William S. Jackson 2-3-27 transcription
William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 3, Folder 27, Letters from HHJ to her brother-in-law Everett C. Banfield, 1855, transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, fall 1995.
To: Everett C. Banfield, 46 Court Street, Boston, Mass
Newport, Friday Morn.
July 20, 1855.
Dear Everett: -
I got your letter at 6 1/2 o'clock this morning & perused it in bed - with great satisfaction. I am really very grateful to you for ascertaining so soon, as to prices, possibilities, &c., in regard to our team; - perhaps, one of these days, I can do as much for you - "if not" as Auntie Vinal used to say, "for you, I will for somebody else"!
And now for "particular answers" to all your "particular questions" - I did not suppose that we should have to give so much as $300. for a carriage - as you saw of course from my mention of $400. as the sum for the whole. But as all our exemption from loss at the end of the arrangement depends on our getting one which will sell again for something like its original cost, it is undoubtedly best for us to get a good reliable article, at whatever price. If a second hand one could be bought for a great deal less, & still a good serviceable carriage, I think that would be best; but I am willing - & indeed much prefer, to leave it to your selection entirely; - only, I think if it is to be $500. for the whole, I had better write a little note to Sanford & ask him, merely as a matter of form, if he is willing to lend us that amount. Of course, I was not so unbusinesslike a body, as to write to you asking you to set off on such an enterprise, without having notified him of my acceptance of his loan; I wrote to him by the same mail that I wrote to you. I will enclose a line to him, in this note & if it is decently cool, & you have time, if you will just drop in on him some morning & give it to him you can settle the thing all up in a moment. Of course as he was willing to lend us $300. I do not expect he will hesitate to lend us $500 - & after all, the sum $300. was merely mentioned as his guess at the cost of such a team as I wanted; & the proposal was in fact, rather to lend us the cost of the horse & carriage than any one amount.
As to the harness I do not think we ought to give $30 for extra plate on a harness when we use plated spoons to eat with! Do you? The $30 harness would answer just as well. As to the horse I am delighted to hear of such an one as you describe - so soon found - for I feared you might be troubled to get one. His youth is of course all in his favor - & his belonging to a friend great security; I hope you will get him, if he is what you think; as you buy of a friend, you will perhaps get him a little cheaper.
Perhaps I have not been quite definite enough about the carriage; I can hardly be much more so, though, wishing as I do to commit it so much to your discretion; I have no objection at all to a secondhand one, if it be reliable - I have no objection either to a two seated Rockaway, if they are cheaper than the kind we went to Weston in, & can be bought as well made & reliable. The main thing is to get one, in which we run the least risk of loss at the end of the time - & of all the elements in that, you can judge much better than I - & had far better act on your own judgement, as if you were buying one for yourself, to sell again at the end of two years - than be any way hampered "by directions from a voman"!
I am sort o' glad to hear you have been "awful hot" anywhere but in Newport! It was pretty warm here yesterday, but not anything worth mentioning in comparison with the time when you were here. The thermometer was only 80 - & it was 87 those hot days; I thought this morning early that it would be hotter today, but it has clouded over, & is very cool & pleasant. Last night we walked down to the Ocean House & walked through the halls, & looked at the people - & up to the Bellevue, & heard the Germanians play; I wish we had done so while you were here - but it was too hot, though; You must come again - there are no two ways about it. You do not say what you think of driving down - would it not be feasible? - or to come to Fall River & drive from there? - Give my love to Annie - I shall look for her letter tomorrow morning. I had a letter from Henry Root's sister last night. He is confined to his bed now entirely - but his symptoms they think are more encouraging; - I cannot think however it is any real cause for expecting his recovery. Goodbye; Let me hear from you, if I have not been definite enough in my answers.
Dear Everett -
I have been getting ready to write you for several days about our "grey". I have been slowly coming to the conclusion, that although he is a horse of splendid capacity, he is not a good investment for us; he is not any better as a carryall-horse than he was at first & I think he is hardly so good; the truth is he has been trained for a team horses - & he needs training again which he can't have with us. Edward you know is no driver - Michael does not comprehend the idea of it at all though he is a very good driver for a thoroughly trained horse - & I cannot drive enough to have it amount to anything - & I do not believe any way I should succeed, for I cannot make him trot without whipping. I have driven him every pleasant day now for a month and I think it is pretty clear he will not improve under my jurisdiction; he will not go, over six miles an hour, without a great deal of whipping - say, once in a few minutes, a good hard out! - & he sometimes does not go more than three or four, when I let him "off" without the whip. I do not mean to depreciate the intrinsic worth of the horse, for I realize that fully - everybody says he might be made into a "splendid horse." Mr. Stanfield said if he could drive him for a year, he could make him worth $350. - but all this does not make it clear, that with such driving as we give him he will not degenerate. All this I was on the point of sitting down & telling you last night - when who should walk in but Capt. Shields, to see if we did not want to keep & use this winter, a very magnificent horse of his - 4 yrs. old only - 17 hands high; & elegantly formed - spirited - fast - & perfectly trained & safe for me to drive - he has offered her for sale for $225; and probably wld. sell her to us in the spring if we wanted her; there is no doubt that if we could get it would be a splendid investment - & at any rate, if we would get the price of the grey, I think we had better sell him, & if Shields will not sell in the spring, get another, for I feel so sure that he will degenerate on our hands.
