William S. Jackson 2-3-30 transcription
William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 3, Folder 30
I think you cannot have received my last letter. I have been looking for a letter from you for two weeks: have had but one since I came here, & that more than a month ago, a very short note.
Did you [ ] the package of books I sent you from Boston? And have you received my new Vol. of [Venus?]? And are you all well? And how is [Richie?] doing? I was so sorry about his leaving Exeter.
I am gaining steadily. Have not had any sore throat yet & feel stronger
every week. Out of the eight weeks we have had but six days when the sun
did not shine clear! & those days were not unpleasant ones: not a
single day yet in which we could not go out doors!
Do write. I dreamed about you all last night & you seemed to be in trouble: so I resolved I would not wait another day before writing. Love to all.
Your loving sister Helen.
May. 12 1879
Your letter of May 2nd is at hand, "contents noted" I am very sorry to hear that E. is not so well. It may be only the usual Spring ailing which about everybody feels more or less. I had not heard of [Cousin Martha's?] death. It will be a great relief to two of Dr. [Ganatts?] children I think. Now they can go home & live with their father again.
I am distressed to hear what you say of [Jenny Abbott?]. She has not written me for a long time & I am afraid it is all true. Dear me how I wish I could help her. This is just what I foresaw when she married Oliver [ ], that he would be a broken down old man, & she would be worse off than ever! I think there ought to be a law against men's marrying women twentyfive years younger than themselves.
I forget whether I have written you since Will went to N. York - no, I know I haven't. He went on very suddenly a week ago last Wednesday, & may be gone a month. At first I thought of going too, but decided that I would rather stay here & get the place all in order build on a bath room &c. & I am up to my ears in all sorts of workmen & nurseries. It is terrible to undertake to do anything here, no skilled labor, no [ ] five men broke [ ] last week!
[ ] evidently has a good place in that bank, if he has good health, his future is provided for & that is a great comfort.
We have been having hot weather till yesterday when we had a cold rain & hail storm, & now the Mts. are white with snow & I have [furs?] in all my rooms like winter! [ ] climate for invalids.
I hope, if you have the chance to go to Smith College you will go. A years change would be of great use to you: & I think you would find the duties easy & agreeable, far more so than taking boarders.
P.S. A letter from [ ] says she is going out to [Milton?] with Ellen. How very uncomfortable she will be. Poor old souls! Wouldn't they all be better off in Heaven?
Dear Cousin Ann,
Through at last! I had a most disagreeable journey, the first trip across the plains which I have not enjoyed. Mid winter is no time to travel. The cars are heated to such a degree that you [like?] cold in spite of every preparation & in the sleepers the hot pipes are coiled back & forth under the seats, so that when you lie down it is like lying on a gridiron. I took a most horrible cold & have not left my room since I arrived, but am better now, & shall be able to unpack & begin to get to rights in a day or two. Every closet shelf & corner of my house is out of order & dirty. Luckily my good Katy came in four days ahead of us & did a little, & she has found a friend of hers, also from [Bohemia?], for [second?] girl, so I am two handed which is forehanded in this case. The [second?] girl was waiting maid to a Princess in [Bohemia?], since then, Hairdresser in Denver! How are the mighty fallen & how shall I ever make her into a waitress. I shall sigh for my old [Elize?] often I fear.
What we should have done without your [iron clads] & bread, I don't know. We really lived on them, for the great heat in the cars spoiled half my beef tea, & all my cold roast beef. The bread was our chief dependence.
The halcyon [chimney?] of which I told you so much is not doing itself justice just at present. It is snowing at this most as steadily as it ever does in N. England & it is stinging cold. However it won't last long. My friends picnicked on [Cheyenne?] Mt. last week & they all say we brought the bad weather.
Do let me know how you are & how you all get on for the winter.
With many thanks again for the [staff?] of our journey & much love from Will. Goodbye
Ever affly yrs Helen
Haven't unpacked note paper, or pens, or ink, so use this.
Dear Cousin Ann.
I went through town on Monday but I had so short a time & so many errands, I could not possibly get [up?] to your house. I am coming down the first of next week again, on business, just for a day, & shall come and see you then. I was very sorry to miss the girls, but I shall see them in Wolfboro. When Mr. Jackson comes we shall [run?] up there for a day.
