Click here to return to the Tutt Library Home Page
Helen Hunt Jackson 2-2-35 transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 2, Folder 35, letters from Jennie (Jane) Hitchcock to Ann Fiske, 1852-1863.
Transcribed by Erin Keenan, 2002.

Thursday Even. July 13, 1852 So. Hadley

My Dear Annie,

I have been laboring under a delusion for the past few weeks. For I have thought that it was high time Annie was answering my letter; when all the while you have doubtless thought the same of me. In imagination, I have said so many things to you that it came to be a reality to me. Did you mean to send your troublesome eyes to me? I dont accuse you of intentionally doing any such thing and now I think of it, it must have been my intense sympathy with you which caused that of which I will now tell you. A few days after receiving your last letter but one, my eyes began to experience strange sensations, being inflamed, swollen &c, so that I was not able to use them atall. Finding that I must be idle, I decided it would be quite as well, if not better to do nothing at home, rather than here. Accordingly the day in which I usually send my washing home by Ed Allen the post boy, I sent myself instead. And you can imagine that my mother was a little surprised to have me open the door and watch her as she was sewing steadily, supposing the intruder to be either Mary or Emily. I staid there a week, until my eyes were considerably better, and then returned to this place which I have not left since. During the first few I spent at home, the Senior levee took place, which I enjoyed quite well considering the disappointment I endured with regard to it. Mother sent invitations to nearly twenty of my schoolmates here to be at our house that evening and the teachers did not think best to give them permission. The thought of it limited my enjoyment considerably.

The last time you wrote me, you had just been assured that John Sanford was really alive, and had not entirely forgotten you. I am glad he is the same he used to be. You think then, dont you, that all his popularity has not made him vain? You know we speculated a little some time since, as to the effect so much flatter as he rec'd would have upon him. I am really quite impatient to see John again and my anticipations of the time when I shall are increased, because of the same time I shall see you also. And we are a year older than we were the last time we three met, and of course wiser, so we need not fear any more such conversations as we had in Fathers library. If I thought you and John would be as glad to see me, as I shall both of you, I should indeed rejoice.

I want you should write and tell me before I leave So. Hadley, when you will go to Amherst. Do you still think Mr. Palmer would prefer you should not come till the day before commencement? If so, we must try and secure for ourselves some quiet enjoyment during the warm, dry days of summer vacation. I feel now as though, at home, and with the friends whom I love, nothing could disturb my happiness. I shall return home, if nothing presents the Friday before Com. the 6th of Aug. and anytime after that shall be watching for you. Jon will write very soon and tell me when I may confidently look for you, will you not? I received a letter from mother this morning, and she told me that Mrs. Peabody, and Helen had sent to engage a boarding place at Ms. Emersons for a few weeks. I am right happy in this thought of seeing you and Helen again. It hardly seems, Annie, possible that the long year, to which I was looking forward when last I saw you, is so nearly gone. And yet now, I am in such haste to have it quite finished that days seem like weeks, and weeks like months. I never shall be happy away from home, that is, I never can have a peaceful, contented heart, constantly at rest, when I am away from my parents, and brother and sisters. By separations, I learn how much to prize the love they have for me, so much truer than that of any others. And this is all that ever reconciles me to it.

Saturday Morning, Early. This letter should have started on its journey yesterday. Because I want you should have it this week. But I was interrupted in writing it, so I shall send it this morn. hoping it will reach you tonight.

Which of our many, far-famed boarding schools, are you going to honor with your patronage next year? Is it Pittsfield? I hope, Annie that will enjoy a year so spent and I dont doubt that you will. There are very many pleasant things about being away from home at school. There is the constantly longing for home which makes every letter you receive from that place and every thought of it far more precious than it could otherwise be. And then there is a continual excitement in school, which is perfectly delightful, a strife in learning lessons, and in writing, &c. And now and then comes the preparation for vacation, the anticipation of it, and then the actual enjoyment of it, that is not by and means the least pleasant part of such a year. I dont wonder that our parents and grand parents so often tell us to enjoy all we can, during our school days, for that they are the pleasantest-days in the whole of life. But there are trials to endure of which I need not tell you. For doubtless you are acquainted with them already, and if not you will be soon enough. Since we spoke of being at school together, I have had many bright visions of such a thing. How much I should love to go with you where you go. But as we cannot look in to the future even that may yet come to pass. When we meet we will speak concerning this matter.

Mother told me yesterday in her letter that Sue Gilbert has returned to Amherst. Helen will be glad, wont she? Did they meet in Baltimore, as Helen expected? Alma Emerson too, has completed her year at Bradford and is at home now. Frances, I presume will be there before many weeks. Wouldnt it be pleasant if Mrs. Emerson's last years family could be revived this year? Mr. Hammond and Lady will be at Amherst at Commencement. I should not very much desire to be in Mary Warners place at that time. I think that Kate and Mr. Stoms will also be there. If there is anything which makes me love is to have Aug. return it is because I see so many friends whom I do not see any other time in the year. I am obliged to write a composition this morning. Shall I take for my theme "The joy of melting again"?

