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Helen Hunt Jackson 2-1-3 transcription
Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 1, Folder 3, letters from HHJ to her sister and her sister's husband, Ann S. and Everett Banfield, 1867-1873.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth and Nancy Knipe, 2002-2003.

[On black-bordered stationery]

Envelope addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Care - E.C. Banfield
Custom House.
New York
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., Feb 5
written across one end: Jan 27 '67, Newport

Sunday Eve.
Jan. 27/67

Dear Annie,

I suppose you have wondered very much at not hearing from me. You will wonder still more when I tell you that I was in New York Tuesday & Wed. of last week. I had intended to come down from New Haven on Saturday, but the storm put that out of the question. On Monday however, I started in spite of everybodys advice to the contrary. I thought if I could only get to New York, I could get home easily enough, as the snow would not hinder the boats running. But I was quite mistaken. There was no boat Monday night, so I went to Dr. Taylors & waited telegraphing down to Kinsley's to know when a boat would go. Finally Wed. P.M. they telegraphed to me "No boat tonight & haven't the least idea when there will be"! So I decided to try the land route - & on Thursday went back again through N. Haven over the shore line to Providence where I spent the night with the Voses, & came down here on Friday by boat. You may be sure I was glad to get back - & to unpack & put on some clean clothes; - I hope never to be caught again in such a storm. - I wished very much I could go over & see you! but besides the changes and difficulty of getting to Brooklyn, I was expecting each day to take the boat at 4, if it went. So I could not do anything but wait.

I enjoyed my visit at New Haven very much. Jennie seems as bright & cheerful as if she were well, in fact more so, than I ever saw her. She looks younger & feebler - almost beautiful. - They are living now very comfortably indeed, so far as moving goes; & it is an inexpressible relief to have [Julia? ] away. Jennie gains perceptibly [?], though very slowly - & I think next summer will see her about again. -

I am terribly tired today, from having been twice to church, after unpacking & putting to rights all day yesterday; I have brought my lounge & table & what not from Jennies room & she has had a lounge & table made to take their place. I had not the heart to touch anything else, but there are a good many things there I wanted to bring away, as soon as Jennie is well I shall take them all. - I have brought all the boxes &c. Which I had stored in N. Haven & am going to find a place here & then bring the trunks from West Roxbury too, & have all my things together, so that my heirs at least will have little trouble in looking up my effects when I am gone. -

Give my love to the children & Everett - & write soon. -

Yrs. ever affly - but not often so sleepily,


P.S. I shall send you a pile of Magazines &c in a day or two. - Please cut out my things out of the Galaxy & send them back to me. --

On black-bordered stationery:

Envelope addressed:
E.C. Banfield, Esq.
For Mrs. Banfield
Custom House
New York
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., Jan 2 '67
written across one end of envelope: Feb. 14, '67, Newport

[transcriber's note - I believe this and previous envelope were transposed by person writing across end of the envelope, which occurred before this material was given to the college]

Thursday Morn
Feb. 14/67

Dear Annie,

I suppose you wondered why I did not write to you on Sunday. You would not, had you known how I spent that day, or rather, the first part of it. - We left New York, at 4 P.M. Friday, in a gentle rain; I went to bed by seven, as I always do on the boat; - I waked up the next morning feeling so refreshed. I thought the night must have been unusually still - & found we were anchored in the fog, about five hours out of New York! - Finally they ran into New London harbor - & there we lay all the rest of Saturday & Sat. night! Sunday morning about 9 o'clk, we started again, with a clear sky & a horrendous wind & had a fine run to 'Newport, arriving here at 12.30." -

The longest passage from New York to Newport I ever heard of! - I feel as if the "Old Colony" were a second rate Hotel at which I had boarded for a month! - & which I never want to see again. In fact I do not think I want to even hear anything about any sort of public conveyance for three months to come. -

Since I came back I have been very busy, getting to right - & beginning on my sewing. Lizzie Higginson is coming down next week to spend a day or two with us - & will sleep with me. - a week from Saturday, Col. Higginson is going to give a musical matinee to his friends, & have the Mendelsohn [Quartette] Club to play. # It will be good to hear the music - but I am quite discouraged at the thought of so many people being crowded into one two small parlors. I shall not go down, of course, so soon after W's death; but I shall have a good deal to do to help in arranging the rooms to have every thing look pleasant, but I do not think much can be done with boarding house parlors anyhow. I think I shall enjoy the music more up stairs in my own room after all, for it will be farther off. - Love to the children & to Everett. Write soon. Good bye, in quite haste - Yrs. ever lovingly Helen.

P.S. # Also, the [ ] Fair for which I have promised to do something is to come off in a fortnight!

On black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed:
Everett C. Banfield
For Mrs. Banfield.
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., MAR 18 '67
Written across one end of the envelope: For Jay Leyda - March 17 1867

Sunday Eve. March 17/67
Dear Annie -

It is too bad - but after all, it is not so long as I waited without hearing from you, owing to the loss of that note. - I have meant each day, since the other one came, to write, & I have no excuse except the general & indefinite one that I have been very busy; which of course must seem to you like utter nonsense, coming from one who has apparently no more to do than I have. I did not forget however about the pattern. You said the dressmaker was coming on the 21st & I knew if I wrote tonight, & mailed tomorrow, that would be time enough for the pattern. I hope it will get through safely, but the truth is, there is very little use in trying to send newspapers except from the office of publishing; they are so careless with them; for instance when I sent you the last batch of mags. - I send the papers too, but you have not got them. - I do not believe there is much use in my trying to send you anything but the magazines; unless you care very much about the Independent & Nations. Besides I don't like to lose the copy of anything of my own, which may happen to be in them. -

I have cut the pattern as carefully as I can & pinned it as it is to go; the straight breadth is in the middle behind; the very narrow one of course is cut double for the front. - My skirt is looped up on each side of the front breadth with a large rosette, which is extremely pretty. I should make a petticoat of the same pattern, only cutting it longer.

I am overhauling all my clothes, & trying to get into order for the new regime; two sets of skirts are frightful to contemplate but there is no help for it; with the long train skirts, you cannot wear either the short hoop or short skirts; - What is to be done about white dresses I don't see. - I have more than half a mind to turn "strong minded" & not be bothered about clothes. - Your third Christmas nightdress is to be done soon! & I shall have four or five pairs of cotton drawers to lay by which you will find good for six months wear - perhaps more white skirts too; - I have no plans for the summer yet, except for Bethlehem in Aug. & Sept. - I must leave here the 1st of June, however. Perhaps I shall spend time in New York again; it is best for my cold; - I suppose you would be glad of me for a few days - & I would stay a few days at the Sturgis's; & perhaps Molly will move to some house where I can have a room. She must give up the rooms she is in now. I wish E. would have a windfall so that you & I could take the babies & go off for July somewhere in the Catskills where E. could come for Sunday. There are nice places up there where board is not so very high.

Good night - now - do not repay me in kind; had you not better return to your old regular Sat. eve note? - Love to all

Yrs. ever - Helen.

The Feb. Atlantic I left at Jennie Abbotts.

