcock and Mary Snell, and they went at seven. Edward Hitchcock came in for Jane, and went up to the post office for me while Jane went home with Mary. I asked him to stop a while when he came back which he was very ready to do, and play checkers with Helen; So Helen had a real treat of amusement afternoon and evening too, all under my eye, and intercourse of this kind is better for her far, than these back door calls and school recesses; I believe I am willing to do anything to keep her happy and away from temptation, she must have some recreation and intercourse with misses of her age, and if I can be in it and not spoil the fun she will be happier with me, and at home, than at school forming various intimacies with nobody knows who. I had decided before your letter came not to send H. to Miss Nelson, partly on account of the Academy vacations, during which some of Mr. Gales pupils visit Miss Nelson's school, and partly because my voice has gained some strength; about the time you left I felt as if I would be glad not to speak loud for a whole week, and must make some plan that would leave me by myself a few hours of the day.
The snow has kept us all at home today but Mrs. Lewis in the morning, Mr. Colton preached "from" the wickedness of the mind" Mrs. L. said and his remark gave her "a dash of hopes" 'cause he told about how much work it was to make up one's mind slow to do or say a wicked thing than to be quick and not think like her when she gets into a passion - and ever so much more that you could not have heard without laughing - such sounding words without one bit of sense or connection. Sarah rolled up her eyes as if it struck her as a very queer sermon.
Mason Dickinson brought us our milk tonight on account of the storm, and wished to know if there was anything else he could do for us. Mr. Cooley I suppose will appear in the morning to shovel us out. Mr. Armstrong has been cutting up the woods - he has not finished it but keeps ahead of our burning.
I hope you will write a few words to the children soon. Helen shall write next time. Ann's letter is all her own but the writing; we sat down together, and she told me one sentence after another just as I have copied them without hardly any hesitation; the copying tired her hands so I rather think you will get most of it in pencil. I wish very much to hear from Mrs. Moore, and so do all her friends here, we have heard a rumour that she is sick. I wish you would call and see her the very next time you go to Boston; she is at No. 98 Tremont St. You know it is a part of pure and undefiled religion to visit the widows in their affliction, and I hope you will take time to go to uncle Scholfield's and to uncle Gideon's, I was going to say especially to uncle Scholfields but I hope you will go to both.
The snowy walking yesterday prevented us from stirring out to pick up one bit of news or scandal to transcribe for your profit, so I wound up the day without getting out this sheet to finish. Mr. Armstrong made paths for us in the morning, and the Judge came in the evening, to see how we were getting on. Today I have been up to the village, and incredible as it will seem to you, came home without making a single call. My business was to get a hood or bonnet made for Ann; the walking is not bad, but there is snow enough to bring the sleighs out; the children say "now if Papa was here, we should get a ride." While it is in my mind I'll give you a message from Mrs. Washburn - she wishes you to get for her the 9th and 10th volumes of Tracts to which she is entitled by being a member of the Tract Society; poor woman she has been down again since you left with the acute rheumatism, there she was with her mother, her right arm entirely useless and in dreadful pain - Laura, their girl, gone, and neither of them able to make a loaf of bread. Mrs. W. was much better Saturday and in the sitting room, and seeming much encouraged, but it would look like hard times to me to be in her place.
Dr. Humphrey has been in to see us, he is going away to Andover and I dont know to what other places, next week. Mr. Hitchcock, Mr. Snell and Mr. Tyler are at home. I have just received a letter from Martha Fiske; she has been throwing up her food again day after day. Miss Lyon tells her perhaps she will have to leave she was trying the experiment of going without her breakfast when she wrote and had got through a day without vomiting; the teachers have allowed her to sleep later mornings and to go to bed at sundown &c &c, she must be a case to them, and I presume they would rather have her go away than to be excusing her from so many regulations; she didn't throw up her food but once the week she was at our house. I think she is homesick there.
