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Helen Hunt Jackson 5-1-6 transcription

Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 5, Ms 0351, Box 1, Folder 6, letters from Henry Root to HHJ, 1853-1855.
Transcribed by Polly Longsworth, 2002.

Greenfield Mch. 30- 53.

My dear Helen -

I wonder whether you have yet rec'd my last letter, of six pages, in reply to the reproachful little note you sent me - if you have not, I must hurry & tell you, before we get further apart - in time only I mean, Helen - that I sent you such a letter by the first mail following the recp't of yr. note - that in that, I told you of my having sent you another, by this time mouldy, & forgotten document, in reply to yr's, of Jan 16th!!! & that one, too, my dear friend of six pages, & within the usual interval - & moreover I must tell you, that in my last I threatned forwarding another, if I did not hear within a fortnight - & now, my dear Helen, more than three weeks have passed since I have heard a word - & I'm going to carry my threat into execution -

Why, Helen, what does it mean? I shall begin - if the sequel shows you not in recp't of my last, seriously to doubt either yr. existence, that of Washington (,) of my own - wh- wouldnt be so difficult a matter I sometimes think - why - I can hardly believe myself now writing to an entity, so uncertain is the destination of this note - Is it possible that you will ever see this? or shall I have to assure you of its present existence, at some indefinite, future time? - And will that assurance ever get to you? Do you remember Charley Lamb's Essay on letter writing? I am sure my troubles are infinitely greater, than were ever his; for that this note will ever have another "now" than my present one, I can't help regarding as exceedingly doubtful - However I cant spend any more time in chronicling mischances, & am going to risk a word or two directly to you; the same Helen I used to love, & the one I've thought so much of during the long nights I've been watching by my Father; - for you must know that the reason of my letter's dating at Greenfield is his sickness, wh- called me from Bloomfield about a fortnight since - He has been very sick, Helen, & at one time there was little probability I sh'd have a Father long; - but he has been gradually growing better, & this morning he sat up a few minutes - Still he cannot be regarded as out of danger, & sh'd he finally recover, any adequate attention to his business will be utterly impossible - So you see my course is very plain; I shall teach no more in Bloomfield, & shall probably spend in summer in G - What a total change isn't it Helen? It is very hard for me to give up the idea of studying, as I had hoped to do, still it gives me great pleasure, I assure you, to be conscious that I am a comfort, & an assistance to Father - But enough of this; I will write you more of my plans & purposes another time -

In yr. last, my dear Helen, you told me of yr. sickness; how are you now? I do wish I did see you for a little while - Still if I sh'd there'd be such a crowd of thoughts in my brain that I sh'd hardly know to wh- I sh'd first give expression, & remain perhaps as impressively dumb as when in the parlor at Albany? dost remember Helen? Ah! how vividly that restores the fading images! - fading - because everything that's old must fade - I heard from Amherst lately through Ned Hitchcock who came to see me --- strange that I sh'd think of Amherst in this connection -

He tells me John has been there, & that he supposes him to have gone to N. York to see Annie - I wish I might meet him, for I am going on myself to=night, though only on business & for a day or two - if I get time I shall try & see Annie and ____ yr. daguerreotype! for I did see it the last time I called on her -

But [my dear Helen??] the Car bell has this minute rung, & warns me to close at once -

Now I do want very much to hear from you, & hear by means of one of those long letters, as of old - Will you not write me soon, my dear friend, & tell me of yr. self? - Do, & Ill answer it in full -

"Good bye" - & believe me, just as ever -
Sincerely yrs -
Henry -

Monday Evening May 9/53

Here I am, my dear Helen, at my west window - It is a beautiful twilight - I have just been out walking a little way, re-reading yr. note, & thinking of you & old times - & now I've seated myself to scribble a letter -

Helen, have you ever watched incessantly for weeks by a sick bed, burdened with intense anxiety for the one you loved; noticing each seperate (sic) conflict of Life & Disease, ever hoping that each would terminate in restoration, & hoping always uselessly; doing all you can for the sufferer, & crushed by the oppressive consciousness that all you do may be utterly vain? If you have, you'll (k)now what I mean when I tell you of an insatiate craving after rest; how I wld give worlds for the placid calm of a long day of thought - such a day e.g- as Old Holyoke saw when we rambled together among its rough beauties - Ah! What a day that was! What a mountain that is! How the whole scene comes back before me! Each seperate (sic) moment laden with its own vital inspiration - Each leaf & tree top quivering with a seemingly conscious, passionate delight - Ah! it was beautiful; what wld. I give for the renewal of such a scene - But they are bygones! [____] to the clear memories - & back again to realities - for I must [word omitted] you & take care of my poor Father - so good night - It is quite dark now - Did you say you wld like a scrawl? You've got one now - my pencil has been wavering all down the page; & now it has broken just above the [____] - Good bye -

Greenfield Sunday night
May 22/53

Here I am, my dear Helen, in my room alone, & I'm going to snatch a few moments of leisure - the first for a long, long while - just to talk a little with you -

I've thought of you often during these sad days past, my dear friend, & thought often of writing you, but until to=night I have had no time -

For the past three days have been busy days; days full of sadness - Still now the intensity of anxiety, wh- you know is more than any reality - if it be long protracted - has been removed & I can believe that though my father has been taken from us; still it was God who took him & it is well - Were it not for such a belief - firm & constant as it is, I cl'd never have submitted to the affliction. For it was very hard, my dear friend, that he to whom I had looked for so many long years; whom I had just begun to love & really apprecite shd be taken from here - It was a hard & bitter trial - but I can believe it is better for him & I am content - He died one week ago last Friday afternoon; it was a beautiful day; same as this has been - so calm & beaautifully holy - We watched him for hours lying, as he did, after Tuesday morning, in an unconscious state, expectingthat each might be his last; & when at last the moment came, & God freed him from (s____), I felt an expressible gratitude not only that he was free, but that I cld. believe - O! it is an infinite gift to believe.

Had U time I cld. tell you of many things about my Father which, as you know of me, cld. not but interest you; how much I now enjoy the remembrance of his last sickness, I cld. not posibly tell you; it is dearer to me than I ever supposed it cld. be - But i haven't any time more than is sufficient to tell you how glad I was to get yr. note; how i have longed & longed for a chance to answer it; how much I have thought of you & mourned that our correspon-dence shd. have suffered so materially from yr. (____) insignifi-cance; how glad I am that nothing now presents itself to oppose a rigorous renewal; & above all, how I wish I cld. see you; yes; really see you, & talk with you - You spoke, in one of yr. good letters to me, while in Bloomfield, of coming North this summer & perhaps taking Amherst at about Commencement time - Have you thought of it as often of late has (sic) have?- It is strange I shd. have built up so much prospective enjoyment on so slight a foundation as a chance remark; still I have from some cause or other been looking forward much of late to August as a sort of Fairy month in the distance - As for me - this sudden change in all domestic relation has imposed upon me many new, & arduous duties. I shall be obliged to make Greenfield Head Quarters for the ensuing six months at least I suppose; & you may be sure that I shall not suffer Commencement to pass unnoticed - I do so hope my dear friend that you will come North - if you feel like it; I shd love so dearly to see you again -

[HR's traditional sign-off is missing, so there may have been another page to this letter. There is, however, a postscript atop p.1:]

P.S. That letter of "Legures" you sent me was very fine, & I read it with deep interest (-) I'll hve much to talk with you about the subject matter thereof & the subjects suggested thereby some day -H -

Greenfield. Mon. Eve
June 6 - '53

I hardly resisted an impulse the other night, my dear Helen, wh- wld. have me get up after I had been long in bed, & when I ought to have been asleep, & write a while to you - I know not why it shd. have taken such severe hold of me at so unseasonable an hour; but somehow or other I had been thinking over the the (sic) old times - more especially than any other feature of them I think, the ride of a certain Friday night; dost remember? or ___ has it gone? - my dear friend; & so strong was the inclination to jot down my thoughts & then pack them off in paper to you that it required about all the control of wh- I was master, to force myself into what I seriously believe to have been the wiser course, and stay abed - I'm going to night, however, to anticipate any such persuasions & compromise the matter by writing a little bit if it's only a little before I take any such in___able step. Do you know why? I came from Amherst this morning - Our good parson made an exchange, & supplied the College Pulpit yesterday, & I couldn't resist a tempting invitation to accompany him - So Sat. night found me again among the old scenes - And it was immeasurably pleasant - no not exactly immeasurable; for there was a limit to the pleasure it gave me - Shall I tell you all about the trip? After supper, Sat night, I went down to see Sue Gilbert - She seemed glad to see me, & we had a very pleasant talk - If there had been in it anything of interest in it to you, you shd. have it - She told me that I'd changed very much - I was just going to ask you to tell me if it was true - but I know it is, & what's more, I know you, Helen, know it too; so there's no need of any such question - And if I were with you I don't think you'ld ask me if there was any such, but you'ld tell me at once there was, & just wherein - wouldn't you?

