Helen Hunt Jackson 5-1-8 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 5, Ms 0351, Box 1, Folder 7, letters
from Helen Hunt Jackson to her sister Ann (Mrs. E.C. Banfield), 1877-1879.
[1.] Letter from HHJ to AFB. Jan. 19, 1877.
Your letter of the 11th has reached me only today. The mails are much blocked now. I hasten to reply by return mail, that you may not be delayed in any action you desire to take about Julius. - I will not oppose it - at all - if you desire me to sign with you, a request for his removal, I will; -- but I tell you honestly, that if I were in your place I would not stir in the matter without first finding out whether Charlie could be appointed - for I think a stranger might be much worse for us than Julius. - I don't know whether you can find out or not - but Everett would know. -
Neither would I stir in the matter if I were you, tell next summer when you can see all the heirs & talk with them. - It is impossible to write of such things; & moreover, you can't tell what use they might make of your letters - might show them to Julius perhaps. - You will of course go north by June or July -- & then you can arrange everything. - I am sure this is best; -- but whatever you desire & decide to do, I will not hinder in any way. - I think Charlie would be a safe Trustee & we should have none of these disagreeable misgivings & antagonisms; -- I do not believe he would be very sharp in matters of investments - but I am willing for sake of your feeling in the matter, to have him. Since Mr. Jackson saw him, I have changed my feeling in regard to it -
--Thanks for the picture of Nathan. He is a fine looking boy. - I am glad you have good news of Richie. I had very nice notes from Helen & Annie. -
I have got over my cold -- & the little house looks quite in order - it is very dirty however - two bachelors in it all summer with only a Negro man to take care of things did not help its looks; -- the walls are frightful & the carpets threadbare. Still it is very picturesque & gay. I wish you could see it.
I hope most earnestly all will go well about those notes of Es. I can't understand what you mean by a fraudulent note - "a forgery" - I should think no man would dare to forge a note -
Will sends his love. He is very well -- & very busy. -
Don't you worry about your girls' education - they shall be "put through." What you can't pay I will; if I live & am well - I'll see those girls through College; -- it is a very little thing for me to do when I have no children of my own to spend my money for. --Goodbye -- Love to E. -
Yrs always affly
Tuesday Mar. 20
You need not have apologized for your letter at all. It was not in the least a Jeremiad - only a statement of facts & truth which very few women would bear as bravely & patiently as you do.
As for the money - I understand exactly how you feel - but you must try also to understand just how I feel -- & realize how much you would want to help me if I were having as hard a time temporarily as you are -- & you had money you could spare as well as not. I hope you won't refuse to let me send you that $150 in April, for I have planned to do so; & if you won't take it, I shall send it to Helen & Annie to get their summer outfit with; but I thought it would do more good perhaps, to send it to you.-
I recollected after my letter had gone that I had forgotten to put Richie's
picture in - but I thought I would wait till next time. - Mr. Jackson
has no possible opening in business for Richie, but - you know he is out
of the Rail road now - has nothing except the Bank. (of which he owns
one half - two partners owning the other half) -
I have Grandpa's will. Do you want it?
I remember Dr. Poor very well - when I was 15 years old, he was rather a wild young minister! I would like to see him. -
I have never had any hope of having a child, since the first three months after we were married. If I had been going to have any at all, I should have had it at once.-- At first it was a very great disappointment to me - especially on Will's account; but I think now it is far better as it is. I shall get out of the way (I trust!) in time for him to have his babies by a second wife - after he has made his fortune & is ready to take his leisure. I can do a great deal more for him, as it is - than I could if I were absorbed in a child & I am too old now to bring up a child; -- you don't realize how soon I shall be an old woman. - Will seems perfectly happy -- & I think will be so for six or eight years as we are -- & pretty soon after I am fifty, I shall pass on & make room for my successor! I can't imagine however why I do not have children. I have no symptoms or any disturbance in the menstrual function as yet - am perfectly regular -- & have been much better in all those ways since I came into this climate. - Perhaps Will & I might never have had children, even if I had been younger. There is no telling anything about such things except that it seems as if the people who did not want children were the only ones sure to have them. -
Now I believe I have answered all the points you spoke of - except the one about the Saxe Holm stories - and Merry Philbrick's Choice -- & in regard to those, -- I can only repeat what I told you once before to say - ie. "that I had told you that I had repeatedly denied having written those stories." -
I am sorry to see spring so near - we came home so late, I seem to have
had no winter at all; I have only just got fairly settled - my waitress
nicely trained -- & now I begin to wonder what I shall do for the
summer. I do not mean to go East if I can help it. - Will cannot go &
I do not want to leave him again. He is very well -- & so am I. -
Goodnight - Write soon -
I have not had one minute to write to you - for three weeks - my friend
Mrs. DeCoursey has been staying with us -- & ten days ago, my waitress - (having just got nicely trained to the duties of her place) - flew at the cook & they had a head to head fight! I seem to be destined to have fisticuffs in the kitchen! -- This time, it was the waitress I sent off - last winter it was the cook. I have not tried to get any one in her place because I expect in a few weeks to go down to Rosita in the Wet Mt. Valley -- & stay a month or so -- & Katy can take care of Will perfectly well alone; so at present I am doing a good deal more housework than usual -- & what with company, & doing all my upstairs work -- & driving every afternoon, I haven't had a minutes time to write. I am writing now before breakfast - we have breakfast at half past seven -- & such a time as I have to get Wm. Jackson up at that hour! However he is very good considering he had [always--crossed out] been in the habit of breakfasting when he liked for so many years. - I have my dining room & sitting room all dusted before breakfast -- & often my own bed made - I am up at quarter before six every morning - you see I am almost as driving a housekeeper as you - if I had begun as early I dare say I should have been just like you.
I don't know whether you will get this letter in Washington or not; --
but of course you will leave your address - Love to E. & children.
