HHJ 2-1-7 transcription
|Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part
2, Ms 0156, Box 1, folder 7, 22 letters from HHJ to Lucy A. Palmer, 1851-1854.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, April 2004.
My dear Lucy
Many thanks for your kind attention to my numerous wants; all the articles came safely to hand on Tues. of this week, in ample season for all necessities. I intended to have written you a line immediately, acknowledging their receipt, but until this morning it has been totally impossible and now I write in the greatest haste to reach today's mail. Tuesday was a day of meetings - an address from Henry Ward Beecher in the forenoon, Prof. Shedd in the afternoon, and Dr. Bond in the evening - and I sat them through. It reminded me strongly of Anniversary week, and I feel as if I must run down to Crescent Place to dinner! - Thursday was Commencement Day, and we spent it in the church; I wish I had a schedule of the exercises to send you, but I devoured mine, in an extremity of fatigue and hunger, during the last paragraphs of the Valedictory. -- Thursday evening Prof. Warner had a large party, but I was too tired and cross to go, so Annie & Helen represented the family and had a delightful time. Yesterday we visited Mount Holyoke - our party numbering eight, and a more delightful visit never was paid to the old mountain shrine, I am sure. The day was just such a day as might have been purposely fashioned for just such a proper excursion - clear, cool, bright and beautiful. The prospect from the mountain top, could never have been more enchanting, and very seldom as much so, for there was not a breath of mist to dim it anywhere. The hills all around north, east and west, stood out from the sky in boldest relief and all the bits of green in the vallies below were as bright and as clearly to be tasted as if they were in an engraving held in the hand, while the Connecticut winding around like a bright thread in a piece of fairy embroidery, presented nothing to the eye but a succession of sparkling flashes in the sunlight. We roamed about the mountain long hours without thinking more than moments, and did not reach the Hotel at the foot of it, till after three; as we left home at nine you can imagine our appetites, and how unreasonable we all grew, while we were waiting to have chickens (fattened I had almost said) killed and cooked for dinner. - But it was all the better appreciated when it did come, because we had waited so long, and there was no lack of justice to the substance, I assure you. You would have laughed I know could you have looked in on our party after dinner, as we sat in the little low old fashioned rooms, and played backgammon and chatted; there were four ladies and four gentlemen, and what is very unusual in such party, we were all paired off, just right, to the most satisfaction of every body concerned. We made home just at sunset and at one of the most beautiful sunsets which sun and cloud ever made - and when we went to bed, we didn't wake up till morning! as you may well believe. - Today I feel excessively uninteresting, as you perhaps find out from the general tone of my letter - tired, lame, and slightly headsick-ish. Tomorrow is Sunday and we shall then have a respite from calls, &c. else I should despair indeed.
All the things you sent, Lu, were very apropos indeed, exp. your fan, and I was sorry you sent that because I am so afraid something will happen to it. I have carried it twice only, and I was very careful indeed. The ribbons I like very very much, the shade of the pink particularly; it is so becoming that I shall be tempted to cut it all up into neck ribbons before fall.
And now Luly dear, I must not write any more, or I shall lose today's mail. I must enclose a note to your father although he could not write to me! Good bye Luly dear. I shall be home again week after next.
The other day I found on my desk in the recitation room your writing book, over which I had a hearty laugh - (not at anything laughable in your writing, by any means), but at the incongruity of the high sounding title "Specimens of Penmanship by Miss Lucy A. Palmer" and the poor solitary page of copy! Thinking that you might be interested in looking once more upon these relics of the past I concluded to enclose and forward them.
By this means you will have inflicted with a page or more of my declarations. - they will not be very entertaining this morning, for thanks to Mr. Delaney's thorough understanding of the best ways and means of building a hot fire, I have a sad head ache. - All things go on, as of old in No. 45. We have ten young ladies in the family, all very lovely girls indeed. I think we have never had so pleasant a family since I have been here; if it were only twice as large, it would be perfect.
I have heard Jenny Lind once more; and I admire her so much more than before. I want to hear her again, very much more than I did after hearing her the first time. But I suppose I shall not: she flits with the summer bird, too soon!
- I wrote your father, and I suppose he had told you, about her going to the Institution for the Blind last week. Was it not beautiful?
Have you seen Annie, of late? She began bravely in letter writing, this fall, but for the last three weeks, she has been falling off, and off, and off until I expect that my next communication from her will be on a quarter of a sheet of small sized note paper. She is however much busied in school and in the cares of society. - Oh how I do prefer my secluded life, with a quiet room, books and a pen, to this life that people lead who have to go to sewing circles, &c, &c, &c.
But, I must hear my Latin class (Did you know I had a class in that study?) It is as much the fashion as ever. I have had seven classes, and now, am about writing some of them. Maggie Post has taken it up, and four or five of the older girls, so that I enjoy it more than ever. Have you looked into your Virgil since you left New York?
Now my dear Lucy, will you not, in return for this uninteresting note write me a letter? You do not know how much pleasure it would give me! I am so sorry that you did not come on with your father, though you would have been disappointed, in not hearing Jenny Lind.
My love to your mother and Hattie, and to your father. Do, dear "Lu," remind him to answer my letter, and be dear and write, yourself, when he does, to
Yours ever affectionately,
My dear Lucy,
I have time to write just a word and no more, before my Latin class society. I send you a Programme of Jenny Lind's first (and second) concert in America. I attended the second, and oh, how I wish you had been there too. - No words can describe the charm of Jenny Linds singing, or the love-a-bility of Jenny Lind.
- I hope she will sing in Boston the song with the flute accompaniment and the Echo song. - They are more than enchanting. You will see from the description of the first, that it must be a beautiful thing, but you can have no idea without hearing her, of the almost miraculous sweetness with which she washes over the air, after the first flute - It is a [bul..] to say her tones are flute-like; they are not. It seemed to me as if each note of the flute were frozen, and she took the same note and formed it out in a liquid gushing tone -
- And the echo, in the Swedish handyman's song! There she sits at the piano as easily and carelessly as if she were resting on some rock in the pastures of her own land and calling to her flock and, as she learns forward, with her head bent to catch the distant echo of her own voice, there it comes, distinct and clear, as if sent back from some old forest or high hill side, and yet low as a very whisper, and yet filling the ear and the heart of that concourse of seven thousand! Oh, Jenny Lind is no mortal singer! --
The orchestra is magnificent - composed to a great extent, of leaders of other orchestras. - The Wedding March of Mendelsohns was grand, but I must close - the bell strikes. I could not send this programme without writing you a word. Excuse its brevity, illegibility &c, and write, will you not, to your affectionate friend Helen?
I am very very glad you "regret" as you say all that for me! For I have been feeling all this morning as if it were after all no sort of use for me to make any attempt to live harmoniously with you. I could have hardly believed that one short angry speech could have thrown back all my love frozen into my heart. But I never was more surprised - indignant - wounded - I was not angry - though I know my perfect scheme might have seemed like it. I was intensely wounded and completely disheartened. - In all that I said before had not a shadow of a feeling excepting that I did not love to sleep alone - the natural feeling of any one at a proposition from their chum to sleep out; and - I should not have expected even that, had the invitation been a different one. If Mary had wanted some day [..gai...], or to come up and sleep with her, for the sake of it - of course I should not have said anything, but to express my sorrows that I must sojourn alone in bed for one night. - but this seemed different & struck me as it did you and Ann, as being the least pleasant way of bringing it about - and assigning the queerest reason for it - making it a matter of nes/cessity that you should go there on account of the weather!