Martha said some of their food was so poor it made her sick - the bread sometimes burnt & sometimes heavy, and her room is cold, her room mate is unwell and talks of leaving, at least for a while. One of the teachers told M. she wished she had taken her books to Amherst and staid 3 or 4 weeks. M. did not like Miss Webster. Miss White is very much pleased with being at South Hadley.
Helen will write next time and would now if there was room and I wished to have her.
Give my love to any of my friends you see. I laugh all alone by myself to think that you should send to me for some to distribute, it is so out of your line to be delivering love among ladies, well you may give my love, no that means too much - you may say just this. "Mrs. Fiske has requested a remembrance to you in her last letter. When I was in my prime Mrs. Frain had a family of little children about her and I believe did not invite parties or go out much, at any rate, I never visited there; I believe her name was upon some of my begging lists and that I used to call upon her for money. Mrs. Frain had a sister with her that I used to like very much, her name was Mary Flint - I wish you could enquire if she is married and where she is settled.
I think you'll give me credit for excelling in writing long letters about nothing; it isn't the first you have seen of this description from me, so its size won't awaken any expectations that will be disappointed. Good night.
Be sure to write me often and tell me all your adventures. Look out about preaching.
[in Nathan's handwriting: this was written by Ann, under the eye of her mother, when the latter was in the last stages of consumption; the disease had received that impulse which hastened on the event of dissolution, from a cold taken by exposing herself for the object particularly of gratifying her beloved daughter with a sight of the procession above described]
The 17th of June was a beautiful day. I heard the bells and music before sunrise which were to denote that the President was on his way to Charlestown. The people had made great preparations to receive him. The streets were ornamented with numerous arches. The national flag was placed upon the Bunker hill monument. The revenue cutter was decorated with flags and lay on the river to salute the President by firing guns. Every window that commanded a view of the street was crowded. About ten o clock the procession reached Charlestown and marched up Main street. First came a great many companies of soldiers, each company with a band of music.
Next came the President himself in a barouche drawn by six black horses. After him the old Revolutionary soldiers in barouches; next came the private citizens on horseback; then the lawyers, next the doctors, after these the students of Harvard College and the printers' boys. The procession was closed by various societies of the city and Freemasons. An oration was delivered at the Bunkerhill monument by the Hon. Daniel Webster and the procession returned to Boston in the same order. The President alighted from his barouche at the Tremont House and was cheered by the people as he ascended the steps. It was said in the paper, that the President was more hospitably received at Boston than at any other city he visited. In the evening of this day were beautiful fire works in Boston and I saw them from Charlestown.
Ann S. Fiske.
Amherst, Jan. 24, 1844.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske
[Monday, 1844] Charlestown, April 8th
My dear Father
I was very sorry to leave you all in Amherst but I was very glad to see my friends in Charlestown. It was dark when we arrived in Boston and grandpop came over to uncle Vinals with me. I have been to see some of the little girls and some of them have been to see me.
Please give my love to aunt Maria Mrs. Powers and Helen and all my little play-mates.
your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, May 16
My dear father,
Aunt Vinal received a letter from you last week and I was very happy to hear from you. I am glad that you arrived home safely and that your cough is better. Aunt Maria called to see us a few days after you left. She was here only about two hours. But we were very happy to see her. I have been to two parties they were both birthday parties. I enjoyed them very much. Aunt thought they were coming too often but as they were close by, Aunt Vinal said I might go. Please give my love to Helen Jane and Martha. I hope you will write to me soon.
Your affectionate daughter,
Ann S. Fiske.
Charlestown May 15, 1844
We were quite obliged to you Mr. Fiske for writing to us so soon after your return, we were feeling anxious about your health, and aunt in particular often expressed her anxiety, and she seemed much relieved to know that you were better, and we hope that with care & rest, you may recover your usual health, and be able during the summer to take that promised excursion to Falmouth. Cousin Ann Hooker returned home last week, we miss her very much, and were it not for your little Annie should be quite lonely. It is pleasant for us to have a child in the family, especially one as dear to us as Ann, - you would be pleased to see how uniformly obedient she is, and how cheerful & happy she appears to be, and if we cannot supply to her the place of the dear mother she has lost, it is a pleasure to do for her all that we can, and to have her so contented in our family. Ann has commenced with her music, we do not mean to confine her to it, but aunt thought she might practise a little every day, it occupies part of the time between schools, when we prefer to have her at home rather than abroad, and besides this she has an abundance of time for play & visiting.
