Helen Hunt Jackson 2-1-12 transcription
|Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part
2, Ms 0156, Box 1, Folder 12, 14 letters from Ann Fiske to Lucy Palmer,
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, 2007.
Thursday A.M. Jan 1st 
My dear Lue,
I have just finished a letter to Helen & I will not send it without a note for you; it does seem too bad that I have to talk with you in such a way as this when I was expecting to enjoy a whole week with you here in Boston. What a droll little encounter that was of ours yesterday at the Massasoit, I could hardly believe that it was you! You don't know how sorry Henry Root was, when I told him who you were that he was not introduced to you & did not wait upon you into the cars, but he thought we were so much engaged that he would not interrupt us, & bedsides he thought if I had wanted him to come up, I should have beckoned to him in some way; he said he wondered if it was not Jennie Abbott, for Helen had showed him her daguerreotype & he thought you looked some like that, he wanted to know how old you were & asked two or three times, for he could not seem to remember.
The moment you had gone we went into the dining hall, & he was saying he wondered who we should see next & looked up & there was his father right at the end of the table; it did seem strange that we should meet so many friends so unexpectedly.
It is a very stormy day here & hope it is not in Albany. Oh! you don't know how much I wish I was there it is so dull here without you, & today your father & mother & aunt Lucy have gone out to dine with your aunt Margaret.
I suppose you are all dressed today sitting in the parlor waiting for calls, & here are Hattie & I both at home in our wrappers writing to Albany & both wishing ourselves there. I suppose you in your cool common sense way are saying to yourself & perhaps to Helen, as you read this, "how silly Hattie & Annie are to be homesick & to be wishing for what they know they cannot have," but perhaps not, perhaps "Miss Lucy" herself is homesick in Albany, perhaps she is wishing she was at home, to go the Rehearsal tomorrow P.M., & to the concert Saturday evening, to Church next Sabbath to sing in the choir of her friend Silas: if she is her friend Annie (knowing by most miserable experience the horrors of homesickness) pities her from bottom of her heart, & will do all she can in the future to dissipate such feelings, by telling her all the little occurrence of the Crescent Place life.
We thought of you a great deal last evening & were quite anxious to hear of your arrival on the other side of the Hudson: how did [you] get across the ice? Helen will tell you what a time we had in the morning. I suppose Charlie was delighted to see you: please give my best love to him & ask him to dance the Shaker dance, & tell the Methodist story.
I would love to write you more Lue, but Georgie must take this down or it will not go today. Helen is going to write Tuesday, why can't you let me hear Thursday, I don't want them both to come together; I don't approve of too many good things at once, & I hope you will let me hear Thursday, Excuse haste, Annie.
Monday, P.M. Jan. 19th 1852
My dear Lue,
I have literally torn myself away from Helen Tuft's scarf to say a few words to you, & I am sure I do not know what to tell you, for I suppose Hattie has told you all the news about Mr. Dawa, Mr. Bancroft, Carrie, besides all the little family matters, but I will begin & tell you that it has snowed very fast all the morning & that I staid at home from school t/h/i/s/ & we have passed the time very busily & pleasantly in sewing & reading "Pericles" with Hattie: this is the last play in that volume of Shakspeare [sic] which you & I commenced, so you see that Hattie & I have not been idle in the reading line.
Your friend walked home from Musical Formal Rehearsal with me, (I mean S.A.B.) last Friday P.M. (& his friend the two Fridays before) & he told me when I wrote to you to give you his aff. regards & his respects, to my sister. I have told you this now, for I was afraid I should forget it, & it would be a great pity to omit any of Mr Bancroft's messages to Miss Lucy would it not?
Hattie is now just tearing herself away from Charlie's slippers to write to you too, & your mother is looking over a bundle bag to find a lining for Hattie's Gymnasium dress which Elaezar is making today, & they are both talking so you must make the allowance for all blunders.
Last Thursday evening I went with your father & mother to Miss Goodan's party, we found it was a regular dancing party, floors covered with cottons, four musicians &c., all prepared for quite a time, & besides there was an abundance of wine, of which your father disapproved strongly, & was very glad that he had ordered his carriage at quarter before eleven, so that he should avoid being there at the supper. William Marvin, & Julia were there & Mary Parker & I was having a very pleasant time, & was exceedingly sorry to have to obey your good father & go home at such an early hour.