However, I did not think much about it one way or the other till afterwards. - And after you made that remark I most distinctly & unqualifiedly wished you would go as I said several times. But Lul I don't believe you have any idea what a hard thing that was to hear. - If anybody can give proof of anything, I should think you & Mary had both reason to believe that I am no longer jealous of your mutual love. I could no more be "jealous" of May Sprague now, than I could be jealous of Julia Ball or Julia Walker; it is entirely out of the questions. You ought to understand this; - I dont see how you can help understanding it. Moreover, I should have sooner perished than said a word if I had been jealous of your going. - And it was not so much the shortness of your remark, that wounded me, as the suspicion it revealed. I felt so humiliated by the idea that you had been to say the most of it, only half loving me - with all the while a feeling in your heart that I was hypocritical - and was still cherishing in secret, those feelings of jealousy and distrust, which I had professed to have contritely lost. - I do wish very much that before y/o/u/ we go, you would go up some evening and spend the evening and night with Mary; that is, if you would like to - and that reminds me of another thing - I did not (sincerely) last night, suppose that you cared so much to go. - I really thought at first that you were a little hesitating what to do about accepting the invitation. - Oh, I am so sorry it has happened - not that I think any unkindly memory of your remark now; I should be indeed unforgiving if I could do so after your note - and not that I doubt your loving me; and not that it will hinder my loving you; but because I cannot help feeling that your confidence in my sincerity must be woefully weak; if there is any thing which I do wish to have recognized by friend & foe, it is that I am not insincere; and I can not but see, that your thought could o/n/l/y/ have sprung only from at least, a suspicion that I had been. - But perhaps you will know me better yet - Luly; at any rate, love me as well as you can; - I shall always love you, and let us at all events ever be frank.
Your own true and affectionate chum - Helen. --
In reading this over, I have laughed to see how disconnected it is &
unintelligible - but I trust from it, you will succeed in "digging
out" my ideas! The amount of it all is
Not long may we stay."
My dear Loulou -
(How do you like that spelling? I got it out of one of T.S. Fay's poems "Alice" I think it beautiful.) - I must write just a line by way of gratitude, for the little favors which have now & then reached me from you; and also to communicate a little whim of mine, in regard to Jennie Abbott. - I had thought that in writing her, your might allude to my engagement Oh dear! how solemn! I supposed that of course she knew it. Now I do not wish to have them know it till after Mr. J. gets back, and I have told him, so please keep mum for a while.
We Albanians are looking up I assure you, in the literary line! Such glorious "exhibitions" - I copy the orthography of the institution of the Miles Skenill! as we have had of late! I forbear all attempts at description but send you a programme of the worse one - imagine Mary & Charlotte & I - on one seat - and Charlie & you and Kay just before us! Oh, I thought we should all disgrace ourselves.
I suppose you know I had a call from my stately sister in law sent last week. She was most cordial and pleasant - and I hear, has conceived quite a regard for me. - The dreaded visit did not come off this week, as E. was ordered back to N.Y. Monday night; he is coming up tonight though & I shall return her call as soon as I can get a hat - and then will come the trial! Last Saturday, as we were at dinner he with us - who should call but Miss May Olevett! Luckily I had sent up word that I was engaged! But it was quite funny. Oh I must tell you, I have had the whole story of his acquaintance with her, from beginning to end; and you would laugh and be vain, to see how exactly it was as you said all along. - He thinks she cared nothing for him more than for any friend - but I am not sure. I hope she did not. - The gossiping is on the increase - parties seem to divide between Charlie C. & the Lieut.
Poor Charlie I've half fallen in love with him over again since I came back! He has appeared so nobly. I don't know as you'll care particularly to hear it - but he is raising whiskers (!) all over his chin & cheeks - which improve him about fifty per cent. --
Oh Lou - My dish is up (or rather down - bottom side up!) at the Benedicts. It never was any sort of use for me to try to keep up false appearances. - That afternoon when you went out of the room - Bobbie says to Sue "Cousin Helen isn't sick - she isn't lying down either - she's up in her room writing a letter to somebody and May Sprague's there with her"! Sue told Mary - and poor Mary tried her best to explain it all away - but I fear the sun still goes down on Sue's indignation. - I should be vexed if I was in her place - as of course she could not understand the contradiction. But I'm sure I was asserted to begin with, by the best of motives - a wish to have her see you in peace & comfort.
I heard through Mary yesterday of your absorbent rapture in old Boston again! I almost wish I could have some plan as well as that, just to see how it would seem! Perhaps I shall love Washington almost as well - after I have been there three whole years! for I cannot imagine how it would seem to live in one place as long as that! I expect Annie will be delighted when she hears her father's letter from me, which was in the same mail with this. Do you think you can spare me a little of your good skill at cutting out & planning under gear the last week in July? Oh it makes me sober to think of it. - Goodbye -
Yours ever affectionately - Luly -
I send you the enclosed Luly - not because I regard it at all as a good thing but because you have so nearly a complete set of my works in this line, that it seems a pity for it to be incomplete! Charlie sends love - He is as wild as wild can be!
My dear Lulu -
As I have occasion to reply to a letter from your father tonight, I avail
myself of the "opportunity" to send a few lines to you! - Not
of any particular reason, nor to ask any favor. (as so many of my notes
have been!) So if your present condition at the time of its arrival be
either busy, or sleepy, I advise you just to toss it one side and let
it go till another season. - - -
Henry Root is the same as ever. I do wish you could see him! I have a perfect admiration for him! Was it not strange that he arrived here, about 20 minutes before Lieut. H. left, on Wed. afternoon - just in time to see him and be introduced - but no more. Lieut. H. liked him much. - He has been ordered back to Washington! & will probably have to remain there until October! Is it not almost too hard to be borne - about as long a separation, as our journey! Well, Luluie - Goodbye! If this writing isn't audible you must ascribe it to the flies! They are most woefully plenteous here - and they bite like remorse - and whatever you are doing, you are obliged to suspend operations every two minutes, to brush them away! --
My love to Hattie - & to your own self and - till we meet - Goodbye -
Yours ever affectionately - Helen.
Annie sends love - & cheer. Peabody would if she knew I was writing. - Annie's eyes are much better. -
July 16, /52
My dear Lulu -
It is all my fault that you have in hand from Annie before. She wanted to have me write to you as soon as she got here - and I meant to, most surely, but one thing and another have conspired to prevent it. - She arrived here in due time and safely - at three o'clock Tues. P.M. - had a most cordial reception - finding no one to meet her - having to fight her way through the crowd of Albany hackmen - and make choice of the least disrespectable of the hacks to bring her up - then having nobody but Hattie to let her in at the door - and learning as soon as she was in, that I was sound a sleep up stairs!!! - We did not dream of her getting here at that time - supposed she would come at five o'clock - Charlie & I went over Mon. Eve. to meet her. And were going again Tues. - Mrs. Wood & Howie came down Mon. Eve & staid to tea - to see Annie "partly"!
Wed. it rained hard all day & so nothing transpired. Yesterday, directly
after breakfast - Annie & I sallied out down town shopping. - ordered
her hat - &c. - We went into Wm. S.'s
Yrs ever affectionately -
PS. Had a glorious letter from H.D.R. - will bring it next week. - N.B. if you see any pretty sh - ns - or dr - rs. - or p - t - o ns - in the street - keep the pattern in your head.
Here I am, & I wish you were too. We would have a good time - But we must wait in patience & hope. "Like's" to your father, & (likes)2 to yourself. The Friday that I thought was yesterday -
My dear Luly -
Here I am in our old room on a cushion - at my window - writing to you. - & beside me sits a huge good man putting on his shoes - & he is my husband! Isn't it queer?
