Click here to return to the Tutt Library Home Page
Helen Hunt Jackson 2-2-24k transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 2, Folder 24k, Mary [Sprague?] to HHJ, [1856?] and 1881.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, 2003.

Envelope addressed:
Mrs. William S. Jackson
Brevoort House
New York.
Postmarked: ALBANY, N.Y. APR 18 8 PM; NEW-YORK REC'D APR 19 8 A M 80

Thursday Evening
May 8
[not dated, probably 1856]

My dear Helen,

I know my neglect is unpardonable but it is no use beginning all my letters with apologies & regrets for not answering your very interesting letters, - when I last wrote from N.Y. I was in a very great hurry & entirely forgot to thank you for your kindness in offering to embroider a basque for me. I think they are very pretty & admire them on others but I have had a fancy I should look very much like a spider in a pan of milk. - I always liked the linen collars & cuffs but never could wear them, they give me such a dark dingy complexion, & upon the same principle I imagined the white basque would make me look the same, - however if you will embroider me one I will wear it with pleasure & hope I may look better than I expect. - do you wish me to have it fitted before you can embroider it? If so I will have it done immediately & send by Express. - I am very glad you like your laces & am very happy to know I have pleased you so much with my selections, - I have been home nearly three weeks & have made three dresses & on the fourth now. - it confines me very much but it is almost impossible to get any one to assist or make a dress here & my good dress-maker in N.Y charges so exorbitant that I did not feel that I could afford it this Spring.

I am up to my ears in sewing for the house but with that kind of sewing I can get assistance, the work at the house progresses finely, & we think we shall certainly get in in July & be well settled by the first of Aug. - "love in a cottage" is all very pretty in Poetry but not so in practice when you have about three times as much furniture as the Cottage will hold, - I was very much amused with your domestic annoyances, (if it's not unkind to be amused at another's misery) for how much one comfort depends upon these poor miserable creatures, you are getting your experience very young & at an expensive rate, but I think the community out to feel indebted & you a benefit for doing them such real service, - if all housekeepers were as persevering there would be less of that kind of thieving. I hope you will have no further troubles, - I am very anxious to visit you but I cannot now say that it will be in my power this summer, - I have a great deal to do before getting settled & we have company engaged to visit us from July till Oct. however if I can bring it about I will do so with the greatest pleasure. I do wish very much to see your dear little boy. - don't love him too well.

You ask if I shall go to Albany at the time of the American Association. I shall not neither will my husband, it would about be impossible for us to leave home at that time. I asked Washington if he knew anything of that affair you speak off in connection with the Ruggles, he does & he says there is not one word of truth in it. - he is very honest man & would scorn to do a mean dishonorable thing of any kind. - Mr. Ruggles wrote us a most beautiful letter immediately after the death of Odgen Hoffman, who was a particular friend of Mr. H & Mr R.s - we all dined at Mr Hoffmans house a very short time before he left the city & had a charming time, - after reading his letter (which was beautiful) I felt that I had been unkind to suspect his sincerity- at the same time if he should visit us this week that same doubtful feeling would come over me that I have expressed to you before whenever I am in his presence, what do you make out of all this? He will visit us occasionally as long as my husband lives, for they are much attached, the family was very attentive this winter & he particularly so. - We stopped a few days in Albany visiting old friends & enjoyed it very much, it was there I heard of Miss Alcott's ill health, - & also of Mrs Fiske's prospects, such news travels Railroad speed you know. -

You have doubtless heard that John has bought a house & they are about moving in & they will be very nicely & comfortably settled, they are now introducing water & gass [sic] I believe. - Horace was here since we returned & told us - Manilla was about returning to her husband - that is a very strange case altogether it seems to me. - Washington & Robert join me in love to you & Edward, they are both well & I do not think you would observe anything out of the way in his mind, the N.Y. Times to the contrary. - which is remarkable for its sagacity and truthfulness. - I suppose politically this will be an exciting summer, at present it is very quiet here, & I hope my husband will not find it necessary for him to make much effort. -

Write me soon & I think I will answer your good letters very soon after receiving them. - I should think I would be fond of letter writing for I am so fond of receiving them from friends. - We feel very much indebted to Edward for so good a copy of Sanford, it is [ ] better than the one we lost.

Kiss that dear child for me, I hope to see him,

Goodbye yours ever affctly


[pencil in brackets: Apr. 18, 1881]

April 18
Sunday morn

My darling Helen

I was full of joy the other day - first at receiving your good letter - & then at the promise it gave that you would try to come to us in the Early Summer. And since I can't imagine you trying to do anything & failing at it, - I have the faith of assurance - good Presbyterian that I was - that in this hope we shall not be disappointed. If the time should seem to be slipping unduly away from you, - don't let that prevent your coming, for even in a day or two we could unearth so much! I do believe you would take kindly to my husband & children. And, by the way, Carrie & Laura are going down this week for a visit at Flushing, & I believe they have a very strong intention of bringing up some day when they are in town, at the Brevoort House & having a few words with you - I really don't know anything Carrie desires so much as to see you. She loves your "verses" as she does her life, & both she & Laura have the most of them at their tongues' end. - We are wonderfully interested in your forthcoming book. I should think the brave title would make Schurz & Co. shake in their shoes. Do you know Will. Alden of the 'Times'? He glories in your attacks upon "the persons". I think you are going to accomplish a great work. I rather think you will have to stand by enough [ ] to admit that you really are "called" to the protection of the Indians. I'm sure you would approve the atmosphere of St. Peter's Church, - for it is Indian-loving & protecting from beginning to end. I never heard anything about them before I came into this Church, - but I was at once impressed by one of the old (Ecclesiastical) drafts on the subject, when I was glad to promise that I would help in chair a "scholarship," - & now there is no missionary work that interests me half as much - So I just long to see your book. - If it is as good as the article in Scribners no one would ask for better. I was so charmed with your little scrap of Wedded Comfort that you gave me in your note. I know you must miss your husband terribly, & I know another thing - that he will scrabble back to the East & to you by the earliest possible train. Of course you have heard the funny conundrum connecting his name with that of Orpheus. Don't you think it was rather a specially good play upon words? It's time for me to get on my boots, preparatory to going to Church - It's rather a sad occasion after what you write me to ask you to write again, but do! Write & tell me again that you think you'll come. Theodore sends his love - & echoes in full the foregoing sentiment - Good-bye dear girl & God always bless you -

Always yours,


Top of Page     

Click here for CC Home Page

Helen Hunt Jackson

Special Collections Home

maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 6-2003, jr