I went on Sunday night to see her again; I told her I'd heard since I had been in A- of her engagement - of course you know the other party - & reminded her of a certain promise she once made me that she'd communicate any such valuable intelligence, whenever any such was to be had - she merely reiterated the promise, but did not deny imputation - I really do not know what to think - When I came to bid her good-bye she said she sh'd hope to see me often during Commencement Week - "if Helen wasn't there"!!

But for all this, you, as well as I care infinitely less than for one other little pleasure that was persistently mine own - It was a beautiful Sunday morning - I wonder whether it was as beautiful with you? - & I was wandering alone toward College - I had no such intention when I started, but when I saw the Observa-tory, do you wonder Helen, that I felt myself irresistably drawn toward it? that I found myself seated again on thse very steps for the first time since a certain Sunday night now long past? Do you wonder that I sat there a long while, on that holy morning, gazing at the unchanged glory of the scene in the same sublime outreach that we'd tried to compass with our admiration? And more than all, do you wonder at the hurried crowding of memories wh- the revisiti-ng of such a spot cld. not but occasion-? I thought it all over, Helen, & I tried to look out beyond the moral horizon of the thoughts, & hopes, & purposes, & in fact, the life that cld. not but owe much of their character if not their origen to such an hour - & all as vainly as we used to try to fathom the immensity that lies beyond those dark blue hills - those hills, Helen, that look as majestically serene as ever - Do you wonder at all this? do you wonder that I've told you of it -? There was the same broad meadow - the same dark mountans - the same blue heavens that disenthrall-ed(?) those rebel meteors - it was nearly all the same, & it was infinitely joyous -

But my dear friend I ought not to write longer tonight - Have you begun to answer my last letter, Helen, & shan't I hear from you soon? I shall add to this after the rec'pt of yr. next, but for the present "Good bye"

Tues. Eve. June 28/53-

I have been questioning, my dear Helen, whether I shd. write you a little note first, & then send you this perhaps by & by - or whether I had better add & forward it at once - I really do not know what to do - I can hardly believe fate has kept my last folio from you - still it is many long weeks since it was sent, & I've been watching all the while in vain for an answer - & to tell you the plain truth I can't wait any longer, so you see I'm writing -

It's drawing near Commencement too, & I have been wishing each mail wld. tell me that yr. last winter's "idea" was going to be realized - & I shd. meet you again in Amherst, next August; How I do wish I cld. Why Helen, I think we shd. have a great deal to talk about shouldn't we?

What do you think I caught myself blushing at just now? do you want I shd. tell you? It was at the idea of my calling you "Helen," when I'd heard & seen so little of you, for so long a while - Oh I'm sorry it is so; & am I not going to hear from you before a great while? - Why at this rate, my dear friend, you might die, & I shd. feel none the sadder in my ignorance -

I saw something to=day that made me think of Amherst - it was that little incarnate shadow, "George" (strange I shd. have called him some thing, isnt it?) one whose ministrations we waited so faithfully, two summers since, in Mrs. Emerson's dining room; the first time I saw Miss Helen M. Fiske!! What a strange unearthly power is that memory that can lead us back so readily to those old scenes - even to the alcove, & the apple=tree back of the house - Oh my dear good friend I wld. love to see you again in Amherst -
But you see, Helen (!!) I am getting a pretty full letter; & I must stop at once - Now dont let it be long Helen, but do answer me as soon as you can; if it be merely to let me know whether you get this -
As ever, Helen, yrs. sincerely

Henry -

Greenfield Tues Night
Aug 3/53.

There goes the clock, striking I "shant tell what" - my dear Helen - & I suppose I ought not to write a single word after such a day's work as I have been doing, & at this late hour. But still, my dear good friend, I cant see any time in the future that I can have to talk with you, & I shall yield to impulse to say - but a tithe of what I want to say - before I go to bed - It was a precious letter that of yrs. that came to me to=night Helen - I suppose I have told you over & over again, perhaps a hundred times, that yr. letters are always precious - But this was peculiarly so - x x x x I have been waiting with my pen just on the paper to think of whether I shd. tell you justwhy it was "peculiarly precious" - But Helen, I can't write it out - Its of no use - Now don't think it's anything of much import; only its something wh- I wld. tell you if I cld. look right into yr. good face all the while I was talking - but wh- it won't do to write in black & white - I think if I shd. see you I shd tell you a great many things, that I can never write to you - I shall satisfy an intense longing I have to talk just as I think & feel - I havent done it once for a whole year - I mean not a whole year - but a year lacking only a week from next Sunday night - It's very hard, Helen, don't you know it? to be conscious of such eager desires to unburden all the while, & still all the while know that to yield to such emotions wld be to incur a cold repulse, & ultimate dissatisfaction, & self-reproach - I look upon the blessedness of unrestrained confidence in one who knows you, & who doesn't wonder at any chance revelation of a personality as the highest attainable joy - It so dissolves differences; annihilates self; & makes unity where before there was duality - Helen dont you find that man & wife are truly "one"? God bless you & yr. husband Helen, & give you both an eternity of mutual delight - I am glad you are so happy; that you love, & are beloved so fully & unfailingly - I know what an infinite capacity is yrs - God satisfy it with His own, & yr. husband's love -

You are the dearest friend I ever had - God knows it Helen - & it is a precious pleasure to wish you well - you won't wonder at all this, will you Helen? It's only us, I feel, & we have to be forgiving of "feelings" in a world, where circumstance, or Fate, or what is it that guides them so strangely as they sometimes are guided in this [word omitted?] of ours? - xxx I have been reading over this last page & it sounds rather strangely - I might tear this up & not send it - I might [palm?] it all off, or rather perhaps "boil it down" to something solid, & [____?] compact form offer you "that the choicest blessings of Heaven may attend you whereever you go"
is the sincere wish of

yrs. Respectfully" &ct

or some such common place, unmeaning sentiment. But I shall do neither; I shall send it just as I have written it to a very dear friend - You wld. know of my plans? - I shd. like to talk more at length of them than I can now - You will let me get one more letter before I leave Greenfield - I shall spend the winter probably in Brooklyn; studying German & French; & perhaps reading Law a little; though don't think that this will necessarily shut me out of a pulpit - I cld talk a great while about professions - but I have no time - & must close just here - Please write me as soon as you can conveniently - not an hour before - I am so sorry you are sick; & you are worse than I know of? - Tell me plainly how long you must be so, if you can possibly find out - & if you can give me a note by Annie - By the way, give her my "love", reserving for yrself the consideration that I use the term in the signification it presents to her, not in the sense it [carries?] to yr. mind - Tell her too I hope she will not fail to bring her sisters daguerreotype with her; she need not of course travel without it - I had so hoped to see you in Amherst - But it seems I can't - "Good bye" - God bless you with an infinitely bigger blessing than I can describe in this little corner - as ever - Henry -

Brooklyn Sunday night
Sept 4 - '53 - 10 1/2 p.m.

