Helen Hunt Jackson 1-1-6 transcription
Ms 0020, Box 1, Folder 6, Letters from Deborah Fiske (HHJ's mother) to Nathan Fiske (HHJ's father), 1843
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, October 1995
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst
I suppose it will strike you as exceeding queer not to receive a word by the President, so just a word you shall have, although I am fast asleep. Uncle Scholfield has just walked by, and says, "take care what you say, Deborah." I was out this forenoon shopping with Cousin Ann Scholfield and Ann Hooker, and it is walking makes me so drowsy. I am quite as well as when I left home, and am enjoying my visit very much. I came over to Boston Monday morning to visit at Uncle Scholfield's and Cousin Mary Vinal's this week. Anna Fiske is with me and is quite well.
Timothy Stearns is here from the West, he called upon me yesterday. Mr. Wellington Tyler is also here from Pittsfield. Mr. Stearns told me of it yesterday. I sent word to him by Mr. Stearns requesting him to call upon me; he came this morning, he left home Monday.
Helen was well, he knew her eyes had been weak, I requested him to see that she did not use them evenings. Mr. Tyler says Helen is doing well, he thinks she intends to do well, she attends well to her lessons, and is capable of making a very good scholar.
There are four or five misses about Helen's age in the family, and one very much like Helen, that little girl from Albany - you said she was "just such another." Mr. Tyler says bundles sent to him by the Stage all the way, if they are not left at Northampton, he is quite sure of receiving from the Public House in Pittsfield; - at the Depo he said no one would feel any responsibility to see that anything was sent to him.
I hope you are enjoying your quiet home. I am sure you must be glad to see no more Mrs. Whites or Mrs. Blues dragging about the house. Cousin Ann sends her love to you with a message I should be ashamed to repeat if I could remember it, because the amount of it was that our visit is contributing in a great degree to the happiness of everybody in this region.
Cousin Ellen is some better, but she is feeble and is going out to Newton very soon.
Martha is quite unwell - without any doubt her spine is diseased. The repeated attempts to mesmerise her in the winter were, I think, decidedly injurious, they brought on spasms innumerable, and exhausted her strength, her head aches have been much more frequent and violent ever since.
What are your plans for vacation - shall you go to Falmouth? Write immediate and tell me, for if you will, I will wait and go with you (and I wish you would), but if not, I dont know but we shall return with Mr. Hooker and Ann the last of next week, probably not however, for I believe it will interfere with another plan of Aunts.
This must be on its way to Charlestown so good bye yrs. aff. D.W.V. Fiske
John Humphrey seems very much worn down and the people are distressed about him; he has had protracted cases of sickness requiring a great deal of visiting, and he needs a thorough resting spell. Dont forget to say how Mrs. Hitchcock is when you write. Write often.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked Charlestown, MS, Jun 22
I dare say you have been looking out for an answer to your letter ever since Mary arrived with it and I have been watching for a chance to run off upstairs and write to you, but we have not any of us had a minute of time for anything but to see company. The 17th of June brought everything to Charlestown, and though Aunt had no one staying with her but Anna and I and Mary, a great many called, and we have been going out, and more drives than the President.
I am glad to hear that you are so well, and hope you remember that it was my prediction you would be; it would be a good thing for you to be compelled to walk half a mile three times a day the year round.
As to the carpet, you will do just what you think best, and feel rich enough to do. I do not want a new one in the sitting room, unless the room can be papered and painted, the floor now, looks much better than the walls and what you feel able to contribute towards a new carpet, I should prefer to have spent for paper and paint. I can turn the carpet so as to bring the grease spot under the hearth, nearly the whole of it, if not quite.
If you buy a new one for your study dont get a very thin one, for the dirt sweeps right through and the carpet is very soon XXXXXXXXXXXXXX worn out. If you want a carpet for your study chamber I think there is enough up garret, rolled up in some coarse cloth to cover that room - it is like what there is in Sarah's chamber - the last one that was on the sitting room. Or if you would prefer one already to put down, you can take the one from Helen's chamber and I will have the old sitting room carpet fixed for her room after my return and I am so accustomed to planing repairs in old carpets to make them hold out. I presume I can get that altered over better than you.
However, I care but little, now I dont see them, how they are darned or stitched or put down; and I am sure I shall care a great deal when the College goes smash and we have "to clear" to see my good nice strong work knocked off for four pence a yard, so all future fixing up about our premises may go, excepting what we can do.
