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Helen Hunt Jackson 2-1-2 transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 1, Folder 2, letters from Helen Fiske Hunt (HHJ) to her sister and her sister's husband, Ann S. and Everett Banfield, 1856-1863.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, September 2002.

On outside of note paper: Newport 1856
purchase of 1st
kerosene lamp.
Rennie begins to step
Sewing & cooking details
Trying to wean Rennie
A Journal letter
Very domestic

On PARTS-embossed letter stock

Newport, Wed. morn.

Dear Annie,

I will begin my journal letter for yesterday this morning, before I forget all I did; - I meant to have written last night but wrote to Jennie Abbott & cousin Ann & had not time to write mor. - Yesterday morning I got up at six o'clock (as I have nearly every morning since we got home) - & got Rennie all dressed - & Rebecca put back rooms in order before breakfast at eight; after breakfast I spent a long time in picking out those partridge berry skins & mosses & arranging them in plates to keep all ready for use; then I began to arrange the parlor, & the men came & put up a stove there which I think is going to work finely - then it was dinner time, etc. now half past two. While Rebecca ate her dinner I fed Rennie & dressed myself - & then Edward & I walked down town & looked at these new Kerosene lamps & purchased one for the parlor for $7.50. - If it turns out all it seems to be, it is the greatest invention yet for light. One lamp about the size of your "oleostatic" gives even more light than that did in its best-case, & it is quite cheap -; after tea I fed Rennie again & then wrote till bedtime. - I felt quite pleased with the day so far as he was concerned, for I did not nurse him once - I fed him at 9 - 12 - 3 - & 6. - with his boiled milk & his appetite was excellent. This morning he has had an "elegant passage" as Mathilda used to say. - Edward has just started with Capt Case for Beade Island; he may be gone three days! - It all depends on the winds. I feel very sorry to be left alone with Rennie at night, but there is no help for it. Today I intend to get the parlor & dining room & front chamber into complete order - then I shall have some putting to rights of drawers trunks & bags & then I shall be fairly started for the winter & ready to sew. - I foresee however that the days are going to be very short & I fear I shall not get out of my drive until the sewing machine is bought. Rennie began day before yesterday to step around on the floor by pushing a chair before him; it looks very cunning to see him.
Thurs. Eve.

Dear Annie -

I only succeeded yesterday in arranging the parlor & dining room & taking up the oilcloth from the front stairs & putting out the old rods & nailing the carpet instead. This took me till after twelve & then I was so tired I laid down. Mrs. Birckhead called but I was too tired & my cold was too bad to see anyone; so I sent word "sick." - Before night my cold became so violent that I was a little uneasy; immediately after tea I soaked my feet in mustard water & took phosphorous & ipecac. I could not speak a loud word & was quite feverish; in the evening Dr. Verdi called, but as I had told Eliza I could not see anyone he did not get in for which I was rather sorry as I would have liked to take his advice as to my course of treatment. Today my cold is better - though I can hardly speak yet - & feel rather good for nothing. This forenoon I put the front chamber in order & had it swept - made several changes in the arrangement of articles around the house - had a carpenter here putting up hooks - planing off doors that stick, fixing curtains &etc. & etc. - Mrs. Thorndike called this noon & this afternoon old Mrs. Shroeder called; after her call I read until tea time - a story called Magdalen Hepburn - quite good. I had my tea on a waiter in the parlor, to seem less lonely than to sit down to a great table by myself. I hope Edward will be back to dinner tomorrow. - This eve. I am going to try to put on new braid on the cape to his cloak - but I am very sleepy already. - I should like to take a peep into your parlor tonight. I hope for a letter soon;

Sat. Morn. Dear Annie - I must steal a moment for you this morning. E. came home Thurs. night - having had a prosperous trip - he brought back 7 ½ doz. eggs - 4 chickens & 1 turkey - all bought of the Block Islanders at very low rates. - Yesterday morning he started off again for another cruise -; after washing Rennie I sat down to put on braid all around the inside of E's cape to his cloak - old Mrs. Lawrence came in & sat until the carriage came at 12 (which I had ordered to come at that hour to take me on a servant hunt, India having written that she could not come.) Just as we were ready to start, the Misses Newman called - good girls but rather stupid; after their call, Mrs. L. & I drove down to Mrs. Thorndike's where I heard of a good girl & left word for her to come to me last night - then we made along call at Mrs. Birckheads, & then went to the P.O. & came home: after dinner I cut out & partly made four holders for our stoves; Rebecca went down town & I took care of Rennie till tea time. While E. is away I have my tea on a waiter in the parlor, it is so much cozier - & I read as I eat, so as not to choke myself hurrying through the meal. While I was at tea, Mr. Stanton our grocer came up with a new Kerosene lamp in place of the one we bought which leaked. He set it going for me, & I enjoyed the light all the evening; -but the smell is not pleasant; I sewed on my holders - & at nine went into the kitchen to see to the putting together of mince pie stuff which Eliza had been shopping all day. I weighed the meat - suet - currants - citron, sugar, molasses - wine - brandy - mace - cloves - cinnamon - salt - & nutmeg & mixed it all up with my own hands! This morning she is stoning raisins, & to chop the apples (if the storm abates so that the grocer sends them up.) & make the pies. I feel anxious about Edward for it is a dreadful gale, but I hope they were on shore at some lighthouse last night. - I shall not have dinner till four tonight, hoping he may come - & also to have the day clear for the baking. - Rennie is asleep - I did not get up in time to wash him before breakfast so I had to wait for his nap. Now I must sew till he wakes up - Good bye for this time. - I got your good letter yesterday morning & one from Jennie A. in the P.M. She is afraid I have forgotten her. I'll send it to you to read.

Sat. Eve. - Dear Annie - after writing the above I finished off my four holders - made three buttonholes in a flannel waist for Rebecca - washed hair - went down stairs & weighed mince pie meat & apple & lavished some more wine on the mixture - & then sat down at two to eat some lunch. I regret to be obliged to state that I took up Rienzi just to read while I ate & sat poring over it till dinner at half past four! E came home about four, almost sick with a headache & could not enjoy our nice dinner of boiled chicken at all. I was disappointed too in my pies - Eliza is not so good a pastry maker as I had expected. They are passable & that is all. - So I did not feel very much satisfied when I sat down to sew alone in the parlor after dinner - E. being gone to bed. - However I have got two new flannel waists all ready for R. to sew on - & have come up stairs at eight o'clock all ready to do up a great lot of writing, & feel better natured than I did. But those two hours of novel readying ! Dear me! How much I might have done. You have been dress making today - I suppose everything has gone nicely with your plans - as usual; but just think of poor me - with a great bill at Mrs. Killeens - & my brown basque & my black one absolutely ruined. I could wear them before, but now I do not really feel as if I could. Monday I am going to have a nice colored dressmaker here to try & alter them! & I am going to write to Mrs. Killeen now & just tell her the plain facts - for as for paying her $1.50, for spoiling a basque - & another woman 1.00 for remedying her carelessness - it is really too much to bear. - Goodnight dear Annie with this growl! -