I shd. have infinitely preferred spending this evening with you in a long talk, my dear Helen, to the method I did adopt for its consumption - I have been listening to the reckless artillery of that abominably self conceited, rigidly intellectual soldier - the redoubtable Reverend Henry Ward Beecher - I wanted - oh how I did want - instead to sit, & talk a long long while with you, my dear friend - And if earnestness, & persistency of my endeavours, had met with any adequate recompense, my wishes wld have been fulfilled - Do you want I sh'd begin, & give you a catalogue of my perpetually unavailing efforts to "hunt you up"? Do you want I shd. tell you how from the fulfillment of an engagement wh- hardly restrained from actually giving chase to that lumbering Omnibus wh- so provokingly carried you off the wrong way, clean up to within a few hours, I have all unsuccessfully tried every resource that a [restless?] imagination cld suggest to find yr. locality & appear "in persona"? Why it wld take all this long just to recount my labors - some one told me that the Ex Governors resided in New York - So in the [su_therseasin?] of my purpose, & without stopping to consult a Directory after naming over the arrivals at the Astor, & a long list of indifferent names in the morning papers, I wrote you a note, wh- I was going to send to the address of yr. husband, under the care of his brothers, & was only stopped by finding no "Washington Hunt" in the guide book - No, it wld take altogether too much time to try to tell you how I have worked to see you - The [injustice?] of it all you know already - viz - I have wofully failed & must, for aught I see, content my self with pen & ink & paper - And if it w'ldn't be broaching an "idea", & lead to "theorizing" wh- somehow or other I am reminded the tenor of yr last note makes (incensoriant?) I shd yield to my first impulse, & "speculate" a little while upon this wondrously coincident fatality wh- brought our four, out of the million eyes that were wandering for all objects on that morning to the same focus, at the same instant. But instead of that, I will do what I shd probably first have done if I cld have seen you - viz tell you how I have wanted to write a reply to yr "note by Annie" for the past three weeks, & have not been able - I have been hard at work till within a few days; so hard, tht I have had no time to think at all, & a thoughtless note it wld. have been as impossible for me to write you, as it wld for you to read - But now I have a leisure hour, & before I know it three pages are filled, & that too without one word about yr. last - You wanted to know if you spoke too freely with me, not at all, my dear friend, for you spoke as you felt - I do believe myself, Helen, that I have a very great deal to fear from a constant tendency to idealize, & recall, instead of act - But still never was this tendency so weak as it now is & has been for the past few months - Never did the casual claims of actual life exert half the practical power over me that they now do & have done during the summer - You were very right in the supposi-tion that my letters to you might be so affected by circumstances that they cld. not be taken as an index of my everyday life - They are by no means such - nor ought they to be so considered. That wld. be a very worthless life indeed wh- shd be made up, for the most part of wonderings, & wishings and vain rememberings - But, whenever I sit down to write to you I am resistlessly, & unresist-ingly, carried back to other days, & out among theories - And as it seems to me, very naturally too - For during the year that has intervened since I have really seen you I have made no acquaintance with any lady, for which I care a farthing - I regard you now, as I regarded you then far superior - Helen forgive me for saying it - to any lady it has ever been my privilege to meet - And when you add to this the fact that you have been to me the best, most intimate friend I have ever had me, by whom I had no need to fear being misunderstood, & with whom it was a pleasure to talk of theories & ideas because they were no strangers to you, is it at all to be wondered at that when I write to you, I shd. unwittingly recall the old scenes & resume the old habit - No - [_____] [_____] now spent in writing to you I regard as a very pleasant episode, & you must not think that because my letters to you have to do with the past, rather than the future, therefore the "in-coming life" reaches not over to practically draw me to itself - But enough of this - How exceedingly grilling is the remembrance of just yr. face only in that Omnibus - I can conceive of nothing more vexatious than just such a luckless fatality - However - its all gone by now - & I can hope for something better - Have I told you my plans for the ensuing year? No - I know I have not for theyre all hardly formed yet - You shall have them however crude though they be - I have not yet finished the settlement of my Father's Estate - wh- will consume detatched(?) portions of the next five or six months - However I do not mean to be wholly cheated out of study - & as my monther now lives in Brooklyn with Jane I shall stay here for the present, studying the modern languages & attending as I am called to do my duties as Exec- - If you come to N.Y. again soon, or whenevr you can do not fail to let me know of it - that I may not be outwitted agaim - Now, my dear Helen, will you write me soon? I shall be waiting a reply -

So Good night, & "many pleasant things to ye".
As Ever
Henry -

P/S. Please address - Care of "Lawson, Goodnow & Co" - 7. Gold St. N.Y.

Brooklyn Oct. 29/53

I almost wish, my dear Helen, that I had acted on that strange impulse that woke me from a long, sad, little dream some time during last night, & actually lighted up, & written you an honest letter. I shd like this morning to read the production of such a mental effort; & then I shd. like to send it to you, & analyze it, as we would any phenomenon; I have a dim idea it would have been unique, to say the least - I had been wondering, you see, every day for the last two, or three weeks, why my dear good friend didnt write; one day resolving that I would wait no longer; & then thinking that the next mail must ertainly bring a reply to my last; until last night, (I had thought more about it yesterday doubtless, it being an idle day & I had been up very late the night before) I fell a-sleep in a very distempered mental state, & before long, I suppose, began to dream about you - I dreamed on - & on - & on - all night long about you - & may God preserve me from any such dreams hereafter - Oh! it was a sad sad dream - I thought I saw you as plainly as I ever did in my life, but yr. face had changed - You looked no longer like yourself; you wore a mild thoughtful expression upon features as unlike yr. own as possible - I think you said not one word to me, but changed yr. seat, as if you wished no one to see you in company with me - But I dont want to talk about it at all; it is enough that it was a dream & has ended - What are dreams, & have they any spiritual significance? - There are certainly sometimes strange coincidences developed, by the comparison of dreams, & contemporaneous reality - I have often wondered whether we short sighted mortals do not often summarily label as "coincidences" very many mysterious outworkings of universal law, whose legitimate meaning we shall begin to compre-hend only when we see no more "as through a glass - darkly" - But why, my very dear friend, havent you written? Is it possible you did not receive my last letter? or did I write too freely? If you have not rec'd it, it is hight time you shd. know that I wrote one; & if you have, you'll pardon me for writing you this, won't you? - The fact is, I can't bear the idea that I am losing sight of you - I want to hear from you very much; know how you are; & what you are thinking about - Only think of it Helen, so long a time withou hearing a word from the best friend one ever had - And then too in a great city like this, I think the sense of loneliness is made the more acute by its seeming impossibility - To see thousands & thousands of faces each day that you have never seen before - To walk for an hour in the midst of an hurrying crowd, without uttering a loud word - to know that all of them have a hidden purpose, & a selfish one too generally - & to go on - & on & on - & find no cessation of the busy turmoil - though there be from such associations something of nervous inspiration to be gathered, there is also something of indescribable loneliness - moreover I have made almost no new acquaintances; for I am very hard at work - teaching one house each day, & studying the rest of the time - (French principally, & shall probably add German soon - So you see a letter from you wld be a blessing indeed - But I must tell you [of] one lady I have met, Helen. She spoke in such an enthusiastic style about yr. "splendid husband" - It is Mrs. Philbrook, the old matron at Spingler(?) - I saw her one evening at West Chester where she has opened a boarding school - From the little I saw, I formed a very fine opinion of her, though of course I had but little opportunity to judge - Aside from this passing introduction & an acquaintance with a delightful Mrs. Mason, who is unfortunately just moving out of town, I am the same as ever - depending just as much upon my old friends, & just as unwilling to part from them as ever - In view of this are you not sorry that I have not heard from you? - Where is Annie now? I had a catalogue from John a few days since - it seems he has really shouldered his tutorial honors after the old style, & his name ends the list of Amherst Dignitaries - So we all grow older don't we? I shd like well to see you to-day & talk a good long hour - shall you not be north once during the winter? And if not when am I ever going to get sight of you again - Annie didnt bring yr. daguerreotype to Amherst, so I had to imagine you as in the stage - it was a miserable substitute I assure you _ _ _ _ But you see my sheet is full - And my dear Helen, dont let it be many days before you write me - I want another of yr good long letters -. If you recd my last forgive me for writing this, & suppose that that one never was -

Good bye, my dear friend - God keep & bless you & yrs. always -
As Ever & of old
Henry -

Brooklyn Nov 8/53 -

I did not know, my dear Helen, when I finished my last letter with a benediction upon "you & yrs" how unconsciously comprehensive the little "yrs" was - Had I been blessed with the announcement wh- has just greeted me, when I wrote you - I shd not have wondered at all at yr. protracted delay - For how supremely absurd it wld be, in the full face of maternal tradition frowning an indignant "no" upon such presumption, to hazard the supposition, that anything under God's blessed canopy except its father, would could, or ought to expect to share the comprehensive regard wh- that little boy monopolizes - I wonder whether the little fellow had the slightest intimation that a friend of his mother's was praying for him, while poor innocent I sat quietly at my table & fired my harmless salute - Please communicate to his chaotic understanding the amusing fact, & see if he appreciates its ludicrousness; if he shd chance to nod his head, take it as convincing proof that he is a born genius -