I am perfectly well, except that I am having a little [grip?] of [Rose?] Cold up here, much to my disgust, for I have suffered so little from it for years. I had almost forgotten how odious it is.
Princeton is looking lovelier than ever & it is heavenly cool after the heat of N. York. I [ ] N. York last Wed. and was there till Sunday night: the thermometer stood from 83 to 95, but I did not mind it at all. I was so glad to perspire! I think I have perspired gallons in the last ten days & I am [bleaching?] out fast. I left Mr. Jackson very well. He is coming the first of August. It looks very long to me: I did not think I should feel so lonely without him: I don't believe I'll ever leave him again if I can help it: but it seemed necessary I should come East for many reasons: the heat there is insufferable to me from its degree, and besides that, I had the material to get together for a new volume I am going to bring out this fall.
"Bits of Talk in Prose & Verse for Young Folks." It will be mainly a reprint of articles already published in the "Young Folks" St. Nicholas & [ ] and I had to look them all up & [read?] the proof of the book there two months: so I shall be very busy. Give my love to Cousins Ellen and Adeline. Let me know if you are not going to be at home next week.
Yours ever affly
Dear Cousin Ann
Thus far we have had a most delightful journey, & your ironclads have helped! Really they are most delicious things to take for lunch. This morning we had for breakfast hot beef tea, chicken croquettes, ironclads & butter, grapes & apples, & cold milk! Wasn't that a luxurious meal, for the cars!
We left N. Y. Sunday Eve. Shall reach Kansas City tomorrow morning, Denver Thursday night, Col. Springs Friday noon. Write to me when you can & tell me all your plans for the winter. Give my love to Cousins Adeline & Ellen. I wish they could have seen Will. He sends his love to you.
Goodbye. Lovingly & with thanks over & over for the ironclads & for the pretty little picture which came with [them?].
Dear Cousin Ann.
Will you please send that square package (Engravings, portfolios, &c.) by Express to this address
I am going to have all my things from Newport sent out here this month. I suppose this will start about the 16th or 18th. Some new furniture also which this man is making for me. At last we are fitting up our own little home & hope to move into it in October. It is going to be a cozy & convenient little [box?], and I expect to enjoy it very much. I wish you would come out & make me a visit in it. It seems strange not to come East this summer: but I am very glad I decided not to do so: for Will has been very near having a bilious fever. If I had not been here to bully him into giving up and taking care of himself, he would undoubtedly have had one. He is better now & starts on Sunday for a two or three weeks trip into the San Juan Country: I should go with him, but much of the journey has to be taken on horseback, & I am not up to that. Three very powerful motives restrain me from riding: vanity, compassion and fear! It is a great [loss?] in this country not to be able to ride. Much of the finest scenery can be seen only in that way.
I have had a very busy winter & spring & have been perfectly well all the time which is the greatest of blessings. I wonder if one is ever grateful enough for it. Of course you hear from Annie often. I wish she were not so prejudiced against Wolfboro. It must be very hard to live in a place which one so heartily dislikes. I do hope Everett will make a little money before long. Do write me a line if you think I deserve it! to let me know how you all are this summer.
Goodbye. Ever affly yrs
PS That [hair cloth?] chair is not worth bringing out here. I hate to think I shall never sit in the comfortable old thing any more but I really do not believe I ever shall. If it is in your way. You can give it to some poor person who is ill. It is a most comfortable chair.
Dear Cousin Ann
Many thanks for the cakes. They will be enough to last over Sunday & Monday. They are delicious.
The heat yesterday [frustrated?] me a good deal, but today although the thermometer has been higher the air is so much better that I feel stronger, & I think I shall get up to Littleton very [comfortably?] tomorrow. If it could only rain tonight so as to ease the dust. I dread that more than I do the fatigue. Goodbye. Many many thanks for your kind sympathy & for the bread.
Yours affly ever
Dear Cousin Ann
So far so good: the ironclads and the bread too have been a great comfort.