Mon. Eve. - Dear Annie - Sat. night I wrote to Mr. Conway - Mrs. Killeen & a note to Mr. Osgood about my cuffs which he forgot to send. Yesterday was a charming day - we went to church in the forenoon & heard a fine sermon from Mr. Brooks; after church we walked home with Mr. & Mrs. Brooks. In the afternoon I let Rebecca go to stay to tea; consequently I did nothing but take care of Rennie till eight o'clock; - This morning I got up in time to move all the furniture out of the parlor & have it swept while we ate breakfast; after washing Rennie, I put the parlor in order & dusted parlor & innerroom & entry; - then my box came from Mrs. Killeen - & I opened it - to find my blue basque worse than any of the others! The back is ruined! - The buttons are the very kind I told her specially not to get, i.e. "Netted" - & they are two sizes too large for the holes, so that it is absolutely impossible to button one of them! Did you ever hear of such scandalous work? No wonder she didn't want to get a glass for me to see the backs! I have had a woman here today altering the brown & black basques - & I presume it will take her two days to do the whole; you have no idea of the hatefulness of the job of altering all this work - it has made me "cross as patch". Her bill was $33! $1.75 for ruining three basques! - I have written her a really indignant note, & told her that I shall deduct from her bill the amt. I have to pay for having the work done over - & send her back the buttons in a little box by mail when I send her her money - & I shall never go near her again. I would not have believed that she would do so. This blue basque is really horrid - & it is trying to have such a pretty dress ruined. I had intended to wear this blue dress & the brown flounced one for everyday dresses all winter - & now I shall never feel "nice" in either. - I am disappointed too in my cloak; she did not make the collar so deep as I wanted it - & the furrier is netted in so thick as to be bungling. However I don't blame her for that; I only feel sorry. But does it not seem as if all my plans were most mercilessly thwarted this fall? I cannot find a girl here to come as chambermaid; I rode today from half past twelve till three, looking up different ones; I shall send to New York in a few days if I cannot get one here. - Eliza is not willing to do all the work & I feel afraid every day she will get out of patience; she is very old, & no saint in temper - but she is a good cook & very neat. Since dinner I have worked a little on Rennies cloak - & must take it up again now. I feel tired out tonight & shall go to bed soon; if I felt well enough we should go to Mrs. Porters this eve; she was here this morning while I was out; but my cold is really making me half sick. We got Dr. Jacksons bill today & it was as moderate a bill as I ever saw - only $25. for the whole - over three weeks of most of the time two visits a day; I expected it would be $40. - now after this Jeremiad I will stop; I hope you will let me know if any bad luck befals [sic] you, it will be such a consolation to me!

Thurs. Eve. - Three days dear Annie without a word - but they have not been marked by any events of note. Fanny (the dressmaker) has been at work here each day - & has finished altering the three basques - put the plush on two flounces to my black dress - taken off the flounces & put them on again, & began to fix my purple cashmere morning dress. I shall have her all this week I guess. - The basques do much better than I feared they could - I have put butilles of the ribbon that matched that brown dress, on the basque, & it looks very nicely;

Tuesday I did housework, & rode out at 12 to pay one or two calls; Tues. eve I worked on Rennies cloak & E read aloud. Yesterday I can't "for the life of me" think of anything I did, except to rip press & reconstruct a muktis for E. - & to have a call from Mrs Thorndike. Last evening we spent at Mrs Porters & had a nice time. Today I have done nothing but go to church this forenoon, & read "The Hills of the Shatemine." Miss Warners last book. - This P.M. I took care of Rennie & let R. go out. He cried half the afternoon, to nurse. I have forgotten to tell you that I am trying to wean him. Rebecca has slept on the lounge here with him for two nights, & he has slept quite well in his crib & not cried hard once; but as soon as he comes to me he wants it. I am in great discomfort with the accumulation of milk; what did you do to get rid of yours?

I rec'd Everetts note tonight. I think you are zealous indeed to bake till midnight; so tell me what amount you cooked? I am sure I don't know what to do about the curtain muslin; what should you do! I leave it entirely to you. As long as I have bought my patch I mus have lining for it I suppose - & if that cheap kind can't be got I must pay more - that's all. The postage must come straight to me - & not go to Mrs. Killeens as she has sent her panel. - Now I must stop - Do write. Soon - Love to Everett & a kiss for Richie. I do hope his teeth will come on rapidly & easily.

Yours in love ever - Helen.

Envelope addressed to: Everett C. Banfield.
For Mrs. Banfield.
46 Court Street.

Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I. FEB 15

across one end of the envelope is written: Newport 1856
Detailed diary letter (Feb 8th - 14th) Entirely domestic.

Written on outside of note paper, in Helen's writing, as though it is to be hand delivered: Newport, Sat. Eve.
Feb 3. 1856. [sic]

Friday Eve.
Newport, Feb. 8/56.

Dear Annie -

I rec'd your letter tonight & feel just like beginning an answer - You do really make me break the tenth commandment with your list of things done. - I just wish you would give me your programme for one day, hour by hour as nearly as you can - for I do want to know how you do so much sewing. - I am sure I waste very little time but I can't sew much any day & some days not at all. Today I could not get away from Rennie till seven - (our first bell rings at seven - ) I got up then & he laid awake which was wonderful while I dressed - & partly cleaned up the room - then came breakfast at quarter before eight - right after breakfast, I made my bed while Rebecca held Rennie - then she went to her breakfast - I washed him - got him to sleep - washed out the little cloths &etc. that I use with him - finished cleaning up the room - & it was eleven o'clock when I began to comb my hair; - when that was done I sat down to write to Dr. Peters about Rennies diarrhaea - about half past twelve Miss Wormeley called (author of "Annabel" & "Our Cousin Veronica") staid till after one - then came dinner - after dinner I did nothing but nurse Rennie - finish my letter before half past four - went down town - met Miss Newman & took quite a walk with her - called at Mrs. Lawrences - & got home a little before seven - tea had been waiting for me; - since tea I have looked up a basque pattern for Rebecca - read your letter - discussed breakfast with Bridget - & written this much - & got Rennie to sleep, - now it is a good deal after eight - & I shall sew perhaps an hour before I go to bed; Rebecca finished the last of his skirts today - & we are going to hem a piece of diaper for him next. - he uses so many that although Bridget washes Mondays & Thursdays, I have to be very careful to avoid coming short. He has had eight passages since three o'clock this morning. How strange that our babies should be so different in this respect - it is certainly not safe for him to be so bound; I would try putting up a little piece of soap, aunt M. will know how to cut it -; great constipation is always an attendant of hydrocephalus - & if I were you, I would make him have a passage oftener. - I feel worried about Rennie - & yet he grows so prodigiously, he cannot be sick - he weighed 16 pounds yesterday - good full weight - & that makes a gain of 3/4 pound a week - & he seems as well & lively as possible; - everybody tells me not to be anxious while he thrives so - & Dr. King says the same thing - still I cannot help it. I have given him Chamomille, & Rheum (rhubarb) & aconite - at one time & another, but with no permanent affect. - There it is nine o'clock! Goodnight - my dear Annie - .

