Excerpts from the Frey Family Papers from the New York Historical Society Library in Cooperstown, New York

Date: 27 Oct. 1837
From H[enry]. G. Ludlow (New York) to S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego)

"This morning we have been not a little amused by the tyro efforts of our little son, now 13m 15d. old to run alone. He made his first experiments last eve. and now with tottering step crosses the room. He is a sweet child and is improving every way. But he fills not up the vacancy occasioned by the departure of our blessed Mary. I can never feel as I have felt towards children. The gloss is rubbed off by that blow which withered my heart like grass and burned it up like an hearth. / My soul shall weep -- while Memory lives -- / From wounds which drink so deep / No earthly hand relieves -- / Still we are greatly comforted in our little son, and find when he is threatened with dangerous disease, as he was a day or two since with the croup, that he is strongly intrenched in the core of our hearts. He is better but still coughs a good deal.

If you take the Emancipator, as you aught to do if able, you will read, in this weeks number a letter giving an account of my being mobbed & egged at [Meirden?], a town of note 17 miles from N.H. on the way to Hartford -- It occurred on the 11th [?] in broad day light -- 3 PM -- or near it, in the presence of approving & assisting justices of the peace, and other officers of the town set to preserve the Constitutional rights of its citizens...."

Date: 22 Feb. 1842
From H[enry]. G. Ludlow (New Haven) to unknown

"Fitzhugh read the Chapter at family prayer this morning very well. He has learned to read almost without help -- and is we think a bright boy. I wish you could have heard him pray last eve. with me in my study. I had been talking to him of the love of Christ, and his heart evidently felt the strong pressure of its obligations to love him. I told him he might if he wished kneel and consecrate himself to God, and he did it with a fulness and appropriateness of expression, and an apparent sincerity of feeling, that would have surprized you and put to shame many an old professor in my church. Still I do not say or think he is a Christian."

Date: 7 April 18??
From Uncle S[amuel Ludlow] to Fitz

....Now, a word more relating to yr health. Besides my theory, I have a larged and blessed [stock?] of [experience] in the matter. You must procure some [? ? ? ? ? ?] & [?ly] digest it -- and observe it very seriously. I should like to discuss with you largely under this head, just to [?] your mind, by way of remembrance. And especially would I discourse about early rising -- keeping the skin perfectly clean & free from [?] -- through [?] -- the use of [?] in yr food -- and moderation in quantity -- [?] air, and plenty of it -- [? ?] of [?], as you can bear -- ventilation of your sleeping room, so that you have the good article through the night -- exercise of the muscles, in moderation, of course, in yr case, as [? ? ?]. -- From as every hard fight, in these respects -- & thus h[?] the body into [?], I am the elastic Juvenile that I am. And you may, perhaps, [?] be as youthful as the [once?] young man."

Date: 25 Dec. 1850
From Marie [Tappen] to Henry [Ludlow]

"I received my best beloved One a few lines in which were inclosed the sheets from Fitzhugh last evening. I was not able to answer them then but I take the first hour that I can to express my deep interest in the sentiments contained in those sheets & the deep gratitude I feel to God for giving me so many hearts, & above all that He has given me the heart of your dear boy. How much pleasanter for me to know that I am coming among those who love me already...

....I cannot find words my dearest friend to convey to you any precise feelings whilst reading Fitzhugh's letter expecially that part in which he pours out his feelings in regard to me. It was admiration, gratitude, love. The tears gushed to my eyes & I felt like saying God bless my dear boy. I trust God will bless him & sanctify his talents & make him an honored instrument to promote His glory...."

Date: 17 January 1851
Henry Ludlow (Poughkeepsie) to Marie Tappen

"Fitzhugh too will I trust when he comes home feel the magic power of those gentle eyes -- and those lips `in which is the law of kindness' -- and sit spellbound as his father often has -- and find [his?] impetuous temper curbed and subdued and rejoice with us to form around you a circle over which you may [?] your most transforming influence -- ...

... I think F. is truly susceptible to kindness -- and who is not? His [?] has been very bad in this respect and I mourn in bitterness of spirit that myself have miserably blended love and firmness in my management of him -- I cannot tell you Marie the agony I feel and have felt in the [?] of the impatience -- [?from] -- seventy -- which I have manifested toward him. Oh! if I could only [?] the past -- and begin again! But my regrets are unavailing -- and I can only weep tears of blood over my unfaithfulness -- not to say cruelty in his government.

Dear Marie -- can it be that you are coming out [?] [commissioned?] -- delegated--qualified by our covenant God -- to remedy my defects -- my mistakes -- and to save my noble boy from the perils to which I have exposed him -- Oh Savior grant it for thy dear name's sake -- and in mercy -- infinite mercy -- [?] which `hath neither bottom nor shore' -- mercy to him [&] to me -- to [all give?] him to sparkle like a polished diamond upon his mother's [?] here -- and in her diadem of glory here after -- Oh [? him?] with celestial love-wisdom-patience -- and keep him to [wear?] around his intellect -- his heart -- his conscience such mighty -- though irresistable charms -- as to bind him to holiness and thy throne forever.

Can it be -- can it be -- that God has been preparing you by all your native gifts -- and all your education -- and all your discipline in the schools of affliction -- to save my noble -- but wayward [headless?] boy --"

Date: 20 Jan. 1851
From Marie [Tappen] (N.Y.) to Henry [Ludlow]

"I wrote on Saturday a long letter to [Henna?] & sent a message to Fitzhugh. I hope I shall be favored with a letter from the young gentleman before long. I feel quite sanguine my dear & [? hope?] it is best that I do with regard to my influence over him. I know he is wild & wayward & destitute of religious principle but I know that he has noble qualities which can be acted upon & if I can really get his heart with God's blessing I have no fears. My prayer is now daily that he, that both of those dear children may experience the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit."

Date: 24 Jan. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] (Poughkeepsie) to Marie [Tappen]

"Precious One. -- I have just read a letter from my Brother's wife about my boy. If I can get a chance I will send it to you this afternoon -- if not will postpone it till a convenient opportunity. You ought to see it so as advise me & counsel me. It speaks of his waywardness -- and his [unsteadiness?] -- but of nothing new to you. Oh my Marie may God send you as a guardian angel to my Boy -- He needs just such a friend as you."

Date: 25 Jan. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] to Marie [Tappen]

"I am sorry darling to trouble you with my troubles about our poor F. but never more did I need just such a sympathizing loving friend as you are. You were of course prepared for such intelligence from your previous knowledge of his character. What will become of him I know not. That he will have to pass through terrible heart-breaking -- bow breaking afflictions, I have little doubt -- ere his proud & arrogant spirit is subdued & humbled -- I hope I am willing provided nothing else can save him -- Oh my Marie, do you find your love for us -- your high purpose to do us good -- adequate to the burdens which you have reason to anticipate? .... pleading with God for him and with him for God, bring all the power of your piety -- and patience -- and gentleness -- and love to bear upon his heart. I tell you lov'd one, that F. has never known what these things mean. Breathe it not to mortal ears -- but the influence which has been brought to bear upon him has been rather like that of [Bova?], than of the [Sun?] upon the traveler...

