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William S. Jackson 2-3-34 transcription
William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 3, Folder 34
Letters pertaining to HHJ's illness, August 1885

Transcribed by Julie Perfors, 2004

73 Pinckney St. Boston
August 10. 1885

Oh, my darling - it is so good to hear better news of you this morning. I rejoice, and I send you a most loving kiss.

Yours always, with fond love
Martha [LeBaron Goddard]

1600 Taylor St.
June 11. 1885.

Dear Helen,

I will send you a [line?] to acknowledge your each note - & let you know that I am no worse - possibly a shade better - There is no great change to be looked for - the malarial symptoms seem to be pretty well over - but the attack has left me in a state of nervous prostration from which it will take months to recover - at the best - I do not expect ever to be well again - but I am afraid I have got to live on, for a longer time than I thought.

I hope you will have a good summer - & take all the trips you spoke of -

Love to all - It tires me to write in bed - I sat up five minutes day before yesterday - but felt worse for it.


PS I hope you all know & understand thoroughly that if I should die, I want no one to put on a shred of black for me! Don't be tempted to disregard this wish of mine - I might haunt you, you know, & make you very uncomfortable!

Wolfboro Aug 10th / 85

Dear Helen

Our notes crossed. I am distressed at yours. Yet the perfect firmness of the hand writing & the tenseness of the language, making the note so perfectly like those you have written when well, that I cannot but take encouragement & hope that you may rally. I do not feel that I can spare you: a sense of great bereavement & loneliness oppresses me at the thought. I have felt that you would be like a mother to my children after my death as you have been during my life. It does not seem to me possible that you are to be taken first. Do try every thing possible to strengthen you. I presume some of the fine doctors of whom you wrote were allopathic. It makes me sad continually to think of your long sufferings: it is very hard not to be able to alleviate them in any way or to see or hear from you daily.

I have felt great confidence that God would fulfill all those precious promises to you, that he has made to the sick, who have remembered the poor. I think He will raise you up from this bed of sickness to do still more good here. It is & has been my daily prayer that he will.

My [suspense?] and sorrow are so great that I cannot wait these long eight days for this to reach you to ask you if there is not anything that either E. or I can do for you in any way & have therefore sent you a telegram to that effect. I rejoice that Mr. Jackson is with you, as we learned from a newspaper paragraph. Do not hesitate to send for either Everett or me if we could be any comfort to you. We could not both leave home at once: but one of us, whichever one could comfort & help you the most could go. Or there may be something you want done here.

My sorrow & anxiety & [suspense?] for you, since your note really [unfit?] me from going through my duties well just as my anxiety for Richie did last summer until E. arrived there & wrote me that he was improving. Strange that one year a son lies sick among strangers in S.F. & the next year a sister.

"We are saved by Hope." If I had not hoped for his recovery it seemed as though my heart would have broken, & so it would now but for my hope that you may be spared to outlive me. I have leaned on you in all my recent troubles, I feel as though I cannot bear your loss. Do get Mr. J. or Effie to write me very often & be sure to send for either of us if either one could be of the least comfort to you in this hour of your great sorrow.

With deepest love & sympathy


1101 Washington St.
Wilmington, Del.
Aug. 7th 1885

Dear Mrs. Jackson

It may presumptuous in me writing to you, but I have so long admired your writings that I do not feel a stranger. Your little book "Letters from a Cat" I have read & reread to my darling boy and he looked so sad when I told him how ill I have learned you were - now if I can only help you by telling of the long weary sickness of a Sister of mine, it will be such a comfort to think that I have been able to do a little towards releiving you.

My Sister was sick, nearly two years unable to eat or retain nourishment, this time a year ago we despaired of her life and yet to day she is strong and well & looks ten years younger - I feel as if she had been given back to me.

Her Physician tried every thing to releive her what her medicines were I do not know, only that they were of an acid taste - but she was nourished at one time by being rubbed twice a day by her nurse with a tablespoonful of the best salad oil and nourishment was also administered in the form of enemas of beef tea and oat-meal. The last […] during her sickness & as I said before she is now well.

