Helen Hunt Jackson 2-2-23e transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 2, Folder 23e, Josephine
Fülepp to HHJ, 1870-1871.
Dearest Mrs. Hunt,
I was in hopes to receive a missive from you, but being disappointed in the fond expectation and fearing that my former letter may have miscarried, I write once more to prove, that we still remember you with affection, and also to receive information regarding the fate of the letter which contained not only our photographs but the funeral note, which you had the kindness to transmit to me. I should greatly regret if any accident had prevented you from getting it and therefore I beg you, if your time permits, to favour me with a few lines, that in said case I may institute inquiries in regard to it at the post office; it was registered and therefore it cannot be lost without any trace.
Since I had the pleasure of receiving your kind letter, my parents have been in Vienna and so I was all alone with my brother and sisters; but thank Heaven papa's health is so far improved now, that he is able to return, and I expect them towards the end of this week. Accustomed as we are to mamma's continued presence, you can imagine how lonely we felt, when compelled to dispense it, and how we rejoice at the thought to have them soon home again.
Our solitude was in some measure relieved by the attention and frequent visits of the many friends who manifested great sympathy for us; and by the presence of Pauline and Lenke Spelletich, whom I sometimes mentioned in summer, and who reside next door. With these my evenings are usually spend in reading and talking English. In consequence of having long resided in America, this is their favorite amusement, and as you may suppose I am happy to have such an agreeable opportunity for indulging my own taste. But enough of ourselves.
How has your time been spent? Are you perhaps already in America? And do you remember the promise you gave me, that when in Vienna you will also pay a visit to our humble metropolis? You know I expect its fulfilment, because myself esteeming you so highly I cannot think you should have forgotten your "little interpretor"[sic] who expressing the kindest regards of her parents and herself, remains very affectionately,
Your true friend
Dearest Mrs. Hunt,
I should long since have sent you my best thanks for the kind remembrance you seem still to have preserved towards me, but for a long sickness, which kept me in bed for weeks and weeks. Indeed I very much grieved, that I had to suffer so many days elapse ere I should be capable of expressing to you the joy I felt in receiving the description of "Gastina tantum una" written by one, whose memory always shall be dear to me.
Those were pleasant hours I spent with you in that grand scenery, whose ever changing and numberless beauties your article represents in such vivid colours, that I almost fancy, as I read it, to enjoy again your company in the nice little room of Dr. Proehl's house. Alas, perhaps I never shall meet you hereafter, and the sole tie of so short an intercourse, though full of respectful friendship from my part, will be those poems, which safely crossed the ocean as to speak mentally with me; for they give a true image of your noble feelings, which make you continually so good towards one, whom you but accidentally met for a few weeks. I therefore beg to accept my sincerest thanks both for the kindness which suggested that precious gift and for your remembering us. I only regret its not having been accompanied by any letter of yours, or did it go astray perhaps in these troublesome days of the dreadful French-and Prussian war.
Surely you sympathize also with these poor Frenchmen, when you think of the once so beautiful and rich France you visited, now quite destroyed and ruined, first by enemies, then by her own population in their ungoverned, senseless fury. It's terrible, when a whole nation looses[sic] every self restraint, all limits of social life! Paris, this fairy city never will be, even in a century to come, what it has been; happy those, who have seen it in the time of its glory. How sad a prospect for the patriot, when he views the ruins of the proud beautiful metropolis! How I regret not having visited it, the more so, when I think that I was there at a time of which I can remember nothing after the Hungarian revolution in 1850, my dear father being in exile then, as he had taken great parts in it.
Speaking of foreign lands I recur once more to dear Gastein in connection with which I have some news to tell, which will probably surprise you. This is the betrothal of Dr. Proehl to a young lady, whose mother had died at his house during their stay there last summer. Their marriage will take place, according at least with the account of my informant, this autumn.
I trust that you intend to keep the promise you gave of visiting Europe once more and will honour Hungary also with a sojourn. However this may be postponed too long - because I do not wish to give up the hope, that at last it will be fulfilled. - and so I send you a plant, which is especially native to our country and with which the following legend is connected:
In the days of "auld lang syme"[sic] when princes were in great plenty yet, one of these genus hovering amid the beautiful hills of Bude happened to enter a cottage, where dwelt a mother with a plain daughter and a beautiful charge, an orphan girl, whose winning ways united with the bloom of youth immidiately[sic] made a deep impression his heart. Viewing with envy the preference of the humble dependant to her on[sic] offspring the cruel dame cut off the beautiful fair tresses of the poor maiden and strew them to the winds. - What was her surprise, when on the morrow she found the hillocks clothed with a strange growth of fine long flowen tufts. She gazed in great wonder at this phenomena as all at once the prince appeared and while also speculating its possible origin the orphan entered upon the scene. Upon his pained inquiry respecting the removal of the hair the dame alleged frequent headaches as the reason. The prince however penetrated the design and declaring, that he did not love the maid for her hair but for herself he carried her off to his own castle. - Ever since then at that season the plant appears on the hills and is called "Arvaleinyhay" (: the orphan girl's hair:)
It is used, as in Switzerland the Adelweiss (:Edelweiss:) the symbol of constancy and love and swains wear it beside their hats when courting their Thisbes.
I hope you will soon give me the pleasure of reading a letter from you as long as this one, with which I now abuse your patience and in it will have the kindness to let me know whether you received the one I wrote last fall, and in which I communicated to you the happiness we feel in papa's return to perfect health, dear mamman is also, thanks to God for it, still as healthy as she used to be, though she had dreadfully suffered during my dear father's illness. -
I trust, that you too are well and awaiting a speedy corroboration from your pen I send the kindest regards of us all and beg to be remembered, dearest Mrs. Hunt, as
Post, 1871. June 29.
P.S. Pray send your letters to Pesth, Herrn Gasse No 9. Hungary, because
we removed in this street.
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 6-2003, jr