Hattie said she told you that I would tell you about George Dawa's two invitations, I do not think it is worth while to go into detail, but will only say that he passed an hour & a half here a week ago Thursday & then asked me to go the Germania Con. with him on that evening, but as I had promised your father that I would decline his next invitation, & was going to the Social Circle, I refused to go, at which he seemed a little piqued, said in his peculiar way, said, I presume you will enjoy yourself more at the Circle, to which I of course said Oh! No! & then very foolishly said I did not like to go at all, as there were no young ladies there, & then he made a remark which quite provoked me, "Oh! that will be all the better to be the only one to be admired." Wasn't he mean i/n/ Lue to say that? Well, the next day he & Mr. Bancroft both came home with me from Rehearsal, & Saturday just after I had promised to go with Duke, a note came from Mr. Dawa, a very pretty one too, saying that "if I had no engagement to - [go] to Social Circles" he should be happy to go with me to the Concert; was it not too bad that I could not go with him, for there he sat right opposite me all the evening alone looking quite sober, he saw me several times & bowed pleasantly, that was the last time I have seen him. I said Lue it was not worth while to go into detail, but I have & I am sorry, I cannot help it now though.
I went over to Charlestown all day to church yesterday. Oh! I have got my little Class, three nice little girls one is Carrie Cushman, & I have Mrs. Safford's Place, & it's "one of the chief seats in synagogue" is it not.
Dear Lue, I must not write any longer for it is too dark to see now, & I have got 100 lines in Virgil to learn before tea, how I wish you were here to learn it with me, we commence the 11th book today. Give my best love to Helen tell her she shall have her hat box this week, & that I hope to hear from her tomorrow, & that her daguerreotype is perfect ten times better than the one I've got, & that every one says it looks almost precisely like me, & don't forget this wonderful fact that I have gained three pounds & now weigh121 pounds, I feel quite like a woman now being 17 years old & weighing so much.
Do let me hear next Tuesday Lue, do not disappoint me for you know I can't endure to be disappointed, & do not consider this scroll a specimen of my letters,
In great haste,
Your old room mate
My dear Lue,
I am determined to commence a letter to you if I can do no more tonight; I have thought of you & Helen many times today, as preparing your dresses for tomorrow evening & wondering who would be at the party, & whether you will enjoy yourselves or no; but this wondering is rather a useless way of passing time, not quite so great a failing of mine, however as looking back to some very pleasant journey or visit & thinking a thousand times of the very same things, & anticipating the same enjoyment in a similar way in the future, no matter how distant that future may be: how entertaining this account of my great fault must be to you Lue especially as you are so fond of anticipating yourself! But really I do wonder if in four years I shall think & act & talk as you do upon this one subject, I do not believe even four years can make so great a change, do you? Here the supper bell rings & it's call must be quickly obeyed.
Supper & prayers are over, Hattie is practising & Emmie & I have just been dancing after our own fashion, & your Mother and father are prinking to go to Mrs Saffords, to a sort of a Missionary party.
I am glad you like Albany so well & I hope you & Helen get along beautifully, without any good-natured quarrels or anything of that kind, for things said in sport at first are very apt to be soon said in earnest. Only think Lue you have been there one whole month, in eight weeks you will again be at home don't tell me you are not anticipating it, for I fear I shall doubt your sincerity.