...F. has never -- not even at Oswego had the [power?] of a steady-gentle-persevering love brought to bear upon him -- that love which never faileth -- that love which covers a multitude of sins for the sake of attempting their removal -- no one has ever adapted herself to his peculiarities of temperament, to his physical, mental & moral idiosyncrasies -- Oh I could reveal to you the [concational?] ordeal through which he has passed -- the excitants & irritants which galled & provoked [over?] his infancy -- and gave an irony inflexibility to his passions and his will that would [? ?] compassion, and stir the deepest sympathies of your nature, and [?] the generous desire to come to his relief and [?] your noble nature to the effort...

... Has it only [nerved?] her noble heart to enterprize [now?] earnestly and prayerfully the salvation of my poor boy? .... I can see her soul swelling with generous impulses -- expanding with enlarged purpose to save my poor motherless boy..."

Date: 1 Feb. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] (Poughkeepsie) to Marie [Tappen]

"You have [?] then, doubtless [?] my Package by the [breakman?] -- and I am greatly mistaken if, our dear F's explanation has not greatly modified your views of his character. Dear Marie, you may depend upon it, F is often `more sinned against than sinning' imperfect as he is. Few understand that Boy -- and early education has made him something of an Ishmael -- whose `hand was against every man and every man against him' -- All that he wants is for the future a loving, gentle hand -- like Marie's -- and I promise you that you will [lead?] him with a cord more delicate than `the spider's most attenuated web' -- He has never had since he was born -- such an experiment made -- I'd think Marie that you will yet [derive?] your choicest comfort from his society -- and should you survive me & he too, will find him your stay & staff.

I wish you could see the letter I wrote to him today. I know your loving heart would have subscribed it -- I have told him he might start homeward taking Auburn & Palatine in his way & dividing his time between them -- after expressing my heartfelt gratitude and his own to his Uncle, Aunt & Cousin for their kindness.

Oh Marie -- my Marie -- [?] only -- could I [?] unto your ear all I know, about things at O[swego]. you would at last see that a boy might not be wholey in the fault, who was [ever?] wrong.

Date: 14 Feb. 1851
Henry [Ludlow] to Marie [Tappen]

"I wish to say I am much gratified at the course you have [?] taking with F. -- A wholesome impression has I trust been made, but whether it will be [?] abiding, or will in the end [mock? ?ingly] I of course cannot know, but let us hope the best dear [?] after doing all you think it duty to do, you ought to hope & wait [?illy] upon God if possible -- but in the mean time do not spare your son -- truth will not kill or hurt him whatever he may think -- He must be probed, & made to know his [own?] case."

Date: 15 Feb. 1851
Marie [Tappen] to Henry [Ludlow]

"I am glad that Mr. [Boorman?] & yourself have written to F -- in the manner you speak of. Now I only ask my dead dear husband elect that he will maintain his ground. There has been the great difficulty you have allowed F to [come?] over you as they [?ly] say because you are proud of your only son. Remember God's dealings to his children & let yours to your dear boy bear some resemblance to His. [?] do not ruin him by indulgence. They make the better children whose parents err on the side of sternness rather than on the side of indulgence. Our Heavenly Father does not gratify our every wish for he knows that we could not bear it & neither can a child have his character formed for usefulness & goodness if his every wish is gratified. Dearest I trust that I shall if God bring me to your home be a help-meet to you in this respect if [? ? ?] of helping [?] to [?] and educate your children."

Date: 17 Feb. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] (Poughkeepsie) to Marie [Tappen]

"We had a prayer meeting in our lecture room this afternoon for the children of the Church and Sunday Sermon and I opened it with some remarks expressive of my deep anxiety for my own children -- and especially my son."

Date: 19 Feb. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] (Poughkeepsie) to Marie [Tappen]

"On my return -- dear M. from [?] this eve. I found Fitzhugh had returned -- and with a dreadful cough. He says he has had it for about a week. I hope that he will soon be better. His general health seems good and he has grown considerably. I have had no opportunity of learning the state of his mind, as he retired to his bed soon, and he was much excited by the circumstances of his return to his father's house. Probably no serious change has taken place and soon will come the tug of war. The Lord give me wisdom and strength in this emergency. I wish you were here now to counsel and assist me -- I do need your presence and your prudence and should like much to have you try your power upon the son as you have upon the father, and see what wonder you can work...

...Oh Marie if you may be the [?] instrument in saving him...

...You little know dear what it is to have the incessant wear and tear arising from the care of such a boy as F. `Watch & pary lest you enter into temptation' `The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak' If you can possess your soul in patience -- if you can preserve an habitual equanimity -- if you can persevere in benevolent [works?] and efforts for his wellbeing in the midst of all your provocations -- you will `be perfect and entire lacking nothing.'...

...Fitzhugh's cough is not quite as severe as it was last night. He coughs incessantly till almost midnight. Poor boy! he seems purposed to be a better boy than he has been -- but alas can the [Ethiopian?] change his skin or the leopard his spots without a Divine interposition?

I am now at a loss to know what immediate disposition to make of him -- Oh for wisdom. Have you any [? ?] -- any light -- I might get a place perhaps in a [storm?] -- but then the temptation to falsehood & dishonesty in [?] are too many and too strong for a boy not remarkable for a truthful spirit. I think it may be best to put him in one of our town schools & have him go through a thorough course of English studies -- which he never has [known?]. We [?] then have him at home during the out of school hours."

Date: 20 Feb. 1851
From Henry [Ludlow] (Poughkeepsie) to Marie [Tappen]

"My boy -- dear Marie -- rather our boy -- seems desirous to please. We have had a long conversation today and both He & Helen appear to feel pleasantly and properly towards you. I have little doubt Marie, that if you as I know you will -- get hold of the right side of his heart and win his confidence by your gentle love -- and insinuate yourself into his very soul -- you will lead him as you please. Marie I [?] it in a whisper to your ear -- `No one has ever faithfully made the experiment upon him.' It remains for you to do it, and at a time when circumstances providentially concur to render it successful."

Date: ca. 6 Sep. 1854
From Fitz Hugh Ludlow to Henry Ludlow

"Received from My Father up to September 6th 1854, One hundred & eleven dollars. $111.00--"

Itemized, including three cents "given to a poor blind man." a $2.00 "Subscription to the College literary Monthly," and $2 for "Two bottles of wine, taken when sick at beginning of term."
Date: 30 Nov. 1857
From Carrie to her Brother

"How glad I am that I board here, instead of at Uncles. I never could be contented there. I know I should be homesick all the time, and it is awful when Fitz is at home. I should think that they would be sorry when he comes and glad when he goes away. he is all the time disputing, and he contradicts his Father every word he says. he is so impudent, that I should think Uncle would turn him out of the house."