You don't know how my soul has been filled with memories of that old & thrilling past - in being here - in my old room, with him. - Oh Luly - I hope that there is in store for your heart such perfect happiness as fills mine now; - But you will not want Helen to write so to you, Luly, will you? - Only you must know - once for all - how many many thoughts & feelings I have now, of & for you! We must not lose the heart - memory of sympathies - darling; for we have learned to love each other through peculiar experiences - and after strange beginnings; - I say "love each other;" - do we not Luly? - I am sure that I love you - at last with a very peculiar feeling of sympathy in heart - life - of understoodness -; and I have faith as you know in mutualities - so I trust much that you love me too. - And now - for "the particulars" as the country folks say. - We had an awful ride to the cars, the streets were blocked & we all got nervous & thought we never should reach the Depot. The man was stupid or malicious & drove all the way up Washington St. instead of going through the side streets; - and if it had not been for Mr. Stanfield (!) Who was at the Depot with his niece to see us off, & knew the conductor & told him to "hold on" a minute, the car would have been in motion before we arrived! - We had a pleasant ride to Springfield - a fine supper at the Massassoit - & - then! oh, if I could only see you wouldn't I make you laugh! We all sat round - & waited & yawned - and finally Mrs. P. & I went into her room & Mr. P. took Edward up - & then I made haste quickly to disrobe! Ah well, you know the Bible says there's nothing hid that shall not be revealed - so you'll know one of these days as much as I know now! And thus goodbye to that. The next day we had a hard ride to Albany - the cars were peculiarly uncomfortable being given to jolting at an unaccountable rate, & take it altogether, the ride aggravated Edward's invalid symptoms quite seriously, so that as soon as we got here, we sent for the Doctor! Was not that interesting! - I presume half the people in the town know it by this time - & of course they never would believe that it was nothing but his old bilious difficulty!! However - there was no help for it - & he had been through a regular course of blue pills &c! - Today he has been dressed & down stairs & looks more like himself, than he had done, but he is not well yet. We shall probably start tomorrow morning - & still, if it should be decidedly stormy, I should not think it prudent to go - We have had several calls from our gubernatorial relatives - pleasant of course. I think I shall enjoy our visit there very much. Mrs. Wood called Sat. morning - in one of her more delightful moods; - she told Mrs. W. Hunt the other day that she tried very hard to make a match between Charlie & me - "she never tried so hard to bring about anything in her life."!! Is it not queer that she should say such a thing? - Oh I must tell you - Henry Loomis met us at the Depot at Worcester - & tonight I received a paper from him, with a "bit of pottery" mailed! What do you suppose he will do next! - Now, Luly - I must say Good bye -; I have ever so many more things to say, but they can wait - you will write to me now Luly, won't you! I do want it so much - you know I would not ask it - & we shall not be on ceremonious terms you know! --
We start tomorrow morning - I half dread it - I shall have now the real feeling of going off ! Goodbye! - My love to everybody - for that is a good deal the state of my heart now. - particularly to Hattie - & be sure to tell her the particulars" -!
Yrs. ever lovingly - Helen.
My dearest Luly -
I began a letter to you last Sunday, at Baltimore, but the Providence that deprived you of it was a down right mercy, for it would have been a most miserable production. Just think of it Lu, I was blue that day - not pale blue - but real blue-black! Oh how I did feel! If I see you within three years, I will tell you all about it, but I could not possibly reduce it to writing. - I got your good letter at Albany - and I was so glad to get it Luly, it did my very heart good; and if you love me any - all of you - you will remember, from time to time, how like cold water to a thirty soul, are words from my far away friends to me. Happy as I am - satisfied as I am - realizing as you know the impossible longing of my deepest soul - still I feel myself in a strange land. "the sunny South" seems to me rather like a novel's fiction, and I have already within me, the starting wish for the winds - and snows, and hearts of the North; it is like New York here Luly - wet and sloppy when you have good clean snow - never clear and bracing - but much of the time raw and cold. And what a tirade I have fallen into - drawing such a score of melancholy conclusions from four days experience! It is indeed absurd. - You will perhaps understand it better, when I tell you that not an article of our Boston furniture has yet arrived - This fact will probably explain a great deal of my present dissatisfaction with externals; and after all my alarm - and trouble - Mrs. Reed did not move to the new house! There was some trouble about the leaks & at a very late hour she altered her plans; so all that extra carpet &c. was clear loss. - I was disappointed too, for those rooms were infinitely better than these - and at no higher rate. These are however very pleasant rooms indeed - and my carpets look beautifully. - the curtains also are quite stylish - & my looking glass is a gem; but alas for a room with only carpets - curtains & a looking glass! I do try to be very patient till the other furniture comes - but it is very hard. --
I wish you would mention to your father, that Edward has not received
the bill of lading yet; I think this fact seems to make him a little anxious;
but I cannot help having faith after all, that it will be well in the
I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a despatch from Jake's - in answer to the commissioning letter I wrote him from Hunts Hollow - after Henry Roots unfortunate letter - that gold cross - a box of steel pens - and a bottle of Kibben & Henderson. - I exposted it in Albany, and I begin to fear there is some mistake. - I want that letter more than all the rest - most particularly - (but you mustn't tell that you know!)
One favor I want to ask of Hattie - if she has spare minutes enough & that is to write me a list of music - the pieces among those that I used to practice - and any other that she thinks I would like and could play - particularly any pretty waltzes or things of that sort. - that Sonata of Beethovens that I began to learn, I want too, - but if she does not remember which it is, I have no means of identifying it. - I mean to practice after my old plan this winter - indeed I shall need it for occupation. - Now Luly, I have come to the end of my sheet - and have hardly made a beginning in my words; do write to me as soon as you can; write anyhow darling; I move that we make a bargain - a fair contract about letter writing - that each shall consider the other as a very fine letter writer - both as regards the execution and the composition, that we shall regard this point as settled - and that any appearances to the contrary in any or all of our letters shall at once be set down as not at all negativing the above reputation - that our letters shall be mutually received without criticism or exhibition! I will engage to this if you will! Will it not be a good plan? - I send back with this that poetry. - Remember, Luly, that you have promised to let me know why you sent it to me; I shrewdly suspect a mystery; I think it is very beautiful - and rather striking - particularly the third verse - I think that verse is faultless. - Is it not fitted for music, Luly - a gentle streamlet melody - and, yet having intensity and power? - But goodbye - I must go & help Edward - He looks forlorn! My best love to your father, & mother - tell your mother we read in her Bible every night. - Their present was very acceptable - Goodbye -
Yours ever lovingly - Helen.
My darling Luly -
Can I make you believe that I have thought of you ever hour almost since I received your last note - and yet have not written you, although it is now a week? - It is true; nevertheless, Luly, and I rely more on your believing it than I should on almost anybody else, for you really know from your own daily experience, how time runs off with good intentions, and leaves the poor makes of them knee-high in difficulty! And one reason, dear one, that I did not write to you was the very reason that I wanted to write, ie. that I had so much to say.- I was not dusting - nor mending gloves, nor sewing on shirt buttons - when the missive came; I had been out walking with Edward - came home alone, and on my way bought a few flowers to put on his table - and thus, with "things" all on (by the way Lu - did ever you laugh at the utter & awful ridiculousness of that expression "things," as used in ladies parlances? "Take off your things" "put on your things" "things off" or "things on") - and flowers in my hand, I found your letter awaiting me! The flowers had almost wilted Luly, before I rose form my seat, or thought of anything but you and the future: then I arranged them slowly in the pure white vase Hattie gave me, and placed them on Edwards study table - thinking all the while that they were half livened with the new day[letters missing] in your life - a sort of predestined, though involuntary [words missing] from my head to yours!
Then I told Edward when he came home and he was glad to the depths of his great good heart, and we sat here together and talked of you and of this change, and we are both happy in speaking of it. Is this all I must say dear Luly?