But a truce to this merriment - I cld. write in quite another strain I assure you - For I know that when a woman like you becomes a mother, it is a solemn fact in her personal history - The oft recrurring consciousness that God has given her a young immortal; the useless fathoming of its unknown destiny; the the (sic) unselfish yearning for its highest good; the hoping for the best; the fearing of the worst; & the intense appreciation of immense personal responsibility; all these, & infinitely more become necessities of her condition - All this you have thought & felt oftener than you ought to feel it now my dear friend - So dont think too much at present - Love yr. baby boy - & give him life; for it is a beautiful thing to be a mother - May God indeed bless you & yours ever -
As ever
Henry -

Brooklyn. Sun Eve
Jany 7/54

How odd it looks, doesnt it, my dear Helen, that prophetic 1854? How it speaks to us of a buried unalterable Past; of a hurrying, plastic Present; & of an oncoming unknown - How eloquent in its mute appeal for Repentance & Resolution? How suggestive of gray hairs, and tottering steps, & a quiet grave - I was just upon the point of strangling an impulsive wish that you might have many happy New Years in yr. personal future, bcause of a half-formed flashing consciousness that I wasn't wishing you well, to wish you many years in a world like this - But I won't do it - I do wish for you very many happy New Years - Helen, - for you have very much to live for on earth; especially now that this new year comes to you freighted with its living token of yr personal existence. And we all have very much to live for too; so long as there is good to be achieved - & bad to be repelled - & self - to be conquered & cultivated; & the desire for Death is base, & timid, & ungenerous; still the thought will come sometimes; that labor as we will, aspire as we may the mysterious problem of life waits its complete solution in Heaven; when labor will no longer be weariness; spiritual progress no longer clogged & fettered; spiritual attainment no longer a vague possibility - but a vivid actuality - & life itself the perpetually maturing youth of light, & love & knowledge - And such thoughts as these flashing up amid the darkness of Disaffection, Dissatisfaction, & regret, themselves naught but foreshadowed Remorse - do sometimes momentarily blind yr. consciousness, & attract with an unintended, unearthly, & unfair fascination -

But pardon me Helen - I hadn't the slightest idea of talking in this way when I sat down to write - But somehow or other when I came to make the letters '54 a whole host of strange suggestions came eddying around, fairly whirled me off on this sentimental tangent - And after all, I dont know that I'm sorry at all; for it proves to me, as much as to you, that I write you now just as I used to, without hardly a thought of what sort of a letter I am going to send you, until I make wake up to the consciousness that one has actually been written & sent - What sense of satisfaction steals over me when he has unburdened himself all unconsciouslly to a friend? What a glorious freedom, & capacity for new receptions follows the unconditional offering of a hearts treasure? Was not Bacon's idea of a "civil shrift" a good one? - But Helen, how do you do? & how is yr. little "Murray"? I'm not generally fond of babies I know, but such a concentration of excellencies as doubtless yr little one impersonates will probably prove resistless even before my obdurate insensibility - at least I hope so for I shd. hate to risk the expression of disregard - And indeed I hope we shall have a chance to see - for if you spend any of the summer in Amherst I shall try to come & see you; as probably two of my summer months must probably be spent in the country -

And so Miss Emily Fowler is married! Are you surprized? or had you yr. suspicions some time since - I quite glory in the denoument as it is the only prediction of mine that was ever fulfilled to the letter - What think you of it? is it angelic? or is it unpardonably base? or is it, to strip it of all cantish drapery, simply what any shrewd, smart yankee girl wld. have done? "There are other things in heaven & earth Horatio &ct."

Where is Annie now? You have said nothing about her lately - mainly I suppose because you have said nothing about anything - But I really shd. like to know of her - And yr. friend Jennie Abbott too where is she? I have been hoping somehow or other I shd. get a chance to see her sometime - Stated as indefinitely as that dont you wish me success in my engagement. By the way, I think I might have taken a peep at you during the Christmas Holidays if my time had not been wholly occupied by a matter of mine own - I shd. have liked much to see you in yr. winter quarters - Oh Helen, you wondered that I didnt go to the Crystal Palace to hunt for you on that memorable Sat. morning last Fall - But I did go there directly & stayed a long, long while & looked every one in the face - but as it seems ineffectively - Isnt it tantalizing [-] But never mind - a [______] to by gones - Now my dear friend, as soon as you feel like it, & can fast(?) write me, will you - Was ever anything said about mailing any of our letters?

But good bye, my dear Helen - God bless & love you & yrs ever -
As of old
Henry -

Brooklyn Mch 5/54

Is it kind o' wicked, my dear Helen, to write you on Sunday? So wicked that I must preface a communication with a sort of peace offering in the shape of an argumentative apology that wld. half admit I was in the wrong, & yet incontestably prove I was in the right? - If you were in town I am quite sure I shd neglect everything & walk from my room to Union Square to see you - & shd. be perfectly justified in so doing; &, since it won't take my thought half as long to travel to Washington, as it wld. my feet to Un. Sq. am I not more than twice as right, (if it be possible to be more than justified) in writing you? - We'll suppose the point proved, if it please you (-) I have been hunting for the date of yr. last letter x x x x - Imagine a parenthesis of three or four days of sin, & - so forth (thoughwith probably a good deal more of "sin", than of "so forth", & know that Thursday night finds me finishing my letter - Fate will have it's (sic) own way, & I was cheated out of my pleasant purposes of last Sunday night after all, with a sentence broken, & ended before it was hardly begun - What shd. a broken sentence teach us if it be not that all of earth, even our little lives themselves, is but a fraction, from wh- streams, each way, measureless infinity; & that the intact unit of existence measures only that sphere where the infringements of time are scorned or ignored - But dont think I'm going to moralize - not a bit of it -

I was saying above I had been hunting the date of yr last letter - & so I had - almost as long as I hunted once for a little needle Book that you gave me; & quite as pointlessly. By the way did I ever tell you that I lost it (perhaps you've forgotten that you gave me one) & that I searched, & searched & wrote letters of inquiry, & all in vain & have never yet found it? Well so I did & was more vexed at it's (sic) loss, than I now am to know whether it's long enough since I wrote you last, to warrant another letter - It seems a long while any way & I shall risk it - You spoke of Emily Fowler & her marriage - I know but little of it - in fact only this; that the Mr. Ford who at last rejoices in the posses-sion of the "Golden Fleece" - (by the way did you ever know whether that was a Sheep's Skin or not) is a man who has wrought his own way in the world, as report says, from barefooted poverty to quite a fortune - He seems to me, from what I have seen of him, & from what Miss Emily once told me of him, to be a warm-hearted, noble minded, energetic, illiterate man - I inferred, from what I saw & heard, several years since, that he had been a suitor of Miss Fowler's, perhaps before Mr. March enjoyed the acquaintance of the young lady - that he was refused - that with a perserverance - (I was going to say most mostly a bitter cause - but mind I didn't say it) - commendable in any lover he still cherished the doomed passion, in the fond hope that love wasn't born to die, & he shd. some day see it reciprocated; that afterwards, when he was supplanted by another, with a magnaminity equalled only by his independance, he formed a joint stock company with his successful rival for the ultimate benefit of the mutually beloved - that still again afterwards when some cause - & here is a problem left to the sagacity of you & me, & any one else whose business it cannot possibly be - but certainly when some cause abruptly terminated the spiritual episode in Miss E's love-life, with a "sang froid" more complimentary to his commerical tact, than to the poetry of his passion he summarily appears "at the death" & "collars" the Lion's share of the spoils - May he be happy, as undoubtedly he will be in possession - Perhaps Mr. March wld. say "requiescat in pace" - at least, let us say so, for certain it is that my version of the matter has taken up as much too much space in this letter, as did the discussion of Miss E's love affairs in the public mind -

