Colorado College Tutt Library

Helen Hunt Jackson 1-1-21 transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 1, Ms 0020, Box 1, Folder 21, Letters from Martha B. Vinal (HHJ's mother's cousin) to Nathan Fiske (HHJ's father), 1844-1846
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, June 1996

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass by Dr. Humphrey

[Monday] Charlestown May 27, 1844

My dear father,

Thank for writing me a letter. I love to hear from you very much. Dr. Humphrey said you were thinking about making us a visit I was so glad to hear it, I do wish you would come. I mean to be a good girl and do just as I think you would like to have me. I have read a chapter in the Bible almost every day and now cousin Martha and I have begun with Genesis and we mean to read the Bible through together. I am learning some very pretty hymns. My health is very good and I am very happy. Aunt Vinal sends her very best love to you and says she wants to see you very much and Miss Chadwick sends her respects.

Your affectionate daughter Ann S. Fiske.

Thursday afternoon, Mr. Fiske, Nothing very special has occurred in our family to communicate, since we last wrote, but as Ann's letters are necessarily short, I promised to assist her in filling the unoccupied space. I think she has succeeded in writing the above very neatly, she took great pains, as I told her you would be pleased that to see that she improved in writing, and when I pointed to her, the omission of the word you in the first line, she said, "Oh that's too bad but no matter, pa will know just as well what it means, and I don't want to put it in over the top, for that will spoil the looks of the whole." Ann was very much pleased to receive your letter, and delighted with the idea which Dr. Humphrey suggested, that perhaps you might leave college for a while, when the weather is milder, to journey for your health, she felt quite sure that you would take her with you, but I told her she must not calculate upon it for such an arrangement did not seem at all probable to me. Ann has a vacation for a few days it being election week. Tuesday she spent at cousin Nathaniel Waterman's, where there are a number of little girls, uncle went for her in the afternoon, and yesterday forenoon, she went again over to uncle Scholfield's with uncle, & aunt, and has remained there until this afternoon, when uncle will call for her. She had not previously spent any time at uncle Scholfield's, and her cousins wanted to have her come very much, and some of them will walk out with her to day, to see the famous temperance procession. Ann is very well, she has not had a sick day since she has been with us, - she goes to bed between eight & nine o'clk, and the first sound I usually hear in the morning is her cheerful merry voice. She is a good child, always yielding readily & pleasantly, to our wishes, and she daily attaches herself more & more to each member of the family.

Aunt desires to be affectionately remembered to you, and says she does hope you will endeavor to do, that which may be for the restoration of your health, & if rest from college duties is what you need, that you will not fail to take it, we should be happy to see you here, should you think it favorable for your health to come.

Mr. Hooker is with us, you will receive a letter from him by this opportunity. Aunt wishes to have me say to you, that if you would like to read our daily paper, we should be happy to send it to you, when there may be any thing of interest in it.

Week before last we received a letter from Helen, she appears to be very happy, I have since written to her. Your niece Martha Fiske called here yesterday, she came down to attend some of the anniversaries. Your fathers family are all well. We shall hope to hear from you again before long in regard to your health. Uncle Vinal called upon us a few evenings since, he appears much as usual. Your friend Martha B. Vinal

Thursday evening. Ann has returned from Boston delighted with her visit, and to day she has received a letter, from Helen with some little presents. Mr. Tyler brought them, he is in Boston and I hope that we may see him. We have just had calls from your friends at Weston, Alonzo with his wife & sister Martha. M.B.

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mass. SEP 17

Charlestown Sept. 16. 1844.
Monday evening

Mr. Fiske,

Aunt has requested me to write you a few lines this afternoon, knowing that you must be anxious to hear from your children. Ann was quite pleased with your letter, & with some effort read it herself. When we last wrote, I think Helen was suffering with toothache, she had been somewhat relieved but that very afternoon, the pain was so severe, that she could endure it no longer, and with the advice of the dentist and our encouragement, she had it out, very much to her relief. She seemed remarkably well on Saturday, and Sunday and went to bed at night apparently in good health; about one o'clk Monday morning she awoke with a very bad sore throat, and headache, and by breakfast time, her throat was ulcerated, & there was considerable tenderness to fever. We were alarmed and felt that she must have a doctor, she was very anxious to have Dr. Greeg [sic], and portested [sic] against having a doctor who would give her large doses of medicine; accordingly as our own judgement was in favor we called Dr. Gregg, he came [sic] her some medicine, in a few hours her fever subsided and the headache left her, and did not return again, for two days her throat was very sore, after that it began to amend, the Dr. came but twice, and in four days her throat was nearly well, and she seems as bright as ever. We have great reason to be thankful that with such severe symptoms, she was so soon relieved. For three nights she slept in Ann's little room, after that she took her own room. You will be pleased to know that Helen was a very good girl during her sickness, and aunt wishes me to say to you, that she is giving her far less anxiety than she anticipated, of course do not expect that Helen is faultless, but you will be gratified to learn that she is doing so well, aunt says she is obededient [sic], kind &c.