[Written on the sides of the pages:] Have you been to visit Helen yet? Please give my warmest love to her. And will you not write to me next week? Or at least, the first of week after next. I'll tell you when I want a letter and that is next Saturday night. N.B. Once more good bye my dear friend Annie. The next time I speak to you, shall be, I trust, in a more satisfactory manner than this. Ever your true and loving Jenny. I am anticipating so much joy in the future that it may be Providence will dash the cup to the ground just as I am raising it to my lips in order to teach me the feeble hold that I must ever have upon every thing hence I often think of this. But if this is to be my eve, remember Annie we hope to spend eternity together where no thoughts of parting no fear of any disappointment can ever come.

Thursday P.M. Sept. 30, 1852

My dear Anne,

I have a great desire to be called a prompt correspondent; I think it worth a great deal to have such a name among ones friends. It is next to being considered a faithful friend, and it is especially in this way that we can prove our constancy. I find it very easy when I am at boarding school to act up to my principles in this particular. But at home I often have occasion to lament my want of punctuality. The fact is, when one has the whole time at their command, and are at liberty to do what they please they never accomplish half so much as when they are in a constant hurry from the pressure of duties. I can conscientiously recommend you, Anne, as a model in such matters. I intended to be as prompt as you this last time. But it has been just as it always will be, at home, I suppose. Constantly going away, or having company, or busy with sewing, or something of that sort so that absent friends are often neglected.

If you have become fairly initiated into the regular routine of boarding school duties, you have realized what it is to have no time to think even of what you like to think about. At least it used to be so with me last year at S. Hadley. There was positively not an hour in the day, (Excepting Wednesdays, and Sundays) that I could call my own. It was a year ago today that I underwent my first examination for admittance to that far-famed Seminary of Learning. I have thought a good deal about the poor girls there yesterday and today, especially those who enter this year. There are but few of my last year's friends who expect to return this year. But I think on the whole I should enjoy going there a few days now just for the novelty of seeing the new ones and seeing the teachers endeavouring to harness them. It takes several weeks to become entirely familiar with the code of laws. Do you have any rules to obey, or do they leave you to exercise your own discretion, relative for instance to rising and retiring? Tell me some of those things when you write.

So you doom me to wait till some uncertain future, before I can know certain things wh. I asked you. It is well, doubtless, though I should like to know now, I expect it was impertinent for me to ask you though I meant you should understand that I only asked for what you would be willing to have me know. And then you and I have talked together about so many personal affairs that I thought such a regress might be pardonable from me even though you should not see fit to grant it. I sincerely hope that yr. three correspondents will be faithful to you, at least the one who is of more consequence to you than both the others put together. I thank you for making me one of the favored few, and trust I shall render myself worthy of your confidence.

I went down day before yesterday in the afternoon, and called on Mrs. Sanford for the first time since you went away. She gave me some fine grapes and peaches, and showed me daguerreotypes of Miss. Spurate [?] and Baolis [?], and I wondered how soon John's and Anne's would be with them.

I hope you have three pleasant roommates, Jamie Abbott, I presume is an old friend of yours which must be worth a great deal to you both. I wonder if Miss. Kittridge is related to my Katie of Lowell.

When I was in Brookfield, Anne, I spent the night at a Mr. Howe's. He has a daughter who married Mr. Fisher Miller, one of our Alumni and a son, a youth of twenty years or less. I should judge, who with Mr. Miller at commencement time called at Mrs. Emerson's , and, strange to say, was quite "taken" with a certain Miss. Anne Fiske who was there so he confided the matter to me, and asked to a number of questions concerning her, wh. I have no room to repeat but one important one he omitted, which I had a mind to tell him in order to cool his ardor a little if possible, that was, if she had a heart! Ah, Annie, few people love a heartless girl. And such an one is no more likely to be loved if she says that in exchange for hers, she has another worth more than her own because that heart can be of no service to any one but herself.

Last Friday evening Mother invited the Freshmen here, and we had quite a merry evening, not withstanding there were so many strangers to us and to one another. I feel an unusual interest in this class because Charlie belongs to it and there are some fine boys in it and a few who seem to be old enough to be called men. James Parsons is among them, but he is rather shy and I only exchanged a few words with him.

Mother and Father have gone to Lawrence this week and Mary, Charlie and I compose the family, except James and Bridget our Irish inhabitants. By the way [written sideways on page] they seem to be carrying on a desperate flirtation, and I should not wonder the least if they should run away some day. It is fine weather now, and I have some night pleasant walks. Amherst never seemed so pleasant to me, and I hope it may always be my home till I go to a better world. I forgot to tell you that Kate has just commenced housekeeping and Mother has gone to give her instructions in that time. Emily spent two or three days at home last week. What shall we do, Annie to make her hair grow? She is very unfortunate about her head dress. I am going to write her a letter this P.M. doubtless she has written to me before this time. Mary has gone out riding and left me all alone in the wide world. Now once more good bye Annie. Your own Jenny

[insert on smaller paper]

Thursday morn.