Last Monday (as I wrote Helen I intended to) I went to Weston to attend Grandpa Fiske's funeral which was Tuesday P.M. I found all the family well, but Grandpa had changed so much that if I had not been told it was he, I never should have thought, it was any one I had ever seen before, he was sick only a fortnight, & suffered very little, he seemed to have no decided disease, but seemed to die of old age, he was 91 years old you know; Wednesday noon I came home from Weston & had not taken my things off before Mr. Banfield called, he staid two hours, & we really had a very nice talk together. Oh! Monday evening our friend Mr. Wyman called to see me, but I was out of town, Jake thought he came to invite me to a large sleigh ride which was to be Wednesday, as he stopped him the next day & asked him when I should be at home, & Duke sent up twice by Jake to invite me to the same ride, but I was not here, & then he invited Augusta Patten, but she too was unable to go, & at last he succeeded in getting Helen Palmer to go with him. Duke was rather unsuccessful I think. Thursday evening was Social Circle, but Hattie did not feel like going & I did not dare to go alone, but Mr. Bancroft went & had a terribly stupid time, he said there was not a single young lady there, Mr Pinkerton was there though. Friday P.M. I went to Musical Grand Rehearsal & sat with Susie Magoun, & Mr. Dawa came & sat with us & asked me if I would allow him to walk home with me, of course I assented & he seemed very pleasant, & invited me to go the Concert with him the next evening, I went, I saved the Programme to send to you, & he wanted me afterwards to go into Bricker's to get some oysters, & while there I told him to write something in the Programme about the Concert or anything he chose for you, & he wrote ever so much on it but it was not to you & it was to [sic] much like flattery to suit me, but still I would have sent to you as his Autograph, but alas! I left it there for the perusal of nobody knows who. Don't you think he flatters a great deal? If you were only here I would tell you some of the speeches he wrote & some other things too, but it will not do to write them I have written too much already. I told him I thought he did very wrong to flatter so much, but he said he did not, there was nothing he despised so much as flattery, & then I told him if what he had just said was true he had no right to say it, for it might do me a great injury, well he said he did not know as he had, but he always said just what he thought. There are some things about him that I like very much, but others that I do not like at all, I have done just as you asked me to dear Lue, & now I shall rely upon your not mentioning what I have written to any one but Helen, and Lue you need not hear the sigh Alas! Alas! from poor "John" no! no! no! That sigh if heard at all would come from another quarter I can assure, you know Lue that I am not bound at all to any young gentleman yet, nor to any old one either excepting your father. Yesterday P.M. your friend Mr. Bancroft walked home from church with me, & invited me to go to meeting with him in the evening to hear Mr. Malcome in the Bodoin College Church, I went with him & I told him that I was going to write to you today, & asked him to write that Postscript on a piece of paper torn from a hymn book & I would send it to you, he took out his pencil so to do, & sad to say had no lead, & so he told me to give "his - his kind remembrances & thank you for the programme & tell you he should send one to you soon, & tell you that there was an unwritten Postscript for." I have told you Lue word for word what he said. Hattie has just come up from practising, & if it were for a hundred and fifteen lines in Vigil, we should have a nice time to reward. Lue I do think it is too bad for me to send such hurried letter & I shall not again. Please give my love to Helen, I hope to hear from her tomorrow let me hear from you without fail next Tuesday, & tell me every thing you have done & are to do. In haste
[on a small, separate piece of paper:]
I am going to enclose a note from Emmie & one from Gussie too. I am astonished at your making a scarf, what color is it? I have just finished Helen Tuft's I took it to Dolidon's today & I will send you a pattern of the vine I worked round it which I think is very pretty & you can get along quite fast with too, perhaps you would like round yours. I wish you would come you & Hattie & I would have nice times sleeping together, I miss you very much in our darling little bed. Good Night, Annie.
Mon. Eve. Feb. 23rd/52
My dear Lue,
I have but one moment but I must send you that long delayed "Postscript", which S.A.B. brought me this P.M. I trust the interest of that will atone for this note, & will induce you to call this a letter & answer it.
In Helen's note you will find all the recent news, & also why I am in such a hurry tonight. Thank you very much for that scarf pattern, I think it must be very beautiful,
[Separate note, in a different handwriting:]
Miss Fiske has given me this paper to write a postscript. Had I been permitted to write in the letter itself after perusing it, perhaps my postscript might have been more interesting than it will be divorced from its letter.
Our church congregation, choir, circles, & concerts are all in a fluctuating condition, at present. Mr. Rankin's going to California and the deluded Miss Whittermore to Paris, where she expects to be an evangelical "Joan of Arc", and if disappointed in her hope of immediately leavening Paris, has no doubt but that an opportunity will be afforded her of singing in prison a la Paul and Silas. (I hope she will sing in tune)
The one choir is about to lose two of its chef warblers, rendering it necessary for us soon to get up the Macedonian cry. Will you respond, wandering warbler? The "Misses circle" has revived, two third of the "pens" were occupied last Thursday evening. Mrs Safford by her parties has diffused a most Baptist state of brotherly love and sisterly affection among our congregation, but Hattie had told you all about it I suppose. Wish I had more space S.A.B.
Friday P.M. March 5th 
My dear Lue,
I am very glad that you felt inclined to return "good for evil" & so answered my note with a letter: I wish all my friends were as benevolent as you in this aspect. I am sitting all alone by the closet window, my desk in my lap, & Mr. Lakeman is mending the bolt on the bedroom door. Hattie I believe is practising & Emmie & Freddie are enjoying themselves, I should suppose from the noise in the back chamber; this is the state of affairs in doors, but without, it is dark & dreary enough: It snowed last night, but now it is changed to a slow drizzling rain. It is Musical Grand Rehearsal tonight, I mean this afternoon, but I staid away notwithstanding my "great musical taste": can you account for it in any satisfactory way? And are you not much surprised to learn that I was not there last Friday either?