To day Helen has gone to Uncle Scholfields to spend the week. Ann is very well, as hearty as need be, but she has an eruption upon the skin, which we do not understand, you will remember that when she came from Weston, she had something upon the skin which seemed like the bite of an insect, this irritation has continued ever since, and increased considerably the week past, upon her arms, limbs and body, aunt does not like to do any thing for it, while her health is so very good, she wished to have me mention it to you, as perhaps Ann may have had some thing of the kind before, and you may know what is good for it.

Aunt says I must tell you that she is quite well, but I do not think she is as strong as before her sickness, though considering all circumstances, I do think she is better than I we ought to expect. Cousin John Chickering with his family spent last week with us, they went to Northampton on Saturday. Mr. & Mr. Hooker are also with us, and still remain with friends from Newburyport. We had last week quite a family meeting, aunt endured the fatigue better than I feared. Tomorrow I leave home to be absent a few weeks, as Mrs. Hooker is to be for sometime to come, I can feel quite easy to go away. Excuse my haste, my trunk is not yet packed, and I leave in the morning.

The children do not know that I am writing Ann is at play, and Helen in Boston, with a kind remembrance from us all I must close. Aunt says you must write soon, and be particular to mention your health.

Dr. Gregg thinks no permanent relief would be given to Helen by operating upon her tonsils, for the present she will be subject to the attacks, we are to have her throat bathed in cold water as that is recommended. Truly yours M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mas, NOV 20

Charleston Nov. 19, 1844
Tuesday evening

We were very happy my dear Mr. F. to receive a letter from you yesterday. We were beginging [sic] to think that it was time to hear from you, and each day Ann was asking uncle if he had not a letter from pa! Ann was delighted with the idea of your coming so soon, and we are all truly pleased at the prospect of having you with us Thanksgiving, we had calculated upon it, knowing that your vacation commenced at that time. You will then I trust bring with you the remains so precious to us all. Uncle has this afternoon been to Mt Auburn, and if the weather is favorable all will be ready by next week, should there however be any unexpected delay, the remains can be deposited in the receiving tomb, without any extra expense. They have already commenced working upon the ground, and separate tombs for each deposite, such as uncle described to you, are being built, under the direction of the Superintendent. You will be particular to write us what day you are coming, and uncle with Mr Symnes, the sexton, will meet you at the depot, and they will take charge of the remains without giving you farther trouble. I feel that it will be decidedly best to make the removal at the present time, and I trust you will be able to accomplish it. I know that it will be a relief to aunt to have it done, and we shall all love to know, that one so dear is resting so near us.

We have received no letter from Helen since she left us, - I am mistaken she has written once, rather a short letter, but she speaks formally of things, and will I hope be contented, and do well. Mrs. Hooker writes that she appears well.

Cousin Sarah Hooker is with us, and will remain until after Thanksgiving.

Aunt is tolerably well, she desires love, it will be gratifying to her to see you. Uncle is pretty well, better I think than he has been, but he is so engrossed with his buildings, that he has but little time for rest or quiet.

Uncle D. Vinal appears about as usual, he takes but little interest in uncle's arrangements.

Ann is very well, and says give my love to pa and tell him I am very glad he is coming to see us. - as I shall send the letter early in the morning she will have no time to write.

We shall expect to hear from you as soon as you can decide about coming.
Truly yours
M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mass, JAN 31

[Wednesday] Charlestown Jan. 29. 1845

My dear Mr. Fiske,

Ann received a letter from you last week on Wednesday, and we should have replied to it earlier, but since then she has been quite sick, and I did not like to write you, while she remained so, to give you anxiety, as we hoped each day she would be better. Wednesday of last week, was the first of our noticing that Ann did not appear well, but in reply to aunt enquiries she said that she felt as well as ever and accordingly, went to school, towards evening she complained of being dissy and oppressed at her stomach, we gave her a small portion of oil, bathed her feet &c, but she was very restless all night, some feverish and vomiting, after which she appeared somewhat relieved. In (Thursday) the morning the medicine operated favorably, but she did not feel able to get up, and her stomach rejected every thing that she took, throwing up shells or gruel almost as soon as taken. In the afternoon her stomach was so much disturbed that aunt gave her some herb tea to drink, thinking that probably there was some thing upon her stomach that out to be removed. In the evening she seemed more comfortable, and rested some during the night. The next day she seemed better, (Friday) was wrapped in a blanket, and sat up in a chair, but still there remained some nausea, and me thinking it might be a billious attack, to which she used to be subject, consulted Dr. Gridley's letter, and procured some pills, according to his direction, and gave her one. We had thought of having the Dr. but on that day, Friday, she seemed to be doing so well, that it seemed unnecessary. But in the course of the night she became more sick, and uncle & aunt were alarmed to find that her face was swelling, and looking red. Uncle called (Saturday) Dr. Walker early in the morning, he came & directed some medicines which operated as an emetic and cathartic. There was no doubt but that her disease was erysipelas, she had a very sick day, in the afternoon a high fever, and very restless, her nose was swollen very much swelled also under her eyes, and the color of scarlet, and under one eye there was a little blister. Uncle & aunt were very anxious, and as we had no experience of erysipelas, uncle went over to Boston for cousin Ann Scholfield, but she was not well that day, and her sisters thought it not best to tell her that Ann was sick, however she was better in the morning, and we were happy to have her come and be with us. she remained until yesterday afternoon. Cousin Caroline Tufts sat up with Ann part of Saturday night. On Sunday Ann had much less fever, and had two or three attacks of bleeding from the nose which relieved the swelling. On Tuesday she was so much better as to have on her loose dress, and sit up nearly all day, and to day she has on her usual dress and begins to look quite natural, the swelling & redness have pretty much gone, but the skin if pealing from her nose, the same as if it had been blistered.

