W-MCP5-6.334 TO ESTIMATE RUTH ESTHER BALDWIN [MCQUESTEN] from her friend B.R. [Betsey] Abbot
Apr 1 1841
To: Estimate Ruth Esther Baldwin [McQuesten] Meriden, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Wilton, New Hampshire
My dear Miss Baldwin,
Your last dear letter was received March 19th,1 and I had wished immediately to sit down & answer it, but thinking that you would feel interested to hear about our closing examination &c., I determined to wait till I got home before I wrote. You probably, in this, have received a letter from the Prudential Committee of District No. 3 in Nashua, requesting your services there this season. They had decided to write to you even before I received your letter. It will be my greatest happiness to be your "chum" the coming season, & so much do I anticipate from it, that I often fear that something will occur to prevent our both returning to Nashua.
I spoke to Mrs. Steele (a sister of cousin Charles) in regard to boarding us & they will be very happy to receive us. They gave me my choice of rooms, but I could not decide whether to have an east or west chamber. Which do you prefer? Will you just tell me when you write & I will secure your preference.
If we are so happy as to be together this season, may we do all in our power to assist each other in walking in that path which ends in eternal life--you know not how much I have missed you the past winter--especially in church & Sabbath school. I would not engage a seat for another till I saw you, for we must certainly sit together. They had just got through with the 12th volume of Union Questions, & I have decided to take the 3rd volume of Newcombe's Questions [?]2 which I think will be very interesting. I procured a book before I left from which we can study our lessons together. There has been a good degree of interest in our church for a number of weeks, & quite a number of conversions. The inquiry meeting was attended well, for several weeks before I left. Mr. Kendrick has stopped several times. Oh what a happy thing would it be if he should become an active devoted Christian. I have sometimes thought that he was in reality a disciple of Jesus, he shows so much interest in the subject of religion. I feel deeply interested for him, he has been a father almost to me this winter.
You probably knew Sabia Kimbale, she died a week or two since of brain fever. There was nothing very new going on when I left N. (I left on Monday Mar. 29th). I had some very pleasant companions which always makes journeying agreeable--found two gentlemen from Keene in the stage, who were acquainted with my friends there--they were very social, pleasant fellows.
But our examinations I have as yet said something about; I understand from Mr. Osgood that Miss Wright's examination was the best, he had ever attended in that room, by my own I will say nothing but that I was sick and unfit to be in school that day & for a week previous. Things passed off however quite as well as I expected. The examination in the upper room was very good & the Exhibition in the evening was a "little the best" ever known. I believe it is expected that brother Sanborn will return next winter & for one I am very glad for I do not believe that the committee will find a better teacher. I long to see you & talk over the occurrences of the past winter, for I dare not trust myself to write. Miss Wight left N. the day after school closed. She is expecting to return this summer. Little Harriet said I must give her love to Miss B. & tell her she had got another brother only a week or two old. Mrs. P. is I believe quite comfortable.
Many were rejoicing in the idea of your returning to Nashua--yet, I feel that I must not anticipate too much for how uncertain is every thing on earth! I was rejoiced on my return home to find a letter awaiting me from Maine, containing the joyful news that a dear cousin in whom I have always rejoiced as a brother, he recently became pious (you may perhaps recollect being home at Nashua as he spent a night with me there & visited my school). He is a young man of superior talents & if he is indeed a true Christian how much good he may do! I very much feared last fall when I saw him, that he was becoming a Unitarian, & that he would be a preacher of those doctrines. I now hope he will be a faithful preacher of Christ crucified for sinners.
It is a very interesting time in this place. The Baptists have been hosting a series of writings for several weeks, our society have united with them in these meetings. There have been quite a number of hopeful conversions. Some of our most promising young gentlemen & ladies have it is hoped devoted themselves to the Saviour. I have been too unwell to go out at all since I came home & so have not attempted any of the meetings. I pray that god will revive his work in my heart, that I may be led to humble and sincere repentance for past unfaithfulness & that I may not be an "idle spectator" in this interesting time, but that I may be an active devoted & meek Labourer in the cause of Christ.
My dear sister, I humbly hope you have not strayed from the faith of duty as I have done. Oh, how spotless ought the life of a Christian to be & how strange is it that having once felt the goodness & mercy of God & experienced his love in our hearts, we can be entangled by the vanities of this life & become indifferent to the worth of the soul. When we remember that His redemption is precious & that it endureth forever.
I find it very pleasant to sit down quietly at home without having the care of a school on my mind. I have here a very severe cold for a fortnight past, which is now getting better. I have been exposed to the measles during the last two weeks, but cannot yet consider whether I shall have them, I suppose I shall feel them in a day or two if I have them. At present I feel just about [?] enough to have them. I think I never shall teach so long a term without vacation, for I feel fairly tired out, & it seems as though our vacation of 5 weeks waits hardly be enough to rest me.
I presume there are many things I wish to say which I now cannot think of. I am glad you were so much interested in the Memoirs of J.A. Taylor. I have often read them & always with received delight. I think the most interesting memoir I ever [?] was that of Mrs. Smith's Missionary to Syria. If you have never read it you will be deeply interested in it. I intend if possible to procure a number of interesting memoirs before I return to N. I think they are profitable reading. Mrs. McFarlane is very good.
Should you return to N. how do you intend to pass your time out of school? I do not yet know whether I shall attend to music, I have thought of it, but I hope to study & need considerable. I have not studied any the past winter, our evenings have been so much taken up with lectures, meeting, parties &c. Do not fail to write as soon as you receive this. My parents desire their regards to you & your brother, he, perhaps, will recollect singing at our house. We should be very glad to see you both here. Why will you not visit us? I spent an evening at Mr. D. Crosby's very pleasantly a short time before I left it. They are very well there, I suppose you know that Miss Frances Parkinson is at Milford & has the charge of the Female Sem'y there. I hope she will be successful there.
I have a fine trust of books at home, our libraries, which before were very superior for a country town have recently been replenished with some valuable works. We now have out one of the volumes of Harper's Family Library on China, Herschel's Astronomy, Lilyard's Memoirs &c., which are very interesting. The two latter books are from our school district Library. I have not as yet done much but sit in the rocking chair since I came home. I hope to feel well in a few days. Am sorry you have been afflicted with teeth. I know how to sympathize with you.
Do forgive this careless writing & composition. I shall be impatient to hear from you. I do indeed long to go to school with you. I suppose you are by this time so far ahead of me that I should be two or three classes below you. Have you a catalogue of L. Hadley school which you will send me while I am at home? I will return it to you when we meet at Nashua. My father would like to know the course of study & I cannot recollect it.
Now dearest Miss B. you will write me very very soon for I long to hear from you & I must beg of you never to make another apology for the looks of your always neat letters. I am ashamed of mine beside yours. There is one charm about them both true friendship and love. I shall be in Wilton during my vacation. Oh, I wish you were here too. What joy would it give me to introduce you to any beloved friends in this place. We have a severe snow storm here today truly think 'tis the first of April. How quickly has the winter flown. Yes, time passes rapidly on & soon shall we be landed on the shore of Eternity. Oh, how happy a day will it be for us if we have our work done & are ready to meet the Lord in the air. Dear E. let us often meet at the throne of grace. Though we are separate in body, when there will you not pray for your ever affectionate sister.
B.R. [Betsey] Abbott.
1 B.R. Abbot wrote several letters to Estimate R.E. Baldwin (W-MCP5-6.312, W-MCP5-6.372, W-MCP5-6.375).
2 We have been unable to locate either of these books, but the context of the letter suggests that they are concerned with a Presbyterian Church Union debate of the day.