On black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Care E.C. Banfield Esq.
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., MAR '67
written across one end of envelope: March 31, 1867 HH
[mentions HHJ writing her first story]

March 31/67

Dear Annie,

I received the bundle of sheets safely & the note inside. I was beginning to wonder why you did not write. I do not know but I ought rather to wonder why you ever write, with all you have to do. - You keep entreating me to write more fully - but my dear child there really are no incidents in my life to relate. I suppose you can hardly realize how completely monotonous it is. - I could give you in few words a programme of every day. - I usually take breakfast from eight to half past - then dust my sitting room - & water my plants from 10 to 11 ½ Miss Goodwin and I read aloud & sew together; now we are reading Ruskin & Guyots Earth & Man. - After that, I write or read or sew - & usually take a walk between twelve & one - we drive at two. After dinner, (which takes till about three), I read the newspapers & am apt to take a nap in my chair. I mean to go out every afternoon too for a little walk, but do not always do it. I always go & sit a while with Mrs. Higginson, before tea which is at 6 ½. - In the evening, I usually write or read. - unless some one comes up - nite - in rooms. - That is the whole of my life, & one day is just like another. I am very busy now with sewing for I do mean to have my clothes thoroughly in order before I start for the summer. - Oh there is one thing to tell. - We are going to begin a study the Geography of the Heavens with a Mr. Bradford here, who is brother to Augustus Fiskes wife. An excellent teacher. We shall write two evenings a week, & go out & study out the constellations with him. - This I expect to enjoy very much though I rather grudge the time. - I have just written a short story which I hope to get printed in one Young Folks - the first I ever wrote. - Did you ever get that batch of papers I sent you? If not, do you think I had better keep on trying to send them? - The magazines come by same mail with this letter -

I should think you would be worn out with servant changes. Can't you induce Lizzie to stay? You will never get any body so good & pleasant again.

The crib sheets were all I was positive about having pinned up the woolens in; if there are no large ones in the same stack for the same purpose. I do not think there are any in your house at all. - These will make very good chemises. - Goodbye dear - Love to all. -

Yrs. ever -

Helen. -

Black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed:
E.C. Banfield Esq.
For Mrs. Banfield.
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R. I., APR 15 '67
written on end of envelope April 14, '67

Sun Eve.
April 14 /67

My dearest Annie

I am distressed to hear of your afflictions, of one sort & another; especially of your loss of Lizzie. The mumps will get well, all around, before long; but where you will get so good natured a girl, I do not doubt. -

Who is this Dr. to whom you have been? I have great prejudices against Cod Liver oil. It is no cordial agent, of any sort. It merely makes fat; that to be sure is a good thing to have over bones, & you needed a little more. But for real tonic, iron in some shape is much better for you I am sure.

I have felt miserably myself for some time; but have no definite point to hang an accusation on. Of course I know what it all comes from; & I never expect to be any better. -

I laughed out at your asking me to write just such a note as my last! That is so exactly like you! When the last note told you what I did regularly every day! - How interesting the repetitions would be! -

Yesterday we all went up to Providence to pick arbutus, not in the streets, but in the woods two miles out of it! We found some, enough to repay us for going - but none of it was at all fine -; in Brattleboro I would hardly have picked it. - I thought of dear little Rennie nearly all day! Four years ago this Spring we went up to Brattleboro to pick arbutus. - Rennie has been two whole years in Heaven; - how much he must know. -

I was very much obliged to you for these patterns, & sorry you had such a cruise after them! I did not write because I was not quite sure after all that I wanted it. - I have the pattern & will send if I do. -

Have you seen the dreadful letter Mr. Abbott wrote from Paris? & the funny editorials about it? It is one of the most ludicrous things I ever saw in print & it has been most mercilessly handled. Poor Jennie is mortified cruelly about it. -

I have a short poem in this weeks Nations which I thought you would particularly like. I have written a little fairy story & sent it to Young Folks, but do not know whether they will print it. The Col. says it is good - but it is the first I ever wrote. I have my doubts. - I do not feel in the least like writing this Spring, & shall not earn anything I am afraid. -

Goodbye. Write soon. - Yrs ever affly - Love to all. -


On black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield.
Care E.C. Banfield Esq.
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., Apr 30 '67
written on one end of envelope: April 30, '67

April 30 /67

My dearest Annie,

You never in your life wrote me a letter which made me so anxious about you. Oh how many things you are learning which once would have seemed incredible to you. There are some things which we can only learn by bitter personal experience; You know now what the dreadful feeling is of simple prostrations, without any other or tangible symptoms to point to disease; - I haven't had much experience of pain, to be sure, but no pain I have ever had has been half so hard to bear or made me feel half so helpless, as the simple sense of weak good-for-nothingness. - I am distressed that I cannot do anything to help you; - I suppose it would not be of the least use for me to talk to you about taking the children & one servant, & shutting up the house, & going into the country for July & August, or August & Sept. - Amherst for instance where you could board cheaply & would enjoy so much. It seems to me you must do it. You are evidently run down; - I do not believe it would cost you so very much more than to keep house; if it were of any use also. I would propose to take any one of the children with me for that time - which would save the board of one; I shall be in Bethlehem for Aug. & Sept. & that is less than a days journey from Amherst; - so they would not be very far from you; - but of course I know that it is a waste of words to propose that to you.--

Nothing has arrived to me of any interest since I wrote to you; I have been very busy - & have felt a little better; - I do not see why you urge me so to take myself in hand. As if I had not done it; -

Dr. W. made an examination when I was in N. York last; & I consider myself under his care. He does not believe in medicines - only in injections, & rest & quiet; it is not easy for me to lie down as much as he wishes - but I keep pretty quiet after all, & lie down ever day, at least half an hour. -

Fanny Shepherd is to have a baby - just how soon I don't know, but the very first minute it is horrible! Hatty's baby you know was born eight months & two weeks after her marriage. Molly gives her pleasant rooms up tomorrow & moves to the Coleman House. I do not know where that is; she will not be so comfortable however & I am very sorry. They mean to go to Bethlehem for September. -

"We all" who went to Providence were, Col. H. Mr. Fales, Miss Elma Dawe, Miss Goodwin, Miss Hale & I. - all boarders in this house. - We had a good time & found some arbutus. We talk of going to Plymouth after some more, but that is rather too far off.

I send you Mr. Abbot's letter - it is bad enough; but after all not so much sillier than any other man ever wrote that they need have given him such a scorching for it!

Goodbye - Love to all


On black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed:
Everett C. Banfield Esq.
For Mrs. Banfield
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., May 16 '67
written across one end of the envelope: Newport, May 15, '67, Plan to go to Nova Scotia & 1st contact with Atlantic

May. 15 /67 -

Dear Annie,

I got your note last eve. & reply at once, to tell you about my going to New York. I am so sorry now that I did not tell you before; - but I did it for the best. I thought you would be hurt, about it, & I could not imagine of its ever coming to your ears in any way. - You know dear the time is not very long past, when you would have been inclined to misconstrue or suspect my being in town for a day, without your knowing it; - & this also entered into my feeling.