Uncle Daniel Vinal calls over occasionally, he does not seem to be well, complains of being weak & feeble.
Your sister Maria made us a short visit the week after you left, we were glad to see her even for an hour, she came down with Mrs. Russell Mary's husband, and returned to Weston the same day, she was very well, but was feeling anxious about your cough.
Aunt Chickering has returned from the west, she spent but a day or two in Charlestown, & then went to Newburyport, she was considerably wearied with her journey, and her health is not very good. John's wife she left in New York. John is coming on in July, when they will probably visit their friends in this vicinity.
We have not yet heard from Helen, I have been looking for a letter each day, and intend to write her soon.
Uncle and aunt desire their kind regards to you. We shall always be happy to hear from you, and hope you will write as often as may be convenient.
Truly yours M.B. Vinal
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mass, FEB 10
[Tuesday] Charlestown February 4, 1845
My dear father
I was very glad to recieve your letter and should have answered it sooner if I had not been sick. To day is the first time I have been out to school aunt thought it was rather too sharp and cold for my nose this afternoon as it is rather tender I should not like to have it grow red and swell again if it is a sign of wealth as Dr. Walker says. I should like to have seen the Amherst trees when they were loaded with ice, diamonds, and jewels, ours looked very beautiful but not equal to those you described. I have looked out those passages you spoke of, they teach me to be benevolent and kind to the poor, I learn also that I must give a part of my money to the poor. I was a making money quite fast before I was sick, aunt Vinal gave me a cent for every three number ones I got. You must tell me how much I must give from two or three cents a week to benevolent objects Grandpapa was over oftener than usal when I was sick; his health seems better than when you were here he still complains of great weakness in his limbs, he rides horseback now he thinks he feels better for it give my love to Janey and Martha.
Wednesday afternoon. It has sormed for two days and I have not been to school the snow is very deed in some places. Uncle Vinal has been confined to the house for a week with a bad cold Dr. Walker called to see him twice he has now better and we hope will be able to go out soon. We have not heard from Falmouth for three weeks but are expecting every day. My thumb is nearly well, I meant to say it is quite well I left of my cot yesterday. Uncle and aunt send love to you, and next time you write they hope you will mention how your health is.
Your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske
Feby. 8. 1845
My dear Mr. Fiske,
We did not receive your letter until last evening, as in consequence of uncle's sickness, we have not heard regularly from the post office. Ann has written the above at two or three different times, but we delayed sending until we had heard from Falmouth, yesterday, we had a hurried letter from Mr. Hooker, in which he said that the family are well. I am surprised that we do not hear directly from Mrs. Hooker or from Helen, it is now an unusually long time since they have written. Uncle is now better, though still weak & feeble, he had quite a severe attack of sickness, has been confined to the house more than a week, but he hopes to day to ride over to Boston. I really favor that he would have a fever, he was taken with severe pain in his head, which for him is not common unless he is really sick, but I hope now that with care he may regain his normal health. Aunt is tolerably well, and no more, now that the weather is so cold she goes out but little, she takes cold easily, and it affects her lungs, but she has not during the winter been confined to her room a day by illness, & she has endured the anxiety of sickness in the family, better than I expected. Ann seems now nearly as well as before she was sick. I should not have supposed that she would recover so sufusely, she goes to school, when the weather is pleasant, but her face is very sensitive to heat & cold, exposure produces redness & roughness of the skin. Ann wishes me to give her love to you, & thank you for your letters. She loves to receive them, better than to answer them, but this letter she write very cheerfully, but as the last word was finished, she said, "I am glad I dont have many people to write to."