We are [lying?] by here, for [
] missed our connection to the Kansas
City train this morning so wait over till tomorrow. It is good [sleighing?]
here, but the roads are reported clear between here & K.C. so I hope
we will get through all right. I always feel that the journey is half
over. Goodbye, with many thanks, Affly ever,
Paris. Sunday Morning
Dearest dear darling,
Never mind if you don't [love?] to be called darling I had to say it! I wish I knew if you do really in your heart hate it you never look as if you did when I say it! Well, I can't stop to "fool" as you call it this [Am.?] for I want to do a great [ ] of work today, & I feel in first rate [train?] for going at it. We left Strasburg Friday Am, at 6:40, got our old lady up & off without more than a ton of words. Oh William Jackson I just hope to live to see you see Mrs. Strettell! It is something absolutely appalling to travel with her. She [produces?] on me the effect of a [thick?] [ ] with a gong vibrating in it! I get so [bewildered?] I don't know if I am on my head or my foot. If I didn't look on her as a study, I should knock her brains out! Yesterday she got me so flustered that I really hardly know what I ordered in the way of gowns! & I lost my diary in the Elevator & did not miss it! for about two hours. I though it was gone [sure?] & I can tell you I was [wretched?] of course to lose that [wld?] be simply losing hundreds of dollars! I did finally turn to her & say all [exceedingly?] of course. Still I hope it will do her good.
"dear Mrs. Strettell I must give you fair warning that if you keep on this way, telling me what to do at every minute, I shall be likely to say something that will astonish you!" and she held her tongue for about ten minutes! & then began again. You never read Felix Holt. Look it up in my set of George Eliot's novels the minute you get this letter, & just read it. & then when I tell you that Mrs.[Struttell?] runs on just like Felix Holts mother, with grumbling at cost, & at food every night & telling everybody exactly what they ought to do every minute & asking them what they have done, then you'll get some idea of what she's like.
I'd no more have asked Alma to come with me if I'd known what the old lady was & that she had got to tag on, too, than I'd have yoked myself to a dust storm for a week. Yesterday afternoon at lunch I said to her, oh so politely, "I suppose you're too tired to go out again this [Pm?], Mrs. S. We won't be away long." Oh no, she said "I'd much rather go [ ] it would be very dreary to stay here in the Hotel, all alone. I like to see all the things. It never tires me."! So I see she intends to go every where! & I have to take a four seated carriage always, to carry her & Alma both, which costs a [third more?] & just as soon as we get into any place she begins, " Alma dear, don't you think this is very pretty. Can't you get a little idea from this that you could carry out?" & to me " Now don't commit yourself till we've gone so & so. You may see something you like better. Don't you think this color would suit you & what do you mean to do about so & so: & you know you're not under the least obligation to get that dress from the other place [where?] you like: we could very easily say you changed your mind" etc. etc. etc. a steady stream, till I don't feel as if I were really myself at all. I seem to be in a horrible sot of nightmare walking about! Isn't it droll as well as awful. However the papa comes on Wednesday & takes her away on Friday so I'm not going to do one single bit of shopping except the inevitable ordering of my dresses to have them underway, till after she is gone. & last night I said to [them?] "Now I shall not see you tomorrow till four o clock. I am going to write hard all day long. Shall breakfast & lunch in my room. At four I'll catch a carriage & we will all have drive together." It feels like heaven to know I shall not hear her voice for six hours! I've got a big writing table, & all my things in perfect order & for the first time for a month feel a sense of repose in my own rooms. It is on the street, looks north & is noisy. Still it is so much better than the one I had at first that I am thankful. You have to fight hard to get a double room here if you haven't a husband or a wife with you, they can't comprehend that you need air & elbow room. There are two beds in every room of decent size - a man is making mine now! The chambermaid is [putting?] the workstand in order & a man is making the bed! When the chambermaid came in this morning with my hot water she looked at the unmade bed with perfect astonishment, & ejaculated "alone"? "Where then is monsieur"?
"Alas" I said "In America"! She ejaculated again & departed with a shrug of wonder & pity, goodbye, now to work!
Have had a good day dear, worked straight through from nine till four, only resting an hour for lunch from 1. to 2. Have written a letter, for the Advertiser (my last one) on the Ethnological Museum in Copenhagen. If [Strettell?] prints it, it will make the Colorado [proper madder?] than ever I suppose. I have also written eight pages on the [Ency.] and several other letters: a tremendous days work.
I enclose you a very sad letter from Annie. I felt uneasy about that dear child when she was in N.Y. last spring. [If I had been sure + +?]