Your letter came Tuesday, & at five o'clock that afternoon I started for Scituate arriving there at eight o'clock; I found Grandpa as well as when you saw him & perhaps better, but his mind is much weaker, he seems just like a child who is very happy however, he thinks half the time that he is in Boston. I passed Wednesday with him & started for home at six o'clock Thursday morning, rode six miles in the stage, took the cars at Cohasset & reached Boston at half past eight. On my way to school I met S.A.B. & he walked part way with me, he asked if I had heard from you, but talked chiefly about Mr. Dawa. Oh, Mr. D-. called here yesterday afternoon & invited me to go to the Concert with him tomorrow evening, I did not give him a decided answer, but told him I would let him know today, your father advised me not to go with him, but said I might if I would take the responsibility, which I ventured to take & wrote him a note this morning accepting his invitation: I had particular reasons for wishing to go tomorrow evening, but it is not worthwhile to write them: he has just gone into business for himself. I suppose Helen has told you how great a disappointment I had in not seeing John Sanford.
I am sorry you thought that postscript was not voluntary, I have forgotten the circumstances now about it, when you come home we will settle all our difficulties. I have been to the Morning Prayer meeting for sometime, I enjoy them very much. Augusta Patten & I go together every morning now; they are very well attended, often crowded, & always interesting.
Lue, three weeks from next Wednesday I shall hope to see you, as you went the last day of January, you must certainly come home the last day of March. I shall pity Helen when you come away though for it will be so lonely for her. I had a very interesting letter from her today, I hope she received that kick!!
I hope you admire this paper, it is a sheet one of the girls gave me in return for one I lent her.
Mr. Peabody & Jake are still on the sick list; your father & mother's colds are better, have you had this cold which every one is having?
I liked Helen's description of Mr. Hunt & Mr Clarke very much & I am quite impatient to hear how it will turn out; I hope to hear from her next Tuesday, you tell her to be sure & write then: & you Lue must be sure & write the next Tuesday, will you not?
You don't know how much I am anticipating your return home: I long for my nice roommate; what a nice time you & Hattie & I will have together!
Hattie & I have got along beautifully together, at least I have enjoyed being with her very much. How have you & Helen lived together peaceably or not? You never have told us. This, Lue, is the most stupid letter, but - if you knew how I felt today, you I know, (remembering the night before I went to Albany) would excuse its dullness.
Lue, I weigh 124 pounds!!!
I have a few minutes dear Lucy in school this morning with no very urgent duty on hand, & as it is a long time since your note came, I have decided to use them in writing to you. Your note is not here so that I shall not be able to answer its questions, if there were any, & I have the impression that there were, two or three.
Hattie received your letter Sat. night after the neighborhood meeting which was at your fathers, he persuaded her to read some of it to him as usual.Yesterday Mr. Fisk preached in the morning & Mr. Grant in the afternoon & Mr. Fisk again in the evening upon the death of Paul; I wish Lue you were at home now, you would enjoy it so much, there is so much interest in Religion, & people seem all to be roused from a deep slumber, not only those who are not pious, but the members of the Church seem to be awakened; the Morning meeting is perfectly filled, the aisles with those standing every morning we hear some good intelligence from the speakers here & those in other cities, this morning we heard that the Church in Montreal was blessed with the gentle influence of the Holy Spirit: I do not wonder that you used to try to go to these meetings, & if you had only persuaded me to once, I should have gone all the time, for since the first time I went I have been away but once or twice, it seems such an appropriate way of beginning the day.
Nothing very wonderful has happened at home for a long while. Mr. Dawa & Mr. Converse called Tuesday evening & Mr. Bachelder took tea there Wednesday: Mr. Dawa made one remark which may interest you, he looked at Gussie & said to your mother, "what a perfect likeness you have of your daughter Lucy"; for which remark I was very glad as I have been telling Hattie for two or three days that since Gussie had had her hair cut off, she looked very much indeed like you, but she laughed at the very idea of it, I think when you come to see her you will trace the resemblance yourself.
Helen Tufts got home from Pittsfield last Tuesday & I spent Saturday with her, had a delightful time, she is to be at home four weeks. Wednesday evening the Sewing Circle meets at her house & Susie & I are going over to stay all night with her; & this afternoon I expect to be very busy in making some of [xxpery] sleeves to my black silk for the occasion.