I am glad to know that you are in Wolfboro. I always like to think of you in that little house. It seemed to me very pleasant; -- and the Washington experiment seemed a very hazardous one - I presume you will not repeat it, as it has produced so little result in way of business for E. - I almost wish you could go & settle down in Amherst -- & educate your children there. You have an income of your own as large as the Prof's salaries there -- & if you staid still in one spot, you could live in it with comparative comfort, even if E. did not cover a cent. - This moving about is frightfully dear. -
The minute you need that $150 say so -- & the cheque shall go by next mail. I should send it to you now except that you so urgently implored me not to do so until you asked for it. I can spare it as well as not; -- and am very glad to - It is no more than my right to help educate my nieces. -
I am very sorry for all you tell me about Julius Palmer & the property. I cannot understand it; -- but as I told you, I am ready to join with you now in requesting his removal & am willing to have Charlie Tufts in his place. - But I think Everett would have to manage it - not you. - Julius is crafty; -- and will make a fight. -
I nearly died laughing over your saying that Grandpa & Ma "would not like it" to have the [Becks?] buried in their lot at Mt. Auburn. - What did you mean? You truly do not suppose that the "Spirits of just men made perfect" are likely to be disquieted by anything which happens to the mortal dust they left behind them. Moreover there is not by this time probably a particle left even of the dust! -
I will send you on a bundle of odds & ends before long, when I get my [?] overhauled. I had intended to do so - of course I always want you to have all my things which will be of use to you. I am afraid there is not much in way of summer things however - for I had little last year -- & I left my Grenadine at Cousin Anns for you. -
We are going to begin at once to alter & repair our little house.--
& hope to get into it by Oct. 1st. - I look forward with great pleasure
to being in it - as it will be so much more convenient & pleasant
than this -- & the feeling of having a home is never complete in a
I am truly alarmed that you have had to ask so often for Grandpa's will. I never could recollect it when I wrote-- & yet it was within reach of my hand all the time.-
I think this tirade of Julius's against Vassar College & other institutions of the sort is one of the funniest things I ever read; -- I must say however that I partly agree with him. I should never send a boy or a girl to any public school if I could afford to have tutors at home; -- but for the masses the massed methods are a great blessing no doubt. -
I will certainly "stand firm" with you - if what you mean by standing firm is not with drawing or backing out. - I will sign the petition for his removal --; at this distance I can of course do no more. - But I entreat you to be careful & judicious -- & above all, to make no move till you are sure of your ground. - to have tried to remove him, and to have failed would make our position intolerable. - I really think if it is to be done, Everett ought to engineer it. - I am entirely willing to have Charlie Tufts for trustee since Will saw him. I have changed my mind altogether about that. -
I want to warn you however that it will be a very hard thing to "prove"
I am sorry to hear of Richie's cough - What is he doing in S.F.? -
Send for the money the minute you want it -I have it in the bank - ready for you
Wed. June 20
I sent you by mail yesterday three bundles which will perplex you somewhat - the gray calico I had begun to make for myself, before Anna left - but I did not want it enough to bother with finishing it off myself; - the muslin is a new one my dressmaker bought for me at Attmans in N. York -- & it would not meet across the chest. - I ripped it, thinking I could piece it out under the old, as you will see - but it was no use - it was still too narrow. - I hope it has not spoiled it for you, or for whomever needs it most in your house. - The old [underdresses?] & collars I thought might do a little longer - though they are pretty well worn. I have since found new things which I will send next week by freight - a couple of coats of Wills -- & two thick gowns - you will not want them before fall -- & they can as well go by freight - cheap -
We are having very hot weather & I do hate it most emphatically.-- On Saturday I go to Rosita - where it will be cooler. - Love to all - Write soon -
I was very glad to hear from you at last. - It was a long time since you had written.
I am sorry that Everett will not take hold of the Trustee business. I do not think you can manage it safely alone. If John Sanford were in Boston, I suppose he would take interest enough in you, to look the whole thing up and see if it could be done. - I do not feel entirely satisfied with Julius's management - but I should never stir in the matter on my own account. I think as human nature goes, the chances are even that we would get no better man in his place; -- but I will sign your petition whenever you choose. - I do beg of you to be very careful how you propose such a step to the other heirs. -- Sound them very cautiously before you let them know your project. They may go & tell Julius to curry favor with him - and if they all joined with him, he would make a strong fight against us. - I have a notion that all those heirs feel a sort of spite against us -- & it would be a very easy thing for Julius to make them think that he was doing all he could to get as big income as possible for them -- & that we wanted him to consider our future interests as reversionary heirs, rather than their present interests. If he could do that he would unite them all against us. - You see it is a very mixed up business. My income has fallen off a good deal - but Will says it is no more than everybody's has, in these hard times; and I hear the same complaint from everybody. -
I am sorry to hear that Richie is still out of employment; -- I think it was a great mistake for him to leave the sea. He had fitted himself for that. He is fitted for nothing else. His abandoning it after having reached so good a position in it, is indication of an unstableness of disposition which will I fear always prevent his success. - Now as to Will's getting a place for him here - I ought to tell you frankly that it is entirely out of the question. In the first place, Will is now disconnected with the R.R. as you know -- & has nothing except his Bank. - For any place in a Bank Richie has not the first qualification. -- But - this is not all. - Mr. Jackson is a very positive and inexorable person in his views about business; -- and about character; -- and he has never had any faith in Richie since he sent to you for money to pay his passage home from S. America. -- He said then and always says now that Richie must be a bad boy - that for a sailor in as high a position as he has had, not to have saved up money ahead was proof that he wasted his wages, in some way - by careless extravagance if in no worse ways. And that for him - at his age, -- to write to parents situated as you were - for money - was contemptible; that there never was a port yet out of which a sailor could not work his way; so even if Will did have influence to get any position here for anybody, he would never get it for Richie. I am very sorry to tell you this; but I think it is better you should know it. - There is no need of saying anything more to Richie than that everything is just as over crowded here as in California and that Mr. Jackson has no connection now with the R.R. --Two young Englishmen I know are going to Canada this week, simply because they cannot earn a living here; -- I think myself Colorado is the worst place I ever saw, for anybody to come to without money; -- especially a young man; -- unless he is willing to go out & herd cattle! I feel very sorry for Richie - and for you on his account; but I must confess to you that I feel about him somewhat as Will does. It will take a good deal to make me ever really trust Richie. I fear that if you could get at the truth of his life for the last three or four years, you would find that it had not been an upright one. When I saw Richie last in Boston it seemed to me that moral weakness and a lack of true manly voice were indelibly written on his face. - And so far as getting employment is concerned, I do not see what the boy is fitted for; being a sailor proverbially unfits a man for all things else; and all the years in which Richie ought to have been fitting himself for some future career, -- either by a business training, for being a business man - or by study, for being a professional man - he has now spent on the sea which he abandons. - I do not like the seafaring life - I should never wish to have a friend choose it; but it is an honorable & lucrative one -- & when a man has a strong love for it as Richie seemed to have, it seems to me much better that he should follow it.-
I have not yet sent off the bundle of [thick?] things for you - will try to get it off this week. Will has been ill for a week - threatened with bilious fever; he is better now, but is not yet all right. If I thank the Lord for anything it is that I have a good liver!-
Our house is going on well. Some day I will send you a plan of it. - It is going to be a cozy & convenient little box; -- but I hate cottage climbers -- & shall always be sorry we could not sell it, & build a new one outright; -- This will have cost more than enough to have built a new one. it is so much harder to alter than to build new. -
Let me know when you want the money. Goodbye -
Ever affly yours
I have given a note of introduction to you, to a friend of ours - a Mr. Merriam. - He is from Topsfield - knows the Palmers. - He is rich - pure upright - honorable - good; -- one of Mr. Jackson's own kind - I hope he will fall in love with Helen. - He is 33 - but is younger for that age than any man I ever saw. If I had a daughter I should consider it a great piece of luck if Arthur Merriam would marry her. He lives here most of the year - has large sheep ranches out on the plains. He is shy -- & still - can't talk much - but he is true gold.