Now will Mr. Hawley give $200. for him again? - Will you please see him as soon as possible & find out, & telegraph to me at once, as Shields must know Saturday. Would not you like to take the grey & keep him this Winter & drive him, & then in the Spring, if we can get $200. for him we will sell him - or after six months training with you, I dare say he would be just what we should like. This would perhaps be best of all, if you would like to keep a horse this winter; I suppose with your resources in the feed line it would cost you very little.
If Mr. Hawley was sincere in all he said though, he will be willing to buy him back. I write in a little the biggest hurry, so as to be sure & hear Saturday - excuse my conciseness. Telegraph to me, what Mr. H. will pay for him - & if you would like to keep him for the winter: Minor arrangements can come afterward.
Love to Annie -
Yrs. affectionately -
I rode with Shields' horse this morning - he is a huge creature - makes even the grey look little; & is a horse after my own heart. I forgot to say that the grey really does "shy" sometimes.
Newport, Wed. Eve.
Dear Everett - I just enclose your letter to you again because I couldn't "for the life of me" tonight write anything clearly enough on those knotty points, & your understanding of it is exactly right. Of course it would simplify matters much as you suggest to have simply provision for one child & codicil can be added if I live, & circumstances alter; that you can do.
As to S. End - Edward & I are both disgusted with the very sound of Jones & Skillings - "Half the taxes" -! Who knows what that estate will be taxed ten years hence? It is a poor, paltry arrangement, & I hope you will hold out against it. E. feels & so do I, that to lease that property without first advertising it faithfully, is folly; we do not know what man may be on the lookout for just such a piece of land as that, for some enterprise, who would never hear of it in any other way; there are capitalists in the city, I suppose, who don't know Dr. Palmer! I infer that you have not seen Sanford or Mr. Fuller yet; You know the matter was left in such a way that you were to see Sanford first, & go with him to see Mr. F. - I would do that, if I were you, if I could conveniently, for I imagine Mr. Fuller's opinion would be worth a good deal. Cannot you make Mr. Palmer advertise the estate? I think if you were to propose and urge it he would be obliged to yield, from sheer inability to give any plausible reason for not doing it; I feel a great confidence that something quite unexpected & much beyond present calculations might result from advertising; at any rate, we should know then that all had been tried & that would be some comfort. "Thim's our sentiments" on the South End matter. You can make whatever you please of them. I am thankful you are where you are - I am convinced that if we had no one to look after our interests a little, Mr. P. would be still more remiss & provoking than he is now.
Charlie improves a very little under Mr. Wilson's driving; We don't let Michael drive him at all now, he came over from the Fort the other day in 35 minutes (about two miles and a half) with only occasional whipping!! Isn't that "fast"? However he does really improve I think: Mr. Wilson says he wouldn't sell him under $300 if he was his, & I have told him that if he will get that for him he shall have $50. of it for himself! - Safe offer I guess!
Goodnight - I have written as you see, on the run. It is late & I must stop short & at once. I shall look impatiently for your next letter, for many reasons. But at all events, you know I am
Very truly & affectionately yr. sister.
P.S. I enclose $2.00 and take the liberty of troubling you to go to Warren's for me & get a piece of cashmere according to directions on this little piece of paper. I have no pattern to send, but think you will get it without trouble.
Everett - Thurs. Morn. I congratulate you will all my heart! Be a good brother now & write me all the possible & impossible items about my little nephew "whom not having seen I love" dearly. I wish you would write me a line every day or surely every other day now; for a week or ten days, because I shall be constantly anxious.
Dear Everett -
I rec'd the important despatch last night - went out to spend the evening & mustered three witnesses & signed it at once! - So it is all straight now & I am very much obliged to you for your patience in fixing it up for me. I think that under any contingency this will be all sufficient for some time to come.
