Letter from Charlotte Cushman to Emma Crow Cushman, Dec 26, 1862
She mentions translation issues and cultural differences between Rome/Italy and the US. Cushman also informs Emma about the pain in her hand and sulphur baths she is advised to take.
Charlotte imagines the interiority of Emma Crow Cushman's house: "You cannot make it too individual to please me. It is not that it matters an atom. to be more splendid or more beautiful than your neighbours — but just to be individual! different from any others as you yourself are different."
Ned Cushman has made a considerable amount of money during the last couple of months. Further passages address social gatherings and traveling.
Note: Parts of this letter are illegible or missing.
CreditLibrary of Congress, Charlotte Cushman Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Letter Item Type Metadata
 Rome. Dec" 26th 1862
A day after Xmas. my best of darlings. but just the same to you. As if written on Xmas day. I need not tell you how much I thought of you. how much I wanted you how hard it seems to me that almost all I love must be away from me at this season. you know. through your love for me. through your intimate sympathy with me all I think & feel. by your own love & wishes you must & will measure mine. I pray God in his infinite mercy to help me to circumstances which shall bring more of my absolute belongings around me to live with me!!! I suppose it is right & proper for Ned to do something for himself, to increase his means & give him employment but I could wish that could find, after he has secured a moderately fair competence. a disposition to come & live with me. at all events as long as I am compelled & live here & then perhaps. something will arise — which will enable me to come & live with him. when he may be compelled to +++. These longings & thinking, and hopings come over me very often — but especially at any anniversaries. especially at birth days. Xmas & New Years My heart yearns for my family. I want some of them with me. & most of all I want you. my darling daughter On Monday last. I read your dear letter of the 23d 26" Nov. & of all things in the world what should come to bless my Xmas. but in the afternoon when I retur -ned from my ride on horseback. I found your dear letter of the 30 Nov & 2 Dec"! my heart swelled & the tears dropped. God is very very good to me. & I fear I am very impatient & naughty & ungrateful. I fear I dont keep my wishes in sufficient controul [sic]. I fear that I am grasping & avaricious & exacting. & want more than is good for me. but sometimes I feel as though I should be very glad to be taken care of for a little just to sit down & be waited upon & thought for. I am very wearied & tired of thinking & doing for others & my brain gets my good for nothing. I long for the quiet & rest of last summer
[507 reverse] some day. I shall live with my children I hope. & having got rid of all houses & stables elsewhere. just be able to use those belongings to my childen. & have no anxieties but theirs. my bothers & vexations would be less. if I could speak and understand the language. The limitations. tell me. I find it difficult to make them [illegible, crossed out] understand [inserted] what I want (& no wonder poor things) I can & explain properly. & then they are knavish children. with no heads but to continue how they shall steal. No thought or attempt to save you a moments [sic] anxiety or bother. every day they have to be told. over again. the work of the day & cannot remember from one hour to the other! This makes my vexations without number. and then I have suffering with my hands. which would make any body fitful[?] & cross. I am perfectly helpless just now & am holding my pen with my third finger & thumb. The 1t & 2d are helpless with swelling & pain. This winter. whether it is the sulphur which I have to take thrice a day. I know not. but I have never suffered so much pain with my hands or with my skin generally. Last winter I took a good deal of sulphur — & my Dr. ordered me to go some where — where I could get sulphur baths this summer but I could not go. I had to be in London — with the chil -dren & the exhibition. I had to be where I could get country farm house living with you my precious. I could not bear to be going through with medical treatment! thus I am paying a penalty. My Dr. says I must get 30 sulphur baths — natural sulphur baths next summer where shall I get them dear? You must ask Dr Lustor[?] where we can get them in America. & there you & I must go. at least for a time & see if I cannot be cured +++ a I am I really & truly suffer — the pain & swelling & throbbing forces me to sit sometimes. with one finger held in the other hand for an hour. [waiting] over what I cannot seem to help. I am very careful. I drink only the wine of the country & not much of that. I indulge in no way. no fruit. no wine — & yet I suffer dreadfully with this trouble of my skin — what can it come from? will it last forever. I am called away. God bless you my darling Saturday morning. Here again[?] at the last day of post I am hurry skurrying[?] to get my letter off to you. I am really too busy! This winter too. I have felt the nescessity of exercise & as I cannot walk on account of pain in