The truth was, I only went on for one day; - I wanted to see Dr. W. & to do some shopping; - all I could possible do in a day. The Dr. hindered me a good deal, not getting down to Mollys at the time he said; - & the day was gone before I knew it. At the last minute Molly persuaded me to stay over night. I thought I had taken my state room. I did; then, I thought I could go over to Brooklyn in the morning & see you ; - but after breakfast, Mrs. Ruggles came in - then Bishop Potter, & then Miss Jennie Dayton, & Mrs. Field - & I could not get away - & Molly had ordered dinner for me at one -; so that is really was impossible for me to come to Brooklyn. Moreover I knew I should come on again before starting off for the summer; & that would be so soon, that I did not feel as strongly set on seeing you for a few minutes at that time. Now I do hope you will not feel hurt about it, but will understand how it happened; & I think you might realize after all that has happened why I thought it better to save even the slightest chance of any uncomfortable feeling on you part, about my being in town. -

If Mrs. Banfield is better, so that I shall not make you trouble, I will come to you, about the last of May. - probably Sat. the 1st of June oxrx exlxsxex & stay two days. - I am going on the 10th of June, to sail from Boston, for where do you think? Nova Scotia! I am going with a Miss Sara Clarke, an artist sister of James Fourman Clarke; - & a brother of hers, an ancient widower lame of one leg, but quite clever & agreeable. At first Miss Clarke & I were going alone, but Mr. "Sam" decided to join us, & I guess we can take care of him. Miss C. goes to make sketches of the old Evangeline district to illustrate the poem; we plan to take a fortnight for the Evangeline work - & a fortnight at Mt. Desert. - The plan promises well; I am only afraid it will not turn out true. - I have to come to N. York before going - & mean to drive here Friday night - 31st inst. - Spend Sat Sun. & Mon. in New York - ; then go to Providence & stay with the Vores till Sat. - to Boston on Sat. - where I have to spend Sunday; - as we sail at 8 a.m. Monday. I hope by this means to outwit my sure cold. - June in N.S. is said to be like May here; at any rate we shall be in strong sea air. -

I am still working away on clothes; & quite disgusted with them; but I shall be all in good order when it is over with. I told you didn't I, I had some drawers for you & a couple of skirts? & I have bought a French calico which I am going to make up for you in a loose gored sack, for a morning dress a new pattern which I have made some wrappers of for myself & like very much. - The calico was so pretty, I could not let it go "out of the family." & I thought I had better tell you, so that you would not buy the same thing yourself. It is a plain lavender ground, just your color.

Do not forget to send "Mordecai" back to me; I want it to keep; & I wish you would cut out of the May Galaxy, (or check the April 15) - John Weiss's "Some Lovers draw Joy" & send it to me. I think it is one of the sweetest poems I ever read. I have had a sonnet accepted by the Atlantic - my first good luck in that quarter. & it pleases me. You will notice Col. Higginson's article on Newport in the last no. - It is exquisite. -

I am relieved to hear that you are so much better - ; I hope Mrs. Banfield will soon be well again; I did not forget that they were there when I proposed your shutting up the house, but I thought they might like to make a visit somewhere. & I considered that or anything else of no consequence in comparison with your health. -

Goodbye - Love to all -

Yrs ever lovingly


On black-bordered envelope

Envelope addressed to:
Everett C. Banfield Esq.
For Mrs. Banfield.
Custom House.
New York.
Postmarked: NEWPORT R.I., MAY 31 '67
written across one end of envelope: Newport May 31, 1867

Friday morn.

Dear Annie,

I cannot come till Mon. night; shall come over to B. late Tues. P.m. - & only spend night; - will explain when I see you.

In great haste -


***[Gap in letters, from May 31, 1867 to March 30, 1868]

Envelope addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Care E.C. Banfield
Custom House.
New York
Postmarked: NEWPORT R I., MAR 30 '68
written on one end of envelope: March 29, 1868

[Note: a money order is included with this letter. It is for $4.00, dated March 30, 1868, Newport, R.I. and marked to be paid at New York]

Sunday Eve.
March 29 -

Dear Annie,

Thank you very much for the braid. It came in time, & was exactly right. - I shall get a check tomorrow morning to slip into this note for the money; -

I like my outside suit very much now, but I dare say I shall find it not just right when I get to New York. It is a dangerous thing to make up such things away from standards. To be sure [ ] sent me the pattern, sxox it can't be very far from right. But now, I begin to want several long sacks! Short ones look so queer. And it takes a fearful amount of cloth to make one. -

I am going to Boston on Wed. to stay two or three days with Priscilla Stearns & hear Dickens Thursday night. - I do not care so very much about it; in fact I rather grudge the money; but I think I should be sorry after he had gone, if I did not hear him. We are to hear Nicolas Nickleby & Boots at the Holly Tree Inn. -

I shall try to go & see Cousin Ann, but if I came home Friday morning as I expect to do I shall have very little time. -

Are you still intending to buy that stove this Spring? - if so, how soon. - I hope I shall get that money from Washington, which is all ready to be paid, papers all right &c. Only the Treasury Dept. hasn't yet come to it in its turn! - Then I shall have $500, which I intend to make a nest egg for Europe - & I shall take the money for the stove out of that. - It seems absurd for me to say that I could not take it out of my income, when you take it out of yours -; still you can see yourself that when $80 a month - which is what it costs me for board fuel & washing, is taken out of my income, it don't leave much; - If I did not earn what I do, I should have no clothes so far as I can see. The magazines have come at last, & I shall send them off tomorrow; - I am sure the children will like Records. It is capital. - Goodbye with much love -

Ever affly yrs


If you get this letter Tuesday which you ought to, so that you could send a package to me, by the Wed. night's express to Boston, please send me the polonaise off my thick black dress - I don't want the dress - only the polonaise. I want it altered at Allens in Boston; Send it to the Parker House; - if you can send it so I should get it Thursday night or Friday morn; otherwise it will be too late.

on black-bordered stationery

Enveloped addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
No. 10 Lefferts St.
L. I.
Postmarked: BETHLEHEM NH, Sep 18
written across one end of envelope: Sept. 26, 1868 Bethlehem about going abroad

Sat. night.
Sept 26 -

I did not know I had taken two sheets -

Dear Annie,

I lost your letter giving the memorandum about the prices of the things you bought, & I could not remember exactly the amount; but I think it was somewhere about $3.50 - If this is not right let me know; after I had sent off the directions to have it drawn for $4, I was afraid that it might have been between $4 & $5 that I owed you instead of between $3 & $4. - I will make it right hereafter if it is so.

Sarah Woolsey & Lilly are here - they came Thursday night, & will stay till a week from tonight. It is very delightful - as we four are alone in the house. We have our meals on a little square table in the sitting room, & it is quite like housekeeping; Lilly was tired out by the journey & has been half sick today, but is better tonight.

The leaves are beginning to turn already - & I think it is going to be the most gorgeous autumn I have ever seen.

I don't believe I shall see anything abroad which I shall find more beautiful than these Bethlehem hills & woods. I suppose Everett has told you all about that Washington money. I shall not believe it is coming till I have the check in my hand.

I have great misgivings about going abroad. My heart really half fails me; - but, I think I shall go very soon; - it is foolish for me not to do it, now I have the money - & I shall be glad after I get there I know. - but it looks now to me as if I could not put the ocean between me, & all the people I love.

I enclose a line for E. about the ships & the money. Goodbye dear

Lovingly ever Helen

small envelope addressed: Everett.