I hear the Seniors felt badly about their appointments. Mary said only six were present the evening they were invited, that Temple and Taylor were not there, and that not one sent any apology for not accepting the invitation - this I hope will wind up the Senior Levees. A graduate in the Cars when I came from Amherst said to me "will not Dr. H. resign at the coming Commencement;" and some gentleman has said at Aunt Vinal's (her brother from Maine, I believe) that he had seen it stated in some paper that President Humphrey intended to resign at Commencement.
I am going out this afternoon to hear a lecture from Dr. Fowler before a Physiological Association of ladies in Charlestown - what the subject will be I dont know, excepting that it will be either "Phrenology, Physiology, Memory or Matrimony" these are the four subjects advertised upon which the public may look to him for information. A Miss Hunt is at the head of this association who is prescribing for Martha now, she dont seem to me like anything but a real quack; but she makes people believe that she performs cures, and in some way has continued to get Martha's confidence, she asks nothing for her advice but her medicines are a dollar a bottle! She is the homeliest, fattest, queerest looking old maid I ever saw, she writes lectures for this association, comes pounding in (heavier than your lady) slams down in the great rocking chair, unrols her manuscript and preaches off her lecture in a manner that is perfectly ludicrous to me - the other ladies listen as seriously as so many judges. I have heard but one, the Introductory, of course that would be rather miscellaneous, but I know they wont amount to much, any of them, however, Mary Humphrey and I will have a good laugh and that is worth something, especially to me when I XXXXXXXXX am weak as thrums and cannot make my cough go off.
Yrs. aff. in haste D.W.V.F.
Write very soon.
Give my love to Mrs. Moore and Miss Drury & to Mrs. Prof. Tyler, Mrs. Hitchcock Mrs. Snell and Eliza Dickinson when you happen to see them.
Your brother Sewall, Maria and Mary were at Charlestown the 17th, and called at Aunt Vinal's in the afternoon, all are well at Weston. I told Maria she might expect a terrible visit from me, after Aunt had been to Falmouth.
Did you get a letter from me that I wrote June 9th, at Cousin Mary's? Be particular to tell me. You did not allude to it, nor send me the thread I wrote for, by Mary.
You ought to write to Helen if you have not, she enquires about you in my letters. The eyes are better, she says "I believe crying made them weak, for I used to cry an hour a day."
Tell Mrs. Humphrey Mary is well and minds me admirably, and that we are all enjoying her visit very much.
We had a fine change to see the procession at a friend of Aunt Vinal's upon the Main St. It was over an hour passing; Anna said "what will come next, Ma, I cannot stop looking and it dont seem as if I could look any longer." Our eyes fairly ached and looked just as if we had been crying. The sight was splendid. Ann is at school but I may very honestly put in some love from her for you and Janey Hitchcock, I presume she has said to me a hundred times, "Ma, dont you want to see Papa & Janey."
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked Boston, Ms, June 27
[June 1843] Tuesday afternoon
My dear Mr. Fiske,
I was thankful to see your letter in Uncle's hand this forenoon, not having heard a word from you since Mary's animal almost a fortnight ago; the folks had begun to laugh at me for not being missed much at Amherst, so you may put that down against being obliged to say "no" so often to the question "have you heard from Mrs. Fiske."
And now the girls, Martha and Mary are laughing at me for "making up" so quick, and say they should think I were just married, running off up garret this hot afternoon to write to you, the next minute after getting your letter.
I wish I could tell you exactly when I shall be at Weston, having an idea that if I could you might surprize us some day by walking in. I am really calculating upon my visit out there and so is Ann. Ann is all for the Country, "dont you hate Ma" she says, when we walk out together "to be among so many things that are made, and among so few that grow, I want to run off in a lot, instead of walking along in these hard streets." Martha has been so unwell it has kept Uncle and Aunt rather undecided as to their plans. They wish to go to Falmouth very soon after the fourth of July, and I hope they will, they will not stay over ten days or a fortnight, they wish me to remain while they are gone as "residing intelligence" and they cannot shut the house or feel easy to leave Martha alone. Mary is a very good girl, capable of cooking so that we shall have a very easy comfortable time, and a still time I presume, for when it is known that Aunt Vinal is gone so many people will not be calling. Miss Hunt, Martha's physician called this morning and recommended the country for her, it is possible aunt will send her out somewhere, if any such arrangement is made to delay aunt's visit to Falmouth I shall go out and stay the time with Maria.
I am sure you must enjoy your clean Study and clean books.
I will write to Helen, if possible tomorrow, though she must have heard from me last week unless my letter was lost.