Oh I do pray that you may be restored to perfect health and hoping you will not consider this an intrusion, I remain

Very Respect
Lucy Askew Jackson
Mrs. Job H. Jackson

14 Gibbs St
Aug 15/85

My dear Will,

I am anxious to know what your opinion is of dear Helens illness. It appears to me she is not improving & ought she not to change the treatment. Please do not let her know that I have written to you on the subject. When did you see her last & tell me frankly what you think, will you not? I have been here a month visiting an old friend & on Monday Aug '10 I shall go to Saratoga. Please send a reply immediately & simply address me Saratoga. I have enjoyed this summer immensely. I have been so well, quite equal to any thing, everything that was pleasant to do, I am however getting anxious about Helen's prolonged illness - What do the doctors say about her? I have not asked her anything or even say how anxious I am about her, - Excuse me dear Will for troubling you, I am aware you are very much occupied too hard worked all the time

Yours affect.
Mary H. Hunt

North East Harbor
Desert Island
August 9 -

My dearest - I […] this letter very sadly for the newspapers say that you are very ill. Which makes [that?] when you wrote me on the 24th. Still, write I must as long as I have you to write to. And still, in spite of newspapers, in spite of your own calm […] statements I cling to the hope that you may yet take a turn for the better and that the wonderful Spring of vitality which has tided you over so much will tide you over this. I cannot feel with you that your […] is done and that this is the fitting time to drop it and to leave all. You have such energy, such […] such trained capacity that if you would live, you would still […] excellent […] to have you so.

But I am as sure as you that the other life is not as far different as it looks from this life which we know so much more about. Eternity and time are one - as much as the surf on the shore and the mid ocean wave are one, and I fully believe that eternity is to give us a satisfaction and completeness which time cannot give. I can imagine you in some other place - not far away - just out of sight, with Ronnie, and a great deal happier than anything could make you here. But all the same, I want you to live! The greater happiness can wait. I want my comrade, my keeper - my dear Helen - the friend more than half a life-time. Do live if you can, my darling dear - but whether you live or die, I shall love you just the same and I shall think that you are loving me still.

It is such a comfort to learn from the dispatches in the newspapers that Will is with you. I had a most anxious note from … last night to ask about you. And Annie Cummings seems to [caring?] much that you are ill, and begs me to give you her love & […]. Did you know that he has just printed a book, the work of several years? It is called "[Nature?] in Religion" and I should think it was [fine?] and thoughtful.

[Oh?] if only so I can hear that you are better, how happy I shall be to be next Sunday. [With] love to dear Will

Your [friend?] Sally

Think of my not answering your question. Of course I should have come & […] in the Spring had you sent for me. I did think of asking if you did not want me but I knew you would hesitate to ask if you did. And I would not suggest a thing which it might embarrassing to accept as well as to decline. I planned in my mind how I could arrange for […] if you needed me, but I did nothing, only held myself in readiness.

Editorial Department
The Century Magazine
Union Square New York
July 18. 1885

What is this fearful news of your serious illness in the [paper?].

RW [Geides?]

Denver Aug. 12. 85
My dear Friend

Your letter of 7th received today pains me very much. No words of friendship or sympathy can be of much value to one to one in such distress as now rests upon you. God only can help you and I pray that He will do so. If I can serve you in any way do not hesitate to ask me. If Mrs. Jackson can receive a message assure her of our profound sympathy and earnest hope for her recovery.

I am Sincerely Yours

Moses [Hallett?]

Mr Jackson

Cottage City Mass.
Aug. 6. 1885.

Dear Mrs. Jackson:

The New York papers bring me a most discouraging report concerning your health, and although as a professional journalist I naturally regard such reports as probably not more than half true, I cannot but fear that there is some foundation for the one in question as I have heard of your illness from other and more trustworthy sources.

You will not, I hope, consider yourself bound to answer or to have answered this very informal little note. I merely want to let you know, that one or your earliest acquaintances hears with sorrow and sympathy of your long continued sickness.

In whatever condition this may find you, be assured that it carries with it the sincerest hopes for your recovery. Whether this shall be consummated in this world or another is perhaps of minor consequence to you, but to a great many of us the thought that you are seriously and perhaps dangerously ill, is very sad.

