Helen Hunt Jackson 2-1-17 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 1, Folder 17, letters from Charlotte Cushman to HH, 1871-75. Transcribed by Nancy Knipe, 2007.
[no date, no place]
I am desolate that I do not see you. I did not dare to come out this morning, not having that kind of boots, but if I were going to stay here any longer I would buy a pair for except on one or twp days in the week it is not possible to get out to walk on any other foundation. By the by in this weather one is inclined to say with D of bury, “The Lord preserve the foundation.” Did you Ever? No, I never’. Tomorrow morning, I may get out in a boat! Dear, the Fields come to me tonight. If I were in your place & he tried to see me, I would see him & talk the matter. I think of your manner, not treating him as you feel, but looking at him with that half quizzical expression which you very often have, would completely puzzle him into decency. Dear, it is only simple justice to yourself that you should transact your business yourself and not through a third person. You can then force him in conversation to say to you what he said to the third person & then you can whip him into line. I really think it is worth the trial. You may do better for your book & your future than you could in any other way. I don’t think you take quite the right view of his spirit about your being a woman or he would not have submitted to your Exactions
You a woman had forced him into an awkward place, & like a small man, he wriggled out a little spiteful compliment (I call it) at your Expense, which if you had transacted your own business he could not have allowed. Dearie, you must not quarrel with the baker where you buy your bread, but beat him to death with compliments.
I send you a letter from [Rosser?] which is charming. I have added a few facts from private letters, & I think you must if you will be good enough to stand sponsor for it, ask them to give you a little more for it, unless they will Engage to take two a month!
I send it to you so that you may get it off to be in New York on Monday morning. Bless you for a good dear, at allowing yourself to be bothered by me in this way—what shall I write for the Botha. I have not an idea “to throw at a dog” or “choker or [claw?] withal” – my friends are gone, my friends they come, long live my friends. God bless you
Your loving CC.
Portie is charming but I can’t afford the Experiment!
2. Hyde Park
Jany 1 1871 you see I cannot yet write the new year
Just one single word, Carissima mia, to say how much I thank you for the sweet little book which came to me last night, upon which I passed out of the old year, into the new, reading to Miss Stebbins & Mrs. Garland. We had made up our minds as we were home all alone & likely to be quite interrupted that we should wait up to see the last of the old year; - as if to comfort & help us, by the Evening post came this dear little booklet, which has delighted us all. It strikes me dear as being in sweet harmony all through – subjects, [endearing?] tone, feeling, & material all are delicate, sweet, unexaggerated womanly, pure & strong. The getting up of the book too is very very pretty, the little letters beginning the poems, the tone & consistency of the paper, the binding & the nice cleanly paper outside the binding, all is as though it came from a gentlewoman’s hands, & so it has, & I admire it as much as you would wish I should do. I like especially the opening poem, “[Spinning”?] and [?] but why should I particularize? I like especially all – they read much more smoothly in this form & I am very glad you were persuaded to publish them & you were so right to keep to your “HH,” wh [sic] is what you are to the public, & they have no right to any more. Whey is the mob to come to your holy of holies when the loud ones only have a right to ask to come. No dear, “Jamie,” is a [canny?] boy, but you were right and this booklet will go far & wide & make you much known. I am going to send some of them over the water to “those who know.” How lovely is “March” & “Down to Sleep” & “Return to the Hills,” “Message” “Wooed” “Iron” “Best Transplanted” “At Last” “My [?]” – all of these which I knew before, I know better now, & love them more, & the whole 78 are beautiful, & the Dedication lovely but I love my little Welcome” dearly. I am afraid to show it to any body for the same reason that I was ashamed to give to any one the very beautiful photograph which [Mme?] Le Jeune made of me in Naples. I am afraid they will think I believe I have any right to be so shown or so estimated. Will you tell me who is A.C.L.B,? and will you tell me how you have published – are these your books to dispose of, and is it any thing to you, where they are bought or have you any preference where they shall be ordered from, tell me.
Dear, it is most likely Mrs. Garland Miss Stebbins’ sister will come with me to Newport. She is a sweet person with the old old “history,” a timid shy, proud person, you will like her, & it is for her I wanted the extra room, which you will write me about. She has a sweet poetic mind & she knows your poems very very well.
I am so troubled for you, dearie, that you are so ailing, & that you are not comfortable, for how can you be so in one room? I hope your own apartment will be ready sooner than you think.
Tell me dear about the best way of going from New York to Newport. How tired you will be of all the doing you have had to do for me, but you love me & so, you will forgive me. Commend me to the “Sweet soul & believe me Ever,
Your loving friend,
3. [fragment of letter, but seems to fit in this sequence]
… you will take.
And another thing, I have been casting about me to find out the best way to do -- & have concluded that in the uncertainty as to weather, it will be better for us three women to leave New York on Friday 13”, by the 12.15 train via New Haven, New London &c &c to Providence, which I find arrives there about 7.33. Then, having arranged beforehand for rooms, sleep at the City Hotel, & go out to Newport the next day. This I shall do—unless I get a word from you telling me something & someway very much better & more practicable. Then, the Riggs, would have to be prepared for us on the 14th.
Dear, your little book is a perpetual joy to us, some one of us picks it up every morning when we come down & read one or two of the lovely things we find in it, & then we talk it over, at breakfast & it leads us off into other lovely ways, & so makes a sort of test for our discourse.
Thanks, dear, for the “Librial Christian” I shall desire to hear [Mr Wale?] if only for this glimpse you have from me of him –
4. New York Friday 13 1871
Just one word to tell you that it is decided in Council this morning, as the weather is so mild, and Miss Stebbins & Mrs. Garland want a day more in town, we will remain over here, & take the old Colony boat to Newport tomorrow Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock (I believe) Will you do me the favor to instruct Riggs to have fires ready, not too potent, in the room, & a carriage in waiting at the boat – we will get off at Newport – about luggage I dare say Mr. Riggs will attend to it for me, so that we can get up to the house immediately on landing, & go quietly to bed again. I think a cup of coffee would not be bad for us on arriving if it is cold, but breakfast, we should not want at that unearthly hour.
Would you kindly tell Riggs that we like a little oatmeal porridge to commence our breakfast with.
I am much driven here in New York, as usual, & much confused, but you will know how to pardon my stupid note. I shall be so glad to see you dear, & hope to find you much better.
What a change in the weather, which being unseasonable, will I fear, make much suffering & Sickness. It must be warm in Newport, as it is like spring here. I went to the Italian unity meeting last night—splendid—but came home very tired! I find carina that I must lead an absolute quiet life, if I would lay down my enemy, & you will help me to do so in Newport, won’t you? Society exhausts me, but we will talk of these things.
5. Villa Boscobel
Your little note of the 8”, sent out in search of me to my bankers, reached me last night, & rebuked me that I had delayed so long in writing to you after leaving Newport, but before you receive this, you will have learned why I did not & could not write.
