William S. Jackson 2-3-28 transcription
William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 3, Folder 28, Letters from HHJ to her sister Ann, 1849-1858, transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, fall 1995.
New York City. March 22nd 1849. Thursday A.M.
My dear Annie,
Your very welcome note with its very welcome contents reached my hands safely and in due season. I am much obliged to you for attending to my wants so expeditiously, and please to thank Grandpa from me for the cash.
I have been trying to make up my mind about a sack or something of that kind, and have nearly come to the conclusion that I can get along without it, if by any means I can have something to wear to school. You know that we move in three weeks, and then the school house is quite a distance from the family residence of which you have a very fine view in Mr. John's letter. The walk is through Broadway too, and, so far as I know I have nothing to wear. I can get along I think with my Cashmere Shawl for church till it is warm enough for my visite, but I cannot wear those to and from school every day for three months, & to school too. I have thought of something which I hardly dare mention, lest it might not suit you, and if you do not wish to you need not say anything about it, that I mentioned it. It is this that you would sell me your old visite, as you were to have a new one. It would be just the thing for me all the time till I come back, which is the first of July, you know and you might have it then all you wanted, and I suppose that July and August are the months when you would want it the most. It is warmer here than in Charlestown, or I could not get along with my Cashmere after my cloak. You will see I think that when we obliged to walk to school every day I shall need something to wear. Perhaps if you were to tell Cousin Ann of it, she might help you to decide. But I think at any rate I will get along without a Spring garment for church because I shall want more things when warm weather comes, and we are going to take a good many excursions in May and June which will cost something considerable, and I had rather have my money in my head, by spending it for travelling and studying than on my back in clothes which I can do without and be respectable. In May we are going to West Point, and Mr. John is very anxious that you should be here then. I will not urge your coming, though you know I should be perfectly delighted to have you, for I know the state of things at home better than Mr. John, and the objections which would be in the way. But their invitation is perfectly sincere - I don't know how many times Mr. John has spoken of your coming as if it was a settled thing. Oh I do wish you could! And perhaps Grandpa will be willing. You show him Mr. John's letter! It will please him because it is written so distinctly, and speaks so well of your naughty sister Helen.
I should like to have you get some of that gingham - enough for new waist and sleeves, and if it would not be too much trouble, I should like to have it washed and faded like the old. I wonder if Miss Webster could not cut and baste it without me, from the old waist, so that another seamstress could finish it. Their pries here are so extravagant. It does not seem worth while to give two dollars for having it fixed over & I could not get it done under that. And another thing Annie, dear, I want you to get for me is a pair of boots thick soled from Mr. Everetts, and a pair of thick soled shoes - I presume he has not lost my measure as I asked him to preserve it. If he has, let him make them by yours, and a little larger. I never heard of such prices as they give for shoes here. Mrs. Abbott told me the other day that she gave $3.00 for all her boots, and though she had occasionally got some for $2.50, they were not good at all! I cannot afford that, for I should have to go barefoot the last of my life if I wear three dollar boots here. One of our long excursions, three and four miles walking, over the city, nearly wears out a pair. Mine are defaced now, but I shall make them do, till I get these from you, so will you please hurry Mr. Everett. Do not forget to send in the bundle, that old portfolio of which I spoke in my last letter. I presume you remember it. It is one Aunt Vinal gave me years ago - of a dark blue color with raised figures on it. The pieces of my muslin dress I believe I mentioned, and cotton stockings. I have not one pair with me, except one of which the feet are entirely worn out, and which I brought by mistake I suppose.
Now my dear sister are you frightened by all this array of wants and needs? I hope I shall not give you too much to do, or make too much trouble for others. You will attend to these things I know, as much as it is possible without troubling them. I would not write for a single thing, could I get along without.