Speaking of Miss Fowler carries me back to my Senior Winter in College, & reminds me that I have been to Albany since I last wrote you - I spent a day there very pleasantly with Mr. Harring-ton, & a friend of mine whom you have never seen, & two young ladies from Windsor Vt - We had a delightful time going down from Troy in the morning, & passing much of the day with a Mr. Palmer - not the "Rev. Ray", but an artist of that name; an honest, simple hearted, genius - I don't think I ever met one before, & it was quite a luxury, I assure you - He talked with my friend & myself alone, & quite freely - told us of himself - revealed a glimpse at his personality - Did you ever meet him? I say (sic - he means saw) many things wh- reminded me of the letters I used to receive therefrom - especially State St with its portable, travelling markets, of wh- you once gave me so amusing a description - My time was entirely occupied, or I shd. not have denied myself the pleasure of calling on yr. old host - I wanted to do so, but was unable - Then I cld. have found more about you perhaps than I shall expect to from that Mrs Anderson of whom you spoke; for I had never heard of her before, & haven't found out yet who she may be, for Sam doesnt know her - By the way, before I forget it again, as I evidently did the last time, & lest you shd. translate my silence wrongly, let me say, that my sister knows but little of our correspondence in any way, & of course cannot, as she does not, disapprove of it at all - be sure of that -

And now, Helen, before I close, I come to one quite serious feature of yr. letter - "Did you love Sue Gilbert?" - I had thought of playing around this question, & leaving it unanswered, implying that the invoked supposition might be well founded - But it's too serious (a) matter, & I can't do it - Did you believe it? tell me honestly; for yr. answer will be full of meaning - Ah - Helen - "and I must also upbraid you a little, my friend, for want of confidence in me in the whole matter" - No - No - it was far from my thought, & infinitely further from my expression - But enough - You must forgive me for inclosing an additional half sheet this time - charge it to Mrs. Gordon Ford [-]

Now, my friend, write me as soon as convenience, & inclination coincide, & believe me, I shall be glad to receive it -
Good bye & believe me
Truly yrs

Brooklyn. Mch 27/54

My dear Helen -
It seems rather funny to call you so after all; I never understood how all the world cld. begin letters to each other with that precious word wh- implies so much, when in sober fact there is so little, of endearment among, or rather between, the different types of incarnate selfishness - It was always a word - that "dear" - very sacred to me, & one wh- very seldom finds a place in my letters; never, unless accompanied, when I write it, either by a conscious gloss of honest gratitude, & pride - (for we are "proud" of some friends), or by - the keenly - felt criticisms & reproof of a conscience wh- tells me that I am both perverting the Saxon, & dishonoring myself; and after writing it at the beginning of this letter, the thought came to me that - not that it wasn't literally appropriate - but that - it was rather "funny" after all to call you so - By the way, what a fortunate word "funny" is - What a parenthesis of possibilities; how it embraces huge arms full of hieroglyphics, translatable only to the initiated - Speaking of words too, I remember once while sitting under the old apple tree in Mrs. Emerson's garden, the morning that Martha Gilbert came to get a sample of that blue - was it Cashmere, or Mouslin - De-Laine? - you asked me the difference between "pride", "& vanity" - We shd. be proud of some friends, & vain of others, shd. we not? & wouldn't you much rather be proud of yrself & have yr. friends proud of you, than be what yr. own, & the vaniety of yr. friends wld. imply? - But enough.

The first of yr. two last letters reached me in due season, & I began a reply to it on Saturday, but was interrupted, & therefore burnt it - but now that to=day has bro't me yr second, my dear friend, I shall reply to both at once & without delay - With regard to the first, or its principal point, I shall make the same reply as I shd. have made if the second had not reached me - viz - that I am perfectly willing you shd. burn my letters, as also to burn yrs. if you wish it - I have always regarded our correspondence as a favor on yr. part, wh- you had a perfect right to & shd. discontinue, & annul at any time you might wish, or think advisable - And although yr. last letter expresses a contrary purpose, still Helen - & I speak just as frankly as ever - if you fear in the least any of the ten thousand & one chances wh- sport sometimes so witlessly with our destinies - & perhaps you really have reason to - I would, by all means, destroy everything you have ever received from me - Shd. you not wish to do so yrself, but still think it better that yr. letters to me shd be burned, I am perfectly willing to burn them; & again, shd you think it better that we write no more forever - why - in that case we write no more forever - All this is of course, & shd. be inferred rather than expressed - Now, my dear Helen, tell me frankly; I "wait" for yr. will -

And so you are coming to N.Y? - I am right glad of it, for I do want to see you very much, & as soon after you get here, as it shall be possible, I shall come to see you - From Wednesday until I can come I shall watch Riding & Houston St pretty carefully - for you know I go to Union Place to hear my class each morning from 9 till 11 - I hope it will not be many days after you get here before I can see you, though I am very busy - I am afraid my sister can't though - for she is very ill, & has been for 5 or 6 mos - She'll have to get better fast in order to do it, for she hasn't yet returned all her wedding calls! She will feel very badly though if she shdn't see you - & I hope she will be able to go -

But you see I have filled the sheet & must close [-] It won't be long I hope before I shall see you "face to face" [-] & I hope too I shall see Jenny Abbott - for I have wanted to (for) a long while - Now good bye my dear friend -

God bless & keep you & yrs always in His arms, , (&) give you good things here, & better things hereafter -
As ever

Brooklyn. Monday
June 24/54

Yes, my dear Helen, I did "ken wha", & I'd been trying for a long long while to hear why; & I was coming home the day I rec'd yr. last good note, determined that at any rate I shd. write & find out if indeed you were sick - I am very sorry & glad that my fears & hopes were both realized - you'll understand the seeming paradox - You know I told you once that I disliked exceedingly the protested sympathy with physical illness, of wh- some people are so grossly prodigal; but much as I dislike it, my dear Helen, I do wish you knew how sad these oft repeated, quiet confessions of yrs. do really make me; you would not blame me then I'm sure for telling you that "I'm really sorry" to hear you have been sick - Do take good care of yrself - I was going to say "better" but of course my ignorance of yr. habit prevents me from saying what an acquaintance with yr. temperament suggested -

So you are back again in Boston? Oh, my dear Helen, I am very fearful I shant see you again for I dont know how long a while - I was meaning after all was closed up here to come up & see you at Tarrytown - but now it's very cloudy - I shall get through here just abt the time, perhaps a little before (,) you come back; & then - must go to Grenfield, for, in spite of its making you laugh, Helen, I have some business to do! really practical! closing an estate - & however ludicrous the idea of it may be of itself, when I think of its hurrying me off, & not letting me wait for yr. return; it is anything but ludicrous - For I do want to see you again; especially after that unsatisfactory evening - What did make you so sad? But I've faith enough to let it all be in yr. hands; if it's right that I shd. know you'll tell me at the best time; if, it isnt right - why I don't want to - Speaking on the other page of the ludicrousness with wh- the idea of my settling an Est. presented itself to you, reminded me that I saw Charly Fowler last evening in [___] & in the course of conversation, he lamented with a most supremely patronizing pity the misfortune of a young friend of his several years the [___y] side of thirty, who had once a proud ambition to be an "intelligent man", but who had had been sufficiently fortunate to detect the absurdity of the idea, & was fast ridding himself of his false boyish sentiment among the infinitely varied attractions of practical life in New York! - I know Helen, as well as you do, that here lies a very great fault of mine. Part of the blame must be laid on nature; part on circumstance - At any rate it is true, & I am willing to confess it, that I do not love the practical as well as I do the ideal; I do often, oh so very often love to think of action, & resistance, & how things ought to be done, much better than to act, resist, & do them - It is the easily besetting sin of my life - I know it infinitely better than any one else, & I do try very hard to conquer it - for it - this unpractical inclination - thus con-templative use of culture - gives me often very unjust views of men & things, no doubt, & makes me disagree where the disagreement effects nothing & proves nothing save a difference in taste - But Helen(,) much as I dislike it & much as I labor against it, I still believe there is something worse - & to see a young man, over whose head not yet twenty-five years have passed, so unforgetful of his rich destiny, so blind to the sublime meaning of a soul - life, so thoughtless of his limited capacities, & so destitute of his early ambition to be all that God has given him the power of being, that he can coolly expend his young energies in the selfish "haste to be rich", trying to make himself believe that the best part of his nature, his purest inspirations are only a marked sentimentality; & that the insidious gravita of a hellish thirst for the "gold that glitters" is only a mature recognition of the superiority of the practical to the ideal; this, to me, is the saddest of all sights - & may the Lord preserve me from ever offering such a spectacle myself - - -If I were in the habit of asking yr. pardon for anything I say in my letters, I certainly shd. for this; under the dim consciousness that the thought might not be as interesting to you as to myself; but I am not; & you'll understand all -

No, Helen, I didnt suspect at all the authorship of "Consecr-ation" - You'll let me see it again won't you? perhaps in yr. next letter" - And you'll write me very soon wont you? - for I want to know if I am not to see you again - much as I wld. love to go to Boston & see you, & Annie, at yr. friend Jennie's, still it is an utter impossibility, & if you dont come back before long I shant see you - so you see I am indulging a sort of selfish wish that they wont make themselves very agreeable & so drive you back again - It has just occurred to me that it wld. be rather singular if we shd. meet again in Springfield, & review that flash of recogni-tion, of wh- we have spoken so often, & whose suddenness, (did I ever tell you of it before?) made me entirely forget to give you a daguerreotype of my humble self wh- was quietly waiting for you in my coat pocket - The forgetfulness was complimentary wasnt it? ----

But I must stop here - My third sheet is full - I was all "out" of letter paper &tc [-] had to "take note" you see [-] Now my dear friend write me very soon, won't you - just as of old, & believe me just as of old [-]
Sincerely yrs.