Oh, now, I know your soul will wait for more - and I will write all - though I hope not injudiciously. - We have each a strange hold on each other's past - have we not? There must have been, and still be, a strongly sympathetic element in our natures, or it had not so happened - at least, one kindred trait, where we once thought all inharmonious; - you silently sympathized with me, through weeks of such wild transitions as none but one loving as I did, could know. - and when out of the darkness, came "wondrous light" you were glad too; - and I have known - have I not Luly, more than any one, of the mysteries which life and love have brought to you? And you have seen my tears sometimes drop, for a sorrow that I could most fully understand, but not help! Therefore I may speak to you, and you may speak to me, as we should not to the world. - I was bewildered, as you know, whenever we spoke of your future. I so longingly desired that you might know all the passionate delight - the almost wild bliss, which filled my own heart; - and I am sure, let philosophers say what they will, it can never be thus, with but one. Oh the strange electric thrill which the touch of a loved one's person can give, is no fiction of a novelist - nor is it a fleeting thing lost by the lapse of time as even in the midst of my idolatry, I used sometimes to fear - I feel it now, if I clasp Edward's hand, as strongly, as on the night when the notes and words of the Fahre Maiden nearly turned my poor head and brain! Oh Luly - do you believe any one ever loved another as I love that noble noble man? "Little children, keep yourselves from idols" comes ever to my thought no, and I sometimes tremble; - but I am wandering -; all this - I so longed for, for you-: but when I could be calm and think rationally, I knew it was impossible; it seemed wrong; and I am glad for you, Luly, that the struggle is ended. - I know you will be happy, for all extremes will conspire in your behalf, and time brings strength and peace to all; and you will have no consciousness that you are making so many happy. - I can see that A.B. has almost every good trait that you could wish in a husband - and he has loved you so well and long - (Here I might advantageously introduce some remarks calculated to remind you of sundry predictions of mine "in divers manners, in times past," as it says in Hebrews - but I forbear!) and in short, Luly dear, though my feelings in thinking of it, are of course, mingled, still I am very very glad - and am not afraid that you will think me insincere or forgetful, when I say in formal phrase -"I congratulate you my darling friend." ---------Annie writes me that according to Augustus' report, you are to have a brief engagement, & go to housekeeping - you must write me all the "particulars" of this sort - Tell me what "Hannah" said - what Carrie thinks - & how Eliza congratulated you and (don't blush!) holds up the pretty baby! - In brief, tell me everything - Oh, how I wish I could be there to help you! I really think I would leave Edward for a fortnight, to come and sew with you. And apropos to that - I'll tell you a little secret - there is some possibility of our being in New York the month of April; tell me what relation that month sustains to your programme. - Edward somewhat expects to have to go on there for that month, on his old business of inspecting engravings - and perhaps he will have all his expenses paid & $2.00 a day beside! in which case I shall go too - but it all depends on Uncle Sam! Heighho! You need not speak of this as it is so uncertain, but I could not help telling you, in this connection. - And now Luly, one or two matters of my own personal interest and I must stop. First - for Jake's consolation - that bottle of Hair Preservative was in small pieces when it arrived, and every drop of the precious "[contents]" gone! fortunately the other things did not seem to be hurt at all, & the express did not charge anything, so the only loss is the Preservative & if it will not be too much trouble I should like to have Duke get me another bottle & have it packed in a stiffer box; one that will resist blows. Secondly, if you can spare time from more interesting matters, to look over two bills of Miss Jones's which your father will give you, I shall be "deeply imbued with a sense" of obligation; for I am under the impression that she has charged for that embroidered wrapper in both bills -. - Thirdly, if you will get me a copy of Le Desire with variations & send it by mail, I shall be delighted to receive it, & will promise to think of you as often as I practice it. - Fourthly, if you will write me as soon as possible after receiving this epistle - and tell me all you know I want to hear, I will love you a little more than I do now - which is altogether unnecessessary[sic] - (Don't go into convulsions over that word!)
- Oh dear! I want to see you - to sit down and talk - somehow I feel wondrously little as if I was married - and let me tell you a secret here - I know you'll burn this letter for reasons of your own, or else I should not say it - I'm clear, as yet, from all prospective ills!!! Am I not lucky? Goodbye - Love to all - particularly to my new brother - shall I not call him so in my hearts vocabulary?
Yrs. Ever lovingly - Helen.--
Edward sends his love - says, you have his most hearty congratulations & he sha'n't oppose the match!
My darling Luly - It has been strange, very very strange for these days; yesterday and day before I diligently sat me down to my needle and mended horrid pants and coats; Felicitate! Today I rebound to my former self, again in full consciousness that the broadcloth episode is ended, even my embroidery on satins in which I have luxuriated somewhere this winter, looked distasteful to me this morning - and so I have spent the hours in a half reverie - half reading - over the old poets. - Some of the gems I found perhaps you are not familiar with - and one particularly which reminds me of you I do not believe you ever saw for it is quite quaint - it reminded me of you only as it brought Schubert to my thought, however. I wish he had set it to music; it almost seems to me that I could conceive a melody for it - but only Schubert could embody a changeful harmony; here it is
The waters are flashing
The whirlwind is rolling
The Earth is like Ocean
"Our boat has one sail
And she cried, "Ply the oar On the topmost watch level
O'er the sea. Seems tame;
And from the tower and nook,
And fear'st thou, and fear'st thou
Our boat cloak did cover
While around the locked Ocean
In the course of the fouless
And with curses as wild
I did not suppose that it would take up so much room, or I should have
copied it on a separate sheet; however, it will give my letter a highly
literary, bas bleu - sort of a look which will not be at all lost on you!
or before the different members of your household, in case you chance
to receive and read it at table; for if that is the case, of course you
would be possessed of sufficient "taste" to hold the poetry
side in a conspicuous manner in sight of everybody - and moreover, reply
to all inquiries there as to, with a wise shake of the head and an all-[sup]plying
silence! But do you not think it is like Schubert? Oh dear that reminds
me - by contrast, of two women here, who sing in the parlor every night
to a forlorn piano such melodies as "Would I were a child again"
and "Old folks at home" very much of the "Tis midnight
hour" stamp! A school of music as abhorrent to my soul, as the "bower
and flower" "love and above" "rosy and posy"
school of poetry. One of them adores Alborie and the other dotes upon
all concerts by whomever or whatever given; "anything that's music"
she says! Haven't you heard people say that, when you feel as if you could
fly at them and stop up their ears humetisally and forever and ever! In
case such people don't repent and forsake their sins" they ought
in the next world, to be put into a zinc chamber, and have all the available
imps of the vicinity, beat the "- & tattoo" on the walls
- above, below, underneath and all around! Oh spare me, pray! I am perfectly
aware that that[sic] speech is atrociously unladylike, being superlative,
and vulgar, to say nothing of profane; but the fact is, I am just now,
half crazy at hearing Alborie called a greater artist than Jenny Lind
- and worst of all - her Casta Diva, pronounced far superior to Jenny's
- and that odious Kate Hayes pronounced "au passant" a "suaphic
singer" - and a Miss Adelaide Eliza Malviente Somebody who has been
singing here at 25 cent concerts - "captivating" &c, &c,
&c! - I'd give a good deal to even dream of hearing you sing! And
an orchestra! The thought makes my ears tingle! - Boston stands now in
my mental gaze, as an Olympus of good music - and clean houses (don't
be offended at the conjunction of those two, I make it deliberately and
with deep feeling, at which I would fain go to worship! - Oh, when we
meet, I shall have some quite interesting "experiences" to relate,
if you will give me "an opportunity"!! Some particulars"
which will not very readily be accredited by northern ears! - But a truce
to such talk. - A week ago Monday night, I went to an evening reception
at Sec. Kennedys - on Thursday evening to another at the Post Master General's
and to a party at Brown Hotel- ; on Monday last to Sec. Cousins. These
evening receptions here are very pleasant gatherings - that rarely have
dancing - & have no set supper -; but light refreshments such as punches,
ices &c, are continually handed; You go home when you please without
taking leave, and there is no formality about them any way. - There are
some beautiful women here - and the dress is very brilliant. Mrs. Bodisco
is the most beautiful woman I ever saw. It is gossiped about that her
sister - a Miss Williams - a school girl here, will marry Mr. Crampton
the British Minister; nous verrous; for my part - though court diamonds
and a title are fine things in themselves. I would not risk my soul in
the whirl; it does not need to see much of such glitter, near at hand,
to disenchant one. Mrs. Bodisco is beautiful and young - at parties I
see her surrounded three deep by flattering and ready admiring men, -
but Bodisco is old and ugly and sensible enough to be jealous; and it
is a painful mystery to me, wherewith she can satisfy the passionate nature
which is written on her face. Heigh ho! I would not have believed that
I could so soon tire of fashionable society - it is in part Edwards influence
though - he is so much better than I - Luly! - His aims and pursuit make
me askance of my dressmaker bills!! - And, though you will hardly believe
me - it is true that there are times, even now, when I think I would give
worlds to get away from city life - from all this very society which I
longed for - and settle down in a country home where I could grow instead
of degenerating! Well, it is time to dress for dinner! A commentary on
what I have been wishing! - I must say Goodbye - Luly dear - though I
have not said half I want to say; - do write to me soon - as much as you
can tell me all of your new plans and new joys - for nobody can sympathize
with you there, so well as -
"Oh Take your time Miss Lucy -
- But it isn't because you're rocking the "cradle," or keeping a "baby warm." I take it that you are so everlastin' long writing to me "Miss, ish not your bowels move" with any tender compassion for me poor stray thing in this southern oven - where when its dry, I am half baked, and when it is rainy, am soaked through! Where they don't care for anybody, and so they don't care for me - When I am alone from two A.M. till half past three P.M. and where I don't even see a newspaper from Boston that center of the universe! Oh you - you - you girl! If ever I come to Bosting, I'll tell Augustus of you! You see if I don't. - Seriously though, I know just how the days are slipping away from your notice - your many family cares - an occasional crises in the matter of your private account, and as to where withal you shall be clothed! - Concerts and rehearsals without number - parties somewhat - and lastly - all sorts of extra-ordinary engagements with A.B. (& not C.!)
