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[This letter was sent c/o Dr. Calvin McQuesten.]

W-MCP5-6.362 TO ISAAC BALDWIN MCQUESTEN from his cousin Mary
Dec 25 1863
To: Isaac Baldwin McQuesten, Hamilton, Canada West
From: Plymouth, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]

My Dear Cousin Isaac,

I intended to have wished you a Merry Christmas last night, but was obliged to spend the evening in preparing bills for painting, with reference to a sale which our Soc. hold for the benefit of our sick and wounded soldiers, next Thursday &c. I hope it has been a merry and pleasant one to you all. Among the mercies for which I have today rendered thanks to "our Christ the Giver" have been the social ones, which have made me nice friends in you my dear Canada cousins.

And first of all, let me thank you for your unexpected and beautiful expression of love sent us by Jessie [Aileen?]. She sent the parcel through by express, on her arrival in Boston and it reached us just after Sister Carrie left on her journey. You could not have pleased her better in the selection of a bridal present, and if ever you see her, as I trust you may, you may rest assured you will receive a "compound content" in the [?] you specified.

But as for myself, dear Isaac, I send you many thanks for your [?] volume given me, and could I reach you with my arms tonight, would give you Christmas greetings most affectionately.

Since last I wrote you, I think I have received three letters and notes, and they have been appreciated, though like now unanswered. You know the reason, I secured your last enclosed in your dear mother's Monday. Thank her for the very welcome letter, and tell her I shall answer it, when I have discharged my debt to you. Yours are considered a treat by our whole family, as I send what is not confidential and all pronounce a remarkably gifted letter writer. I am quite proud of, as well as entertained by your forms in this line. Are you aware how you have improved since the first? I wish you could gain more from me.

And now, mon cher cousin, I will tell you a little of the wedding. Carrie was married at a little before nine on Thursday eve, the 17th. She was dressed in a plain white silk with veil and orange flowers. I was the first bridesmaid, wearing a plain purple, waistkoat [sic] and bouquet of hot house flowers. A gentleman from Chicago officiated as groomsman. Miss Jeans of Concord was second wearing a plain blue silk, with flowers and assisted by Hen. Allen Tensy of State. About fifty were present, and what was remarkable, not a tear was shed, from the beginning till she left us. "All was merry as the marriage bell." We had many friends from a distance and all [?] in good spirits and much remaining til Sat'y and til into this week nor did not realize that [loneliness?] as should have, had all gone away with the bridal couple. They left the next morn, and we have heard twice from them this week. They spent the Sabbath in New York and Monday night arrived in Washington. They will spend today in Baltimore and come lately to Philadelphia--you remember--"that wonderful city"!! (Dr. B.). They then visit Hartford and New Haven, and come by the last of the week to Boston. She had some beautiful presents.

They board in a private family house, two large rooms. Father told her she "should have what she wants" and every wish was gratified. Her wardrobe was beautiful and after buying her furniture, &c., he gave her one of Steinway's five hundred dollar Pianos. He gave her a valuable watch and a set of Arbuckle jewelry,1 and also both of us nice chains. I received many things from him likewise so I had the "rose without the thorns." Seldom does one or as a couple go forth so kind as they.

He is an only child and his Mother told me she could truly say, she did not believe there lived a child who had tried harder in all things to please his parents than Charles.2 Such a man can not fail of making a good husband. His business habits are unequalled by any young man in the vicinity and his success has been remarkable. Over all he is an upright man and one who desires to do right. Carrie united with the church at the last communion, and to us all it is gratifying to feel that in joy and in sorrow, in prosperity and adversity, in life and in death, Christ is above all in all their life and plans. You will hear from her, as soon as she gets quietly settled.

Dr. McQuesten spends the winter in Boston and his daughter with a married sister in Illinois. So they are not present. We invited Spalding, Mr. I. and family. He and Mrs. & Mr. I. came. The daughter and "that Gray you went afishing with," not making his appearance. No regrets.