Saturday Eve.
Sept 26, 1868

Dear Everett -

By the same mail with your note from Washington, I had a note from Gen. Dank enclosed in one from Mr. Fales, telling me the same good news. So I wrote the letter to Gen. Humphries as you suggested, & sent it to Mr. Fales, telling him to send all the papers to you, which I suppose he has done before this time. But I shall not believe of it till I hold the check in my fingers. -

So much for that - and thank you very much for looking it up for me. -

Now about ships - I can't go in that Jacob P. Canales to Havre - alone, for I could not get from there to Rome. Sara Clarke sails on the 17th of Oct. in the Ville de Paris, & she will not hear to sailing vessels any more, neither do I blame her - for she is far from well. - If anybody, who was reputable were going in the ship, who would go right on to Marseilles & then to some port in Havre, I might do it. I do so hate to give up my voyage that I am really unhappy about it. Aside from the crossing which is horrendous, - I want the voyage; - if I can go in a vessel straight to some Italian port, Sara would meet me - or I could get to Havre, alone - but there must be some other woman on board; just the Capt's wife would do. -

There are three fruit vessels going from Boston in November, but not a woman on board! It is provoking to be so hindered by such an obstacle; in all the rest of the emergencies of life, there are a hundred women to one man! - If you can hear of a decent vessel from New York, with a female passenger engaged, or a wife of the Capt' - let me know. -

Otherwise, I fear I shall have to give up, & go with the Stearns the 28th of October, by steamer; I do not want at all to go so soon; - but I could not join Sara in Paris if I sailed any later. - Goodnight. - Let me hear if anything turns up.

Yours as ever -


on black-bordered stationery

Enveloped addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Bi 10 Lefferts St.
Postmarked: BETHLEHEM NH, [date unclear]
written across one end of envelope: Bethlehem, Oct 4, 1868

Oct 4 /1868

Dear Annie,

I got your note last night. It brought tears to my eyes for you to thank me for "Kindness". Dear child however I may have seemed I never thought of being anything else. - for sisters to be otherwise would be too dreadful. -

The money is no matter - give 10 cts to each of the children - (adding in yourself!) - of it -

I think I shall sail on Nov. 4 with the Stearns's & join Sara Clarke in Paris. - I shall leave here on Wed. or Thursday of this week - & go to Boston to see Sara. - I expect to be in New Haven next week. Send to me there, Care of Rev. S. P. C. Abbott, Fairhaven St. I expect to come to N. York on Sat. the 17th. - to the Stearns - & come over to you, perhaps next. - I can only stay two or three days, because I must hurry to Newport, to pack up my things. I can't be all tired out at the last, I shall be so much sicker. I am very sorry to go so soon, - but I must make sure of the chance. - I would rather stay here a fortnight longer. -

In greatest haste, - Love to all - Yrs always lovingly Helen. -

Friday Morn
Nov. 13 -

Dear Annie,

I have only a minute to write, & can say no more than that we are here - ie within an hour of Queenstown where this must be mailed. We can't catch the Russian mail tomorrow any other way.

The voyage has been uncommonly fine - smooth as a lake they called it! Bah! - I am glad it is over. Though I have not once been absolutely ill, I have felt like a worthless rag all the way - incipient nausea only held off by chloroform & will. - I pray Heaven I may never take what would be called an uncomfortable voyage if this is a comfortable one. -

Dear write me at once -

Rome. Italy. -

Spada Flamini & Co.

Let E. draft your letters his hand is so much plainer. - God bless you I think of you all every hour. - It is sad to be so far away. - Write me everything you do dear - & tell me that you are better & stronger & happier & that will cheer me most of all. - Kiss the children for me. - Your loving sister - Helen.

Torn envelope addressed:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Care E.C. Banfield
Custom House
New York.

On one part of the letter: Mrs. E.C. Banfield

Genoa. Sat. morning
Nov. 28, 1868

Dearest Annie -

I feel so far away from you all that it seems like writing to people in the other world! After I have once heard from you all, it will seem more as if I lived on the same planet. -

Do write me fully & often! I long for letters more than I can tell you. - I hope you have rec'd the little notes I have mailed for you; if so I may find letters at Rome. - Spada Flamini & Co. Bankers. is my address. Ask E. to have my Eve. Post sent to that address, at once, & not tomorrow, also ask him to see to those things at Chamberlain & Phelps & get them off as soon, & as safely, & as cheaply as possible.

"Sunny Italy" is about like Bethlehem in October! I am sitting in my gray cloak to write! - by side of what would be a good fire if it were not in a cave instead of a fireplace! - We have had an enchanting journey this far - but Oh, my dear, the money! - I shall have spent every cent of that $500 before I get to Rome! -

I ought to have adhered to my first plan of sailing vessel; However, I shall not cry over spilt milk or money! - Kiss the dear children; - how I wish every day they could see these queer odd things. - Goodbye. -

Lovingly - Helen.

Sunday Dec. 13

Dearest Annie,

At last we are all settled -- & so comfortable. I only wish you could look in on us; -- to be sure, our stoves [?] smoke -- & our water closet is so small we can't turn round in it -- & our kitchen [?] opens out of both Lilian's bedroom and mine, but we have learned that such trifles are of no sort of amount [?] in Rome. We have sunshine & good air -- & nice clean rooms & abundant & really handsome furniture -- & we only pay about $80 a month for rent & service, & I am so grateful to get off at that, that I am ready to put up with any sort of inconveniencing [?] ! - I have been in a perfect panic about money matters - finding, to my perfect horror & surprise - that my dearly beloved Sara Clarks, whom I had always thought a steady going soul & body, who must of course be systematic & exact about expenditure - was ready to pay $120 a month in gold for just rent alone! That would have been $40 a month apiece -- & of course our [?] would have been at least as much more -- & we should have probably spent more than my whole income ! - Luckily Lilian who had only $2200 to do her whole year in Europe on, feels just as I do -- & so we two together have croaked and groaned & fought for economy -- & now I think we shall bring our living expenses within $65 a month (gold.) - that is bad enough; -- equal to paying at home $22 a week for board! -- So much for what people tell you about the cheapness of living in Rome! - However, if we had been here earlier we could have go much cheaper rooms, but they are all taken up! -- & since last winter when Annie Sturgis's aunts lived here for $10. a week apiece, things have gone up very much. - But I am so thankful to be no sores off -- & next summer [?] we shall go to Switzerland & live cheaply. I have the address of a very nice "pension" (boardinghouse) near Vevay -- & in Montreux, in which board is only 5 & 7 francs a day [?]. - So I shall just rent & get by on my 2400 a year. It is only $135 a month here! -

I shall send off a longer letter soon telling all about our getting settled here - so I will not touch on those things in this letter. On Thursday came my first letters from American. One from Juliet Goodwin, & one from E. I look daily for more, & feel more impatient than you can possibly imagine. - I enclose a note to E. I do hope he will be able to get my things insured yet. I am very seriously uneasy about them. I cannot conceive what I should do if they are lost. -

Do write, certainly as often as every other week. I have sent you ever so many notes already - but I find I really must not take so much time to write letters, as there is so little time for other things I want to study here [?] -- & to write an hour or two at least each day as fast I spent [?], I shall be "dead broke." Kiss the dear children for me. I shall hope to get time some day to write to them; but you will of course read them my long letters. I sent one from Geneva - which was to come to you from Newport. - Goodbye. Tell me every thing. - Yours lovingly always, Helen.