This little word of loving finding you to take you another Roman letter, which I hope you will not be too bored to try to dispose of for me. I have heard nothing about the last, but shall hope to see it printed & send my poor friend the money for it. This one I like very much.
Dear, don’t be dumb! Imagine yourself a troubadour writing to the Queen of your soul, & then perhaps you won’t be dumb any more. You have dressed me in the beauty & grace of your own imagination & so, have made something before which you are dumb. This poem you gave me of Two Loves, is exquisite, do, do write me more verses & they shall live forever & make your long book known here where I am, & a whole bevy of sweet girls good true & clever are “after them.”
Ah, dear. I am sad, but I try think how much more sad my condition might be & try to be thankful. I might be poor, forsaken, wretched & still have the same trouble which I have now, but I am surrounded by loving hearts & good of all kinds is poured out upon me. I will let you know when I decide upon anything, as yet I am still in doubt! But leaning more & more towards laying myself down under the surgeon’s hand once more—ah if God would only send me some light to help me to decide by.
Darling I brought all my dried leaves away & they are still bright besides I love them for what they said & did to me when I first went to Newport.
Ah what a [lovely] house this is & how sweetly kind they are to me. How intensely happy I could be here but for this heartache.
Will you remember me most kindly to “Col. & Mrs. Higginson,” & Miss Pell, & all who love you. Please have this note dropped for me at Mrs. Cunningham’s & believe me Ever you faithfully loving CC
[Note written across first page]: would you find out for me through Mrs. Higginson, & she through her relatives the Gibbs’ whether they will take $1500 for their house for the year of course they putting it in order and making a bathroom, & the attendant conveniences which do not now exist inside the house.
Your own note of the 16” must have a word of acknowledgement & I must send you the enclosed & must also tell you that I have decided upon submitting myself to the surgeon--whenever he is ready I shall go to 128 E. 16”St New York. To Mrs. Cushmans & there lay myself down. I have doubted, feared, & struggled for-against, towards & from first one thing & then the other until the decision, which is most terrible, seems almost a relief, so hard & robust has been the contest. I came to the conclusion after much looking into & under the Electrolysis that if I must be a field for Experiment—for from the first moment I ever saw him in Nov last Dr. Wright has never known [underlined twice] whether he could do me any good. He now fears absolutely fears, to undertake my case, simply because he does not know his theory or his system sufficiently & from the first to now he would only have Experiments, & if it must be an Experiment, let me deal with the known & proven & trust in God & my constitution for the result. When one fails after descending to Empiricism it is more humiliating than to die by [death?] the laws sure & known.
I wait the day & hour! “all good souls pray for me.” I have a feeling that my work is not yet done, if so, I shall get through, if not, amen, amen! amen! The month has been trying, but wonderful for March, which I so much feared, but it appears that March may be a sad month to me, & yet not through the bad weather.
Emma Cushman has sent to me to take the Cunningham house for her; so whatever may come of me, you will give a look out for her, for she is worth it! If you see the sweet lad[y?] of Fort Adams, will you tell her with my love, that I shall want her to help Emma Cushman about the horse matter, in the way I had proposed to her to do by now which was that we should club together – ask her to let me have the address of her sister in New York. I cannot write more today, or I would send her a note; if quite well tomorrow will write to her. I am in much pain, an ugly varicose tumour has burst on the [acctrix?] of my [wound?], & causes me much torture.
[additional note added to front of letter:] Whenever you want to come to New York, there is a very nice house boarding house, corner of Green S’ & Washington Place Mrs. Marget where Miss Stebbins mother boards wh I think wd be nice & central & comfortable for you. If Emma should want you, you would hear & you will hear from her whether or no.
7. Wednesday Evening
Carina, I am so [pained?] to hear that you have been so poorly, but it has been just the weather & just the time of year for you, & such as you, to run the chance of suffering from attack of cold, & I am not amazed to hear that you have been ill, but I am very thankful to hear that you are sufficiently better to contemplate a journey though I will not suffer you to take it on my account.
Since I wrote to you dear, I have been going through a period of great anxiety & indecision which has told much upon my flesh & strength. I found that Wright could not help me & that all my friends, from my old Dr. [Gray?] down, were in great trouble that I thought to place myself again under the chances of the knife. But until I became very painfully convinced that there was no real help for me in it, & that at best, it would only give me a few months Extension of time, with great risk of my life from constitutional tenderness, such as made my first attempt so full of peril from what supervened – I was willing to brave this dreadful treatment. But after much doubt & hesitation I have at length resolved to give it up & trust myself to other chances which may turn up. I will seek every palliative I can find, & despise no offer of help which merits my reason, or my hope.
I have been in Hartford & in Stamford (once) since I wrote to you last, & have been seeing many people in New York & this has occupied my time very much & prevented my writing. Monday I am going to Phila & thence into New Jersey to see a man who has performed seven curious cures. My address there will be care of Gibson Peacock Esq. 1525 Walnut St. I am not able to work much as they say this has been very bad for me to do, but you shall have a word dear whenever I feel able to write – ah, I have been through a hard road during these last three weeks. Pray God help me to the End! I had taken, as I thought Mrs Cunninghams house for my niece, but Mr. Smith steps in with an absolute falsehood to endeavour to extort a little more money, but he happened to write the figure on a printed list & there is no getting away from that. This assertion of his is only to cover himself from Mrs Cunningham’s refusal to pay him his commission, if he only charged me the sum _I_ say he did & which to her he denies! However, I shall only let Mrs. Cushman pay what Smith first gave me as the price, & if she is to be thrown over, I will go elsewhere if I am alive to go anywhere. Miss Stebbins is with me, we have enjoyed much beauty & calm & quiet here, she is not well, sends kind love to you. I am sincerely & heartily disappointed about the letters. I wish I could find in any newspaper as real honest letters, & written in as good English as these, but Miss Anne Brewster is the kind of food my country people like to eat, so in Gods name let them have it. Better people have, & can again starve, while Mrs. Brewster & such writers flourish like a [?] bay tree.
God bless you, remember me most kindly & sweetly to my good friends in Newport & looking forward to the happiness of seeing you ere very long. Hold me ever truly your affectionately attached C.C.
Please forward the enclosed for me.