Date: 20 Dec. 1857
From Carrie to her brother Lud

"I suppose you know that Fitz-Hugh's book is at last out. I saw a copy of it last evening. I shall read it if I can find time."

Date: undated
Parties unknown

"I am surprised at what [Hew?] told me abt. Fitzhugh. I supposed he was making money like chips..."

Date: January 1859
From F[itz].-H[ugh]. Ludlow (New York) to Fletcher Harper, Esq.:

(From The House of Harper by J. Henry Harper)

Very Dear Sir, -- I have for weeks been wishing very much to write to you, and this on many accounts, but, for pressing reasons which will now appear, have not done so until now, when I am able at the same time to offer you the congratulations of the New Year.

A few weeks ago I had occasion for sixty dollars. I wrote to our friend Nordhoff to trouble himself with his wonted kindness to ask that an advance to that extent might be made me -- and you were so good as to direct that it should be done as I asked. Whereupon the check was forwarded.

At the time I wrote Nordhoff, I told him that I should have several articles for him ready by Christmas Day. I as fully expected to fulfil my promise, to the letter. I had hardly made it however, before the nervous ailment, of which I am now, thank God, nearly cured, resulted in a congested state of the brain, which has lasted up to a week ago with continual pain and part of the time much danger. I was restricted by my physicians to the very slightest mental effort with which my affairs could be carried on -- reduced to the very minimum of letter-writing, even to nearest relatives. Brain fever -- or congestion of an active type was apprehended for me, and threats were made both by the doctors and the disease that I should never be able, very likely, to use my head (all necessary as it is to me) again, if I used it now.

Let this account to yourself and my friend Nordhoff for the non-fulfilment of my engagement and my silence, heretofore, as to the reasons.

I write so particularly all the facts of the case, because I am particularly anxious to have my integrity and good-faith stand well with you as a House -- with you as a man. I know no better time of the year than this, when we are all exchanging felicitations with each other, to speak of the light of most sincere friendship and respect in which I regard you. Long before I knew you I had been thrown somewhat among enemies of your firm. An especial clique there was (more sectarian than anything else) that never spoke of yourself and your co-partners to me otherwise than with strong hostility, and the consequence was, that until through the kindness of our friend Mr. Curtis I was introduced to you, I had never possessed any opportunity of coming unbiased to my own conclusions in regard to a set of men, upon whom it is necessary, for their great prominence in the world of Books and Commerce, to come to some conclusion of one kind or another. Permit me to express to you, my dear Sir, the sincere and very great pleasure with which I have in my own person been disproving every slander which ever came to my ears. As a simple rendition of justice between man and man, let me own to you how growing has been my feeling of warm personal regard to you for all the unusual generosity you have shown in the maintenance of all our relations. Unusual, I say, because it is indeed rare to find any appreciation of each other among men beyond the mere even balance of money-justice. To you, my dear Sir -- with pleasure I acknowledge it -- I owe almost every encouragement I have received in the progress thus far of a literary career. The debt is far from a heavy one to me. I love to assure you that I am conscious of it. I am but twenty-two years old now -- I have had somewhat of illness and of bad habits in stimulus-using to fight on my way up into a more successful and untiring career. The Water Cure and my will have utterly conquered my habits of stimulus -- not even tobacco do I trouble now -- and my health is fast becoming thoroughly resettled. Be assured that when I again return to hard work as an author, I shall recollect -- (I never forget such things) your kindness to a young writer, and will endeavor to prove more substantially the friendship of [signature]

Date: 25 Feb. 1859
From R[osalie]. O[sborne]. Ludlow (Jacksonville) to her mother

"Fitz Hugh writing and making himself generally useful to all the house and particularly useful to me...

....Now, in this house, we have some of the loveliest and some of the most disagreeable people I ever met; I quite enjoy the mixture; it is amusing as well as profitable to watch the mingling of opposites. Sometimes we have a perfect hurricane here; the adverse winds wage a most desperate war, they fight and blow every where, in every nook and cranny, round the corners, `up stairs and down stairs in any ladie's chamber' -- the gale penetrates everything, and finally after making every body shiver and shake with fear it gradually subsides into a -- perfect calm!

Oh, it is terrific and grand, to get Mr. Hart (the elder F.F.[Y?].), Judge Pierson (the man of irascible temperament and sounding periods), Mr [Shuniway?] (the Black-Republican, sarcastic Philadelphian), Mr. Dew (the younger F.F.[Y?]. who in perfect [wildness?] is opposed politically, philosophically and religiously to his good and imitable Father in law Mr. Hart) and last but not least Fitz Hugh whose moderation and sublime indifferences on the `Goose-question' is most annoying to the two hot-headed fire-eaters who strive continually to engage him in discussion. It is grand I say to hear these five in a controversy. It makes no difference what subject is started -- they all disagree and we are bound to have a word-fight on all occasions.

`Par example' Mr. Ludlow has just returned from fishing and announces that instead of supping on trout as we suppose, we are eating nothing more nor less than the Northern common Black Bass. Mr. [Shuniway?] (from the head of the table, in a weak voice, poor sick man that he is exclaims) `I deny it, Sir, in toto, I am from Philadelphia, Sir, I have caught some fish in my day, By George, I have, and I ought to know.'

Here Mr. Hart raps the table with his fist and in a good-humored stentorian voice addresses both `I reckon you gentlemen know mighty little about fish any way. Did either of you ever angle in one majestic, silver-breasted Rappahannock? With due deference to your own opinions gentlemen, allow me to say, if -- you -- please --, you will never have seen a right smart chance until you have been fishing like I have, in the `[Seems?]' or Rappahannock rivers."

Mr. Dew now opens his large, speculative grey eyes invitingly and remarks in a most scholarly tone. `Whether the fish be Bass or Trout it is greatly to be doubted if a piscine diet is favorable to the highest development of the human species. The [Pethyophagor?] who as we are informed by Herodotus inhabited the borders of the Indian sea subsisted upon the products of the net and hook as their sole aliment; and they, as early as the time of Alexander were a tribe of debilitated savages ignorant of all the commoner processes to say nothing of the more refined acts of civilized life. nevertheless as [Strabo?] hath it -- "Fames optimum condimentum est."' (For this Latin, at least as to orthography, I am obliged to call on Fitz but the quotation is actual, unexaggerated and literal from a scientific disquisition of Mr. Dew's)...

...When it comes to politics we have fine times. mr. Hart roars like a revolutionary cannon, beats the poor table with his fat, red fist until the dishes dance and with his other hand hurls thunder bolts on all the world in general but particularly on Southern democrats -- he himself is a whig -- who buckle to the North. Judge Pierson who is a democrat and has fought duels! rises on such occasions, with carving knife in hand and vows vengeance on Mr. Hart and everybody who dares to disagree with him. He is a Fire-Eater, a Disunionist a [?] and much to his own satisfaction -- an Ex-Judge of the Supreme Court!