With sincerest wishes for your welfare

I am truly yours

Chas [Norton?].

New York
Aug 8th

Dear friend

I received your letter of the 3rd this morning. I do not believe you a dying - I cannot, although it comes over me like a night mare momentarily that it must be so.

I sent you some lines of Matthew [Aimes'?] because they touched me & at the time I sent them I had persuaded myself that the next news from you would be more favorable. George […] left for Santa Barbara this morning. Today Grant is being laid in his tomb, […] is on General […] staff & he has been gone since early morning. After today I shall be alone all day & I am very glad.

We cannot get rooms at [Ellerns?] as we expected. I am not sorry. The weather is beautiful cool & fresh summer weather.

I shall want to talk to your doctor and I shall be glad to see your friend of the Christian Union. I will take the paper. I hope I can make Helen Banfield care for me. If she [was?] a young man I should have more confidence in my power. Girls I do not understand, although I feel their charm.

As I write my heart rises up in rebellion - I do not want the doctor I do not want Mr. [Chaffee?], I do not want Helen Banfield, I want you. How could you write such a letter as I received this morning if you are dying?

Can't they do something for you. Can't they give enemas of concentrated nourishment - the juice of beef. Fanny Gifford lives for weeks in this way at certain times when her stomach cannot retain any food.

I hope it won't annoy you but I must telegraph & ask about the enemas. She had almost died, before this was suggested.

I shall address my telegram to the [Dr.?]. No, I have changed my mind to you.


[MST.?] [Mrs. Merritt Trimble]

Hamilton Club
146 Remsen Street.

Take a raw beefsteak - From it with a steak fork strip out all the muscular fibre -

With the corpuscular matter (i.e. the blood globules) then remaining, mix finely grated dry bread (not the crust) season with pepper and salt to suit the taste and give the patient in frequent small doses - say a small teaspoon full at a time, - being careful to conceal from the patient the nature of the mixture - as it is very apt to be repugnant.

If the [foregoing] directions are strictly followed it rarely fails to restore tone to the stomach - at the same time being the most nutritious food known.

It has sometimes been known to do quite as well when given without the knowledge of the attending physician. More especially if he has abandoned all hope.

Business card attached: A […] from Charles N. Judson, A brother of Mrs. Prof Hitchcock, Amherst, Mass.

27 N. Washington Sq.
New York City.
Aug 11th 1885.

My dear Mrs. Jackson,

I am saddened to hear you are so very ill, and I hope before this may reach you, God in His mercy may restore you to good health, the greatest of all earthly blessings.

You will not forget me I know; you will recall my stay in [Newport], the lovely drive you gave me on the beach; my call on you one day, the first of April when you had a milk-pan growing full of Spring flowers and ferns. & the book you gave me that day, and then the invitation to go to Colorado with you, which did not seem for the best.

I have always been hoping to meet you again & that I might at last go to the far West. I have been in Miss. Holly Springs for two yrs. but shall not return. I am now engaged in my Painting studies with a fine artist here, but shall have to teach again soon.

My dear Mrs. Jackson I wish you were near, that I might see you, if only a few moments. & I wish we might ride upon that same beach once more, I can almost see the waves & hear them now.

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy for your illness, and may the dear God of Peace give you strength and comfort. Hoping soon to hear you are well

I remain your sincere friend

Sarah E. Ellery

Sunday Aug 9th

Dear friend

I got my husband to telegraph yesterday & ask if you had tried enemas of beef juice. When Fanny Gifford's […] are coming, she almost died - Now she is kept alive in this way & built up even to the point of sustaining food on her stomach - pure juice of beef, squeezed out with […].

You may have tried it or you may not be in a condition to try it but I had to ask the question.

Another beautiful summer day. Clear & fresh.
Where is Helen Banfield now, at Wolfboro?
I spelt Mr. [Makes'?] name wrong. Excuse me.
I am restless today and cannot read or right. I will send you my love once more.