8. April 14, 1871
Carina mia, Last Sunday night I had another of my inspirations to get to see my old Boston medical friend, & not being able to resist the third “visitation” of the idea, I made Emma Cushman start with me on Monday morning to come here, & now I have been ever since at her sisters. I have had one or two talks with my old friend out of which I have got some curious kind of mystic comfort, or rather I am helped to a little better patience to bear what is inevitable. I don’t know that I shall stay here beyond Tuesday next 18”, & after that, I think Emma Cushman will go down to Newport to look after her house there & I shall go to Phila & New Jersey to see a strange curious kind of Indian Doctor, just to hear what he says! I have been much tortured during this last week by a bad attack of [Erysepelar?] in my leg, which has shifted from there under proper medicines, but has precipitated itself just in the well part of this poor torn lacerated wounded sick breast, & I am a martyr to pain. However, I can’t help it & must bear it as I best can. I am told to eat drink & be merry not to think or bother myself but to try to keep up my strength in all ways against the inroads of this consuming demon which is always on the look out for any unwatchfulness on my part. Lou Hunt has just been here, she tells me you were in town yesterday, oh why did I not heed my inward monitor last Tuesday which bad [sic] me write you one line. I know why I did not. I was too sick at heart to do anything & therefore obeyed the order put upon me not to write to any body. Poor Emma Stebbins is still at Boscobel waiting for me to decide what I am going to do. Shall you be coming up again. Let me hear a line & know me Ever as I am,
9. Heading on stationery:
What have I been doing all this time? Wandering, sweating, complaining! On leaving Newport, I proceeded immediately to Boscobel, where I remained five days – oh, such warm days, Even then, that I was frightened of going to Phila where I was bound on business, but I was obliged to wait JW Ogdens convedience, & day after day I fretted to be off, until Friday 19” when we started for New Jersey getting to Phila Saturday evening 20”, then, oh I cannot describe the sweltering heat, only one day during my stay there was I able to go out, & then I walked mopping my face all the way. I don’t think I ever felt the heat so much in my life, and a sort of despair seized upon me. If so hot now in May, what would become of me in July & August, & oh what will? On the 27”, I left Phila for Boscobel again where we were invited to meet Mr & Mrs M Caps, Mr Ofdun Lish from Chicago, Miss Stebbins from whom I had been separated seven weeks, met me there, & we remained [?] 3 of June when we came up here. The three first days were so warm that I could only write what was absolutely necessary as business letters, & when you reflect that I am my own business man, it is not little that I have to do in that way, and this, carina is my apology for not having sooner made a sign to you of “being alive.”
In writing to Emma Cushman last Wednesday, I bid her let me know when you were leaving Newport, but like an idiot failed to ask her to get your different addresses in N.Y. New Haven &c. so now, what am I to do? Send this to Newport & ask them to forward it – is it now too ridiculous! For after all, it is only to tell you that no mouths can deny my short comings. I think of you often & much & wish – well never mind – it is no good telling you what I wish. You are happier as you are! I wonder if I shall get to Bethlehem this summer. I begin to feel the Desert grow fainter but then, there is a steamboat between me & the Desert, & a chance of being tossed & this is horror!
Have you heard – of course you have of poor Cate Fields trouble, poor girl, only think she had written a letter which was [posted?] at Queenstown to say they were both well & had had a long passage, almost without motion of the sea! & poor Mrs. Sandford received this after the dreadful telegram. How very, very sad!
Where are you dear? Do you think you could muster courage to come up here for a little visit previous to your going to Bethlehem. Mrs. Garland begs me to say how very pleased she would be to see you & Miss Stebbins begs me to ask you to come. I am here until the 7” of July, & then go to Newport for six weeks. Let me hear from you dear. I kiss you a hundred times for the sweet sweet morning & Evening songs, dear, you sing sweeter & more sweet every time. These have gone into “the book” which ‘my dear’ gave me. Ever believe me through short or long comings, your Ever lovingly attached C.C.
10. Heading on stationery:
If you could believe how very disappointed we were, all of us, that you could not accept Mrs. Garlands invitation you would be more sorry than you are! By the by dear, did you ever get her letter to you, if you did won’t you send her a little note for herself. I gave her your message in answer to her message in my note, but I think she would be pleased with a letter here to herself in reply to her note which was sent to Mrs. Davies. I am sorry you could not come, yet why should I wonder apart from your [dread?] of roses, why should you take such a journey to see me, when there were many days together that I did not see you even when we were as near each other as Mrs. Davies & Riggs! – The tyranny of things! impresses me more & more every day I live. The imperative way in which the small petty claims of things which are just around you, seize hold of you & you begin to try to “get off” just this little matter & that little matter before you get to your real pleasures & enjoyments is something awful to contemplate. Life is now half long enough. The days not “wide” enough to get all done which we must & which we would, & so, & so. Does one ever get a real perfect holy-day, perfect in all actions, thoughts, promises & performances? Lowell says
For one transcendent moment
Before the present from & [bait?]
Has made its swearing comment”
Dearie, your sweet poems “Morning & Evening Day” & “Waiting! are lovely, very very sweet & full of love, and after your description of the effect of the Pyro Phosphate, if you don’t get to be a perfect Steam Engine during the summers & take immense journeys into the Land of Song (where is that land?) & make us all jump with your calls, I shall be mistaken. But you must remember, dear, that this feeling of strength is not real strength, only a gradual or sudden turning & bracing up of the nerves, so don’t do too much. I have let Miss Garland read these two poems. Dear, for she is a sweet soul, & has a long poetical appreciation, she admires your “Verses” more than I can tell you, & knows when & how to look for their beauty.
I am glad you saw Miss Clarke & enjoyed her & her [driving?]. Will she not go to Bethlehem to see you this summer?
About myself, dear, what shall I say? All my letters to my friends during these last two years of anxiety & pain, have been so full of myself & this miserable malady which was upon me, that I am so thankful for this “let up” which I got through Dr Jones since it enables me to almost forget my trouble & in my letters I don’t speak about myself for I don’t feel pain or intense anxiety any more. The trouble lives, but it does not [seize?] on me as it did. I shall go on to Boston as soon as I get to Newport to have the trouble looked to, for I think it is advanced to a stage when something should be done, & yet I know no pain from it. This is the sign, that it is not of a malignant character, & another sign is that I am getting so stout, as to be “Spectacolo per gli uomini”! And this could not be if there was any ‘malignants’ at work! On the 7” I leave here. I am sorry to say, for it is so lovely, that I should have been glad to stay longer. I am so miserable in moving about in warm weather! But I want my babies & their mother, so I must go. I hope to remain there until the month of August, or about the 21st! & then, what should you think of the probabilities of your finding anything in the way of accommodation for Miss Stebbins & me at Bethlehem if we can manage to go there for 10 days or a fortnight? Can it be accomplished do you think. I should like so much to see this lovely place of which you write such wonders. I should like to see you, & should like to give Miss Stebbins some mountain air, after Newport & before Swampscott, and for myself I should like the bracing, for it is possible I may do something this coming winter. Mr Booth, Mr Cheney & Mr Davenport are giving me no peace. They say “a generation has come up since you ceased acting who are calling out to see you & we feel that we can afford to beg you to consider it. & you can afford to come back to the stage for a time “just to give them a taste of your quality.” I answer “but I took my leave of the stage & of the public. I have no need to go back to it. Why should I lay myself open to the charge of vulgar people that once before a public & no woman can forego the passion.” [Greediness of gain?], &c. &c.-- all the petty things that people who write for newspapers like to say. “They reply”a few people who know you will take care that the public are kept rightly informed as to your motives & our persuasion & all will be right if you will only consent! – I have not as yet consented, but I hesitate, & you know what becomes of women so situated!
