Helen Hunt Jackson 6-1-6 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 6, Ms 0353, Box 1, Folder 6, miscellaneous
My dear Mr & Mrs Jackson
A few days ago a beautiful set of H.H's books came for me from the publishers in Boston - but as there was no card with them I have been in great perplexity as to whom they were from - until Mama suggested you and Mrs Jackson might have been the senders - and I write now to thank you both most sincerely - for this many books I have been wanting ever since I can remember - I have been keeping house over a week now - And so far I like it immensely - I hope should you come to St. Paul you will let me know so I can have a visit from you - as I should so like Will to know you.
Thanking you again for thinking of me in such a lovely way -
Gertrude Lamborn Peet.
[This is only a part of a letter, but from context, must have been written in the summer of 1885]
expect very soon a reply even to this poor apology for a note - I cld. talk with you a little just now about this beautiful green grass, & to full trees, & the distant slope, & the heavy bank of thick folige [sic], & the breaking clouds, & all that makes my summer resting place so beautiful; but its not best now so, Good bye - Jane sends her love to you; - & by the way, I must tell you of some thing she said to me one day about a week, or fortnight since - She had been very sad, & had cried a good deal, because of my apparent failing, & in anticipation of the result she so much feared, & she told me
Dear Cousin Annie
I want to write without further delay but am so tired having done my weeks washing fear it will not be satisfactory My Maggie was confined to a dark room some days before father was hurt and is just able with dark glasses to round to help, which has made it very hard for us. His sufferings were so great and also his mind wandering that we could not leave him for a moment and even by wacthing [sic] him close by could not prevent his moving his poor limb so it was impossible for it to be kept in place that the bones might [sic]. The Doctor said it was the worst compound fracture they ever saw and had it healed at his age it never would be of use, and when the doctors decided that it must be amputated I never saw him so distressed. He had hoped to save the leg. When advised to go to the Hospital where he could have the best care he said "it means to lose my leg." but after consenting to have the "ambulance" sent up for him, he was brave and went cheerfully. We promised to be with him one of us ever day but the rules of the Hospital did not allow us to stay ordinarily night. - Abbie, Nathan and I went with him remained with him till taken to the room for amputation, Nathan saw him after being carried back to his room and partially over the effects of the ether, so much as he gave his hand and said good night. The shock and extreme suffering aggravated a bladder trouble he had had some time, so that we were told more danger was feared from that than the limb His temperature and pulse were so favorable the limb doing well that for a few days we had strong hope he might be able to come home though when I saw him carried out of this his home and into the side entrance at the Hospital in the Ambulance cradle, I feared he never would come away. The bladder trouble increased causing great pain and the Dr. was obliged to relieve him 3 times a day. The 6th day he had 2 chills followed by profuse perspiration which was alarming but that Thurs night he was more comfortable and all symptoms seemed improved, then we hoped the crisis was past because we had been told if he lived a week there might be hope, but Friday he was not as well though not much change and Saturday I got leave to stay nights after Wednes. He felt so badly to have us come home, and was there except the middle of Fri, when Abbie staid with him, Sat eve when Abbie came for the night to let me sleep at home he seemed disappointed that Nathan did not go with her. He had been in the A.M. and twice most every day. I told him N. was going to spend the day with him Sunday but if he wished he should go that night. He said "no if everything was all right" O how we all especially N. wish he had gone that night. Possibly he thought the end was near & and [sic] wanted to communicate something but in the early morning he had another chill and when N got there was dying. N. tried to rouse him asked if he knew him and father looked up into his face and tried to speak. He N. sent for Martha and I but though breathing consciousness was gone. N. was greatly distressed and it is hard for him to take up the burden of home affairs and all of fathers business affairs without having known anything about them, and can find no Will. At this busy season Nathan cannot well take the time to look carefully through all his papers so we cannot tell what may appear, but hope the place will not have to be sold at present or while Aunt Mary lives as a forced sale would be very unfortunate We try to hope it can go on as if his father were living for the present.