Sat. night. - This morning I got up at quarter before seven - & got the room all ready to sweep, before breakfast - after breakfast washed Rennie & had Rebecca take him down stairs in the parlor, while I went at the sweeping. I wanted it for exercise & then I can sweep a room cleaner than any girl will do it; - I swept the poor old carpet twice, till I feared its bones would stick out! It is clean as a Shakers floor here now - but by tomorrow it will be dirty again; - when I got through sweeping & etc. it was about eleven - I then dressed me - made a holder for this room - mended Edwards gaiter - put away Thursdays wash & dinner was ready - (beefsteak - hulled corn, boiled potatoes, & a pudding of sago & apples.) - after dinner E. & I went out & went all over a "furnished house" on Redwood St. which we think a little of taking - this took till after four -; came home, nursed Rennie - started out again to find out about another house of which we have heard -; made a call on Miss Hunter - came home, - dragged E. out again to go look at the second house - couldn't get in to it when we got there - took a walk - called on old Mrs Lawrence & got home to tea at seven! - Made a long session over the tea, discussing house matters - came up stairs and mended my crochet set, too [sic] be washed Monday - & wrote the above & now it is almost nine. - Rennie is much better today has only had four passages & those good looking ones. I ascribe the improvement to my having taken magnesia (homeopathic) three times a day yesterday & today; I shall keep on with it. Now I must go to work at something - I hardly know what. Goodnight.

Sat. Eve. Only one word tonight as I must write to Mary to send by Edward who goes to NY. Tuesday. I'm so afraid the things from Eades won't come before he goes; - I did not think he would go so soon; but I shall be glad when it is over - This morning I meant to go to church but I could not get Rennie dressed in time, so I let Rebecca & Bridget both go, & E. & I staid at home - & went this P.M. to Trinity - after church Mrs. Lawrence & Miss Cox (her sister) came in to see Rennie - Mrs. C. had never seen him before; we walked home with them - came home & I nursed Rennie, & then started out for a good walk, carrying some baked sweet apples to Mrs. Lawrence by the way. - Had a grand walk & got home at six; - since tea, I have had Rennie & Edward has been up here reading me an article he has just written, & talking over matters & things; tomorrow we go to look at another house. Now Rennie is in bed asleep - & E. is reading Mary Wall - & I must begin my other letter. Good night. -

Tues. Morn. - Rennie is still asleep & so I cannot set about any work very well till I have washed him, so I will take up the thread of my narrative again; Yesterday morning Rebecca washed her clothes, so I had Rennie till nearly one - at one Edward & I went out & made a call at Miss Hazards where we went to the party; came home & ate a hurried dinner - & went out to look at a "furnished house" on Cottage Street; - went over it twice - came home - discussed it - & concluded we had better jump at the chance - told the owner who called in the evening for an answer, that we would take it - for a year, beginning next June! - So we are provided for. - It is, I think, a great bargain - a two story house with servants rooms in the garret - a lot of land three times the size of ours - rather better furnished than this, & for the same rent! - It is in a better vicinity too - quite near the Bellevue - among really genteel residences. The house has a latticed piazza like this & a good many shrubs & vines - syringas - lilacs - a white honeysuckle & cluster rose, on the lattice & a prairie rose on the side of the house - & he says a great many pretty flowers; & there is room enough to plant any quantity more - so so far as flowers go & ( that is a great ways) I shall be quite suited. - I can give you some idea of the house I guess - but you must come on & see it next summer -

[a drawing of the floorplan of the house]
k. kitchen
l. entry
o. office
p. parlor

The nice large room for an office was the great inducement - the up stairs arrangements are not quite so good; there is but one really good large chamber, over the street front room - the rest is too much cut up - though it is all much better than this house. - There are only three other houses in Newport; possibly you may remember it - we often used to walk through it; you turn to the right just after passing the Bellevue - & one side of the street is almost dark with shade. (The one opposite is.) I feel so impatient now for May!

Rennie gives no signs of waking up, so I guess I must go to work - I am letting out the sleeves to his dresses now! The most disagreeable tedious job in the world. It is nearly nine o'clock - Edward has started for N.Y. & I dread the next two weeks; his things haven't come from Eade's after all -, & I am so sorry for I know he will be asked to breakfasts & etc. at Mrs. Bollas & he needs the vest. I guess I shall send it to him when it comes.

Tues. Eve. - After writing the above, I fixed the sleeves to one of those little dresses with the inserting let in in front & then it was dinner time; after dinner, I felt so sleepy, I laid down with Rennie & slept till 4 ½ o clock! A whole afternoon wasted; - then I went down town - bought two little flat irons to iron his sleeves with - a piece of diaper [sic] for him - got the mail (a letter from you & from Mrs. Welch & Minnie Hunts wedding cards) called at Mrs. Lawrences & got home to tea at seven. Since tea I have got Rennie to sleep, read my letters over & over - wished Edward was here, & begun already to feel sleepy. I got weighed again this PM at the same place - weigh 134! - I am perfectly astonished at my gaining so -; Bridget said to me the other day, "indade ma'am an don't you think yer gettin very fat - yer fatures seem very fat indade!" I cannot see any change in my "fatures" - but I should be glad to believe that the awful tightness of my dresses, drawers, bands &etc, &etc., is partly owing to flesh & not to having been caused about being pinned up well.

There go the bells for nine o'clock & I must stop; tonight I bought a bushel of apples & 20 pounds of sugar and am going to make apple jelly & marmalade tomorrow in preparation for keeping house next summer; I am sorry now that we are going to keep house another year that I did not put up more preserves - Goodnight. -

Wed. Eve. I have written to Edward tonight & am tired & sleepy - but I will write a line dear Annie. This morning I washed Rennie - went down town & did several errands & got back at quarter before ten - which made me feel quite smart. Then I went at the apples - & worked like a Trojan till 2 ½ o clock - made up all the jelly - & one kettle of marmalade from a bushel of apples - I have 10 pounds more of apple to do into marmalade tomorrow fore my sugar & strength give out together! I have quite a nice lot of jelly but had to boil it over an hour! I think the recipe-books are all wrong about jellies or else my kettles are bewitched - no jelly will "come" under my management in less than half an hour's boiling. After dinner I took a nap - since tea I have been up & read the first two chapters of "Shakespeare & his friends" to Mrs. Lawrence & Mrs. Cox. I enjoy it very much! - since nine o'clock I have written to E. & got all undressed & the room ready for the night - & am now going to my rest! "The sleep of the laboring woman is sweet." Goodnight.