[Mrs Trimble?] [Mrs. Merritt Trimble]

339 20th, Denver,
Aug. 12, '85,

Dear Mr. Jackson,

Your letter gives me great sorrow & anxiety, while it increases my pride & affection for the noble, patient invalid, cheerful, despite the awfully depressing influence of nausea! I suppose you have had the best physicians, & they have used their best efforts. The case seems inexplicable to me, with the meager history of it that I have had. Have electricity and massage been tried? I think in them lies the most reasonable solution of the problem of strengthening the nerves, when from whatever cause, they are exhausted & refuse to do their duty. Mrs. Jackson's stomach gave a hint of possible future trouble several years ago when she came to me that bright winter night, but I had hoped that her hygienic habits had quite overcome the tendency to nervous dyspepsia.

Please give her my warm love and sympathy - I wish I [could?] send her sweet peas & roses every day! But she is in a land overflowing with flowers, & they must be a comfort to the weary hours of inaction.

Thanking you for writing, I am, as ever, Sincerely yrs, A.C. [Avery]

Troy, Winona Co. Minn,
August 12th 1885

My Dear Brother

I have had recent letters from Maggie speaking of Helen's serious illness. I have felt great concern for her and sympathy for you. I wrote in July expressing my feelings but the letter did not get into the mail. I have just had a N.Y. Tribune in which I find a marked paragraph which speaks of Helen's dangerous and critical condition. I trust the papers are wrong in this instance as they so often are. I cannot bear to think that Helen must die so young and with so much to live for. We cannot afford to lose her as a literary woman and writer much less can we spare her, our brother's wife.

I shall await with great anxiety further word from her, if you have time will be glad of a few lines.

You must have had a trying summer. The rebellion among the employes of the Denver & Rio Grande no doubt gave you much trouble and perhaps alarm. I have watched the reports fearing to hear that the officers of the road might suffer serious injury. We shall be glad indeed to see more quiet and settledness in all departments of labor and business, In our retired and quiet home here in the west, we feel the undercurrent of dis-satisfaction and unrest that prevails so generally among the laboring classes.

We are all well and have had a pleasant summer, with the exception of frequent rains, and great heat for two weeks, that have injured all kinds of grain and seeds. Corn is the only first-rate crop. A month ago everything was promising. We have had no severe or dangerous storms this season. I am too much oppressed by my Anxiety for Helen to write you much of our work and life here. I regret that my letter has been so long delayed.

With much love to you & Helen
Affectionately, R. J. Cravanh

[Milo?] joins with me in words of sympathy for you in this time of suspense and sorrow. We are both surprised by the report the paper brings us. We had not thot that the sickness might prove fatal.

Friday morning.

My dear Mr. Jackson,

Your reply to our telegram of yesterday came this morning and it has filled us with sadness. I had strongly hoped that the newspaper paragraphs of which Mr. Davenport wrote us, were greatly exaggerated, but knowing how ill dear Aunty has been for so long, I could not rest until we had positive knowledge of her condition.

Now we are holding our breath in suspense fearing the next word that may come to us. Aunty has always had so great vitality - we hope that she may rally.

I hope you could give her the message of love we telegraphed to her yesterday. It was the best love of Anne and Helen. I was afraid you might not understand if we signed the dispatch by our two names, A. and H., as I am so nearly unknown to you.

We shall be exceedingly grateful for any word you are able to write us. We wish we could be near Aunty - indeed we have wished for months that some one of us could go to her. I wanted to go myself at once when I first heard the nature of her illness, but it was impossible for me to attempt the journey. For Aunty has been my best friend ever since I was born.

Thanking you for the speedy reply to our telegram, and trusting and hoping that our next word may be more favorable, I am,

Aunty's loving niece,
Anne F. Davenport.
Quissett, Mass.
Aug. 7, 1885.

San Francisco, Sept 8 1885

Mr. W.S. Jackson-

My dear Sir-

I hesitate about sending you the enclosed, but the words are so sincerely true that they may be grateful to you to read, - a sort of bittersweet. Miss Thomas seems to have guessed that I saw Mrs. Jackson, but I told her that my knowledge of the later days was from yourself.

Very Resp'y Yours

Charles Woodbury

Geneva, Ohio, Aug 21, 1885

Dear Mr. Woodberry:

I must thank you, most sadly, most sincerely, for the first private message I have received concerning the last days of Mrs. Jackson. The public announcement of her death was a great shock to me, and the later knowledge of her extreme suffering is an added weight to the first sorrow. That she was still the heart and courage of all around her was what I expected to hear. So strong a measure as her life played could never have admitted of a weak ending. It was "nothing but well and fair, And what may quiet us in a life so noble."