my feet & ankles. I have had to ride on horseback more. About four weeks[?] ago. I took a dreadful cold which settled as usual on my bronchia. & made it imperative upon me not to be out late in the afternoon. Our rides in the afternoon were always nescessarily [sic] late waiting for lunch to digest so I determined as I had to ride — with only the +++ this winter (aunt Em having given up riding altogether) that I would ride in the middle of the day. but I find that this renders me incapable of doing anything after & my days are utterly given up to this same "constitutional" this week. being Xmas week & my having to look up persons for servants [children] & home department generally has given me extra work. I must tell you, dear that the lecture on Tuesday. night last. which I think I told you I was getting up for Dr Butler. came off with great Eclat. We raised $110 — for him which was pretty well was it not. considering that $700. had been before raised for the support of the chapel. I felt very proud of my agency in the matter. — On Wednesday. Phi [?, inserted] There was a Xmas tree at the Perkins — which look up my afternoon as I had to assisted at it in the [last two words inserted] performance. we had every body's children & they were very merry. In the evening. I went to the Russels with tickets for the Balcony at St Peters[?] the next day. (the Pope too ill to assist at the ceremony) on Xmas day to church in the morning. & at 2 o'clock a ride on horse back with Mr Perkins — which although a very cold day was lovely in the extreme on the campagna[?] for the cold was still. The hills all around covered with snow. the sun as bright as gold & not a cloud on heaven
[508 reverse] Home at 4. a cup of tea. & dressing for dinner at 4[?] +++ [Tilton] & [Carrie.] & us three. we had a funny dinner were as merry as we could be under the circumstances & finished off by spending the evening with Mrs [Eckley][?] in the afternoon came your dear letter to comfort me at Mrs Eckleys [sic], I met & had a long talk with Mr [Lowell] the man who founded the "Lowell Institute" in Boston & who gives so much to the lecturers. a good little. useful man! We played whist & wound up at 12 o'clock yesterday. I need to write a little. but notes take up. my mornings. I went for a ride on horseback with a Mr [Hampron][?, Hampfron, Hampton] who is here— starting at 1. & home at 4 1/2. almost sun down. the day was bitterly cold in[?] town — but lovely out on the campagna. Mr Hampron is/an[?] Englishman who knows all about horses. rode dear +++ I ran. & truly delighted your aunty's heart with some[?] +++ his praises — & truly he did go beautifully. He has been pulling dreadfully. lately [inserted] & Mr [Hampron] put on what is [called] a "gag suaffle". which entirely prevents it. & we rode hard, with Mr Hampron holding reins & whip in hand & not feeling I ran pull a bit. so that was comfort. & a pleasure to me. dear old fellow he +++ looking so well. & working as never any horse did [before][?] he is now 14 years old. I believe. & I think he will [beg] for work for another 6 years & Last night Flores[?] Freeman & Miss Adams/ Mrs Fields [sic] sister. came here +++ tea so I was prevented writing. & now this morning I have had [a my] [sic] vexations & trouble some letter [inserted] note +++ answer. which has occupied me — with some +++ for Hattie up to 12 oclock. & now having told all my occupations for the week. I come to the end of a first sheet. with regrets & impatience in my heart that I have not been able to give more of my time to my darling daughter — more of my thoughts. I could not +++
 how I am going to look at your letter of the 23d. 2'a[?] of Nov to see what I am to answer. I am so truly glad my dear dear children. that you are in your own home where you ought to have been from the first. your house ought to have been made ready for your furniture to go in directly. & for you to go into when you reached St Louis however. it is no use to cry over what cannot be helped — the only thing is to learn by experience. The plan which Ned has drawn for me. is beautiful I see how the rooms are situated exactly. & now I want you to tell me how you have placed all the furniture. I see your library pretty well by your discription at least I see the desk. the little bust. The looking glass & Neds mothers & little Mabels pictures. but I dont know where the book case or the sofa stands. I suppose the book case is opposite the fire place. & the engravings [illegible, crossed out] I see on [last three words inserted] each side of it. I am very glad you are making your house pretty. You cannot make it too individual to please me. It is not that it matters an atom. to be more splendid or more beautiful than your neighbours — but just to be individual! different from any others as you yourself are different. & then to will come. That you will always return to it with pleasure. Even from visiting those which may be richer or more elaborate. as one loves ones own thoughts. poor & hourely though they may be! —Is paper in this little library white & gold. too? I should imagine from the account that it must have cost you a good deal to alter & rearrange the house. but in the end it wont make much difference. I hope Ned will insist on doing what you say he purposes. [reg]. paying himself over & above what your father had calculated upon for repairs etc. I cant [sic] bear the idea. That your father should think Ned wanted to get out of him, all he could. on the matter. He has done too much for Ned. for the latter ever to take advantage of any margin he allows him or for him ever to thwart him or oppose him. or do anything but just exert himself in every way. & to gratify him & meet his wishes. & try to anticipate them. What would Ned not have been willing to do for any body who would have