No. I won’t go to the Desert. You are right!
I have put Miss Stebbins on [Physophosphate?] and it works like a charm, thank you for mentioning it won’t you give me a copy of your prescription for it? I only went into the chemists & asked for some powdered Pysophosphate of Iron, & she takes as much as goes on the end of a knife, is that [right?] at dinner only?
How funny about Elliotts methods of raising the wind—what a Gazebo!
only think about Pricilla & Nelly, why Concord & not the Sea? Oh foolish virgins, had they let their lamps go out, & so did not see the weakness, on ---?
[written on front of letter}: Now God bless, you. Emma S. sends love, Mrs. Garland kind regards, & I? whatever you will from your faithfully attached C.C.
11. [heading on stationery:]
What will you say that I have so long delayed writing to you since receiving your sweet & friendly letter of the 10”, with its tender & sweet enclosure? I don’t know what you will say, but you would forgive me if you knew how more & more full every day becomes in Newport, how impossible duty at any distance, becomes, how the immediate, [?] present, seized, held, grabbed, clutched, clawed, demanded, asked, begged, entreated & coaxed me, until I was not only no longer mistress of my soul, or my time, but I began to stammer in my speech life was such a hurry, that I could not find time to think & talk too—so, while I was trying to think, speech stammered, & never before to slip from under my controul [sic], when to my rescue, came these dear good people, whom I wish you knew -- & who reminded me of my [Escape?] here, & yesterday morning, in the middle of the second [delay?] we left Newport, & never so help me, if I can find strength to get out of Newport, will I ever be found in it, again, in July, or August, “And this is my conclusion,” I have done absolutely nothing, have seen nobody worth seeing, or that I wanted to see. I have been dribbling away my time, & have shamefully nothing to show for it. Except trembling hands, which can’t even hold my pen straight enough to spell correctly & a disordered stomach & weak driveling ideas! Now, what do you think of me, am I a person it befits to sit in judgment on any thing? No, I am not, my ideas are not worth a ha’penny, my opinions of any body or anything is good for nobody or no thing! What will you that I do or say. If I call people names, under this phase, I am not responsible, but I declare with what intellect that is left in me, that ‘the old Bell’ is exquisitely full of grace, sentiment & feeling. That there are some of the verses as good as anything you ever wrote. It is not, as a whole, as high & grand, as ‘the Funeral March’ which places you on the very highest rank of good, & I care not who says to the contrary. But then, who ever did or whoever can write always, Equally? Take any of our more modern poets & ask if they are always Equal: & see, if some of our American men would not take the whole value out of their poems, [by?] their criticism. Ah dear, you must get a master of form, if you want a true critic, & I don’t believe any of our American men know how to criticize your poems because they are so full of feeling, as well as grace & beauty!
I don’t think American men understand or appreciate beauty, save through the senses! Why should you who are able to criticize [sic] other peoples thoughts, as only a woman can criticize, be subject to any mention unless the very highest, & then, dear, another thing, if we criticized all our children, how we should hate them! You must create, & then believing in your things, yourself, trust them to the world. Another thing dear, one must work for all the world. You want a world of readers who do not care to comprehend Browning Swinburn, Tennyson, who want just the sweet bit of tired verses that comes through this homely ‘old Bell,’ & who would find help, comfort & sympathy in it, which they could not find, in anything more high or grand! So take comfort dear, print & print without trusting to any Eye or judgment but yr [sic] own. Some minds are nothing if not critical, some, who have been honoured by a submission to their judgment, would find their vanity a little mortified at anything’s having been printed without their opinions having been asked.
Your mentor is the gayest of the gay at Newport, dining & drinking [precious?] wines, until one begins to drink after all, all men are alike, so far! At all sorts of parties, picnics, breakfasts, matinees, soirees, receptions, etc. etc. until one really wonders when the martyrdom begins! –Oh---
I saw your sweet friend Mrs. Pell, looking lovely in a pretty little striped morning gown, with a pink in her cheek & a diamond in her eye. She is very sweet!
Dear when did you write the Funeral March. The mentor did not remember when or when he had seen it, but hunted it up & sent it to me, at my earnest request Emma Stebbins brought me some sweet little poems from the Independent lately, of which when I have more time I will write to you.
I saw my Dr., in Boston yesterday who says if I go on as well the next month as I have done this last month, I may act, & I shall commence with Queen Katherine in New York on the 25’ of Sept. It is an easy part to act, comparatively, & I shall see by that whether I can act anythin[g] else.
Goodbye dear. God bless you. I have been hoping I might get to Bethlehem for a week, on the 5” of Sept. What do you think of the chances. How long will it take me to get there & what time do I start from Boston & how, please tell me thou bird, thou singing bird, come down from your swinging bough & talk to me in prose of “ways & means” of times & tides.
Emma Stebbins is in great delight over ‘the Funeral March’ & she knows more of poetry than I do, & she says the old Bell is beautiful & tender & graceful!
Ever believe me Carina Mia
Your faithful loving
Yes Carina it is true! (This in answer to note of Aug 20”) On the 25’ Sept I commence an Engagement in New York, which if “all holds out” – as I hope – it may well continue for six weeks! Mr Booth has made it comparative[l]y easy for me by bringing out “Henry 8” – which gives me a less fatiguing character in “Queen Katherine” than any other I could act. If this play “runs” successfully, I am [saved?], after the play is once acted – any rehearsals -- & shall only have to go to the theater for the night work , which used to be less hard for me, than I find “society! – (or company for we have no society in America.) now! so let us hope all will be well. I think the people want to see me, & not much, the play, in which I act. I come to them in a different relation from the actress, usually, on account of my life since I left the stage, & so, it will be easier for me, than for most women! Don’t you see that I look at the matter rationally? Besides, my engagement is so made, that I can stop, any moment, on a Dr’s certificate – that it is doing me harm! Are you satisfied?
What fuss about those lovely letters or signs over your door? I hope to see them. Emma Cushman is sighing for a breath of mountain air, & wants me to take her to Bethlehem for a week. Emma Stebbins may not be able to come, but will if she can, & on the 2d September if all goes well, we want to start from here, to get up to you for a week do you think you can get accommodation for us, & do you think the man of the Hotel would get me tender beefsteak for breakfast & for dinner – tender roast beef? & a comfortable bed with 4 pillows not too hard! These are the requirements of my advanced age. (& comfort) for the others it don’t matter so much. There will be the two Emmas, [Saller?] & ‘yours truly’. Each wanting a separate room. See what you can do & let me hear a word at your best leisure! If you cannot arrange for all in the Hotel, distribute us about between your house & the Hotel.
God bless you, Carina,
& believe me ever you faithfully attached
13. [Letter inserted in envelope addressed to Mrs Helen Hunt/Bethlehem, N.H.]