Dear Isaac, you are younger than your cousins and you are the rocks on which many of them have couched their all. Not a single one that you saw has done as well as he might. You will take warning, will you not? And now my dear cousin in sober mood, as I could say to a brother. In spending money, see that you get an equivalent. Do not adopt the mode of most rich man's sons and become foolishly fast. Isaac were I in your place I should begin each day with a quiet prayer--and in the same way close its accounts. "Prayer locks up the dangers of the night and unlocks the blessings of the day." I know I have been kept from temptation. Strengthened to resist evil--and I fully believe have received unnumbered blessings through a remarkably pleasant life in answer to prayer. Oh, I do think it strange that a human heart can hold back gratitude in God, for His mercies. I dare trust this new strength in going through this world. May these hints cause you to think my gay swain and let the holiest influences of life full in a tender heart. You have all around you loving Christian friends, and above all a kindest Mother who hallowed your birth with tears, and your life if you had then, with her dying prayers.

My letter is [?] but it is the evening sacred in holy memories, as well as the evergreen and holly boughs. Your affectionate strain now and then quite wins my heart, and you may to be sure that I fully reciprocate all you express towards me. I love you all dearly and my thoughts turn to you in H. as oft as a Pilgrims to his [?]. My love to Mr. and Mrs. McKeand.3 I shall surely write the latter sometime. And a kiss for the baby. Also my kindest remembrances to Dr. Ormiston. Would you both like a tour Easter card?

Mother says she wants to see you, with your frolicsome face on. You knew it was very much when you stood by her bed. She says, she will take Carrie's place, and you have no idea how much she can do it. Cultivate your musical talents in the utmost and when I see you again we will perform together. It is in certain about Isaac's visiting my thoughts. I have written again for his charms. She says beautiful things of you. I can not quote now it is so late. But like me, she thinks you a "remarkable youth"--young product of a fine man. You will not disappoint us cousin dear? All will be kept by me with the utmost discretion Isaac, as regards that matter you mention. Now for your cousin Mary doing or saying anything, but what you, in your interest [?] might wish. Oh, the villains in H. They will surely meet their deserts, and in the end, your Father and his friends theirs. The good are even the distillation of the bad. To you all, a great deal of love from us unitedly and remember we all receive your letters with pleasure, especially yours.

Affectionate and grateful,

Cousin Mary

[P.S. on separate page:]

Dear Cousin Isaac,

I hope all domestic matters to enclose a few in Carrie's letter. You were naughty not to write me but I will do as I wish to be done by. I wish you all manner of good things. Be a very good boy. I am going to write your father soon. Please give our kind regards to your Aunt Margaret. With a great deal of love, I am as ever your,

Affectionate cousin


[Written in margin of first page:]

A friend of mine from [Mass.?] at the wedding mentioned that a friend of hers, has a Father who thinks very highly of yours, Mr. Batchelder of Lynn4--Tell Dr. McQuesten the dear man--I imagine his handsome head tonight in front of me and I [am] wishing him many more Christmases and New Years. A kiss to your mother.

1 We have been unable to locate Arbuckle jewelry; however, an internet search of several sites suggests a connection of "Arbuckle"in the 1870's, as a retailer of Native Indian Turquoise jewelry.

2 Carrie married Charles Dole in December 1863 as described by her sister, Mary, in this letter. (See also W-MCP5-6.272, W-MCP5-6.273, W-MCP5-6.274, W-MCP5-6.274a, W-MCP5-6.275, W-MCP5-6.276, W-MCP5-6.277, W-MCP5-6.361, W-MCP5-6.363, W-MCP5-6.367, and possibly others). Unfortunately Carrie died of a fever after childbirth in 1865, but the baby, a boy, survived (see W-MCP5-6.276, W-MCP5-6.366, and W-MCP5-6.367).

3 The McKeands are relatives of Elizabeth Fuller, third wife of Dr. Calvin McQuesten.

4 Jacob Batchelder Jr. and John Batchelder were classmates of Dr. McQuesten's at Bradford Academy. Among Dr. McQuesten's school essays, he retained a copy of two of Batchelder's essays: "Liberty and Slavery" dated August 28, 1824, and "On Compassion" dated October 6, 1826, and some letters (See W0368, W0392, W0039, W0050, W0088). Lynn is on the coast of Massachusetts, not far from Boston.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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