Yesterday P.M. afer church your father went down to the "Old Ladies' Home" & your mother & I went with him, on our way down Mt. Vernon St. I was very much surprised to meet Edward Hitchcock. Lue I have written so much when I had to recite, & now the dinner bell rings & I cannot write any more, so write me punctually, a letter next time & tell me all the news, give my love to Helen; I hope to hear from her tomorrow.
My dear Lue,
Jennie and I are seated at the same table writing we should feel very coy and happy, were it not for one thing: we are almost frozen, we have wrappers on beside our dresses but all to no purpose, hands and feet will be cold; how we should love to warm them at that nice little grate in the third story of No. 5.
Lue, you were a nice good girl to write to me and send me my Almanac, I had just concluded that my very existence depended upon my owning an Almanac, and was going to buy one that very afternoon, but what stranger could take the place of that old familiar friend. It is a dark stormy day & very good day for one to be homesick, but I am not at all to day for I have to [sic] much to do, but I was homesick enough last Tuesday I can assure you, I could think of nothing, but "Boston visit all over" and two or three three times I almost cried, but as soon as I had some studying to do, my homesickness vanished much to my delight. Oh! dear Lue do if you have any pity for me, or love, or any of those tender emotions, do try and persuade you [sic] father to let me come home Christmas, I have just finished a letter to him, in which I have by my earnestness injured my own cause I fear, but I can think of nothing else but that: all the girls are going away I don't know one that will stay here, and it would be so lonely for me, and then it is the only vacation of the whole year, and last but not least, John says in his letter, "I shall listen to no other plan but your coming to Bonston at Christmas when I shall see you." Now Lue, I have a great deal of faith in your influence with you [sic] father, I live in hope that you will get his consent, and write to me telling me that good news next week if you possibly can, for if I have got to stay here Christmas week, I had better immediately give up anticipating a visit at home. I advise you to stop going to meeting from such motives, as meeting friends &c. for from experience I know that the motives of actions are rewarded more than the actions themselves. Last evening we had quite a pleasant time in singing the "Canadian boat" song and the "Bonny boat," in eating ice-cream and crackers, and talking with Mr. Jacob Abbott a few minutes, and Lyman for a good many, I leave you to infer which of all I enjoyed the most; Ithought possibly Mr. Bancroft would make his appearance, but the evening passed away without my seeing him, I am afraid he will not call. I feel just as though I was writing to Hattie too, for I know she will read it, so Hattie, you don't know how much I miss gossiping with you about the events of the day; in a boarding school, there is quite a wide field for this occupation, if you were here I think we should surely have very little time for anything else; but we'll have a good time Christmas perhaps, if you and Lue persuade your father to let me come. O, Hattie I had a letter from Falmouth, and he wanted me to give him all the particikilers I had heard from the Wedding Party, I am going to write to him today, how many I shall have to give, for I have not heard a single word only through Lue's letter since they went away; is it not strange I certainly thought I should hear today - all my room-mates had letters, but there was none for me. I am so sorry it storms to-day for I have a number of little errands to do, & I want to go and see Susie Magoun this afternoon. Wednesday P.M. Jennie and I called on Mrs. Prof. Smith, we had a very pleasant call indeed, she told us that she had heard through Emily Fowler, of Henry Roots passing through New York on his way to Bloomfield New Jersey I am so sorry for I was hoping to see him when he was here.
O, I do feel so anxious about Mr. Hunt and Helen they were both so miserably [sic] when they were married; but I shall hope to see them in two or three weeks. Just think Lue, seven weeks from today will be Christmas day! How is Jake? Does he wear his hair down or off now? Give my love to him and tell him I wish he would write to me; you don't know what a horrible dream I had about him last night, I thought for some reason or other, I had nothing to put on but a chemise & pair of stockings and a red shawl, and yet I had to go out to walk with Jake and it was very muddy, and I wore my stockings out, was nearly frozen, and was so mortified that I could hardly live: I thought we met Mr. Bancroft, and he walked along with us, and I had the greatest trouble to keep my chemise down it was so windy; was not this absurd, but it was rather queer that I should dream of being destitute of shoes, and should go to my drawer to get my slippers, this morning and find the toe of one slipper all gnawed off by the mice; this I regard as a sent dispensation of Providence in regard to my allowance. I have made up my lost lessons, we are getting along nicely in our studies, we shall finish the first book of Euclid, and our Moral Philosphy before Thanksgiving, then we take up Logic in place of Philosphy. Perhaps you would like to know what sewing I have done, I have made that plaid silk apron all over and have made the button holes, and put the pocket to my beautiful French Calico and two pairs of linen cuffs.