P.S. - I guess on the whole I'll send this off in the morning; it is about long enough - & aunt M. is gone about this time I expect; - so you'll appreciate letters;

That hair stuff is "Dr. Boylestons Hair tonic - & she will have to go to see Fanny to find out where it is got; it is only kept by one woman in Roxbury & that is at a private house; it is not for sale at druggists. - Give me credit for remembering once; - So I shall say Goodbye too as well as Goodnight; as I shall have no time in the morning.
Yrs. ever in love,
Love to Everett - & aunt M. if with you.

Envelope addressed to: Everett C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield
46 Court Street.
Boston, Mass.

Postmark illegible except for PORT R.I. Stamp missing

Written across one end, in pencil: Newport - May 10th '56 Enclosing a letter from Mary Domestic

Newport, Sat. Eve.
May 10/56.

Dearest Annie - I rec'd your Wed. eve. Note tonight - Everett having taken the liberty of detaining it over one day! I am glad to hear by his little note with it that Richies humor seems better again; I should not however after your experience of its alternating, put much faith in apparent improvement - for I presume it will continue a good while & be sometimes worse & some times better; it is a relief to me that it seemed not to make him sick in anyway. & that you appear to be getting inured to it - & after all we do not know from what it may be taking him! Were it Rennie, I should be much inclined to feel thankful to have it out, instead of in, X X X just here the bell rang, & that stiff uninteresting Mrs. Handy, who lives next door, came in & now it must be nearly two & she has just gone! "Oh, was some power the giftie gie us" Poor soul - I am sorry for her for they have five children & Lieut Handy was one of the unfortunate whose pay was cut down to $600 a year, by the Navy board last fall - but I cannot say I like to have her come to see me. - She is the queerest looking soul - a little sharp face - with snappy eyes - & only about nine or ten hairs on her head which she coaxes & fixes the best way she can & still half her head is bald - & a figure as straight as an old time chair back - & dressed always outlandishly - she don't look much like a navy officers wife! - And speaking of the Navy reminds me of your question about Capt. Wilkes: - He is in the Navy - was Commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition - They live in Washington - but I never knew him there - He was a widower, keeping house with his two daughters when I went there - & married the present Mrs. W. a year ago last fall. She was a Mrs. Capt. Bolton (of the Navy) & is a remarkably sweet woman. I met them at Providence last summer - & she wrote to me this winter asking about furnished houses - & we had quite a little correspondence in the subject which resulted in my inviting them to come out & stay a few days with me & look round themselves for a house. I made them certainly at home, & treated them unceremoniously, & I guess they really enjoyed the week; I did too on the whole, though I felt a little too anxious about the dinners, for comfort, as I knew they lived in a good deal of style at W. - Breakfasts & teas I am not afraid about with anybody - but dinners are more formidable. & Bridget was so upset by the little extra work that I felt apprehensive all the time of some mishap; I shall never again undertake to have visitors in the house with only two girls & a baby to be taken care of. - I was on the point of beginning a journal letter to you Thursday late - to narrate the events of that forenoon particularly; I gave Bridget directions the night before, to put on a beef bone, before breakfast, for soup; I went down between nine & ten, & it was not on: I asked about it & she very impudently told me there was "plenty of time yet." - of course I replied as might be expected, & spoke quite severely to her for such repeated neglect of plain directions; she brought out the kettle to put it on - & it was full of the dirty greasy water in which chickens had been boiled the day before the Wilkes left! Almost a week old! Do you think human nature could stand that? She was impudent & I was very much vexed - & told her that on the 8th of June - one month from that day she must leave - I could not bear with her any longer; I came right up stairs & wrote to Boston for Rebecca's sister, for chambermaid & waiter, (as I had been meaning to do for a month back,) & for a colored woman Rebecca knows there, as cook & washer & ironer; I expect they will both come - & if ever another Irish thing darkens my door, it will be because I am reduced to the most direful extremity; I am more & more heartily sick of the case; I believe there is not more than one in a thousand you can depend on at all; - they are born liars; - what Bridge will do I don't know - she can not get a place here easily because she cannot refer to me - she asked me today to keep her - but nothing would induce me to; I feel like a different being already in the prospect of her departure & E. says I haven't been so goodnatured for six months! - I have no idea I shall ever have a girl who will make such nice bread as she does - or be in other respects so good a cook - but better are poor bread & badly cooked dinners "with contentment" than the nicest eatables in the world "& hatred therewith."

Yesterday it rained hard all day & I sewed a good deal - I have put a deep ruffle to the basque of my blue checked silk morning dress, & now trimmed it with gophered ribbon - & it looks quite nice - I have also let down my nankin colored muslin morning dress trimmed with blue - & got that in wearing condition - & I have had some brown - & drab & black & white narrow satin ribbon box plaited together to line that plaid silk & shall put the deep black lace off of my old velvet basque on it; - then I am all ready for the spring - & then come muslins! - oh it is really a sin & shame to have to think & plot & plan & work so about dress; I am tired of it & disgusted with myself, but "what can a feller do!" I asked Mrs. Thorndike the other day what she thought my dress cost me a year & she said $500! I undeceived her pretty quick you may imagine - but I thought to myself - Well we Fiskes have a knack at putting the best foot foremost! Don't read this abominable nonsense to Everett - he or Edward would be supremely disgusted at that remark - I don't know how it is with Everett - but Edward I often think has the knack of putting the worst foot forward, as regards dress. But I have found out a new thing to pull with E - & I feel quite delighted - Yesterday he put on to go to the office in the rain - an antiquated, rugged, horrid old thing, a cross between a surtout & a sark coat. - I just stopped him & told him that I did think, just for the sake of saving me from real pain, he ought not to do so - it might be all false pride in me, - but if it was, it was no less real - & it caused me real suffering from mortification - & in that light I thought it was a question of kindness to me; & if you'll believe me, he actually took off the coat - saying however that he did it solely on those grounds & not at all because he was convinced that the coat was not proper to wear in a storm(!) But I "musnt abuse that argument"! So I shall have to wield it judiciously - however every little helps! X X X At this point of my nonsense (!) I had to jump into bed & nurse Rennie. I think his teeth are certainly beginning to trouble him - he is much more restless - & frequently puts his hands up & rubs his ears - & the lower gum looks much swollen - Tomorrow we begin to "prepare to pucker" - before Sat. night I hope to be settled in our hew home & I quite dread the work; I do hope we shall not find any serious drawbacks in the place; - I had a nice letter from Mary this morning which I will send to you to send for the sake of the funny simile in the final page. I think it is one of the drollest [ampausant?] I ever heard & it is the only funny thing I even know here to get off. - Goodbye - give my love to Everett- & tell him I trust the jury gave him the verdict desired.
Ever lovingly,

Envelope addressed: Mrs. Banfield
care of E.C. Banfield
46 Court St.
Boston, Mass.