Ah - you're engaged and you - too much engaged to find time to write! I wish you'd get married and done with it! Judging from my own experience people are not good for much after they are engaged, till they are married! - And then, too, Luly, I want to come and see you in your own home! Oh dear, I should sit down in a chair in front of you and look up and see you - and laugh outright! "Its real funny" (as the children say) to be married, Luly; it is, upon my word!
But do write me, you dear Lu, before long - or my neat missive won't be so good natured. Tell me all that you have been doing since you wrote last, tell me, (just one you know) all about Augustus and you - are you silly or sensible? - Do you "lounge round on each other" as Annie says - (don't think me immodest!) or do you sit off and talk about the weather? - Is he as scrupulous to keep the peace, as Yarmouth was! or has he learnt "the way to "your" mouth" - Oh dear - don't think I took this torn sheet to write to you on, because I did not care for you, I did not see the rent till just a moment since. To account for the ridiculous nonsense in this letter, I need only say that I have got the influenza - have not been out of my room for over a week; - how I wish you could come & sit with me. Do you remember Emma Dawson? She is here & came to see me day before yesterday; she has not altered in the least - is as lovely as ever. - I had a letter from Albany last week - the "people" made "husband" & "wife" some valuable presents at New Years - of which, I presume you have heard; - and so Duke is going to leave! I should advise the promotion to his place of that juvenile member of "the Concern" who used to be employed occasionally in the payment of my standing debts round town! He would always be characterized, I imagine, in his business operations of a particular discretion as to the disbursement of small sums!!!
Well, Luly - I only meant to write on one sheet of note paper - but I have to transcend a little - Do write me soon - very soon; it seems an age since I heard from you; My love to all : I have been looking for a letter from your father for some time. - Goodbye - darling - I've written a scatterbrained note but I've had some very sober thoughts today which I will tell you sometime, perhaps; when we meet - and sleep - oh dear! We shall never sleep together any more shall we!
Yr. Ever lovingly, Luly -
Do tell me if your hair comes out still - mine is as thin as air!
My dearest Luly -
I have underscored the word evening, with a sort of vague impression that you were the person who found me out, a a [sic] very guilty sort of an equivocation, last winter - ie. writing my letters Sunday afternoon, and then not dating them till after dark - this when said epistles were addressed to any of my particularly orthodox friends, who might be supposed to be shocked at such a mal-appropriation of the hours of sacred daylight! - I believe on the whole, it was not you, but my small sister; but as she "tells everything" (according to George Dana.) I dare say you have heard of the fact before now, and so it is just as well. You will understand therefore that it is positively and undeniably, evening, now; and not only that, but the night is somewhat advanced, so that I very much fear I shall not be able to finish this letter and one to Jennie Fox, before my "consciences" will sound the signal for a retreat to the bedroom. -
I was perfectly "taken aback" at your assertion in your little note (which it was very good in you, by the way, my dear, to write me,) that it was in reality only three weeks since my letter to you; it had seemed to me a perfect age, somehow or other, and I am not entirely convinced, yet, that I was not right, but it happened to be one of the things which did not get put down in my diary, and so I have nothing stronger than my own surmise to bring against you. - But as to thats being oftener than I used to write to Henry Root - you are mistaken; don't you remember how before spring we got into the way of writing to each other once a fortnight? - So as to get the letters Saturday night? And how "Aunt Ann" used to tease I would come at last to see the error of my ways and repent? Dear loving soul that she was - haven't you had some twinges of conscience since then, for not appreciating all her tender kindness of heart? I have - and if I ever have a chance, I'll "make it up" to her. But I never really knew how much she did care for me until after I was married; when we were there, and Edward was sick, she wrote her love in both our hearts, in lines that will never grow dim. - I used to wonder, though, last winter, often, why I did not love her more; and I cannot now define satisfactorily to myself, the lack which there seemed to be somewhere in the sentiment. -
Sabbath Eve. March 6.
I have been hesitating much, my dearest Lu - whether to throw away this
antediluvian production, and start anew - or to keep on with the originally
commenced sheet; the later course seems a little too much likien/g/ putting
new cloth to an old garment to be Scriptural - but I believe I shall venture
nonetheless - ; my main reason for the same being that it will be proof
positive to you that I did actually intend to have dispatched an epistle
to you last Monday morning.
How have I got to the end of my paper? - I believe I have not said half I meant to: I intended to comment on Sunday things in your two letters - your description of A. & yourself - your being "showy" &c. - as to the latter, I am delighted to hear it of course! See if you and I don't change characters in three years! You the wife of a rich merchant - and I the wife of a poor Lieutenant! Oh by the way - six years from next July, my old man will be a Captain, & what is better have a Captains pay ($1800.) - Perhaps you noticed the amendment to the Army appropriations Bill which provided for this - also the fortification bill - which has thrown me into a fever - for E. may be ordered off any day now - and the only place on the list I could go with him, is Bucksport in Maine - where he is not likely to be sent! - San Francisco & Tortugas(!) - are among the possibles! Oh, dear! - I am dishearted if I think of it; we shall know I suppose in a few weeks. - My only hope is that he is so important on the Coast Survey that he will not be taken from it. - Wouldn't Mrs. Wood nod her little head with a most provoking "I told her so" ? --
Many thanks for Le Desire. I play it often; - also thanks for the Journal;
how infinitely superior it is to that N. York paper of Willis's. - I should
think Wagner must be a "glorious one"! - I had a paper from
Julie some time since with Mrs. Griggs death in it. - How sudden! Had
they any suspicion of such a disease? Do give [several words missing at
edge of paper]
E. Sends his love to you & invites you to come in & sing to us
tonight! Oh, do-o-o!