It is dinner time dear Lue and I have another letter to write after dinner, so I must not write any more to you: I believe now I shall change my mind about that toilet cushion I made for John, I will make another for your mother or something else, and will you be kind enough to do it up and send it to Yarmouth, and ask your father for the money to pay the Express: direct it to Yarmouth Port, be sure else he will not get it, and I will send a little note to put with it. Give my love to your father and tell him that I wrote to him today, but it was so stormy I could not get the bill receipted, but will Monday.
Lue and Hattie do both of you write to me for I shall be so glad to hear from you, and I always answer all my letters. I shall look anxiously for a letter next week saying that I may come home Christmas, do not disapooint your "peculiar" sister
P.S. Jennie says give my love to Lue, Hattie and Jake. I forgot to tell you that by mistake I put Hattie's furs in my trunk with mine, and I will send them on if you will tell me the best way, I am so afraid they will get lost by the Express, perhaps some one will come on from the store before she wants them: I am very sorry it was very carless [sic] in me; don't forget to tell me how to send them. Annie.
My dear Lue
I have been busying myself for the last few weeks in making a few little knick nacks for Christmas; they are very trifling in themselves but they will show you that I have thought of you at least; and perhaps the toilette cushion that I have made for Lulie herself, may answer some purpose in adorning a room in "our" own house one of these days in the bright Future. Oh! Lue you don't know how surprised I was to learn from Augustus, that at at [sic] last, you had given your "scruples to the wind" and become "engaged," that miserable word, how I do hate it! Can't we put our wit together and invent another? Lue I will not be so formal as to congratulate you, but, I will just say, "Oh, Lue, I am very glad, how how[sic] pleasant it will be for me to run in and see you, and then you know "you must ask me to tea some sometimes" and I shall have such nice preserves: and you know I shall in a few years have to enter upon the duties of a housekeep, and won't you give me lessons?
Just think Lulie of my having three sisters married in one year Helen, Amelia, and Lue. And I have quite a darling plan for Hattie and I, we two widowed sisters will certainly have to adopt one another, and my plan is for me to (if you are all pleased to take me in once more) be a sister to Hattie and pass the winter at your fathers, just as I did last winter, only I shall not have to trudge off to school every morning but can be at home all day, and go to walk with Hattie and read with her, and so she would not miss you so much, and then we could come over and see you together, and share such pleasant times. Of course, Hattie would make you quite long visits, and Amelia and Bavalis are to be married in the Spring or Summer, and then they want me to make them a visit, or as they say consider it "one of my homes" as John will probably be studying in Taunton and boarding with them at that time, so Hattie and I could arrange it to be away at the same time visiting our sisters. What do you and Hattie think of this plan? Lue, I want to know if Georgie or Julius would take these packages over to Aunt Vinal's and Cousin Ann Scholfield's if they could I should be very glad. Lue, I hope you will write me soon, you & Hattie too, I am sure you are not very sisterly, do write and give me all the "particulars". Tell Georgie or Jule that they will do a great great kindness to me by taking those packages, for I have no box to send them in by Express.
Lulie I must bid you Good bye. Oh! a little package has just arrived and it is my watch and money, kiss your father for me and thank him a thousand times. Tell him I am very happy. Write immediately to your loving sister.
My dear Lue,
I have been trying ever since Augusta brought me your little note to find time to write to you, but the minutes do run away so quickly, and I have so much to do, that it has been an utter impossibility, but tonight I am determined at least to write a few words. It is our reception evening tonight, and we must all be in the parlor very soon, we were to have a good deal of music tonight, but we have just heard of Mrs. Prof. Irving's death, and so of course the music is postponed. She was confined about five weeks ago and since then has had a nervous fever which has ended in rapid consumption, she leaves five children, the oldest but fourteen years old, it seems so sad; we feel so much for Prof. Iriving, we are all so much attached to him; he has not been at school for a week and Mr. Hawks (Mr. Demond's friend) takes his place temporarily. I have four studies now, French, Butler, Ancient History and [xxxxx], so that I have very little time, as we have but one hour in school for study and all themes must be prepared out of school. Lue are you very busy yet? I fancy you are, so as to enjoy yourself this Summer without driving through the warm weather as Helen did with mighty [xxxx] &c. And you will have to get ready for housekeeping too, so you will have much more to do than she did. Sallie Butler one of my roommates is saying "Come, Annie please" and "Annie we ought to go now" so I must listen to her entreaties, if I can I will finish when I come up to bed, if not Good bye till tomorrow.