Postmarked: NEW YORK AUG 5

written across one end of the envelope: Aug. 3 1856
Eye swollen
Mrs. Col. Warren's visit w/her 2 sons, a little too much

On SUPER FINE-embossed letterhead

Sat. Eve. Aug. 3, 1867.

Dear Annie - I must not write but a line for my right eye is swelling today just as my left eye did a month since & I fear I am going to have just such another siege. Ms. Col. Warren came last Tuesday with her two boys - Willie about ten & Frank three, & no nurse, so you can conceive what a quiet-still delightful time we are having! Frank is a perfect imp of mischief - & it is just as I thought it would be if she brought him, - her whole time is taken up in keeping him out of mischief. It is really too bad - for I can't enjoy her visit at all - & I should like to ask some friends to tea to meet her, but I can't think of it, when the children behave so, & she may have to run off any minute to attend to them; it is really queer I think for anyone with plentiful means to do so, this is not quite fair to be sitting down & writing about your company in this style - but as it is only to you, it will do no harm. I am afraid I shall be glad when she goes - & I expect she will stay at least a fortnight. And then if it is convenient for you, I want you to come - I begin to fear you will not get here at all - & it does seem as if I could not wait any longer to see you & [Richie?]. - You must plan to stay a good while & if you can only be here while Edward is away at Albany that will be nice; I trust he will go to Albany though he threatens not to - but I shall make him go if I can; that will be after the 20th of Aug. - My eye pains me so much I really must stop - & I have nothing to say either except that my "days pass in a vain show" & we are all very well.; - I am glad you like your bonnet & I have no sort of unpleasant feeling about your preferring to pay for it. You know I said myself I thought first of writing to ask you to let me order it for you, for I didn't think it just the thing for a present. - Oh how I do want to see you. Love to Everett -
Yr as ever lovingly

Written on outside of note paper: Bristol
June 16, '57
Practically all clothes.
A few names at end.

Tues. Eve. June 16/57

Dear Annie -

E. had to go down to Newport last evening or we should have sent off your trunk; he was telegraphed to come down. He got home about 4 o clk this P.M. & since then it has rained so hard I could not go over to the office to see to closing the trunk - but it is all ready & will start tomorrow; - I hope Richie will get no tumbles out of his wagon - if he does I shall reproach myself sadly - I should never have bought one of them if you had not been so much in their favor. Bridget must never run with it where the ground is the least uneven. - Don't think I selected this one as of pretty colors - it is merely the least ugly of the lot! I never saw such hideous linings as they all had - salmon - blue with green - & c. - Did Everett take my bundle to Knotts? I have not got my boots yet & thought they would be forthcoming before this time - I do dislike to trouble E. with this package for Mrs. Pirdy- but as it is to be paid & arranged for the box & all, I could not see how to mange it without his help; & it is a good deal to pay the Express one way too. ---- I have pinned a note for her to the dress. -

I am in a great drive - expect the boy every minute for this letter. I have finished Rennie's single zephyr leggins also his double zephyr. Now I have just commenced his Marseilles cloak - the cape to be trimmed with the hanging buttons I got for my piquet - & I have put on the same trimming I bought for my cloak but found it was a blue white; - he & I are both the gainers by the change; - the other trimming is simply hanging buttons sewed on to a gimp-like heading. - It looks very prettily on my dress. - His cape is cut in points - the buttons all round them & then three rows of this white trimming which comes for Marseilles above it. - It is going to be a great job & I feel in a great hurry to see in how short a time I can finish it. - Do write as soon as you can after opening the trunk - I long to know your sensations in first surveying the rubbish!! - I expect they will be highly amusing! Goodbye - yours as always most lovingly -

Rennie is pretty well - but his stomach teeth trouble him a good deal - one is nearly through. - Geo. Breverton & Mrs. B. & George are at Mrs Austins again! They seem to want to come up here! -

Mrs. Thorndike & Mrs. Birckhead are coming up the last of this week to stay some days with us.

Tuesday Eve. July 13./58

My dearest Annie -

I did not believe I should wait so long as this - but I have been so busy - & until this afternoon, have had no ink - a still weightier objection to writing than the confusion & hurry I have been in. I am sure you have not wanted this thick baize veil to put over little Annie's face in such weather as you have been having, however, - & I presume you will realize how busy I must be, & will not worry about us at all. - We had a very comfortable journey - Rennie was as good as it is possible for a child to be, & we were not troubled by dust or heat; - as soon as we left Providence we began to feel the effect of the sea air, & when we reached Bristol it was almost too cool; - how will you feel when I tell you that I have slept each night under a blanket & my thick shawl! & have worn my black silk dress every day but Sunday! - It is cooler here than it was last year I think - or else it seems so to me from the change from W. R. I have not coughed once since I came, & feel as well as ever. Rennie too seems (if possible), better - & eats as I never saw him eat before. We have fresh peas, string beans, young beets & turnips for dinner every day & the most delicious new potatoes, & he eats them with great relish. The table is even better than it was last summer, & I never sit down to dinner without wishing I could send you a plate full. We have a much larger family too & they all seem to be very pleasant people: - Mr. & Mrs. Ellicott from Jamaica Plains (he comes down for Sundays.) - Mr. & Mrs. Couch (he was formerly in the Army & she is a daughter of Sam. Crocker of Taunton) - a Mrs. & Miss Elder of Boston, & the Rev. Mr. Fales wife & mother; he is an Episcopal minister from Waltham. Mrs. Holmes & Jennie & [Jabers?] are here too, so we number thirteen at table, not including Rennie & little Alice Couch, who have their mats at opposite corners of the table & stimulate each other in good works! - Rennie has been as good as a kitten - & Lewis is quite astonished to see the change in him, she says, "indeed ma'am he's just no trouble at all, is the little thing" - Lewis likes the plan very much & says it is like "rooms" - but she pines for her daughter - I have one or two plans in view & hope to get her here soon. I like our rooms better than I feared though they do not compare with the chambers. - They are about as pleasant as rooms on the first floor could be, if we stay after the first of September we can have our own rooms again.

I am so sleepy I believe I must stop here - & I have not really anything to tell; I shall be quite busy for a weeks or so, getting things in order - & then I shall commence my practicing. This ink is actually insufferable; I don't know what I shall do I am sure if I cannot find any better.

Rennie asked after Rickie, & "Richie's house" a few times at first, but seems perfectly satisfied now; it is a grand place for children.