Aunt desires love, she was pleased to hear of the prosperity of the college, she hopes you will take good care of your health, during the trying months of Feb. & March. The weather was with us has been very cold, our streets are now blocked with snow, I have not seen such a sight for many years. Thank you for the catalogue of the Pittsfield Institute. Mr Wellington Tyler had previously been here, he came to Boston to procure a music teacher, as Miss Chase is about being married to Dr. Thingsbury.
My own health remains as usual good for me. Uncle is in haste, which in part accounts for my writing so carelessly. Truly your friend M.B. Vinal
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske. Amherst, Mass. Postmarked Boston
[Friday] Charlestown May 30 1845
My dear father
I was very glad to hear that you arrived home safely and to recieve the dress and parasol. I should be as glad to cary you a flower as you would to receive it. I am having a weeks vacation and I wish Amherst was not so far of for I should admire to spend it with you, but I am passing the time pleasantly as I have been spending two days with cousin Anna Vinal in Cambridge she visited me last week. Tuesday evening I was invited to Mrs. Calls to see Mrs Osgood she that was Miss Sarah Thurston. I think you will be surprised to hear that Mary Plunket has come back to live with aunt Vinal she has concluded not to be married. Uncle Vinal houses are finished, and one of them is occupied. Miss Chadwick has returned. Uncle Hooker came Monday and left his family well I had a note from Helen. I have commenced taken music lessons of Mrs. Waterman I practise an hour and half every day. I like her as a teacher very much. I go to Miss Hettell's school and shall go till the summer vacation. I have not seen grandpapa for a week I hear from him most every day and he is not very well. Give my love to all my playmates. Uncle and aunt Vinal and Miss Chadwick send their love to you. Please to accept a large share
From your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske
[Monday] Charlestown June 2, 1845
My dear Mr. Fiske,
You will hardly expect me to write much of a letter Monday forenoon, as you will remember, that is with us a busy season, and I do not like to keep Ann's letter any longer, as I know you will be thinking it time to hear from us. Ann write her part on Friday, & I should have sent it this Saturday, but it quite escaped my mind.
Mr. Hooker has been spending the past week with us, he goes this afternoon to Norton, and tomorrow returns home, by him we shall send your letter to Helen, Ann has also written her a note. Mr. Hooker preached yesterday all day in the city, he exchanged with Mr. [Tisce], the seaman's minister.
The anniversaries I should judge here have been unusually interesting, the present season, and a large number of ministers have been gathered together. Aunt attended two of the meetings. I did not go at all, I wanted very much to hear Dr. Hopkins sermon, but my aching head, would not permit it.
Miss Chadwick as Ann has mentioned is again with us, her health remains much as formerly.
Uncle & Aunt are beginning to talk about going to Falmouth, and I am really anxious that they should by the last of the month or first of next, take a pleasant journey, they are neither of them well, & think it might do them both good. Uncle grows thin, and looks pale, & complains of feeling tired all the time, it is just as I feared, that after the houses were finished, and the care & excitement given up he would then feel the effect of his past year's work. - but I hope that rest, recreation, may be beneficial.
I do not remember whether May Plunket talked of returning to live with us, before you left, if so you will know the reason, it is a happy escape for her, that his character was more fully known, they were to have been published the next day, when she heard reports against his moral character. She seems to attend to her work faithfully, but is rather sad & sullen.
We shall hope to hear from you soon.
In haste truly yours
Martha B. V.
Addressed: Prof. N W Fisk Amerst Mass Postmarked: Boston, Mas, Jun 20
[Tuesday] Charlestown June 17, 1845.