I was interrupted all day yesterday by company. I did not go to the ride after all because Ed's wife came over here with a brother and cousin of hers so I felt it was proper for me to stay and entertain them. I rode a little way, just to try Ed & Mary's new horse & carriage and met John riding with two ladies and a gentleman. They were all married people, I believe.

Do write to me immediately and tell me if you are happy with your Aunt Vinal. How is her health now? Please give my love to her. What are your plans for the summer? You must remember Amherst & your Jennie

Sabbath eve. Nov. 7, 1852

My dear Anne,

I have been waiting for you to get quietly settled in New York again before writing to you. You did not tell me when you expected to return but I concluded it was most likely you would stay in Boston as long as you could. Since the friends you met there you do not see every day, and even if you did, that would not be often enough to satisfy you. I have heard it said that friends love one another better when separated but I dont know as I even found it so. Our strong desire to see them makes us think about them constantly when absent but when with them, our love subsides into a state of quietude because it is satisfied and has nothing to disturb it. But it is now the less deep for all that. But I was speaking of your being in Boston; and I am happy to tell you that I heard of you there, directly, from one who recognized you in the wedding party on "Thursday the 28th". That person was none other than Mary Snell, who was making at that time a visit in Brookline, and Mrs. Snell sent Helen's card to her thinking she might perhaps be present at the ceremony, and she was. But Moll [?] was short-sighted, and could not see very plainly, as she was in the gallery. She saw that Helen was dressed in white and that you and John were together. But I shall not be satisfied till you write me a letter and tell me a good deal more than that.

Did it make you sad atall to see Helen given away "for better, for worse" or was it all joyous to you? I thought very likely you might be one of her bridesmaids, but Mary tells me she had none.

When I heard there was another marriage directly after Helen's in the same place, I was ready to exclaim "It was Anne's and John's "! But on a second thought I knew that you both had too much discretion to perpetrate such a deed at present.

On Wednesday the 27th, It was Cattle Show in Amherst, a gala day. I assure you for all the farmers there waves and daughters in Hampshire county. Oh! Such a crowd of boisterous people, I was never in before, and desire never to be again. But we had a public dinner in Howe's [?] hall, which was quite delightful, where I met several people whom you know. One end of the table was occupied mostly by Austin and Vinnie Dickinson, Sue Gilbert, Mr. Converse of Boston with Vinnie's Uncle, Joel Arrcross [?] also of B_ Tutors Emerson and Howland, and John Thompson, and Thomas Harrington, and Henry Root, and Dr. Woodman and Ed & Mary Hitcherch, and yr. Sen. Dr. Holland, one of the editors of the Springfield Republican, was there also among those I mentioned, and he very gallantly complimented the ladies to whom he sat opposite for their good looks in his account of the dinner. I sat nearly opposite to Henry Root though we did not converse very extensively. I was surprised to find he was not going to Helen's wedding. Thursday he went to New York in company with Edwards who afterwards told me that he met Mr. & Mrs. Hunt in Springfield Depot for a few moments. I saw Mr. Converse that day for the first time. I did not speak with him but I had so often heard of him that I was quite interested in seeing how he looked. I think you said you had met him did you not? Vinnie has a high opinion of him, and I should think she had reason too, for his bearing is certainly very noble.

We dont have much in Amherst his autumn to excite us unless it be railroads and politics; nothing in the social world of any consequence. I have not even taken tea away from home since you went away and as to a party, I should not know how to behave in such a place now, it is so long since I have been to one. Our Receptions and social faculty meetings were both given up in August have never since been renewed. I have taken a ride now and then to some neighboring villages for business and pleasure; to carry Edward to N. Hampton Depot, bring Emily home from Hatfield, attend an Installation at S. Hadley, and make a call at the Seminary. One event took place in our family, which deserves a notice. On the 20th day of Oct. Charly was gathering walnuts in Father's Orchard and had just climbed a tree over fifty feet high, when he made a instep [?], a branch broke, or something of the sort, and he came down, head first, on to the ground. Our Irishman was with him and he continued to send work home and Mother rode directly down, and brought him home. He was insensible for a little while and we did not sleep much that night. I assure you from conjecturing and fearing what might be the result. But kind Providense restored him in a few days wh. we consider almost a almost a miracle, especially, as he did not break a bone. He was some what injured, and now one of his arms has not quite recovered its wanted strength and agility. But what a wonder it was that he lived atall!