Give my love to Everett - I hope he has recovered from the effort of that salutation I bestowed on him at parting. I really do not know exactly how I came to do it, unless it was by a sort of mistaking him for Sanford; I did not premeditate it, you must assure him; - Do not wait any before you write. Love to E & the baby; Good night -
Your aff. Sister Helen.

Envelope Addressed to: Everett C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield.
46 Court St.
Boston, Mass.

Postmarked: AMHERST MS. AUG 13 1860

Written across one end: Aug 12, 1860

Amherst Sab. Eve.
Aug. 12/60

My dear Annie -

I told E. I should not have a moments time to write at Newport, so I suppose you did not expect it. - We had a glowing time only I was constantly worried about Rennie, - & lost. Mrs. Dr Nowes pie the first night on account of all my trunks going back to Providence, thanks to that Conductors informing me of the other route by which I might stay in Boston for a few hours! It was quite a trail you may easily conceive to have to spend the eve immersed in my room with nothing to do & not even a comb or brush! - Rennie went to bed in his plaid flannel suit! - We left on Thurs. spent Thurs night at Worcester & saw Dr. Clarke & his wife (Bonnie Foster) & came here on Friday. Friday night we spent at the Amherst House which is positively dirty & uncomfortable - & yesterday moved down to Mrs Adams, where we are very comfortable. I have the study - E. has the study chamber which is much larger than I thought, & Kate has my old room. I like Mrs. Adams very much but find her quite unlike my idea from your description - she is considerably shorter than I am - & by no means positive of improving in her manner - rather assenting & yielding to all that is said, & very gentle. I expected to be quite over awed from your account. The table is very good - not like yours - or Sconset - but truly good & I think Rennie will do very well. He is still strangely hungry - & has no diarrhaea - but he looks poorly to me & I shall not feel easy till August is over. - The house is awfully out of keeping - dirty & shabby - settled, & generally forlorn. You could not tolerate it - & it annoys me. - Mrs. A. is not one of your style of housekeepers evidently - & she has only two great lazy black servants. - I have seen the Hitchcocks, & think Jennie really handsome. - the Snells too, but Mary looks ghastly & thin as a skeleton though she calls herself well. Prof. S. has quite rubbed up. We sat with Edward Dickinsons family today in church & are going up there this evening; - Vinnie has faded - but her fathers hair has n't! Mary Warner too I saw in church & Eliza Coleman; the latter looked very pretty - Mary looked pretty but not so young as me. - E. goes to Pittsfield Tues. - & will be gone a week. I shall stay till he comes back., & then whether we shall go to Northampton or Brattleboro, or stay here, I don't know; - I wish you could find out whether you would like another petticoat, or three little blankets best, at once & write me here, because I could be working them here so nicely & I have nothing on hand, unless you would rather I should make you an under shirt for a Zouboe. Let me know by return mail.

Goodbye. Love to all. ----
Ever yrs. Helen.

P.S. Prof. Warner preached & has still his two gestures! His text was "Surely in vain the nut is spread in the sight of any bird" - & one of his sublime passages was as follows verbatim!

"The silly crow is scared by the cry of its dying companion - but man marches on unchecked by the thicks of dying millions." What do you think of that?

Written on back of note paper: Nov 26, '60

In Helen's writing on back of note paper: Annie.

Brattleboro, Sun. Eve.
Nov. 26/60

My dearest Annie,

I was glad enough to see you writing once more though it was hardly prudent in you to write so soon, do be careful & quiet. Demosthenes I believe it was who said that there were three requisites for oratory "action - action - action" ! One might say to you that you need but three things - quiet - quiet - quiet! - I wish you could have a nurse of whom you were as afraid as I used to be of Mathilda Jackson, who would not "allow" "her ladies" to do such & such things! I have been driving every morning noon & night since Edward went away, & have done a good deal of work - made over two old morning dresses, for this winter - flannel drawers & night-dresses for Rennie - handkerchief cases out of birch bark & ribbon - & oiling leaves. The days have really flown I have been so busy. - Rennie & I take our breakfast & tea in our own rooms now to avoid disagreeable contacts, & find it very pleasant indeed - it is so quiet & cozy. - The dinners however seem all the worse by compare. - I hope to go to Amherst, a week from Wednesday - my hair is about an inch long hideous as a porcupine - but Mrs. Adams writes me that the students will be away for six weeks & so I shall not mind so much - & I have sent to Mrs. Capen for two close caps - an extravagance, for which I shall have to pay dearly I suppose - but I must have something on my head, & I think in a cap, the least failure is fatal. Mary would not give me the address of the woman in New York & Mathilda does not make caps & so I thought Mrs. Capens the best alternative. -

Rennie took a terrible cold yesterday & just escaped croup last night. I took him out to walk but finding it very windy brought him right back - if he had been out longer he would surely have had the croup; as it is he is quite hoarse - but his nose runs profusely - safe though dirty symptom. -

I am glad you liked the waffle - I thought that you would, & I enjoyed making it very much; - by the way do any of your chicks want the little flannel drawers Rennie has just left off? If so Ill send them down at Christmas -. Goodbye now dear - let me hear from you in some way - often - & I will write you punctually though I have nothing in the world to write here, except sewing & work all day with a walk before dinner & before tea, & an occasional call from the Pitts or Lenii Higginson - It seems very different from last winter, when Miss Prime & Mr. Humber & I used to have such a jolly time at table - & Annie Sharps & I played billiards every afternoon. I should not be able to exert here much longer.

Yrs ever Helen.

Envelope Addressed to: Everett C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield.
46 Court St.
Boston, Mass


Written across one end: Dec. 23, 1860

Brattleboro, Sun. Eve.
Dec. 23/60

My dearest Annie -

I was so glad to hear from you again - but it frightens me to think of what you are doing. But I suppose there is no use in my saying so forever - & I will try not to worry about you. - I have some things ready to send down to you dear, but have concluded to carry them to Amherst & send from there so as to put in the little drawers, & some other little things for the children. And do please make Everett write & bill me if he has got that package from Partridges about which I wrote to him - it was a box of toys of Richie such as I told you I got for Rennie & a Robinson Crusoe game for Annie. - Also I should like to know if my two trunks & a box which I sent down three weeks ago have reached you safely. - All the things went safely to Amherst - so I presume those are safe too at the freighting Depot if no farther along. - I hope now to go to Amherst on Wednesday.