[Ahem?]. Mrs. Strettell & Alma have been in & [staid & staid?], talking most of the time about Alma's clothes, until now it is half past nine o' clock! Really such a worldly old lady for a parson's wife I never saw, and the more I study her face the more I see it all written there. I think she is a kindly old thing at heart, but oh Heavens such a cackle! And her upper teeth which are false were made at least a sixteenth of an inch too long & shut over her lower ones. So cackle is shut in behind this fence of teeth & you can't understand more than one word out of ten! She asked me tonight, if I were going to Virot's for bonnets. I said oh dear, no; I did not mean to buy anything so dear as Virot's (Verose) bonnets were.
"Oh" she said "I hoped you were going to Virot's. I thought
I'd like to go there & see if I could not get some ideas for Alma"!
"Ha my old lady, thought I. You don't catch me going anywhere near
a milliners as long as you are around! You may be sure of that."
I believe I should buy a man's hat without knowing it if she were cackling
in my ear.
Your four letters, of 15th, 17th, 23rd & 24th Aug. were waiting here for me. Dear, you seem to have been having a good time & I am so glad! I am glad you could do so much for Mr. [Ruble?]. Goodbye now dear love for this time, I'll write again Wed.
Your own Peggy.
Just a word more my love, have finished the [Ency.?] 8000 more words! this makes 24,000 in the last [three?] week besides everything else. "What do you think of that, my cat, & what do you think of that, my dog?"
That lovely purple flower I sent you wasn't an [anemone?] at all, but a crocus. The autumn crocus, Old lady Strettell says. The fields are [laden?] with them all through Germany.
I sent my last letter to the Advertiser today, & my very last but one to the Y.C. Don't quite know what I'll [write?] & scrape up for the 6th one for him, but must do it some how. Must have that $360 all ready to give my boy when I arrive. You know I'll just be at home for my birth day, the 12th of October. We won't say much about the birthday part of it though - its wedding day more! And don't you go & buy me anything love, unless it is some very little thing just to mark the day, because you've given me a big present this year in my journey, a very big one.
I don't want you to come east before I land. I shall be too miserable to give you any pleasure or to have any fun for the first two days on shore: & it could kill me outright, the nervous shock of having you meet me on the wharf: I want to be all comfortably at the Berkeley, or the [Brevoort?], waiting you, & I hope it will fall out so that you arrive at night, after I have gone to bed! I don't know why, but it seems to me that would jar me less. I tell you my Will I look forward with a sort of terror to just seeing you, I can't help it: sometimes when I get thinking about it & fancying it, I choke in my throat & the tears fill my eyes: foolish Peggy: Goodbye dearest.
I shall telegraph to you the instant I arrive: no, better than that: I shall ask Mr. Fiske to telegraph to you the instant the [Portia?] is reported from Halifax. That will give you a day's start.
Sicily - A young fisherman, engaged to the daughter of a farmer in the hills. The farmers hold themselves above the seafaring people. This had been obstacle, but Giuseppe had conquered it. A worse obstacle was, they had different Saints. This is almost impossible between the Sicilians. Giuseppe being ill in bed, M. & her father come to see him. Over his bed is St. Christopher?. M. insists on taking it down, & putting up St. - some other. Giuseppe refuses, they quarrel. M's father delighted, favors the break, it widens, they do not meet nor speak. [Marianina?] pines but will not make advance.
Now arrives on the scene Lady Wrestell, English, [eccentric?] to the verge of insanity, rolling in money (all this, Sally, is true, told me by the woman's own nephew) travels always in her own car made like a bedroom. All original Raphael hung up in it, before she enters, [carries?] Persian carpets, has them spread out on lawns in sunshine so she can sit & look at the colors.
One day in Genoa she saw a beautiful girl with a hand organ [ ] bought her as she would a statue, took her everywhere, had hundreds of costumes made for her, would order her in, in this or that costume to look at her for a few minutes, sometimes a dozen a day. Took her back to England, the girl a perfect pest in the house. Not permitted to learn anything, it would alter her face. The Lady [wished?] a simple flesh & blood beauty, the girl [ ] 16! & the lady found herself in hot water, a woman on her hands, with the knowledge of a child! Lady W. was not bad hearted, she did not mean to ruin the girls life. She packed off for Italy, [instantly?] went to Sicily, told her courier to find a good husband for Caterina & she would give him 20000 lire! & she did.