The rest of this note is more especially for Annie - so don't feel insulted that I write of such matters as follow. - I am today in the midst of a mince pie baking & think my pies are going to turn out grandly. I wish I could send one for the Thanksgiving dinner; - is yours the same day as ours? I forget; ours is next week Thursday - & if we only had some body to come & eat dinner with us, I should look forward to it with more interest; - but for two people - man & woman to sit down alone to a huge turkey & a pie series alone is forlorn. Old Claudius Berand the French teacher at West Point used to say "The turkey is a vary inconvenient bird - too large for one, but not quite large enough for two"! but I think one turkey is large enough for four at least. You don't know how I have wanted to come on & take one peek at you; for about an hour after I got the first despatch I really felt as if I must come for one night! When I shall see that baby with the uncertain eyes, who can tell! However I see him at present with my mind's eye quite accurately I have no doubt, for they do all look pretty much alike for the first fortnight it must be owned.
P.M. - My pies are very good - have quite the old Aunt Vinal taste to them; if Annie could taste of one too, I should be quite disposed to pack up one & send it by Express; - but I suppose she is still living on "simples". I am surprised & delighted to hear that her breasts are so soon relieved. She is remarkably fortunate. I suffered agonies for a month at least. As soon as the nurse thinks her well enough she must write a few words to me in pencil - You are a very kind brother (& decidedly a praiseworthy example for men generally.) to write me as you do - but I still long to read the first words from Annie; - of course she will tell me what you could not.
It is quite cold here & fearfully windy; a fire looks & feels good - & my flowers are at last fairly blighted; I have now six bouquets in the rooms though, the "last of their race" to which I am holding on day after day because I cannot bear to throw the last ones away. The little vines & red berries Annie sent me are as fresh as ever, & look prettily with some green moss. I believe I forgot to thank you for picking them, but I considered it a very special piece of self-denying kindness on her part, as she hated so to pick them.
Annie Hooker's speech is amusing after all - in spite of the ill nature in which I have no doubt it was made. But to have the first thought on the birth of a little child, one connected with money matters - even in Annie Hooker's mind, shows how in poor soil mean plants will soon spring up; with all her hateful faults I never thought her mean in that way - but the speech is very Tufts-y! I should not have regretted a fitting opportunity to reply - "And I wonder how much Arthur would give for any prospect of one to the Tan Yard!" (But do tell me how you heard of her saying it!)
Edward is up to his ears in another article for Putnams on "Sea Coast Defenses" - but means to write to Annie very soon. He sends love & says tell her she has astounded me by her general good behavior during this trying crisis; & adds "You might also remark that I have not yet developed any decided hostility to South End heirs!" (Oh dear he is not through yet - so much for asking a man if he has any message.) He says "if it were not for postage, I would commute and send her a piece of our new mince pie instead of a letter, thinking she would enjoy it more!!
Now dear Everett I have a favor to ask - (another still another) - when you have leisure & not before - will you go down to Sanford's store & ask him if our fish is ready, & if the barrel of potatoes from Nova Scotia is ready, & if they are, will you take the trouble of starting the whole -- (?) meal included for Newport? We shall never get them unless you will take this trouble - for I have "put down my foot" that I will never again ask any such favor (or any) of Sanford; & he would never send them without being written to. And did you get my letter enclosing the ring to be made smaller, & the dollar to get the cashmere at Warren's? For all these things & all else, past & to come (!) many thanks. Goodbye - Kiss Annie & Dick for me.
Ever affectionately, Helen.
To: Everett C. Banfield, 40 Court Street, Boston, Massachusetts, Postmarked: Newport, November 30
[November 29, 1855] Thanksgiving P.M.
Dear Everett: -
I rec'd your note of the 26th - Tues. eve. - & was more than glad to get it, for I was a little anxious all day Tuesday. Don't think I ask too much, but I really do wish you would mail a line or a word for me, regularly, every other day for the present. I am thinking of Annie more than half the time now, & long to hear every few minutes, just how she is & what she is doing & everything which I should know if I were there. I never in my life wanted anything much more than I want to see that young man of yours - is he dubbed Richard yet? I do not wholly like the name - ie. - I don't like the nick name (Dick name!) but I suppose you may have some family association with it. Banfield is such a good name in itself that it don't make so much difference what you put with it. "Hunt", now, is another sort of name entirely for combination; it absolutely requires a peculiar name, of a title or something a little extra, to make it respectable. I think none but last names however are really pretty for first names for boys.
I rec'd my cashmere yesterday, for which I am much obliged; the "meal & things" as you word it, have not come through I infer from your query that they are "en route". You do not realize perhaps, so I shall tell you over again, what a real comfort & satisfaction it is to me to be able to ask you for little favors of this kind; it is a serious obligation the more so, because such things are just the ones you can get in no other way.