Aunt sends her love and say you must not be anxious. With care Ann will probably do well, and aunt has endured the anxiety quite as well as we could expect. both uncle & aunt were a good deal alarmed. Ann was a good girl during her sickness some restraint will I sur I presume be necessary, her appetite is quite sharp, and she will I fear be in too much of a hurry to go out. It seems to me that she will have to be very careful of exposure. Ann asked aunt on Saturday if she grew much sicker if we should not send for pa.

Ann sends love, and says when she gets better she will answer your letter, and the questions you asked, she thanks you for your letter and hopes you will write again soon.

We have not very recently heard from Falmouth. Uncle Vinal was here on Monday, he is much the same as usual.

We shall hope to hear from you soon

Truly yours

M. B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, Mas, MAR 19

[Tuesday] Charlestown March 18, 1845

My dear Mr. Fiske

I fear that I may have done wrong in not writing you before, as you may have been anxious from not hearing, but I have been the sick one this time, and as the writing of letters devolves upon me, there must of course be some delay, when I am disabled. I have not been very sick, but for a month past, as I am usually in the Spring, have been troubled with severe attacks of pain in my head, and when they are so frequent & so bad, they are very debilitating, and I am prone to procrastinate any duty. I have consulted Dr. Gregg, and feel considerably better, and hope soon to regain my usual health.

I hope these March winds will not increase your bronchial difficulties, with us they are very cold & piercing, at least they seem so to me, if they are as penetrating with you, I should think you would have to be very careful as to exposure. The weather will undoubtedly be more mild & pleasant by next month, when if I mistake not your vacation commences, and we shall hope to have the pleasure of seeing you. Mrs. Hooker designs visiting us the last of April, it will be pleasant for you to meet her here. We had letters from Falmouth last week. I should think Mrs. Hooker's health was as good, as it generally is at this season of the year, she writes that she has had a remarkably comfortable winter. I hope that in time her health may become fully confirmed. Helen was very well she wrote quite a letter to aunt. Ann had been rather running down but her mother thought a little rest would restore her. Sarah returned home last week, they must be quite happy in having her with them once more.

Uncle & aunt are pretty well, quite comfortable for them, aunt has commenced "cleaning house", which perhaps you may know is not very easy work for housekeepers. Uncle is still occupied at the "South End", but I believe the houses are now nearly ready to be let.

We see uncle Vinal but seldom, his limbs are lame & weak so that he cannot walk without fatigue, uncle meets him occasionally.

I spent part of the y day yesterday at uncle Scholfields, the family were all pretty well excepting cousin Ann, who has had quite an ill time, but is now recovering.

Aunt has requested me to say that if there are among Mrs. Fiske's things any straw bonnets, they probably will be useful to alter over for Helen or Ann this spring, and that it might be well for you to bring them when you come.

Ann is very well, she has just returned from school, & sends her love to you.

Aunt desires to be remembered to you.

Truly yours

M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, SEP 20

[Thursday] Charlestown Sept. 25. 1845

My dear Mr. Fiske,

As Ann is disabled from writing by a sore finger, I have offered to reply to your letter, as I presume by this time you are expecting to hear from us. Ann was very happy to hear from you, and was intending to answer your letter, had she not been thus prevented. - her finger is some better, and probably in a day or two will be quite well again, she thought she should have a ring worm as she terms it, but I think it will be nothing serious, but she has not been able to attend to her music since the first of the week. Ann appears to be quite interested in her school. Miss Tuthill I should think might be a faithful & competent teacher.

Uncle has gained considerably in health since you left, and yet not as much as I hoped he might by this time; he rides over to Boston nearly every pleasant day because he has business to call him there, but he is weak & feeble, is easily tired and easily discouraged. I feel a good deal of anxiety on his account, but he should be feeble for some time to come; his sides & back are yet lame & some painful, but he complains the most of debility.