It's an ill wind blowing nobody good. - I undertook to improve the set
of a white gabrielle gown the other day & ruined it -- & a washerwoman
washed my linen travelling suit & stained the jacket - so I send them
both to you by mail today thinking they may cut over for smaller people.
Here is the check - Don't bother yourself about any note - I do not wish you ever to think of it as a loan. I think it is a pity if when I have no chick nor child of my own to do for, I can't help a little in educating yours. -
I am glad to hear such good news of Richie - hope it will be lasting.
Dear Annie -
All that Will meant was that anybody could have written the words, so that it would not be observed that they had been added. -- He thinks so poorly of my writing that he thinks almost any scrawl could pass for it! -
We are just off for Denver this Am - I am going up partly for shopping for the house; -- partly to see if I can hear of a new Cook! - My [Miseries?] seem to be beginning. This old woman whom I got six weeks ago, & who is in many respects the best servant I have ever had -- & altogether the best cook - proves to be a drunkard! - Such a scene as we had here a week ago last Sunday, I never heard of. - It was really very droll - except that it is melancholy to see a human being in such a state. She had been alone in the house -- & Will's whiskey demijohn had been left in the dining room -- & at four o'clock in the Pm. When I returned to the house, she was drunk as a loon. - One of her performances of which we heard from neighbors the next day had been to open the scullery window wide -- & pray there at the top of her lungs - chiefly for us; -- oh Lord Lord Lord - Mr. & Mrs. Jackson they've gone off on a pleasant trip on the Lord's day, & they'll never go to Heaven 's sure 's anything! Oh! Oh! Oh! -- If my second girl was not a good sensible woman, I could never have got on at all, with Jane; -- but I can't keep her. I can't run the risk of such performances.-
I am still in great confusion - owing to delays beyond my control - not a shade up on the first floor windows yet - but the house begins to look very pretty - it is as cozy a little spot as I ever saw. Some day I will send you a plan of it - with every article of furniture marked - so you may know just how we look. -
You do not speak of any plans for leaving Wolfboro so I presume that you expect to winter there. I hope you will not dislike it as much as you did before. I still think and shall always think that it is a sad pity you could not induce Everett to think of Amherst as a home. My friend Mrs. Potwin whose husband was broken down in health, had a pleasant home there, and made a comfortable living, by taking a few boarders - and if I had any living to earn, and could not do it by my pen, I should certainly go to Amherst & take boarders - and I am not half as good a housekeeper as you are. You would have pleasant society - a position entirely unaffected by the fact of your taking boarders - and good advantages for the children. The high part of Amherst is healthy - there is a good homeopathic Dr. there - It combines a singular number of advantages. - Nanie might like to study there where he could live at home - it was the loneliness & homesickness no doubt which discouraged him; -- but most of all - I think of the advantage to you and to the girls of a pleasant society, I am sure also that E. would like some of those Professors when he knew them - and he might in time have some practice there. There are lawyers there who do a fair country business. - Goodbye - Excuse these bits of paper - I have no more down stairs - Love to E. & the children - Yrs ever, Helen
Dear Annie I was very glad to get your letter after so long an interval. I think your friends really ought to write twice to your once; you are so overburdened with care & work. I really do not see how you accomplish so much; you must be strong as a lion.
Your account of the children's Christmas tree, made me feel conscience stricken. - I have given hardly any presents this year - because I had spent so much money -- & still owe so much - on the house -- & Julius only sent $220 to my credit on Oct. 1st so I did not feel "flush" at all. But I had intended to send each of the children a book & how I came to forget it I don't know. Yes I do know too - it was because I have been very busy & have had a good deal of company -- & have also begun my regular writing again; -- especially at Christmas time. I was very busy - we had a dinner -- & had friends staying in the house -- & altogether the week was a confused one. - However the books are just as good this week as they would have been on that -- & I shall send all three of them off tomorrow.
I feel very much as you do about Julius now. I am afraid we are not fairly dealt with. He has not yet sent me my Jan. payment; of course if you got but $420 - I shall not have over $300. - But I don't see what we can do - unless to have a lawyer request him, formally - to file a new bond with proper securities. - You know he said if that were done he should resign; -- I don't believe it; yet he might. - I wish we were rid of him. If John Sanford thinks Hyde would do I think he would. But why cannot Mr. Sanford do it himself? - I am ready to sign any papers you wish in the matter; but at this distance, I cannot do anything more. If we come East next year, Will may possibly be able to do something; but I doubt it. He is a total stranger there. -
I suppose you must be tired of my harping on Amherst so much - but it does really seem to me very unreasonable & unjust in E. to object to going to the only place where you can do anything towards making a good living for the family. - You could support the whole family comfortably there - educate the children -- & have pleasant society as well -- & if I were in your place I should certainly go. -- While Everett is [crossed out: in his] doing nothing toward the support of the family, I do not think he ought to let a personal prejudice of his own keep you all in a place where both the children & you suffer as you do in W. - Moreover I am entirely sure that he would come to like some of the Amherst professors very much - He would have some members of his own profession also for associates and he might very likely get some business - certainly as much as in Wolfboro! -- and in the mean time you could support the family & not work a tenth part so hard as you do now. -
I will send you a box of odds & ends in the spring. Would you have
any use for some old chintzes - I have made new covers to all my chairs
larger &c. & have a lot of old covers which are good for nothing
to me. -
Ever affly - Helen
Feb. 10. 1878.
I am astonished to see how long ago it is that your letter came. -
I am glad the children liked the books & never once thought of your having "hinted" - about their Christmas. I was the one who was "conscience stricken" to have forgotten to send them before; I had intended all along to do it. - Pray do not speak about the $300, again; it was not the least inconvenient; and I rely on you to tell me when you need more. I want you to accept it as a fixed part that I am to help educate the girls, and must have every advantage.
Did Everett get any note to him & to you about Julius? I have been afraid from my not hearing he might be ill; -- I do hope he will take up the matter; nobody else can do it so well. - Julius sent me his accts -- & the paper to be submitted to the Judge; I never can understand anything from such papers - Will studied it all up - says it looks all fair enough; but that is very easy.-
I cannot bear to think of your working; -- that has always seemed to
me the hardest thing in housekeeping. I have had the pleasure of doing
all my own sweeping dusting chamber work, &c. for four days - having
discharged my waitress last week, and my old praying drunkard being of
no more use out of the kitchen than a walrus! She weighs 200 I think,
and is very feeble on her feet - but she is such a cook I can't bear to
send her away.