It was so fortunate Abbie was at home also that Martha lives near, Helen has a boy born last Jan when her youngest child Arthur who expects to enter Amherst College this fall was 18 years. Of course she wanted to be here but could not very well but would come any time it best. She came to the funeral with all her family, and returned the next day. Have read over your letter which reminds me that you may not know how the accident happened. He was called as an agent of the So. P. . C. T. A. [transcriber's note: Society to Prevent Cruelty To Animals] to see a market man coming from Boston abusing his horse. He had been in the meadow all day was very tired, but rode with the man who complained They met the team having got the horse which was bulky After talking with the man as he was tired he accepted the invitation to ride up home His feet hung over the front of the wagon, the horse kicked up struck his right leg below the knee breaking both bones
The physican [sic] nearest telephoned for was away and left his patient in care of one who lived in Waverly to whome [sic] his wife telephoned Had we known we should have sent to Waltham but as it was he suffered from 8 till 10 before we came then when he saw what a severe compound fracture it was he etherized him and sent to Waltham for help so it was 12 before the leg was put in splints and he laid in bed. His sufferings were terrible from the time he was kicked till the end came A sad ending of the nearly 50 years of our married life. The 12 of the month would have been our anniverersary [sic]. He has been very feeble all summer and the Doctors at the Hospital told Nathan he would not have lived long believe I have written this before. The last of June he was threatened with pneumonia had severe pleurisy and the Doctor thought him very sick but he would not stay in bed or let us take the care of him he needed. Did not gain much till the warm weather came then though not able would go out into the field most every day and help some. He went as usual in May all over town taking invoice met with the board to make the taxes and here at home has done all the copying as usual not working steadily but a part of each day several weeks finished and took them to the "Collector" 2 days before he was hurt. It is near tea time and work demands my attention Abbie goes to Marion Sat. Her husband has accepted the Principalship of the Tabor Academy in that place She is very tired and it will be hard to start in a new place among strangers. Her little girl Helen is 5 years and a very bright attractive child. How I shall miss them how lonely Nathan and I shall be Martha is tired out but around. Her Edith and Louie 17 and 16 years have studied I fear too hard but passed the Examinations preliminary) [sic] at Harvard in June which with another years work and examinations will admit them to any College anywhere they are so hard but they passed well Louie has worked too hard this summer to try to earn money to pay his expenses and now is very poorly so we fear will not be able to attend school this term.
The reason I did not answer your letter was because I expected either to see you or know when you were in Boston then did not know where to direct. It will be sad to come here and not see him who was always so glad to welcome his friend but I hope if ever able to see you. Thank you for you loving sympathy. You know how to prize it.
Gratefully L. M. Fiske
Addressed: Miss Alice Blanchard,
Care Hon. John Blanchard
Many thanks for your letter but, alas, the dear little volume of Longfellow's poems was from Esther, and not from me. Where was the letter from her which you were to read on Xmas Day? That would have explained all. Shall I repent that I wrote on the inside and outside of that pretty book. Or shall I be glad to have written in your favourite poems, now to be still more to you on account Esther's gift? If you will interpret the "Merry Christmas" aright you will see the "Will with out the deed." As far as I am concerned, Esther would feel so sorry, that she, I hope, may not know the mistake. I shall do all in my power to make her happy will not you? Do write whenever you can. I shall be only too happy to hear.
And so you are really to be home! I cannot believe it, but I am so glad for you and yours. In haste, but yrs lovingly, H.F. B.
Postmarked on the front: NEW YORK MAR 11 3 PM C
My dear Will -
I have a letter from Mrs Hunt (Chicago) the step mother of the poor man who is now so dreadfully ill at M. & she had told me of your kind generous gift & I want to tank you too, dear Will you are so kind & good to the suffering & needy - I feel so sorry for poor Sarah who will I am afraid break down entirely - God help the poor widow & the nephews if he must die & I should imagine there was no hope for him - I hear constantly from Helen & I suppose you are soon to join here & I am so glad. I fancy there has been some queer times & doings down town the past ten days -
Just as I expected the Gardiners leave here the first of May - There is no reliable substantial health there & I always suspected they were being too fast. What a fool a man is to live as he had this winter - still & splurge for a little - the bubble burst a littler sooner than I thought it would - We are all jogging on in our own way - Weather lovely. Let me hear from you before you leave for Cal.n & believe me your affectionate