Aunt is perhaps as well as we could expect considering the fatigue & anxiety she has had during uncle's illness, she goes out to church and keeps about but I am confident is not feeling very well.

My sisters Mary & Harriet are now making us a visit, they are both quite well in health, they return home to New Bedford next week.

Uncle David Vinal rides over to see us nearly every afternoon, he has exchanged the horse that he had when you were here, for another high spirited animal, quite too fleet & gay for his use, though I think he appears more gentle than the other one.

I had a very pleasant visit at Andover, & enjoyed the Anniversary Exercises very much but was quite wearied at the close. I looked for you some, though not very much, there was a large gathering of the alumni.

Ann would send love, were she at home, but she has not returned from school. She is very well, but is troubled a little with an eruption upon the skin, such as she has before had, her eyes have also been weak, - an inflammation upon the lids, such as you probably have often noticed.

We have not heard from Falmouth very recently.

Aunt desires love, and says that as yet, she is feeling very well satisfied with Ann's school.

Truly yours

M.B. Vinal

You will please for the future direct our letters to Charlestown, as uncle is going to give up his box in Boston. M.B.V.

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, MAR 30

[Sunday] Charlestown March 29 1846
Sabbath evening

My dear Mr. Fiske,

You will hardly expect to hear from us at this time, as your last letter is still unanswered, but aunt has requested me to write you a few lines, as you might hear from us in some other way, and wonder at our not writing.

I fear it may add some what to your anxiety, but still I know you would prefer to be informed of the fact, that Ann has the hooping cough. Immediately after she wrote you, the very next day I think, she was taken quite ill, with what appeared to be a severe influenza clod cold, we waited a day or two, and then sent for the doctor, the influenza symptoms of the hooping cough, she probably took it at school, although Ann did not know that she was exposed, and of course we knew nothing of it.

It is now more than three weeks since she began to cough, and thus far, she has endured it better than we feared; she has it we suppose about as bad as children in general, not the worst, and yet not the lightest, she is taken medicine from Dr. Gregg which he says in some cases, has relieved the cough very much, while in others it would have its own way and course. Ann has an excellent appetite, which is very favorable, and her general health & strength remain as good as we could expect. She does not attend school, but is out a good deal, well secured against taking cold, as we are told that exercise in the open air is good for her. She coughs the most in the night, which is unfavorable for her, but I have noticed that she falls asleep immediately after coughing, so that she is not as much disturbed of her rest as you would suppose. Although some mornings she seems tired and languid. She sleeps in the front chamber, and we take turns being with her, cousin Ann Hooker sleeps with her a good deal, as she says she can as well as not, I mention this because I know you would feel anxious lest uncle & aunt should be disturbed of their rest nights, which is not the case, as it would be if Ann slept in her own room, with the doors closed they scarcely hear her.

I have dreaded the hooping cough for Ann even since she has been here with us, on account of her sensitive lungs, and when she is though with it, I am sure we shall all be thankful that she has safely endured what appears to me to be one of the most trying of children's diseases; she is a good child, and makes as little trouble & anxiety as she can.

Aunt has been quite sick with influenza, but is now nearly as well as usual, has been to church all day. Uncle has run a bad cold, but I hope he will not be as sick with it as aunt was, these colds are very prevalent.

We were happy to notice by the paper that your college is enjoying a revival of religion, when you write we should be pleased to hear with regard to it.

Ann sends much love, with a particular request that you would write her very soon.

How is your health, you were not very well, when you last write. I received a paper from you last week, & we shall hope to hear again before long.

Truly yours M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, 5 cts, 30 APR

Charlestown April 29. 1846
Wednesday afternoon

My dear Mr. Fiske,

It is with the deepest sorrow I write, & I hardly know what to say - but our dear Aunt Vinal is very sick, she was rather suddenly sick on the Sabbath with an attack of what has proved to be, infamation of the liver, of & stomach, the Dr. said this morning that he appended nothing immediately alarming although he could not tell what turn the disease might take. She has suffered the most severe pain, - this afternoon her pain is less, but she is so completely exhausted, that I feel almost entirely discouraged.

You can do as you think best that about coming to us, we will write by the next mail, if you do not come.

Uncle is entirely overcome, I pray for us, and for her, that her precious life may yet be spared.

Affectionately. M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass. Postmarked: Boston, 5 cts, 1 MAY

Charlestown April 30, 1846
Thursday morning 5. o'clk

My dear Mr. F.