Is it not well that I am to have the benefit of her experience before hand? She is my only intimate friend here - they have the rooms under ours & I intend to serve an apprenticeship next month with her baby!!
Lovingly ever -
My dearest Luly --
I have been in the dressmaking line myself this spring & have found that pattern quite a sine qua non. - Some days ago I pinned a linen lining to it & put the whole away together, till I should be ready to use it; so when your pathetic letter came yesterday afternoon, I thought all I should have to do this morning would be to get it - write a line & envelope it for Boston. - But what was my dismay - when I looked where I was sure I put it - not to find it there. I looked & looked till E. could not wait any longer, and went to the office; after he was off, I went to work more systematically & less in a flurry & found it at last! to my great joy, as much on my own account as yours! I have cut one exactly like it which I hope will help you out of your quandary. But how is it that Miss H. fails to suit you? I thought you liked her very much in the first of the winter. I like your dresses very much - particularly your green delaine; it is so odd. - You are quite set up for dresses - are you not - I have made me one very handsome wrapper which I believe I wrote you about when I began it - a graduated pattern of pink leaves on a brown [ ]. I'll send you patterns of those two; then I sent E. down town one day to buy me two kinds of calico for a wrapper - & he brought me 8 yards of calico - & 8 of delaine! Oh how I laughed! But I am very glad - for I have made the calico into a morning dress & am going to make the delaine into a plain dress to wear on our walks & rides this spring. Then I have sent to Annie for one silk & one muslin & I think for an invalid I shall do very well. - I do not expect to be visible after July certainly - & I shall not be much in the mood for dressing up for E. - I am very elaborate in my toilet at present - because I am looking very well (considering) & I want to remove from his mind the impression of the two months that I laid round here, in a sack & shawl - & to fortify him for the three that I shall look like a fright no doubt! But I am running on too diffusely. - I have hosts of Saturday things to do - among others I am going to stew some pieplant for tea! Don't you wish you could have lettuce & radishes & asparagus & pieplant & such? And a friend has promised me tomatoes next month! I have been crazy for them all the spring. -------- But I have a favor to ask of you now - is you can contrive to execute it, without wounding your delivery. - I want a pair of shoulder bracelets - & I want to get them of P. & B. because they cost so much here; this is a poor place for everything. - I should not send so long beforehand , but I am going to have a package of things sent on from Aunt Vinals the last of this month, to Edward in New York (only think of his having to leave me for a fortnight so that he can bring them on here & save expenses here. - And if you would & could get them & take them over to Aunt Vinals to send with the bands, it will save 75 cts - which is no 'inconsiderable' sum to me now-a-days I can assure you. --
Just think of my having to send for old blankets, old sheets &c. & even to beg old worn out linen & cotton garments to tear up - & by the way if you have an old flannel skirt that you cannot wear - just send it to me; it will be most acceptable. I could not have supposed that I should ever be in want of things too old to be bought! There is something almost ludicrous in the idea. - And if you can get any pretty (or useful) patterns for baby clothes from Eliza or Mattie G. or your mother - or any choice patterns for flannel embroidery - just send them along - I am going to begin my small work week after next; at least I think I shall finish up all that remains of our spring work in time so to do; - am I not in season? - But I want to make all myself - & I do not think it is sensible to put it off till you are sick toward the last. Ah that - a year from this time I shall be sending you patterns perhaps! But you'll be very happy Luly - if it is so. - I am almost too happy to trust the future! - Oh, I must tell you - & will you tell your mother - I want her to tell your father - but on no account to tell him that I requested it - about that $.70.00 I sent for. - I don't want him to think my talk about economy &c. was all sham. - A very reliable firm here were selling at cost - & I found I could get almost everything I should need (except cases) there at very much reduced prices -; for instance I got 50 ct. cambric for 30 cts. - 1.00 flannel for 65 cts - and so on through the whole list of things - very nice birds eye diaper for 20 cts. - Narrow cambric insertings for 11 cts! - I have bought now everything I shall need for a complete outfit, except cases - for $ 32.30! - And every one that has seen the goods considers them wonderful bargains. I think it was a providential reward to me for having tried so hard all winter to learn to economize. - I also bought some family stores - 62 ct. linen for E's bosoms, for 40 cts - 50 ct pillow case linen, beautiful, for 40 cts &c! & this firm are established here as the best linen dealers in the city. - So I feel that I was perfectly justified in the outlay - though it seems like a great [words missing] only the baby things come out of it permanently though. So I still have between $30 & $.40 to spend - & I mean to make that cover everything - crib &x & &c. as well as trimmings. - Oh dear is this all stupid to you? Well, goodbye. I do wish I would see you! Write me a good letter soon - Love to all - Yrs. Always lovingly.
Have you written Mary Sprague yet about your engagement? Do Luly dear, if you have not. - Jessie & Mr. John are in New York for a while now.
Please thank Jake for his note & acknowledge the money.
Dear Lucy -
Excuse this paper I beg of you; I have not a piece even, of note paper in my possession. - I write in the greatest haste, to trouble you with an errand which I don't believe you will like to do! but which I must ask you to do, for friendships sake. It is to buy me a sash (isn't that strong spelling?) to wear with my white dress. Just think of my forgetting it, when my white dress is the only thin evening dress I have that is at all pretty. I want watered ribbon - white - pearl white, rather than cream - (about a finger & a half, or a little less) wide - 2 1/2 yards and 3/4 yd of narrower for the waist, and also, a pink sash for my pink tissue, just the shade of the enclosed ribbon - the same quantity as for the other. I do not care about its being quite so expensive a ribbon as the other, but I want a pretty one; we have commenced party-going at quite a rate, & there are rumors afloat of several more which are in preparation. Oh I wish you were here Lu; we would have right good times. I don't know what I should have done if Helen had not come, for my good sister is all engrossed with her gentlemen friends! But it is almost closing time. I must close in a hurry as ususal. I have written to your father for a fan, & perhaps [rest of letter missing]
My dearest Luly --
I succeeded yesterday in getting down to Crescent Place to see your mother - and she gave me such a graphic description of your indignation at my non-appearance last Tuesday that I feel impelled to write my justification. I have "turned out" early, and am writing before breakfast to do it, too, so you may know of how much importance it is to me to be clear in your eyes. - My dearie - you may be sure it was at least as much of a disappointment to me as it could have been to you; I had more to say & ask & see than a day would have sufficed for; and I really did think at first of sending over word to Aunt Vinal that I would come the next day, & staying with you all the forenoon. But she had sent for Aunt Maria to come down & meet me - and moreover, as Edward was going back to New York Wed. night, we could not have spent more than the morning. - Well then - that possibility was disposed of - but I did mean to stop & see you an hour. But now listen to me here - I had persuaded Auntie - not dreaming of anything to make it inconvenient - that I would be there the first thing in the morning. - We were very late with breakfast & did not get started from here till past nine; then I had some shopping which absolutely must be done on my way - things I was waiting for in my work - and as you remember, it was too hot for anyone to be out - ; I was so exhausted & tired, I know if I ventured to stop, I should never get over to C. & Edward said I ought not to think of it & that he would get Augustus to send word up to you immediately so that you would not be kept waiting. - When I got to Aunt V's it was quarter of twelve - & she was in one of her nervous moods - had been looking for me "every minute since eight!" & could hardly be pacified at all. - Now my darling Luly, - do I merit anything but pity at your hands? I think not - & I presume enough on your natural kindliness to feel sure that I shall receive it. - We shall have a nice time to talk at Mattapoisett. I hope you & Hattie will stay there some time; Oh dear, Lu, I think you might be married in Aug. so I could see you. Augustus does look weatherly - hope defused so long has evidently made him sick; & Lu - when I see you, I shall tell you something which you ought not to do. You won't believe me, any more than I believed what good married friends told me, I suppose, but still, I am so young in this life, you must feel that I have hardly had time to grow very old fashioned. "There are more things" "than are dreamt of" by girls. You may defend upon it Luly! - Goodbye - must stop - so much to do; as much hurried in preparations as you are! See what a year will bring you to! Lovingly ever -
My dearest Lulie -
Is it not more than a perfect shame to ask you to do a single bit of shopping for anyone but yourself? I feel it is - & yet I am in such an agony for some thing that I dare to ask you to get them, especially as I think you can get the whole right at Turnbulls. I have got the most exquisite idea for a dress, wh. needs in its carrying out, some yds. more of each of the articles. - I want 3 yds of the edging - if it is not exactly like the pattern it will do - 8 yds of the beading - & now for the inserting - #; if they have 5 yds of it, I want 5 yds; if not, I want 1 1/2 like it. - & 4 yds of the nearest like it (for the bottom.) - if they have only 3/4 yd. like it, I will take it, for the belt alone. - Then there is one thing more - which perhaps you may know about - is there not some material French lawn, or something of that sort, which people used to make nice sham handkerchiefs of, which looks like linen cambric, but is cotton? If there is, & you think it would be pretty for a little dress I should like 2 1/4 yds of it. If not, I should like 2 1/4 of linen cambric - not the very nicest & most costly - but nice enough for a dress with this inserting & beading. - Now dear Lulie - will you think me very unreasonable? I hope you wont - "you know" my state!! If there was one other mortal I could send to, I would not trouble you in all your hurry. - I wanted very much to finish the dress before E. comes again which will be week after next, so you will try for me the first time you go out wont you. - The mail is quicker than the express isn't it? & just as safe. - The Deacon will give you the money Lulie, for I am as poor as a church mouse. - Annie wants him to send her $5. for her working too. - She cannot write herself, as her eyes are so troubled now. - Goodbye Lulie - This is too business a note to say any thing of the thousand things I would say, & think when I think of you. I am glad we have met & talked &, I feel happier far in thinking of you. - Your fortune looks bright to me now - & I am so glad. Oh Lulie, it is such a holy blissful thing to be & to know all that a wife is & learns! - Goodbye my dearest Lu.
