W0759 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Mar 22 1835
To: Margarette B. (Lerned) McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Much loved sister of my youth,
Days, weeks and months have rolled away since I last wrote you. Yet I have not forgotten you nor brother in my silence. As often as the Sun, bright orb of day, performs his diurnal revolution, so often (and much more so) my heart wanders to you, takes a seat by your fireside, tells of days "long since gang bye [sic]", ponders, reflects and anticipates with you, joins with you in your daily worship--then returns with speed to my little blooming group of healthy, playful boys and girls, who need my constant attention and occupy most all of my time, and cause me to be much more negligent to my friends than I otherwise should.
I believe I have not written to you since the 18th of October, the day your last letter was mailed to me. We all have the pleasure [?] reading each other's letters. Have received your last to L, [?] Lucy Ann and Catharine last Tuesday. The former spent [?] winter at Sandbornton. Attended the district school at S. and [?] school at Franklin. The latter made two weeks visit attended a Ball at Glidden's tavern, enjoyed themselves finely. C. and sister L. was going to write you soon. Her health has been very good, and would be now, only she cannot bear the taste of Coffee, would like to have Mother come over and stay 2 or 3 weeks with her next summer. Dont mention it unless she writes you so.
Mother's health is miserable, and has been for a year past. In January, she went to Boston accompanied by Hannah B. and spent three weeks--she thinks she slept in damp sheets at Aunt Lock's and was taken very sick with the influenza, and returned home so. We all have felt very much alarmed about her, and I think now, if she does not gain in flesh and strength, she must decline. This is her opinion. Her complaints are pain and swelling of the left side, tightness across the breast, beating of the heart, extreme weakness, perspiration at night, and has had a very bad cough. Is at times very nervous low spirited and dull, thinks she will never be any better. She certainly has grown very poor and thin, looks old and wrinkled. She may grow better, as she grows older. I hope so.
And now, (by way of variety,) I will change the subject, and say to you, I have a fine little Son born the 10th of February, will be 6 weeks old Tuesday.1 He did not weigh but six lbs. 3 oz. to day he weighs 8 1/4 lbs. He was an unexpected little stranger, as I was not calculating to receive him till March. However I have been highly favored, have never got along so well. My babe appears to be a healthy growing child, large blue eyes and plump face. How much, my dear sister, have I thought of you since my confinement, and of your bereavement. Your little son was taken from you, mine is spared. For what? God only knows. Oh! how ungrateful I am to the great Preserver of my life and health and that of my Children, while so many, much more worthy of God's mercies, are deprived of health, and bereaved of their dearest earthly friends. Why is it that I am crowned with so many blessings, while my heart is so hardened and ungrateful to its greatest Benefactor. Am I receiving my good things here below, and none in store for me hereafter? I beseech you, my dear sister, make me a subject of your daily prayer that I may be brought to a knowledge of the truth, which is in Christ Jesus. I certainly feel myself to be a great sinner in the sight of God. I find no real happiness in worldly things. I long for a radical change of heart. Why then do I not take that comfort in religion which you and thousand [sic] of others do? [?] times I feel so cold and stupid I almost resolve to seek no longer. Then I will not try for religion. Then again, I take more real enjoyment in hearing the word of God, in prayer meetings &c than in everything else. I hope and pray that my husband and children with myself may be found with our lamps trimmed and burning when the bridegroom cometh. Our prayer meeting was here last Thurs. eve, it was stormy and so few attended, Mr. Chase appointed it here this week. There are about as many males as females attend now. Sometimes 30 or 40. The state of religion is very cold and dull especially in the Church. I believe the Baptists increase the most. Our singing about as ever. I continue to sit in the seats (though I have not been for 7 sabbaths) and Mr. Flanders to play on double bass. He is a constant attendant at Church and prayer meeting. You recollect a time he did not go at all.
Mr. Chase came down last Wednesday eve, and made us quite a visit, for the first time to see the boy--heard I talked of calling him Legh [sic] Richmond, said he would sanction it. What is your choice? Louisa's is Edward Payson. Mr. C. enquired very particularly for you, told him I just heard by way of Sandbornton. Louisa and little interesting Sarah Platt spent the first week in February with me while the Major was at Court. We enjoyed our selves much in talking of you. We laughed sometimes and again we wept together, when talking of our little feeble sister who has suffered so much for years past, and especially last fall, and so far from her friends. Oh, dear Margarette, my tongue nor pen never can tell you one half my sympathy and anguish of heart for you in your sickness. I could not rest contented day nor night. I would bring fresh to mind the days we made mud cakes, played with broken crockeries in the washroom chamber--"Miss Wissant"--romped in the garden and a thousand childish amusements--then imagine that same dear sister on a bed of languishing, in a foreign land, among strangers, far from all her relatives. This caused me to weep.