Emily sits by me, and tells me I may remind Anne that she has not answered her letter yet. She is save home from Hatfield, much to her joy. Ned has gone to Boston to spend the winter. Father and I are going down to Lawrence in Dec. Where I expect to stay a while if nothing happens to prevent. I thank you for giving me so full an account of your manner of life at Spingler. I am quite delighted with it and wish I could be there with you. When shall we be together again. Ah, that is way off in the future somewhere and I always shrink from penetrating the veil that hangs over it. If we walk steadily forward, its events will be revealed to us soon enough. But if we live till summer, I think the remembrance of the past will make you desire to renew some old scenes in Amherst. It will at least make me desire to see you here. You must give my love to Sarah Kittridge for her cousin's sake. Also to Carry [?] [begin words written sideways on page] Clark, even tho' she did not send hers to me. Ed is in Boston. Have you seen Miss. Spurat [?] and Mr. B. Sanford? Were they in Boston and well? And how does John do? Your Amherst friends are as ever, I believe. Austin D. and Sue Gilbert are constant and the gossips say constantly together. I dont know how that is. I seldom see them. Pray dont disappoint me now, my dear Anne, by making me watch and hope from a letter. I should prefer to talk, but that cannot be a present. Patience. Did you dress in men's clothes the other day, and try to vote? Some lady in N. York did. Are you among the conquerors or the conquered in politics? Once more, good bye my Anne. Lets you and I be faithful to each other always. To you, my dear Anne, I'm more true than any. Wherever you are, your won loving Jennie. Mother's love.

Amherst. 24 Sept. 1856

My very dear Annie,

I was reminded, by reading over your last letter today, that if I no don't hasten to write to you, Sept. will be gone, and it is possible that next month you may be moving away from your romantic little cottage, where the first happy days of your married life, have been spent. Your address may still be the same, it is true, but then I don not know that it will. I hope you will not go out of the vicinity of Boston (unless you come this way) for then I should despair of ever seeing you, which I have been tempted to do ere this. How much I want to see you, and that little boy of yours! Oh, Anne! You are my earliest friend and playmate, and however many, and kind the friends we meet as we pass on in life. Yet I think more can be to us just like those we know & love in our first years. Perhaps there is a sort of charm connected with the memory of such, which comes with the thoughts of the days when we had no sorrow or care to weigh our hearts down. But whatever the reason is, I known that I feel for you, Anne, an interest and a love, peculiar, and abiding.

I have longed to be able to go & see you in yr. pleasant home, but the time has not yet come when there was nothing to prevent me, & I do not know where it will come. I look forward to another quiet winter at home. My sister Kate wants one very much to spend it with her in Cincinnati, & I should do so, were it not that it would be leaving Father Mother & Mary all Alone, which they will not consent to. For Charlie is in New Haven studying, and Emily expects next week to present herself a Mt. Holyoke Sem. for a year. However, I am always willing to be at home, and never have any fears of loneliness here, though many think Amherst a dull place. It is very quiet in winter, but has never seemed dull to me for I have always found enough to do to occupy all the time. To be sure I have not, like you, a family to look after, nor do I well know how I should continue to take care of more than myself. But I suppose the requisite knowledge comes with the necessity for it. I have considerable doubt as the whether I shall ever be married though I may sometime in the future not at present, Anne. I am in no immediate dancer & though I have no doubt many are very happy in such duties & cares as now engross you, still I am quite willing to put off the time indefinitely.

I would like to have you see your old home this autumn day, it is looking so pleasantly. You remember where Mrs. Benjamin lived, nearly opposite our house, well on that spot, Prof. Tuckerman is now putting up a stone dwelling house in the style of the English Cottage, which is a great improvement to our street. Father purchased the little house wh. used to stand there, & has had it moved just below Mr. Cooley's. Prof. Tyler is at home again, looking greatly invigorated & we have as many as eighty additions to the students this fall, besides a new Prof & Lady, Prof Vose, who takes Prof. Field's place and I believe the college is generally in a prosperous condition. I don not think of any particular change among your old friend. I see more of the Snells, & the Warners than any other families. They are all well. Austin Dickinson & Sue Gilbert are married, & have a beautiful new house next to Mr. E. Dickinson's wh. is General Mack's place, fitted up so that those two are now quite as attractive houses as any in Am. Eliza Coleman is visiting Emily & Vinnie at present, while they are housekeepers; for Mrs. D's health is poor & she is at the water-cure in N. Hampton.

I hear thro' Ms. Carter that Frankie Smith is rapidly failing & I of course never expect to see her again. She is a lovely girl & to us, in our short-sightedness her early death seems only sad. I was a poor correspondent, for I never wrote her but one short note. I know nothing of John Sanford, same what you told me the last time he was in town wh. was, I should think, a year since, we did not see him. It would be very pleasant to see him again. I should be right glad to give him a hearty shake of the hand, like old times, & have a good talk about the days that are fled, & so would I like with you, Anne, to speak of what has come to pass especially since we have not met. It is very long since we have seen each other, but I have not changed & shall still think of you as the same as in your room at Mr. Palmer's where I last saw you, and hope that sometime we shall speak with each other in a more satisfactory manner than this. Thank you for making me one of the favored three who read your written words & believe me. Ever the same, your Jennie.

[Words written sideways on page] I have faith in you, that you will let me hear from you again as soon as it is possible for you to write, even if it be but a few words, for you know how happy it makes me. Mother & the girls send a great deal of love. I am reading Boswell's Johnson & Philip 2d of Spain by Pusertt [?]. This latter would be interesting for your reading circle. -J.E.H.