Ever lovingly - Helen. -
Annie wants to know, if she comes to Boston next week, on her way to Amherst, if she can come to No. 3. - Thurs. night & stay till Sat. morning, conveniently to you. -
(# if they have 7 yds - I'll take 7. - if 5 - I'll take 5. - &c.)
My dearest Lulie -
We went over to N. Bedford yesterday after noon to carry Annie to take the cars for ["Tameston"] (& when we got home found your trio of letters. Dear Lulie - you were very kind to get all the things so nicely for me & to take the trouble to send me patterns & leave the door open for a second trip to Turnbulls. I'll certainly do as much for you next year! - The beading is all right & the edging lovely - and now I am in a great quandary about the cambric - I thought of course it came 1 yd. wide so that two breadths would make the skirt as we make them of all other materials; - I don't like the quality of the 7/8 width so well as the 5/8 - & I don't think either the two breadths of 7/8 would be wide enough. How would it do to have three breadths of the 5/8 - and put the front breadth in with beading & lace to match the bottom? - I think that will be "spandan/galous" & on the whole I think I shall make up my mind to "go" the cost. But it will take 3 yds and a half - (the 1/2 for the waist -) However it is for my best one & it will last for generations to come probably. So if you will get it for me, I should like it as soon as love & money can get it here, because I have set my heart on finishing it to show to Edward on this visit - & he is coming Thurs or Fri.
I shall want 4 yds more lace for the skirt & three for the little sleeves which I have just been planning out this morning & which will be most exquisite if they can be "hexecuted." - 3 1/2 of the cambric & 7 of the edging! Whew! Don't let William Gale know of it Lu! --
And now Lulie, comes the sympathy! Why, Lu - I do think it is too bad - too bad! I don't like Richard Hill a bit! I think he ought to have had more intuitive appreciation of how matters were & would be, than to have alluded to the thing at all. - But I can't believe you will have to put all off - for your father will set it right somehow! Hattie & I burst out, every two or three minutes with some passionate ejaculation or other on the subject - & then quiet each other - with a reference to him as the sure enlightening of all such darkness. - By the way I wish you would give my best love to the dear good man, and tell him I think he took the most effectual way to keep his eye on us down here! ie. He left his spectacles in the parlor!! - Give my love to Augustus too, Lulie dear, if he will accept it & tell him that if I was only old and ugly enough to be a witch I'd set about incantations forthwith, and make him a most delightful house out of a green pumpkin! - We are all impatient to have something farther - of course you will let us know the minute anything "turns up." - I do hope Hattie will stay down here some time. Lulie - Oh, I do sympathize with her, from the bottom of my heart; your aunt Amanda told me what you wrote her bout Hatties staying & I think just as you do, that it would really be better for her; - I wish I was better company & more at leisure, but as it is, we have had good times talking & reading - & she seems very cheerful indeed. But I think she has the feeling that you need her - she said the other day, when we were speaking of her staying some time, that she must go to help you - & when your aunt A. said that you told her to keep her as long as she wanted to say, she replied 'Oh yes, of course Lu wants me to stay where I want to - but she might need me for all that," or something to that effect. I don't pretend to quote verbatim, ever, you know. - I really want Hattie to stay for my own sake for she is such good company - next week too E. will be here & she has never had any opportunity to see him. And Lulie, if you do have to wait till October, why can't you come down here again & stay a week? I wish you could!
Lulie dear - have you told Augustus you showed me those letters? And was he very sorry? He ought not to be for it made me more glad that he should have you for his own than I ever thought I could be. He has a noble heart, full of love with which to invest your life, and I know what blessedness there can be in that. Oh, Lu - I do think that all the mysteries of this mystery-made life, sink into [out..e?] insignificance before the one great mystery of "twain made one." The unity of two is greater and stronger to me - with all reverence be it spoken - than the trinity of one! Oh yes it is greater! And the perfect bliss of such unity - words need not try to tell. - Do you remember our last days at Albany Lu? Can you not well think that the calm over-flowing daily renewing happiness of my present inner life, contrasts sometimes strongly with those storms? May just such thought be yours in looking back, one year later! - And they will, I believe - Goodbye -
Yrs always lovingly - Helen
If they haven't 7 yds of the lace, you may get what they have! I think
it is very sweet
My dearest Lulie -
I thought I was going to have a nice long evening to write to you in - but immediately after tea I went down into the nursery (for you must know we have found it necessary to add one room to our establishment) to see "Murray" - and he being in a very frolicsome mood I undertook, very rashly, to get him to sleep; of course after I had once said I would do it, I was ashamed to give up, before Mary, who has rather a contempt for my nursing powers anyway - & so I kept on trying till I actually thought I should lose my patience with the baby tyrant - at last - walking the room with him proved effectual, and as Mary Sprague would say, I "snaked" out of the room at the quickest rate, for fear he would wake up again. Don't imagine that the little fellow was yelling like an Indian all this time, as babies usually do when they ought to go to sleep & won't. He never cries except when he is hungry (& then he screams enough to rouse a nation) - but just makes himself comfortable by kicking and laughing. - He hardly sleeps at all - and sometimes keeps the nurse up half the night, holding him, and yet never frets at all. Is it not "peculiar"? Of course all mothers think their babies peculiar - I suppose you will say, and laugh at my foolishness.