Sep 2d 1871
Carina. On the receipt of your letter, I made the messenger wait for a note to post from me to you, as we are 2 miles from the post office & messengers scarce, so my note was very likely more than usually incomprehensible, but my telegram sent, at the same time, I hope informed you in sufficient time that I could not hope to occupy the rooms you had so kindly taken for us at the Hotel, and it is very fortunate that we did not attempt to make the move, for though she was ailing a good deal, & enough to make her feel that she did not dare to attempt the journey, yet. Yesterday morning, Emma Stebbins had an aggravated attack of the old enemy, which so completely prostrated her, that she has not been able to leave her bed, where she now is, so ‘all’s well that ends well’ & if you have not been inconvenienced about the rooms at the Hotel, I shall pocket my disappointment, as I have had to do a great many times within the last few years; & try to make it up some other time. The weather here has become so very cool, and so tempestuous that we expect the disappointments for ourselves, less than if it had been the hot muggy murky rainy weather of which I hear from Emma Cushman in Newport. Her youngest boy has taken to ailing just now, so that she could not have left. Even had she been so minded as we all were last Monday.
On Tuesday I have been for a day in Boston, & on Monday 6” we go to Newport & on the night of the 17” God willing, we go to New York to 128 East 16” St. where you will find me. Don’t forget me in your collecting of leaves for though I may not have a house of my own to put them in, next winter, yet I shall be going to my childrens house in St. Louis, & I should dearly like to have some for Emma Cushman’s to put up in her country house just out of St. Louis where I shall hope to be by the end of Jany, & through Feby, for an event which oddly enough always calls for my presence, as though I was a grandmother.
I am so sorry not to be with you this next week, & yet it is thought even wiser for me not to have to take that journey to Bethlehem, but it is a shame to have given you such trouble about the rooms. Forgive me, I would do as much for you. Ever my kindest regards to Miss [Adams?] My regrets to all your friends & with Miss Stebbins’ kind love, Believe me ever, as I am ever,
Your loving friend C.C.
[Letter sequence jumps from Sept., 1871 to July, 1873]
14. [Heading on stationery: Villa Cushman, Newport, R.I.] July 14, 1873
Ever since I came here & heard of your disappointment about the Colorado trip, & your illness, your Boston sojourn, & your subsequent [flattery?] to Littleton, I have been wanting to write to you to express my sympathy, but the moment has never come. As soon as I arrived here -- /next day but one/ my brother & niece from England arrived here – a week after came two of the children & two nurses, four days after that Mr. & Mrs. Cushman’s two other children & nurse arrived, so I have had my house full & my hands more than full ever since I came. My correspondence has suffered meanwhile. You have not been forgotten though I have not written to you, & now, wanting to know of you & yours well being & whereabouts I send out this [feeler?] which I hope will bring me back satisfactory accounts.
For me, dear, I am not in a very satisfactory condition, but I am tired of the subject. The weather is simply joyous, so cool & lovely a July, mortal men fret in these parts! The wind, well the wind is in “a devil of a way,” & is “raising Cain,” all the time, not a moment are we free—my windows all squeal like the 31st of November, my little trees lash themselves about until they are all loosened at the roots, but this so beneficently tempers the air for me, that I am “at heaven upon my knees” hourly. Whether this will last beyond July remains to be proved, and old weather wise man at Bateman’s says we shall have no rain until August & it has rained but one whole hour since the 7th of June. I stand in fear & trembling in the middle of my room all the time, lest the Laundress should come to announce “no more water in the cisterns” -- & that we shall be all obliged to go dirty for fear of not having enough to wash in. If August is wet & hot & steaming as usual, I have promised Emma S, who is obliged to be separated from us all this time on a/c of her mother’s illness at Hyde Park, to go somewhere to the hills – tell me where I shall go with a chance of getting in & beef “to eat & drink & to be clothed or without”. I begin to have the fear that I shall not be able to work at all next winter, if so, I shall see more of you here. Newport has been very empty, but begins to show signs of live. [sic] God bless you, get & keep well & let me hear from you –
Ever yours affectionately, C.C.
15. De Blois Cottage, Newport R.I. [at head of stationery] July 24, 1873
Carina – it is so long since I have written to you that you will have forgotten the look of my handwriting but you will have heard all about me from your friends here, I am sure, & so your kind heart will have been satisfied. Even though I did not send you off a letter to say I am getting on very well—eat well, sleep well, look well—(my friends say) & in fact all seems well with me! Care you desire to know more. The iron I am taking in, as ballast, seems to be carrying me on pretty straight, & I am a marvel to my friends who doubt if I have been ill. [Aufond?], my trouble exists. I am trying to live with it, fight it, & perhaps who knows, it may be well for me to have it. They say (my doctors) if it was “malignant, you could not gain flesh.” & certainly I do gain flesh. I am going to Barkers this day, to be weighed! Every thing in Newport looks “dressed up” Everything is gay & bright, this last week has been so cool & crisp & fresh that a shawl has been a comfort in driving. I have been much pressed with correspondence, & much taken up with visitors since I came, so that I have toiled, as usual but the weather, since the 16”, last Sunday, has been so beneficently cool that all has been easy, & I have not know [sic] how tired I was until the night came & I would go to sleep over the newspaper, which I wanted to read, after tea. I have not seen your friend Mrs. Pell, though I hear she is much benefitted by your iron. Bye the by dear, I want to ask you, how the iron, which is usually very constipating (saving your presence!) affects you, in that respect. I asked you what preparation you took & if you would send me the prescription, but not receiving it in time I got some of the pyrophosphate (green glassy looking stuff, & had it powdered—was that right) & gave to Miss Stebbins, but after the third day, she became so dreadfully constipated as to make a bad attack of hemorrhoids, so I was obliged to stop it. Please tell me something about it & its action, or if it causes, what it did, in her, what should she do to remedy that evil & still get the good of the iron! Answer thou sphinx!
Dear, I was invited in a very pleasant way, by your “gentle soul,” to a literary gathering at her house for last Saty night, and up to the last moment hoped to go, but I was busy as ten bees, making calls all that morning & driving in the afternoon to Mrs. Lows (out at the Fox place), so that when night came & I took off my dress to make myself fit to be seen, to go to Mrs. [Davies’?] I was so tired that I had to send a note instead of going.
Carissima, Miss Stebbins sends me word that a sweet little bookie has arrived at Hyde Park for me, which has in it a sweet sonnet addressed to “CC” she “won’t send it, but will wait & bring it to me when she comes” which I hope will be on the 8”. It shall serve to me for my birthday [greeting?] from you, & when we meet you shall write my name & July 23d, which yesterday counted me 55, by the clock. I had as happy a day as could have, away from Miss Stebbins, my dear little children are very well & happy, all brought me little offerings, & flowers surrounded me on every side. Emma Cushman is not over well. I wonder if Newport agrees with her.
On the 16’ of August I expect to go to Beech Bluff Swampscott Mass for a fortnight or so, & then, return here, for September. I am afraid I shall not get to Bethlehem but we shall see, as the time draws near I am a coward at the journey. I who never feared anything before.