I wrote you yesterday afternoon informing you of Aunts sickness, - & I hope you may receive this letter at the same time you do that, cousin Charles Waterman who has been here to night, thinks he can get this into the mail in season to go to day. We feel some what encouraged about aunt since yesterday afternoon. Drs. Gregg & Weiselhoft were here at six o'clk. last evening, and what they said encouraged me a good deal, and aunt had a much more quiet night, than day. yesterday, she slept well until 3 o'clk, and then her time of chills & fever were not so severe. I hope I am not feeling too much encouraged. - it seems to me that I cannot give her up.

I will write you again towards night, if I have any opportunity of getting a letter, over to Boston office.

Do not feel too anxious about us - but I know you will remember us in your prayers, for with God is our hope.

Aunt Tufts watched with aunt last night.

Truly yours M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass. Postmarked: Boston, 5 cts, 1 MAY

Charlestown April 30, 1846
Thursday afternoon

My dear Mr. Fiske,

As I have already informed you of aunt's sickness I feel that I must write you as often as can be, because I can judge how anxious you must be. I trust it is with the most gratitude to God, that I can say aunt remains more comfortable, she has had a quiet day, and although extremely weak, & still at times suffering a good deal, I do feel that the crisis of the disease has passed, & that unless something new & unexpected takes place, she will soon do well.

Cousin Charles awaits for the letter, and I can say no more. Let us hear from you soon.

Truly yours M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, 5 cts, 2 MAY

[Friday] Charlestown May 1. 1846

My dear Mr. F.

Perhaps from what I wrote you last, you may expect to hear that aunt is a great better or at least much more comfortable, but I cannot say so. I did not mean to encourage you too much, but then my hopes were raised, while, it may be that to day, they are needlessly depressed. The Dr. this morning said aunt was no worse, that some of her symptoms were more favorable but then at times she seems so perfectly exhausted, that I scarcely dare to hope, & yes, I do hope, more than I fear, perhaps I do, in the while. And yet my heart is nigh to hurting, and I feel that I never knew sorrow like this before.

Aunt still suffers a good deal of pain, although it has abated, & perhaps it is to be expected that she should feel her weakness more, she can only lie upon her back, and when she is feverish & restless, you know how unpleasant it is, to be confined to one position.

Cousin Ann Scholfield has been with us, a day or two, and she is the greatest comfort to us.

This morning uncle questioned the Dr. very particularly, and he said, that aunt's case was a doubtful one, her age was against her, but still he spoke encouragingly the inflammation has entirely subsided from the stomach, the pain is rather more in the bowels, should it become severe there, I should have scarcely a say of hope. But I will now cling to what I can & trust God for the rest.

I have written for Mrs. Hooker to come, the letter will not reach her until to morrow evening, & I shall expect her, & perhaps Mr. H. on Monday.

You know the whole, & will ask your judgement about coming. I did not consult aunt about sending for Martha, I feared that it might excite her, & we keep her as quiet as possible. - but I felt that I must have Mrs. H. with me.

Uncle is as clam calm as you would be expected. Aunt is perfectly aware how sick she is, and is willing to leave the result with God.

Truly yours. M.B. Vinal

Aunt has just here got up to have her bed fixed, and she endured it much better than we feared, which is certainly encouraging. M. Friday afternoon.

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, MAY 20

[Wednesday] Charlestown May 20, 1846

My dear Mr. Fiske,

I feel that I ought to have written to you before, as I know you must want to hear, but as you will suppose my time is pretty well occupied, and the mornings would pass away, & the time come for the mail to close before I was aware of it.

Aunt is gaining as fast as I suppose we ought to expect, - she has been down stairs twice to her meals, & yesterday she walked in the garden, & to day has rode out, but he was quite fatigued from riding, even a little ways, she is still lame & weak across the stomach & back, where she suffered such severe pain, & I think it may be some time before she is able to ride without inconvenience. She rests well nights & her appetite is natural.
Mrs. Hooker returned home last Friday, I felt very sorry to have her go, but it seemed necessary that she should. Aunt Chickering has gone to Newburyport, & we have no one with us but our usual family.

We are all well, excepting uncle, who is feeble, I think he has taken some cold from the sudden changes in the weather.

Your sister Maria spent an hour with us one day last week, she & your brother's family came down with Martha, who has returned to school. You will write to us before long, as we shall want to hear from time to time about your health.

Ann is very well, she is now at school.

With a kind remembrance from aunt.