I wish you had been here last Saturday. It was a charming day, clear and bright as May, and with an invigorating breeze. Immediately after dinner we all started for what Mr. John calls "a spree". We took the omnibus in Broadway and rode to the South Ferry. I forgot to say that we were divided into two parties of one of which Mr. George Root had charge, of the other, our own good Mr. John. I was in the latter to my inexpressible satisfaction, for one can enjoy anything twice as well with him as with anybody else. We walked on the Battery for a while, enjoying the prospect of the water which sparkled in the sunshine, the sails which seemed almost to crowd the sky, and the people around who seemed to look on all the beauty around, as unconsciously as if it were nothing at all to them one way or the other. We then went on board the little steamboat, and sailed four times back and forth over the river. It was really a very delightful sail. We took a roundabout way home, by the wharves where all the steamboats and packets lay, and reached No. 53, our dear pleasant home, at about six o'clock. We had walked about three and a half miles, to say nothing of the ride and sail, and were a little tired as you may imagine. Day before yesterday Mr. John invited Susan Howell and me to take a walk with him. We left home at three o'clock, and returned just in time for tea. A most delightful time we had, and if you could see some of the places where we went you would wonder very much that I should say so. We went through some of the lowest most miserable streets in the city, and never in my life did I see such misery, such degradation and wretchedness. Mr. John has the same strange taste that I have to see such scenes although they always produce sadness. On our way home, we went into a printing office, and inspected all its operations in which I was much interested. We visited two galleries of paintings, and went into Stewarts the famous dry goods store of New York, and also -- to the Tombs a great gloomy pile of buildings built in the Egyptian style of architecture, where all the lower classes of criminals such as thieves, drunkards and pickpockets are tried and confined. Did ever you know such a strange combination of sights for one walk! My head fairly ached that night from much seeing & much thinking. But I have not enjoyed anything more since I have been here. Oh, Annie, I do wish you would come. I made up my mind not to urge it at all, for I thought that there was not any probability of your being able to come, but I cannot help telling you how much I want to have you. And I am perfectly sure that Mr. and Mrs. John wish to have you that I feel more desirous. They are sincerity itself in all they do and say, as you must know from the letter. Was
To: Miss Annie S. Fiske, 29 Washington Street, Charlestown, Mass.
[Tuesday] Irving House, Tarrytown.
Sept. 12, 1854.
We are here all safe & well. Helen got back not nearly so fatigued as she expected to be & feels quite well this morning though lonely enough in being left alone. It seems as if you were surely in the opposite room waiting to be called & I shall doubtless call there on my way to the office for your morning letter. The enclosed was rec'd yesterday. It is cool & comfortable now & we shall keep up walking now. Hoping you are all safely in Charlestown box & all I must stop now. Love to Annie.
E. B. H.
Dear Annie - I do miss you so much - but am going to work hard & forget all about you! Mary is delighted with her dress - it does really look beautiful. She is going to get a yard more Friday if it is not gone for a cape. I wish you would say to Mr. Palmer that I am willing Mr. Charles should have the watch if he will look at it & see if the apprisal is fair - but I cannot think of having the horse sold for a such a song. I think the horse should be put in the hands of some horse dealer & I know more could be made of him than that - but I do not want it sold till I know where we are to be for if we go to Bucksport or Rouses Point I would take him for E. to ride. Ask Mr. Palmer for me - if we were not entitled to the whole $400 for the year ending last Aug. just as if he had happened to have paid it all to us before Grandpa died. I think we might have it. Write me at once. You had better show that letter to Mr. B.
[this second letter is from H.M.F. Hunt]
[September 1854] Tarrytown, Wed. Morn.
Dear Annie -
Your letter from Medford which I got yesterday is the first word I have rec'd from you since I left. What bundle did you send & how did you send it? Please write me at once so that E. can look it up. I feel sure there is some mismanagement about this P.O. for E. has lost several letters & I have lost one from Jennie. I heard from her yesterday - she is hardly as well as when she was in C.! What is the poor child to do! If I go to housekeeping she shall come & stay with me. She will never get well at home. Mary has been quite sick with a violent sore throat since Sat. - but with my usual luck I found a nice English girl all ready to come & stay till she gets entirely well. So I am just as cosy as when Mary is about. Murray is pretty well. I have him at night & wash & dress him every morning before breakfast & I like it very much. I do not expect he will be really well till his teeth get through. He stands on his feet now as often as he can get a chance to pull himself up by a chair or cricket & I have put him into little ankle ties which look very cunning.
I think plain ruffles will do just as well - & if I had not so much to do I would not let Miss B. hem them: But I guess I shall have to consent to it, for I have a good deal on hand - then you can have the ruffles full enough to flute up nicely. Remember it is about 4 yards round one pillow case - twice the fullness would make 32 yards for the two pair. You did not tell me how much that band is - do not forget - & that $1.50 at the livery stable - I don't want that to be all clear loss to the family!