I hope it is true that she is more thoughtful, nothing indicated it in her last letter to me, though I thought she was studying well and obeying rules from her account of herself. I wish very much to see her. It seems too much to believe that the Holy Spirit is really speaking to her, had you need not caution me not to speak of it for cases of deception are so common, it pains me to hear conversions proclaimed, much more, cases of seriousness especially when children are away from home and are more or less homesick. In my letter to H. I shall make no allusion to your letter.
Give my love to Mrs. Moore and Axsy. Does Miss Paine board there? and has Mrs. Moore any little girl to help her.
Yrs. Aff. D.W.V. Fiske
Ann is downstairs or she would send love.
A kind of Influenza is prevailing. We have, some of us, had a slight touch of it, in the form of colds, but are all in a going out state, and I ride now to Boston immediately with Uncle Vinal and shall put this in the office.
See that you write to me forthwith, so that I can not only hear, but have the pleasure of telling of it.
Write again very soon. Give my love to Mrs. Humphrey and tell her we shall not let Mary come home till after the 4th of July, wishing to show her how we Boston folks can show off on such occasions, and add that all John's people have been so polite to "Miss Humphrey" that I have hardly had a chance to take a walk with her; she is going out to Weston tomorrow to ses Sarah and will come back the next day, Cousin Sarah Tufts is going with her; (an old scholar)
Cousin Mary Vinal has heard of one girl and perhaps two that will go to Amherst with me, one has lived at Uncle Gideon's over a year - she has a brother over 30 years old, used to farming who wants a place, if he is good for anything would the Judge like him.
I believe I made a great ado about weakness from the manner in which you take it up; I wrote just after the 17th, when we were all stupefied and used up. I am well enough to be having a very good time and hope to be quite stout for housekeeping by September.
Call and tell Mrs. Humphrey of this letter for Mary has not written lately, she dont have any time for anything but going out to ride or walk, see company and take naps with Martha and I to get rested, we have very good times up stairs.
Ann has just put her head in to Uncle's little writing room to tell me to give her love to "my husband" (see what an honorable title you have this way) and tell him to come and see us - not to carry me off, but to make a visit yourself.
No address, no postmark, etc.
 July 4th, Tuesday forenoon.
With the most immediate prudence I am keeping perfectly quiet today; and it is certainly excusable to tell of it, so hard has it always been for me to get a bit of praise for being judicious.
The weather is very fine for Independence, and Ann has had a fine time this morning, going over to Boston with Cousin Caroline to witness an exhibition of children and flowers. Caroline said it was splendid and Ann keeps saying "Oh, I do wish you had been there, Ma."
You will receive your watch by Mary. I called at Davis and Palmer's to enquire for its welfare, and the watch maker said he had repaired and regulated it, so that there was not the least need of its remaining there any longer.
I knew it must be inconvenient for you to be without it, so I paid him a dollar and took it away. You will find it run down, for neither Uncle Vinal or myself understand opening it, and were afraid of doing some injury by trying any more.
Uncle and Aunt intend starting for Falmouth Friday. Martha has been out to visit Maria, the last week, we expect her home tomorrow; we had a letter from her yesterday, she had had no severe head-ache at Weston, but felt as weak as water - she is very feeble. Maria, and all the family are well, Uncle Vinal carried Martha out, and he said there was a Miss Stearns staying there. I wonder if it is Aunt Sally.
Ann is wanting to go to Weston very much "so as to have some good runs in lots," but I shall keep her with me. Abba would make her play so boisterously, and keep her out in the dew; she has had one cold, or the influenza which made her cough a good deal for a few days, but she is quite well now. As for me, I am "pretty much so." as William Jacobs used to say of his poor old mother; just now, I cough rather more, in consequence of a touch of the "influenza," but hope to stop barking in a few days; I could not be more favourably situated for taking care of myself. Papa has set up a grocery for me in Uncle's china closet where I go and drink most immoderately ever so many times in the day of the strongest lemonade, and I can have every variety of light food that I want, and sleep when I choose etc, etc., but as to getting really better as I did during my last visit at Boston I hardly expect it, for I came more worn down, and with a worse cough than I ever did before, if my cough would cease, I could gain, having such an opportunity to rest, but it is more fatiguing for any one who is weak to cough, than for any one tolerably well to work.
Mr. Temple called upon me yesterday - he says he has been in this region three weeks, he was expecting Wells to-day, I thought perhaps you would write by him, as Uncle found no letter in the Post office yesterday.