Margarette said the other day, "Mother what makes you always cry when you read Aunt Margarette's letters? Because I want to see her. She is a great girl. Can write quite a legible hand, corresponds with Aunt Elisabeth, has knit herself two pair of stockings, an excellent seamstress and scholar--great taste for reading and dressing dolls, and can slide on the ice as well as ever Aunt McQuesten could. So much for number one.
Timothy is a great long legged boy. Good scholar. A great singer, brings in all the wood, chips, goes a shopping, does errands &c &c. He teased me to day to write a little letter for him to you. He can sing a great many hymns--is very fond of "Lord how delightful tis to see" in the tune Windham. The children all have a taste for singing. M. and Tim can sing 20 or 30 different tunes. They take one part and I the other and Father plays on the flute in "Moore's N.H. Collection & "Gould's Church Harmony and Juvenile Harmony, the books which are used altogether now. Mary Hall is a great fat chunky girl, wipes dishes, scour [sic] knives, read [sic] and sew [sic] very well &c. Martha Jane is a little red cheeked beauty and the most forward of all. Can say any thing--lisps and is a favorite for every one. I think they are all wonders. (By the way) Minister Chase said there was not a boy any where about that would go before Timothy in good looks.
"Let us dispense with a Mother's weakness," says the Doct. as he finishes the last sentence, and talk about the equinoctial storm which is beating against the windows. Yesterday the ground was quite bare, today covered with snow. It has not been more blustering nor snow deeper this winter than now. I have got my bedstead at last--received just in season to put up in the setting room. The head towards the east, and curtains on, so you can imagine how we look here. I expect Miss Foster from Jaffrey (one of my old [?]) to spend the week with me--think of having a quilting. Polly Chadwick was in yesterday said she would come. Will you? Lucretia Green and Mary Currier visited me last friday. I spent the [?] with Mother week before last.
Where is Urania? What do know [sic] about her and Mrs. Wrifford? How is Mrs. Barry? Give love to her. Monday. I sat up last night after my little ones were asleep till most 12 but did not finish my letter. It is very cold and blustering to day. We have had some extreme cold weather the past winter. The Thermom. in some places has been down to 36. Was not above zero many days. Mr. Chase was acquainted with Mr. Nason, if he was an elderly man. Said he was too awkward for a preacher, just fit for teacher, a great scholar. It is remarable [sic] healthy in town now. There have been from 10 to 15 births since the year commenced. One woman by the name of Gould took cold and died left a babe daughter and Mrs. Ariel Currier a daughter each a week old. I heard only 4 of the infants were girls. Your society must have met with a great loss by the death of three young women. What was the cause of their death?
Catharine's health is very good now. Will write you soon. Shall expect a great many letters when Noyes comes. You must tell us that you have plucked up courage, and are coming on with Mrs. Sweat or Minot to make a good visit. Now you must make a great effort to bring this about and do all in your power to come. You will meet with a cordial reception by us all. I see no probability of any of us ever visiting you. Louisa and myself have little families and Mother no health nor money to carry her there, and you must make a little sacrifice and visit us. I have not seen Charlotte to speak with her this winter. Elisa Little is going to be married in the fall to Thomas Wells. Ellen is in Boston. Wiggin out of business, and Cath. at her Fathers. We see by the papers that Marcia Wells is married to Preble Long. Mr. Charles Chase is married to Mary Evans, who used to attend school with me at Concord, [Mrs.?] Martin's sister in law now she is the mother too and not near as old only 33 and Mr. Chase near 70. Mrs. Standwood will probably have an addition to her family this summer. Pluma has had a little stillborn daughter--her life was despaired of at the time for three long hours. Martha is with me as a boarder. Rhoda is at Enfield. Horace is trading in the mercantile line in Maine. I have a good girl by the name of Sarah Gould is going to the factory in a few weeks then I expect [Thirsta?] to live with me this summer. She loves you dearly she says. Judith Flanders now Mrs. Emerson has a young babe. Mr. Chase's youngest daughter is named Virginia. We have a cooking stove, a great large washroom and mealroom in the shed, do not have to go out of doors to the barn--the west kitchen door is taken away and the dark bedroom and mealroom made into one, with 2 beds in it for the girl and children to sleep.
The town have voted to receive all the legacies. Sibley's case is not tried yet. Daniel thinks the estate ought to have been settled a year ago. He is hauling wood making boxes &c--is well and sends love to you and brother Doct. We all want to see you. I assume you have a good cry altogether when we hear from you then laugh and our eyes will glisten, "like a barn door in a frosty morning." Margarette wanted to read my letter, I said well read it to me aloud--pretty soon her eyes filled with tears. "I wish Aunt M. lived here, dont you Mother?" We are going to have flapjacks with our tea, wish you was here. Little sisters are all well and quite ladies. I think Lucy my favorite. Elisabeth a little tomboy and a pretty girl--dont know any thing to the contrary but Edward is a good boy. Your affectionate Sister,
Mary Elisa Flanders, &c
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten
1 In W0825, dated November 20, 1835, sister Catharine announces the death of Mary's baby, Leigh Richmond.
2 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.