I am very glad you are not tired of my harping about Amherst; -- I shall never cease to hope that you will go there. It is the only opening I see for you to educate the children and earn a good living, -- and have a good time! - With your skill as a housekeeper & your invaluable talent for economy, you could make a good profit off of boarders - and the advantages to the children of living in Amherst are evident. - Very likely Annie & Helen might both teach there also - Our father's name would have great weight there still I am sure, -- and you could have a large circle of friends; -- there is a good homeopathic Dr. there also. - I am so sure of the success of your living there that I should regard it as a prudent and wise move for you to borrow the money, to go there. You could pay it all back in you first year. - Any time that you will go, I will give you $100 gladly to help pay for the moving. - You must not think because I said I was not giving any presents this N. Years - that I am "hard up" - I couldn't be that you know, with a good husband doing a good business - and my home & my living all provided for; -- [crossed out: only]it is only this - that I undertook to do a great part of the alterations to the house -- & to buy all the new things I wanted - in way of furniture &c. -- & Julius's sending me only $250 for October -- & $140 for Jan - instead of what I counted on, $1000 at least - left me in debt on the house! But Will does not care when I pay it --; it is all paid for - and I shall pay it to him as I can - or not at all if I "back out" - but I am Fiske enough - or Vinal enough - which is it? - to mean to pay the last cent. - The vexatious thing is that I wanted it done by contract & Will would not have it so - it was all done by days works, & I know very well cost just about twice what it need to. - However it is all done -- & a lovely little box - as picturesque a little place as I ever saw; -- and I don't the least mind paying for my whistle! ---- Goodbye - write soon - Love to all,
Yours ever affly - Helen
Dear Annie -
E's note will explain my delay in replying to yours & his - I had no idea he was so far from well, still - You must not let him undertake this Trustee business if you think it will hurt him. -
I know just how you feel about the tobacco, coffee &c. - for in a much less degree, I have the same trial with Will. - He is very bilious -- & has a constant tendency to dyspepsia - was once, utterly broken down with it; -- coffee is literally a poison to him, & he knows it - says so - often. Yet he can no more resist it when it is before him than a drunkard can his whiskey - of course I have to have it when friends are staying with us - or [crossed out: when] after dinner when we have dinner company -- & it is very seldom I can coax Will to let it alone. I confess that my temperament is such that I simply cannot comprehend any ones taking into his stomach a thing he knows positively will hurt him! - I fully anticipate that the day will come when Will will be a [real?] dyspeptic again - spite of his strength - for he takes no systematic exercise or open air - hurries to & from meals - eats fast -- & drinks strong tea every day -- & coffee now & then. - If I lived as he does I should be ill.-However I don't "nag" him much. It does no good - and I hate to bother him. I only groan and coax, and prophesy.
-- If I were at all sure that Will & I could come on next summer, I should say let the whole matter of Julius wait - but it is extremely doubtful -- & even if we do, we couldn't stay more than a month at the outside --& that wouldn't amount to much. -
Goodbye - love to all - I sent you a line last week.
Yours ever affly
July 10, 1878
I am wondering if you are not roasting alive in this weather. It is simply horrible here - that is, to me! Will is perfectly comfortable, & makes me furious by being so. You see these Philadelphians are accustomed to lie on the floor gasping all night & hang themselves up naked on hooks all day, with the mercury at 90, day in & day out & night in & night out, & they don't know heat when they see it! Mrs. De Coursey a Philadelphia friend of mine told me she had often lived in her chemise & nothing else, for a week at a time-just putting on a gown at meal times, & then taking it right off, & not seeing a soul - Well - the mercury hasn't been above 84° in my house yet - but to stir out of doors after 8 Am is torture -- & from twelve to four the house is like an oven - I must say it does cool off at night -- & I draw up a blanket always before morning - but I hate it -- & always shall - I wish I never need see the thermometer above 75°-- again as long as I live. - Sunday we spent up on Cheyenne Mt -- & were perfectly comfortable all day long - but people said it was an awful day here. - If Will could only go too, I'd like to go off for awhile - but I will not leave him; -- & I begin to be afraid he will not think he can leave his business to come East this fall. -
I had my first payment from Mr. Tufts this week -- $272. - It is a great comfort to think of having a thoroughly honest man in - even if we don't get so much money, it is better to have him - but I think ultimately we will have more.
I send you today, by mail a muslin waist I found, which I thought went in the box; -- it was always too narrow across the chest for me, & I never wore it at all - perhaps you can alter it to fit you. - I hope you are not feeling so tired as you were when you wrote last. Can't you take Mamie & Kitty & go to Roxbury for a little visit? - What a pity that your only very near relative is so far away; -- husband's sisters never seem very near to me; however much you may like them. - I would love to have a visit from you here very much - but not in summer! I don't want anybody, to come then! -- unless it is a salamander! - our little cottage chambers are hot, & it is not comfortable to be afraid one's guests are wilting themselves away! -
You said in you last letter you thought you must have either more money or more strength before long -- ; when you feel so, just think how comfortable you could be in Amherst - with one good servant. You would not work so hard for twenty table boarders as you do now alone -- & you will have $100 a week - of which $40 or $30 would be clear profit - it is a perpetual wonder to me that you do not do it. If I had a living to earn here, I should do it that way, now that I have learned how to keep house, I mean, if I could not earn it by writing.
Ever affly Helen
July 25, 1878
My dear Annie,
Your letter, of the 17th came day before yesterday. I am glad to tell you that I found Aunt [Ann's?] letter in a compartment of my letter case, where I suppose I put it away, to send to you - but I had forgotten all about it. - It only is another illustration of the difference between you & me, that you should look forward to reading over old letters as an assistance to convalescence. I can't imagine anything that would make me ill quicker. -
I send you by mail today, three parcels - of old clothes. You will laugh to see the darns on my blue serge. It was my mountain dress last winter, and I was determined to make it last till May - so I darned it every time I put it on, till it became a joke! - but I think by ripping it all up, as the [sash/sack?] is so good, perhaps a dress can be got out of it. - The ruffling is frightfully coarse - but I thought it might do for the girls to wear in Wolfboro. I ordered a lot of things from Altmans by catalogue & this was among them -- & I did not want it for myself-
I send you also a cheque for $50 - which you are not to consider a loan, any more than the $300 - and I wish we would not say anything more about it. I shall never take a cent of it & it pains me to have you speak of it as a loan. Having no child of my own, if I can't help educate yours, I think it is a great pity; and I insist on being allowed to do it! - if I had not undertaken so much in the house this last year, I could have given you all you needed - and I [crossed out: will] can send you another $20 next month just as well as not. - It made me laugh to have you say you feared I might need that $300 -- ; I, with my being all provided for -- & nothing to buy except my own clothes, & any superfluities! -- I ought to be a more grateful woman than I am, I fear. - The letter from Martha Rule was a very good one; still I do not feel called on to help them any more than hundreds of other women who are supporting themselves by trades. They all have trades I believe - and although it is no doubt very hard for them to get along, I don't consider them objects of charity! - and I must say that if I had been in your place I could not have been good enough to have spared that $10. for them. -
It distresses me to see that you are evidently getting tired out - I do not wonder - the only wonder is you have not reached that stage before. It all makes me the more anxious for you to move to Amherst & establish yourself - It is unfortunate for you to stay in a place where there is no earthly possibility of earning a penny & where your children can have no education; when there is a chance in Amherst for you to support your family & educate your children, comfortably. - If I were in your place, I have no more doubt what I should do than I have doubt about what you are doing. -- I should borrow money to move to A -- & set myself up - and I'd pay it off too, in one year. Mrs. Potwin supported her family & laid up money there every year -- & she only had seven boarders! - The children could be well educated there - first at the Academy & then by studying with the Professors or Tutors -- & you never need again have this awful chain on your purse of an expensive Seminary like Vassar - You have an income now at the least of $2000 a year - How many ministers have less that than & bring up larger families on it - not that I mean to say its easy; not by a great deal. I think it is awfully hard; -- but still, it has been done, & can be - I think the Professors at Amherst only have $2200 - or it may be $2000. - When I think how pleasant your life might be there - what chances for the girls - how you would enjoy the society there -- & how much less hard you would have to work than you do now - it seems to me as I said, simply like infatuation in you to hold on in that dull stifling hopeless hole of town where you are.