All this is true. Oh, Lady W's other two hobbies were anti-vaccination & dogs. She had sometimes forty dogs in keeping, & she spent sometimes $30000 a year circulating tracts against vaccination. We looked for her once in Colorado, but she did not come.
Well. This offer is made to Giuseppe & he smarting under M's [conduct?], & not insensible either to the 20000 lire, or Caterina's almost preternatural beauty, accepts, & the next thing poor [Marianina?] knows is their marriage in the church. I had not decided whether to end it here or to make Giuseppe discover that Caterina is a fool & no wife for any man & that [Marianina?] is dying of love for him, & some day take Caterina out in a boat, when a big storm is coming up, & upset the boat & let her drown. While he himself is (ostensibly) washed on shore half dead. But "there were those who said, that was all very well to say, but Giuseppe [Monti?] never went out under that bleak cloud for any good purpose & that he wasn't near dead nor anything like it when he was found lying on the rocks the next morning. A clever [long handed?] fellow was Giuseppe [Monti?]!
But nobody knew & what nobody knows, does nobody much harm. & when Giuseppe & [Marianina?] were married a year later, two villages danced at their wedding. & as for Lady W's 20000 Lire, poor little Caterina's [dower?] they did not turn to ashes at all! & never troubled [Marianina's?] conscience at all. Big gifts went to the parish church, however, big for a fisherman to give, & Giuseppe was never the same light hearted fellow he had been before. Storms especially made him gloomy & nervous, & never would he put out to sea with a cloud in the sky.
Perhaps the priest knows!
They sang their songs & went their way. Their little day of joy & sorrow, woe & gladness, love & loves pain. The air was full of their song that day. Many were glad, those who loved them, perhaps others, perhaps alone in that [highest?] of ecstasy, the poet knows [when?] as if he were alone in the universe nothing, in all the universe but himself and the sky, he glows.
Today, no echo begins of their song, any more than of last summers birds. Which flitted past the [ ] nor sang [ ] in the [ ] short swift spring, swifter midsummer, & other birds sing [tomorrow?]. Midsummer is as [great?] this year as last, the words as full of song now as then, nobody [ ] of last years birds. Now & then [ ] somebody says lightly.
There are no birds in last years nests & [that?] is all.
Plot for Story, "Only the Decorator."
This is [founded?] on fact: here in S.F. is a young girl making a good living as Florist & Decorator, not raising flowers, only arranging & selling them & decorating houses for parties, dinners &c.
Decorations of Little chapel in Sausalito, on [occasion] of a wedding in May. The end of May. These decorations are taken from a real wedding. Eleven bells - 8 in the body of church, 4 on each side. Swing from roof by fine wires, off to each side of the aisle, irregularly as if swinging.
One of pink carnation's
a short story in 4 parts
1st Council of ways & means in the family. Maiden Aunt & niece, property gone, what to do. Niece [counted?] on being a florist & decorator! "Suppose they send you to eat in the kitchen?"
"I'll eat there!"
Success as decorator, her designs lovely even the vulgar city of St- perceived it.
2nd The [steamer?] for Australia getting off early, the Am. a young man going on board sees a young girl in gray gown yellow poppies on her [belt?] standing before a great wagon loaded with flowers. Just in from the country.
He wonders what she is there for, goes round the curve, never forgets her face.
3rd part - A big ball to be given in St. Andrews. Millionaires. The son just returned on the morning of ball, home in confusion, he asks where he can write a letter. "no one in library." He hears voices. "only the Decorator" they say. He goes in. There on a ladder high up, draping the doorway in [ ] & yellow poppies, stands his girl of the gray gown with yellow poppies in her belt. "Sashes off the statues".#
4th A wedding in a country chapel, across the bay. All the [hobnobs?] coming in their carriages to see it, decorations all made by the bride & her young girl assistants the day beforehand & the bride is 'only the Decorator!"
# In some of these millionaires houses here they really do have broad gay [sashes?] on the pedestals of statues & statues holding baskets of artificial flowers in outstretched hands! The little Decorator by [diplomacy?] gets these [latter?] off for the ball.
On the bank green Willows growing
The Reply from one who was called a queen
The Heart of a Rose
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 2-2005, jr