M. H. H.
Postmarked: NEWBURGH N.Y. SEP 29 1884 8 PM
I came here last Friday & brought your last letter with me - I must say I was not a little disappointed but the more I think about your going to Cal.n the better I think of it & I hope you will not return to N.Y. for Jan, Feb & March. Stay where it will do you the most good & I must say that I don't believe it would have been wise for you to stay in Denver, I am glad you are walking better with crutches - I sent you a cane which you ought to have this week & I trust you will not want a cane very long - I expect to see you if we ever meet again just as well as you were before your accident - & I doubt not you will have a pleasant winter & great comfort with Effie - How soon will you leave home. - I saw that a N.Y. woman had frozen to death making the ascent of one of your mountains & should say you had better leave soon - I am sorry that there is no prospect of your coming East to live. It's a bitter disappointment to me - but its all right, I hope, for you & Will. - Mrs. Palmer said you were going to pass the winter either in Mexico or Calfn. & so she seems to have been right. I am feeling better the past two weeks & here I am enjoying the quiet & driving, but it is very sad to see the very great change in these old people & I suppose they think the same of me - Mrs. St. J. is awfully stupid & I suppose she could return the compliment. I don't believe I can stand her & the living more than two weeks. The truth is the Berkeley suits me for any place, & my quiet neatly served breakfasts are a loss to me when I go away - I wonder what sort of a housekeeper - I would make now. - I don't think I would have deteriorated as some of my friends have done. For a moment after reading your letter I thought how I would like to go with you this winter, but I don't believe a warm climate would be good for me - I need the bracing winter to live through the summer. I shall miss you ever so much but I want you to get strong & equal to your work & usefulness & hope you have many many long years before you, & you must do every thing to preserve health. I am scarcely through with this world & think I felt better prepared for the other life - Did I see the death of Mrs. Woolsey the other day? Will her death break up their home in New port? I wish Will would take better care of himself, What is money worth if one looses [sic] their health. Write dearie very often. Its one of my comforts to hear from you -
Love to Will,
& always lovingly
Aug. 5, 1885
You will be saddened to learn that I am here watching at Helen's bedside - she is very, very sick - sick nigh unto death. I have the gravest apprihensions [sic]. In the fall of last year she went to Los Angeles, to escape our severe winters & was doing well, when all of a sudden she was taken with Malaria as if by a stroke of lightning. She came to San Francisco after suffering a month at Los Angelos [sic] - got a little better, but it was short lived - she was again taken worse & has steadily lost flesh & strength until now she cannot sit up. The curious condition is, that she has no pain (in the ordinary sense of the word) & has not had from the first - Only a persistant [sic] malignant & terrible nausea & loathing of foods; until now the stomach refuses the simplest forms of nourishment; even water is thrown up. Of course this condition of affairs cannot go on long & do not be surprised if even before this sad letter reaches you - you have word she has left us - The hardest thing I have had to do in my life is to be forced to watch & see this wasting away of a beautiful & useful life without being able to do one single thing to save her - All that Physicians can do, has been done & they do not seem to stem the downward course a particle - sometimes they have alleviated, but only for a short time - The tissues go on wasting & the nausea continues. A braver brighter & cleaner brain I never saw - harder all this slow wasting away she retains her interest in everything & everybody & directs her affairs as fully & completely as she ever did, but confident that the end is not far off - It is barely possible that her forebodings are morbid & that she may yet rally & the stomach act again, but in every other thing her mind is so clear & logical, that I can hardly hope besides the Physicians give me but little encouragement. This is perhaps the first intimation you will have had of the danger that threatens. It is only within the last few days that I have had my eyes opened to it as the Doctors have heretofore expressed the most confident assurances that Malaria never killed, but now they conclude there must be some organic breaking down that they have not discovered. It was difficult to discover on account of the absence of pain. My prayer is that my fears may not be realized, but I am most thoroughly alive [transcriber's note: I believe he meant to write "aware"] the very great danger.
With love to you all
Wm S. Jackson
Postmarked: NEW YORK C DEC 19 230 PM
written across one end of envelope: Mollie Dec. 19 1885
20 Fifth Ave
My dear Will
Your very kind note & very generous check is most gratefully received. I have sent it at once to the church. I want nothing so much as to see the Church Emmanuel in Brooklyn free from debt, & I shall send it as an offering from you to the Church. I am glad to know your time is fully occupied & I often feel as you do that dear Helen is very near. It may be they know much more about us than we are apt to think. - I hope you will come here soon. I want to see you & every change you can make is beneficial, do you not think so. Thursday I dined with my brothers family to celebrate Robbies 16 sixteenth birthday & also to congratulate Mrs. [Leminton?] on her engagement to Mr. Leeds, a Lawyer in Brooklyn. She has been a widow three years & a sincere & sad mourner & we are all delighted to think she has found somebody that she cares for & who cares for her - something to live for. - She is only thirty nine, Mr. L about forty five, a bachelor. I am sure its all right, the whole family will dine with me Xmas, also Mr. Leeds. Do you remember the dinner two years ago, dear Will I hope you will stop here when you are in Town. Let me hear from you, always with interest in you & Love I am M. H. H
My dear dear Niece,
How sad I am to know you & yours were all so near me & in such deep sorrow, & know nothing about it. I would have been so glad to have been with you, Why! Did you not let me go to you & do something for you. - give my love and deepest sympathy to your dear Mother to all the family (& send love - When all is is [sic] over let me hear from you & tell me of your plans for the winter, I hope you will be near me & I trust you have not got to make the usual and annual move with all its fatigue & cares. Come & board & rest this winter someplace near me. I wish there were rooms in the house for you. There is always my little room for you dear dear Helen & a very warm welcome & come when you can - Is there anything I can do for you? Again my love I send to all, & always yours
With Love & a heart full of sympathy
M. H. Hunt
Addressed to: Miss M.C. Banfield
Postmarked: BOSTON MASS DEC 2 2-30 PM 1903
Dear Miss Banfield
The parcel has arrived & I wait for sending them; then I will forward to Miss Snow's as you [ ].