As for Everett, I don't believe but that he would be better & feel better, once established in Amherst, & things all going smoothly, and prosperously than he is now half starving in Wolfboro! He might get something to do there in his profession, too; very likely would. -- And at any rate, I don't think that you & the children ought to be sacrificed to his individual prejudice or dislike. - It is unreasonable. -- [crossed out: Richie wrote] now I believe I'll never say another word about Amherst to you as long as I live; but this is what I shall always think & feel. -
As for coming here to take boarders, dismiss that from your mind once
for all. This is no country for poor people - nor to make a living off
boarders; -- I have to write this to strangers asking me about it - a
dozen times a quarter. - Wages $25 to $40 a month & servants impossible
to get at that -- & potatoes 2 to 3 cts a pound -- & so on! -
Heavens deliver me from saving anybody I can for trying to make a living
taking boarders here-
Mr. Jackson worked as a machinist from the time he was seventeen [crossed
out: sixteen] till he was twenty five -- & laid up $1500 & that
was the nucleus of all he is worth now -
Yours ever affly Helen
Aug. 13, 1878
Do for goodness sake stop talking to me about being generous to you, and self denying & all that sort of thing. I should be a pig "of the first water" if I didn't help you-and it is as much my business as yours to help educate the children. If ever you are rich, you can give me a few hundred dollars if you want to, & I'll put it into books or pictures or something as a present back again from you; but a loan I never will call it, & I wish you wouldn't-
I quite understand how people of the habits & standards of Everett's relatives feel that you are well off. Mr. Jackson would have somewhat the same feeling-his father & mother brought up eight children, & all five of the girls were educated for teaching & I don't suppose they ever saw $2000 a year in their lives! All the girls were educated at Oberlin & made splendid teachers. I was talking with Prof. Smith from Oberlin the other day, & I had half a mind to write you about it at the time, but I thought nothing short of Vassar would content you! I liked Prof. Smith very much, & all he said about the College, though I have never been quite clear in my mind as to this Co-Education. But Mr. Cross, the Congregational minister here, who called with Prof. Smith was most enthusiastic about it, just as Col. Higginson is. - Prof. Smith says the whole cost of a year at Oberlin, tuition, board & all, is inside of $300! -- and he says and Mr. Cross corroborated it that the board is good. Mr. Jackson's sisters all speak enthusiastically of the College, and of the happy times they had there; and they certainly are very well educated women--, and all of them had unusual success in teaching; the only one unmarried, Maggie, (now an invalid) was quite sought after as a teacher in Pennsylvania. You see what a difference there is between the costs of such a college as this, and Vassar-Vassar is really a college for the rich!-
We have at last a "let up" in the diabolical heat. - I am thankful, I have done nothing for six weeks but sleep and grumble; hot weather here puts me to sleep like a narcotic. - I think we shall come East about the 1st of Sept. - but Will can only be away a month, so we shall have little time there. We may wait till Oct. but I think not.
Yours ever affly Helen
We are all packed - ready to set out for the East tomorrow - but may not get off till Sat. - shall go straight to Penn. To Mr. J's mother's -- stay there a week - then Will will come back here for two weeks -- & return early in October for me -- & spend the month of October at the East. -- Just what I shall do during his absence I do not yet know - will inform you of my movements - shall perhaps go with Miss Woolsey for a week or ten days somewhere in the country - Will & I will come up to Wolfboro in October. - I want to see the bright leaves -- Will the Pavilion be open then? -- I shall not think of quartering on you - as you have no servant. -You can write to me, till the 15th at Kennett Square, Chester Co. Pa. -
--I enclose a check for $20 - now be sure & let me know if you need
more for Helen's tuition. I can let you have it in October if you do.
I saw Annie in Philadelphia last Tuesday. Mrs. De Coursey & I went over to West Phila. & found Mr. Rollins's house without difficulty. - I only wish you could have been there yourself to see how delightfully Annie is situated. It really seems like an ideal house for her. Mrs. Rollins was very much prostrated that day, & I saw her in her own rooms; afterwards she grew better & came down to dinner! - She is in great danger of becoming crazy I think - but she is a most interesting person & very bright. - She insisted on our staying to dinner & had Annie shew us all over the house - from top to bottom! - Annie has a lovely room to herself - in the third story, -- three windows in it & everything perfectly comfortable. They are evidently people of wealth & Mrs. Rollins has a great deal of artistic taste & talent. Mr. Rollins came home to lunch & both Mrs. DeCoursey & I were charmed with him. He was so cordial & jolly. - Mrs. Rollins had told me before -
"Mr. Rollins is in perfect health & spirits; He floats the family"-- & I could see that it was so. - They all call Annie by her first name & seem very fond of her -- She is evidently to be rather the older sister of the family than a governess. She drives every day with Lucy in her little phaeton & that thing alone is worth a great deal, as a matter of health. The house is very pleasant, large, & well appointed without being at all elegant - there is a good library -- & altogether it seems to me the most surprising piece of good luck for Annie to get such a house. - on the other hand, Mr. Edgar [Achlore?] Rollins is getting his three children taught for very little money, as I have no doubt he is well aware. - I promised Annie I would write & tell you about our visit - as she said she never could write as clearly.
Will set out for Colorado on Monday evening - is there today, I suppose. - I miss him terribly, even in midst of all my jaunting about. I go to Boston tomorrow night & some day next week Miss Woolsey & I are going together up into [crossed out: Vermont] New Hampshire probably - to a place near [Rellvues?] Falls where she has been this summer & liked it. - We shall stay a week - I presume it will be in my way to stop & see you as I come down - but if there is anything in the shape of a hotel there I don't want to put you to the trouble of cooking for me - or of hiring in a woman! -- I will write again when I know where we are to be-
Yrs lovingly Helen
I have been waiting day by day to hear from Will as to his plans - so as to know what to do about coming to Wolfboro, but in his three last notes he has said not a word about the date of his arrival, from which I think he may be meaning to surprise me, & may come by the 8th or 9th. - He said he wanted to be in Boston three or four days, & that I would better wait for him there! - we propose to leave Princeton on Tuesday, & I think I would better make my visit in Cambridge first, so as to be on hand, in case he arrives! - so you must not look for me next week. - If I hear from him that he will not be here before the 15th, I can run up to Wolfboro the last of the week & spend Sunday! - will let you know the day before. I am sorry to be so indefinite, but I can't help it.