Mrs. Bennett or "Cousin Mary," called on me yesterday - told me all abut her visit at Amherst - said you seemed surprised that she had not seen me, and as Mr. B. had business she thought she would ride in with him and call, she said also George and his wife intended calling. I hope they dont think I am waiting with any great solicitude for attentions, for I had not the least expectation of seeing any of them unless she should happen to meet. I never saw George but once at his mother's, I call upon here because she is an old lady, and your father's sister.
Last Saturday, Uncle Vinal took a Carryall and carried Miss Chadwick, Mary Humphrey, Anna and I over to the Insane Hospital; we went all over the buildings, it would be a splendid place to board but for being in such crazy company. I saw Mrs. Worcester, she remembered me and seemed very glad to see me - enquired for you, asked if I lived at Amherst now, and if I intended to stay there. I told her I was visiting my friends, "Oh, said she, what a good kind husband you've got to let you go and visit your friends, then she began to talk about Mrs. Worcester as if she was sick, wished he could only get able to go into the country. I did not stay but a moment after, fearing she might be worse for being reminded of what I suppose seem to her now as better days, though think she was always partially deranged even after I went to Amherst. Her countenance indicated much better health, and it would not be strange if she were to live twenty or thirty years.
Ann has just popped in and says "tell Papa I've had my hair cut off, and give my love to him, and ask him to come down here, and tell him I want to see him awfully." - all one sentence, and now the author of it is down in the kitchen, all in less than a minute. Ann has made you a book mark for a little present - she had but little help about the letters.
I send you a letter which I received the other day from Helen - as she said she had been less explicit to you, I knew you would be gratified to see it. I am sure it is a blessing we neither of us deserve if this dear child is truly converted to God, I feel great anxiety abut her lest she should be deceived, but it must be that the Holy Spirit has given her such views of herself a sinner, it is not like Helen to make confessions or see that she has done wrong. I have written to her. I felt afraid to write, for fear of writing something I ought not to. I cautioned her against feeling satisfied with any supposed change, and told her that even if she were in the right way, she had but just started from the City of Destruction, and that she must be clothed in Christian's armour and be upon the watch for Christian's foes.
Have you had any letter from Mr. Tyler, I have had none from Mrs. Tyler or Miss Lincoln. Would it be well for you to write to Mr. Tyler. I shall say nothing about Helen's letter excepting to Uncle, Aunt, and Martha, and they will say nothing about it; when I read it to Aunt Vinal, "dear child" said she how I have desired and prayed that she might be saved, and all her influence devoted to Christ early, but I was hardly expecting the blessing so soon." but Aunt trembles for her and prays for her, so many are awakened and so few persevere.
Write very soon if you have not already written, or if you have. Dinner time is approaching and I must stop and be ready.
Love to Mrs. Moore, Axsy, Mrs Humphrey, Mrs. Hitchcock, Mrs. Tyler, Mrs. Snell, and any friends you may happen to see who care enough about me to accept it.
My father is well, and has nearly completed his work, and I am glad he is so near through for he evidently has less strength than he had a year since and it is injurious to him to get so weary as he always will overseeing workmen.
Yrs. aff. D.W.V.Fiske
Aunt Vinal sends love to you with another message I do not exactly remember about keeping me. I am sure you must be glad to have me kept by somebody till I can come home good for something.
The little book mark with "Martha" upon it is a little present from Ann for Martha Snell. The other is for "Janey" Hitchcock from Ann, and the doll is for Emily Hitchcock from Ann.
You will please to deliver the important packages.
Addressed: Prof. Nathan W.Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked Charlestown, MS, July 13
[July 1843] Thursday morning.
My dear Papa,
You couldn't guess where I am, writing to you so I'll tell you, out in Uncle Vinal's pretty garden, on the steps. Ma waits for what I tell her. I wish I could come back to Amherst to see you, and Janey, and all the folks, and run out in the lots.
Can't you come down after me? (I'm sure I couldn't spare her.) Ma isn't as well as when she was at home, but Dr. Jackson hopes she will be better soon; the influenza made her cough worse. Give my love to Janey, Martha Snell, and Katy Baker and tell them they must all write to me.
I have had my hair cut off like Helen's, and have had a tooth out. I didn't cry a bit. I dont want to write any more.
I should like to know how you could keep from answering the excellent letter I sent you by Mary Humphrey so long. For only think of the time - a week and two days. I rode over to the Post office yesterday, as sure of hearing, as of my dinner at noon. But not a word was there. I think it was last week on Wednesday that I heard last from you.