Amherst. Oct. 3, 1859, Monday

My darling Annie,

Thursday evening, last at 7 o'clock I reached home again all safely & pleasantly, and now what can I do but live even again in memory the five happy weeks I spent down east. I'll tell you about my Randolph visit first. My note to you was written in a N.E. storm, I recollect & that continued nearly all the time I was there; I scarcely saw the sun till two days before I came away. But Aunt Lorriser [?] is an old friend of our family & had a great deal to say to me, to all of which I was a pleased and attentive listener, as it was mostly about Mother's early days & her now; so the time passed swiftly away, and the weather was not complained of. A week ago today, Auntie & I went to Braintree to visit at Dr. Stom's. We were there from 9 A.M. till 7 P.M. and it was a day I shall long remember. How much I wish you were acquainted with the family, for I know you would love them. Dr. Stoms knew your Father, & was very much interested in hearing about you & Helen. Tuesday we attended a conference of churches in Weymouth. A great crowd, and a very warm day & a headache ail the first thoughts in my mind in connection with that day. Wednesday I was nearly sick, but in the afternoon went out making calls; met some pleasant people, rolled balls in a private bowling alley, &c [etc.]. In the evening Dr. Burgess called to see if I could go to West [?] Roxbury once more. I was quite surprised, & hardly knew what to do. But I had made my plans to return home Thursday & of course thought it was not worth while to go simply for one night. He said you wanted me to come, and that you would expect me; and I am sure I should have been delighted to see you once more, but I did not believe you would care to have me go for so short a time, most of which would be spent in sleeping. So I declined the invitation, and the next morning early, Jennie Russell & I went in to Boston & spent the day until 3 o'clock, shopping, making calls & visiting the aquarial [?] gardens on Broomfield St. At three I took the cars for Palmer Depot, & just as they were starting Dr. B. appeared and rode with me as far a Framingham. I did not see any one else whom I knew till I was nearly home; but I had a very pleasant ride, & found parents & brother & sisters glad to see me; they professed to think I had been gone long enough, & could hardly believe it was only five weeks.

Charlie will go to Andover soon, and I dare say one of us will spend the winter in Cincinnati, probably Emily will be the favoured individual. I shall vote for her, because I think it would be a good thing for her. Kate & little Charlie are getting along nicely. There is a possibility that they may be here this week, still we do not confidently expect them.

Now my dear Anne, how as you do? I have a vision of you almost constantly before me as you stand near your gate shading your eyes from the light with yr. hand, when I was bidding you good bye. I never enjoyed a visit any where so much as the one I have had with you, and never loved you so well as now & I cannot be thankful enough that I have seen you in your own home, & know just how to think of you as employed from day to day. All your friends here are deeply interested in your welfare, & seem very much pleased when I tell them how pleasantly cituatied & happy you are. You would laugh to hear the questions I have to answer, such as "How do you like Anne's husband, & do you think she is as happy with him as she would have been with John" &c. I always express myself without any hesitation, in form of the present state of things & it seems to give satisfaction. Judge Dickinson called here last evening & was very much interested in hearing once more from Ann. He is over 80 yrs-old & quite infirm, but a very pleasant old gentleman & interested in everything that is going on. Mary Warner says she used to be a little acquainted with yr. husband in Gilmanton, but only a little, & very likely he would not recollect her. I tried to find out something about you, from Dr. B. Knowing he had called once since I left, but I didn't learn anything same that you had a new lamp. I hope it is one that you enjoy, & shall think of you as sitting by the dining table these long evenings with a great pile of mending before you, working away with all yr. might, & your husband reading aloud meanwhile. How are the three dear babies? And does Richie still remember Jennie? I must send something one of these days to keep myself in remembrance. If you possibly can, Anne, I do hope you will have a shadow taken of yourself & the children sometime when you are in Boston, for me. I should prize it highly. I wish that Mr. Banfield would sit with you, also; that would make it perfect. Give my love to Abbie when you see her & do not let her draw any cuing inferences from my Monday's mail. I have no reason to think any attentions hestened upon me surpassed those of civility. I think any old acquaintance or friend would have received the same. Don't you, Anne? I'm sure you must.

I should love to hear from you & shall hope for a few words, one of these days. However, I shall not wait for ceremony; believing you sincere in asking me to write, I shall do so occasionally without waiting for answers, though you know I shall always love to hear from you.

Mother & the girls send much love. Ever yours lovingly, Jennie.

[Written sideways on the page:] I shall feel interested to know about Rachael. I cannot but like her, & hope she will stay with you, for I do not believe you will find another girl really equal to her. Her eyes were full of tears when she bade me good byes & she said she hoped we might meet in another world. Tho' she never expected to see me again in this. I could have cried myself for there is something remarkably interestingly in her countenance at times, you know & I do not believe she will have a very long life.

