Anna Marcet Haldeman-Julius to Jane Addams, ca. April 26, 1919 (fragment)


[page(s) missing] that Manuel would be away from Girard until Thursday. Mary said -- she had then wired to Oscar to locate Manuel, but had received no word. I thought probably he was up in North Dakota as I knew he had been expecting to interview the Governor of that state and get a good line-up on the non-partisan League, so we stopped into Western Union and found a wire from Louis Kopelin saying Manuel had left Girard that afternoon and would reach here the next day (Thursday). As it turned out, afterward, when Mary's first wire came he was in the hospital in Pittsburg where he had had a very serious abscess opened etc and he got up out of bed Wednesday just in time to catch the train here. You know, Auntie, I haven't been east for four years (comes this summer) and as soon as I got to New York, practically, I had to turn straight around and come back to find Grandmother had gone and that Manuel had needed me. It quite tore my heart, for, to leave without seeing dear friends I had [page 2] been fairly hungering for so long.

From the telegraph office, Mary and I went to select the casket for Grandmother (my mind carried me back to the time when you and Miss Landsberg and I chose mothers!) We decided upon a lovely grey one, Auntie, and Grandmother in one of her silver-grey dresses and the soft lace shawl you gave her two years ago on her birthday looked so beautiful -- like a lovely crumpled, creamy rose.

I am carrying a baby and it gave me a strange, deep feeling as, after Mary and I had helped place Grandmother in the soft casket and had arranged the little details, I stood looking down into her valiant, quiet, sleeping face. It was the only time in my life, Auntie, that death had seemed to be the wholly natural thing -- just as birth would be the wholly natural thing for the new baby at the end of a rounded term. When death comes, as it came to Grandmother at the end of a full, long [page 3] completed life, it is as beautiful as birth.

There was a very real, profound wrench from the breaking of the last tie between father and myself, but the thought kept rising as I looked at Grandmother: you are living on within me, now; through father your life has passed into me and through me your spirit quivers at this moment under my heart!

Grandmother lay here in here own little room and Mary and I brought an extra cot into the front room and she and I slept downstairs. Aunt Laura stayed the night. There were just the four of us here that first night. It was very sweet and simple. Mary and I talked a little. I wanted her to know right away that we should not disturb anything at all for the present and that she must feel free to stay right on or to go and come as she chose. I knew, of course, Auntie, that Grandmother's going was in many ways harder for her than for any of us. I told her that I had made the [page 4] mistake of breaking up one home too soon and on no account should we do anything to this one, one way or another for a year, at least, and that if I were she, I shouldn't make any decisions for a little while -- just [drift?]. That I had found the thing to do in a crisis like this was to do nothing at all.

Mary said she was glad I felt that way, that she would rather stay on here than anything -- at least for the summer. You see, Auntie, Grandmother was so much closer to you and Mary and me than to anyone else and you were so far away that we quite naturally drew together. There was no one else to whom her going brought the tender ache -- the sense of breaking ties as it did to us. At heart Mary and I are both kind, we are both loving by nature and we have memories and memories in common. Human nature has ugly depths. You get started being suspicious and unkind and suspicion begets suspicion, hatred begets hatred, unlovely word and deed calls out unlovely [page 5] word and deed. It is as in war: people like countries who are at swords points simply lose the power of clear vision. But it is just as true that human nature has divine heights -- confidence induces confidence, consideration stirs consideration, tenderness, tenderness; gentleness and loveliness call out gentleness and loveliness and it is possible to mutually forgive and forget.

Thursday was a very busy day -- full of those many very material details so [necessary] if the supreme ceremony is to be stripped of all materialism and lifted into the realm of the spirit and of beauty. Many had wired Miss Smith as soon as Grandmother died, thinking she might cable you as we did not have your address. Miss Smith wired at once to let her know when the funeral would be held so she could come out. You can't think what a comfort her coming was. She seems so much a part of you that you seemed very near. When on Thursday we wired her the time, I asked her to tell Weber and say that we hoped he [page 6] could be here (but it was impossible for him to get away). We wired Sarah and Esther and all Grandmothers [nieces] and nephews. Not one of them sent even a wire except Cousin Sarah and Cousin Sue. Cousin Sarah could not come because of Cousin Linneus who is critically ill, so Cousin Sue was the only Hostetter here. She came Friday morning as did Miss Smith and Esther.

Aunt Flora was a host in herself. She came out Thursday afternoon when we brought Manuel and I shall never be grateful enough to her for her sweetness. There were just she and Mary and Manuel and I here Thursday evening and Friday morning. (Aunt Laura was with Sarah who came Thursday night on the hill).

The house was a bower of flowers. The older Hull House residents, Miss Starr, Miss Benedict, Miss Eleanor Smith, Miss Waite, Miss [Hannig] and Miss Landsberg send a wonderful large wreath of laurel with warm yellow roses that we placed under the casket. (It stood, for the services, just [page 7] where mother's did, in the living room, and Mary, Manuel and Aunt Laura and I sat in the bay window and Sarah and Esther and Miss Smith and Cousin Sue and the others who had come out in the front room and guests who came for the services only, in the [dining] room and Grandmother's room). Miss Smith had selected a wide spray of especially lovely roses and forget-me-nots for you and we laid it on the casket with the delicate purple irises she, herself, had brought. On the Victrola, covering the whole top of it, was a wide spray of roses from the Breeds; the Bidwells, Miss Barton, John Fry, the Missionary society here, Grace Michelson and several of my friends sent beautiful sprays and flowers and on the casket beside the iris and roses were two sprays of spring flowers -- tulips and violets, daffodils and [mignonette], sweet lavender and narcissus. The piano and the book-cases were laden too and in her hand which looked in death just as it did in life, Grandmother held, until we closed the casket, a single orchid. You remember the little pillow you gave [page 8] her -- your last gift to her Mary says? It was under her head under the silk lining of the casket and she looked so comfortable. The scarf fell over and concealed one hand that was by her side and the other was held as she always did against herself.

A great many old friends came out from Freeport and all spoke of you. It did seem so strange not to have either you nor Cousin Sarah Hostetter there! I had a feeling of being very much alone in the deeper sadness of Grandmother's going -- except for Mary, Manuel was sweet and tender, but of course he hadn't the long association with Grandmother. He is always sensitive and full of understanding but he hadn't even known father nor uncle nor mother! And Sarah and Esther and Aunt Laura were sweet, too, but it didn't touch them closely. Aunt Laura it did much more than the girls. I longed for you, Auntie.

We had the family chapter -- the 4th of Ephesians, a grandson of Mr. Krohn sang and Mr. McGowan made a very [page 9] acceptable talk.

It was a beautiful day and I have never seen the details at the cemetery so thoughtfully attended to. One could see the side of Uncle's cement vault. Grandmother lies close to him as she would have wished.

I shall write you again soon. At present I shall stay until Mary arranges to have some one here. She hopes to have Ned (John's youngest child). We speak of you constantly and wonder so much about you and the experiences you are having. I hope all is working out smoothly and that the Swiss women are proving equal to their part of the responsibility.

Mary is writing you the details of Grandmother's illness. She too will write you again later.

With so much love, darling,