God bless you dear. I’ve your note of the 12”. I am so truly thankful you are better. God bless you dear, always your loving C.C.
16. Villa Garland Hyde Park
Your note of the 14” Dec” from Colorado Springs was forwarded & at last reached me, for I have been wandering much & in devious ways, so that it is a marvel that my letters ever reach me. My journeyings & workings & being laid up by sickness have been so incessant since the third week in August, that I have not had time to write anything but business letters, & my other things have been much neglected to my detriment. So you must forgive my tardiness – never attribute my silence to neglect or want of consideration, or want of affectionate interest in you. I may not think you always right, but I do not love you [all?] alone less well than at the first. I think that when there is one absorbing interest to one of two friends upon which they think dramatically opposite, each fear to approach too near but the subject should arise which must hurt both, so friends sometimes grow apart, but friendship not necessarily lessened between them [thereby?]. However dear I write very [?] & unfashionably to one so informed & facile as you have become, so will say no more but this—have patience with my shortcomings in the way of writing. When rec’d you letter in July, it pained & disturbed me very much! I thought your feeling made you Exaggerate the matter & so should have written, but I had family of 22 at the time & for a fortnight after its receipt & all the rest of the summer 19 in family, at last even I own I was driven away up to the Catskills, where at Lenox I recuperated so that I could accept Engagements for the winter which I have been striving to keep ending in Phila last Sat 27’, but a tremendous matinee, at which there were 3000 people—afternoon & then for three days was in bed utterly incapable of moving from [fever?] & weakness. New Years day I came here & am slowly recuperating. During all the time such a bulk of correspondence has accumulated that I am frightened but the homesick one must be looked after first!
I thought over your letter long, & at last I acted upon it, as you wished to do, saw the land lady & told her I thought it was my duty for her sake for me taking the interest in her, to [ask?] her to pause, reflect & consult her physician before she took a person so affected into her family!!!!! She cried, thanked me, but as I afterwards heard took the family into her house, and one day when I rec’d a serious message from the lady saying she wished me to come & see how beautifully & comfortably she was situated (Mrs. [Bruley?] brought me the message) I was fearful that the little landlady had not been true to her promise to me. However I did not go, for I do not care for either of the family, & I did my duty as I thought by you in striving to help carry out your work & wish! Mia, [fraginiga?] amica mia, La Signora e pui forte che lei”.
Your description of your place of sojourn is lovely – what beautiful things you will write from there & then the little book will be made which will charm as all your other books do & have done. By the bye talking of books, you charge [me?] dear on my allegiance as to Saxe Holm, & I have been true & silent. But on the 1st of December, while I was in Buffalo, I saw in a paper of that city, a notice of said volume of stories, in plain print attributed to you, saying it was the nom de plume which had been assumed by H.H. whose poems had so enchanted everybody! Now, my dear, what do you say to that? I hear very often these stories spoken of as being by H.H. You cannot keep such things in this land of pure respect, when people mind their own affairs, & more put their noses into their neighbors dish. I don’t see dear, even after reading Esther Wynn, why you should say you would write no more if it was ever known. By only one person will any thing be suspected, & for her you do not care, I think you were [impudent?] – may I say foolish – to so advertize matters to those who know anything or have any suspicions, but you chose to do it, you are no child to act from impulse, & you have doubtless calculated the consequences, so, being defiant once why not go on, you need write no more just such, but you do not need to write to [ninety five??]! See how I write to you, but you have virtually drawn it upon yourself.
I am here until the 15 of Jany when I go to Boston for three readings 17, 21, 24 Jany. 29’, 31’ & 2’ 4’ of Feby. I read in New York, 6’ in Baltimore, week of the 9’ Feby Richmond, then back to Phila, but always send to care of J& J Stuart & Co, 33. Nassau St. New York & it will be forwarded. I hope you will continue to improve in health, go to my dear old Dr. Lippi in Philadelphia & get eating cured smoke from a common clay pipe, bruised cubebs & cure your throat yourself.
God Bless you, a thousand thanks for your two long volumes. You are a very [clever?] dear, & I am ever affectionately your C.C.
17. La [Pierre?] House – Phila. Pa. Feby 23/74
Carina, It is so long since I rec’d your last letter of 14’ [oct?] that I hardly dare send to Colorado Springs, & yet if not there – where? For I have the moment before me, to write you, which I have not had since I rec’d it: where I am convalescing from an illness, all the letters which have been put in a file to answer as soon as possible, are brought to light from the depths of our [spring?] boxes (as the English say) & become as things of the present moment. I am so [worked & traveled?] at other times, that my friends have to be contented with their places in my heart & wait, for the moment to arrive, when time is to a certain extent forced upon me by painful circumstances! Ever since my illness of last Jany & Feby (73) I have had recurrences more & more frequently of these miserable attacks, chilliness & fever (consuming me for days.) generally they have been indication of the formation of matter somewhere about my afflicted side. This time, I had been staying in a hothouse in Boston, during that long snow & frost snap of 3d week Jany. Then I had anxieties for Miss Stebbins who became miserably ill then, so ill that I had to send for [Misschaft?]. Then came a nervous fear on her part that she would not be able to get away to New York with me when I had to go for a course of readings, this added to the excitement attendant upon my Boston readings, & the anxiety about my New York readings, made me ill, & my first reading in NY, I was in a congestive chill and fever during the whole evening, the only thing I remember of the Evening was the constantly recurring picture of myself as falling forward upon my reading table from – what, I knew not—but [dreaded?]! But they say, I never read as [mighty?] as on that night, so dear, it is evidently not I, C.C. who read, but something through & above me. Suffice it my greatest triumph of my life. I consider this conquest of a New York public, from conviction, not fashion, not [fame?], nor fame elsewhere, but just something, in spite of themselves, for, notwithstanding all this, they are not a public for readings by home made readers.
Your friend [Winter?], gave a long version of my reading of Hamlet, failing to see all I intended, saying it was not new, now if there is anything in the world I have a vanity upon & about, it is the fact that I do read the character of Hamlet very differently from any person I ever heard, especially the scene with Ophelia, which entreats her to a nunnery, not drives her, with a loud voice & contemptuous manner, nor do I offer other bullying – Embark & embrace her!!!! This Mr. [Winter?] failed to see, or note if he did see which failure is as bad as not seeing. Then tell it not on [Earth?], he spoke so [unworthily?] of me, through my reading ‘As you like it,’ that I was [fair?] to present the question to my manager as to who was our Mr. Winters comparing the second time, if the same person as the first reading, was [he?] – mean nature, it was not the same person. I draw my inference, & the “critic” (by courtesy) falls to the level of all such in our land. We lack education refinement social culture, good breeding, & therefore we have not a real critic on any journal. This much fra noi (between us.) I have no desire to measure [swords?] but with my equals! Am I too conceited!