I have some way got poisoned with ivy here, & my left wrist is quite
troublesome, but I hope to check it, so it will not spread. - Is there
anything you want me to do for you in Boston? If so let me know -write
still to care of Roberts Bros., Boston, as before. - I am very glad to
hear that Mrs. Brimfield is with you, but I still think I would better
go to the Hotel unless you very much prefer not to have me.
You will receive by Express, a black hat which will puzzle you - It is one of my last winter's hats, turned over - I found I did not need it, & thought perhaps it would be just what you needed. The shape is not the most fashionable, but felts are worn more than anything. I hope you will like it. No inside trimming is worn this fall - not so much as a flower-
I have been in a great whirl ever since I left Wolfboro [sic, no punctuation]
have had a good time, but am very tired. We set out for home on Sat. morning,
stop a day in Chicago, & will get home by the 14th. - Will write you
soon after that -
P.S. We could not go up to Vassar-Will is quite worn out (mentally!) - with so much running about -- & if I should propose to him a single place more, I think he would rebel. He went to Phila. today & returns tomorrow.
Dec. 23, 1878
I have been in bed for four days, with a bronchial cold, which has pulled me down like a fever - I am sitting up today, but feel as weak as a rat. - I have been thinking of you a great deal in the last ten days. A week ago last Thursday it began to snow here - snowed two whole days! 18 inches in all, & drifted; then it turned furiously cold; mercury went to 10°, & 12° below zero at night; it was simply fiendish weather! -- I had forgotten how cold cold was! - Somehow, in the midst of it all I got this horrible cold; -- wearing Arctics I think, & sitting in warm rooms with them on. There was no getting about in the snow without them; & it was too much trouble to take them off in every home you went into. -
I have been looking every day for a box of books from Boston which contains among other books, a good many children's books, from which I was counting on sending the children some for Christmas. You must tell them they are coming, so that will be better than nothing. - I am very much disappointed about it - as I am also about a good many other things which I had hoped to do. - As nearly as I can make out from Mr. Tufts' letter, he will not have a cent to pay me at New Years! And as I had only $20 in October, you may imagine I feel poor enough. - So far as income goes, I seem to have jumped out of the frying pan into the fire, in this change of Trustee - to have only $20, for six months, is pretty unsatisfactory. - However $200 has to go to that shark of a Julius - and I certainly ought not to complain, as long as I have my living furnished me, by a husband - and I shall have a hundred or $125 at New Years from Roberts I suppose - But nobody buys any books now - so that source of income is cut off. - I should not speak of all these things, and it seems about heathen to do so, where you are so much worse pinched than I am - but I want you to understand why I do not send you something. That is the real reason & the only reason I care so much - I had thought I should have $300, at N. Years, & I was going to send Helen $100 to pay off Prof. [Barkers?] -- & send $50 to you - then with the other $150, I should meet all I needed to meet here, til April. - When I feel tempted to complain however I always rend myself, how much worse off I should have been if I had not married. - I should have had either to go to the Alm's home, or take a "situation" -- & I'm sure I don't know one I could fill. - But this being dependent on Will about drives me wild. If he had the least conception of it, he would be unhappy I suppose, for he intends to be perfectly kind and do all which is necessary - but a man never understands five hundred things - He has never dreamed how many things I have paid for in the housekeeping & house-running out of my own money. - As I look back now, I wonder what I ever did with $200 a month, which is what I had had for two years after we were married. $2600 the first year. -
I have a whole lot of things done up to send you - by mail - hope to get them off tomorrow - I was too miserable to do them up last week - some heavy flannels of Wills -- & a black jacket of mine, & some old shirts & odds & ends - which will be useful. - I believe I feel about snow & cold as you do now. I'd like never to see another flake of snow as long as I live - unless just for a day or two, as a spectacle, & for about three hours, on runners - which is all I ever saw here, in the four winters I have been here - never at the outside more than three days. -- But it looks now as if it would lie a month. Luckily we have just got water into the house - good water from a mountain stream -- We have it brought into the scullery so there is no more torment with barrels frozen up; (we used to have all our cooking & drinking water brought in barrels from a spring.)-
My new cook is not very good, not very bad either, sometimes I wish she were! So that I should not be all the time wondering whether she would "do"! I have been rather spoiled by having three capital cooks one after the other. - Goodbye-this is a dismal letter for Christmas week. I am quite ashamed of it - Mrs. Whitney's old woman, in the story, who said always, "Think on your mercies! Think on your mercies" was a wise preacher. -
Yours ever lovingly
[22.] Letter from HHJ to AFB. Jan. 16, 1879
Jan. 16, 1879
I have just heard of the arrival of my box of books at Denver, so I shall get it in a few days, & I thought I would let the children know that their books will start from here in the course of a week or ten days.
---Everything has been blanketed with snow-a more horrid winter I never knew. -I have been in bed with a bronchial cold-(got up & went to Denver & staid eight days looking for a new cook - brought home a perfect treasure if she lasts like this-far the best I ever had, take her all in all --)
Then last Sunday came down again with a bad sore throat & have been in my room till today, & still feel utterly weak & wretched. - I am worn out with this weather. The snow still lies deep, thaws in the day, but freezes again at night, & looks as if it would last till April!-
I send you two Independents by this mail.-will send them to you each week if I can recollect it.-Would you rather I should cut out my own articles before I send them to you - or could you possibly, with all you have to do, undertake to cut them out & send them to me? Of course I want to keep them all. - Love to all-am wondering why I don't hear. Yours ever - Helen
Your letter of the 14th came tonight. I think one letter of mine must have miscarried; for I did not know that it had been so long since I wrote you, and I have a different impression of having written you that I was glad you liked the black hat! - at any rate, I meant to!-
I cannot tell you how your letter has distressed me - I feel so bitterly towards Julius Palmer that if I did not know it would it would be the height of folly. I would have the satisfaction of writing to him, and telling him my opinion of him.-But don't on any account let any feelings of dissatisfaction with Charlie grow up in your mind - I am sure he will do the very best he can -- & he is as honest as a man can be; -- Mr. Jackson has said all along that there could not be much money got out of that estate for a year or two.-He says he thinks that after things are all straightened out, & the property put in order, I may have $1500 a year, possibly $1800.-but not anything to speak of for a year to come.-so I have made up my mind to it; -- and if it were not for your necessities, I should not mind it very much - for I can earn my clothes, and everything else is provided for me; -- but it does make me reproach myself to look back & think that if I had only been thrifty & laid up a little I should have had a stock on hand, to do something with now. But Julius told me, I could depend on from $2200 - to $2400 a year, & so I gave myself no uneasiness-I don't see where he got it all-however we must remember that everybody is suffering just as we are from income's being cut down half & two thirds; --the times are dreadful, and it is just such people as you & I with small incomes that suffer most; laboring people who depend on days wages can earn as much today as ever.
