Letter from Anne Brewster to Mary Howell, June 27-29, 1863

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Letter from Anne Brewster to Mary Howell, June 27-29, 1863


Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892
Cushman, Charlotte Saunders, 1816-1876
Political Affairs
Relationships-- Intimate--Same-sex
Intimacy--With Subjects


Anne Brewster remembers her days in Naples. She advises Mary Howell to go with Charlotte Cushman to Rome, a trip for which Cushman will apparently pay. Brewster calls Cushman "immortal." Brewster assures Howell that "you are different from her other horse-marine women you are tender & delicate—She will 'sleeken to you as to a bird.'" Brewster speaks from experience "for I was a pet bird to her many long years ago."
In the letter from June 29, Brewster argues that publishing articles is more patriotic in her case than "washing dishes in a score of Sanitary Commission kitchens or nursing nasty soldiers in fifty Hospitals cheating professional cooks and nurses out of these business."


The Library Company of Philadelphia


Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892


ABP 27 8





Letter Item Type Metadata


[page 1] Bridgeton N. J. 27 June /63.

My darling I have been thinking of you all night until my throat and heart ached like a sick [inserted] tooth. Now I have just finished my breakfast—Harriet has taken away the tray and I am sitting here in front of the balcony door gazing with half closed eyes and in Ballanche's +++ divine on the vines and flowers and half imagining myself back in those lovely apartments of mine in the +++ +++ at Naples

[page 2] This balcony & this dressing room made me take this house and here when I am alone I breakfast just to revive those sweetest five months of my life and I rock to and +++ in my chaise Americain read French +++ and try to live over the time when I had a Neapolitan terrace to gaze on and a superb Ducal garden full of orange trees and sweet flowers beneath my terrace

[page 3] and with all these memories before me how can I answer your question in any other way than yea—yes, yea three & thirsty times over. Go with C.C. in September by all means—"We should not advise others to do what we would not do ourselves" you may quote on me remembering our conversation of a fortnight since. But chérie I am not advising thus—If I were in your place just such a woman as you are situated as to health & artest life as you are I should not miss going

[page 4] with C.C. on any account. (En parenthèse before I enter on my arguments Frank the dear fellow received the lovely bijou of a book and was half folle— see I have made it feminine for his follige[?] was sweet feminine folly not tangible masculine fou, (again another parenthèse he did write to you immediately and you have the letter by this time a charming letter I'll answer for it although not a word of it did I see for men never show

[page 5] their letters like we darling fools of women do—How let that go I'll return to Frank the charming inexhaustible subject after I have done with the immortal C.C.) you and C.C. will get on well enough together. You have exquisite tact, and talk of my adaptativeness [sic]! Why you have fifty times as much. Then you are different from her other horse-marine women you are tender & delicate—She will "sleeken to you as to a bird"

[page 6] and I remember well how delicious and fascinating she can be when she "sleekens" for I was a pet bird to her many long years ago. One half your indisposition is  want of artist atmosphere. Your spirit is sicker than your body  It needs acceptance, acknowledgment, place and room to breath in— In this country you will never find i—we have not the society not the salons where such genius as yours belongs.

[page 7] You had a taste of it in Mrs Rusts's[?] time and know what I mean—Go to Rome and live a little real life [last four words inserted] Yes you must go.—Listen to no "petty preachings" from kin who would never help you to health. Accept C.C.'s offer freely & frankly God gave her the money just for you doubtless & she'll get no good out of it if you don't reap its benefit It will melt away like fairy gold So C.C. owns to the fifties! Give her my love and tell her to take care about those fascinating pillules [sic] d'azur—She must not go

[page 8] rantipoling about too much. With all her fame I'm wiser than either of you on many things—I am a little spring sitting here in my sands—my Egypt, watching the building of my pyramids. If you go with C.C. Ill see you off in Sep. I shall be in Boston then for I have promised it Nan.[?] to go to her in Sep. Oh you must go Hang Sarah Cuyler—If I were C.C. or Ben. I would say d-n and I feel as if just such a naughty vulgar word was needed Sarah is at a painful phase of

[page 9] her life it is just touch and go with her—If she does not take care she will descend into a horrid state of Presbyterian old maidism— which has its equal only in my church—for Episcopal old maids are much more genteel & respectable than the Catholic & Presbyterian animal—You know the thing I mean—I can imagine all the clever, spiteful stuff she told ad:[?]—I had it all when I was in town and she was so de [sic]

[page 10] deliciously droll with it all (for she is as you say in your cunning American way "so smart") that I imprudently repeated some of her conversation and horty-torty haven't her hateful little mother Carey's chickens of ill nature come home to roost with me? Don't say any thing about it to her. When I see you if I remember the nonsense I'll tell you all about it But I hope by that time the

[page 11] Mother Carey's chickens may in a newer storm of gossip [last sic words inserted] be swept off—for I have deliberately shut down my cabin windows and play deaf & dumb to all the panic and fuss. I'd like to have you however one little hour for this & some other things. But mind my dear—don't say any thing to Sarah on the subject I have good reasons—you would admit I am run to death finishing up my season—and I have to keep up my health by long walks I stretched off into a five mile walk the other day tell Em: and