The details of the service held for her, as you have related them in your letter, impress me as most fit. Elsewhere, and I doubt not by many, besides myself, whom she had benefited, her "Last Words" have been read with new pathos and import given.

She had told you of my meeting with her - but only I can speak of the great good which I received by her hand, a good which widens and deepens as time goes on. Mine is an undischarged debt; but I hold it much to be in the debt of so great a soul.

It is pleasant to know that she had me in remembrance during these last weeks. Would that I might have had the privilege you enjoyed of seeing her and of talking with her.

I thank you also for the kindly interest which you express in my work. The review of my book in The Post I have esteemed as among the most painstaking and delicately appreciative of any the little volume has received. My only fear is that it promises too much for me.

Mr. [Keffer?] remains in Cleveland. During the winter he was at New Orleans, being connected officially with the Ohio Commission of the Exposition. My regards to Mrs. Woodberry.

Sincerely Yours,

Edith M. Thomas
Charles J. Woodberry, Esq.

Lakewood, N.J., Aug. 6,1885.

Dear Mrs. Jackson:

I was shocked to read in to-day's paper the report that you are very ill, have been so for a long time - ill away from home. I heard long ago that you had been injured by a fall, and for a long time have not known your address, but supposed the effects of your injury only temporary. The paper speaks very vaguely - and all the more painful it seems in the possibilities because so vague of your severe sufferings from your stomach, etc.,; but I hope that both the painfulness & gravity of your illness are exaggerated. I need not tell you, I trust, that I keep fresh & green all my old interest in you & all that concerns you & that I devoutly hope this is all a mistaken newspaper report. I am also certain I need not tell you, that if you are ill, I heartily sympathize with you & with Mr. Jackson, and earnestly hope that health & strength may be speedily restored to you.

We shall anxiously look for further and we trust better tidings of you.

Always, dear Mrs. Jackson,

Very sincerely yours,

H.J. [Cate]

Dresden - Aug. 28th /85

My very dear H.H.

Yesterday came a letter from Mrs. Huntington, Quincy, telling me if your illness, but she added, "it is only a newspaper report. I am sorry I mentioned it as it may unnecessarily worry you." Today I take up in the reading room the "[Am?] News" & read that you are ill in S. Francisco. I am no more ready or willing to believe that you are very ill. Celebrities are always taken notice of, it cannot be that you have been ill ever since you went there ("4 months"). Surely some one would have told me! Ever since Sarah Woolsey wrote me of your accident, I have been meaning to tell you how sorry I was to hear of it. Then [too?] I wanted to tell you about the "Fraulein." & lately your name has been often on our lips, for the [Gadis's] spoke of you when we were in Norway, & we have been wondering if you were at all familiar with some of the plays we visited this summer. A few days ago I was passing a Book Store & I saw in the window "Ramona" by Helen Jackson. I gave a start. What is it, said Ellen. See Ramona in the Tauchnitz & somehow it seemed as if you were near. I have bought it for the Fraulein. I know she will be glad to read it, do you know how well she reads English? We go to Munich tomorrow alas! We shall not find her comfortable home open to us in the Karl Strasse. We were with her for 10 days last autumn just as she was closing up her affairs. She made a great deal of money by her auction. Thrifty woman that she was, everything saleable was put in perfect order, varnished & made to look as good as new if not better.

She took us to the home she proposed to make for herself in the [Mathilden?] Strasse. 2 very comfortable rooms connecting & there she had put all her chosen bits of furniture, books, […] & expected apparently to pass the rest of her life there, but I had my misgivings. It was a house for [lonely?], tolerably aged women & we felt sure [that?] the aged and forlorn would prey upon our kind good natured Fraulein. She wrote us the other day that she had flown, "I could not bear those horrid old women." She is now in the country near Munich & has promised to come on Sunday afternoon to see us, then I shall hear more of her future plans.

