W0853 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Catharine C. P. Lerned
Jul 26 1836
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Dearest sister Margarette
Your last letter, with Edward's, was received on Friday night, 15th inst. through the Bedford mail. Am sorry that my "letter of advice," was not sufficiently weighty and well framed to have been fire proof. Think, however, that twas not especially needed.
We have all our different tastes as to beauty & deformity, sense & nonsense--propriety & impropriety--politeness & impoliteness; & to sum up the whole in one--we possess different views of right & wrong. Moral Reformations will never be known through the influence of such pamphelts [sic] as the Illuminator & Moral Reformer. There, vice unseen--unthought of by many a male & female, is read, in print; is talk'd of as of common things; and many a guileless heart, there, traces a road for infamy, and from thence, first, learning vice--then follows its course.
Theatres, are by no means, the worst or best places for youth. But look at The [?ant]--the strict eye of the Police watches every inmate, from the Pit to the Gallery; & she or he who transgresses the rules of decency, receives a walking ticket. In fact, women of ill fame do not report to such reputable places, for support in their business. There's Broadway in N. York, & Washington Street, in Boston, for to make assignments; and there are buildings in both places, from the hovel to the palace, for there to meet the Libertine, who kisses pollution. You seem'd (by a letter to Louisa) to fear results of walking, and riding, and attending Theatres, with so many different gentlemen. Why, M! Who were those gentlemen? Would I choose any particular one for a gallant, or would I take one or more as my friends, who were not friends of morality? Messrs. Bevins & Blodget, are cousins; and both business men & rare visitors of publick [sic] amusements. Esq. Lovell is a bachelor of between 40 & 50 years, and for the 10 years that he has resided in B. his character has been a subject for conversation & inspection; and his associates, the first in B. Dr. Marshall is married to a pretty wife, and has a fine child. My friends & connexions at Woburn & Reading are, I am sure, as good as myself, & better. Mr. T's family, though gay, and thoughtless, were polite & kind to me. So shall speak well of them. End of Biographies.1
In this life, one must live to learn; and there's enough for to keep one employed through the longest term of existance [sic]. If then, the object of our minutes here, is to learn, why not learn? If one goes into a strange place, he will tarry; visit its gardens, magazines, curiosities of all kinds, &c. &c. If one is in Boston, or any city, and has opportunities for viewing publick places, the fool is he that rejects, when there is his only expense; & the wise is he that goes where virtues sons and daughters have & now tread, & like Solomon, beholds all "under the Sun."
While at B. [Boston] enjoyed myself much. Pass'd a week at Cambridge, with Mr. C. Everett's daughter (Ellen) and was escorted round & through the Colleges, by John Sibley. Saw the room father occupied when a student there, and spent an hour just glancing at Audubon's splendid work on Ornithology. $200 per vol. 4 vols. But few copies in the United States. Pass'd a day at Nahant, with Mr. Bevins, who has opened a Hotel there. Visited the moving Battle of Navarino, at the Masonic Temple--a naval engagement of 27 between England, France & Russia--Turkey & Egypt. A grand & striking view, or views; as there were 12 movements, accompanied by musick [sic]. Pass'd a day at Roxbury--June 17. Anniversary Battle of Bunker Hill. Two days at J. Perkins, Medford, where I saw every body & thing and 3 days at Uncle Pierce's, Malden, having a fine visit. Did not once call on any of Uncle L.'s family save [E?] as they took no trouble call [sic] on me, whiles at C. or B. Surveyed Mt. Auborn, rode on Fresh Pond, & visited the Botanical Gardens. Saw the English Picture Gallery, & Elegant Library of Mr. Dowse, a bachelor, of immense wealth, near Mr. Everetts. Uncle Woods took tea with me at Mr. T's once. Rode, walk'd, & visited, often. Saw Mademoisell [sic] Celeste, & Wallach, at the Tremont Theatre. The former a splendid French dancer & actress, especially in pantomime; and has taken more money at N. Orleans, than any other actor or actress, in America. The latter, a noble English actor, and good in tragedy. Bought me a new silk dress, $1.00 per y'd, splendidly made; & a neat cottage Florence [Bevin?], [$8.00] for bonnet. Send a scrap of the silk. Last Sat. 16th July my Piano of "Brown & Hallett" arrived--a splendid instrument. Come in this eve, and I will play you a tune. Not exactly mine, but Mothers; since she had $500 which she will spend as she chooses; and Dustin would not let one of us purchase it.