Uncle and Aunt left us for Falmouth Tuesday afternoon to be absent a fortnight, if we get along well without them which I think we shall, for Mary is able and willing to take care of us, and can go on with the cooking without watching.
As to the old topic, my health, I cannot say much in its praise. Dr. Jackson tells me, and says he is honest, that I have no immediate cause for anxiety, that the present irritation about my lungs is owing to the influenza and he thinks I shall be able to throw it off with no injury in the end but some less of strength. I am under his care and see him every second or third day; I am better in some respects, I sleep nights, have less noise in my throat, and can lie with my head low and do not cough quite so much, he says I cannot expect to get better at once, nor ever be well, because my lungs are undoubtedly diseased, more so now than when I was in Boston last, still, he says, I may with care, keep my head above water some time. I hope I shall be able to go to Weston by the time aunt returns. Ann wants to be in the country. I asked the Dr. if it would be better for me, he said no, if I had an airy situation in Charlestown and good accommodations, but he thought when I had got a little better if I could be out in some retired place where I could ride on horseback without any parade it would be the best thing I could do. Could you put in my saddle when you come to Weston. I could not stand it, I am so lean on the unstuffed saddle at your fathers. My riding skirt, too, green cambric, it is in the Bureau drawer in Helen's chamber. I dont know which drawer.
Give my respect to Dr. Gridley when you see him. I have so much more confidence in him than in anybody else, I had serious thoughts of writing to him instead of going to Dr. Jackson. Dr. Jackson may understand medicine, but nobody understands me like Dr. Gridley, and he is skillful too, he takes right hold of cases without puddling about them till it is too late.
Direct your letter to Charlestown while Uncle is gone. To Uncle V's care Washington St. and they are sent right to the house.
Yrs. Aff. D.W.V. Fiske
This letter need not give you a particle of anxiety. I have everything done for me that can be done. And do nothing and see nobody to weary me, I stay up stairs, and wear a loose dress and lie down, and in all respects consult my ease for I know it is essential, and I have a great desire to get better without delay.
I suppose Mrs. Washburn will be enquiring of you about Mrs. Aiken. I have not been there since I have been more unwell, but the last time I was there Mrs. Aiken and the baby and all, were all in tears with the Influenza, but they were getting better and I presume are well by this time as they were not such good for nothing creatures to begin with.
My father is quite well, I see him about every day when I ride over to see the Dr. I dine with him, and the intervening days he comes to Charlestown.
I shall expect a letter Sat. night.
I saw Mr. Blodget and lady in Boston yesterday - he said you were well last Friday. Give my love to Mrs. Moore and Achsy.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked Boston, MS, Aug 7
[Aug 1843] Monday Morning
My dear husband,
I am thinking that by tomorrow night you may be expecting a letter from me. I am as comfortable as when I wrote last, and should call myself really better, I feel so much brighter sometimes, were not the same old process of coughing and expectorating going on. I have good nights now, and awake feeling refreshed, and relish my food, I dont want much at a time, but want, and have a luncheon, forenoon and afternoon, I take milk and rusks; for dinners a little of all the good things and my pulse are not more rapid than they were, and I am stronger than before I went to Weston, or when I was out there. So much for diseases, now for help, what delightful topics.
Papa went to the Intelligence office yesterday, no Saturday, and found himself in the midst of a gang of 30 or 40 girls wanting pleses; he said he called out for somebody that could cook, wash, and iron, and somebody proclaimed right up that she "do em all" and he agreed to see her again this morning, and there is another one that is after him, and one has just been to see me who I think might be a good chamber maid - I am to let him know tomorrow forenoon, there is no doubt but there is help enough if we can find out about it.
The other day a chamber maid at Mr. Carter's told xxx my father of her sister who wanted a good place in the country, she had been a dress maker but couldn't sit and sew. Papa said one of her first questions was whether we kept a horse, because she was very fond of riding on horseback! I believe she is coming to see me, but that is enough, one other thing she told Papa she was apt to get low spirited. I am sure I dont want anybody to entertain, but to do the work and let me be quiet.
Do go and see Ann whenever you can, I wish very much to hear from her.
I was greatly surprised and pained to hear of Tutor Miller's death. I have almost envied him sometimes when looking at his healthy countenance and athletic frame, and thought you will live to good old age if anybody can.
Uncle is about ready to start for Boston so good morning, dont get discouraged - you'll see better days than these some time or other, I dont venture into particulars in telling fortunes.
