Helen Woodrow Bones to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre




Helen writes to Jessie about the latest news.


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University




Sweetest and most forgiving little girl

You just can't imagine how horribly ashamed I am of myself for not having written you before this! It is perfectly fatal for me to wait to find out the answers to questions before replying to a letter: I ought to write at once and then dig out the answers (if they are to be gotten from other people) one by one. This last time there were two “snags”—the information you want about the ham and my decision about my visit to you.
The ham information I have tried for weeks to remember to get from Mrs. Jaffray. Now of course it really is a very simple thing to go to Mrs. Jaffray's room, to find out something which she must have noted in some book; but going to Mrs. J's room means at the very least a fifteen minute talk from her and it seems to me I never have fifteen spare minutes at a time. I'll get the information yet, though. See if I don't!About the visit, I felt that I must wait, to see about your father's plans for the future. I am perfectly crazy to visit you in your sweet little home, darling; and to see you and your precious, adorable baby together, and your sorry but most lovable husband. I have teased you a lot about being cold in your house; but I guess you could see when I was there that I adored being there! It seems to me you have succeeded in making the atmosphere of your home what your wonderful mother made that of hers—one of peace and love—and I think of it as I used to think of whatever house was hers, as a haven of rest. So you may know I should love above everything to be able to spend a few days or many days with you. But I just don't see how I can do it, sweetness. You know what my work here is—no work at all, but just sort of filling in here and there. I really am not important; nor do I do so very much for Edith; but I feel that I ought to be at hand to do whatever I can and especially as I have really had a whole week's vacation, while your father and she were in the West and may have another, if they go South. (Don't speak of the possibility: your father doesn't yet admit it.)Then, as you say, the trip to Williamstown is expensive; and I really can't pay for it myself and haven't the nerve am not willing to let your father pay for it. Altogether, I am afraid the beautiful dream, which we had ever since last summer, was cannot be realized this winter.
I am so sorry about your having had to pay express on your boxes! You may remember the half-witted person in the office named Thomas. He came to me the other day and said he had found that if he sent your boxes by freight they would be tied up for a month, so without waiting to find out from some one else what to do he had calmly had them out by express! I tried to explain that it would have been better to wait at least a day, to make sure he was doing right, but he didn't seem to get me at all; and he didn't even know whether the boxes had been sent collect or paid for!I asked Titus to send you the sewing-machine by freight; was that right? And I'll see at once about the bookcase. I should think even if you got the wrong one you might as well have some bookcase; for your fatherwont need his furniture for another year, anyhow.
I'll remind Margie to ask about the summer plans. She has been away so much that she really hasn't had much time in which to talk to your father.
About the MacMurray wedding—I am glad you suggested that your father might want to g send a present: I never thought of reminding or suggesting it to him. Of course I don't know just what the family's assocations with the MacMurrays are, but I can't see how if you are indebted to Mr. M.your father's sending them him a gift does away with the indebtedness; do you? I take it you are asking for my frank opinion, or I'm giving it—and I may be quite wrong!As to the Howes, I was astounded by what you wrote; and yet I don't know why I should be, for I have felt convinced for some time that Cousin Annie is determined to live at the White House. If Edith hadn't resolutely ignored the most barefaced hints, they Howes would have been here still and I think this new move is simply meant to force her to ask them to come here. Certainly Philadelphia is where they should be if they Annie is to get her divorce and it does seem to me they might stay where they are for a while if only to help you out—when your father is supporting them!If they aren't there, I think I know of an ideal place for you to board. After I left the Jefferson I went to a house th in which my beloved Miss Dinkle boarded, where I rested for a few days before coming to Washington. It is a plain but scrupulously clean house kept by two old maids from Virginia, one of whom is a trained nurse; and the meals were good, though plain, and well cooked. The only fault I had to find with the place was that the two old ladies were too attentive and no one but a cross-grained old maid with nerves such as I then had would mind that; for they really are dears. And as I remember it the expense of staying with them was very small. If you would like me to find out about them, I'll do so gladly; I know they'll take you in if they still have the houseAnd whether I ought to leave home or not; and no matter how little our blessed old beau of a Dr. D. lets me see you, I mean to be sitting on the sidewalk outside the hospital, if they wont let me in, when your baby comes.Agnes indeed! She shan't do all the seeing about you, you precious child!I wish you'd look at the size of this book! And I haven't really answered more than two questions in the whole of it. I'll try to answer them very soon.Your father and Edith stood the western trip well He looked tired and after the Judicial Reception both of them actually were; but I think k they are pretty well rested now. Last evening we went to the Keith's—your father, Edith Mrs., Miss and Mr. lling, and I. The s were as interesting as ever.Ellen McAdoo is the biggest thing for her age I've ever seen—weighs twenty pounds and has three teeth. She's a very adorable baby. What a lucky family we are in our babies!

Loads of love, sweet, from


Original Format





Bones, Helen Woodrow, “Helen Woodrow Bones to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre,” 1916 February 6, WWP17528, Jessie Wilson Sayre Correspondence, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.