Greenfield Ma. July 19. '54.

Yr. good note, my dear Helen, has this moment reached me, & very fortunately a little leisure while before dinner will let me sit right down to answer it - I had been wondering whether or no the mail wld. bring me a message from you, for it has seemed a long, long while since I have heard of you - Not that it really is, but it has seemed so, & were it not that yr. dear, good loved one had been sick, I couldn't but believe it long = How sorry I am, Helen, to hear of it - though not quite so sorry to hear of it, as I am that it was so - Tell her, Helen, will you - that is - if it wouldnt offend her - how very sorry I am & how I shd. love to help her, & how I wld do anything I cld for her - Helen you musn't say so much to me of Jennie Abbott - it wont do at all - for - what if I shd love her with all my heart, & for long years, and - she couldnt love me - Only think of it, Helen - Ah! its a fearful fate - that - a fathe wh- I can never understand, & wh- were it not for it's (sic) subliming, transforming power, wld be an intolerable curse; enough to shakes one's falth in Almighty Benevolence -

And then again, my dear friend, I have grown to believe that we men demand too much from the other sex; often infinitely more than we are worthy of - & often too we get it; and then long lives of sorrow; quiet, neglected, unappreciated worth - patient toiling, & silent prayers & a looking upward of the soul fills out the story - Oh! how many, many wives there are who know nothing in this world but the tearful submission of a wounded spirit; how many are there pure, & holy, fitter for heaven thatn earth, neglected by their proud, self=willed self=confident husband, who struggle on year after year in the conscientious discharge of maternal duties, with the false, fond, trembling hope that the love of wh- there (sic) children is their pledge may yet return, & are forced at last to cast themselves on the surer promises, & the better love of God. Oh! when I think of it, (& the thought comes very often the more I see of men) & forecast the possibilities I am almost afraid of myself, & it makes me very, very humble - & I think how I wish God wld. lay hold of me with strong disease, & cut me down, & take me away rather than let me realize the possibility & treat another so - Helen, what a great great luxury it is to write to you - Oh if you only knew how dearer than all things else is my life is this one friendship, it wld make yu glad in "the consciousness of doing good{"} - I do try to be very thankful for it, & when we are both yonder behind the clouds, when we can see more clearly, & shan't need to talk, & tell our thinking, then you'll see, not before - how great a blesing God has made you to me - Does it seem strange for me to writ this? Well I know you'll understand it, & believe it all -

But I haven't told you where I am, & what I'm doing - I have been here now a week today - am boarding at the Mansion House, & hard at work all the while - I am hoping to finish the settlement of Fathers Estate in the course of four or five weeks, & of course until then shall stay in G___ - The people here seem glad to see me, wh- is all very pleasant [-] But they seem to regard me as a "pretty smart fellow" & that's about all - You know I never had any friends at home, & so I am alone when I'm not in business - It wld. be very pleasant if I had some one here who knew me; but I have lived long enough in this world to learn that the object of life is not so much to be appreciated, as to be - & I'm glad it is so - I had a "call" as preachers say, to go to Amherst as Tutor next year - wh- thought wld. be very pleasant in many respects to accept it, it did not seem wise to follow. You wld. have been pleased to see the Pres't's gloriously formal letter - he hoped that "when I shd have been able to decide the question" &ct I shd give a speedy reply & all that - He evidently thought he was confirming an unperishable honor -

That Daguerreotype Helen, I have not with me - or I wld certainly send it - It is at Brooklyn, unless Mother has captured it, to take with her travelling - I am of course perfectly willing you sh'd have it if you want it - but its most dinner time & my sheet is full - You did not send me "Consecration" - You'll write me very soon & send it wont you?

Now Good bye my dear good friend - God bless you always with his best love -
As ever
Henry -

P.S. I cant help saying again how sorry I am Jennie A. is sick & how I hope she will be well soon - you love to take care of her dont you?

Cambridge -
Wed. night -Nov 13/54 -

I have only time to write a wee bit of a note, to-night my dear Helen, & for fear I shd make a doleful communication out of it, if I strove to condense the complete expression of my disap-pointment into a few words, I shall say almost nothing about it ; only, that I watched those modest little snow-flakes, when they first began to present themselves, & all along for the two, or three hours of their merciless intrusion till they seemed to me anything but modest, I assure you; that at last I very ungracefully surrendered all hope - & surrendered all my reserve philosophy - Do you remember a little french proverb wh runs after this vise "philosophy triumphs over ills that are past, & are to come - but ills that are present, triumph over her"? It received additional proof for its truth this P.M. in my own consciousness - Wht fatality is it wh- seems to say we shall not recall those pleasant rides in old Amherst? Let us conquer it; & do you tell me in immediate reply (?) to this, when to come for you, & it shall be done - I shall not go to N.Y. before the middle or last of next week if at all at present, so nothing threatens my fulfilment of any engagement for me wh- yr. convenience may suggest - I shall hope for a note from you to=morrow; but must send this by way of revenge -

Charlie Palmer, it seems, has taken the Yale Lit prize - I shall read the article as soon as I can, & find out how far he has gone since our amusing encounter -

Good night, my dear friend; you are sound asleep I hope - Good angels (if they can?) guard you -
How chilling the parenthesis -
As ever -
Henry -

West Chester -
Monday morning -
Nov. 27/54.

You will see by this, my dear Helen, that I have been spending Sunday, with the Harringtons, & am persuaded to "stay over" one day; & though I don't know exactly where you are, & am therefore a little uncertain whether or no you'll ever get this, I cant resist the temptation to a little chat with you -

I wish I cld. make you know just how precious to me was that last note of yrs. wh- you gave me at Cambridge - It was among the very best you ever wrote me; so full of grateful interest - I wanted a long talk with you then; before you came I had been wanting it = so much so, that, rather in bold opposition to the dictates of prudence I had bundled up, & ridden out to Roxbury; but after I had seen you & read the letter, I wanted all the more to talk withyou, & tell you some of the thought that had been filling my mind - But its no matter now; I shall hope to see you again soon -

The morning after you left I went to Greenfield to consult our family physician about my ailing & he told me that he thought there was no malignancy about the whole thing; that he believed Dr. Wyman unnecessarily alarmed; & advised me to consult Dr. Parker, of N.Y. He thought that if an operation shd. be proved to be necessary, it wld. be sufficient; & end the difficulty - The next day, - I saw Dr. Parker, & he told me, after a thorough examination that he did not believe that even an operation wld. be necessary; he thought ten days wld. show it to be a difficulty wh- wld disperse itself; though he cld. not definitely account for it - I am now under his treatment, &, though a little ill, am able to lie quietly in my room with hardly mind enough to think definitely about anything. I know you will be glad to hear this from me, & will hope with me that the Dr's opinion - (I mean the last, Dr. Parker) is a correct one - If it be so, I shall return to Cambridge in about a week; shall I not see you again? I do hope you'll not go at once; for if I am well, I was thinking yesterday, we might possibly carry out our plan after all - How shd. I like this morning to talk with you just as we always talk - Oh! it is a good thing --- But then I don't know as there is any propriety in forever saying so? -

But I mus'nt write any more now; I am too tired - Doesn't this sound like the letter of one who wills to do well, while the ill is present with him? it feels like just such a letter -

Goodbye, my dear good friend; God bless you & make all things for yr. good - Do you know Helen how much & often I think of you?
Good bye -
Henry -

Fri'd/ morning
Dec/ 8/54.