Dr. Gran says that a fortnight would be sufficient time to wait & if Mrs. A. writes me tomorrow that there have been no more cases, I shall go on Wed; there were no new cases last week. Then I shall have Rennies party & Christmas Tree on N. Years Eve instead. - I have been in a great drive getting off my Christmas presents - send the last tomorrow except yours - & which won't be Christmas presents!) Goodnight, Write me at Amherst the last of the week - for I feel quite sure of going - & it will be forwarded if I do not. - Love to all -
Ever affly yrs

Envelope addressed to: E.C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield
46 Court St.


written across one end of envelope: Dec. 24, 1860

Brattleboro Mon. Eve.
Dec. 24/60

Dear Annie -

Your beautiful Christmas gifts have just come, & I lose no time in thanking you - My only drawback in enjoying them is the thought of your poor tired fingers. Don't dear child do any work for me or mine while you hands are so full. They are just what I wanted - I had even thought of trying to knit a Soutay - but I am such a ninny about knitting I know I should never finish it. The jacket will be splendid for Rennie to wear to church & throw off his cloak! I am so sorry my things could not go to you too Day! [sic] & I wish I knew if E. got that package. - I have good news from Mrs. Adams tonight - no cases of diptheria [sic] for over a fortnight - all alarm subsided. Dr. Gran said that after a fortnight I would be safe in going - so I shall go Wed. - am glad enough to do so - it was a great disappointment to me. I shall have the Christmas Tree on N. Years Eve. so you will know now to think of us. - Goodnight my dear sister - with the love & thanks of
Yours ever. Helen.

Envelope addressed to: E.C. Banfield.
For Mrs. Banfield.
46 Court St.
Boston, Mass.

Postmarked: AMHERST MA. JAN 1 1861

written across one end of envelope: Dec. 30, 1860

Very small note paper

Have the trunks & box come!

Amherst, Sab. E ve.
Dec. 28/60

Dear Annie - I am so disappointed not to send off your package tomorrow - but I have made a wall basket for Aunt Maria - & I left a quantity of ribbon in Brattleboro to be box pleated, & it has not come though it was promised on Friday - & I can't finish it without. - But you may rest assured that you are not forgotten! - I am so tired about those things from Partridges for Rickie & Annie - I will get them out of the man yet! - We are all nicely fixed here - came on Wed. - Your jacket was grand for Rennie to wear in the cars & take off his cloak, & he took no cold. He looks finely in it. - I have seen no one but the Hitchcocks & Austin Dickinson. Fannie is well & glad to hear of your prosperity. We are to have the Tree & party on Tues. Eve. - & I shall be busy tomorrow in decorating the rooms with green. I hope the children will have a good time, & like their presents. - I am so tired & sleepy I cannot write another word. Do write me if it is only a line in pencil to let me know how you are,

Written across one blank area:
Amherst Jan 24, 1861
To Everett
Doesn't like kerosene lamp

Mon. Eve. Jan 24/61

My dear Everett

Thanks for the draw! I had no idea we were to have $300 or anything like it this quarter & feel correspondingly elated. I should like $130 as soon as may be c-h- in a check which I can get cashed either at the Bank in Northampton or the stores here. - My last letter from E. he said "I enclose $100"- but no check was in it - & I have been feeling rather poor. - I am glad to know of the safe arrival of the boxes - I was just beginning to fear they had gone astray. - I wish I had known of the draw to send to Edward - I send off a budget every little while to the Engineer Agency in N. York - but it is doleful to write on such uncertainties. - Glad enough to hear you have an interregnums of quiet in the domestic line - Anne did not tell me what brought Bridget back. - I hope they will not take long to fix the lamp, for my eyes are beginning to trouble me seriously - & I cannot bear to sit idle, evenings.
This kerosene I do believe is the invention of the devil! It gives me almost a headache too besides being so poor a light. -
- Did you send that note to Partridges?
- Don't lose the bill at any rate - for if you don't want to drive him up I will when I come! - And have the trunks come!

written across one end --Annie

Sat. Eve. Jan. 26/61 [1861]

Dear Annie -- Can you realize that this month is nearly gone? Dear me how soon it will be time to begin to get ready for Spring! -- I dread making another change in Rennie's dress - but suppose I must -- as he has been wearing out his last Springs outfit, & this would not do anywhere but in Amherst. I know because I remember when I felt that they were not very nice when I was in New York -- but they appear quite fine here! Everything is relative after all! I should like to have two years of mending & lay up a thousand dollars. I was glad that you liked the containers & the box -- it gave the most exquisite pleasure to pack them up, & all the things things [sic] I sent off at New Years. After all I think nothing "pays" so well as making things for other people, particularly people that you love. -- I never put on your nice warm soutay without a mental "thank you" which would repay you, if you could only hear it.

It has kept me splendidly warm in two or three nice sleigh rides I have had with Dr. Hooker -- the new Prof. of Physical Culture here. He boards at Mrs. Warners & is the greatest addition to the family, which consists besides Prof. Cowell & sister -- tutor Rowland & myself -- a small but jolly [ ] We had a "Festival" here last Friday Eve at Howes Hale -- for the Home Missionaries cause; -- it was the most democratic jam I ever got into or for being party to it. They had eatables & a Post Office -- Free - grab box -- tableaux & charades. It all went off very well except that the snow was so dense that one could see little besides a panorama of books & []! They wanted me to act-out it was too public for my taste -- we are going to get up some private charades however in which I shall join with great delight. -- Mrs. Tyler had a pleasurable little party -- all Faculty -- last Wed. Eve. It is just very pleasant here besides -- & I expect to be sorry when the snow melts & I have to move off. The weather however has been awful -- six days at a time without a Tour! I am hemming away on Jainie Woolseys yoke & finding out it is a slow job. I shall be [ ] to send it to you to see.

You did not tell me how Bridget dared to come back. I congratulate, you on the whole. Kate has had a great deal to try her here, & my housekeeping is so shiftless & cluttered & washing & ironing days are pretty hard for Kate -- She has not spoken in the least disrespectfully to me -- but she has expressed a good deal of indignation at the general state of things & I feared last week she would not stay on. I should be tempted to move rather than lose here -- I like her so much -- but I guess she will worry through. I don't believe you would stay ten days in the house! Goodnight. Write soon -- if only a line.

Addressed: E.C. Banfield.
46 Court St.

Postmarked: AMHERST MS JAN 25 1861

Sun Eve. Jan 26/61
[transcriber's note: Sunday was January 28 in 1861]

Dear Everett --

My lamp has not yet turned up -- Will you please look after things a little? I a suffering in "outer darkness" till it comes! And I wish you would send me up another cask of crackers about twice as large as the first which was a tiny little affair, & only had one kind of cracker -- the hard ones! I want the three kinds mixed -- the dyspepsia & hard water crackers, & those small soft & brittle ones you have at home & did you send down to Partridges again?
Affly -- Helen.

