Letter from Anne Whitney, Mar 23, 1869

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Letter from Anne Whitney, Mar 23, 1869


Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915
Hosmer, Harriet Goodhue, 1830-1908
Artists--Sculptors--US American
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Social Events--Misc.


Anne Whitney's letter offers another perspective on Harriet Hosmer's participation in fox hunts in Rome and the rift this caused with Charlotte Cushman (see also Merrill 236). Whitney tells the recipient about an English woman who frames Hosmer's decision as a potential 'publicity stunt' and continues. Whitney mentions the large English speaking community in Rome. She reminds the recipient of the letter that this information is confidential and continues by weighing the pros and cons of destroying letters (private, without "public significance") to protect one's privacy.


Wellesley College Archives, Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4): Correspondence. 172.


Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915




This Correspondence is brought to you for free and open access by the Papers of Anne Whitney (MSS.4) at Wellesley College Digital Scholarship and Archive.



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[page 1] March 23th /69  My dear home. How I wish I might tell you just the most interesting  things - ignoring all the rest. The Roman season is marked[?] off ecclesiastically into the 3 great periods.  Carnival, +++, +++ week Easter & when the last is past there seems a prospect of quiet & perfect +++  +++  of the ill pervading +++. We went to St. Peter's +++ for the did note inborn  attempt - to get seats where our tickets entitled us to go - because to do  so obliges one to go at7 o'cl' in the  morning. but started at ten, &  +++ with the crowd here & there +++ thro[?] the immense risks & nave:[?]  Mess was celebrated bef. the high alter by the Pope - we cd. not see only hear the surge of the chant  & a 11. The silver trumpets the sweetest of all musical sounds blew from the dome- & we formed in with the crowd to see the procession pass  down the nave. Cardinals, bishops +++ with the Pope +++ +++ 


[page 2] on a throne – preceded by  +++ bearing the jeweled triple crowns wh some half dozen of wh. he had  worn on the previous ceremones out of the church we go after  the pope & along with the crowd  largely composed of +++/ country  people who make no scruple of  getting on before at anybody's xpense[sic] I arrived in the square wh. you  have seen in a hundred pictures  solid will human beings, we wait  while until the pope comes forward  to the front of the balcony in front  of the church & hurls down & about  over the crowd his blessing. I had heard this ceremony spoken of  +++ imposing that I was anxions to see  it for once. but tho the crowd was an inspiring sight - the ceremony  did not impress us much - for the  genesally  people did not kneel as we had xpected[sic] nor did they become absolutely quiet.  After this we watched for a while the gorgeously +++ carriages the costumes of the various high officers  among wh, we saw one full sint[?] 


[page 3] of armor fit +++ & one Elizabethan style. +++ & all & hundreds  who looked as if they had walked  off the stage of a theatre - & then we made our way home as best we could. not a hack to be had & the  rain coming on in little frequent  +++ This +++ the church was to have  been illuminated[?] but the +++ forbids. Mr. Mrs. Wravin & Miss Bushnell (daughter of Dr. B.) of Hartford heve been in this very pleasant people - also Mrs. Packer  & daughter - +++ the offer come off we shd. have had quite a company  March 29 - Before breakfast we  propose to +++ over a new leaf - but  think we shall not fairly achieve  it until the weather charges she  horrible persistency of this March  weather is a thing without precedent  in Rome, they say. Helen Merrill left last +++ with Mr. & Mrs.  +++ for Florence - from there she goes to Paris & +++ to Eng. with the intention of taking steamer in June. She will go out to Belmont to see 


[page 4] you & report the latest news. She has enjoyed Rome to the utmost in spirit of her feeble condition & gone about upborne by the genuine enthusiasm  of an archeologist - I have not heard immediately from the Shannons[?]  since they first came to Florence Mrs Draper[?] says they think of  returning in June - but have had no word either either from Mr Shannon Sat. Apr. 2 - After I had eaten a competent dinner yesterday Addy told me to sit down by the fire in the parlor & she wd. give me second desert. We dine now at 2. o cl. The second dessert proved to be fr. letter of the 15th full of good health & comfort – xcept[sic] that  Edwd [Edward] & Carrie were about to start off in that xcursion[sic] wherein I am afraid they have been blocked up with snow storms - I wait the next  news with anxiety – so night at  sunset for the first time since  Feb. there was a look of permanent  fair in the sky - soft floating rosty clouds & warmer temperature 


[page 5] features wh mark the +++ +++ - at least  the sisters not Bl[?] tho  Yr [Your] generous offer as to the wardrobe  dear +++ hed my wam appreciation I am  happy to say there is not the least occasion for the +++ My stock of underclothes  shows no sign of dreadence, not one garment  of all I brought sems in the least worn unless 1[?] xcept [sic] 2 nightgowns not new when I left home & of wh the collars show some tokens of weakness - besides these I have 3 alltogether blooming & sound - & fresh as yesterday. I don’t [sic] know what I shd. do with more clothes I must say this for Roman washwoman  that they +++ & waste clothes less than  any of that class elsewhere - I have had  one or +++. that were nothing but  a +++ of rags as regared the foundation of them. - & they always came hom with every  rag sane & ironed out & looking so respectable I hadn't the heart to throw them away.  till they fell apart by their own weight +++ is also very cheap here – so much  for each thing +++ I +++  - +++ I waist I - +++ & dreams 4 each & soon Sunday 4th The price of butter has declined  a sign we are thriving[?] out a little. but enough remain & will till after the 12th  The +++ & other +++ are postponed until to grace that hilarious occasion I do not want to take the time for photography until I have finished my present 