I have only a moment this morning before lecture to reply to yr. two little notes, my dear Helen - I am almost sorry I rec'd the second one, for if it had not reached me, I shd. have reached you this P.M - As it is, you forbid my coming to day, & I can't come tomorrow - x x x This "can't" has been written so many times in reference to our ride, that it has become fairly ludicrous; you must supply a hearty laugh just here - I was at a party at Mr. Choate's on Wed. night - & made an appointmnt with young Rufus for Sat. He is to dine with me; & spend Sunday - Shd anything keep him at home, I shall go to Roxbury - If, however, as I expect will be the case, I shd. be engaged on Sat - I shall come on Monday P.M- "if" "circumstances admit", as you once said Mrs Tyler was wont to say -

I am very glad you are not yet gone, my dear Helen, & shall wait till I see you rather impatiently - Good bye my dear good friend, till Sat - or Monday -

As ever
Henry -
P.S. Give my love to Annie; I suppose its "all right" to say so isn't it? - If it is'nt, tell her it doesn't mean anything but "sincerest regards" -

P.P.S. Do you believe you have tho'ut more abt. the Trinity of late than I have? I am afraid you have come to the wrong one this time Helen [-] However we'll have a good talk abt. it -

Cambridge -
Sunday P.M.
Dec/ 24/54.

I have started on this sheet, my dear Helen, without any idea of what I am going to say - I only know that something remains to be said, but the last re-reading of yr. note has succeeded in most completely concealing from me what that something is - I have just finished it, my dear freind, & I can't at all understand it - Do I confess anything strange when I say that my seeing you the other day hasn't helped me any? I almost wish I had not promised to write you first; I shd quite wish it, were I not glad to have you find out from what I shall chance to write just what is the perplexity into wh- yr. inexplicable note has thrown me - What does it mean, my dear Helen? - Is it, that the "olden faith" is all gone? is it, that the "three days lapse" is only initiatory to a long break in our friendship? If, Helen, it does prove so, you will believe me, when I tell you, that my faith in such things will have flown - I am afraid - forever - I had believed that our friendship was impregnable; that somehow or other, by a divine right, its immortality was prescribed, & that it wld take much more than a seeming to shatter it - I do wish, my dear friend, that I cld. see you a little while, & learn just the origin & progress of yr. distrust - I have faith, fair, & heaven=inspired & believe, that it wld. be all bring & as of old after it - I can't have believed that any slight thing cld have made me careless, whether or no it were many years before I saw you -Why, Helen, this sounds very strange; it is so, so unlike the past - What does it all mean? - Tell me when you answer this, tell me just what you think; if I cld think at all about it definitely I wld tell you; but I can't; I never had such a letter from you befoe, & it puzzles me sorely - I don't know howthis will read, for I haven't stopped to read it; but doubtless it wll reveal to you just my present self; with all the confusion of memory, & fear, & doubtful dreading wh- go to make up self, just now - I can't stope here; & still I dan't say more than I have said; & that is that it is all, all inexplicable - It doesn't seem to me as if this letter was going to you; it doesn't seem as if it ought to - & yet what else shall I say or do than what I have said & done - Tell me why was the lapse?; & do you suppose it will ever be repaired? You can't think how hard seems to me those last two sentences - If I had been told I shd write two such sentences a fortnight since I shdn't have believed it, because I have seen too much of human nature to believe anything impossible; but I shd have been very, very thoughtful of our weaknesses, & wondered, so sadly if it were possible - Good bye, my dear good friend

Cambridge -
Jany. 8 - 1855 -

So the years run by one after another, & bring us nearer to a state where we shan't reckon time by years! -

Don't be frightened, my dear Helen; I;m not going to take this for a text & moralize all along down this white page; only writing the new figures made me think a little, & of course I set it all down - Yr. last letter made me very glad, my dear friend, by its out-speaking truthfulness - I didn't "sham" a tithe of the bewilderment wh- my last revealed. Perhaps, as you say, I was almost, though, I know, not altogether, confident that all was right in yr. heart, in that cold afternoon, when I acted the part of "attache to a shopping expedition"; but when I came home, & thought it all over, - why, you see the more I thought, the less able I was to think; & the farther I went, the more, & more bewildered became I, till at last I wrote the letter wh occasioned yr. last - It is all over now my dear, good friend, & let bygones be bygones; especially if they are not all you cld. wish them to be; though I cant help saying now that it is all past, that I rather guess you are "loved a little better" than before - - I went last Saturday morning to see Mrs. Bachelder in July, as you call her, & she was "out"; however, I was determined, if possible, not to be cheated out of it at last, & so accepted an invitation from Mr. B__ to dine with them unceremoniously the same day - I was very much pleased with the very little I saw of her - though I suppose you know that in saying this, I do somewhat compliment yrself; have you ever been told that you had imparted somewhat to her; in manner; & in character too I shd think - It cannot be at all doubted that Mr. B. loves her dearly, as well as that he is her inferior - I cld. stay only a short time, as they were going skating in the afternoon, & consequently cld. not form much of an opinion of her character - still I heard her sing, & she showed something of herself therein - I am sorry, Helen, that I cannot be as enthusiastic about her singing as I hoped to be - I liked it exceedingly; but at the same time, the Mrs. Clark, of whom I have spoken to you is, I think, her superior - She sang "Robert" & "Come Unto Me" - She had not time to sing the Erl King wh- might have revealed some of her power - In the past I liked her exceedingly - though I shd. much like to have you hear Helen Clark, for I think you wld prefer her - She is going to sing to me again before long, & I shall hope for something better - Now don't think me too arrogant or obstinate - it is only just what I thought - On the day we parted you will remember, I was going to Mr. Choate's to a dinner party, with the expectation of a dull time; I went, & enjoyed myself exceedingly - There were only four beside the family present & I think I hardly ever passed a more agreeable four hours - x x I wld say, in my life, if that were not extravagant. The family are very cordial, & pleasant, & there is apparent, in their intercourse, a refinement of feeling, & a [____ness] of hardy wit, that is very refreshing - Sarah Choate is very highly educated, & a good conversationist - Those two words "highly educated" remind me of something wh- happened last night, in wh you were concerned x of wh- I will tell you some day; it wouldn't pay to write it out - But you see that my sheet is almost full - I must stop - Now dont let it be a great while before you answer this, will you, my dear Helen? & send yr. next to N.Y - care of Lawson Goodnow & Co. 7. Gold St - Goodbye - My dear good old friend - It seems good to speak of our friendship as "old" - Doesn't it settle it, as if it couldn't be moved? I want to talk with you abt. the trinity - When can I? -

For the present - again - good bye -
& God bless you always -
Yrs, as ever -

New York. Jany. 19 - 55 - [on stationery with emblem of the Irving House]

You will see, by reason of the formidable heading to this sheet, that I am at the Irving, & will understand why, when I tell you that John Emerson is in town, & that I am waiting his return, that I may show him the Lions tonight - He is out on business, & as he will probably not come back within an hour, I spend it in writing to you - All this is not by way of apology, my dear Helen, for writing to you; not at -all; for so good a letter as yr. last wld. receive at any rate a quick reply; & I had hoped to chat long, & so pleasantly with you, next Sunday; but it now seems that it will be impossible, as I may be obliged to go out of town - & as there is an especial reason why I want to communicate with you, I shan't let it pass until a chance hour of next week - In yr. last you asked about my health - The sum of it all, Helen, is just this; the Doctors are as much puzzled as ever, & meantime I grow slowly worse - I am confident it will not do to delay any longer, & I want to know the name of yr. Homeopathic physician - as also, anything you may tell me about him - I am not as yet fully decided to try the treatment, but at the same time, I confess to a wavering faith in its virtues, & am not at all certain that a word of encourage-ment wld. not hurry me off in that direction - I can tell you no more about it, my always dear friend, because I know no more myself; I am free from pain, & am only forced by science to serious anticipations - I do not know even the possibility; but am persuaded that any further delay is perilous - This is surely enough about myself; too much, did I not know, beyond the possi-bility of discussion, that my dear, good, best friend on earth, wanted to know all that cld. be told. I sometimes think, I did just now as I was writing the sentence above, that I am not at all worthy such true good friendship; but isn't it a blessed thing after all? isnt it the best, & brightest thing I ever knew? But enough - you know all that I cld say, dont you Helen?