E. is pretty well - a little dyspeptic. We look for orders every day. Goodbye - Love to Mrs. M. and Susie. Write at once. Love to E.B. I got the will & shall write him as soon as I can.
Affly ever - Helen.
[Early October, 1854] Wed. morning.
My dearest Annie: -
I have just got your letter & hasten to answer it by return of the mail today: - I hope you will not think of delaying the ordering of your main furniture till I come. It ought to be ordered now, if you hope to have it done by the 28th. I take it for granted that you will not find furniture ready made which will in all respects be what you want. I had mine made at Hennesey & Phelps' in Brattle Street I think - ) & it is well made & reasonable. But you had better by all means consult Sue. She got some at Beals' opposite Boylston Market. - I cannot come before the first of week after next - perhaps a fortnight from today - That will make my visit at Fannie's quite long enough, if I stay there all the time. Do you think Auntie would like to have me come there, if I could make up my mind to it? I don't believe however it would be best, for I am sure I should not like it at all, much as I want to be with you. Very likely I might come over from Fannie's & stay a day or two, or three even, at a time - or perhaps I had better after all come to Miss Ann's & stay till you are married & then make my visit at Fannie's after. If I could bear the thought of being there alone, I believe I should think it was best, I could help you so much better. Do you not think you could come over & sleep with me?
I am sorry you are in such a quandary, but I don't wonder, for I have been in just about as much of an one about you: I find myself thinking almost every hour, what Annie will wear to be married in! I have no idea of getting my winter hat till very late, for my straw looks nicely & will do for a second hat all winter. So I shall stand to my offer about yours, though I think it will be rather extravagant in me to wear such a hat just as I am beginning to live on allowance! I have got $68 which is all I can rightfully have till the 1st of Dec. & I find I can't have half I should like. I want a velvet basque $40 - to begin with! - & I need an outside garment too! So where are dresses to come from? But I am determined to keep to my allowance. I do not think I should quite fancy that velvet cape though of course I cannot tell. Is it the color of your hat? If so perhaps I would take them both if I took the hat. But I guess you will come out all right at last.
Either you or your seamstress were drolly careless in that ruffling - the strips were not sewed together! & not only that, but on some of them the ends were all hemmed! & they were not at all the same width. I can't conceive what she thought it was to be used for.
I am glad you have seen Fannie. She must have a famous boy indeed. It is a comfort to have such a kind loving sister as she is. I love her very much. I knew she would feel for us very deeply. Dear little Murray. I was reading over yesterday some of my letters to E. from Charlestown & they were so full of little things about him that it was really almost more than I could bear! He was a lovely little spirit. I feel sure that we shall never have another like him. I have really thought for a few days, I must be in that way again - yet I cannot think so either. But I have been sick in several ways, very much as I was before. Still it may be nothing more than my generally run down forlorn condition physically. I shall hope so as long as I can, for I should not like to be sick in July!! Don't speak of this. I am going to New York tomorrow to see Carlin who is to paint dear Murray's picture. I am surprised Mr. Whipple did not remember him, for I do not think he had any pictures of a baby with a black nurse. Perhaps you did not think to mention that to him. Give my love to Auntie. Tell her she must not dread to see me for I want to see her very much. She probably does not realize at all, how calm & natural I can seem. I hope she will not be excited in seeing me, for it would be very painful to me. Goodbye - Love to Mr. Banfield. Write very often.
[October 21, 1854] Sat. Morn.
Dear Annie -
I got your note yesterday - I am glad Miss Ann can take me, but I do hope I can have Mr. E's room. Tell her I shall be there Tues. morning by the Fall River route, & she must give me Mr. E's room if possible. I believe there has been a fate about my telling you of your shawl: I have thought of it every time I have written, about 5 minutes after E. had started with the letter! It is safe and will not be forgotten. E. got it from Mad. B's (?) at once.
I wish you would take a carriage from Barnard's & come over to meet me Tues. morn. That would use the $1.50 they owe me: perhaps Everett would like to come with you: - but I do not care to have anyone meet me except you.
Goodbye - Lovingly ever - Helen.
The last direction I shall write to the maiden Annie!
Tuesd. Eve.g. 8 oc. Dec. 4, 1855.