Mr. Dew worships Buchanan and [Wise?] as much as Mr. Hart hates them, has promised however to vote for Mr. Ludlow when he is nominated for the Presidency.

Mr. [Shuniway?] -- in these discussions -- `gets mad' -- to use his own expression -- but his voice is too weak to enable him to argue so he can only mutter his favorite expletive `By George' and leave Mr. Ludlow to defend, as well as he can, the interests of the North.

Fitz Hugh does this by laughingly parrying their thrusts and occasionally giving sharp retorts.

he has already made a compact with Judge Pierson to the effect that when the Union is dissolved they shall provide one another with sugar-cane and ice.

Yes, this is an amusing household and equalled in its argumentation by no family except the Ludlows and they are as fond of discussions as you are of flowers...

...My Uncle has the finest buggy in Florida and that with his fine house are at our disposal."

Date: 19 Apr. 1859
From H[enry]. G. Ludlow to Rosalie [Ludlow] & Fitz [Ludlow]

"Remember that Rose is my daughter & comes in my little Mary's place to fill up the vacant place in my heart...

...We cherish pleasing hopes that the union will be a mutual blessing. Our dear Rose will I know with most conscientious economy and prudence conform to providential circumstances and keep you my son within the limits of your income. If I am indebted to my dear wife for any thing it is that she at once upon our marriage kept our Books & made me what I had never been before and honest man -- i.e. -- a man whose outgoes did not exceed his income. Since then I have never been oppressed by the [convictions?] of indebtedness for which I had made no provision.

Your happiness will depend upon the most rigid economy -- the most punctilious payment of what you owe when you owe...

...Do you know that you have not visited Father & Mother to grace your nuptuals."

Date: 19 Nov. 1862
From ? to mother

"I enjoyed my visit in New York very much. I was at Fitz's boarding house several times. He & Rose & I went one night to the Winter Garden to hear Boothe the tradegien [sic.] in the Lady of [Lyoun?] It was very fine. I went home with them. It is laid out with exquisite taste. And every thing is in the most perfect order."

Date: 8 Feb. 1863
Carrie (New York) to her mother

"...yesterday morning, came up here to see Rose & Fitz. I thought Rose would be the best one to go shopping with me. I gave my card to the servant and in a moment heard some one running in the house, and Fitz & Lud rushed into the room. I was never more surprised than to see Lud here. Rose was not up yet.... Fitz went to see his landlady and found that we could stay here, so then I concluded to stay, until Tuesday, and we got the materials for my bonnet, and Rose commenced it yesterday aftertnoon after we got home..."

Date: 9 Mar. 1863
From Gus to his mother

("Fitz Hugh's Boarding House, No. 1 Livingston Place, New York")

"Fitz Hugh is going to California in May. Some Artists, Surveyors [?] are going, and he goes as the literary man of the party. They are to take the overland route to San Francisco, and then North to Washington and Oregon territories. They expect to be gone about 6 months, I believe. If I could now get out of the army, and could then get the place he now holds in the Custom House, I should be very glad, I spoke to Fitz about it the other day, and I think that with proper effort it might be brought about."

Date: 8 Jan. 1864
From Samuel[?] (Clifton Springs) to his sister

"Fitzhugh & Rose, Uncle H. writes me, intend to come here soon. -- F. is in a very bad way, suffering from neuralgia."

Date: 3 Apr. 1864
From Carie (Madison, WI) to her brother

"Have you seen the Atlantic for April? if not have Lud get it. there is an Artical [sic.] from the pen of our illustrious Cousin Fitz. `Among the Mormons.' it is very interesting I think, some of it quite funny."

Date: 20 Dec. 1864
Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I was sorry to hear of Rose sickness and that poor Fitz was so down again, but why in the name of [?] don't he go home with his wife! That's what I should like to know. I should think he would want to be with her. But if not there why not to his own Fathers house? I don't envy you at all having him with you. it will do for a while, but for a `regular diet' I should object. I think you are all very good to take him."

Date: 30 Dec. 1864
From Carrie to her mother

"I think Helen is treating you decidedly mean. and I should not hesitate to tell her so either. this making a convenience of you. and then keeping you entirely in the dark about the whole affair. What did Fitz want to come for, anyway, I should think New York was large enough for him to hide in. if he wanted to get away from his wife, I don't pity him one bit. Uncle and Helen I do feel very sorry for. but I don't think Helen treats you as she should. I would not keep Fitz in the house. without knowing why he came, I think you aught to insist upon knowing...

...I received your letter on Thursday and am very anxious to hear again in hopes that you have come at the [birth?] in regard to Fitz and Rose -- what can it mean. I can not believe that it is as bad as you fear. poor Helen and Uncle, they have more than they can bear. I am so sorry for them. Rose certainly has done very wrong in pursuing the course she has, and I have always thought her a weak silly little thing, fond of flattery and admiration, from any source. but she was [nothing?] but a little girl when she was married, and Fitz is very much to blame. he has sadly neglected her, and I don't believe they have ever been very happy, for all the demonstration that have sickened lookers on!"

Date: 8 Jan. 1865
From Carrie to her mother

In "your letter of the 1st... you did not say how you heard about F. but I suppose from Helen. I am indignant at her that she should have brought him to Palatine. one could expect no more of such a beast as he is. but I should think she would have more consideration for you all. it can't be that she sympathises with him. I am sorry for Helen and Uncle. but it is no more than might have been expected long ago of him. I wonder what more has happened that took Uncle H. to New York again. I would not bother my self with it if I was in his place. F. has sunk too low to be [? ?] any consideration any more. I have got through [?ing] him for a palatine. What an ever lasting liar Fitz is. I don't believe he saw any one from here who knew me. and if he did, he lies about his [?] him that he often rode horseback with me. for I was on a horse but twice all last Summer, and the only young man I ever rode with was Capt Nichols now on Gen. Shermans Staff, so he probably did not see him."

Date: 30 Mar. 1865
From Ellen Ludlow (Oswego) to his sister

"P.S. Anna gave me your little private [? ?], inquiring about Fitzhugh. I respond in a P.S. so that you may tear it off if you don't wish everybody to see it.

Several weeks ago he decamped from New York with his new lady, privately, & after a while, a relative of Rose saw, in a hotel register at St. Joseph's, Missouri, this entry, viz, `Fitzhugh Ludlow, wife & servant.' After this, he was seen by one who knew him at Leavenworth, in Kansas. The next we hear of him is again in New York, & we learn that he left his affinity in Kansas. Her own mother, we are advised, advanced the money for the expenses of her journey, & temporary residence in Kansas, where she is doubtless to obtain a divorce from her husband, Mr. Ives. About the same time, the petition of Rose for her divorce will doubtless be granted. After this, what the next scene in the drama will be needs no ghost to tell. There will be a new wedding some time & somewhere, & you & I will have no invitation to it. The uncle of the new lady says that she will remain with Fitz as long as he can furnish her an abundant supply of money. When [?] fails, she will desert him for some one else. He occasionally writes to his father, maintaining his great dignity & the propriety of his proceedings & pouring curses upon the head of poor Rose. He still figures in the last Atlantic & says that he is writing twenty pages per day for his forthcoming book.

