W0751 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Catharine C. P. Lerned
Feb 13 1835
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Charlestown, Massachusetts, [U.S.A.]
Loved sister Margarette,
[Written along left side of page:] I walked into Boston yesterday P.M. with Miss Cheney & call'd at her brothers room--[J.C.?] He is an [eng?] saw him work awhile. Tell E. that the sign of "Allen & Welles" has lately been changed to "Welles, Delano & Co."
Tis a holiday with us to day, and since the storm prevents an outdoor excursion, think my time will be well employed within by writing & answering your last welcome letter. In truth, letters are happy messengers to me always; & permit me to add that yours are particularly so. I can be candid, I trust, withot [sic] the appearance of flattery.
I sent a bundle of letters to H. [Hopkinton] last Wednesday, by Dr. Marshall--he will return Tuesday, and I will not close this line till I receive communication from H. Dr. M. has been very polite to me since here--has [waited?] on the board to the Navy Yard, & is requested by the trustees to deliver an address on "Exercise" at the Seminary Hall. His wife & babe are passing the winter at Augusta [Me?]. Our house has been a Hospital for some weeks past but at present most all are well. Three have had Fevers; one a Lung Fever, and most all Coughs & colds. I [?] myself with the last class of sick ones, and was only absent from [recitation?] 2 days. The collar, "a sister's gift," is commenced, and 1/3 of [1/2?] completed. Everyone admires the pattern, and my chum, Miss Cheney, has to day began a cape, after the same style. But tis dinner time, so must close.
Sat. Eve. This P.M. have met with the class in "Moral Philosophy." In my room every day save Friday. Miss Whiting is Teacher. Have been working steadily on the collar, & Miss C. on her cape, whiles [sic] Miss E. Jackson has read aloud, part of the "Tales of the Hall" by Rev. Geo. [Ceeble?], filling [?] numbers of the "Republic of Letters," & all poetry too. J.W. [Gunnison?] sent them to me a month since; and I've not read them but half through. My time seems "shortest now of ever." Have only read since here Newspapers "Life of Rev. John Murray," first Universalist minister ever in America & "F. Butler's Journal." The Letters a Ridiculous production for one who was so highly rated as Miss [Kemble?]. I have bought a season ticket for the Lyceum. [?] His Excellency E. Everette Gov. is President. Have heard him Lecture once on "Persian Antiquities." Have been into B. many times. Call'd on Miss Welles Dec. 22. She was packing to visit H. some two or three weeks. [She?] & Mrs. Hardwick & P. [Molony?] board No. 20 La Grange Place. Have seen them. Charlotte Eaton, M. Chandler & E. Coolidge rode to see me a week since, with [?] C. and pass'd nearly 3 hours. We had a fine chat. I went by invite to Woburn Dec. 23rd & remained till 28th at Mr. Conners. Warren Richardson, who visited H. with Jonathan Perkins, many years since, is married, and lives in W., has two boys, and a fine wife. I had a good visit & too, kept pace the while with my classes. Jan. 13th left for Reading & remained at Cousin Warren P's till the 19th. Had a "splendid" time. Went with a party to Salem had a supper--visited the Museum. W. has 4 girls & 3 boys. His brother, Elliot, living near, has a son William, about 26 yrs old call'd a great beauty--black eyes--whiskers &c. looks like Cyrus Chase--brought me to C. He with 5 other gents & 5 ladies came a week since last Tuesday to B. They came for me in a coach, & after taking supper at the Marlborough, we attended the Lion Theatre, back of the Lion Hotel. The feats of horsmenship [sic] were splendid, and the riders remarkable for beauty & agility. The songs were pretty & the [?] or [?] where were horses processions soldiers--drums--musick [sic]--fire &c. intermingled with [?tion] Masquerade & Bridal Fete forming 5 acts. We had a second repast at the M. Hotel & [?] C. at [?] o'clock. Dec. 20 attended the Tremont Theatre, with [Mr?] Blodget [?] cousin & partner. The play that famous "La Somnambula" & the great actors--Mr. & Mrs. Wood! Well is it said that America boasts not their [equal?] in vocal powers. Mr. [Brough?] & Madame Otto & the graceful dancer Miss McBride were on the stage. The play was repeated [?] nights, each drawing crowded houses. The play of [?], at the Lion, has been presented 7 nights, with [continued?] applause. The pretty Miss Johnson & Mr. [?] are there, playing the part of "Flora and Cupid" in which appearance they [dance?] splendid figures. It seemed to me impossible for a female to look so delicate, or to dance with so much grace in such flying steps. Have been into B. at meeting 2 Sundays once with [Mr?] Blodget attending Mr. Taylors (Sailors) church, and dining with Mrs. Tebbits Mother. P.M. went with Mrs. [Brown?] to Dr. Lowell's--then with Mr. Blodget to the Catholic here. I admired Mr. Taylor--saw him baptize an infant. He kiss'd it once or twice–exhibited it to the audience, sprinkled, and blessed it. I do not attend any meeting in particular but go where convenience calls. Miss Whiting gives consent.