Now there is one favor I have to ask of you-please do not speak, ever again, of my having lent you money! It really hurts my feelings to have you do it -- & I am not sure that it will not finally offend me, if you keep on doing it. I did not lend you that money-I gave it to you -- & I only wish it were $4000 instead of $400.-I shall never take a penny of it -- & I never think of it any more than if I had never had it.-and if I ever have any money of my own again, I shall give you all I can do without, -- if our positions were reversed, I would take it from you most unhesitatingly & I know you would give it, so if you love me, please never speak of it again. - I hope very much that I can send you $100, next month. I have sent a story to the Independent, which if they take it, will bring me $100, & I shall send it to you. That will pay what Helen will owe at Vassar.-
I have not heard from Mr. Tufts yet-though I wrote to him last month to know if he really meant that there would be nothing for me. Jan. 18th. I suppose he has so much to do in the bank, he cannot get time to write any needless letters.-
If Mr. Jackson were a different sort of man, I would ask him for some money for you or if I had not started my married life on such a totally distinct & independent basis in money matters - but I have never asked him for one penny yet--& do not think I ever shall; -- he puts $170 a month to my credit, at the bank, for the housekeeping -- & on that I try to run the house; -- but I can't [crossed out: begin to] do it.-paying out $50 for wares to begin with; -- he used to give me $200, -- the first year - but when he resigned his place in the railroad, & thereby gave up a salary of $15000 a year, he asked me if I could do with $170, & I said "certainly," because it seemed no more than fair that I should pay part of the housekeeping myself, when I had so good an income of my own -- & I knew he felt the losing $2000 a year to be quite a serious thing. I don't want to vie you the impression that he is niggardly at all - for he is not - but he has the Quaker views about money & expenditure -- & added to that, the habits of a man who has made money by hard work & saving - and his early standards were as plain as those of the people at Weston, I think - I believe I told you how little real money they had in his fathers family -- & that he supported himself entirely from the time he was sixteen. - So, he simply could not understand any deprivation in many things which you & I would consider hardships. He is a singular man in many ways - just, to a wonderful degree-and generous in many ways, -- from his standpoint - but not at all free in the use of money; -- he spends less on himself than any man I ever knew-but he sends several hundred a year to his family -- & must do so more & more I think; --they have now only about $300 a year in money!! - How they live I can't conceive - the farm I suppose nearly feeds them; -- and Quaker clothes never seem to wear out! - but there are four grown women, and three children - all to be fed & clothed -- & another daughter with two children also poor, always coming home to stay! -
As for Richie - I know how a mother's heart must ache to think of a boy, poor & unfortunate, -- & struggling - away from home; -- but I can never shake off the feeling about Richie that he ought to be able to earn his living - and more too; -- and I have never felt the faith in Richie I would like to feel, since he wrote to you for money to pay his passage back from Peru. - He ought to have worked his passage "before the mast," rather than have done it - and if he had had the right manly spirit he would. -
That boy I saw in Wolfboro "Fred," turned up here the other day - the most homesick, limp, and disgruntled boy I ever saw. - He hasn't the "stuff" in him to succeed at all - I was entirely out of patience with him - he talked so absurdly about being "so lonely" in Denver, he couldn't stay there! - He had only been there four days! - I gave him the addresses of several Hotels, and told him he might use my name as a recommendation - and if he is determined he can find a place as waiter, as I told him in Wolfboro, but that is the only thing he can find - and he won't find that unless he can make up his mind to be uncomfortable in some ways. - I dare say he is at home again by this time --, he did not come back here.-
Now I am afraid that I have given you a wrong idea of Will, by what I have written - I would not for the world do him, or lead you to do him, injustice-but I have been afraid that the thought might cross your mind that it was strange he did not give me money enough to make up all the deficiencies in my own income --; and I want you to understand just why it is, that it would never occur to him to do it - even if he had twice as much money as he has, it would not. - If I were to ask him, I think he would give me all I asked, -- that is, if it were 'reasonable.' He gave me of his own accord $400 last fall, for myself & things for the house -- & our trip to the East cost over $1000 beside-so you see he is not at all niggardly. I think he is very much such a man about money matters as Charlie Tufts is - if I have got the correct idea about Mr. Tufts.
I am glad to tell you that I have a first rate cook now - if she only lasts as well as she has begun, I shall take great comfort in her. She seems to be about a perfect servant - too good to last. -- The waitress is not yet quite strong -- & is sulky a good deal of the time which tries me very much - I do hate sulky people. But I hope when her stomach is healed up (!) she will be good natured. Dyspepsia is the most fatal disease to good temper. -
I hardly know what to say about your idea of finding a situation as housekeeper. - It might prove a most comfortable thing. - Mrs. Robinson with whom I boarded one winter in Cambridge, kept house afterward for a nice Mr. McKay there, & had a delightful home for herself & daughter for years - but that was an exceptional chance. - If you could hit such a place as that, you could be comfortable & live more easily than by taking boarders - but it would be to me far more disagreeable -- Never think of being "Matron" of an Institution . It is the hardest & most thankless of all posts. - You could not do it. - But the other you might; -- still, I think the boarding plan the best, if you would only go to Amherst.-
If you really made up your mind to look for a housekeeping place, the way would be to advertise for it. - Boston papers, I should say. You would be more likely to find a pleasant house in that region than in N. York, -- But I trust you will not have to do it. - If you can only pull through till Helen is able to earn something, you can see your way. It is this costly Vassar which has been the mistake in your plans. - Goodbye-
Ever lovingly - Helen
I have written to Mr. Tufts to say how glad I am that he is willing to stay "in" till Augustus returns; -- also to Augustus, telling him that Mr. Tufts has consented to do so; -- it is a great load off my mind. I really did not see what we should do, if he insisted on resigning at once.-
Now I beg of you, not to fret and worry him by any unnecessary words either of inquiry, or explanation of your need of money.-He knows only too well how much you need it -- & that is one thing that has worried him so, & kept him from sleeping! - poor fellow - he [crossed out: has] is no more fit for anything outside a [mere?] mechanical routine of figures than a boy of twelve! - We shall undoubtedly earn quite as much from a year of his administration as from Julius's - but we ought not to open our lips; -- he was our own choice, (at least he was yours!) - and he took the place out of true kindness -- & he is not in the slightest degree to blame for being inadequate to it. - The whole thing is a misfortune for which nobody is to blame, & of which we must make the best.-
If I stood where you do, I should sell that Brooklyn house [instantly?] - no matter if I did lose by it;-- suppose you got only $6,000;-- for that, Will could get for you, out here, on perfectly good loans -- $600 a year --; & if you did not want to take the risk even of a loan - you could have 8 [per ct? on] his Bank -- $480 a year Sure! -- How much do you get now!