It has been my intention to devote a part of the day in answering your last letter but my head is so full of processions and music that I am afraid you wont get but a small portion of the day. A beautiful company on horseback with several carriges one drawn by six wite horses with a beautiful standard around it were a number of little girls holding banners and dressed in wite with wreaths of flowers round their heads representing the United States. The Native Americans meet this afternoon at Bunker hill where they will be addressed. Cousin Martha is at Newburyport she has been very much troubled with her headaches she will return the last of this week if she is better. Mrs. Dr. Smith and Miss Sutton were at Falmouth a week ago last Sabbath they had a very pleasant visit and left them all well. Uncle and aunt have not decided when they will go to Falmouth. Aunt thinks I had better leave school at the end of this month and not go again till September. My health is very good but my eyes are very weak and sore. This letter looks as if it was written on the 17 of June if it was not for my eyes I would copy it they dont feel any the better for looking at the fire works I did not go out to see them I laid in my bed. Grandpapa appears very well he has bought him a horse he says he has wrote to you to send him his carriage and when he comes he will give me a ride. Aunt Vinal sends her love and hopes to see you in the first part of your vacation please to accept my accept much love from your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske. Amherst Mass Postmarked: Boston Mas. JUL 21
[Thursday] Weston July 17 1845
My dear Father
Tis a week since I recieved your letter and should have answered it sooner if I had not promised to write to Uncle Vinal. I have writen to him. I expect he is on his way home from Falmouth as he went with the expectation of coming home with Aunt Vinal to day. I had a note from Helen the fourth of July she said she had not recieved a letter from you for some time. I spent nearly a week with cousin Ann Scholfield, I had two teeth out, one on Thursday, the other Saturday, cousin Isaac went with me. Dr. Tucker says I had better have the other out in a fort night for fear it will break. Perhaps you would like to know what I have been doing since I came here. Uncle Vinal brought me up last week Tuesday. I try not to make Aunt Maria any trouble I wash the dishes every day, and do all Aunt Maria wants me to. sometimes I help cousin Susan take care of her baby. I knit some, and sow some, and pick whortleberries some, I have picked a box full to day besides enough to eat. I went to the sewing circle with aunt Maria one afternoon. I went to Mrs Colburn's with Cousin Susan and had some cherry's and nice raspberries such as are in our garden at Amherst. I have been to see poor William Patch, he is as lame as ever. I read some but I do not study any, I have not brought any of my books, and aunt Maria says I help her so much I should not have but little time to study. I began my letter yesterday and have sat down to finish it to day so that Uncle Sewall can carry it to the post office as he is a going to Boston tomorrow. I have been a berrying again to day and have picked another box ful and am going to send them to market tomorrow. Uncle Sewall sends his love to you and says he is gaining very slowly. Grandpa and aunt Maria send their love to you. My eyes are better I am quite well. will you tell me in your next letter how soon you will be here. Aunt Vinal said something about my staying only two or three weeks. I should like to stay till you come, will you write me about it. Aunt Maria says she would write in my letter but it is towards night and she has a good deal to do.
From your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske Amherst Mass Postmarked: Charlestown, MS OCT 16
[Monday] October 13 Charlestown 1845
My dear father
You see by this that my finger is quite well for ten days I have been unable to write practice or sew it was not so bad as we were were afraid it would be We were very glad to receive your letter. I have not time nor ability to comply with your request to write a long and perfect letter I have a lesson to get out of school besides an hour and a half to practice I am not able to write a perfect letter but I hop I shall improve under my new teacher whom I like very much she is very particular about my writing and the holding of my pen I cannot write easy nor well holding my pen right. she is particular that our lessons are well learnt. Aunt Vinal had a letter from Helen last week they are all well Helen says she will do without a new shawl. Mr. Humphrey has a house in Coda street and will move in a week or two. Aunt Tufts had a large party last week there were two hundred invited there was about one hundred persons ther Uncle and Aunt Vinal and cousin Martha and Miss Chadwick went. Cousin Jane Waterman is quite unwell Uncle Vinal has gone to Boston to take her to ride aunt Vinal cousin Martha and Miss Chadwick are gone out or they would send their love to you. Tuesday afternoon Please give my love to Miss Emily Nelson and say to her I am very sory to hear she has been so sick but happy to hear she is getting better. I should love very much to see her. I often think of the pleasant days I have spent in her school. Grandpapa has been over to see us he sends his love to you and is as well as usual.
Your affectionate daughter
Ann S. Fiske.