Helen is getting on quite well still. Her milk is slow to come, but is now rapidly arriving. Her right breast is rather hard as it was before. The boy as a consequence does not fare so well as we would wish & has had a good deal of wind pain. Yesterday & today. He doesn't cry for fun, & even tries not to, but it hurts so, he can't hold in; so out it comes, most piteous, & hard for Helen to bear. She feels quite strong not feverish, good appetite, all baby absorbed, patient, hopeful. No action of bowels yet. Tonight takes citrate of magnesia if needed; after pains nearly subsided coming only when nursing: Boy nurses left breast well, cries over the right one; has slept several hours today, which rests Helen: She slept well the last half of last night. Has seen two visitors; been careful of diet; lain on her side chiefly; hourly luxuriates in a quiet nurse, who knows how too, for her list has nearly 200 babies.
Your pencil note came tonight to Helen's great delight. Your next will please her even more I imagine. We had a pleasant note from Cousin Anne & Mrs. Ware's memoirs from Cousin Ellen to our great delight. The house goes on quite well, & Miss (not Mrs.) Spooner turns out my tea quite satisfactorily. I must go to Watch Hill Thursday or Friday, a two days trip. I dont like it, but men there must be paid.
Tell Everett that I am thinking of putting the Vars horse in the carryall & hitching Charley on behind, sending all to Boston to his care; the carryall to be mended & Charley for disposal: the man to ride Vars horse back & carryall to return by R. R. probably, if not with another horse.
There now: Did you ever see a more perfect fricassee than this? But no wonder for I wrote between 25 & 30 letters on Sunday & Monday, half of them longer than this too.
Helen says,"Tell Annie not to worry because her baby cries, for it is probably wind that troubles him." Most children suffer thus. Also she says "Say that Citrate of Magnesia was Dr. Peters prescription or Annie will laugh at me for taking allopathic medicine." It tastes like lemonade & is a mild aperient.
That's all I guess except love from both,
[actually written Sun January 24, 1858]
New Haven, Sat. Eve.
My dear Annie.
I got your note yesterday, & "take my pen in hand" for a reply, although I feel rather destitute of material. I don't know where this last week has gone, I am sure: as I look back I can hardly heed a single item except my four hours a day practice, which does not seem quite enough to fill up a day, although I must say it leaves too little time for other things. Monday forenoon Sarah & I finished reading White Lies: Mon. Eve. I spent at her home, to meet a Mr. Hermann who has brought back from Europe a very fine collection of photographs of scenes in Rome, of pictures & statuary; they were very interesting. Wed. P.M. I walked out with Rennie - took him to the shoemaker's to be measured for shoes, & to Maj. Eaton's to make a call! He behaved very well but I was completely tired out from the effort to make him walk rationally along the street & not stop to touch everything in front of the stores: on the way home I met Mr. Gorham Abbott & mistook him for Mr. Lamb to my great vexation & his amusement. He looked the same as ever. Tuesday - I had two letters from Edward: he was well & in good spirits. Thurs. Eve. I went to the Lyceum lecture. It was by Prof. Felton - subject Athens - & was the jolliest lecture I ever heard. I don't wonder they call him the "jolliest of Greek Professors" & "old Corny". After lecture we spent an hour at the Woolsey's. (In the afternoon Sarah & I had taken a long walk). Friday morning after my music lesson Mrs. Woolsey called & took me to drive: it was rather too cold to be pleasant. In the afternoon, Rosa McAllister, Lily & Dora, & Sarah Woolsey & Mr. Gilman all called, so I got only 2 1/2 hours practice. Yesterday morning Sarah & I had our reading as usual - we have begun "Quits". It opens pretty well. In the afternoon Sarah & I drove out to Saltonstall Lake, about five miles distant, to see the students skate: There were some forty there & it was a picturesque scene: the situation of the lake is very beautiful, surrounded by wooded hills, & having many bays & inlets: We brought Mr. Gilman home with us & stopped at a farmhouse where they take summer boarders & where Sarah spent last summer, & is anxious to have us go next summer: But the rooms would not do for us. We got home at seven, by brilliant moonlight - & Sarah staid to tea & through the evening: it was one of the pleasantest afternoons I ever spent: in the evening Rennie began to be a little croupy, & I was up with him till after two oclk. He escaped however, & I think is going to tonight thanks to Hepar Sulphur: I think more of Homeopathic remedies as preventing croup, if one can only have timely warning, than I do to break it up when once fairly set in. If it were not for this one thing I would come over & make you a visit: but I should not dare to run the risk: he is so liable to it. I presume I have kept off a dozen attacks of it by H.S. since we came here.