I hope you get the Galaxy & Riverside regularly -- & unless you mean to keep the Galaxy's carefully do cut out all my [verses ?] which are in it, & preserve them for me - for they will be the only copies I shall have. - I would be very glad to pay for the extra postage it would cost to put them into your letters. I really want to see them very much.
[Note added at bottom:]
Please send this note to Molly -
22 Lennox Square

Dec. 29, 1868

Dearest Annie - Not a word from you yet! - I do not know what to make of this - I have only had four letters as yet -- & I am positively angry with you all. I think it is a poor beginning to my years abroad to be left two months without a word from most of my friends. - Yesterday came an Eve. Post. Of Dec. 11th -- still sent to Munroes in Paris! - Is it possible that E. never got my note asking to have its address changed to care Spada Flamini & co. Rome. -

--I cannot help thinking that some of the many notes, & also some written to me, must have been lost; & it is very discouraging, because it is very hard for me to find time to write. -

I have sent two long "circuit" letters -- & I do not think I shall send any more, till people take the trouble to answer them. You see I am positively savage this morning - so I had better not write any more. - I hope you will be sure & save all the articles you see of mine in the papers or magazines. But I shall not have time to write so much as I hoped. - There is too much to see & do, & the days are so short. - Goodbye. Do do do write, if you love me.-

I have another three letters begging E. to still get my trunk & box insured if possible to do so - for $800 -- & to let me know how they went -- & if there is any clue to them at this end or that! - So I repeat it here in case the other letters are all lost. -

Jan. 14, 1869
Thursday Eve.

My dear sister,

I must try once more to see if I can get a word from you. I am utterly at a loss to understand what it means -- & am so anxious that if I could afford to spend the money, I should telegraph. Not one syllable have I heard from you yet. I have written again & again; I really do not know how many times I have sent notes to you in each of the three long letters --& I have sent other letters to you direct. I have reviewed my Eve. Post of Dec. 25 -- still sent to Munroes in Paris - so it seems as if you could not have go any of my letters, for I believe in each one I have asked to have the address changed to care of Spada Flamini & Co. Rome. -- I assure you it is very hard to bear [?] this suspense - especially as I had so much to make me anxious about you before I left home. Do write the very day you get this letter -- & do write regularly, as often as once in two weeks at least. -

I do not pretend to write anything in this letter, but one prolonged question - where are you! -- All the time that I can spare to write accounts of what I see, I have spent on the three long letters - all of which you will have seen of course before you see this. I shall mail another on the 21st -- & it will come to you straight from Newport. -
I have not heard from many other friends also --& am really almost worn out with waiting for letters. I have spent so much time in writing long ones home, that I think it is pretty hard I shoule be left so in the dark as to the welfare of you all. I suppose if I were sensible I should harden myself against it, & leave off expecting to hear from anybody, but I can't do it. I care too much about my friends. - I mail a long letter once a month -- & other notes between & that is a great deal to accomplish besides, the sight seeing & studying. - I have had no time to write for the papers - have sent home nothing except a few poems. I don't see how I ever can get time to write anything else. -

No news of my trunk & box yet! -- Goodbye. - Kiss the dear children for me, & if you love me write. - affly - Helen

Please mail these letters for Mrs. Pell from me as I have to pay 23 cts for a letter. I do not hesitate to make them carry double, & bet of my friends the three cents necessary to forward them. -

Monday Feb. 15. -

Dear Annie,

As I have not heard again from you, I am beginning again to be anxious. I cannot help it -- & I do think my dear sister you ought to write oftener. Nobody treats me as you do about letters - only think three months & a half & only one letter! And I am sure I must have sent you as many as eight or ten notes. - I am going to send the big letters always first to you after this - as you will see from the letter. -

I hope you will like it. - You will be glad to know that my trunk & box have reached Leghorn [?]. that is one load off my mind. - Love to the children & to Everett -- & much to yourself.

Your loving sister


Feb. 28, 1869.

Dear Annie,

I got your second letter Feb. 19th. -- Before this you have heard from me two or three times more; -- & before this note reaches you, you will have had the "encyc." Of Feb. 15. & have learned that I propose hereafter to send them always first to you. I am astonished that you could have supposed I should forget any names which I intended to put on the list of people who were to have those letters. - I did not for a moment think of sending them to cousin Ann & aunt Maria; I never have corresponded with them, & am sure now would be the last time I should begin, when I had to cut off from my list some persons to whom I had been in the habit of writing! - the list is a great deal too long as it is - it takes so much time for the letters to get round. -- ; my first never reached Lizzy Higgins till the last of January! - So I am extremely sorry that you sent them to any one else. I meant to write once in a while, to Aunt M. & send a note to Cousin & in your letters, but no more. - Besides - if is often weeks that the Merton people don't go to the P.O. you know; -- & Cousin Ann is sometimes in Milton & the house shut up, & then the postman - would send the letter to the Dead Letter Office I suppose. Altogether I think it is a great pity you did it because now it won't do to leave off entirely. However you must only send them occasionally - when I tell you to; not regularly; -- & you must impress on them the importance of sending them right back to you. -- I am almost sorry I undertook it, for it is such a work to write them! -- & they take so long to get anywhere. Everybody is complaining of not hearing; -- however on this new plan, people will hear more regularly.-

It only lacks four days of being four months since I left home, & I have heard from you but twice. - I suppose I shall get used to this, if I stay abroad a year or two longer - but it is not comfortable. - I have heard four times from Molly, & from several other friends; -- perhaps you do not know how much better Jenny A. [?] is. She can walk half around [?] the house, leaning on some ones arm; -- I think this summer she will get out. - how wonderful it would be if she really were well again.

I have given up going to Sicily; a friend of the Stearns's wrote that April would be quite too late -- & I am obliged to stay here till then; so they started last week - to be gone a month; -- as soon as our lease is up, April 7th we propose to go to Sorrento -- & then the last of April I expect to go with the Stearns to Venice for May; what will follow that, I don't know positively - but the Tyrol & Switzerland is some shape [?].

I am hoping that Mrs. Calhoun will come out & join me this spring. Nothing that could happen would make me so happy as that. - Give my love to E. & the children; & do write at least once in three weeks. - Ever as lovingly Helen.