Saturday A.M. My dear Lue, in one half hour we are all going down to see Mr. Abbott off, he starts for Europe today. Last night there were quite a number of callers here among others a Dr. Bumstead, a native of Boston, he reminded me very much of George Dawa both in appearance and in conversation; you asked me to tell you about the latters call. I could not write you about to so well as tell you, we had such a funny time, he called me in question for some of my actions last year, was it not strange at a New Years call? Silas told me he was engaged, but would not tell me who to, and was very sorry he had mentioned it, at all, so perhaps you'd better not ask him, though I would love dearly to know who the fair one is.
Augustus said you had been having a siege at the dentist Lue. Oh! I really envy your courage, I went with Sallie Butler to the dentists, and thought, just for the pleasure of hearing him say, "your teeth are perfectly sound I would let him look in my mouth," and such an ominous shake as he gave his head, and said several want filling it was quite a damper to my hopes. I went with Sarah Kittredge the other day to Dr. Foster, who studied with Dr. Tucker of Boston, and he looked at them and said the filling had worn out of my eye tooth (one Dr. Randall filled last fall), and there was one more cavity, now I don't know whether to have it filled here or wait till I come home, and I wish you would ask your father, and let me know, please give my love to your father and tell him the money came safely and I meant to have acknowledged it before, but could not find time. I am very much surprised to hear that I am owing you letters I certainly thought it was entirely the other way and have been perfectly sincere in all my enumerings, at any rate now you will be my debtor, and I shall hope very soon to hear from you. I wish I could have been in Boston there two or three days for as you doubtless know John is there, he was here last week some three or four days, and we had a charming time of course, Mrs. Abbott was as kind as a mother could have been, she had the folding doors closed, so we had the front parlor all to ourselves, and all other company were invited into the middle parlor; I presume he has told you of the Choral Concert we had last week. Lue, I want to see you all very much indeed, I wonder if you've changed any, I fancy you have. The girls are all waiting. It is now four O'clock P.M. and ever since this morning at ten O'clock I have been on my feet and I am so tired, I can hardly keep up. After seeing Mr. Abbott off I went shopping, bought three dresses of which I will send you patterns, and now I want to know if you will ask your father to send me half of my April allowance next week. Lue this is a very miserable letter, (I hope you will overlook all of its faouts. I heard from Amelia that Hattie Spoat took tea with you last week. How does [xxxx] acquaintance. Give my best love to Hattie and beg her to consider this her letter as much as yours so that she will answer it. Every one says I have grown so thin and look so tired lately I shall really get alarmed by and by. Give my love to Augustus, your mother, Jake and all and do write soon to your old room-mate.
[four swatches of fabric were included in this letter]
Sorry I was not at home yesterday to see Lue & Hattie. Sorry, I forgot to send the curling torturer this morning to Hattie. Hope, Lue & Hattie will soon come again when I am at home. Hope, Hattie will not suffer for the curling iron today.
Tues eve. Feb 5th [1856 ]
My dear Lue,
I am very sorry that I can give you no satisfactory information respecting the hair preparation, all I know about it, is that it comes in two bottles, has a good deal of Ammonia in it, and was carried by some sort of a peddler to Mrs. Sanford Hunts, from whom Helen bought hers. She thought it benefited her hair very much, and I will ask her about it when I write, and let you know more definitely. I am sorry Hattie is troubled with losing her hair, and hope this may benefit her. Lue, will you be kind enough to do four errands for me? I am so shut away from shopping myself that I am quite dependent upon my friends. Cousin Ann has done until now all that Everett could not, but as she is not very well, and I have just received a package of her purchases for me, I have thought that perhaps you would do these, for you told me you went out often; and I would rather trust to you to select a head dress for Aunt Maria that Cousin Ann, as it is rather more in your line, as I believe you have selected some of your mothers. Please get the prettiest black or dark brown velvet ribbon one which you can find for 2.00. One upon as spring you can judge what will e suitable for Aunt Maria. Please get me half a yd of 30 ct bishop Lawn from Plympton's, and three skeins of French working cotton from Poysers, the right size for embroidery.
