Colorado College Tutt Library

Helen Hunt Jackson 1-1-3 transcription

Ms 0020, Box 1, Folder 3, Letters from Deborah Waterman Vinal Fiske to Nathan Fiske during her absence in the autumn of 1835
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, October 1995

Addressed: Prof. Nathan. W. Fiske, Amherst, by Mr. Farrar.

[1835] Saturday afternoon

My dear husband

Although you are never in such a fidget for letters as I am I suppose you will have no special objection to a few lines by Mr. Farrar. I was highly favored yesterday in meeting with no accident on the way and in arriving at your father's in good season. The Stage was crowded from Bolton and we had no dinner till 3 o'clock which was rather too genteel an hour for my comfort having no provision in my basket. Between 12 and 1 o'clock I was quite sick from faintness and cold feet, but I found my way to a good fire in a kitchen when the stage stopped and got some ginger tea that gave me new resolution to meet the remaining jolts; it is rather a hilly route but deducting your trouble in carrying me to New Salem I think it on the whole the best way to come.

I shall hope for a letter tomorrow when your father returns from meeting. Let me hear often or I shall get home before you will be ready to see me, XXX having money enough I can come when I please.

I have just been writing a letter for a poor woman by the name of Gleason, to her daughter Hannah Jaquith, an old school mate of yours, - she married a most miserable creature, has a large family of little children, and her husband is so abusive, she writes to her mother, that she is entirely discouraged and broken hearted. Mrs. Gleason came to get Maria to write for her, but Maria was busy and I offered my services.

The family are all well - full of business shelling beans and drying apples. Your father started off this morning at one o'clock with little Edward for company for Boston. Maria says he will not go again this season and she is glad of it for she is tired of preparing loads.

Maria received me very cordially and immediately enquired "where is your husband" "and where is Helen." She had no idea that I had resolution enough to leave you all behind. I hope you all continue well - if the children are sick or you - you must let me know without any delay. Be very particular about the children when you write. I suppose little Ann has had some crying spells. I think of her a great deal.

Miss Sally Stearns is visiting Martha and she with Mrs. Gleason are in Maria's room this afternoon. I am writing upon the little table on which you have eaten many a dinner, it is hardly proper to write any longer, not being alone, so you take what there is with two additional words that are worth considerable when added sincerely.

Yours affectionately
D.W.V. Fiske

Maria says "tell your husband he need not expect you at present for I shall keep you till next winter and then he may come for you"

I was very weary last night from riding so long and my right shoulder and neck are stiff and lame today, but I can breathe as well as usual, so I count myself very fortunate, and think I may have a very pleasant visit if you send me good news from home every few days.

I shall enclose these letters in a note to Mr. Farrar requesting him to deliver them the night he arrives in Amherst and as some compensation for the trouble I invited him to stay at our house till he could get a room and boarding place; he of course would provide for himself the next day.

I left Eliza's bill in my desk in the upper part in sight.

Sunday morning - I am going to Lincoln to meeting.

Addressed: Prof. N.W. Fiske, Amherst, Mass and postmarked [tr. note: not legible]

[1835] Tuesday morning

Your picture of the kitchen was very satisfactory, and if you all continue well I shall not appear among you till the 20th of this month; tho I thought at Weston one day when it rained and I had received no letter that I certainly should go home by the middle of this week.

My father came out to Weston last Friday to see whether I had arrived from Amherst, presuming that I should not get started from home till the latest time specified in my letter to him. I was just getting into the Stage as he drove up to the door in his Carryall or Chaise, so the poor driver missed the coppers he was calculating upon from a new passenger. I came directly to Uncle Scholfields and would not have desired a more cordial reception than was given me by the whole family. The girls appear very lonely - they are deeply afflicted but evidently do all in their power to maintain a cheerful spirit and make their father and brothers happy. I don't know when I've seen such an exhibition of mutual kindness and disinterested affection. I find it very pleasant to be with them and feel a much at home as I could at Aunt Vinals. Adeline and Ellen and Ann send their love to you and Ellen says tell Mr. Fiske he must be in no hurry to see you for you are doing a very charitable deed. My father calls in very often with advice about being careful and goes out saying "now you mustn't run over all Boston for I'll carry you where ever you wish to go, and bring you anything you want". I have rode with him often and am going out this afternoon to see Mrs. Abbott and Mrs. Anderson. I have seen a good many old friends & they manifest as much surprise as if some of those folks recently seen in the moon had come down.

Pro. Park has been preaching this vacation in Park St and the Society have voted to give him a call. I saw Abby Tufts yesterday, she says Charlestown people are laughing at Amherst for supposing Mr. Crosby will think of their invitation.

I am very glad Helen behaves so well - hope she will continue to do well so as to deserve the presents that have been given me for her. Papa intends to spend the winter with us, I suppose his things have arrived, he tells me that he has sent a box. Aunt Vinal has decided to board with Mrs. Dyer this winter. Uncle is better than he was at Amherst. How is you poor finger? Be careful of yourself. I hope there is a letter on the way - I have several times been obliged to stop and see company since I began and must now close to have it ready to send to the office.

Yrs. truly D.W.V. Fiske

Dear Miss Leonard

I was truly glad of your particular account of our baby [tr. note: pencilled in here is a note - Ann, born Dec 1834, at this time 10 months old]. I have felt perfect confidence in your care and attach not the least blame to you for Ann's cold. You must enjoy having Eunice with you. I was very sorry to learn that Eliza should give you trouble, she of course is gone now. I think of you all a great deal but have felt no anxiety at all that has diminished the pleasure of my visit. You must not try to do too much lay up a little strength if you can for your journey. I presume you think Ann has learnt a great many new and wonderful things since I left. I hope there is another good letter on the way. My present intention is to start for Amherst next Monday but you must not feel disappointed if I do not arrive till Wednesday night as I must pay some regard to the weather in all my plans.

I wish you would look at the bag of eider down in the large trunk up garret; I intended to examine it before leaving home but forgot to do it - just give it a warming some day upon the Stove so that it need not get soured like the feathers.

There is an infant in the house opposite that looks through the window just like Ann and it wears a little blue frock; its Aunt is going to bring it over for me to give it a good kissing. You cannot imagine how strange it seems to me not to have the care of some child. I am very glad Helen has behaved so well - if she continues to do well I shall give her the history of the Pilgrims when I get home. Papa will go with me to Worcester and we shall go on the rail road. Give my love to Mrs. Hitchcock, Eunice and Helen. Although I pass my time very pleasantly it seems as if I had not seen home for a long time.

Yrs in haste D.W.V. Fiske

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