Truly yours
M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, Ms, MAY 30

[Saturday] Charlestown May 30, 1846

My dear Mr. Fiske,

You may perhaps have been expecting to hear from me before now, in reply to your last letter, with reference to Mrs. Bent's box, but I have delayed, hoping to be able to write you some thing definite with regard to it. Mr. Hooker who has been with us this week has been unwearied in his effort to find that box, but without any success, he has been to the agent two or three times, and the man who has the care of the baggage & freight, says that the box could not have been brought there, because there was no entry of that kind upon his books, which is always the case when any thing is brought there. Mr. Hooker looked over his books two weeks within the time, when the box was taken from Mrs. Parkers, but there was no mention made of it. Mr. Hooker saw Mrs. Parker at her house, & Mr. Parker at his store. Mrs. Parker says she stood by & saw the direction when it was put on the box, that card I wrote myself, directed it to you from Mrs. Bent Amherst Mass. By Palmer Depot, Mr. Parker says the man told him, when he returned from taking the box to the depot that there was some mistake about the direction & that some thing was taken off or put on, dont know which. I feel very confident about the direction, it does not seem possible that I can be mistaken, for I remember referring to your letter, which had been mislaid, so as to be sure. The agent at the depot, with him Mr. Hooker, that the man who took the box from Mrs. Parkers, ought to come there, and point out the individual, whom he delivered it to, you this Mr. H. with all his engagements could not attend to, but he has left a note for Mr. Parker, stating the propriety & necessity of the thing, & probably he will attend to it. The man Mr. Parker supposed to be honest, so Mr. Hooker understood, he was either their servant man in the family, or at the store, I don't know which.

The Rail Road Co. are of course responsible for the box, if it can be proved, that they even received it, but at present there is no such proof.

Mr. Hooker met with Mr. Spoffcence whom you well know, he was going to Amherst on Monday, & said he would look at the different depots, if by any accident the box might have been mislaid, & some one suggested that it might have been carried to Northampton, but I do not see any reason for such a conjecture.

We are all very sorry for the delay, on account of the anxiety it is giving all concerned. - some of us will try to see Mr. or Mrs. Parker, & I will write you, as soon as we learn any thing as to the fate of the box.

Aunt sends love, & says she has so special message to you, only that you must be careful of your health. The weather the past week has been unfavorable, aunt has not been able to ride out since Monday, she was begining to be able to ride, without any special fatigue, & as she was enjoying it, I am really sorry to have her shut up so. She has gained a good deal both in strength & looks, but till she is weaker than before she was sick, & is now feeling the need of air & exercise out of doors. Uncle is much the same as usual, some days quite comfortable, & then again not as well.

Aunt's brother uncle Eben. Chickering from Maine is making us a visit.

Mr. Hooker left us this morning to return home.

Our friend Mrs. Humphrey has a little son a day or two old.

Ann is well as usual - excepting that the hooping cough still holds on, if she takes but a slight cold, - she is now at school. I think she will write you before long, she wrote a note to Helen, to send by her uncle Hooker, & you know it is quite an effort for her to use her pen.

If you hear from Mrs. Bent's box, you will of course let us know, as it will be quite a relief to us to learn that it is safe.

Truly yours

M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, JUL

[Friday] Charlestown June 26. 1846

My dear Mr. Fiske,

We were all happy to hear from you, by to day's mail, & I commence a reply this soon to your letter, as I am intending tomorrow to go to Falmouth to spend a few weeks, - Mr. Hooker is here, & I return home with him. Aunt has requested me to write you a few lines, respecting Ann's going to Weston; her time at school closes, we think about the first week in August, it commenced the 7th of May, & the terms are eleven weeks, and aunt has not thought it best to take her from school, until then, when the usual long vacation begins, unless you should wish her to be in Weston with you before that time. Miss Tuthill except expects her scholars to pay for the whole of the term whether they are there or not. When you write again, perhaps you can mention more definitely what your plans are, & what your wishes may be with regard to Ann.

Ann will finish this letter, & she will hardly thank me, if I write the news, even if I could think of any to communicate, besides I am rather in haste, as we go in the morning.

Truly yours

M.B. Vinal

[Saturday] Charlestown. June 27 1846.

My dear father

I was very glad to receive your letter and I shall take your advice and write a little every day and I hope by doing so I shall improve in writing Miss Tuthill is trying to have me improve in composition for our last exercise in composition she wanted us to write a note to her and she will not open it till the eighteenth of August she gave us this exercise to see if we make any improvement composing. I recieved a very short note from Helen on Monday by uncle Hooker I think Helen will be very glad that it is decided for her to go to South Hadley she said she was so tall that she was afraid there would not be room for her there. Uncle Hooker went to Newton on Tuesday to visit the Normal school and met the association at Pepperell he returned here with Rev. Mr Pettingill on Thursday night and they left here for Falmouth with cousin Martha on Saturday.

Wednesday July 1. Mary Downs is married and Aunt Vinal has a new girl which she likes very much. I suppose you have seen Mrs. Doanes marriage in the paper she was married in Mr. Humphrey's church I have witnessed two marriage ceromonys in church Mr. Doane and Mary Downs were married in church. My prospect of birds is not very flattering have had more eegs than birds. I have no chance to give your love to grandpapa he has not been here for three or four weeks I called to see him lately but he was not at home he is so much engaged in repairing his houses that does not have much time for visiting. We see cousin Martha Fiske pretty often she called here night before last she is very well She goes to Aunt Warren every Saturday and spends the Sabbath there Aunt Spends a part of the weeks at Woburn. she come back every Saturday. My school vacation begins on the 25 of July and we have six weeks I hope to see you before then.

