[note on envelope] Piscataquog [Mills?] Me.W0011 TO [DR.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN from his sister Eliza
Mar 23 1827 [Likely date]1
To: [Dr.] Calvin McQuesten Brunswick, Maine
From: Bedford, New Hampshire
We have had quite a lonely day but a quiet and happy one and often have I wished I could know how you are passing your time. Charles2 has gone to Goffstown and we are quite alone the family have retired and I am seated alone by a warm fire in our kitchen. Imagine to yourself what a pleasant chat we should have could you make yourself a guest of my happy department; but as this is impracticable, I will suffer my thoughts to roam till they have wandered over that little streak of country which separates us, and enter your study and hold "silent converse." I returned from Washington a fortnight after you left home. I had as pleasant a visit quite as I anticipated. I find I enjoy the most when I expect the least and experience less disappointment which is always a bitter ingredient in the cup of anticipated pleasure.
I became some acquainted with the Girls in the village; saw Jane White who, Frank told me, was a favourite of yours when I first went up. Mary Greenleaf quite comfortable much better as she thought than she was in the fall. I called on her and found her apparently quite comfortable she was fully confident that she was fast recovering and is indeed thought she was about as well as ever; she wanted to see you and tell you how well she had got. I called with Frank C. the day before I left she was unable to be up, had been rather more unwell for a week. I did not see her she told her mother if anyone called to see her to tell them she had taken a little cold and would be about again in a few days she had an increase of cough and pain in her side. I presume it was the consumption preying upon her vitals and if not all this will eventually close her life. Her mother could not refrain from weeping. I presume she had no hope of her but is careful to keep her fears from Mary. I thought she was an interesting girl and felt deeply interested in her situation.
I visited Col. Trains, I think it is an agreeable family. Miss Sarah is quite pretty. Frank G. was quite polite all on your account. I presume he has sent you a piece of Jane's poetry upon conditions I would not tell who sent it to which proposal I did not accede. Elizabeth wished she had a black seal to send you to seal upon your heart.
I will insert a copy. I would send you the originals but it would double your postage which is not worthwhile.
Dove harps of sorrow unknown thing
Why, hang it on the willow tree
Tho' harkens wild wind sweeps o'er thy string
It wakes no tone of witchery.
Why is the wreath of silence hung
Around thy form, that dark wild wreath.
Why mute of the mournful chords which rung
The lay of love the dirge of death.
Is it that a smile is beaming
Upon thy soul whose sigh thou art
A ray of sunlight brightly gleaming
Around the ruins of the heart.
Loved Harp then like a mountain stream
Which surely follows when storms are nigh
Which sparkles in the transient gleam
That darts athwart a cloudy sky.
But when the sun in splendour throws
Its fervid beams o'er land and sea
No more the murmuring streamlet flows
Mute as its mountain melody.
And though mute neath pleasures ray
Love Harp no tones of sweetness waking
But oft along thy string is heard
The deep wild music of a heart that's breaking.
Don't you think she is very kind. I guess she wants to make up.
Perhaps by this time you like to hear a word from Bedford. Firstly Mr. Hall has settled with Mr. K. and cleared out. Secondly we have had our town meeting, chose Capt. Canly representative, among other things the report of schools was read after which the inquiry was made what should be done with said report in answer to said inquiry. Isaac Riddle made a motion that it should be laid upon the table. There was a (want of civility)-----
[written on left side of the page:] We had a great singer on Friday all the music instruments in town and Annis into the bargain. If you had not written write immediately after receiving this. I ought not to have told you the author of the poetry but I thought it would increase its exhilarating affect upon your spirit.
[written on right side of the page:] I had forgotten to tell you that Brother has lost his little boy he lived for three weeks.
[written on left side of the page:] I am ashamed I have written so much trash.
1 This letter is folded in from the four sides to form an envelope-wrapper and the address is written on the blank space on the back of the page, as was the custom of the day. The upper left of the envelope reads Piscataquog [Mills?] Me., March/27, which likely is 1827; but the letterhead states Bedford, March 23; Piscataquog is the name of a river and a town, which is very close to Bedford, the home of the McQuesten family. The envelope is addressed to Mr. Calvin McQuesten, Brunswick, Maine. In 1827, Calvin entered Bowdoin College in Brunswick Maine to study medicine (Minnes 1, 8).
2 Charles is Calvin's nephew, son of his brother William.