One more: this coral necklace I bought a year ago at the store, it was a very coarse one, but just at that time they had no nicer ones; it was simply for an experiment on a particular occasion that I wanted it, and so took the coarse, meaning to change it as Augustus said I might; this I neglected to do, as I almost forgot it was in my possession but now I want some coral "catch up", and would like to change this and the bracelet for a pair of those if Augustus has no objection to such a retail affair; those of course which are of the fine coral.
You will be obliging me exceedingly, Lue, if you can take charge of these commissions; if Augustus will send the package to Everett's Office all will come straight. Do not inconvenience yourself with haste about these; Aunt Maria willl not go I hope until Tues, but it is possible she may go Friday or Saturday of this week, so if you can send the head dress Thursday I shall be glad. Horse instinct served you a good turn: I tried the turnpike road Sat. P.M. and it was bad enough. I hope you & Hattie will come out soon again and stay longer I shall be quite lonely after Aunt Maria is gone. Love to Hattie.
That hair preparation is "Dr. Boylston's Hair Tonic", and all the way it can be obtained is by going to Mrs. Sanford Hunts, and she knows where to get it, it is kept at some private house in Roxbury; Helen does not know where.
We are blocked up by another snow storm, trains delayed again. Everett has not gone in yet, but goes in a few minutes.
In great haste
Annie S. B.
[Tuesday A.M. November 8, 1859]
My dear Lue,
I shall try to come out to see you & Jennie on Thurs. if agreeable to you; I cannot come before as today is ironing day & tomorrow I want to have both my girls finish house cleaning so must play nurse all day.
I hope you will bring Jennie out here: give a great deal of love to her: & tell I wish she would make me a visit before going South. We called on Mr. & Mrs. Andrews last eve. I believe you knew them did you not? I can only stay an hour or two with you Thursday, on acct. of the baby.
In great haste
Annie L. B.
My dear Lue,
Whoever of you sent the children those nice presents would have been delighted to see the joy with which they were received on their return from school: they thought it was Christmas over again. Richie and Annie meant to have written a note to you & Hattie thanking you, but their time is so taken up with their school & Gymnasium & play that they want me to send their & Helens & Nanie's thanks; mine I thank you much for; it is very pretty and is quite an ornament to my front parlor mantel shelf, where I have placed it. You don't know how sorry & mortified I felt after you had gone the other a.m. when it occurred to me that I did not offer you any thing to eat, & that perhaps you had not had your breakfast. I hope you will excuse me; & again when you come to see me do make yourself perfectly at home & if you have not had any breakfast ask me for some.
I should have written you at once thanking you for the nice presents, & apologizing for my unpardonable neglect but for the past three weeks we have been housecleaning, & each Wed. & Thurs. have had a dressmaker; as I have had my girls do all the cleaning & as they do all our washing & ironing, you can easily conceive that I have had little time for reading or writing or recreation. My nursery girl is through with her division, & the cook has only the parlor blinds & windows & cellar to finish so that, our usual routine of affairs I hope to have reinstated in a day or two. I have entirely rearranged our pictures, so that they look much prettier, & have given up one large 3rd story room entirely for a play room to children; they have a grand time in this room, & it contributes to the preservation & order of the rest of the house.
Mother Banfield has just had an attack of sickness, but has recovered nicely from it, & we are all perfectly well, but longing for warmer weather; the house seems cheerless yet without fires, and Winter clothing is none too warm. The S. Schools here had a great time yesterday with their Anniversaries, speeches singing banners, & celebrations, but the street parade had to be omitted on account of the rain. Mr. Banfield has been in Washington since you were here; he is very much engrossed in his duties so much so that we see very little of him much to our sorrow.
Are you reading Norwood? I am afraid it won't equal Mr. Beecher. But isn't The Guardian Angel finely written? Helen sails for Nova Scotia the 10th of June with Mr. and Miss Clark. I expect her next week. I am over head and ears in sewing for children & self, if fashions wouldn't alter, & children didn't grow what an easy time we'd have. Give much love to Hattie, & tell her to be sure & write to me. I hope soon to call on your Aunt Ann. Give my love to your mother & Emmie also & remember me to Aug. We passed a pleasant eve. at Mrs. Morrows a short time since. Tell Hattie Mrs M. was the friend of Miss Cutten. Always come & see me when you come to N. Y. & stay longer the next time.
Yours ever affly Annie S. Banfield.
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 2-2007, jr