Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt Jackson, March 4, 1870

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Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt Jackson, March 4, 1870


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Lippincott, Sara Jane (pseudonym: Grace Greenwood), 1832-1904
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Cushman, Emma Crow, 1839-1920
Social Events--Travels
Intimacy--As topic


Cushman is again suffering from the climate in Rome. Emma Stebbins and Emma Crow Cushman are with her.
Regarding the quarrel with Grace Greenwood, Cushman writes that mutual friends are now involved in this matter as well. She does not seem to know why Greenwood is hostile towards her: "I never see Miss Clarke, so don't know how she is. People never mention her name to me, even mutual friends, so I suppose she gives them a reason for not knowing me, which makes them silent with regard to her."

Transcripts courtesy of Nancy Knipe, Colorado College.


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876






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Carissa Carissima

On the 28" Nov.' I wrote to you. On the 5" Dec.' I had a letter from you which I answered on the 6". On the 17"Dec.' I had another sweet missive from you. I wrote to you on the 21st enclosing it to my brother. On the 7" Jan'y came another white winged messenger from you which I answered enclosed to my brother on the 10! This arrived no doubt on the 14" & was dispatched to you at the hotel in Liverpool but you had gone to the steamer & the hotel sent it back to my brother & he has held it ever since for me to send him word where to forward it since then came the last outstretching of your hands toward me from Queenstown which reached me on the 21' Jan. In this you gave me no address where to write to you or you would have had loving words long ago. Why did you leave me so long in the dark?

Now I have your dear & most welcome because so anxiously looked for letter of the 8" Feby, which tells me you were so ill on the passage & have been so very poorly ever since your arrival. I am not disappointed dear at this intelligence deeply as it moves me because I had anticipated it, and it would be unkind for me now to say you were wrong to go. Therefore I will only say I sympathise [sic] with you from my heart in all you say & all you have gone through & all you feel. If I could have any influence with you, I should say, scratch together all your pennies, [ever?] & make your visits as soon as you can & get them over. Wait until you can get a June or July crossing & then come back to England as fast as you can. The earlier you come the better. I shall then see you, before I leave, on the 13" August & see that you are on your way rejoicing & then will make my mind easy about you for I cannot but think you have not done justice to England or allowed it time to do justice to you. You want what in my mind the English climate can give you if you give it a fair chance, & you ought to know more, of the right sort of English people! I dare say you will think me insane for this proposition, but indeed I believe it would be a right thing for you to do. However, I am not going to preach any more. You poor dear, I am just going to tell you that I am alive, getting along very tolerably, that the cold weather of January bound me up, but as soon as the warm unseasonable weather of Feby set in, [as?] it did from the first day, I began to feel it. I thought it was natural weakness & original depravity & I therefore bore it as long as I dared. Then sent for the Doctor who put me into bed for four days, having found congestion of liver & kidneys & then I was put upon a course of treatment which I have persisted in ever since & have been better, but Rome is evidently not the place for us & no place for any body this year. There has been & is a great deal of illness, some deaths, & Doctors have their hands full. I never see Miss Clarke, so don't know how she is. People never mention her name to me, even mutual friends, so I suppose she gives them a reason for not knowing me, which makes them silent with regard to her. I am sorry for this as one does not like to lose the good through the machinations of the evil. However, pazienza carissima mia! all will work together for good, only be patient and wait & the Lord will give us our hearts desire.

[Miss ?] is very sweet & very dear. She is almost opposite to me & nearer heaven, physically, than she ever lived before, as she is on the fourth story of a very tall house, but then it is an apartment of a friend of mine, an artist, where they are exceedingly comfortable & are loaded with sun, so that they are like two birds in the housetop. She grows upon one very much & I am glad to know her.

I am not going to consider this as a letter, only an acknowledgement of the receipt of yours which I send to my brother for him to enclose with the other notes he has for you, & which will show you that I was not careless or unmindful of your goodness in sending me the letter before sailing. The note from Queenstown came, I think I have acknowledged all. I saw in the Jany no of the Atlantic my last poem. "The way to sing" = ah dear who knows the way to sing if you don't? Only you must always sing, you must never stop. You know one forgets if one doesn't practice, so write me & sing me more more more!

Yes dearie, Emma S. knows you love her, & she loves you, & [we?] miss you & want to see you. Every body who knows you loves you. Everybody sends sweet words to you ward. Emma Cushman & her bairns are well & send you love.

We shall leave here about the middle of May for a week in Venice with Anne Gordon, a week in Munich, a fortnight in Paris, & then to England where I shall get some visits paid. Three weeks at Harrogate & 2 at Malvern, & then "Westward the Star of Empire &c&" I wish you had the same feelings about remaining in America that I have in going. When I see you, oh, when I see you, I will talk like a serpent or a dove, as you may most require at the time, but I will write you again before very long, now that I know where you are & how to address you. The dear good fellows are here, at housekeeping & as dear & as good as ever,. W see them much, & like them more the more [as ever?] God bless you bonnie woman, & make you believe in the affection of

Your faithful
Charlotte Cushman

Mrs. Hunt [written at bottom left]


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876


Jackson, Helen Hunt, 1830-1885


Rome, Italy

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Care of Palmer & Bachelders; Boston Mass.

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Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876, “Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Helen Hunt Jackson, March 4, 1870,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed February 21, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/441.

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