The whole thing is a great mystery as well as a most fearful tragedy."

Date: 9 Apr. 1865
From Carrie to her mother

"I don't wonder that poor Uncle is almost killed. it must be terrible for him and Helen. they have always been so proud of his talent and genius, or H. has, and now to have him sink so low in crime. I expect to hear of him out with the [?ommons] the next thing with that woman. I believe he is Crazy. and I hope he is. it wont be quite so bad then. if he is not accountable for what he does. he is a pretty fellow to be cursing poor Rose. whatever she may have done. is no excuse for him, and if he had done as he should she never would have been so fond of the attentions of other men. I don;'t entirely excuse her, but will stand up for her against him. I have no patience with him."

Date: 15 Apr. 1865
From Ellen to her aunt

"Who do you think is in town, Aunty? Fitzhugh. Helen received a telegram a few days (two days) ago, saying: `Tell my father Luke &c' (referring to the prodigal son) & adding: `do you want to see king lamb?' Helen, it seems, used to call him `king lamb.' He had come on as far as Albany, & from there sent the telegram. He came yesterday morning, not penitent or humble or anything of the kind, but as swaggering & boastful & opinionated & self conceited as ever. He has just been to Kansas again where he was summoned by his affinity (Mrs. Ives). When he got there she told him she hadn't a particle of affection for him & never had &c -- so he brought her on east to her father's house, & has now come on here, hoping to secure an interview with Rose, to whom he has written a very penitent, humble letter. Father says that Uncle ought to write to Rose not to come on here for it will surely disgrace her in Oswego where Fitzhugh's immoralities have now become notorious. Whether she'll come or not, no one knows."

Date: 21 Apr. 1865
From Carrie to her mother

"I wonder how Mrs. Treadway knew about Fitz. but I suppose every one knows it though. I would not wonder to see the whole thing in the papers. poor Uncle and Helen I think of them very often. how terribly mortifying it must be to them. how far greater a sorrow than his death ever could have been."

Date: 30 Apr. 1865
From Carrie to her mother

"I am more than ever mad and disgusted with Fitz. can it be possible that he has so little feeling for his Father and sister as to go to Oswego! -- I think too that if Rose ever lives with him after all this, she deserves no pity. -- I hope Uncle will go to New York. I think it would be so much better for him."

Date: 7 May 1865
From Carrie to her mother

"How far West does Fitz intend to go, I wonder. -- I suppose to Salt Lake City. that would just suit him I should think. he could have just as many wives as he chose there. Oh! what a wreck he has made of his own happiness and the happiness of all who should have been most dear to him on earth. Wife. Father. Sister. [?] it is terrible to think of."

Date: 17 May 1865
From Helen to her aunt

"I suppose Dell has told you that Fitz is here. I don't know whether Father has written to you of his return or not. He has had his eyes opened to the abominable wickedness of that wretched woman. And to his sin in forsaking his wife for her. And his first impulse was to `[?] and go to his Father' where he knows well he is always sure of an asylum. I little thought when I last wrote you that the change would come so soon. Though I felt that God would bring it about in his own time. Oh it is so good to have him back again -- restored to us once more. He and I are boarding at the New [Vrelland?] House. Father is staying for the present at Mrs. Wheelers. I suppose he will soon go to the City, but as long as Fitz will stay here I will stay with him.... we both think it better that I should stay with Fitz as much as possible. He wants to stay here where he can have rest and quiet till he can finish his book which he is busily engaged upon at present. And hopes to get off his hands by July. He is very sad much of the time, and I try to do all in my power to cheer him and keep up his courage. But his health seems very good generally. And he is entirely free from all stimulants but tobacco. He seems like his old self again. I cannot but feel hopeful for his future. This seems to be a crisis in his life -- a turning point, and God has shown himself so very merciful in setting his feet [again?] in a right direction that I cannot but [?] that He will lead him on in it. Of course we are not to expect an entire change in [all?] [?] of a person's whole temperament and disposition, especially where they are as strongly [marked?] as his. But I can see a very great change in him, and ever since he has been home I have [? ? ?] disposition to look at his own sins more than [out?] the faults of others. [?] My heart aches for him. None of us can tell what a terrible ordeal he has passed through, or what sufferings he now endures. I cannot but feel that, as you suggested, there have been great [?] of his sin, though of course there can be no justification. What Rose's final decision will be in the matter I do not know. They have exchanged several letters. He has hoped that she would return to him, though of course he claims nothing. I hope that it will be decided in a way that will be the best for them both. I cannot feel that under the circumstances it would be at all wrong in my point of view for her to live with him again. Whether it would be for the highest happiness of either of them I cannot tell. That of course depends upon how much they love each other. I don't feel like giving him up to any body as far as I am concerned. It is so good to have him back again just as when we were children together. He is very affectionate and kind. I don't know what we would have done without him in [woriny?]. He packed all Father's books, eight or ten boxes full -- and did a great deal besides."

Date: 15 May 1865
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego)

"We taking Fitz. & Helen until his [Henry's] return.... F. & H. remained with us a week, when we found that it was a burden of labour & cure, which we cd. not carry.... I pity Br[other]. exceedingly: for what the poor miserable, wreched F. will do, no one can tell -- & what his father will, or can, do, is just as difficult to say."

Date: 21 May 1865
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I shall loose all sympathy for Uncle and Helen if they continue to make so much of that rascal. it looks to me too much like encouraging him in what he has done. its a likely story that Rose has led him on to do what he has. but of course she gets the blame. I don't think I would let the fear of offending Uncle Henry keep me awake many nights. I think you are the ones to be offended if one proposes such a thing to you, as taking that drunken rascal into the house again. but [L.?] always has a peculiar way of [letting?] a person their duty."

Date: 30 May 1865
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego) to his sister

"His [Henry's] case, however, would not have been so distressing, if he could have indulged the least hope for his prodigal son. Notwithstanding Helen's hope, all the reform about him is that he don't in fact live with his second wife: -- & the only reason for this is that she has got sick of him. In other respects, I see no change whatever. Liquor & hasheesh & he are still intimate, & his life is just as irregular as it can be. He sits up frequently all night, writing his book, & sleeps all day. I think he couldn't write at all without his stimulants. His whole history in detail is familiar to the citizens here, so that he is a town talk, & is shunned on all hands by respectable ladies & gentlemen. In short, he is just what he was, & no better. I should not be surprised if, under his general dissipations & irregularities, his life should wind up at any time -- & at any rate, that his brain should lose its entire power. This is the great iron in the soul of his father, so that it is a marvel to me that he can preach, or do anything else. He told me the other day that you could not take F into your family, for which he didn't blame you in the least, knowing that his presence with you must destroy all your domestic quiet & comfort. He said that you would be willing to take Helen, but she seems to be blindly bound to stick to him, in all places & under all circumstances. My opinion is that if she must be with him, they had better go into some remote retirement, & not remain in such a wide awake gossiping city as this, where she must of necessity suffer many mortifications & slights, as F does not hesitate to crowd himself upon ladies society wherever he can."