My dear I am in no "peculiar" state this winter except that of peculiar health. I weigh 130 & have never felt better in my life. You need not worry about me. I suit my practice to my principles - instead of my principles to my practice!
Give my love to Aunt Maria: How long will she be with you? You must enjoy it very much. Tell me about Richie's talking - & what he plays with: does he talk much? Rennie talks like a steam tug in full blast. I fear he will be a perfect gabber!
Goodnight now dear - Tell E. I am very sorry but I have lost that receipt: it goes awfully against my conscience to sign it because I do not believe it to be the "amount due me to date".
I was shocked to hear of Mr. Everett's death: it does seem sad: still I presume he enjoyed life there much more than here. What is the matter with Annie Hooker? How does she treat you when you see her? Have you heard from Helen Tufts. This Mr. Gibson that I have told you about knows the Magouns very well - was classmate of Thacher's. He sails for Europe (Claude Gibson) next week. I shall miss him very much indeed. He is the most charming boy of twenty I ever saw - if Rennie could only look & be just like him I should be satisfied. I think he will look a little like him.
Yours ever as ever, Helen.
On the whole in running over the week I think it has been pretty well filled up.
Dearest Ann: -
It is providential that you did not come down - for Rennie has been very sick. Monday he had a diarrhoea all day - & Wednesday commenced vomiting violently - he could not keep anything down half an hour & wanted to drink every moment. He had high fever too. He was in this state all Tues - Tues. night & yesterday & the first part of last night & you can imagine how terrified I have been. I have never seen any such sickness before - & it seemed more alarming to me. It was very hard too to be seven miles from the Dr. He left three different medicines yesterday morning for me to try & before morning today he was better owing partly I think to aconite which I ventured myself to alternate with the medicines & Nux. The Dr. is a pupil of Dr. Jacksons - & quite good I think.
Today he has not vomited once - though he has nausea still - & the Dr. lets him have a teaspoonful of chicken broth once an hour. It is so hard to deny him for he feels better & is so faint from 40 hours vomiting - but all depends on accustoming his stomach to nourishment very gradually indeed. So of course we shall not come up Sat. & I can't tell when. All depends on Rennie. Goodbye.
Yrs. ever lovingly,
(*Confidential - R.D.)
My dearest Annie
I have just put up a package for you which is like the sheet of Peter's vision! I hope you won't think I consider your house as a rag bag! I have got into such a habit of sending you all the odds & ends which accumulate on my hands. Most of the articles will announce & explain themselves: - I have some doubts as to your liking the sewing on the hem of your calico, but you can pull it out in half a minute & the holes will not show after washing: You need have no anxiety about the time it took me - I was only an hour & a half tearing off the basting & sewing the whole - & opened a box from I. Earle's - & wrote a note in the meantime! & the machine troubled me somewhat too. I had several loops to catch up afterward. I only wish I had a large pile of your sewing here to do for you. If there is not enough of the calico I can get plenty more: it may cut badly from being in so many pieces: I had to take it in two pieces to begin with, & then one of the breadths proved to be sewed across the middle. The handkerchiefs are disgraceful- I was awfully cheated in them - washing removed a large part of what appeared to be cloth, before - & the spaces between the threads are almost big enough to catch your nose in! All the outgrown articles of Rennie's are for Miss Annie - with this reservation in regard to the little nainsook cloak which was Murray's - that if I should be so unlucky as to have another baby to wear it next year you will hand it over again. (I feel a little fear that I may not be able to carry out my theories this Spring - but trust I may.) When I go to Bristol I will send her some dresses - five or six, I think you may count on - & I will send you that little linen cambric one for her to wear on any extra occasion if you like it. The calico sack for Richie I hope you will like. I admire the pattern: I thought I should make the waist to Rennie's plaited before & behind. Rennie will have white linen ones of the same pattern: I like it better than anything I have found yet. The old wrapper I put round the things to "get red" of it & to keep the other things safe & dry. The shawl you will be surprised to see is all made - it is the one I had made for myself - & I feel quite mean in sending it to you when I didn't like it myself! But if you don't want it, you can make a sack for Richie of it as I am going to for Rennie out of the other half. It proved too small to be pretty - at least I did not like it - & have split the other square shawl & put the whole into a triangular shawl which reaches within a quarter of a yd. the bottom of the skirt & is much more what I wanted. I left the threads in so that you could see where the tassels were & the cord. it had a tassel on each corner & two in the middle of the back, one above the other: it was pretty & perhaps you will like it - but I had set my fancy on a larger dressier garment.