It was a very good letter that wh- welcomed me to N. York - & it didn't lose anything by reason of the harmless satire about the Oration of Billings - I had supposed that all you said was true, from the reports of the performance, wh the papers brought to me - It was purely ridiculous, the way the critics took, to pack away the senators, & the circumstantially big men of the occasion, & prefer the "late of Yale" to such ennoble prominence - Had the half wh- was said been true, it wld certainly be matter of warrantable surprise that the sun shd. have risen the following day; or rather that it shd. ever have set at all.

In yr. last you said I must explain what I said about "highly educated" young ladies; & though I know, as I suggested before, that it will be unprofitable, I shall do so - The only reason why I said nothing about the little thing in my last, was an unwilling-ness to mention the name of that "married lady" of Cambridge of whom, we have spoken before, (if my memory fail me not), & who was herself the party interested - I shd. not speak of it now, did I not know that a manifested unwillingness to do so, or intentional delay wld magnify insignificance into import - the whole of it was just this - the lady aforesaid, together with her husband, honored me with a call at my room the Sunday evening before I left Cambridge - & interrupted a pleasant talk with you wh- was just commencing - My desk was open & yr. letter was lying on it; of this anon - I had been, the previous week, to a little whist party, at Mrs. Littles in Cambridge, & in speaking about it I passed one or two compliments upon Mrs. Little, a person of much native refine-ment, & thorough culture, who spent fourteen years in Europe - I noticed that the "named lady" didnt exactly like to hear it but thought no more about it, until her husband remarked "the writing on that letter" (yours) "was very regular" - whereupon I made some remark, to the effect that the writer thereof was highly, I shd say. "cultivated", (if I wasn't writing to you,) & my very best friend - whereupon the lady aforesaid grew several shades redder than the scarlet scarf she was then assuming, & turned to me with a rather indignant look, to ask how, when I had such friends as Mrs. Little, & the Choates, & that lady in Washington, I cld. care anything for such common people as they were" - Her husband felt the pertinence, & still the impertinence of the remark, & immed-iately replied in a reproachful style, & there followed something of a scene, wh- I finished summarily by the introduction of a new topic - That is all, there was to it - has it paid? - Speaking of the Choates, I very seldom say much about young ladies who are engaged - & as Minnie Choate has occupied the enviable position of one well plighted for the past three years, I did not particularly refer to her. Caught at last, Helen? -

But I begin to see the end of the sheet, & must take in sail - Yr. letter of introduction came with the other; many thanks for it; it will be delivered soon -

And now my dear Helen, good bye - How much my good byes always mean, when I write them to you - I wish I cld. say them instead of writing - They always mean what they used to in the old Saxon - "God be wi ye" - God bless you, & make His face to shine upon you, & give you peace ______
As ever -
Henry -
Will you write soon?

Brooklyn. Feb. 15/55 -

It seems to me, my dear Helen, as if it were almost time some word were exchanged between us, & as I can't wait any longer, I've concluded to charge you with an extra letter, even at the risk of receiving one for my ten - What in the world have you been doing this long while? Are you really sick that you don't write me? - I shd. love dearly to look in on you this afternoon, & talk with you - & still, somehow or other it don't seem to me as if this letter were going to do for me just the thing I want it should - Letter writing isnt quite as good as talking face to face, is it? Ive been waiting, & waiting, day after day, that I might hear from you, before writing myself, & now, that I have so often denied myself the pleasure it seems hardly the thing that the letter shd. fail to charge just what I want it shd to you - For some reason or other Helen, it seemed to me to have been a very long while since I have heard from you - You know there are two old metaphysical theories as to the cause of the rapidity of time-passing - the(y) are, that time passes quickly when the mind is occupied by a hurried succes-sion of different thoughts, & slowly, when it stays itself on one - the other - that the time absorbed by our continued thinking is, as it affects us, the same as annihilated, we being unconscious of its flight; but that, where thought follows thought we accord to each a minimum of time, & the several minimums together constitute, (in the eyes of a subsequent reflection), a magnum - If I felt at all like it I shd. speculate a little on the question whether they are not in fact based both of them on the same law, & themselves but two different statements of the same fact; as it is I shall only say that I incline to the latter belief - & that the variety, & extent, & number of my thinkings for the past few weeks is the real cause of the sluggishness of time, & the seemingly long interval to our correspondence - Oh! Helen, I see that in spite of myself I am hurrying on to tell you what I meant to reserve to the last; viz - all about myself - When I was in Cambridge Dr. Wyman assured me that there cld. be nothing cancerous in the affection wh- he imported to me & only said in reference to the disease that it was a "malignant tumor" - wh- meant nothing more, only that it was an unappreciated difficulty not amenable to medical treatment - When I came to N. York at Thanksgiving Dr. Parker ridiculed the whole idea, & prescribed definitely - I returned to Cambridge, & followed his prescriptions until vacation - A day or two after the date of my last letter to you I consulted Dr. Parker again; he entirely recanted, inclined to Dr. Wymans opinion, admitted that his course of treatment had done nothing but aggravate the disease, expressed a fear that it was Cancer wh- threatened my life immediately, & advised instant surgical operation - I appointed the day (the last of that week), & in the meantime began a Homeopathic investigation - I consulted Dr McVickar(?) first, subsequently two other of his brother physicians, under his direction, & finally settled upon a Dr Bayard, (Homeopathic) the fourth - who expressed a very slight confidence in his ability to do much for me, but advised a trial of the treatment for one week; I began at once, & have gone on from week to week till the present; uncertain whether the next will not find me under the knife, but still hopeful of the best - Yesterday morning Dr. Bayard told me that he hoped strongly, although he had feared it wld be quick work for me - Certain it is that I do not seem to grow worse, & can at least be glad for that - Of course I surrender my studies, & am going to Cambridge the first of next week to bring my books to N.Y - & shall remain here under Dr. Bayard's care till ___ Well I hardly know, Helen, how long - but for the present at least - I am apparently very well; can walk, & talk, & read & do not know that I shall not some day be out of danger, & in good health - at least, I ought to hope so -There, Helen, isn't that a definite recital of the whole difficul-ty? & isn't it, no, I don't know that it is at all strange that I shd have written it to you - i have done so because I knew that you wld. want to know even the detail of such a misfortune - if that can be at all called a misfortune wh. is but the outworking, definitely prescribed, of the infinitely comprehensive benevolence - Isnt it unpardonable infidelity to call such or any combination of circumstances a misfortune - It sometimes seems to me as if there were no such thing as misfortune in the world; as if all the good palpable blessings, & all the bad things disguised blessings -I do not know that Hell itself which is not fit for Heaven, wld not be the infinite blessing - And so what short sighted men call damnation, will I think be found to be a fruit as much of the mercy, as of the justice of God - The longer I live the more do I incline to the belief that the Bible never states a dogma; but that its sublimest mysteries, & wildest paradoxes are all explicable, if we did only better, & fully comprehend mind, & its infinate relationships; that alike in its proverbs & its promises, where virtue seems the condition precedent, & happiness, the extended reward, given by a foreign power it does merely forestall human experience, & state a fact, wh, were humanity only longer-lived, it wld. ultimately see to be a necessary consequent to the grand, & all pervading Law of Cause & Effect; that it is in fact itself nothing but the preceeding Apocalypse of what will be embraced in yr. & my subsequent spiritual vision - But I didn't expect, Helen, to be at all betrayed into such a talk as this, & will stop just here - Now don't you be troubled over much about this sudden illness of mine inexplicable though it be x but write to me, Helen, just as of old & be sure & keep well yourself -

(Before I forget it, Helen, it is a secret that I am under Homeopathic healant, since I want to reserve Dr. Parker, for any surgical operation wh. may be necessary & I also wish the nature of my disease, & as far as possible, its existence to be secret - I shall apparently stop study for a while - But enough)

I havent been yet to see yr. friend in Bleecker St. though I hope to go, if possible tomorrow - And now, my dear good Helen, I must bid you good bye - You will know better, & more quickly that I can tell you, all the bitterness & the brightness wh go to make up my present experiences, & there is no use in detailing deep sorrow, or hopes shattered, or any such thing - it is better to know than to talk about knowing any of this worlds real experien-ces; & you will know how very precious to me now are some bright memories; & you will be glad thereat, & you will bless God, as I do, for the bright, true, deep, beautiful friendship, & love, with wh- God has blessed us -

Now Helen, good bye - May God bless & keep you always, even unto the end of this life; & forever in the life hereafter -

Ever yrs
Henry ---

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