--I left New York for Baltimore on the 5’ to read on the 6’ – another [?] took me in the car, between Phil & Beh’, & for ten days & nights from that night I lay at the Hotel [Carrolton Ball’] – my dear Dr Lippi came over to me. I had a [major?] abscess under my arm, which has caused me great suffering & consequent weakness. Here I have been since the 16’ lying upon the bed, with an [Exturponical?] desk upon my knees, whenever I could sit up, to [keep?] up some of my pleasurable duties, among which this comes. Miss Cushman came on & met me here, with little [nino?] -- & has been a comfort. Miss Stebbins has been very poorly at Villa Garland. I hope she may be able to join me here next week – where I shall remain until the middle of March. Then wander again. I have had to give up my second course of readings in Boston, proposed for the end of March [crossed out: this month] It expect to be in Washington the week of the 6” of April. When are you coming home? & what are you going to do this summer? Have you ever sojourned at Lennox, at any time, & do you know the peculiarity of that air?
Your descriptions of Colorado charm me & all. I cannot come this season, but if you will go again next season, I will go if I live & am able. Oh my dear friend, I met a few such treasures of people in New York—Mrs Dodge & Mrs [Gratorex?], especially charmed me. Now Goodbye, never mind what I said, I can’t remember now. The flat contradiction from yourself & the flat answer of Mrs Celia Burleigh, that she knows the author & “you are not she” go far to convince people. Do you believe it will convince her? Not if I know her at all. God bless you let me hear from you at your best leisure & believe me Ever, your faithfully C.C.
18. La [Pierre?] House Phila. Pa March 29/74
Cara, The day I recd your welcome letter of the 16’ [?], I also recd a letter from Miss Chapman, who writes to me for information about Colorado investments, in which was enclosed a note to you, to be forwarded. I had cut the Ends of envelope of a [linen?] letter that day with a pair of scissors, & which I happened to have in my hands. To my shame & vexation I found that in cutting off the end of my envelope I had cut yours. Pray forgive me and believe me innocent in thought & deed. I enclosed in this.
[?] of your self in cheering to the last degree, [?] are not more poisoned than there is cure for, wait patiently, and all the cures will come, don’t fight, or kick, or struggle, bend your head & all bad winds, odours & spirits pass! – Your description of your “country” is very remarkable & makes me wish -- & not wish to go. I think I shall go next season, & make a quiet (not hurried/professional) tour to California, taking Colorado on the way, then on back, what do you say to it? And what do you say about glamouring the very cleverest man, out there to hunt me up an investment in land, which will cost $1000, & which is bound to double in no time, so that like Ireland my capital may be always Dublin. Let me hear what offers that you would take blindfolded!
I think there was never anything so funny, or so apropos, as the young woman in [?] N.Y. best for Celia? Where is she?
Grace Greenwood & Sarah Ames, a goodly & [betting?] partnership! Voila. The play begins! From the 6” of April that week address me Arlington Washington, week of 18” April to Exchange Hotel Richmond Va. from 20’ April to May 9”, 128 E. 16” St. New York (my dear Mrs [Gratorex?] is lonely, & Mrs. Mary E [Dodge?] “a jolly brick” as the girls say!) where I give 6. readings, from May 11’ to 18’ [?] La Pierre House Phila. I am going to rest during Holy Week, taking care of Emma Stebbins who is very very poorly, in Phila. here at La Pierre. She is under Lippi who is the wisest of serpents! I am continuing able to work,& this tells the tale. Let me hear from you & believe me Ever lovingly yours, C.C.
19. [Stationery has: Villa Cushman, Newport R.I. at top] July 29, 1874
Your letter of the 16” has reached me on the 24”, since when I have been having one of my bad attacks & have been too prostrated to write. But on the same day your letter arrived Miss Chapman arrived, set a large travelling Basket trunk here which she had bought for me, & into which she had put all the things she had brought for Everybody—Miss Cushman, Miss Stebbins, etc. I have not been well Enough to attend to having the things forwarded to you until yesterday when I took them down to Cozzens’ to have them properly packed & forwarded to you, at Colorado Springs Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado by the safest & most Expeditious means. I had no proper box or trunk for them therefore entrusted them to him, as he has those things to do…
I have not yet seen Mrs. Chapman she came on the morning of my birthday (23d) with Mrs. Bronson to bring me some flowers, but I was in my midday bath & did not see her. Consequently I know nothing but I can say she will write to you. She is with Mrs. Bronson at Castle Hill to which address I forwarded the note you enclosed to me for her. I hope your gowns will fit, but they are certainly not fit for warm weather. Here we have had no warm weather yet. The comet settled all that & gave England the warmth this time. Since the [moon?] changed, last night, we have clouded up & now it feels Newport-like, warm & close. I have been quite poorly this last week but am not better. I lift very much sooner from this attack (abscesses) than I did, & they are much less severe. This is what the water cure is doing for me. It cannot cure my trouble & nothing else can, but it can make me generally better & clearer, as it is doing, If I could ask that wonderful physician of mine & go to Colorado, I would go in a moment but, it cannot be. If he makes me able to act this season, it will be my last upon the stage, though I won’t give up reading, Ever, while life lasts! I am to act in New York, Phila, then get to Louisville for Thanksgiving work. Then for a few days at St. Louis, resting, & on the 3d Dr. (Dr), I shall start for California, on my way back from there, the end of Jany, I shall see you. I fear not before, unless fate refuses to let me work, which I hope she will not, for I have certain things to do with next years earnings.
--No dear I do not see the Independent. I will try & get your papers. What a dreadful mess, this “Woman’s friend” Theodore Tilton, & the “pure Christian man” & the “white souled woman” have made of it—ah—what dirt we Americans like. I don’t believe in any of these “Woman friend” men. They are rotten at the core. G.G. & Mrs. Ames are great friends of T.T. & he of them, & they are “all of a piece,” all too rotten to wash. The account from me[?] of the Exhibition of S.S. & S.A. who by the by keeps a boarding house on 23d St New York she flings about & keeps a housekeeper for the house—who supports it? No. Juggernaut sent for me, but I have not responded. I can’t. [TWH?] don’t like it that I don’t. That pleases me. I don’t care how much he is displeased with me, he can’t beat my dislike of him. Ever your faithful
20. Lenox Mass.
Yours of 6 “[?]”; to hand yesterday forwarded here, when we arrived on the even of the 13”, intending a stay until the 2 Sep’ when I go to New York for a months sojourn before commencing my work. I see recd your former letter warning me not to attempt to cross the Sierras in Early December, or returning in early Jany, which is my purpose. You do not know, perhaps that in my profession, we must make our Engagt- [engagement abbreviated?], individually, as it suits a managers interest for his whole season. An Engagt was offered me, commencing 14” Dec. for five weeks, this was the only time I could have in California. I made as I thought proper enquiries as to the chances of my being caught at that season in the snow, & finding that it is usually free at that time I concluded my Engagt & now it is irrevocable—if I am in health to act anywhere. So you must [help?] me by lifting off my fears which you have excited, & not giving them to my friend Miss Stebbins who accompanies me there and by obtaining for me, any statistics as to the dates, at different years that these perils & sufferings have come. Will you do this, & when you communicate it to me, let it be when you & I are alone, for I presume by your letter that you are purposing to come East not withstanding your first determination to remain there over the winter.