Written on one blank page: Amherst July 9 '61

Amherst -- Tues. AM
July 9th/61 [1861]

Dear E -- I have just unscrambled the most awful omission in my day's work yesterday -- but with the merc. at 199! -- one may be excused for forgetting a few things. -- I left one trunk & the sewing machine at the Depot -- (Eastern) -- & was to send Mr. Hall after things in this P.M. -- Will you send him at once -- for they are not checked & the baggage master struck me as being not very responsible sort of man. -- In all my twenty years have I never suffered so much from fine dust --sneezing all of yesterday -- the heat then last night was indescribable! -- I sat at a window most of the night! Tell Annie it was as bad as that day & night at [ ]! But we walked down to Prof. Hitchcocks to see a night blooming Crocus -- the first I ever saw, it seems the the solemnity & poetry of blossoming! -- Today is delightful & I have neither asthma nor sneezing thus far, for which I am more than grateful! -- Love to all -- & tell Annie to write me here this week. ---- Goodbye ----
Yrs ever affly --
Helen. --

New Haven
Sun. Eve. July 21,/61 [1861]

Dear Annie -- I really had not a moment to write you at Amherst - you know how it always is Commencement week & then in addition it was so awfully hot -- several days that I had the asthma by way of making myself an agreeable guest! But I found an entire relief in burning salt-petered papers; in half an hour it would cure me entirely; -- I wonder that I never tried it before. -- I never knew such heat, did you? -- I only saw Jennie H. once -- we went down one eve to see their night blooming Crocus. I never had seen one in flower before -- it is very beautiful - & seems so solemn in its short life without any sun. The exercises of Com. were not very interesting & there was no party except the President's Seven which was extremely pleasant. But we had two or three people to dine & tea every day at Prof. Wrs. & took a great many drives -- & I enjoyed my ten days since then extremely. I sent you the little cape pattern -- did you get it? I am disgusted with things already however; they are too common; the [sheets?] here are lined with things for extremely ordinary people. You see it takes so little cloth! I came here on Wednesday last -- & shall stay a fortnight I think; This week is going to be quite gay here -- We are to go to a party at Mrs. Hadley on Tuesday Eve -- & the Seven on Thurs. Eve. is to be held in Alumni Hall (on account of the deaths in Pres. Woolseys family) -- & it will be a splendid affair! -- however I am going to drive out with Dr. Hooker to Chaston to see Jennie Abbott -- if it is pleasant & he feels well enough. He is markedly feeble & pale -- looks very little like the [pertine?] you liked. -- Mr. John came to see me Friday & again yesterday. He has grown old & rusty somewhat. I fear he will not succeed in backing up this church at all. It is a forlorn second rate church. -- I shall leave here I think, a week from next Wednesday -- stay one day in New York -- & then westward. - Do write me here this week. I am rejoiced at your news of yourself. Do take great care. -- Your hat must be lovely -- I envy it for mine does not specially suit my fancy though it is very pretty & stylish; but yours must be recherchi [sic] I should judge. Sarah is waiting -- so good night -- Send it care of John Woolsey, Esq. --
Wooster St.
I got the money from E -- will write him & send receipt -- have mislaid it.
Lovingly Helen.

Written on one blank page: New Haven
July 29th 1861
Some Amherst
news, as requested
by Annie (sister)

New Haven.
Mon. Morn.
July 29/61

Dear Annie - I am sorry my letter from Amherst was so unsatisfactory - the truth is I do detest writing more & more - & often give up telling something I would really like very much to tell just because I can't take the trouble to write it out. - But there was not much to tell about Com. - there was no party except the Seven. Commencement eve. -- I had a very nice visit indeed, but it was mainly with the Voses - I saw little of the Amherst people except just to speak to them in the street or in the exercises. - They all asked for you & wanted to see you. - I have had a delightful visit here - though I am a little tired. - We were at their party last week & Friday Prof. Vose & his wife & Sarah & I drove out to Chester & took tea with Jennie Abbott. She had tea out doors under the apple trees & it was a very pretty scene with so many young girls. - it is fifteen miles out to Chester so we were pretty tired but Saturday we went to Stratford to spend the day with a Mr. Johnsons - (a brother-in-law of Mr. Hookers.) They have a superb old place - full of family relics of all sorts dating back to 1672! - There is ancestry for you! - old portraits - books - silver - & furniture - dresses &c. - Laura Johnson wore the other day at a fancy dress ball - a dress which belonged to Aaron Burrs mother! - I never enjoyed a day more in my life, for in addition to the interest of seeing all those amusing relics, the family are all very charming. - Yesterday I walked out to the Home Ct. Church to hear Mr. John preach. It is a forlorn church - way out of town - & a very common looking congregation. I fear they will find it hard work to get along here at all. - I am going out to Chester Thursday night - to stay with Jennie till Wed. next week. (Mr. & Mrs. Abbott are in N. Haven now. -) so you must [ ] to me there the first of the week. - I shall go to N. York Wed night - & have my teeth filled on Thursday - & make Lockport Saturday. So my next letter will probably be mailed in Lockport a fortnight from today - unless I drop you a line from Chester. - All well - Goodbye. - Don't fail to write me at C. -
Yrs ever lovingly Helen.

P. S. For once there is a word in your letter I can't read - it looks like "E. is 'chawing side whiskers" &c! - What is it. & what took him to Washington - & did he get a note from me asking him to send up to Roches for some hair stuff for me. I wish you would go to Roche. Huschenvoder is a humbug I think!

Written across end of envelope: New Haven
April 13 - 1862 (or 3?)

Envelope addressed: E.C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield.
46 Court St.
Boston. Mass.

Postmarked: NEW HAVEN
APR 14

New Haven. Sun. Eve -
April 13 - 1862 -

Dear Annie -

I have been looking for a letter & package from you all the week. - Do please find or make time to cut out those little dresses & send them to me - for I want to make them up directly - as there is no knowing where we may be a month hence. - - Edward is still in Washington - & still undecided as to his plans. I cannot make out whether it is his own indecision or that of the Secretary of War - most probably the latter however. In the mean time the war progresses & the dream is that before he does one thing or the other - the main part of the war will be over. - I hope we shall be able to stay on here - but am very uncertain about it. - I shall never find so nice rooms anywhere else - that is one thing very certain.

Mrs. Parkers little girl has had the scarlet fever - very lightly indeed - but of course I am very much afraid Rennie will have it too - It is nearly time now for him to come down with it if he is going to have it at all - a day or two more will decide the question. If I could know that he would get well through it I would be glad - but I dread it far more than any other disease. -

I am sorry to say that I do not know anything about little girls dresses, ie. if long or short as you inquired. - I did not notice in N. York - & I have not seen any nicely dressed, here - my impression is however that they are rather shorter than they have been. - As for outside garments, I am thankful that I have my long light sacks & have not got to buy anything, - for I abhor these little short jackets - & still the long ones have been worn so long that one would hardly like to make or buy a new one. - The short jackets are pretty for traveling dresses, made of the same as the dress. - - Goodbye - Write soon - Love to all - When is our April money coming in? -
Yrs ever - Helen.

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