I would trim the cape to that French calico with drop buttons if you want it to be an afternoon dress - they wash well - and look dressy - That bishop sleeve is not pretty with the caps meeting on the outside of the arm - because they confine all the fullness of the sleeve so that it cannot set out. I made a pattern from it which is pretty - & will send it to you if you want it. As to your dresses - you must come to points I fear. Basques are made with no basque in front, but points, & a basque behind! Square necks a la Louis Fourteenth are all the rage it is said: alas for ugly bony necks! I shall not wear one if the whole world do! Drapery sleeves are made huge & open on the inside to the elbow - & to the shoulder - all things are in the antique style you see. I can get a pattern for you of one of these huge sleeves from Sarah if you want it. Double skirts too are in the fashion decidedly. Is not this quite enough about dress?
I am glad to hear that you laugh at Everett for taking my note in earnest. I never was so astonished by anything, as when I read his reply - I felt at first as if I certainly must have lost my senses & written some outrageous thing without knowing it: but it is all right now I think & will afford us some good laughs in future.
Mrs. King has another musical party tomorrow night - the second large party of the season!! I shall wear my pink brocaded black basque & pink & black head dress: but I have a cold & don't feel much like going. I think you do not feel in the mood for parties after you have begun on Spring work.
Goodbye now - with a kiss for each baby - write soon
Lovingly - Helen.
P.S. I have found the store of Maggie F's husband - decidedly a second rate store - & quite common men - but I sent word to her to come & see me.
[tr. note: postmark read as though from New Haven. Reference to Mrs. King gives one to believe letter from Newport.]
My dear Annie -
Did you ever have it happen to you not to be able to tell if you had written to a person or not? It seems very absurd - but I really did not know whether I have written to you since the letter in which you told me of the loss of the letter replying to mine about the chair, or not. I have a sort of impression that I have, but a fear that I have not - & so as it storms like mad this morning & we cant go over to the office where I have been engaged for several [------] in a great work of clearing up and looking over boxes & trunks, & as Sarah is copying something for E. I have concluded to dash off an epistle for you. Sarah came down with E. two weeks ago tomorrow, as I suppose he told you she would - & I have been of course enjoying every moment of her stay. I really dread her going away - for I shall be so lonely without her. We have been in bathing several times & have taken several ladies and have been out to tea once, & to Abby Shephard's wedding reception, & Captain Cullum of the Engineers has made us a visit of two days. A young Lieut. of Engrs. McSnyder, also has been here for a fortnight - he is a nice bright little man (about an inch shorter than I am) & has given us lessons in pistol shooting, by which I have learned out of which end the ball goes, but not much more.
I think that boy of Tom's who has been stealing stamps is a precocious young villain & ought to be dealt with. How did they find him out finally? I dare say he has derived a large share of his profits from our correspondence.