[page 12] but for meeting Dr. E. it would have had some two or three added on to it for I had missed my way a little—He brought me home in his carriage which was well, for an eight mile stretch would have been too much you see. Frank is correcting my book marvellously—You can't tell how useful his examination will prove to me—I would not have missed it for the world. He has done more for it even [inserted] than Mrs Owen did for "Compensation" He is very very clever my dear You need

[page 13] not be surprised at his occupying so much of your thoughts for he is very fascinating. indeed "one in ten thousand" God bless him It is such a comfort to have known nice persons—Life's stream rolls on to each of us carrying us away insensibly from each other but than God the memory does not leave us—in that land of Limbo we are never parted from Whose we have loved & lost—and thus when you are in Rome you

[page 14] will think of him and of us all it maybe more tenderly than if you were to see us daily—I rather like being separated from those I love—Love is kept alive by the string of longing & imagination keeps up the illusion which no mortal is divine or pe-fect enough to sustain see I am playing Portia as usual I have had two or three nice talks with [Max[?] since you left—What a good send that man has been to me & now few know him as I do—His counsels and warnings have kept

[page 15] me from many a trouble—he is better than brother, lover or husband to me—Not being in love with me and yet feeling for me a deep friendship he has nothing to confuse or bewilder him. He takes the strongest interest in my affairs even in my trifling annoyances & listens to all my little complaint patiently—Never but one person before was to me what he is—my mother. Like her, he never recalls any inconsistencies—never confronts past opinions with present ones as most friends do provokingly—but counsels and warnings have kept always takes up my present need with earnest interest

[page 16] If you would like to come down here with C.C. do so. But you would both have to occupy one room. I should love so dearly to see you and C.C. and Frank together—How she would take to him! What jolly laughs! my little library would be filled with fun so full that it would last me to live on for a year—Ohey[?] she would be treading on my fastidious little toes once in a while. Give her my best love—And now here at the end of my letter I am going to "'fess" as C.C. says—Your letter of the first of the week was a charmings letter my dear don't you remember? You surely do how clever & lovely & "nice" it was it was—Well— very I gave it [inserted] to Frank—thats all—There's my 'fession

[written across the page, page 5] Do let me know about +++ what to do for her is no better She has had a  large lump behind her ear like a bird it has not come to a head yet. +++ gave her a dose of  Dr Elenor fears the blood was bad through her father or mother I am so sorry about her for I am really attached

[written across the pages 6 and 7] to her to get what can one do with a diseased skin in pet dog [on] woman Tell the "Fancy" she is in excellent general health sprightly, cunning and a darling little thing I am quite in despair about  her. She smells very badly again Ask if she ought to have these daily  baths & if she ought not to take sulfur. If he will +++ me a course of treatment + the +++ me +++ I will take her in hand myself—Pay him for me & let me know as Rachel said Combien!

[written across page 13] I gave it to him to keep—He asked for it in such a bewitching way I could not refuse—I should have given him my dia-monds or my head if he had asked for them looking as he did—How could I refuse him the possession of a  letter which

[written across the page 14] would be always doing you so much credit with him—absolve me Your last page is 159 Chap: 10:—C'est tout Good Bye Love to the girls—Write very soon
Yours Anne

[page 17] Bridgeton N. J. 29 June /63

My dear read the enclosed Nation and agree with me that by having it published to the people we are doing more good than by washing dishes in a score of Sanitary Commission kitchens or nursing nasty soldiers in fifty Hospitals cheating professional cooks and nurses out of these business Cousin Frank read this to me on Saturday evening and it affected me so deeply that I

[page 18] have begged it of him determined if possible to have it published in the Bulletin [Philadelphia Evening Bulletin]. And as I am am [sic] a true "Lairey[?]" to you (—"Drink fair Betsey")[?] I wish you to have a share of the honor with me— Therefore my love enclose the Ms: with my note to Gibson accompanied by one of your most seductive billets to the "Stern Editor" and have it out as soon

[page 19] after the 4" as you can By the way, suggest of your own thinking and free will to Gibson that the Oration will be highly improved by a short heading of his own containing the and Quand of the thing (Entre nous do you remember that naughty Rachel story I told you) Read the oration and agree with me that you have seldom read any thing so fine—such good English, so clear & forcible

[page 20] it makes me so proud of our friend. I felt like crying out  while listening to his reading of it Paul Paul almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. Now that I have begged it of him for the Bulletin I should not like to fail in having it published so use every feminine force—it will be [inserted] worth fifty Horaces though each one should be the Elzever of 1670 which Jules Janin[?] calls "charmant"


Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892


Howell, Mary


Bridgeton, NJ, US

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Brewster, Anne Hampton, 1818-1892, “Letter from Anne Brewster to Mary Howell, June 27-29, 1863,” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed January 30, 2023, https://www.archivalgossip.com/collection/items/show/800.

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