Amherst Aug. 15, 1862

My very dear Anne,

I have thought of you oftener than ever for the past two or three weeks, and have felt that I know how to sympathize with you in some part of your responsibilities & cares for I have had quite a siege of housekeeping. And I believe it is the first time in my life that I have ever had the whole think on my shoulders. I tried it last year, but Emily was with me & I had a girl all the time; but now I let my girl go away for two or three days & had no one in the family but Mr. Jack Avery, the young man of whom I told you who has been in our family so much of late. My cousin, Mrs. Denison was also a visitor here part of the time, & I had other unexpected company, one, a minister from Indianapolis a gentleman who knows Mr. Stoms very well, & whom we have seen several times before. He is a very interesting man, my dear Anne, & has never married! Whether he is looking about for a companion or not, I am not able to state. One think I am certain of & that is that I shall now stand no chance whatever of being thought of if he is for he is very nice & particular & I was conscious of making some sad blunders in my household arrangements. I was careful to inform him that this was nearly my first experience in these matters, but I am afraid he will not consider it much to my credit that I have allowed so many years to pass without learning.

Seriously, I enjoyed my transient dignity very much. Mr. Avery or "Jack" as we call him, had charge of one horse, Jessie, & we had a ride nearly every evening, some times in the afternoon too, when we usually were so benevolent as to invite the nurses & babies in the other two families to go with us. Also he read aloud to me Tom Brown at Rugby & commenced the same [?] at Oxford. We suffered some pretty warm weather, which wilted me down, but I managed to survive. And then I did take real pleasure in having everything about the house my own way, with nobody to suggest or find fault. Oh! I did not tell you how it happened! My parents & sister Mary went to Saratoga and spent a fortnight, returning last Monday & Emily has been at Mr. Gongh's [?] ever since commencement, so of course I was left alone. Edward & his family have been away, but now we have all in Amherst again; Father & Mother have all their children about them, except Charles & his wife Emily, and they have all their grand-children. Mr. Stom has been here two or three weeks & will be in this vicinity till the last of Sept.

I do occasionally long to step into your pleasant house & have a chat with you once more, especially on the subject of this fearful war. I conclude you are no more hopeful about it then you were, & perhaps your husband is somewhat less so. Of course you are thinking what you will do in case this drafting business should make a difference in your family. Oh, dear! We cannot tell who of us will have to part with dearest friends, all for our native land. Perhaps I ought to be glad I have no husband to lose. If I had one I trust I should be patriotic enough to give him up, for somebody's husbands must go & wouldn't [we rather do anything than be beaten by the rebels? May be I should not rather if I had one. My brother Ed. is not in good health enough to be a soldier. Charlie is & I think by this time is pretty well fitted for camp life, but I suppose he will not go unless he is drafted. But just think what a state of things there will be if ministers & teachers& college students are all pressed into the army, especially ministers! Mason Tyler has just gone with a company from Amherst.

What an experience you did have with your domestics! & not the first you ever had either. Do write me what sort of or character you have in your kitchen now, & are all the children well? Mother & Ed. did not specify diseases when they were talking about Nanis's [?] habits; but said id he did not exercise his limbs enough at this age, he would not learn to walk, or would contract some disease. I had the impression he usually went to bed about 10 in the morning & was taken up between 4&5. Am I right? I must tell you that Prof. Tuckerman remarked of your husbands photograph. "This resembles Lord Macanley, strikingly."

[Written sideways on the page:] The lady who met with such an accident here at commencement was Mrs. Van Lemmip [?], missionary. Mr. Kelsey (who was engaged to Mattie Snell) is now visiting at Prof. Snell's with his wife. I am going this P.M. to call on them. Please tell me when you write, about Helen, about Mrs. Dr. Burgess, & most of all about yourself. Prof. & Mrs. Crowell are at the seaside. I have never seen Mary since the birth of her child. She did not see any one before she went away. When do you think you will be able to leave yr. little ones and come to see me as you did of june? I have a warm welcome awaiting you. If you can do write, but I shall never complain again of long delays. Ever your loving Jennie

P.S. [?] My love to Mrs. Lohiran [?]. I was disappointed about going to So. Hadley & so did not see her. Love also to Abby Smith.

Amherst Oct. 25, 1862

My dear Anne;