I was so fortunate as to have a copy of Ramona sent me when first it was published, a very fascinating delightful story. Who could read it without feeling a wish to help the poor down trodden Indians, & having the greatest sympathy for them. You must have known Ramona? What a dainty flower she is. The book must have interested so many in the Indians cause. You [heated?] the subject so calmly, & [felt?] your whole heart was in it, one could see, & it made one hot & cold by turns to think in this 19th Century, in our country, the wronged should suffer so. & that we were sitting by & making no effort to right them. You have worked right [manfully?]. I know with your tender heart you must have suffered to think how much misery they must endure & the future so dark for them. We have had a very delightful journey in Norway. The weather was perfect, day after day of brilliant beautiful weather. I shall give you our route from [Christiania to Kougsborg to Tinose Lake to Ruchanfass to Hitterdak?] Where for several days we lived in a pine forest then down the Nordic Lake to […] & the [Bandak?] Lake to […]. The pass was magnificent sleeping one night at [Hauchleid Taetter]. […] Mr [Gaddis?] was rather unwilling at first to give his content to our taking the first part of the journey. He said we should not find Eng. Speaking travelers, that the food was poor, the beds ditto, that at one point the road was broken & beyond no […] in the way But we were […], on seeing the [Telemachen?] region, & finally [worried?] him [into?] giving us his blessing. We departed full of [bright?] anticipating to be all more […] realized. Everyone was so kind to us & the number of Norwegians on the road (not much traveled) speaking English was a wonder. So often they spoke our own familiar […] tongue & on inquiry we found that they had learned it in Chicago or Minnesota. It was a comfort to hear it & it always seemed to go hand in hand with honesty, good nature & kindness.

Do you know Dresden? It has changed immensely in these 12 years, tall chimneys and [trainways?] are enough to ruin any place to live in? but the Raphael Madonna is a dream of beauty. We go daily to worship at that shrine & always find a host of adorers before it. We shall tarry only a few days in Munich, then to Verona], & so on to […] for September. How I wish I could hear from you, it would be an impossible comfort, but if you are ill I cannot expect it, but if you can do with a few lines on a postcard? Address Signor Alessandro Spada [Rome?]. [Flavine?] died last winter. The "Angel" is the same kind soul as ever, & bears his years & his infirmity like the saint he is - Ellen joins with me in sending love. & you will give our cordial salutations to Mr. Jackson. I hear he is a very busy man & believe me dear Helen ever aff. your loving

Priscilla Stearns

Colorado Springs, Col.
Aug. 12. 1885.

My dear Mrs. Jackson:

I have heard of you for months as still suffering and have often wished to give you some sign of sympathy. I did write you a letter which I became an old one before I learned your address and I did not send it. I hear now that you have or have had malarial fever and that you are much troubled by some form of indigestion. A few years since I nursed Mr. Hatch through a most severe form of malarial fever and well know what it is and what are the long weary months of waiting for returning health. I want to beg you to try as food, if you have not already done so, the preparation called Imperial […]. I feel sure that to its use in a dangerous crisis I owe my own life and I have suggested its use in several cases since with happy effect. I lived on it until my digestive organs so far recovered their tone as to assimilate other food and even now I always keep it for occasional use. You will find it with any good druggist and I do hope you will at least give it a trial.

I have hoped with every succeeding week that it would bring you home to enjoy our lovely moist summer. The country is as green as New England in June and we still have daily rain.

I want to tell you how much Mr. Hatch and I enjoyed Ramona. It is an "[ever true?]" tale most exquisitely told. My friend Miss A.B. Harris asked me to convey to you her high appreciation of the book. She wrote the notice of it which appeared in the Literary World of Dec. 16. I hope that your fertile brain will provide for us yet other stories like Ramona.

Dear Mrs. Jackson, if it is not asking too much, will you not let somebody by you write me a few lines telling me just how you are? I so much want to know something definite about you after so long an absence.

I send some little blossoms from your beloved canon. The yellow [Erragonum?] I found on the mountains behind our house.

Mr. Hatch wishes me to express to you his cordial sympathy and regard and his wishes for your speedy recovery.

Goodbye and may God bless you.

Sincerely yours,

Mary J. Hatch.

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