[Wednesday] Charlestown Oct. 15. 1845
My dear Mr. F.
Ann has requested me to finish her letter this evening, so that she may take it to the office in the morning, as she says you will be waiting to hear from her, & I believe it is about time that you should receive a letter. Ann has written her part without much inspection, and some of it is entirely original.
I would with pleasure have procured a shawl for Helen, and had looked at some with reference to purchasing, when we received a letter from her, saying that she had concluded not to have one, she thinks she can do without it as the weather will now soon be so cool, that her cardinal cape will not be too [remain] - of course I did nothing farther about it. Mr. & Mrs. Hooker have been about from home upon a short journey. Mrs. Hooker & Helen are intending to visit us, but quite late in the season I believe.
Miss Chadwick is again with us. I had forgotten whether I mentioned her return in my last.
Aunt is about as usual, she desired love to you, and says she is thinking that the time is drawing near when you are again to visit us.
Cousin Charles Scholfield has not yet arrived, he is about a month beyond the time allowed him for the voyage, & his family are beginning to feel quite anxious.
Cousin Jane Waterman is quite out of health. I called over to Boston to see her yesterday, she looks altered very much had a bad cough cause a good deal of pain, I should think she was in a consumption, she is not confined to the house but is quite weak & feeble, she is with her sister Mrs. Prate.
The family here all retired to rest, and I am too sleepy to write more. Your friend, M.B. Vinal
By this morning's paper we heave noticed the arrival of cousin Charles' ship in New York Thursday morning.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass. Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, Jan 23
[Wednesday] Charlestown January 21. 1846.
My dear father,
I received your letter last Friday and was very glad to hear that you arrived home in safety. I was very glad to hear that all my little friends were well, and very sorry to hear that Mrs. Judge Dickinson was more unwell. I miss you and Helen very much. I was very sorry to hear that Aunt Hooker and Helen were detained at New Bedford so long, but we heard to that they arrived home safely on Saturday we had a very amusing letter from Helen dated at New Bedford I should think from her writing she was in very good spirits. Helen and I spent a day with Grandpa we had a pleasant time, in the afternoon he took us to the Boston Museum; a day or two after he waited upon Aunt Hooker Helen and myself to the Chinese Museum, we were very much delighted with the whole, but the singing and talking of the Chinese men interested me very much. I have got through my Philosophy, and in its place I study Goodrichs Natural History, I like it very much. Dr. and Mrs Humphrey are in Charlestown he is preaching in South Boston they took tea here the night before Helen left us. Mr. Zephaniah is here also he has left Andover for the present his health will not permit him to study. I spent a pleasant evening with Mrs. Osgood at Mrs Calls. My health is very good and I hope yours is the same.
From your affectionate daughter
Ann. S Fiske.
Thursday evening Jan. 22 1846
My dear Mr. Fiske,
Annie will be disappointed if she finds in the morning, that her letter is still unfinished, and as she will expect me to keep my promise, I will just add a few lines to what she has already written, even if it is half past ten o'clock. I have been spending the evening at aunt Sawyers's and without noticing the time remained longer than I intended.
Cousin Caroline Tufts is still an invalid confined to her room, she has been more ill since you left, but is now again more comfortable, and her family hope that the worst is past, although it may be some time before she secures her usual health.
You will hardly be surprised to hear that cousin Jane Waterman is no longer with us. She died yesterday morning, and will be buried tomorrow afternoon her sufferings were very severe the last day of her life, until about an hour before she died when she became comparatively easy, - she was in a desirable frame of mind, and was faithful to those about her.
We received a letter from Mr. Hooker & Helen to day giving us an account of their safe arrival home on Saturday last, being detained in New Bedford from the Wanesday previous, no heat in packet during the day in that time.
Uncle & aunt are in usual health, excepting that aunt has something of a cold, she desires love to you, and says she hopes that prescience will send you another tenant for your house, when the present occupants leave.
Uncle Vinal rides over to see us nearly every day, the weather for a few days past has been very cold, but he still continues riding on horse back. We have had considerable snow, & have now very good sleighing.