March 14. 1869

Dear Annie,

As I answered your last letter almost immediately I will only slip in a short word to go with this encyclical. Do not send this one to Weston & to Boston. I think every other one will be often enough to send them do not you? - I really cannot tell you how much you have embarrassed me by doing that thing. I shall never be able to understand why you should have felt so sure that I meant to correspond with Aunt M. & Cousin Ann, now, when I never had done so before in all my life! Of all times to add to ones correspondences, on the eve of several years (perhaps) journeyings in Europe! - However there is no use in grumbling at your, dear, from this distance. You did as you always do, what you thought right, -- & it can't be helped; but I really do not think I can have more than half of the letters submitted to such delay & risk. - I am dismayed as it is, to see how long they take in getting about. My friend Lizzy Vernon in Phil, ever got the first one until in February!! -- This is too bad; but I think on the new plan, they will do better; & I hope each person will hear about once a month. - I have dropped off my old list of regular or at least occasional correspondents - let me see - five people! -- & you have put two in place of them! - well - so it goes; -- perhaps I shall not keep on writing these encyclicals much longer - at least so often; it does take a great deal of time; & I should not mind it if I were satisfied with them after it is all done; but I never am; -- they are so infinitely stupid by side of the things I really see & do, that I often feel more like throwing them in the fire than sending them; & people are beginning to write such praises of them that it makes me feel quite guilty. -

I have not yet received my trunk & box! It is something however to know that they have got as far as Sivita Vechhia [?] ; I shall be contented now if they arrive in time for me to unpack them & get my clothes out & pack the books up again, before leaving Rome! - And whether I ever unpack them again in Europe I doubt! - What a mistake to have brought them - if I could only have foreseen, but then one never does. - This climate is as poisonous to me as Washington was -- & I do not think I shall ever dare to come back here, at least for any length of time as I had hoped to. I get frightened when I allow myself to think how utterly without a plan I am; but one can never live but one day at a time; it is foolish to worry. - I shall always be somewhere, I suppose, till I die - (& I hope, after!) - At present all I know is that I shall go to Venice the 1st of May with the Stearns's. - You will write to Rome however till I give some other address. Love to E. & the children & much to you my dear sister. Ever yrs - Helen. -

On black-bordered stationery

Enveloped addressed to:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Treasury Dept.

Rome. April 12. 1869

Dear Annie

I have just got your letter of March 24th. - I am indeed as you suppose "astounded." I hope it is all for the best, but $200 a year more seems to me no sort of equivalent for going to Washington. - I hope the climate will not prove as poisonous to you as to me: if you could live on high ground in Georgetown it would be much healthier - & cheaper. In W. itself it is harder to live on small means than in any other city in America. - I shall hope for the best - but I confess to you, I am very sorry you are to go; & if I were within reach of you I should implore you not to go down this spring; -- it is too hot for health or comfort there by the middle of April! -- You do not give me any clue to your address - so I shall send the next long letter to Molly -- & if you will let me know where your are to be, she can send it to you. -

I am sorry you are so dissatisfied with my letter. I fear I can do no better. I thought you understood that I should write but short notes in addition to the long letters. I am about disheartened in regard to writing at all. Everybody, or nearly everybody, complains of something or other! -- & my friend Laura Ware never received my first long letter sent in Nov. till in Feb.! it seems inexplicable to me what becomes of them.-

You always have been & I say you always will be, my dear sister, urging me to write what you call "personal letters. " I can't do it. -- & as for "feelings" that is still more out of the question.-

It is not worth while to write from such a distance things that annoy me; of course there are [?] everywhere; -- from my long letters I am sure it must have been apparent. - that I have seen & enjoyed a great deal; -- my dear Paula Clarke is just as dear as ever -- & if she had been my own mother she could not have been kinder to me. - I have been shut up in the house sick for more than three weeks; two bad sore throats one after the other. I have been out to drive now four times -- & hope to be strong enough to go on Thursday or Friday out to Alban, a little village 12 miles from Rome, on a high mountain where the air is very bracing. I ought not to have staid in Rome so long for the climate has been very bad for me -- ; affects the digestion; -- you could hardly imagine me humbled that way I suppose., but I have been quite poorly. It is partly the lack of the good homemade bread & [nourishing?] food such as we have at home. I would give $10 for the worst dinner I ever saw in old Mrs. Davies house; -- This is the whole truth about my health. I think & the Dr. thinks as soon as I change air I shall get back my old conditions again. If I do not, I shall go to either a water cure, or some of the German Baths. - but I hope to be all right again after a fortnight of Mt. air. - I should not have staid so long, if I could have helped myself - but I could not go alone; & the Strain S S [?] with whom I was going, did not want to go till May 1st. Rome suits them, & they feel well here now I am afraid they will have to wait for me, for I shall hardly be strong enough to travel in two weeks! -

One more personal detail! I dislike Lilian Clarke considerably; -- so much so that I would not on any account stay with them this summer even if they were going to do the things I wished to do. - Her aunt dislikes her as much as I do -- & would never have brought her if she had known how cold & selfish & irritable she is. - This you must never speak of. -

I answered your letter with the childrens notes at once. I have written you I presume, several letters you have never got. -- & I lose many myself. - it is very trying. -

Now as to the homesickness - I think I have a shade of it all the time. I don't see how anybody can help it; I feel as if I were two people all the while & one person was having a grand good time & seeing sights to last for a life time -- & the other person were a little homesick. - There at last is a "feeling"! -

No dear - don't find fault with me any more; for it is so hard to have it come from so far. - When I send 20 & 30 pages a month, to give you all I can of what I see, -- & write little notes besides you ought not to blame me. -- I love you all dearly & think of you over & over & now am always a little uneasy about you. -

Goodbye - Love to E. & the children.

Always Your loving sister


I suppose I did say C Ann should see them if she says so but I did not remember. I have hit on a way now, which I will explain in the next. - They may see them all, after my other friends, I cannot have them go to them first.

[Mrs E.C. Banfield
Where? Written on back of letter]
Thursday, April 21, 1869

Dear Annie,

How queer it was of you to give me no clue as to where I should direct to you [sic]. I take it for granted that Everett must have gone to Washington to begin his duties -- & I shall ask Mrs. Calhoun if she thinks [?] it best to send this note to his care at the Treasury Dept.; she will know how to direct, I suppose. But by the time this reaches America, I do hope you will not be in Washington with the children -- & so there it is. - I think I shall have to send to Dea. Palmer care till I hear from you; but dear me - when I hear from you is again another fearful uncertainty; because I suppose we shall start off for Venice in a fortnight, & then after that, my letters will have to go cruising about from pillar to post; & it makes me quite dismal to think of it. I sent you a note last week to Mrs. Calhoun's care -- & will send you one each week till I start. I also sent off the seventh ency. Yesterday -- & sent it to Molly asking her to send it to you if she knew where you were; -- as I had asked you in my last notes to send your address to her. -

This Albano is the most beautiful place I ever saw -- & the air is superb. - only there are such acres of flowers in all directions that I am beginning to sneeze! -- You never dreamed of so many flowers growing wild as there are here; & such beautiful ones too; -- I hope you will see the encyc. - but if you have not since sent your address to Molly you will not. I did not dare to run the risk of sending it on an uncertain address.

Now if you will write to her & ask her to send it to you again after it is returned to her, at last - then you can send it to Aunt M. & Cousin A. - after my other friends have read it. It is no great matter if it is lost in wandering between Pinckney Ct & Weston; -- I have urged everybody to be quicker in sending them along. - it is too bad to keep them so long; - my first one never reached Lana Ware till Feb. 10th!! Goodbye dear - Love to all.

