Letter from Emma Stebbins to Helen Hunt Jackson, Sep 7, 1869

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Letter from Emma Stebbins to Helen Hunt Jackson, Sep 7, 1869


Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882
Jackson, Helen Hunt
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex


Emma Stebbins informs Helen Hunt about Charlotte Cushman's health after her operation. Stebbins is devastated to see her "dearest friend" suffer.

Transcripts courtesy of Nancy Knipe, Colorado College.


Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882


Helen Hunt Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0156, Box 2, Folder 25h, two letters from Emma Stebbins to HHJ, 1869 and not dated.
Transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, 2003.





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Dear Mrs. Hunt,

I have tried hard amid the multiplicity of cares which have descended upon me - by the illness of my dearest Friend - to keep all those who love her (& their name is legion) informed of her condition - among the rest of myself - I cannot at this moment recall to whom I entrusted the mission of informing you - for I have had to write circulars - perhaps before this you may have heard. I wish now I could tell you "all is well" - I wish I could feel it - but whether it is my inexperience in such a case - or my tendency to gravel in the lowest depths of anxiety -, I know not, but I cannot yet feel, lifted up what Miss Cushman Oh I cannot tell you what this has been to me - I never can tell everyone until the danger is all past, and the one name restored to health & strength. I don't know how much or how little you know - the operation which we in are you is once thought the one thing useful, has been the least in importance - though sufficiently painful & harrowing -

Things have gone since in the worst way for her - as it seems to me, first of all suppressation of the round - then Erysipelas - then something which seemed like ague - no natural sleep - opium constantly - you may imagine that - with her large active brain & strong nature - she is now greatly reduced - though on Saturday 4th the surgeons pronounced her out of danger and say this case is progressing formidably -

To day - her Brother who has been with us through it all - went back to London and as he has freer access to the opinion of the medical authorities than I have - I think he would not leave her if he had any fears - I tell you both sides of the question it may be all right - but my fear and doubts carry me away - especially in the morning when I see her so exhausted by such terrible nights -.

Dear I thank you for your sweet kind sympathy - I would give the world if I had any one near me to whom I could sometimes speak my fears - if only to have them shared - but I am very weak with much waiting and intense anxiety - & don't know what to think or feel - If you can - do let dear Annie Gordon know about it - it is so long since I have heard from her - I am anxious whether -

I kissed her hand for you - & she sends you her dear love - I will try to send you a word the moment I can do so with a real hope in my heart - ever yrs aff.

Emma Stebbins


Clarendon Hotel.
Edinburgh, UK

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Poste Restante
Bavaria, Germany

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Stebbins, Emma, 1815-1882, “Letter from Emma Stebbins to Helen Hunt Jackson, Sep 7, 1869,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed July 18, 2024, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/452.

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