Date: 5 Jun. 1865
From Anna (Oswego) to her aunt

"You ask me dear Aunty, what I think of F.H. I cannot say that i believe there is any radical change in him. He is a strange being -- I cannot understand him. I think that he sometimes takes stimulants & sometimes does not. We have heard of excesses in drinking, but I cannot tell you how much is true. Helen & I talk of him but I don't wish to ask her too close questions. She has thought him mending in his habits I don't know what she feels now. I was there to day. He seemed perfectly himself -- was writing in his book.

I only wish he could really come to himself Will he never in this world? Can all the prayers be vain? As to Rose I don't know what to think. They will probably never be united again. She seems to have wavered much, but the last I heard there was no prospect of an arrangement. F contends that the wrong is hers.

You will regard this as confidential inside yr family. I hope it is no wrong to say this much. I pity the strange misugided man, & seek not to judge him.

I fear that all his stimulants will injure his mind...

[P.S.].. We think that no one could, for a moment blame you for not being willing to board F. It would be, of course an undertaking -- (to say no more) we [would?] all do anything to save him, even this if it would be the means -- if we could know it would do him any real good. -- May he, poor boy be led at last to repentance."

Date: 10 Jun. 1865
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I think with Uncle Sam[uel] that if Helen is going to devote her life to that drunken Sot, she had better take him somewhere else. I am glad I am not in Oswego now. I wouldn't want him in my house, and wouldn't have him. and I would hate to hurt poor Helen's feelings -- but I am not there and there is no prospect of it.-- but doubtless many of her friends feel in the same way."

Date: 12 June 1865
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego) to his sister

"Besides all this, he [Henry] has another dreadful, crushing burden to carry, in his miserable, profligate F. -- He is still here, he & Helen boarding at the new Welland: he shows no symptom of reform yet, and is about as bad, as bad can be. It may appear strange to some that we cannot give them quarters in our big castle, but the sacrifice of peace & all home comforts to [?] & uproar, day & night is more than reasonably be required of us, unless, by it, we cd. hope to [rescue?] the fellow from his abandonment. Br. H[enry]. realises this, and does not blame you, or us, for declining to harbour him. Helen we cd. take very easily: but they cannot be separated. She is determined to stick close to him, altho' her efforts to restrain him are not successful. -- But, all this must be entirely confidential between me and yr. household.--"

Date: 20 July 1865
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I hope Gus has sent that `poem' I told him to as soon as he had read it. -- I should not think either that Helen would want to go off on any excursion with Fitz. and I wonder at her staying in Oswego with him. there must be a great deal of talk about it."

Date: 1 Sep. 1865
From Henry Ludlow (New York) to his sister

"Helen is here taking care of her Brother at a Watercure corner of 14th and 6th Avenue. The Dr.s a Scientific man, says he will cure him in a month if he will follow his directions. I have no confidence in any thing but the grace & power of the Almighty. F seems to be very anxious to abandon all stimulants & get well, But can the Ethiopian & & Pray for him my dear Sister. Helen is well and a most noble girl [?] with the patience of hope, and has staked her all upon the issue. Her gentleness is wonderful & she is the only one who possesses any influence over him.

I fear he will be unwilling to obey rules that they will get tired and dismiss him from the Cure. You know his self sufficiency--"

Date: [Sept?] 9 1865
(Samuel Ludlow to his sister?)

"Helen has made out to write me (this week) [?] she [?] Fitz left Oswego and this is all.... ....Add to all this his [Henry's] crushing sorrow with poor Fitz.... Some time ago, Fitz & H. left [K?] where they were boarding, for a Brooklyn Water Cure, which did not meet their expectations, on trial -- when they're moved to another (a German Doctor's) in N.York, where they now are. F is, I believe, improving some: though it is [?] quite uncertain whether he will ever recover his strength -- or [? ?] his deliverance from his own consequences, -- alcohol, hasheesh & tobacco. Helen still [clings?] to him, hoping -- but his father hopes for no betterment in his case, short of regenerating power. -- All this, however, is between us --"

Date: 28 Sep. 1865
From Ellen (Oswego) to her aunt

"[Henry's] preaching had grown perfectly wearisome & unbearable. It was hard & unlovely, & so full of severe, extreme views that it was dreadful to hear him. ....he has worried ever since he left here about his `folly in leaving' -- indeed he has seemed to feel worse about it than he has about Fitzhugh, although I don't really suppose he does. Fitz is supposed to be doing pretty well -- at least Helen thinks he is. I fear though that she is deceived. I think she shows great strength of faith & also great love for Fitz. She has grown old, in her loving devotion to him...

...Don't mention to father or any of the Wildwooders that I spoke of Uncle H[enry]'s mind as growing weak. Father would think I hadn't better say it, although he thinks so himself. Fitz is enough to [?] the mind of any father. Sometimes I feel great compassion for Fitz & then again, I feel out of patience with him, for he don't seem to try to give up hasheesh or liquor, or to care how old & sorrowful & way worn he makes his poor sister. To be sure, he's kissing & hugging her all the time & calling her `sweet sister['], but people can do that & yet persist in ruining the peace of others. I don't see any escape for Helen if he should die as he is now or as he has been, it would ruin her peace for life, & if he lives, she must always cling to him & will. Indeed the idea of leaving him, & giving him up to go to destruction is horrible to her. And I think she is perfectly right about it. She thinks her mission is to stick to him & I think so too."

Date: 7 Dec. 1865
From Carrie? to her mother

"I hardly know what to say or think about Uncle & Helen's coming. I had hoped that Helen would come, because she would be so much company for you -- but Uncle with the Hypo [bad?] wont be so agreeable. Still as you say I hardly see how you can refuse."

Date: 26 Dec. 1865
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego)

"I have had to keep up a pretty lush correspondence with our afflicted brother, who has long been, you know, & still is, in the deep profound [?] melancholy. I thought that every moment that I cd. divert his thoughts from his self devouring sorrow, would be just so much rescue from his suicidal course of thought. What a wonder is this -- that a man of such a gleeful spirit, and who has, for so many years, in such cases, ministered to minds diseased -- and who has so often made merry with this class of sufferers -- not knowing what such `sore temptations' [meant?] shd. not, now, be able to `lift a finger' for his own healing & deliverance. But, such is the nature of the malady; [it?] cuts the sinews of all effort, and seems as if like a typhoid fever -- it must have its run, and that no outside human power can help the sinking [?]. You, as well as I, know something of this strange afliction: it appears to be a family inheritance of ours, although, I believe, Sister M. has always escaped the dire calamity. It stands us therefore in hand, to use all diligence & vigilance to keep our `tenements of clay' in as good condition as possible, for to us, out of them are the issues of life. -- I do not know exactly, brother's condition, save, in the general, that a deep hypochondriasis is upon him, which unfits him for the work of his agency, -- and that it is so severe that his friends ... feel quite alarmed...