Ever yrs Helen

Albano Italy
April 29, 1869

Dear Annie,

I enclose this note to Mr. Palmers care, as I suppose of course he will know where you are. I fear it will be a long time before I hear from you again. - we start for Venice (the Stearns & I) -- a week from next Monday -- & shall be on the move I am afraid for three months. They do not like to stay in one place so long as I should - You must send your letters to care of John Munroe & Co. Paris -- & write "please forward" in large letters -- & we shall have them sent to meet us at different points. -

You will be glad to hear that I am much better; for the first week I felt almost well; but now my nose cold is coming on, & I am uncomfortable from that. You never dreamed of anything like the flowers out here. I have counted more than fifty kinds growing wild. Or course the air is filled with pollen & I sneeze constantly. - I shall write a little for "Hearth & Home" - on Maying [?] in Albano-- & perhaps you will see it. - I have sent you two notes in letters to Mrs. C. - I hope she knew how to get them to you; hereafter I shall send to Mr. Palmers care till you tell me where to send to you. -

Keep Sarah Woolsey (New Haven) informed of your address - for I must send the encyclicals to her - as the first person on the list who is really stationary; -- just as I thought I had the list all so well arranged, you must all "up & move." - Molly talks a little of coming abroad -- & the Abbotts of selling their house & moving! -

It is almost worth while to be sick to enjoy being better. I never realized it so forcibly before; now I am working away to earn a little money which it is high time I should do - to pay my Drs bill -- & the cost of being out here with a maid &c. - Priscilla & Molly are here with me for a few days - Miss Clarke came for a week -- & Miss Ellen Hadwen [?] for three days. - I shall go back to Rome to pack up, next Wed. - Goodbye dear - Love to all the children & E. - Yours ever affly -- Helen

Venice, May 19 -

Dearest Annie,

Your letter of April 27 has just reached me. It was six weeks since I had heard -- & I did not know where to think of you I feel so uncertain still where you will be, that I send this encyclical letter to Sarah Woolsey - I have asked you in my last two notes to send your address to her; -- you will not be able to say in Washington ever if you go - so please keep me advised of your whereabouts until you are permanently established. I shall send the Encyclicals first to her. I am disturbed to hear that the children have been ill; what a hard time you had. I was at that time taking my hard time in a different way, taking it out in my own flesh [?] while [?] is quite as hard to bear - I have never in my life felt one half so miserable & used up as in this last illness in Rome; but I feel so well now that it all looks like a dream. I cold not have believed that new [?] could make such a change. - For twelve weeks before I left Rome, I never had a movement of the bowels without injections & even with them, nothing as it should be; & before I had been two days in Albano, I had had one natural movement -- & now I am almost as regular as ever! -- The climate of Rome is positively a poison to me. That of Washington was somewhat so. You remember I had always a low type of intermittent fever there. I do hope & pray it will not be bad for you & E. & the children. I hope you will live on the Heights in Georgetown; it is so much healthier. I do not know but there you could stay through the summers.

Will you please ask Everett to send the certificates of my Eric & Kalamazoo. -- & St. Pauls R. R. stocks to Dea. Palmer. -- I take it for granted that he cannot attend to collecting the dividends from them now he is to live in Washington. I sent you a note in a letter to Dea. Palmer recently & another in a note to Mrs. Calhoun. She told me she meant to go & see you; but she has been very poorly all winter. I do allow myself to hope for her coming; it is all so uncertain; but it will be a great joy if she does & I should gladly go to England to meet her. - Mrs. Rotta writes me that Annie Pomeroy & her husband are coming - but I hear nothing from them. Also, Molly thinks of coming with Robby! - If they all get over here I shall feel quite at home. -

This letter of yours makes me feel more at ease about you. - I ought to have known that you did not really feel all the time so sadly as at the times you have written; -- but I have been distressed by the habitual depression in your letters; -- and it seemed to me so strange in a mother with children about her. - Don't think because these pieces of paper are so small, they hold nothing. There is as much in this, as in four big pages, as I used to write in my large hand. - Love to all the dear children. I have said ever so many times that I thanked them for the notes & wished I had time to write to them - but they must take their share of the bit letters as answer. You can hardly imagine how little time I can get to write now that we are really traveling again. - It is delightful here - glorious air -- & the nicest Hotel I ever staid at. I shall be sorry to go away. - even a month is not enough to see Venice in. Goodbye.

Lovingly Helen

Venice June 9th

Dearest Annie,

I received your letter of May 24th today -- it was the sixth letter I had had since yesterday morning! - Fancy what a riotous [?] time I had. I felt quite as if I had taken a run to America. - I am very sorry you did not get the notes sooner. I suppose Mrs. C. kept them intending each day to come over to B. She has said in each letter she should as soon as possible. You do not speak of having had one through Dea. Palmer. I sent one to him, from Rome, for you. - Some of my letters have been lost, & I can never know just which ones. - I hope very much Mrs. C. will come out but I think it very doubtful. Perhaps if she will not come without I shall come home to get her! -

We have had a delightful month here - and can't bear to think of going away: -- though it begins to be too warm -- & Priscilla is not quite well here; I think we shall start for the Tyrol the last of next week - or the first of the week after. - You must still send to care of Munroe. Paris. -

It is a great relief to me to hear that the children are all well again, & that you are not ill, after your long hard pull through their sickness. It often makes me feel very selfish to think how my days go by with no hard burden of actual work, & yours are forever [? paper torn, with piece missing] full. - It would seem to human eyes as if our lives would both be bettered by being shaken up together. -

I had a letter from Annie Pomeroy [?] too, today. She & Theai [?] will probably come out in August -- & may stay two years; -- so I shall have strong inducements to stay. Molly too is almost sure to come, I think; but they will want to travel more than I can afford to; -- for they will only be in Europe a year, & will want to do as much as possible. -

I am glad you liked Mrs. C. so much. No human being was ever known not to like her! -

--I wrote to you twice to send your address to Sarah Woolsey - to keep her informed of it; because I shall send the letters first to her. You are such an uncertain person at present. - I shall have all the letters returned to you, at last to send to Cousin Ann. - Do not ever send them except according to the list. -- & do not keep them over one day. There have been most inexplicable delays & mistakes about them but I hope now they will go better. -

Love to the children & E. - Ever you loving sister Helen

June 11

Dearest Annie,

I slip this note into a letter to Annie Pomeroy [?] to say that I have just received your letter of May 24th. it was too bad you did not get your notes. I suppose Mrs. C. thought each day she would [?] come over the next. I am trying hard to get her over here. - Perhaps I shall come back & get her!

I shall send off an Encyc. in a few days - to Sarah Woolsey. Keep her advised of your address. I shall send first to her, till you are permanently established somewhere. - I shall have all the letters returned to you, also, after all the people have read them -- & then you can send them to Cousin Ann & Aunt M. Or course the date has nothing to do with the writing of a foreign letter. -- & I want to make sure of their being all kept till I return, & you will be more [? -could also be never?] sure to do that than anybody I know. When I get back they will be all as interesting to me I don't doubt as they have been to you.

You will see from the Encyc. what a good time we have had here. You would not worry about my health if you could see me now; I could share you some flesh perhaps. I think I have gained all I had lost in Rome. -

I hope you will go somewhere in the country with the children for the summer. - that place where I was in Bethlehem would be capital for you -

Mr. Joseph Barrett. Bethlehem N. H., & cheap too.

I have not a minute more, or I shall keep the girls waiting.