July 2 [Thursday] Uncle and Aunt Vinal send their love to you and are sorry to hear that your health is no better. You must excuse the writing, for I have a bad pen before I can write again I must get some new pens. Catherine the new girl spill some ink on my letter which made the blot.

Your affectionate daughter

Annie S. Fiske.

P.S. We shall be looking for you every day till you come.

Addressed: Miss Ann S. Fiske, Care of Prof.. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass., Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, AUG 25

[Tuesday] Charlestown Aug. 25, 1846

My dear Ann,

I was very happy to receive a letter from you yesterday. I had expected one for two or three days supposing that you left Weston on Friday, that day was very warm with us, and we spoke of you frequently, fearing that your father & yourself would suffer with the heat. But now there is quite a change in the weather, and mornings & evenings it is really cool. I am so sorry that your long sleeves should have been forgotten, I cannot but reproach myself for carelessness, as I think you must need them but I am very glad that you have made some cambric ones, you will of course wear them, when it is cool, you had become so accustomed to short sleeves, that I did not think you would need long ones, during the month of August, but it is best at all times to be prepared for changes in the weather.

Uncle & Aunt left home for Falmouth last Wednesday morning, they went in their chaise, and I think must have enjoyed the journey, they thought they should go directly to Falmouth, & stop at Scituate & Marshfield on their way home. And so I am here all alone with Catharine, I do feel lonely sometimes, but as I hope all the absent ones are enjoying themselves, I try to make the best of it. Catharine slept in your little room, and I in uncle's so we are pretty near neighbors, and I do not feel at all timid about being alone in the house. But at meal times I miss you the most, and I often wish that you could come in and spend the afternoon or day with me.

Uncle & aunt were anxious to hear from you before they left I shall write them by to day's mail, what I have heard from you, but unless you have written I hope you will very soon, it will gratify them so much, and truly you & I ought to do all in our power to please them, who have done so much for us, every day of my life, I feel under greater obligation to them, and I look back and see what they have done for me, ever since I was a little girl, younger than you are; and more perhaps it may depend upon you and I more than any one else to take care of them in sickness and in health, and to make their last days happy and comfortable. You know not how solicitous they are, for your present & future good, & as at the hour of prayer uncle with a tremulous voice, committed you to the care of your heavenly father, I felt how very dear you were to us.

It must be very pleasant for you to be meeting once more your play mates & friends, but sometimes perhaps you are sad, as you are so forcibly reminded of your dear mother's death, but as you think of her, you will I hope try to be like her.

Your little bird is doing well, I feed it, & clean its cage, and take as good care of it, as I know how to, both for your sake & its own.

I have just thought that I ought to have written plainer & with more care, as you are not much used to my writing, but I have hurried, as I want to write to uncle & aunt.

I shall want to hear from you again soon

Affectionately, your cousin

M. B. Vinal

Catharine was much pleased that you remembered her.

My dear Mr. Fiske,

I was really glad to know that you did not attempt to go directly on to Amherst, the day after you left us, you seemed tired at that time, and over fatigue I am satisfied, often sincerely diminishes the strength of any invalid.

I am confidently expecting to hear from uncle & aunt by to day's mail. I cannot but feel anxious for them especially uncle, lest this change in the weather should affect him unfavorably, they left home under pleasant circumstances, and I hope that the journey may do them good. I hope you will remind Ann to write to them very soon, a letter from her would please them so much.

I wish I knew of some means by which I could send to Ann her long sleeves, probably it will be warm again, but cold as it is now she wants them, and sleeves that have to be tied on, are not so very apt to get on.

You are I trust persevering with homeopathy, it may do you good, although I cannot but feel it is desirable that you should be relieved from college duties, - but of that you know best.

My time passes pleasantly, notwithstanding my loneliness, friends come in, & I have various things to interest me, but I should not like to live so long, and I shall be very happy to welcome all home.

Truly yours

M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Boston, 5 cts, 8 SEP

[Monday] Charlestown Sept. 7. 1846

My dear Mr. Fiske,

To be sure I expected to hear from you rather sooner than I did, but as you & Annie have been engaged in house cleaning, you certainly were very excusable, - I quite laughed at the idea of your cleaning paint, but you must be glad that such an undesirable job is done. I was pleased to hear that Annie had been useful, I presume she felt all the happier for it.

Uncle & aunt returned on Saturday, they are quite as well as when they left home, I hope some better; the weather was very warm as they returned, but they did not complain particularly of the heat, as they came by short rides. If they had been upon the way to day I should have been anxious - for I never knew the like as to the heat, the thermometer is at 89 in the shade in aunt's room. I write more particularly to say that as uncle & aunt are at home, we shall be happy to have Annie return whenever you think best, consulting her health, your own feelings &c; there will undoubtedly be a change in the weather before long. You will of course be particular to mention the day, when we may expect Annie, and uncle will meet her at the depot.