....I hope that he may conclude to go to you, for a time: & that, both for his own sake & poor Helen's, his full redemption may be near at hand. ...[his troubles] to say nothing of his dreadful & hopeless trouble on account of Fitzhugh. My last letter from him was written on the 19th, and in a more sad & sorrowful strain than ever."

Date: 21 Jan. 1866
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I am glad on the whole that Uncle & Helen have decided not to come. Uncle would not have been an agreeable companion for the winter, much as you might have wished to do him good. Is Uncle in no business at all now? What has become of that society? Poor Helen I pity her. she indeed has a hard lot. I wish she could be happily married. Did she say nothing of Fitz? They have him to thank for all their trouble. I don't know of any thing too bad for him."

Date: 3 Feb. 1866
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego)

"With you, I really pity our dear Helen. This trouble, so long prolonged, including her sorrow all F. is quenching her young life & spirits, most cruelly. But I don't know, where her help is to come. -- As to her means of support, I am indulging the belief that [W Boorman?] has, by his will, (according to his promise to [?ing] mother) made full provision for her, &, perhaps, for F., too, in the hands of some trustee, so as to prevent his wasting it. Possibly, too, Br. H. may have been remembered, too, by [W?] B.-- As to Rose, I hear no more of her, except that I hear, through Eliza Reynolds -- who says that she got her news from yr. own Dell -- [that?] has got her divorce. -- Fitz is [?] reported to us by Br. H. -- has quit his stimulants, & is now resolved to support himself, by his arts, and not call on his father for supplies, anymore."

Date: 25 Feb. 1866
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I am reading now `Across the Continent' by Samuel Bowles one of Speaker Colfax' party. it is the most interesting book of the kind, I think, I ever read. it makes me more than ever anxious to cross the plains and visit all the wonders of that western world. -- I would rather go there than to Europe. he gives Fitz a dab every chance he gets. speaks of him in one place as `the Author of the largely imaginative articles in the Atlantic Monthly' -- and again in speaking of the San Francisco climate he says -- `there is nothing like it, -- either here on the Pacific Coast, or elsewhere, so far as Bayard Taylor has traveled, or Fitzhugh Ludlow imagined in Hasheesh.'"

Date: 5 Mar. 1866
From Samuel B. Ludlow [?] (Oswego) to his sister

"I haven't heard from Br. H. very lately. he seems to be on the ascending grade; & if he has no organic disease, I think we may, pretty surely, look for his `reconstruction' ere long. -- That was a very shabby will of [W. Boorman's?] -- considering that he had promised Abby, on her dying bed, that he wd take care of her children. I suppose, however, that he did not feel bound to provide for such a [scape-grace?] as Fitz.; and, perhaps Helen did not flatter the old man enough to [?] his remembrance, in the shape of a legacy."

Date: 18 Mar. 1866
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I am glad too for such good news from Uncle Henry. he has had such a dark time. poor man. we were quite interested in those two stories of Fitz. they are both good. but particularly the `International affair,' I think. I hope Fitz is really doing well. did Rose ever get her divorce do you know?--"

Date: 5 April 186[6?]
(parties unknown)

"Helen tells me Fitz has procured a divorce too, so [?] he can be married. if any one will have him."

Date: 20 May 1866
From Carrie (Madison) to her mother

"I saw almost the same notice of Fitz & Rose's divorce that you sent me. in one of our daily papers here. it is a disgraceful thing. and my heart aches for poor Uncle & Helen."

Date: 20 June 1866
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego) to his sister

[of Henry] "And, then, the finale of Fitzhugh's family state must be dreadful to him."

Date: 21 July 1866
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego) to his sister

"Fitz. is in N.Y., & `far from [will?],' as Br. writes: & Helen is comforting him. Unfortunate & unhappy girl she, too, is having the whole current of her young life running in such a channel, and her mundane destiny so completely chang'd by her being thus chained to her miserable brother. Wretched fellow, he [has aged?] --, &, indeed, worn out--, in his early manhood, by his low excesses. `The way of Transgressor is hard.'"

Date: 19 May 186[7?]
Parties unknown (mother to daughter)

"H told Lud that Fitz was going to be married to [Mrs.?] Mulligan -- where he boards -- next month! She must want a husband."

Date: 25 May 186[7?]
Parties unknown (mother to daughter)

"I don't know whether he [Uncle] is at any expense for medical attendance, but it is a very generous act in him -- and we must put up with many disagreeable things [to?] make his stay pleasant while he is with us. [Sue?] says he is very queer, so does [Dills?]. They think much of his strange conduct is the result of the opium he takes in injections. He will preach every Sunday in the house -- to the patients and the boarders although the Dr. don't like it [?] nor Helen either. Fitz is really going to marry that Mrs. Mulliken -- and Helen feels very bad about it. She has two big boys. They have called several times to see [Dills?] & she says Mrs. M is a very [dignified?] lady. Uncle told me that she had stood by F. through all his troubles, and he hoped he would marry her. I don't know how he gets along with the divorce [?] you remember he would not perform the marriage ceremony for [?] Haight -- as her intended was a divorced man, and he considered it contrary to scripture, to marry her or him that was divorced."

Date: 8 Apr. 1869
From S[amuel]. B. Ludlow (Oswego) to Elsie

"I have, this morning, your dear letter of the 5th & notice your business request, to administer [?] on yr dear father's estate. Do [?] I make haste to respond, -- with my usual `[? ?]' Yes Ma'am, I will. I am `a nice young man,' in general: and a `Ladies' Man,' in [part color?], & extra-specially so. I always surrender, on demand, when besieged by such. -- But, I am not entitled, on my simple request alone, and on yr suggestion, to letters of administration, as I am not `next of kin' to yr dear father. You are -- you & Fitz., and so, according to the law of the olden times, when I was in practice, I shall need, for presentation to our Oswego surrogate, the Renunciation of you both of yr rights to administer, in my favor. -- Ask yr good friend, Judge Porter, about this -- ...

....I have recently, written a couple of my letters to your No. 1.; to F.L. Esq. -- of & concerning [?] bar [?] of Irish [?], now en route from Wildwood, to his address. I wish it to be understood that only the formal & technical legal title to them is in him -- and that he is merely yr Trustee for yr portion of them -- your & Maria's -- and when deposited in ur cellar, I hereby annul the trust, and invest your, absolutely, with 2/3 thereof. So, let there be no strife between you of the female persuasion & him, as I have settled the respective rights of the parties thereto.