I do hop you will be better when I hear again. You must keep two girls in W. -

Write still to care of Munroe. - Love to all,

Ever fondly,


Venice. Friday
June 18th

Dear Annie,

We are off for the Tyrol this afternoon. I have been looking & looking for something which I could send Helen in an envelope & at last have found these odd little Roman Catholic things which I suppose will please her, as they come from so far. -

Tell Richie that his little photographs came in a little round box, which I shall try & keep safe for him till I come home - if he will keep the pictures to put in it. -

Hope Annie 2d. will not be crumpled [?] by the sight of babies out on a spree, with their champagne cooling in the river by side of their boat!! - such jolly things as they make for children here. --

Goodbye - I sent an ency. letter [?] 36 pages long, on the 15th! -- & a note to you, a week before.

Ever lovingly Helen

July 14, 1869

Dearest Annie,

Yesterday I got your letter of June 26th. I get them much quicker now than in Rome in spite of their having to be remailed in Paris. -

How strong you are! I am more & more astonished every year at your endurance. - I am relieved beyond measure that you do not go to Washington till fall. I hope unless you live in Georgetown you will never stay there through a summer - I don't wonder you are shocked at the average house in Washington. It is a blow to a New Englander to see such discomforts calmly accepted by everybody. -

Everett sent me my addresses before he saw students. it is capital capital. - At last I am sure he is in the right place where his great talents will be brought into full play. - If you can only manage to live there, it is great good luck. - Did you tell me [? paper has hole in it] the salary was over $4000? That seems very small for such an important position. -

You will see from the Encyc. how our plan of staying in Berchtesgaden has fallen through. I am enjoying this week alone here however, very much & hope to do a quantity of writing. - You have never told me if you took the Independent so as to see my articles there? - Mrs Calhoun wrote me that a long poem of mine was to be in the Galaxy for June. - I have not heard from her for a month & am very anxious. I hope still that she will come out in the fall. I shall see Molly. I hope in Munich in September, but they will be moving about so much, that I shall see little of her, out of the whole year I fear. Annie & Theai [?] if they come will like to settle down quietly in one place as I want to - but it is not sure they will come. -Love to the children -- & much to you, my dear sister. Goodbye. -

Ever lovingly - Helen


Aug. 22. 1869

Dear Annie,

I was too busy to send any notes in the last Encyclical; -- so I slip one for you into a letter to Dea. Palmer.

I shall go to Innspruck [sic] this week, to join the girls -- & then the 15th of September, we go to Munich. - for a month. Beyond that, I know nothing.

I have just missed seeing Molly, in the most provoking way. She was for three days at Salzburg, -- & I should have gone down to see her - but she sent me a letter without a date, name of Hotel, or anything! I spent all one day in telegraphing back & forth to find where she was -- & found out just too late to overtake her. -

You wonder so much that I should think of coming home to return. But you can't imagine how short a journey ten days looks to me after a years such travel as I have done. The money is the only hesitation I have. - If it were not for that I should decide at once to come home for the winter, & go out again in the Spring with Mrs. Calhoun. I think I could persuade her if I were there. - And can't you imagine that I want to see you all, horribly? -- At times in spite of all my enjoyment, I am all but homesick. -

Goodbye. Write at least every month. -
Love to the children & E. -

Always lovingly Helen

[Break in timeline here… to 1873]

On black-bordered stationery

Envelope addressed to:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield
Treasury Dept.
Postmarked NEW YORK N.Y., JUN 9 8 P.M.
Written across end of envelope: "June 9, 1873 New York, about Jennie Abbot's marriage

San Denis Hotel
June 9th

Dear Annie-

Instead of going on to Chicago as I expected to a week ago last night I came down with a very bad diptheric sore throat & have been in bed, here!, ever since.

Colorado given up - Emma Guild gone home disappointed - Mrs. Runkle is here to stay with me - a nurse & doctor -- & all the old horrible routine again. It seems like a nightmare -- & I feel as if I should never get away. But I am better - sat up a good deal yesterday -- & the Dr. thinks I shall be able to travel by Saturday. I shall go to Boston - next at Parkers - thence to the White Mts somewhere - but where, I don't know. My rooms at Bethlehem are taken. If Mrs. Barrett can get rooms for us in any house in Littleton [?] high up on the ridge I shall stay there for a time at any rate. - so as to be near Dr. Lunger [?]. - Miss Guild will go up with me. - I hope we shall be able to go out to Colorado Sept. 1st but I shall never dare plan again, after this sudden crash. - I felt quite well week before last -- & got packed up & off with much less fatigue than usual & cannot account for the attack, except that I was into the supper room on the boat & gas heated -- & came out there was a sudden chill.

Of course it is a blessing I had not gotten any farther along in the journey, -- that is the only consoling feature in my condition today. - No, -- there is one more - it is cool! -- But I can't get the food I need -- & I am so uncomfortable in every way that I am about beside myself! - I never was sick before in a Hotel. - My nurse is very good -- & I have a good homeopathic Dr. - When do you come north? - If it were not for my Nose Cold, I might go to Wolfboro with you, but I must get into the White Mrs. - I may go to the Propia [?] House if nothing better offers. I should have good food there - Yrs ever - Helen.

Jenny Abbott is going to be married! To old Oliver Johnson, the former Ed. of Ind. - now of Christian Union - 66 years old - or thereabouts! -- Has asthma horribly - I am absolutely heartbroken over it -- & yet I do not really know but about my life will be easier than her life at home.

Envelope addressed to:
Mrs. E.C. Banfield.
N. Hampshire
Postmarked: PRINCETON MASS, AUG 16
Written across one end of envelope: Aug 16, 1873 - About Aunt Anne's accident, E. Dickinson

Dearest Annie,

I have just been startled [?] & shocked by the seeing a paragraph - last nights transcript saying that one of your children had been severely injured on Thursday - Do write instantly and tell me which of them it was -- & how much she was hurt. It must have been a very narrow escape if the newspaper paragraph be true. - give my dear love to her & tell her how much Aunt Helen is grieved to hear of it -- & to be unable to do anything for her. -

I myself have had a most disastrous week at Amherst - but am grateful to have escaped with my life. - It is the only step I have taken this summer for which I reproach myself - the going there. - But I was so uncomfortable here -- & I thought I had gained enough to make it safe to try this change -- & I wrote to Emily Dickinson who has two cousins boarding in the house, & she wrote me that they said there was no dampness there at all! -- & they were "timid themselves" she added. - But it was not only damp -it was close and stifling -- & this was a positive miasm about the house I am sure for I was prostrated in twelve hours! -- & on the morning of the third day came down with a sharp thinking of dysentery! -- Me! Of all people! - If this had not been a remarkably intelligent & skillful homeopathic Dr. then, I think I should never have go away alive! -- But he checked the dysentery -- & orders me to fly at once. - Luckily I could get back here into my old room -- & so comfortable does the frying pan feel after the fire, that I don't mind having Emma in my room at all if I can only have good air! - She has been in bed five days also with cholera [illegible] brought from Amherst no doubt - I had only a little Irish girl to sit outside the door & wait on us both!! - How come Emma is up & seems all right today -- & I feel much less ill than I expected - though I am in bed & shall have to be for some days yet. - It is very discouraging -- & I can't help wondering why I was permitted to go to A. - I have lost all I had gained here -- & more too, I am afraid.

Do write or have some one, just a line to tell me about the accident for I am distressed about it -- & can hardly think of anything else. - Love to all -

Your ever loving sister


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