Tell Edward that [G?] Porter has commenced business for himself. [?] has call'd--is about filling a store in B. Joseph [?] sent me a long letter some days since (Mother forwarded it) relative to our "spree" that night we read church service & eat [sic] the pie and Ed. officiated as Priest. [?] is in B.--have seen Mr. Flint once or twice at the Menagerie, but to my sorrow not Mr. Nichols or his [?]. J. Currier is expelled from W. [P?], and has joined a company of volunteers to Texas--thank him for his paper, & tell him to write me.
Sat. before last the young ladies of the Seminary [80?] in number rode to Salem. But 4 from 37 boarders remained in this house, & I among the number. Received calls the same P.M. from Mrs. Brown, one of the Teachers & Miss M. Gainwell of Providence, a former teacher at this Sem. I love her much for she is the facsimile of Margarette. Had calls also from Mr. Convers & Robert Davis, a Sandwich Islander who boarded at [?] C's for his health a year or two since. His mother has married Mr. Jones our [Council?] to the S. [?], and he has come to B. to finish his education. He is not handsome, but considered a scholar of the first magnitude--has received a splendid medal from the Mayor of B.--has traveled much, to China &c and is only 18 yrs old!
You asked me who my gent corespondent [sic] was. First I'll enumerate my female ones. Mother--Margarette & Miss [N. Moor?]. As to males, I have one; & that one an old acquaintance and I think a good & trusty friend. I have, however, answered but one letter and that a week since; my [sanction?] to an intercourse not having been given till last fall. That person the only one I ever corresponded with (save some 2 or 3 letters to J. [?]) is J.W.[G?]. I dare not say the name, or any farther. Do not tell Edward.
As to W. Chase, he stated last in his letter--"if you wish to hear the rest, vouchsafe me an answer." "The rest" can be easily imagined, and as I do not wish to hear the same, think I shall take no measure to draw forth the unknown words. You spoke of Miss Putnam. She is one of Mrs. [ alloch's] "Satellites"--is called a fine scholar but [pert?] & conceited. Miss Whiting says "Maria has a mind, and knowing it, she is not as unostentatious as a Christian should be but Mrs. [?] is blinded to the [faults?] of her favorites." Miss P. is very sociable & polite to my ladyship & so is Mrs. [N?] for that reason I'll forbear criticism. Adieu sis.
Sunday P.M. tis a cold day & I intend warming my brain by exciting my thoughts to action; and think my purpose will be affected should I commence writing. Tis uncertain whether I remain another term or not--shall stay through this till the last week in March. Have a good instructor in Musick [sic]--Mr. Hartt. Took for one lesson "False one! I love thee still" "as sung by Mr. Wood, in the Opera in La Somnambula." Tis a splendid thing, and hard to sing. Am playing now "Away! away to the mountains brow." Tell Ed. I took "Pensez a moi" for my second lesson--a song much admired.
Now M. you must write me, e'er I [?] C. a long letter, and presenting my love to your husband, tell him to vouchsafe me a line or two. My epistles are but a poor compensation, I know, for yours; still there is, I trust, a pleasure in giving as well as receiving. I shall take the liberty to send some parts of your letter to Miss W. as I did in your last. She thinks your sayings good. I was surprised to hear of E's attention to the subject of religion. B. seems to be a famous place for conviction, and I trust conversions will be real--will be the work of the Spirit, not the thoughts of man.
Think not by my letter that I dissipate, since I keep pace with my classes and all my outgoings have been stated; and I think I've been remarkably steady for one in the midst of a large circle of acquaintance, who by the way I see but seldom, having told them I was a "school girl," and that business must be second before pleasure.