It is a great consolation to me that while I cannot see you face to face, I can yet carry on a conversation with you in this silent way. You are very good to write to me so often & so fully. I assure you, I appreciate it; understanding as I do, just how many duties there are claiming that hand & filling that heart. But I occasionally feel as if I could not be satisfied without seeing you. Do you know, I have been hoping all along since I left you, that in your next letter you would give me some encouragement about coming to see me? I'm sure you did partly promise this when I was at your house. Imagine then my disappointment when on searching your two sheets over & over I was compelled to find the subject was not even alluded to. Of course I cannot wonder that you do not feel as if you could leave home for a longer time than one day, I can only lament some method for doing so is not invented. We all want very much to see you again in Amherst & when you do come (for I have faith to believe you will, before a great many months) my dear Anne what nice times we will have! I shall renew my youth & we will laugh & cry together over old times. It is only when I look back in this way that I realize the inevitable truth, I'm growing old. Very few persons of my age have as little to remind them of this fact, as I. And of course, it is natural to be willing to forget it. I sometimes wonder if all the years in my future are to be as much alike as all the years in my past have been, I don't know any thing about great events. "The sum of life is in the trifles" says the proverb. I'm sure that has been true of mine thus far. I was greatly interested in the account of your visit impromptu to Taunton. Am I right in thinking this to have been the first time you have seen John Sanford since your marriage? I am afraid if I had been in your place & never should have dared to call on him at his office. Shouldn't I have given almost any extravagant thing to have seen the expression of his countenance on first recognizing you, & being introduced to your son! I have laughed again & again over your description of that day's experiences & because I did not want to enjoy it all alone I read it to my Mother. Oh! How much I want to be with you now & talk over ever so many thing, wh. I have neither time nor power to express on paper. But I can wait I suppose at any rate I must. I have a distinct picture in my mind of your meeting with old Mr. & Mrs. S. I should love to see them again & of course I want to see John & Mrs. John &c [etc.].

I am writing this Sat. P.M. My holiday, for since writing my last to you I have been transformed into a school ma'am. My school house is a small chamber up at Edward's with an open fire-place; my pupils, Edward's two eldest, & five other children, neighbors of theirs. I try to teach them how to sit still & behave five hours in a day, but it is almost impossible. They are such restless little pieces, every one of them. They read & spell, study Arithmetic & Geography, write (print) sentences &c.[etc.], & then when they are good, I read stories & play games with them. I have some rather unmanageable boys, which made it quite hard for me at first, but I am becoming more accustomed to government now, & feel encouraged. I have been thus employed of seven weeks & look forward to four more of the save sort & then I am through. I have really enjoyed it, but shall not regret having the time come for a vacation. I do not propose to continue it through the winter and expect to enter more particularly into domestic duties after Thanksgiving. Father is very feeble indeed just now though I think a little more comfortable for the past few days. I have felt as though this war would be the means of shortening his life & sometimes I imagine we shall all, men, women & children have to be sacrificed before it is over. My brother Charlie came home with his wife, week before last & they will be with us for a while. They have as yet no settled place of abode, but my brother Edward is having a new house built on a new street in the village, wh. is situated between Mr. Boltword's & Mrs. Merrill's house. He hopes to have it done so that he can go into it next Spring, & I don't know of any body who will be happier to have a house of his own again, than he. Minnie, my new sister, is a very nice girl, & I hope you will become acquainted with her one of these days. She made Lizzie Washburn quite a long visit last summer I believe. She has known George & his wife several year & I imagine thinks a great deal of her. I see they have lost a child recently.

I am glad you have seen Mrs. Dr. Burgess, & wish I might be as fortunate. I trust the other Mr. Burgess will be safely carried through the event you allude to. She does not look as if she could endure a great deal. (By the way Anne, if ever any thing happens to you in wh. you know I should be interested please let me know in some way, will you?)

I am glad you tried to make arrangements by wh. you might have a little more rest for the soles of your feet, for I do not want to think of you as turning into a machine for sweeping & dusting. I want to see your little family again; their pictures are a comfort to me. Mine, by the way, is not taken yet & I conclude yours is not. You shall have mine before long& I trust yours will be forthcoming. Everybody expects to see it opposite Mr. Banfield's, for your old friends here do not forget you. Mrs. Tyler's oldest son, Mason, is in the army, & a young cousin of mine from Durfield has recently gone, so I hope to have one soldier correspondent. Ed's children are here, tearing round & I must go & see to them, so Good bye, my dear. Ever yr. loving friend Jennie H. Love from Mother & the rest.

[Written sideways on the page:] Emily is at home, so you can see we have a large family.

Amherst Aug 4, '63 [1863]

My Dear Anne:

Perhaps you have wondered that I did not write. But The sad change in our household, the loss of my precious Mother & the illness so long continued of my Father, have rendered me almost insensible to every thing else.

Will it be possible for you to leave your husband & all the little olive plants & come to take a look at old Amherst once more?

I should love to see you & would do all in my power to make your visit pleasant, though just at present the care of the household devolves upon me, for Mary has gone to Saratoga Springs for a while, & I might not be able to do for you all wh. I once could, yet, Dear Anne, it would rejoice my very heart to see you here, & I hope you will soon write me when to expect you. Perhaps you would prefer coming in term-time, as vacation finds so many doors closed & so many people away on journeys. It commences in about three weeks, I believe. . Do let me hear from you & know how you all are.

I have much to say but will not attempt it now, for if I can look forward to a visit from you, the anticipation of it will make letter-writing lame enough.

Ever your loving friend

Jennie Hitcherck [?]