Good bye, yrs, aff.
We shall start for Amherst just as soon a we can get a good girl or perhaps two, if we can get them well recommended, unless you think I had better not run the risk of but one. How would that Irish girl at the Tavern do for chamber work X XXXXXX XXXX XX XX. I scratch that out, for all the care I want is to be rid of work.
The girl that lived at Uncle Gideon's is unwilling, on the whole, to go so far into the country.
Martha I think is gaining. Dr. Walker recommends wine, and she seems recruited by it. Uncle & aunt are well. We had a driving rain yesterday. To-day is very pleasant.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked Boston, Mas, Aug 8
[Aug 1843] At the Earl House
My dear husband,
I am sure you will think letters from me fairly rain down they are so plenty, but it is desirable you should have early information on the subject of help lest we should get too large a congregation assembled.
My father has found an Irish woman, a widow between thirty and forty years of age who will return with us to Amherst next Monday. I like her appearance and conversation very well, and this is all we can know of his without trying her, as since she came from Halifax, Nova Scotia, nine months ago, she has been staying in her brother's family; of course from them we could learn nothing, she says she is willing to do anything, that she has been accustomed to cooking, washing and ironing, and that what she wants is a good steady place where she can earn money, and not be an expense to her brother, and be able to support her little boy, between four and five years old; the child is with this brother and has a good home there, she says, though she shall be very glad to in a place for him in Amherst, if she can. She engages to pass the winter at least, and not leave me alone, her name is Ann Collan. Perhaps her whole story is a lie, but she seems honest, and my father liked the appearance of things at her brother's.
Well, this forenoon, I thought I would just step into the Intelligence office myself, and look around there with my father, for a girl to sweep, do chamber work, sew some, and wait on me if I need it. And such an assembly I never saw together, old and young, from ten years of age to fifty. The office is rather a large room, in the middle sits a judge like looking gentlemen with a book, pen, and ink, at a table to record the names of the applicants, and there were two rows of benches all round the room, on these benches, round the door and in the passage way were as many as fifty girls and women, some of them trying to get your attention by ever possible way, and others sitting looking like firm believers in fate, independent of any personal exertion. I walked all round studying every face and forehead, and then went back to a girl in the passage way whose countenance pleased me as I went in, there was such a crowd and so much chattering I would not talk much with her, but she promised to call and see me this afternoon, the rain may prevent her, and she may not choose to come, but I was quite taken with her looks.
I presume you will be glad that we shall not fall upon you till Monday, that you may have time to breathe and buy a barrel of flour after Commencement, before we arrive. In spite of Commencement do write a word or two when you get this. I am as well as I was yesterday, and do believe I am thankful for a little more strength, & a good appetite for the most wholesome food.
Give my love to Mrs. Moore and Axsy. Tell me exactly how Anna seemed, and what Mrs. H. said about her when you went to carry up her clothes.
I long to see her, and tell her I sent her 2 kisses in her letter.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked, Boston, Ms, Aug 9
[Aug 1843] At the Earl House, Wednesday aft.
The girl I mentioned yesterday, called this morning and I liked her appearance and conversation so well that I engaged her to return with me to do chamber work, wait on me and sew anything I wish her to do; she is but sixteen years old - and her name is Mary Tute - did you ever hear such a silly word for a name? never mind, her looks make up for it.
You are almost in the midst of Com. I am thankful to be ninety miles off from such a job as I had last year roasting meat and waiting on company, lady and help united.
Papa says perhaps both our helps will slip away from us, but I dont believe they will, so you may stand ready to receive the reinforcement the first of the week. Papa has bought some ship head and herring to begin with.
I have written to Helen today, and shall send her a box of things Saturday - that box Papa fixed up so strong for himself and painted black. I shall send her a pocket bible I have bought her and some etc. etc.
Yrs. aff D.W.V. Fiske.
Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, By Miss Humphrey
 Tuesday afternoon.
I've broken open the enclosed to see what kind of blue speech I made this forenoon about not being any letter again - you must not regard it, for this influenza makes everything look blue, especially with those who are slim enough at best, but it dont last long.
Papa has been over this afternoon and he is down sick with it, his nose is as red as if it had been boiled, and his eyes look as if he had half cried them out. The changes in the weather have been very great and sudden, Sunday it was extremely hot, and Monday and ever since as cold as November. What great work are you doing now; Senior Temple said you had no recitations
[tr. note: The text breaks off here. Perhaps a second page or pages have been lost.]
Helen Hunt Jackson
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