W0732 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mary (Lerned) Flanders and her mother Mrs. Catharine Lerned
Oct 10 1834
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
My dear Sister Margarette,
I returned from visiting my friends in Vermont, friday eveg [sic] 19th ult. As soon as I was seated by a cheerful fireside, Rhoda said, "Mr Bailey has returned from the West with sad tidings. Margarette is dangerously sick with a fever, and her babe is dead."1 This intelligence connected with the fatigue of two weeks journey deprived me of sleep and mental or bodily rest that night. My nerves were so affected I could hardly keep still in bed. I remained in anxious suspense, till Sabbath P.M. 21st ult. Mr. Chase handed in a letter directed to Mother, from your husband. We hardly dare read its contents but our joy was great indeed to hear you was on the gain.
I did heartily congratulate you, in the prospect of being a Mother, especially hoping it would be an improvement to your future health. And as truly do I sympathise with you in the death of your Son. I can feel for you from experience. My babe lived to be 7 months old, full of little interesting actions, to remind me of him, when he was removed from sight and time. Yet I had others left. But yours was your first born, your only Son. Although I enjoyed his society but a few days, yet his loss is great indeed. [?] I feel very much for you, my dear sister. I long very much [?] with you, and administer to your little wants. Undoubtedly you find a much greater comforter in God than in all earthly friends. The world is bereft of all consolation in the day of affliction. It is but an empty void. We must seek comfort from a higher source, and we have great reason to think you do. God was pleased in infinite Wisdom to take your babe to himself. Yet I hope and trust he will restore you, your former health, and much more strenghth [sic]. I think of you a great deal and think (had not a family prevented) should have gone immediately to Brockport on hearing of your sickness. But it was ordered otherwise. I could not--nor I cannot go. Should your health permit, shall certainly expect to see you here another summer--think I cannot be denied.
Wednesday Eve 15th. Since writing the above I have seen Urania. She called on me last saturday noon--will spend a week in town, then return to Vermont. I expect her to visit me tomorrow. I could but weep while she was here on hearing of your sufferings for months past. But to pity, is all I can do for you. Mountains and hills intervene to obstruct all my good actions for your comfort. Yet, my dear sister Margarette, my heart is often with you. Often while gasing [sic] at the bright orb of night--which gives light to you as well as me and as often in the silent watches of the darkest night, my mind wanders to Brockport, and takes a seat at your fireside, conversing with a Lady in a rocking chair--with a red flannel on. Could this be a reality I think our conversation would not be quite so mute. But it is a sad reality. Margarette is "far away." We will all make the best of it and think your health is improving, as Urania says she thinks you will be better than formerly. I hope so. I think possibly you may have Charlotte on there if Mr. Colby gets suited to his mind.
It is a general time of health in Hopkinton. I dont recollect of anything new since we last wrote. Received a letter from Louisa within a few days. All well. Cousin Emeline went home in August. Benjamin and Hannah came up for her, left love for you. Louisa received a paper from you with a few words written on it to me. Our Children all well, grow fast. Martha Jane, a great talker. Daniel sends love with me to you both. I wish very much to see the Doctor with you here. Shall expect a long letter of particulars, soon as able to write. Must leave the rest of the sheet for Mother to fill.
Your affectionate sister
Mary Elisa [Mary (Lerned) Flanders] (I have written in haste you percieve) [sic]
[Written on the same page as above, letter from Mrs. Catharine Lerned:]
My dear daughter & Son
October 15, 1834
In your deep affliction you have had a Mothers sympathy, yes my children I [?] not only wept for you but I have prayed for you and have had [?] to rejoice that my daughter was spared not only in this [hour of?] danger, but that she has been preserved and carried through avery [sic] distressing sickness. Oh what a comfort it was to me to see and hear Urania tell about you and the dear little Son, whom I am never to see in this world, yet I had thought much about it, how it looks and how dear Margaret would look with ababy [sic], in her lap and what the Dr. would say and do, all these things had been much talked over by us all.
Edward was very much affected when he brought the letter to me from the Church and I read it him it was then carried back to the Church that Mary might read the [?] news that you was better, the children all appeared to feel deeply for you and we must, Margaret, see you some way next Summer. I was very near starting for B. but my friends thought it was too late in the season for me to undertake such a journey. I am now more reconciled as I have seen Urania, she speaks in the highest terms of your hus. kindness to her and of his great faithfulness to you as Husband and as physician.
But none of those things fully satisfy me I must see you Margaret, and do come. My children are all with me, and I have four boarders, my health very good except rheumatic pain. Dr. [Gregg?] brought [a plaster] of opium and camphor yesterday thinks it will relieve me [?]. Lydia came Tuesday and will stay with me untill [sic] my boarders go away. She says do send my best love to Margaret I always lovd [sic] that girl the best of any of them &c.
[Thurston?] is coming to live with Mary. I wish you could see little Martha Jane she is my favorite the prettiest of [my?] children I think. Miss Joynes has been in this morn and sends much love to you she is coming to pass next Tuesday with me. Two years have past [sic] since you left us and three years since the death of your Father. I cannot realise it. There are many things that seem like dreams to me but they are not. The loss of my Husband or your departure, they seem like sad realities as they really are. Yet as it respects both I hope that I [feel?] as I ought to, and [to?] say not my will but thine be done.
I am now Margaret in my fiftieth year, old age is fast coming upon me. I feel it sensibly and should I not be able to come to you, you must come to me. I will engage that one of the four Sisters shall return with you if it should be the wish. [Catharine's?] health is now quite good she has colour and gains flesh fast. I do hope that she will in future be more careful. She has suffered not a little, all by carelessness, I think. With the best wishes for my children's health and happiness I must close.
Your brother E. [Edward] sits by me getting his lesson, says, tell M. I am coming to B. [Brockport] in a year or two, give my love, the children all want to see you and they never, never, will forget you if you are not able to write do have your Husband write afew [sic] lines. I shall feel anxious untill [sic] I know that your health is fully established.
Your loving Mother
Catharine S. Lerned
Thursday morn. As mother did not quite fill the sheet, I will scribble a little more. I think I will second all she says--and more too--I [portion of letter missing] and order. Her Children are little ladies, especially Hannah Brooks--a steady Mrs. [Towne?]--no glib of the tongue all sedateness--fleshy--and a handsome form. I think will be the Superior. Hear no bad accounts of Edward attends to his studies. Think should an opportunity offer Mother would be pleased to have one of them visit you. Should have mailed this letter 11th. Have had company--my girl gone and so forth. Expect [Thurston?] tonight. Almost impossible to get help. Catharine Little, and Ellen Green just called. E Little in Boston. Wiggin has not been in any business since his marriage they stay at his Father's. Where is Morse Stanley? near you? The Academy in a very prosperous state. Mr. Buss [?] and wife with child, spent a week in town. Must again say adieu for the present.
Your sister in love,
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten
Brockport, New York
1 Margarette's son, Calvin Jr. was born August 15, 1834, and lived only 10 days. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.