T. W. Higginson
On Glen Eyrie letterhead
Many 22 1906
To the "Jackson children"
My Dear young friends
Altho' I have, I believe Verbally acknowledged your most agreeable Christmas present to one of you, I write this rather belated note, to tell you all how glad I was to get your set of H H's works And how thankful I feel to you for your Kind remembrance and for this Charming addition to my Library.
While I have some of the books there are a number I have not seen - and the full set is a delightful acquisition.
With my best New Years wishes for your father & all of you - and assuring you that Whenever you come to Glen Eyrie you Confer as much pleasure on us as you say you have received.
I remain Your
Wm. J. Palmer
I congratulate your father - please tell him - on hi s "crossing the line" of 3 Score and 10 in Such good Condition. He is only a trifle ahead of me, as my turn comes in 8 months. W/P
Thurs. Sept 3 -
7:30 a.m. & I have had my breakfast, swept the porse [sic] (that is the only time I wonder if it isn't a bit too big!) and so a letter to you.
I say this - there are many family matters & decisions that are no one's Biz but yours Nellies & Edie's - All the intimacies, figure's & feudin's, petty and/or real & [ ], affairs true or false, matters concerning finances & the troubles resettling there should be buried forever, nor do I care who wrote those. We individually or to-gether are the sole ones to decide - We are not a family that chooses to wash our soiled linen in public and the rest of the world can go hang. I personally cannot believe that H.H. was - or will be considered so great that even her envelopes must be treasured. I would however on removing a letter from all envelope mark the letter, if undated, with the date & the nature & the addressee & his or her address. Re scraps of paper with H.H.'s writing, I think those should be kept. Future students - scholars may profit by them & recognize in them bits of poems, .. [a couple of pages missing] both are her [ ] of many wearied lives. So - destroy what you see fit of letters & fret not! But keep all odd bits of mss. together in a box. Those I think should be kept.
The pity of it all is that we 3 could not have been right here this summer working over these to-gether.
Now my dear - pull yourself to-gether re your exhaustion from the Battle of the Letters to date. Beyond any doubt you are glad to have made this start, to have accomplished as much as you have and, as I feel - & I hope you do, rejoice in the unanimous agreement between you, Edie & me as to the type of family papers we are willing to leave for the study of future scholars.
Whether we decide upon a large, fine Public Library - or say the Houghton Library at Harvard is a matter for us to get to-gether on - As yet I am not prepared to give a clear cut answer. I lean to the latter for the reason that it is, beyond any shadow of a doubt the 2nd finest Library in the world. However I would never oppose anything you decided to do for a minute. I am one who feels that such a collection belong more to the terrain from which one sprang rather than to that where one went, at the end of life, to die!!
You will get over the nauseated feelings you have had from reading others personal letters! I did - and so will you. But I think, not only are we crazy if we do not burn the "painful personals" - but we have no right whatsoever to so burden our young with bilge & tripe. It's age old, [ ] as dirt, has gone on in all [s..] & probably will! So what? We try to keep our later days clean - let's also try & so keep what we have behind!
Re the stamped env. you sent. - I will ask [Charles?]. I do not think they have any value. I [supposed?] you put all such in a Box and then ship me the whole Bunch some day & he will go through them easily & quickly.
What J.L does not know won't hurt him!
I burst straight out at all seams, laughing over your saying "& never let him know I'm glad we've got our old coal stove in the 228 kitchen!" "What the hell" difference does it make what you have! I have my coal stove solely because it is way beyond my means to ever think of changing my heating plans and all I [...ing] the gas (my choice!) stove & my desire.
Stamped Envelopes of H.H.'s keep also for me to have passed on re stamp value.
What all old scamp & egotist that Palmer man was! A cool $100,000. he got away with from H. H. & A. S. B. - and old Fiske all equal amounts - Had not my father stepped in, legally & staunchly supported by yours & gotten old Fiske to resign, there would not have been anything left! Howard always said - & so did Papa that it was H. H.'s fury at old Palmer's financial ways, coupled with A. S. B.'s pigheaded determination that Palmer was [ ] that launched her, H H. on her writing career so she could have means to go places, see things & people & be independent of such shenannygans [sic]!
Send me a p.c. that this has reached you - Take a deep breath - put what you desire in the stove - smile as they burn - then go wash your hands & say "There! That's that, Thank God."
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 10-02, jr