Amherst Sept. 16, 1863

My Dear Anne;

I begin to think you have never received the note I sent to you, which crossed with the one you sent me from New London. That was a welcome letter to me, but I was disappointed in it, because I said to myself as I looked at the Post mark, "Now Anne is in New London, & has written to tell me that she is coming here to make me a visit before she goes home." You did, however, in that very letter give me reason to hope anew that one of these days I should see you here, in as much as you had discovered it to be a possible thing for you to leave home. I had just forwarded the note to you asking you if you were not coming here this summer, & therefore did not reply immediately thinking constantly that I should hear from you without fail in a few days. But time flies & there is no news from you. It is no longer this summer, but the gay foliage & falling leavers reminds us that autumn is here. My blessed Mother, who, one year ago at this time, was watching these bright leaves with so much interest, & gathering them every time she took a walk or a ride, is no longer here, & the days & evenings are lonely & sad.

I have never written to you about her last illness, because I was waiting to see you, it is so hard to write such things. Also I am keeping a memorial of her, & a photograph, for you, to give you when you come. If you are never coming, I shall have to send them by mail. But I want to see you. I do not think it is best for me to leave home this year for any visits. Father is so feeble. I want to do what I can for his comfort & as I am now in perfectly good health, there is no necessity for my going away to recreate.

Mary & Emily have both been away, & have come home quite well, & really Father seems a little stranger than he did in the early part of summer, still he is very feeble, & suffers the greater part of the time. My sister Kate keeps house in Mrs. Emerson's house, & will be here some time longer, I presume. Edward has a new house, on a new street below Mr. Boltword's, & with other blessings a new baby, whom I am to name, I want your advice as to what I shall call her. Elizabeth is the name I have thought most of.

Some how I am impressed with the idea that you & I are becoming strangers to each other. This must not be. I have not so many dear friends that I can lose one & not feel it. How is it Anne? Would it be possible for you to come & see me this autumn? Please write soon & not keep me much longer in suspense about it. I am glad you had a pleasant visit in New London. I should love to see Helen once more. She called here the day my Mother was taken sick, & could not see her. If you cannot come, I shall write you a letter of a dozen sheets, or so, & tell you everything. But I hope you will come & in that hope I'm happy.

Ever yr. loving Jennie H.

Amherst Oct. 8, 1863

My Dear Annie;

You can imagine my surprise & grief, as I read in the N. Y. Times of last Friday an account of the sudden death of Major Hunt, the day before. And so the great Destroyer keeps at work, & our dear friends are one after another snatched away from us; sometimes without giving the least warning. My hearts bleeds for Helen, for I know how deeply attached she must have been to her noble husband. (How unfortunate!) My first impulse was to write her a letter, but of course I had no idea where to send it, either [?] Mrs. Vose told me she was probably at the White Mountains at the time of the Majors death. My next thought was naturally of you who will so keenly sympathise in Helen's loss. May you both be sustained by our Heavenly Father in this severe trial. Can Helen have the consolations of religion or not? I do not know how she regards these subjects, whether se has ever given them the least attention. Please tell me if you know, & are willing to do so.

The newspapers I see speak of the Major as a Christian, & I am sure he has always appeared like one when I have seen him, & if so how can we mourn for him, even though his departure seems so very sad to us, & so untimely. For If God has called him to begin a blessed life in Heaven, where every faculty & every power of his mind will be in perfect exercise, what a glorious exchange for him! It sometimes seems as if our best men were taken away all through the progress of this horrible war and that fact looks very dark to me. "Taken away from the evil to come," perhaps & yet I am not quite so hopeless as I was on this subject. How is it with you? I recollect how rabid you were a year ago, & how indignant your husband was allowing himself to become over your remarks. My Dear Anne, you don't know how much I thank you for the beautiful & perfectly natural pictures of yourself wh. you sent me. You will not consider it flattery if I tell you it is the most beautiful one I ever saw, & that everybody who takes up the album keeps that page open longer than any other. The coloring gives it so much life that it is a great improvement. I shall send you a pretty good one of my dear Mother in a few days & shortly I mean to have my own taken again & you shall have one of them. I send at this time also one of the memorials, even though you have already seen it, thinking you will like to keep one. I feel very unwilling to resign the hope I have cherished of seeing you here this autumn. Still I believe you would enjoy your visit better if you should accomplish all the winter sewing first & see the house in complete order so I'll try & wait patiently. It is pleasant here through December, & into Jan. but after that, it is forlorn. The tree spring months are the most cheer less of all the year in our climate, according to my way of thinking. But I enjoy the early part of winter very much indeed. Edward has five children two boys & three girls, & after your suggestion, I am going to give the baby my whole name. If she was my own, I think not hesitate a moment about giving her mother's name, but I think it is on the whole best not to. I have so much to say to you that it is a perfect aggravation to write a letter. It is impossible for me to write all that is in my heart. I shall however try again in a few days to relieve myself of a little more. Is it too much to ask of you to write me soon to tell me something about Helen. Did you attend the Major's funeral & Annie if you ever have a picture of him to spare. I know of somebody who would prize it exceedingly. Here comes Aunt Mary with a troop of children so good bye my dear ever yours Jennie H.

Please give a great deal of love to Mrs. Irlman [?] when you see her.

Top of Page     

Click here for CC Home Page

Helen Hunt Jackson

Special Collections Home

maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 12-02, jr