We are all alone now, with Mrs. Holmes & her son & daughter, & an old lady from Hartford a Mrs. Brownell, & it seems quite pleasant after all to have a small family. The Couches went yesterday & we were all glad enough to see the last of them. She is the most disagreeable woman I ever lived with & he is thoroughly hen pecked. I suppose we shall stay here till just before E. goes to Key West. Mary has written urging us to come out to Lockport in October, but I do not think we shall go then, if at all. I would much rather make my visit there without E. than with him - but I begin to feel as if I could not take such a long journey with Rennie, I am so afraid he will have the croup: - I wish something would "turn up" to make it necessary for me to go somewhere, & save me the trouble of deciding: I cannot make up my mind - I want to come to you very much - & I have no doubt at all that I should be perfectly comfortable & perfectly contented, & enjoy it extremely - but the nearer the winter comes, the more dread I feel of croup & of being away from a doctor. You remember that awful night when we had to send through all the storm for Dr. Weld - & in the dead of winter, you know it might happen that we could not get him at all: Croup is so different from everything else - so sudden & dangerous - half an hour's delay might often I suppose be the means of losing the child's life. This is my only fear & my only ground of hesitation: if it were not for these I should decide at once to come to you just as soon as you are ready, & stay half the winter certainly, & perhaps if you wanted me, the whole. But when I think of the possibility of Rennie's suffering or perhaps dying for want of immediate attendance I feel as if I ought to go at once to Cambridge, if I decide to establish myself there, & fix for the winter, & come over for one or two days every week, to see you. In this way we should see a great deal of each other in the course of the winter though of course not at all to compare with housing together. You did not allude to my proposition about Lewis either - did a letter on that point go by the board too. I wish very much you would take her this fall - & I feel sure she would be a real comfort to you. I have had her long enough to know her pretty well - & I have never had a disrespectful word or look from her, & have not seen her out of patience but once, & then it was really more my fault than hers. Still I would rather have Eliza because she can sew so much more nicely & can read to Rennie & amuse him more: & Lewis says she would rather do housework - that she is more contented & hasn't so much time to think, & that it "feels her like" that she can't read to Rennie & tell him "songs & tales like Eliza"! I have asked her if she would like to live with you, & she says she would very much indeed - that she could see you were such "a nice managing body" & "like nice & particular wayed". She says she would not be afraid to undertake to do all your wash without any other girl if the washing were put out - or to do the washing & cooking & general work, with a girl like Bridget to help: She would come I suppose for $7.00 a month, the same as I give her, though I did not say anything about that. I do not believe she would get along with your great washes however unless Bridget took hold with her, except by having the ironing hang over pretty late in the week. But she would suit you I know, in all her ways of doing work: she is so nice and orderly & systematic, & I have an idea she would be a nice cook: & at any rate she would be easy & pleasant to teach. There really would not be half the work to do in a house, with a girl like Lewis, I should think, that there would be with one
 New Haven,
Thurs. Morn. Apr. 3
* (Confidential - R.D.)
Dearest Annie: -
I did not write you on Sunday for I was quite unwell - and now after all, I don't know but I have lost my mind, for I can't be sure I did not write to you!! I know I thought of it - & wanted to - but the truth is I have been in such a whirl for the last two weeks I don't know anything at all. I went down to N.Y. a fortnight ago yesterday & I have been there ever since till last Mon. eve - only coming up with Edward to spend one Sunday, when I wrote to you I am sure. I have not been at all well - bilious, the Dr. says. I only hope it is nothing worse! Shall know soon. In the meantime I am mighty uncomfortable! I found a letter here from E. He is ordered to join Gen. Banks in Winchester in a week or ten days to locate some defences in the Shenandoah Valley. Then whether he will go out at once to join Gen. Halleck in the West, or attend to perfecting his sea miner, he is not sure. He wants to do both. He is very well & in excellent spirits & delighted at the chance of having something to do. Annie dear, I want you just as soon as you possibly can to cut out carefully and baste together a little dress for Helen & one for Annie & send it to me by express & I will make them up for you. Now do not refuse me this dear, because I want it very much & I want it as soon as you can too, because there is no knowing what may turn up you know now.
I am glad to see by your last letter that you are really beginning to doubt the propriety of your killing yourself to pay E's debts. I should never do it! You had nothing to do with contracting them & I do not think have the least responsibility about paying them: - At any rate I would never go so far as you do - I would keep the girls as a matter of duty - & then if you can save anything each year towards the debts, well & good. But two girls I do consider it your duty to keep. Write me as usual. Give my love to Aunt M. & all - & believe me now & always -
Your loving sister - Helen.
P.S. Is our money coming along soon. I will enclose a blank receipt so that E. can send it to me as soon as it does come.
P.S. No. 2. Your letter has just come & I am sure I don't know what to say about the rents. My impression would be not to reduce on any account. I am sure I cant spare a dollar & am still surer that you can't! But Everett can tell much better what it is most for our advantage to do. If our not reducing the rent will make them give up the whole thing will that not be for our advantage? I am ready to do as you do - whichever you think best - (though it does not appear in the face of Mr. P's note that I am to be consulted at all!) I am glad you liked the calicoes. Send me two of those right away to make!
I hope we shall have some money, right away, at all events for I want it sadly.
Helen Hunt Jackson
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