Annie will like to know what we had for dinner - chicken pie, baked the day before so that the girls could both go to church - squash, hominy, praties, & celery; for dessert, mince pie & apple pie, of my make, & a little squash pie which old Mrs. Lawrence sent me; we went to church this morning but didn't have a good sermon - & altogether it hasn't seemed much like Thanksgiving Day. I am hurrying away, Annie can imagine how, on the little cloak - have the collar & half the cape done. I am very well indeed, & have been in some respects much better since I came home, than I was while I was with you. I walk almost every day now, half an hour or more. I thank you for your kind wishes. Annie must not be anxious yet - the last of next week or the first of the week after will be time enough for you to be on the look out. Edward is going to a party tonight; the first we have been asked to here - at Mrs. Dr. King's, who called on me
two days since; they are first rate people; also Mr. & Mrs. Stockton (formerly of the Navy) have called. So our list is swelling gradually & by Spring I dare say we shall know as many people as we want to. It is too dark to see at all & I write by the sense of feeling mostly. Goodnight. Kiss your wife & my sister, & your son & my nephew both - & ask Annie to hurry & get well enough to write me a pencil note.
Yrs. affly, Helen.
Sat. P.m. Dec. 1, 1855.
I have some bad news to tell you of our poor Charlie - He has disgraced himself irremediably, so that Edward says he shall never be put into the carryall again, & that I shall never ride with him again in anything. I will give you an account of the performance - second hand, as I was fortunately not there. E. & Mr. Wilson had just started to come over from the Fort, in the carryall. Mr. Wilson gave Charlie a slight cut with the whip - very slight, Edward says, not nearly as much as he is constantly needing and often getting, & what did the young gentleman do but "kick up" both feet through the dasher - breaking it entirely to small pieces - breaking the whiffletree - & one of the "fills" (is that right?) - & hitting Mr. Wilson on the leg, we hope not seriously, but making quite a gash. Edward succeeded in getting out about the time Charlie got his feet disengaged from the dasher, & they held him so that he could not run - but he continued to kick for some time; it seems this is the third time he has kicked, once with Mr. W. on his back & once with Michael, but they did not like to tell "the Lieutenant" of it, & so said nothing. Mr. Wilson says he has been growing suspicious of the horse for some time - & that now he thinks he is really tricky; how much his opinion is worth, we cannot prove of course - but he has had all the care of the horses at the Fort for twenty years. Another thing is also undoubtedly true of Charlie that he does shy! I should think that in all the cases where I have driven with him he has certainly shied five times out of seven; not badly of course, because he is too lazy to really run - but still a positive "shy" & enough to be dangerous if he were a spirited horse. Edward says the man if bound to take him back, by the "warranted free from tricks" - but I don't suppose he will do it. I thought however I would write & tell you all about it, & see what you think we can do. We cannot sell him here after this I suppose - both E. & old Mr. Wilson are too honest. I feel as if some cheat must have been practiced at the time you drove him - for I don't believe he could be made to go eight miles an hour, nor four miles in half an hour, without almost constant touching up with the whip; he has seemed to go rather better since Mr. Wilson took him, but he has driven whip in hand all the time, & at that, he has not gone over six miles an hour, with no one in the carriage but Mr. Wilson and me. E. says it will cost at least $20. to repair the carryall & he is afraid that such a dasher cannot be made here. Don't it seem too bad! But when I think how grateful I ought to be that E. was not hurt & that it did not happen when I was in the carriage (for I have ridden every day nearly, & was to have gone today.) - I do not feel like grumbling. And one thing I hope most earnestly that you will not feel that I (or Edward) had a moment's disposition to throw on you the onus of the mistake; - I feel so out of patience with Sanford, out of whose miserable procrastination the whole has grown, that I don't know what to do sometimes - but I have never from the first, had a shadow of feeling towards you about it, except real regret, because I know you must feel very sorry - & this only enhances the obligation I feel to you for the kindness, instead of lessening it. You can comprehend the feeling I am sure.
One thing you may be positive with Hawley about, that the horse had no provocation to this thing whatever in this case as E. was there. Nor in either of the other cases so far as the testimony of reliable people goes; - also that he does very frequently shy & has from the first. I have little hope however that he will do anything about it, & have nearly made up my mind to lose $50. on the horse: Still I thought best to write you about it & see if there was any real hold on Hawley by that paper.
I hope for a line tonight from you - none since Tues. & that is too long just now, my dear brother.
Love to Annie - Goodbye -
in great haste & in darkness
Affly - Helen.
[Friday] Newport, R.I.,
Dec. 14, 1855.
I am ready to send the horse to Boston on Monday or as soon as his sale or exchange for a good carryall horse can be arranged. Perhaps I may send him on then anyway, as I can do nothing with him here.
In getting a new horse, I want a safe one as the first consideration. You understand all the points desired perfectly, & so I will say nothing thereon. The carryall damaged parts I shall probably send by Express to be mended by the maker.
All well here & growing better fast. Helen has been sitting up several hours today. It is getting dark & I have been steadily writing all day & have to go to a spree tonight. I may as well stop with love to you & Annie.
Washington had $7000 insurance on his house, which will nearly rebuild it. He is fast pushing it on.
Helen Hunt Jackson
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