In haste yours M.B. Vinal
Margaret has left us, and we have another girl in her place, who promises well.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, MAR 10
[Thursday] Charlestown, March 5 1846.
My dear father
I received your letter and was very sorry to hear that your health was not so good as it has been. I should have wrote you before but I did not call upon Aunt Warren untill yesterday she is very well and sent her respects to you Cousin Martha Fiske came down from Weston Tuesday and called here yesterday and I returned to Aunt Warren's with her and took tea there Cousin Martha Fiske is thinking of attending the seminary in Charlestown next summer. We are all as well as usual, excepting Uncle Vinal who has got a cold. Cousin Martha has been to Newburyport she spent nearly a month there I received a letter from Helen two or three weeks ago. Cousin Sarah Hooker has been here her teeth troubled her and she had three extracted she caught cold here in her face and had the ague very badly she spent nearly a week with us We expect cousin Annie Hooker next week she will stay about six weeks. Grandpapa was over yesterday he is not very well his limbs are weak. You wished to know if I remembered the death of my dear Mother I do not think of it very often. I want to come to Amherst very much I hope you will think it is best for me to go with you next summer. I should enjoy a sleigh ride with you very much I have had one ride this winter it was not very good sleighing for in some places the ground was bare. I am very glad you have found some one to move into the house I hope you will like her as well as Mrs Joy. I am anticipating a visit from you in April. I hope I shall not be dissapointed. I have been free from a cough all this winter but a few days ago I caught a bad cold. Aunt and Uncle Vinal send their love to you.
From your affectionate daughter,
Ann. S Fiske.
March 9. Monday morn
My dear Mr. F.
You are probably expecting to hear from us daily, and you will perceive that Ann's letter had been commenced some days, but she has delayed finishing it.
I returned from Newburyport a little more than a week since. I had a very pleasant visit f with my sister, the weather was unfavorable, and I went out but little, but enjoyed being at home with Eunice & her family. I left your package at Mr. Cushing's residence, he was not in town.
Dr. Humphrey preached for us all day yesterday, quite acceptably to the people, his son supplying his place at South Boston. The Dr. called to see us this morning, he appears to be in good health; - he is intending to go to Hatfield next week, and will after to Pittsfield with his family, he is not to return to South Boston.
We are all in tolerable health, although Uncle has some cold and appears not quite as well as usual. We are sorry to hear that you are suffering with your throat, hope the trouble may only prove to be temporary. With a remembrance from all,
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, Ms, APR 18
[Friday] Charlestown. April 17 1846.
My dear father
I was very glad to your last letter and to hear that your health is a little better. I am very sorry you are not comming here at present I hope you will come next week. I should like to go to Weston very much but Aunt Vinal am well enough to go to school next week I have been absent six weeks from meeting and school. I want to come to Amherst this summer very much I hope you will think it is best for me to. My vacation six weeks from the second week in July. I had a little note from Helen last night she is very well she sent me a dress she had outgrown it will be made over for me this summer. Uncle is not very well he has a bad cold and cough
[Saturday] April 18, 1846
My dear Mr. Fiske,
It is nearly time for the mail to close, and I have scarcely time to write a line, but I thought you might be wanting to hear from us, and perhaps would be anxious about the letter enclosed in your last to me. That was received in due season, & yesterday Uncle delivered it as you desired.
Uncle David has not been here, since I received your letter, he had been every day for a week previous, & I think will certainly be here this afternoon, and aunt will speak to him about that box of Mrs Bents, she has more tact, at that sort of business, than I have, and probably would succeed better in getting the freight paid. I have already copied the direction, so that it will be ready when he comes.