I returned to H. [Hopkinton] Monday Eve. 27th June, and found J.W. Gunnison had just arrived in town. Was happy to see the good people, & they appeared as glad to see me. Tuesday P.M. rode to Concord with J. Wm. G. and Wednesday P.M. started for the White Mountains, & returned the next Wednesday night. Space will not allow a detail of the trip, but you shall have it one of these days.2 We went through Salisbury--Plymouth & Franconia North &c to Carroll (our last landing place) & returned through Littleton, Haverill, Harristown, Newport, &c. to H. Pass'd a day at Mr. G's parents. Ascended Mt. Washington, the highest land in New England, situated on Ungranted Land, adjoining Carroll; between Mts. Jefferson & Pleasant, on July 2nd! At Franconia Notch, viewed the wonderful Profile, & Basin,3 and at F. village, saw the Iron works. That was a journey, well worth the time, & the labour; and my march up Mt. W. "quite a plume in a lady's cap." Rode from the Hotel, 6 1/2 miles on horse back, then walk'd 2 1/2 e'er the height was reached. And such rocks--such a path--you never saw or imagined. Be sure not to think me engaged to Mr. G. for I, 'pon my honor, am not, nor would I be to England's King, or any other man! Albert Sawyer thinks of applying for a commission to W. P. wishes Edward to write him soon.
Miss M.E. Harvey has been dangerously ill, & her mother unable to sit up, also; but both are better. Fred. is at home--said E. could set up half an hour a day, but no longer--gains slowly. Miss Cate Boynton is with her, from N.Y. daughter of Mrs. H's sister, aged 18 yrs--plays the Piano. Dr. Lyman is to remain in town a month, then return to New Orleans. Attended a party at Col. L's made on his account, last week. Thom's Wells & Mrs. Casnove have gone a [sic] journey to Saratoga--West Point &c. that looks suspicious! Lucinda & Beau are solemnly engaged; but whether he'll ever fulfill all, is for time to determine. Academy closes in two weeks.
Now write and say you are coming--we all are on tiptoe. I fear I never shall see you unless you do, since tis a long journey for me [?], after being from home so much. Do write soon & say "I come."
Have been thinking what I should read. Last winter perused one Novel (The Gipsey). Mrs. Trollope, & F. [Newbles?] Journal, Mrs. Sigourney's Letters, Disclosures of [?] [?], Robinson's Trial & Life of Ellen Jewett. What a fine list! Well, write me of some good work, and I'll get it, if here. For sewing, have some lamp stands working; of worsted on canvas. Thursday 21st was 19 yrs old. Took tea with Mary & the Tuesday previous with Louisa. Both well, and families also. Dr. Lyman has just gone out--sends love. Maria Chandler is married, and at Saratoga. Mr. Leash (her consort) & self will be in town in two or three weeks, to C. Eaton also. Mr. Bean talks of going to Niagara this season--if so, shall send letter by him to you & Edward. J.D.B.'s family are going to leave H. Chandler says they shall not remain on his premises. We have no intercourse. Tell Ed. to write better on the outside of his letters. The last one look'd enough to scare one. Mothers thanks for your letter! Her love & mine, to all acquaintances. Health very good, owing to so much--so good exercise, at B. and my Mt. trips. I have the words to the song E. mentioned, but no notes. He will find them in Mrs. Hermans poems, and at B. probably. Believe me, dear sister, yours in sincerity
C. C. Lerned [Catharine]
[P.S.] Our silk worms are most all spinning--have about 1000. Come and see us this fall, and we'll give you enough silk to last a year! Ed. shall have what he has sent for the first opportunity. Mary is splitting Mother some wood--says Alfred will soon be large enough to come & escort you to H. If Sam'l will only come up, and serve as gallant, Mother will go to Brockport. My very best love to the Dr. and ask him to write me. Tell Ed. I should like a letter, not part of one. Hope your cough is better, and the "Trio" all in health & happiness. Aunt Crosby, & J. Crosby Allen, are at the White Mts. C. Blanchard is coming here this fall. Capt. R. Chase has been in town. I saw him. He seems inconsolable. Caty.
[Envelope wrapper:] Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten,
Brockport, Monroe County, New York
1 Catharine is justifying her series of entertainments with various gentlemen during her visit to Boston, described in W0849.
2 Catharine gives further details of her trip in W0861.
3 The SW Franconia Notch contains the famous Old Man of the Mt. (rock profile resembling face), beneath which the Pemigewasset tumbles on its way to join the Merrimack. Catharine describes the Rock Profile and Basin further in W0861. For the "profile" see: (The Columbia Gazetteer of North America) http://www.bartleby.com/69/59/N02559.html
4 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.