Aunt desires love to you, is happy to hear that you are making some provision for the winter, favorable for your health, that it may indeed prove so is our sincere wish. I had a long letter from Helen a few days since, she & Mr. Hooker are to be here a fortnight from to day. We are expecting Mr. Hooker to night, he leaves in the morning, for New Haven to be present there at the meetings.

I have for a wonder one real piece of news to tell you & Annie. My sister Harriet is to be married, I forget whether the matter was under consideration when you were here, at any rate it was immediately after; she is engaged to Mr. John Bryant, he is a deacon of the church of which she is a member, and is a man respected in New Bedford, he is in comfortable circumstances, & I hope that Harriet's prospects may be favorable, she has been well acquainted with him for a number of years, and I have seen him at different times; he is a widower with four children.

Uncle is standing by waiting to take this to the office as he goes to Boston for Mr. Hooker, therefore I close in haste, with love from all, to yourself & Ann.

Truly yours, M.B. Vinal

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass, Postmarked: Charlestown, MS, SEP 18

[Friday] Charlestown Sept. 18. 1846

My dear Mr. Fiske,

Your last letter was probably written before you received mine, as you made no mention of it, & we have been hoping each day to hear again from you, about Ann's returning home, but as we do not, aunt is beginning to feel a little anxious, but my last letter might not have reached you.

Aunt has thought, that perhaps you are intending to keep Ann until Helen goes on to S. Hadley and to make only one ride of it to Palmer, or wherever the stopping place may be, as I believe you are to meet Helen at the cars; but there is one reason only it seems to be desirable that Ann should return first, as Helen is calculating to take Annie's trunk with her to Hadley, as her own is not large enough. She wanted very much to have a large new one purchased for her, so that she need take but one, but as that would be quite expensive her aunt Hooker did not feel warranted to do it, & Helen I believe was satisfied with the arrangement to have Ann's, & unless she does, I suppose she must have a new one, you see how the matter stands & can judge accordingly.

We are expecting Mrs. Hooker & Helen on Monday, & with them Mr. John Hooker, (our Mr. Hooker's brother) he is from the West, has been visiting at Falmouth, & stops here upon his return.

I have been enjoying a pleasant visit for the last week from my sister Eunice, and her son Alfred, she desires a kind remembrance to you, & much love to Annie. I have wished that Annie had been at home, on Alfred's account. I should like to have had them see each other.

We were quite obliged to you for leaving Dr. Gregg's letter unsealed. I sent it to him, the afteno afternoon that we received it, and was happy thus to put you in "communication" with him and to facilitate your recovery to health, for so hope it may it prove; - not that I am so sanguine about homeopathy, as to expect a miraculous cure where disease has become settled, but for you do believe it to be the safest course, and I cannot relinquish the hope that you may yet receive decided benefit, but I trust we shall not forget with without a higher blessing, the most skillful of human means, will be unavailing. I should like to hear from Dr. Gregg's reply, particularly with regard to your second question.

Mr. Keith is still with us, he is to be married on Monday & leaves immediately.

I am expecting to go to Abington in the course of next week, my stay there will not be very long, as my sister Harriet, will be married at our house about the 20th of October.

Uncle & aunt are both in comfortable health. Much love from aunt to yourself & Annie.

Aunt says I must be particular to request you to write soon, as we shall want to know what your plans are, when you may have formed them.

The weather is now so cool & pleasant, we think there can be no danger in Ann's returning.

Truly your friend

M.B. Vinal

Friday noon. Since writing the above we have received your letter. I am sorry there should be any delay as to Dr. Gregg's reply, aunt met him on Tuesday at aunt Sawyer's he said that he had taken up your letter two or three times to answer it, but would be called away, he hoped to write that evening, & I am sure I hope he did, for such a stall of suspense, must be painful. Dr. Gregg told aunt that his opinion with regard to your case was the same, or rather that he felt confirmed in saying that you ought to leave college immediately, and on no account think of remaining and attending to your duties, during the term, he said there was no use in trying for you could not do it, but must sink under it. Aunt says that you must not wait in Amherst to make your preparation, but come here & we will do all we can to help you. Do not get tired out, little things are as mountains to an invalid, let those who are in health take the fatigue. You have our constant remembrance & kindest sympathy, & we feel that we cannot urge too strongly, your leaving college without delay.

You will do as you think best about having Ann come home, we all want to see her, very much indeed, but would not wish you to have any extra care or fatigue about it, but that trunk of hers must be had or a new one purchased, as we have no trunk to lend her of a suitable sise. - to lend Helen I mean.

We do not see uncle Vinal, he is still engrossed with his building.

In great haste


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