There is a decided change for the better in Ann's cough, and I think you would say she is as well in health as you ever knew her to be. - it is a real comfort to us to have her so. She has gone back into her little room to sleep, and coughs but little nights. I hope you will not think that aunt disregarded your advice with regards to Ann's going to Weston, but she is so well, that she certainly does not need it on account of her health, and she has been almost entirely free from application for the last six weeks as the hooping cough affected her eyes considerably, and now there seems nothing to prevent her going to school, besides it seems rather early to go into the country, and any exposure to taking cold, would of course perlong her cough, and more than that, we are having her spring & summer clothes fixed and of course she must be here to have her dresses fitted. I have made rather a long story of the matter, but you will understand it I presume.
Aunt desires love to you, and is sorry that you are not coming at the commencement of the vacation, as we all are, and shall hope to see you as soon as you can make it convenient with your own arrangements.
Uncle we think is a little better, though still feeble.
You will excuse the mistakes in Ann's letter, there is no time to rectify them. She would have written before, but we did not like to have her use her eyes, you will have to use yours I am quite sure to read what I have written.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass. Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, JUN 10
[Saturday] Charlestown. June 6. 1846.
My dear father
You must excuse me for not writing to you before for I have been very busy. I was very glad to hear that your cold was better and that Mrs. Bents box arrived in safety. Cousin Martha wrote to Falmouth to let them know about it. I received a very short note from Helen when Uncle Hooker came to the Anniversaries she wrote a letter to Grandpa too. I suppose you are wondering what I am busy about I spend the afternoons in sowing. I have one less care than I had last week for I have been called to part with my poor pussey she died a natural death. My Canary bird has laid five eggs and I begin to count the young birds the folks tell me not to count the birds before they are hatched. Mrs. Doune is engaged to Mr. Rogers he is a deacon in Rev Mr. Adams church she will be Married in Mr Humphrey's church I expect to go to the wedding. Grandpapa does not come to see us as often as he used to, because he is raising a house in Russel street. Miss Tuthill has changed the school room to one room in the next house to aunt Warrens. I like it a much better than the old one because we have two large yards to play in I study Botany and write composition I am very fond of flowers but I do not like to classify them I hope I shall when I understand it.
June 9 Nothing new has has happened since I wrote the first of my letter excepting that Mary was published last Sunday and will leave in about a fortnight. I have received a paper from Helen. Cousin Martha Fiske called here last night her health is very much better than has been.
Your affectionate daughter Ann S Fiske.
My dear Mr. Fiske,
Ann has requested me to write a few line in her letter, as her ideas were sure exhausted. I fear you will not think she is improving much from this specimen of her writing, and there is nothing which she attempts to do, which is such a task to her, as to write a letter. I suppose it is, to all children, & she, I dare say will compose more easily from time to time. She is improving in one respect very much, & that is in her sewing, she has really done a great deal toward her summer work, she sits down with aunt and I, & sews perhaps an hour three or four afternoons in a week, and besides the knowledge she is gaining,
it is really better for her than to be running about with the girls. As it is she has ample time for play, and we often let her, that she runs all the flesh from her bones; - & she is quite thin, though pretty well, excepting that her cough troubles her, which gives uncle & aunt anxiety.
As you may suppose we were thankful to hear that Mrs. Bent's box had arrived. I immediately informed Mr Parker's family, & Mr. Hooker, uncle D. Vinal was here when your last letter arrived, & aunt mentioned to him the circumstances of the detention of the box, & he congratulated himself upon having anything to do with it, but I could not help thinking, that if he had done that simple act of kindness, all might have been saved. We see Uncle Vinal but seldom, is entirely engrossed with his houses, - but as usual his health is better when his mind is occupied.
Uncle & aunt are pretty well, they are neither of them as vigorous as formerly, & I am in continual anxiety for both of them, that they will go beyond their strength & get sick. Aunt when to church all day last Sabbath. So you will perceive that she is gaining strength, although I do not think she coughs to have gone less half a day.
Our Mary will leave us soon to be married, and we are looking about for help, exchanging domestics makes hard work, as you know, but I do not anticipate any special trouble, if my head will not ache, I think I can manage to do my part. Love from aunt
Truly yours M.B. Vinal.
Are you intending to leave College during Senior vacation? & how is your health.
Helen Hunt Jackson
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