I attended meeting this A.M. at the Congregational Church. Mr. Crosby is call'd a fine preacher, & settled there. In P.M. went to the Universalist--Mr King--minister. In eve, heard Mr. Stone at the Baptist--an address before the "Charlestown Female Benevolent Society." Text Mark 10th [?] and a superior discourse. Tis the first evening meeting I've attended since here. Mr. [?] has been in and his [?] admire him. Miss Whiting thinks him very intelligent. The Misses Metcalf think him handsome. [?] with their opinion yet I'll acknowledge that Mr. B's manners are calculated to impress one favourably.
Monday. Fourteen Mondays previous to this we've had storms successively; but for a wonder tis fair, but cold without. Have been giving my head a real washing, and got a reprimand for the same. But I did not consider twas impudent to wash one's head in the middle of day, any more than at any other time. Took lesson in Musick [sic] this morn--"The Soldiers Tear." Should I have time, will copy the words, as I think them beautiful. Shall look for Dr. Marshall to night, or tomorrow, and I am all in a tremor for the expected letters as to some weeks since. I have heard from Mother. She was then unable to do anything being afflicted with the Rheumatism. If you knew how much I wish'd to see you & think you'd give us some hope of a visit this spring. Indeed M. I fear we shall all seem strangers, if you delay much longer. But I must away to tea.
Your sister in affection,
[Written vertically on page 753:] Attended Lyceum last eve--Lecture from Col. [?] of N.J. on "The Literature of the Bible"--rather interesting. Expected Dr. Marshall but was disappointed. Fear I shall have to wait forever if on him depends the receival of letters from home, or the sending of this. [?] E. learning to sing, or play the flute--wish he would do both. Do tell your husband to write me.
[Written vertically on page 752:] Do not think from my correspondence with William J. that I am engaged to him; [?] to speak my mind, I think him in every respect worthy my affections. But marriage is out of my faith; or engagements at present. He was, you know, a favorite of Father's and he is a particular one of our good ministers Mr. Chase. Two good judges of merit, I think.
20th. Tis slow to day. Have been looking for Dr. M. every [?] and [?] not the reason of his [?] Mrs. Browns, call'd last eve saying he thought he'd be at home to night. Guess my letter will be worn out as it is started for B.
Sunday Feb. 21st. Last eve came Dr. M. and the expected letters; also two of yours to Mother. I told Miss Putnam about the party, and she seemed quite gratified. She wishes me to go on with her in the spring. She sends love to her parents, wishes them to write very soon; and says she should like a box of cake. I'll now say what's going on at H.
Mrs. Lyman goes to the South soon with her son. M.D. [?] lives at the Hotel. Mr. Tucker has returned, and lives again with his Lizzy. They are circulating stories against Judge Chase & Dr. Gregg, relative to their unlawful intercourse with females. Another story has started that when she was sick last summer Dr. G. insulted her and declared he would kill her if she revealed the same. I always liked Dr. Gregg and he always treated me respectfully.
Cousin Hamlet Augustus & wife went to [?] to pass Christmas eve. The distance was such that they staid [sic] all night; and on their return their former dwelling was burned to the ground. Nothing was left them but the clothes on them! Mrs. Towne feels deeply for them. Capt. Moses [?] is dead; and Philip no one knows where. Capt. Green & wife are in town. Col. Long has presented the Church with two boxes--$5.00 apiece--on the outside. "The Gospel to every creature." They are to be put up the first Sunday in each month. Mother thinks Mr. D. is doing wrong not to send the money and hopes E. will appoint the Dr. guardian. Mr. D. says he is ready to settle any time.
Now my dear sis I must think of closing this letter. Do favour me soon with a long communication--and, believe me, yours in the deepest affection.
Catharine C. Lerned
P.S. Mothers health has improved. The teachers here are all extremely polite to me, and Mrs. [?]alloch lately has been so extreemely [sic] gracious that I feel bound to lay aside prejudice. Am going into B. tomorrow to call on Mrs. Welles, and get a tooth filled by the great Dr. Harwood. The filling has come out of the back tooth. Love to Caroline B and family C.
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten
Brockport, New York
[Postmark:] Charlestown, [Mass.] Feb 22
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.