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Helen Hunt Jackson 2-2-24a transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 2, Folder 24a, Amelia Edith Barr to HHJ, 1885.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, 2003.

Envelope addressed:
Mrs Jackson
[crossed out: 1600 Taylor Street, San Francisco, California]
Postmarked: CORNWALL, Orange Co., N.Y. Aug 13 1885

Overlook Cottage Cornwall
August 12th 1885

Dear Mrs Jackson

I have sent you with this a copy of the second edition of "Jan Vedder". I am sorry I had not one of the first which was more handsomely bound & printed, being also dearer in price, but I do not know when I may be in New York and I am vain enough to hope it may help to pass an hour or two. I have come to that stage in life, when one does not have many tears left to shed but I felt my eyes grow dim as I read your letter. If any one in this world knows what you are suffering, I do. You say with the greatest truth it is worse than the most poignant acute pain. I know of no distress to equal t-h- such a condition of the stomach. After yellow fever my stomach was for weeks in such a condition. Finally I agreed to take sweet potatoes baked and eaten perfectly dry without any addition. In two weeks I managed to dip them in the gravy of meat. After my attack of brain fever in 1880 I had a similar trial to go through. At that time I conquered with Scotch oatmeal. First I was only able to take teaspoonfuls of the water in which it had stood in a couple of days I took it boiled in about a week with cream not milk, then I improved rapidly. I only name these I hardly dare to hope they may be worth a trial for stomachs have a singular individuality - no two alike. I will not believe but that you will fully recover. There must be still better and nobler work for you to do, for that you are now being prepared. No affliction for the time is pleasant, but afterward, Oh, yes, the afterward, even in this life atoned for it, and I am sure you will live to see the reason of the hard discipline through which you are passing. God does not love those who are never sick. The sick room has confidences revelations even, given in no other precincts. We hear three voices we never hear when we are in the world. I have had all my life magnificent health & vitality, and terrible sicknesses. I assure you I can thank God for one as truly as the other. Forgive me if I intrude beyond my right. I would be so glad if I could say one word to help you. I can understand, no one better, the feeling with which you penned the words "if one cannot be well, it is better to be dead. Don't you think so?" I confess I do. I have no greater terror than that of outliving my power to labor for others and for myself. "Plenty to do in the next world" I never doubt that - work which we shall do with our faculties included. I think with Louis Figuier in his "Day After Death" that whatever we have gained or learned in this life - all moral victories at [next several lines are not readable] I had to do it and thereby hangs a tragedy that only you and I know. But if we are patient, at the last we touch with pity the Heart of God, who seems to say audibly "that will do." I am differently circumstanced these last two years and with all my scattering work have written five books the last called "The Lost Silver of [Briffauth?]" I am now reading the proof of. I wish I could open my heart to you. I wish I could tell you what a wonderful God I have had; then you would say, "I also may trust Him for everything" I do not expect nor wish you to waste a bit of strength writing to me. Please don't until you are quite well then I would like to rejoice with you.

Yours very truly,

A. E. Barr

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