About the dress, dear, that your last letter wails of. I can perhaps help you when you come, bring it with you (the silk one). Miss Chapman & her dress maker have made an awful mistake, & we must rectify it together. Miss Chapman took out all Miss Stebbins measures for a costume walking dress of black silk. After the death of her mother she wrote to Miss Chapman that it must be trimmed with crape. This order was to be carried out, if Miss C. should go to Paris. It happens that she does not got to Paris & she loses all Miss Stebbins measures yet she resolves to carry out the order for the black silk dress, & bring home a flourishing skirt made in London with flounces &c &c, trimmed with crape, & not daring to have the body made, brings a piece of silk for that purpose, & the trimmings for the body made & basted upon a white muslin waist, just to show where the trimmings were to be placed. When the basket arrived (into which she had put everything which my brother had sent out.) in the tray of said box, Miss Chapman puts your two dresses all made, & this skirt & muslin waist which she wrote me was for Miss S. of course in opening the tray, I took out what she said belonged to Miss S. & sent the rest to Cosprings, but it is very possible that the trimmings of this muslin body which is, we now find upon Examination is plaited may be your trimming & the “Basque of 36 inches in the waist may be for Miss Stebbins, who measures 25 inches in the waist. When the skirt of this dress was taken out, Miss Stebbins was so heartsick, at the stupidity which had brought her a full dress evening dress instead of a walking dress, that she put it away in disgust & has not examined it further. There you see the mistake may have occurred & when you come to N York, you shall enquire for us at 128 E. 16” St., & you shall be helped out of your dilemma, if I can help you, or, if you are not coming East, & will let me know where to send it, I will forward to you this muslin body, or the skirt as it seems best to you & we will get the other skirt on basque from you when we arrive St. Louis in late November.
I am in many respects much better from my water treatment, & my constant change of air this summer. I had three weeks in Newport in June, three weeks in Hyde Park in July—from the 17’ July to the 12” of August in Newport. Exquisitely cool weather & dry nearly all the time. When the hot days began (8” of august), I packed my trunks & came away here where it is more gorgeous than words can describe! Miss Stebbins is in great joy over her possession of this long little “[Lothie?],” wh. I have been able to bestow upon her, & she hopes you will come & see her in it. It is just what would please you. When will you be here if you come East? Tell me thou bird! We have found a number of “Four leaved clovers” here, & send you one for luck, & your good wishes to this [rooftree?]! Direct to me here if you write at once, & believe me Ever affly your C.C.
[Note: Break in the correspondence--following two letters from 1875]
21. [stationery headed: Villa Cushman, Newport R.I.] July 24, 1875
Dear friend, your welcome letter ought to have been answered earlier, but I have been more than usually suffering, & have had more than usual calls upon my limited leisure from the long care which I am obliged to give out of my walking hours to my suffering body so that I have been unable to work until this moment, and now, you must take the will for the deed, for I am so overtired with my own self through the constant reminder of pain that I have no thoughts fit to throw at a dog. You see I am obliged to write upon block paper for I cannot put my left arm across the hold my paper down, and yet I am told I look well—it seems to me that it cannot be possible to feel so suffering & yet look well but I am forced to believe my friends, & so, when you see me you will not be shocked I shall let you know when I am to make the endeavor to move to Lenox, so that I may get a sight of you, which Miss Stebbins tells me is something to see—you are so greatly improved—I am so glad, so thankful that there is any place where you can get air to breathe, & at the same time food to eat. This is the only thing which keeps one in the north & East, what I am to do this coming winter if [God?] keeps me here so long, I know not, for I dare not any longer remain away from my Doctor, but of that anon!
Is it not possible for you to come here to see me, or if not that wk might not be advisable, do you not think you could meet me when I go on to Lenox & go then for a little while so that I could see you more than for the moment of being in Worcester? Tell me what is the Hotel I must stop at in Worcester if I stop there one night en route, or had I better try to push on to Springfield & stop there? as I only want to be two days on my journey?
I thank you dear for the information you [must?] say – about your marriage. It is better, so infinitely better, happier, wiser [gooder?], so I rejoice with all my heart at all you tell me, only stick to it, don’t go romancing or wandering or [stravaging?] as the Irish say, any more. It is good to think of you cared for so, & by such a good sweet soul as I hear Mr. Jackson is. Mrs. Gratorx who is a dear friend of mine is here, & I have asked her about him, she says all & more than you do of his Excellent goodness. Believe me dear you will be in Every way improved by this relation. You will work better & more after your own genius, & after all work is all that is worth living for in this world!
Ah, if I could only secure good beef, I would be tempted by you, ill & suffering as I am, to go back with you to Colorado. I know you are right about air, & I am only sorry I did not go there last winter. However, I must stop it hurts me to sit over the table to write. Let me hear from you & believe me Ever,
Your lovingly affectionate
22. [stationery headed: Villa Cushman, Newport R.I.] Aug 5,1875
Dear friend Your kind & welcome note of the 29 [Tues.?] would have been answered earlier, but that I was uncertain how long your visit to Rye would last, & also I was uncertain as to my own possibility of movement. It is now decided that (Dr) I will leave here on Monday 9th by the Providence boat at 11, arriving in Prov” at 1. Leaving there at 2.15 & arriving at Worcester at 3.50! as yet I am uncertain whether I shall have freedom from pain sufficient to let me go on any further; if I am able, I would like to get on to Springfield to sleep! If I am not able to go any further than Worcester, & that can only be decided after I arrive there. What Hotel must I go to for a chance of sleep! Please let me know!
I hear of your triumphant visit to Rye, how you captivated all hearts--&c &c M Crow especially, is lost I hear! I am so glad of all your letter says to me not that I think you “a lion”, as your Elegant express it, but “while woman is apt to be “mighty on sartin”, when she works on such ground on such cause! I am thankful from my heart & soul, & only wish I could see you together. For me, I have no especial predilection for Elegant, or our Educated men, the sweetest nut has the roughest outside, & I am sure, from all that Mrs. Gratorx & others tell me, I should like Mr. Jackson very much! We will have an opportunity of speaking together of him & your prospects. I must not write more now for it hurts me. Miss Stebbins sends kindest regards.
Ever believe me
Your loving friend
[small envelope addressed Mrs. Helen Hunt, Princeton, Mass. contains undated, penciled note]
I am shy of writing till I know your Princeton address so am sure of this reaching you. Can’t you send the address to S.D? None of us [remember?] the name of hotel. I am so [anxious?] about you [and?] the journey. Send those printed sheets by mail or express
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 12-2008, jr