You did not tell me when the $100 is due on Helen's tuition --. I expected to have had it long before this - but the story has not yet been printed, but if it does not come in time I will receive the money of Will --; the story is accepted, so I am sure of the money. I had hoped very much for a successful venture in another direction - from a copyright I tried to sell; in which case I should have sent you $200 more to pay Helen's school [rate?]; but I have been disappointed nobody wants to buy books nowadays -- & I shall have no money for a long time except what Mr. Tufts sends me in April, -- except the little sums which I get now & then for poems. It is all very well for you to wish you had "my talent." I couldn't keep myself from starving by it! If I only knew how to write trashy novels like Mrs. Southworth, I could make money - or if I were a genius, like Mrs. Burnett. But my work is both too good, and too bad to be profitable! -
Yours ever lovingly
I send you by same mail with this letter, a little book which I want you, & Nanie to read with great care. I was so impressed by the quality of this John Allen- as revealed in this little book - that I had an irresistible feeling that if he would only take Nanie into his employ, it would be a grand chance -- & humanly speaking ensure success. It is the first time in my life that I have received such a strong impression of a mans character from his book. I would send a boy of mine to John Allen today, if I had one - who needed to earn his living. If you will study this book carefully, you will see that it shows - real warm feeling - sentiment - industry -energy -[systemic?] promptitude, & a religious nature. - As for the Bee-business, the statistics of the book are enough for that.
Well, I was so impressed that I did what may seem to you very quixotic,
I sat down & wrote to John Allen, & told him a little about Nanie
-- & asked him if he wanted such a boy in his business -- & what
the chances would be for a young man's getting into the business for himself
in that region.-- I enclose you his reply. - I confess that it was a great
disappointment - but I still think it worth while to submit the whole
subject to your and Nanie's consideration; -- it may be that in some of
the other places Mr. Allen mentions, Nanie might get a situation, &
begin -- & another year, go to Mr. Allen -- & in a very few years
be in the business for himself - You see here is a business requiring
small capital - leaving a man his winters for study - or other work -
sure in its profits; and what a profit! If there is anything else in the
world which will yield 400 per A. I should like to know what it is.-If
the thing strikes Nanie, as a thing he would like to do - it is worth
making an effort to get him at it. - He can support himself - study winters
-- & have outdoor life summers; -- if he can only once get at it;
-- of course, in New Hampshire nothing could be done with it - there are
not enough flowers; -- I should not have supposed there were in the places
he mentions in Massachusetts. - Now nothing may come of all this -- &
of course, if it does not please Nanie's fancy, it is not worth while
to press it on his attention, -- but if I had my living to earn, I do
believe I'd go in for it myself! I think it would be a more fascinating
life.-This book has given me real delight.
My Dear Annie,
I have written to Charlie Tufts tonight, & asked him to send you $100 immediately, & charge it to my account. I take it for grated that there must be as much of that, due me on April 1st! - The money I expected before this, has not come - or I should have sent it to you. - It is strange but you made a mistake, in speaking of the time of the Vassar bills being due; you said in your last letter, "next month"-- I would have borrowed it of Will, to send you before now, if I had known; but as it is so near the 1st of April, I thought I would rather have Mr. Tufts send it to you.-Before I really need any myself, I may have some come in from the Independent. But I don't know what has got into them - they have not printed anything of mine for weeks & weeks, it is always so - "never rains but it pours-" & never holds up but then is a drought!-
I am most heartily glad at the news about Nanie. - It is a capital chance for him -- & he will be far more likely to make a successful man, for being thrown on his own resources. Everett's present frame of mind on this as well as on other questions, is undoubtedly to be attributed to his disease. There is no other explanation of it, of course it is very hard to bear - but it must be accepted like any other diseased condition which cannot be cured - "endured." -I have felt for a long time, as I have told you - that his performances ought not to be allowed to stand in the way of what seemed best for the family. I shall write to Nanie tonight, and tell him how much I approve his decision. - When you have read the "Blind Bees", mail the book to him. - He may be able to do something with bees out there if the fancy strikes him. Minnesota is a good state for bee-culture; -- and there is no doubt that there can be few easier & safer ways of making a good living.
I had a nice letter from Helen yesterday. - Has she any dress suitable to wear at Commencement in June? Do they all wear white? - I have a lovely mauve muslin which I have only worn once, & which does not fit me all that well, which I will send her, if they can wear colors. It would be extremely becoming to Helen; -- if they must wear white, I can send her a sacque & overskirt, which will be pretty; if she can make some sort of underskirt; -- I have worn them over black.-
I'm afraid there will not be any suit of Mr. J's coming to Nanie this spring, -- all his suits seem likely to hold over, but be sure Nanie shall have every thing which [now?] is given up. Mr. J. is delighted that Nanie has gone to work - "be the making of him" he says - "a move in the right direction."
April 12, 1879
Do not say so much about the little sums of money I give you. Please do not. I know you are grateful - and I know if I were in your place I should be - for any help however small. But all I give you is so small in comparison with what I want to -- & would, if I had not been so unexpectedly cut off in my own income, that I can't bear to have you seem to think so much of it.
I have no disposition to have any inquiries or to make any about Aug-Bachelder. I think our long acquaintance with him, is enough. I have never heard one word even of doubt about him in all these twenty-five years -- & his face & manner & words, all corroborate the long traditions of his goodness. - I think him, & always have thought him, one of the best hearted, & most upright men.-of course we may be deceived - just as people have been and are being, every year - but no human being can forestall such possibilities! - we must take our chances.
I hope you will not think of instituting any such inquiries - but we must do all you think best.
You do not allude of late to your applications to Smith College. Have you withdrawn it? June you said was the time for it to be acted on by the Trustees. - I have hoped very much that you would get the situation; it seems to me one you could fill well -- & if you took it only for one year - it would give you a year of rest - comparatively speaking - Nanie & [Kitty?] a year of schooling -- & at the end of that time something better might appear. -
I do not know anything about the heat in Minneapolis - but presume it is cooler than New H.-As for working in the bank in shirt sleeves perhaps etiquette is stricter in Minn. than in Colorado - but I assure you that in a hot day here you might often find every man in his Mr. Jackson's bank , coatless, including W. S. J. himself! -I hate it, & would never do it, if I were a man.-I'm afraid there will be no thin suit for Nanie, this spring, out of this home - next year there will be - but I had them all cleaned last fall & they will do very well for Will this season.-
I have not heard from [?] Abbott for some time. I know they were very much pinched, but I hope it is not so bad as Helen wrote; -- It was a marriage I never approved of -- & has only turned out as I feared; such differences of age are horrible I think - it is bad enough to be younger than your wife - but to be quarter of a century older is worse! Fancy me today with a husband [+60!?] I should hate him! Ever yrs Helen
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