But I hope though, you have improved in your theory as to babies - if you haven't, you will before long, for I do not believe that any woman of real heart, can be a loving wife for many months, without the dawning of the mother-instincts, deep in her soul! Oh, ones own own[sic] baby is such a strangely dear thing! And two that love each other as "man and wife" can have such a strange bewildering sort of joy in their unity of possession - unity of love - centering in the little being! Oh, I think sometimes that full as the cup of my heart life seemed before of happiness it was as nothing to what I know now. - But enough about my baby boy; I shall only bore you at present & by and by we will talk sympathizingly about this too.! And I must say good-night - too - for it is so late; tomorrow morning I will give you a scolding which has been accumulating since your last letter! Goodnight - I hope your slumbers in that pleasant chamber will be very sweet tonight! --
Tues. Morning - So much for young mothers' intentions! - I was sure that this letter would have been on its way from N.J. to Boston today & here it is yet unfinished - why I can hardly tell, except that yesterday has gone & today comes without my finding one moment to write. And now for that scolding my dearly loved friend - don't you know that your last letter to me, (besides being so long after the time promised that I had ceased almost to look after it,) was a miserably unsatisfactory epistle? Telling just a few thing that I did not care a fig for, and not saying a word about what I wanted to know? I know you knew it all the time you were writing it, and I declare I think it was downright shabby in you after all the confidential talks we have had together! The more I think about it, the more my righteous indignation rises, till I am ready to torment you almost, if I only could! Which of course I know I can't. But you knew I wanted to hear how you felt how your new life was becoming no longer new, but ever more happy and natural -; just what you did in the everyday life of your house - just what sort of a husband Augustus turns out to be! What you have for breakfasts!!! - and all the little details which make up the important present - but are lost in the past! which love wants to know, but which are superfluous information to others. - And soberly Lulie if you don't write me just such a real good letter, before long, I shall settle down at once into the belief that you don't want me any longer as anything more than a mere acquaintance! - So, if that is the fact, you have a way open to gently intimate it! - Oh, I do hope that all is "sweet content" in your heart and life - & I have firm faith that it is. -
I have written a note - a begging note - to your good man - and I expect he'll pronounce me a great bore: but I really wanted his advice and aid very much; and I think his taste is so unexceptionable too, that I should want to ask it, even if he were unconnected with Palmer & Bachelders!
I heard Julius' orchestra the other night - one piece - Allegro & Storm Movement from Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony - was worth the price of the ticket & the horrible jamming we underwent - but I did not think much of anything else; & as for that famous National Quadrille of his, I think it is nothing better than a poor specimen of the slam-bang style of music -! He had a woman that sang too! - and wore a common green silk mantilla on the stage! Mad.elle Anna Kerr I believe; - her "style was altogether beyond my criticism! - she is however "a renowned vocalist"!! You will have treats this winter I suppose of course; I shall envy you all the more for having had just this taste of Beethoven - but I presume we shall have nothing more, worth hearing. Perhaps we shall live in New York, yet, and there I can rejuvenate a taste in the musical line.
Weather here is awful - warm close muggy - a great deal worse than no weather at all! - I despair of ever getting strong again unless we can have some good cold air. - If we were only rich, I should take Murray & the nurse and come north at once, to stay six weeks or two months and get fairly well. But it is out of the question. - However, the Army is going to "strike" for better pay this winter, & I think they will get it; - if they do get what they ask for, it will make Mr. H.'s income $2000 - instead of $1400 - which would make us feel quite rich! - But I am using all my influence to make him resign - I have had enough of this constant fright, in the dread of being ordered away to some uninhabitable place; & I would rather live on potatoes in a one-story house - & feel that it was a home in which we could stay if we chose! - I have filled my sheet, & not said anything worth saying - But you can write me a remarkably good letter, and that will preserve the average!! - My love to all the "people as love" me - Aug - & much to yourself - & goodbye for this time.-
Yrs. ever lovingly -
My dear Luly,
I don't believe you know half how disappointed I was yesterday, at the drowning out of all ones plans for seeing Annie & you. But I do not mean to give up beaten, yet; I am particularly anxious to have you know Henry Root - & if he should be in Cambridge a year & a half or two years, you might become good friends which I should be particularly glad of - So if you have no engagement, we will come on Wed. evening next. I enclose a note to Henry, which if that evening be convenient for you, will you please mail? if not just remail it to me, & appoint some other time for the call, my address is - care of F.M. Hunt, 38 Commercial Wharf. - Give my love to Hattie - & know dear Luly, that I am, as truly yours, now, as in the spring, (not winter) of '51!
Don't laugh at my sentimental looking envelope - it is all I can find which will enclose the other.
My dear Luly,
I wonder if you have general philanthropy enough to be willing to do an "errand" for a stranger? - I am going on the supposition that you have, & so write on behalf of my friend Mrs. Col. Warren, to ask you to buy for her a dress like my blue paid. It came from Hoveys, & if they have no more it will be useless to look any where else, as they had none at any other store. She would like 8 yds. - If there is none, & you send back the money, will you please send New York money, instead, as N.E. currency is not in favor here. - We had a very pleasant journey indeed - I think the pleasantest I have ever taken with Edward; - everything seemed to conspire to make it delightful. - No light yet, on our station - but we are most pleasantly fixed, & I feel very well contented to wait till Spring. --
A "Merrie Christmas" to you & yours - & may the year coming have for you no undercurrent of burden of sorrow! - Goodnight - I hope this will be no great trouble; of course I know it will be some, but Mrs. W. was so anxious for the dress, that I offered to send. -
Yrs. now as ever -
Mrs. Col. Fitz Henry Warren.
My dear Augustus -
I have been hesitating several minutes as to what mode of address would be most proper, in commencing a note to you; I almost wrote "Mr. Bachelder" but that seemed so formal for Lulie's husband, that I could not quite make up my mind to it. However if you think the more formal appellation would have been nearer right, do please excuse the present one, and imagine the other in its place, for I assure you it was on my pen's end!
I want your help in a matter of some little moment to me - though not of much consequence to anybody else; in the jewelry line it is too - so that alone is reason enough why I should come to you, aside from the fact that I know you are so kindly disposed to lend helping hands to everybody, - you must know that we army folks have our Doctor's attendance "free gratis, for nothin: - ie,. an army surgeon is stationed in most of our cities, regularly salaried like any other officer, and in duty bound to the government to keep all officers & their families within his circuit alive and well all the time - (cases of predestined death excepted).
But it has passed into a sort of custom, among the ladies particularly, to make the good Dr. a present occasionally, and as he has been very kind and attentive to me since I came to Washington, I want to make him a handsome present at New Years. - I wish it not to be over $20.00 - nor less than $15. in value; I should love to give more, but I do not think we can "afford it" - Now the only thing that I have been able to think of is a handsome gold pencil case with pen &c. - I have noticed that he carries a common black lead pencil to write his prescriptions with, & I do not believe he has a gold one. Still I should not care about giving him one, unless it could be rather uncommon in its style; I know nothing about the prices of these - or even whether $20. would be enough to buy an "A. No 1" -
If one could be "got up" as you say of earrings, in any peculiarly tasteful style, for $25. - I think on the whole, I would be willing to give that for it.
One other thing I have thought of - but I had no medical friend to ask about it; I have thought that there might be some very exquisite little cases of instruments to be got, which would be useful and tasteful too. Have you any Doctor friends that you could ask? - - - Now don't you think I am very presuming where you have half the Palmer & Bachelder business on your shoulders; to ask of you such a thing as this; to write to you what you think of these plans - what can be done with the amount specified - if you think of anything else which would be a good present for a gentleman - and then let me write back to you again, asking you to take all the trouble of getting said article, & sending it to me? - Nevertheless, upon all this presumption I have ventured - and can only offer you in return my lasting gratitude. - Goodnight - Ask Luly about my precious baby - I can't write it twice over! I have half a mind to wind up with an anathema against this ink - but I guess I won't. Good night.
Yrs. ever truly - Helen.
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 8-2004, jr