 Aunt Em would not have it & she saw it. & stood back! Your conundrum. has made us all scream. it is clear who did it! You? send me the other! Did you see a little poem in the Dec number of the Atlantic called Waiting—by Annie Fields? Hattie was excessively amused as were we all with[?] the account of little Hattie [Cam]. what an odd little but it is. It was just a thing which delighted Hattie it was so individual — Pray give my love to Your sister when you write. & to your mother & father always — kiss little Isabelle for me & tell her I love her & think of her very much. because she love [sic] you so much — I wish you would get your father to [be] Brady of New York. make one of his Imperial Photographs of him for you. to hang opposite to the one you have of your aunty! it would be nice. How very happy it has made me to think of Ned having made so much money this last six moreths. He thus will not grudge paying me. the extra 2000. which it appears he did not expect to have to pay. but which is just & true. I dont want the interest as yet. Therefore it may remain in his hands very well. Tell him I thank him for the copy of Mr [Prishops] letter it gives me great satisfaction but is time I should get something from it. Goodbye & god bless you my darling. I am late for [post] & my hands so bad I can hardly hold my pen. Dear love to Ned. & to you all. Sallie sends dear love. so does aunt Em. Hattie is off hunting +++ we have a small pack of hounds now in Rome so that she hunts occasionally. She has sold a Puck. & got an order for another at $600. each. I
[511 reverse] think she is doing very well. Aunt Em has made such a lovely figure of Joseph for Mr [Nathan] of New York. only the +++. 28 inches high — but it is approved vastly — & now she is upon another of autumn[?] which will be very lovely indeed I wish you were here this winter — your aunty is being courted & carressed very much which would give you pleasure — God bless you again & again darling mine & make you well & +++ & happy prays ever your own loving Auntie Ladie I do hope you had a merry Xmas & happy New Year!
[512 reverse] I met her admirer Mr Everett. had shown his "loyalty". a little +++ He was one of the people who sat at the English feet. & [he] is being educated at English Cambridge. or Oxford. instead American Cambridge. His speech just now in New York is very +++ & national. but it is full of the flowers of rhetoric & not +++ of wheat![?] - Pour dear Aunt Belle. & Charley. my heart very sad for them. for them my best love! _ Darling you [dont] +++ anything about a Silver card case I sent you. in the post[?] with[?] the Roman Jewelry. which was Neds [sic] mothers in guard[?] of [last three words inserted] & his Xmas gift [...] Ever my love to Miss Hillard . & tell her you have kept your [most] oath to send her love a "[Roming]". I have read it & am only [grateful]. Ever her[?]from me. as much as you can afford dear! Perhaps I shall get the extract from 'Mr Hales' congregation sermon [inserted] but +++ knew I was of his congregation! I am glad if I was. That remembers me! he has "the advantage of me". Emile[?] Chase +++ catch Miller Bridge! He is as wise as a serpent. & so is his [mother] for him! She would not be a nice mother +++ +++ I tell & I dont envy the man even [illegible, crossed out] +++ mansion[?]!— I will +++ Miss Whitwells [sic] commission— & now God bless you my own [Darling]. Aunt Em & Sallie send dear love to you both & for +++ but love to Ned & my hearts [sic] tenderest trust
[512 reverse] what will my chick say to such a long letter. surely my [auntey] must be crazy. No darling - No darling. only I could talk to you [forever] you will see. that I am beginning to get my soul in peace (it has been in pieces lately) The house is free of occupants or from sickness. & once more calm is coming upon me are you glad? are you reading a "strange story" by Bulwer published in 'All the year round'. Darling. you get a great +++ of information in that publication. it is a very good [monthly] to have & to keep. good reading for convalescents for it store the mind with useful information. Do you see it? I want you to tell Fields that the articles in the Saturday [re] -view. which have been so vile about America have been written by Grattan the former consul of Boston. the manwas [petted & filed][?] in our country! It will make an item for Transcript! & Give my kind love to Mrs. Brown. I like her very much — for a hard [Yanker]. she is a good proper [conven] -tional [illegible words] The boy is very good & nice! I am [so] glad to hear such good account of poor Mrs Phelps will you always[?] remember me kindly to them & any of my friends! Tell +++ +++ [end is missing]