Of Fitz's real upward progress, I am glad to be re-assured by you. Now, let him take severe & special [heed?] to my counsel, which I have just sent him in the rough -- and in haste, and he will be likely to excape relapses; -- and excaping them be able, I believe, graduatim et ultimatim -- and, at no distant day -- be able to compete successfully, for the prize, on foot, with the fleetest velocipede of the day. And ([Vide John Gulpin?]) `May I be there, to see' -- Hew must not fail to cherish a strong will in his purpose to be a sound man again: -- marvelous stories are on record, of the power & efficiency of the strong will, -- as a helper & booster, in the up-grade effort to reach the `summit level' of health --"

Date: 22 Oct. 1869
From Carrie (Matawan, New Jersey) to her mother

"Gus said he had seen Helen. she & Fitz came into the Office a few days ago -- and Gus said Fitz was certainly intoxicated either with whiskey or Opium & he thought Opium. he acted dreadfully. and tho Helen was with him, &, the Office full of gentlemen, he commenced talking & going on like a crazy man, to gus, that he & Lud & [Hin?] didn't care for him & treated him so badly, because he was in trouble, & all such nonsense. I can't remember all Gus said. of course Helen felt terribly & tried to hush him, & poor Gus was mortified to death. poor, poor Helen she must be heart broken. oh. if she only had a good brother like either one of mine. I am going to write for her to come & spend a few days with us here."

Date: 4 Dec. 1869
From Samuel B. Ludlow (?) to his sister

"But I must add a few words about our poor little Cousin Helen, of whom you complain. -- I may say, also, that she never writes to one [?] almost: She has not written to me for, I think, about a year past. Now, we all must make very large allowances for this crush'd & agonized orphan girl. -- Our Anna, in her letters to us, speaks, frequently, of her & Fitz -- Her last one, of Dec. 1., says

`I suppose her long-continued [wearing?] sorrow for Fitz. makes her half-forgetful of a great many other things. It is my impression that she has never had so little hope, as now, that F. will really ever come out of all his troubles, and be a healthy & active man. There is no particular change in him, since I wrote last. He seems quite cheerful: but he is, pretty much, house-bound. I don't mean that he does not go out at all. He went over to hear [Henry Ward] Beecher on Thanksgiving day.'
My extract, you see, speaks a little about him, as well as about her. I am sure that we can have no conception of her agony -- from which she is hardly ever relieved. -- A full orphan -- father & mother dead -- her pecuniary means, which her father left her, probably considerably reduced -- & exposed to further reductions, shd F. live a while longer -- Her annual earnings of 1040$ in the `Western World' office, having wholly ceased -- her health being far from good -- and (worst of all) her wreck'd & only brother, -- ruined forever, physically & morally,-- with not the slightest prospect of ever being restored to decent respectability, if he shd recover -- and all this brought upon him, by his own suicidal vices & dissipations, against the prayers & entreaties of his father, sister & all. Add to these the ever-present thoughts withh her, of the terrible grave, which must, ere long, hide forever, from the world the mortal remains of so highly-gifted & once [?] a man as was he -- whose memory according to the divine word, must [rot?]: and, then, the lonely solitude, to which she will be [?], with only the fearful companionship of the (to her mind) vivid [?] of her brother's past, with the possibilities of his dark, and unknown, & invisible future."

Date: 27 Dec. 1869
From Samuel B. Ludlow to his sister

"As to Fitz. Anna's letter to us, of last week, says nothing about any special, present [pent?], in his case: but, on the contrary, that he appears pretty well, for him. -- I suppose, however, that his restoration to health, & life, is rather hopeless."

Date: 8 Mar. 1870
From Carrie (1117 Second Ave.) to her mother

"I have only been to Helens once -- I don't know whether I told you I had seen Fitz or not -- he looks very badly. Dr. Smith has been treating him for a while but he said to a lady the other day -- that there was no use in his wasting his strength [?ing] Mr. Ludlow. for he took a teaspoonful of morphine in a glass of whisky every day -- and while he persisted in doing that it was only time & strength thrown away -- he said he was confident he could cure him -- that his condition was not so broken, but that it could be build up again if he would leave stimulants alone. Ellen, little Mary's [Aunt?] who is here being treated for her eyes heard the Dr. tell a lady this, and she told Nellie. -- Poor, poor Helen. I don't wonder she looks old and care worn. I suppose they will go to Europe in June to be away two years."

Date: 27 Mar. 1870
From Carrie (NY) to her mother

"Helen Ludlow came up Friday soon after lunch and staid a few hours -- she look [sic.] old and worn -- and [seedy?]. I never saw her look so forlorn -- she has had a hard winter I guess -- They have rented their house furnished for $6,000. they pay 4.500 you know -- and if Fitz can make business arrangements that he wishes (I don't know what) he & Maria will go to Europe. what is to become of Helen in the mean time I also don't know."

Date: 2 Jun. 1870
From Samuel B. Ludlow to Helen Ludlow

"Your last letter to your Uncle was recd yesterday -- & I will say, in reply, that as the time of Fitzhugh's sailing is yet uncertain I think there may be a longer delay than you anticipate, for we seldom do anything as soon as we expect to."

Date: 25 Dec. 1870
From Ellen (Oswego) to Helen Ludlow

"...Fitzhugh may have been often by your side since he went away... You said that you did not doubt that Fitzhugh was in heaven, but you wanted to see him there...

....You have not seen Fitzhugh in heaven, but you firmly believe he is there, for you cannot well believe otherwise when you think of all the prayers & tears that for years went up to God for him...

....Fitzhugh's lines came to me with great force, this afternoon:

`Oh, the mane old city of Swago,
Whereber on earth you may go,
There never was sane a city so mane
As the mane old city of Swago.'
A few days ago, in looking over a box of scraps that I'm going to put into a scrap book for father, I came across the magnified bed bug, the work of F's pencil, & which you gave me when you came to us just before you left for Europe. Oh, can it be that those lips are motionless, & that the hand that could draw so many funny things is still? .... Fitzhugh's merry-making, & his hearty laughs, from which every tone of earthly sorrow is gone, make many a saint merry, in the paradise of God.... Just this minute, I recall F, as I saw him once, standing in our kitchen, in his shirt sleeves, & with his hands on his sides, imitating the hoarse, croaking sound of our pupo, that happened to be out of order. I remember his cracking butter-nuts out there, & the funny things he said come back to me, and -- more than all this -- I recall the kind things he used to say and do. His presence under our roof always affected me pleasantly. He never treated me suspiciously or judged me harshly; & although I knew that he was often far from right in his opinions & in his life, yet his presence was comforting & warming. I mean a great deal by this. And now I do not, for a moment, doubt that the fetters & chains of temptation have been forever broken....

....[Mrs. Harmon] when I told her that you thought Fitz could not live many days, she burst into tears. I've never heard any one speak so beautifully of Fitzhugh as Mr. Harmon has....

....Give much love to our dear cousin Maria. I loved her when she came to us, the summer your father died, & I love her a great deal more when I think how her love comforted & blessed Fitzhugh in his last years."

This hypertext version of the Ludlow family letters is copyright © 1995 Dave Gross.

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