[page 6] clay - wh. approaches completion. & wh I shall be able to show in a few days. The subject is a very old beggaress.  H. Hosmer is organizing a +++ chase An English woman said to me yesterday   “Miss H. is as wise as a fox. The city is full  of our country-people – & everybody is on the +++ to see the [crossed out] such a little woman perform  such a feat – by this means she gets her   name in the papers. & it is done ostensibly  to help the family of the huntsman who had given them so much pleasure this winter – &   all +++ to his benefit” - I think there is one mistake in the statement +++ that  she has any proof and motive for of +++  +++.- It is natural for her to do   notorious things. – & she loves riding. – some  few weeks ago she had a break with Miss  Cushman for making up with the Ital. hunting party & going back – at the time she came in & told us the whole story of it —I dont [sic] know if they are reconciled—haven’t asked—  but there was plenty of bitterness—(private) I know you read my letters sometimes to the Robbins) +++  I don’t know if H   does herself harm or good by this +++  very likely not much of either (as her business success is assured either way) people must live their lives their own way –   any personal distaste that might be  engendered by things not altogether of 


[page 7]of according to prescription is balanced  in the main[?] by the refreshing +++ that here is an individual at least added is  to the worlds +++ +++ [inserted] stock not that +++ genuine life does not give the same sense whether it comes with +++ or not.  When the other day, I saw H. Merrill  burning up her whole stock of letters, I asked her if she always did so, she  said yes—ever since the Portland fire—for at that time the private   domestic scandal that got abroad, thru letters picked up & read by the  public was a caution against all such tenderness of one’s correspondence—I must say it seems to me only an act of common prudence to do so + I wd. willingly sacrifice every letter I have recd to be sure that mine had gone to glory in an auto[?] da[?] fe[?]. Letters that have no public significance are but passing things like the words of the mouth + very rarely are wanted for refce & the convenience of   them for such occasions is over weighed by the +++ risk to [inserted] one’s personal relations with persons that to whom no harm is meant.  even when a not[?] over +++ thing is said of them. On top of such a funeral pile I shd. Like to put all the sentimental verses written  


[page 8] on the subject of letters.  Yesterday, I saw Mr. S.[?] J. Biglent[?] on the St. (who isn't here?)  looking stout & heavy & like a man on the  donward slope. I thought he was a juvenil "party" to use Charles C's +++ slang term. nobody looks of much acct. after he gets into Rome. xcept [sic] the friends who  who bring home messages in their  faces - they loom up.  Davis it is said has disappeared - &[?] gone  into a convent the Papals say - Davis is one of the pope's choir - a  young  man child of nobody knows who, who was lift [sic] here by his parents on infancy  He was brought up therefore by the church - & having a fine voice was of  great use to it. he is said however to be anti-papal on tendency & some English weeks since visited a certain Catholic lady here (anti-pope) your whom govt  keeps a strict surveillance - he was  heard to say when xpostulated [sic] with on the  subject - that they couldn't do without him  at Easter & after that he meant to be off to America. I have seen him several times   in company - where his handsome face & clinical robes make quite an object to look at the 


[page 9] only person I have ever seen in company[?]  with those not- over admired garments  on. +++ said that always where he goes into  society somone accompanies him as spy  well - he has passed off the stage for the present at best Miss Raincock[?]  (here last evng. [evening]) says that when the  children of the church - +++ & the  rest get into difficulty -  there is no help for them. They are absolutely in the power of the ecclesiastics & beyond reach of an civil tribunal. but so it is  +++ +++, I shd. say with all +++ subjects Passaglia, is a Roman subject who had  some office very near the Pope on this first coming into the chair. He & the Pope were in sympathy in the beginning when as you  rememnber the latter was a reformer - when  the Pope charged Passaglia remained  the same & by degrees came to be hated &  feared with the passion that marks[?]  the +++ people of the church have  for those who are of them & not of them +++ +++ (the Eng. Cath. lady above)  whose confession he was lodged him in  his palace & knowing that his liberty was  in jeopardy secretly perceived a prosens a +++  +++ wh. she kept by her. One day, Passiglia  was sitting with her when she was notified  that the +++ were coming, he was  +++ hustled into an +++ room & when 


[page 10] the police appeared - She warned them  that they advanced into her home at  this point for that she was an +++ subject & they were violating the law of  nations & They said they came to take Pa she answered she knew nothing of that  business - but they must leave her house –  They wavered & turned about the chief  not being with them & immediately the  carnage was made ready & Pa in the  dress if her footman drive off on the  box to the frontier - he us now in Turin  & very active in the service of liberty &  against the Papers  Charles has been spending  the last hour in chat[?] & I must wind  up my letter for the mail. He has ben promising to send bring the boys in- But  it does not come easy .– They are a little  shy he says, & then he says. he walks  boy - sleeps boy & drives on boy & sometimes  it is too much for her him - Among all the unpleasant things that one must say or think  of Chs. this ought to be said in his favour  he always leaves one with the impression  that he is thoroughly honest in his much  speech - weather grey again - Good Heavens!  Best love of Addy - & +++ of  +++ good health - with all blessings on you all 


Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915

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Whitney, Anne, 1821-1915, “Letter from Anne Whitney, Mar 23, 1869,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed January 30, 2023, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/235.

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