[In top left corner: embossed image of man in profile with the words:] "My Husband!"
W0861 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Catharine C.P. Lerned
Oct 12 1836
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Dear Sister M. [Margarette],
Your last was heartily welcom'd by us all and expecting an opportunity to send by Dr. Long, I commence an answer to its contents. Mother has gone out to purchase E's [?] & shoes--Lucy is practising "Pensez a moi" on the Piano--Elizabeth is reading "History of Animals" & H. working a [?] cape. Today have been making holders--ironing--baking &c. This eve shall attend a party at Dr. F. Bailey's.
Pass'd last week at Concord, and had a fine visit. Had three of the best games at Whist I ever play'd--one with Mr. Lyon for partner another with Mr. W. Duncley (who carried me to C.) and another with Esq. Sullivan, the Attorney General's son of Exeter--an intelligent & enterprising young man. Mr. Lyon said (on seeing my purse) that he had lent the one you gave him to the Seamen's Friend Society as a model; and that he had no article in his possession that he valued so much. He ask'd many questions &c &c. Dr. Leach lives in great style, & his wife is very agreeable. Has marble centre & side tables, & other furniture accordingly--an Organ &c. Mother has returned bringing the things for E. Hope they will suit his Lordship. The shoes were $1.12. I must leave to buy a pair of pick nicks for this eve.
Thurs. 13. Well, our packet is to be closed to day. Last eve we had a sociable time. Between 40 & 50 assembled--table set in good style--peaches, pears, cake, tea--coffee &c. &c. singing good & company rather mix'd. Our New Physician Dr. Charles Augustus [Hilroy?] of Beverly, formerly a student here, was present. He keeps his horses & carriage in our stable, and has taken rooms over W.S. Chandler's store. He has been at Contoocook Ville some time, and they regretted his leaving. Whilst shopping yester P.M. had Esq. [Peaslee?] of Concord for attendant. He came up on business relative to the prisoners.
Miss Poor pass'd 3 days with us previous to leaving. Mrs. Willard--daughter & servant, pass'd a few days in town a fortnight since. She pass'd a day & half with me and was dress'd in the true style. Mrs. [Steubing?] & Mr. & Miss Aitken brought M.A. Breck to Cousin Ham's where he remained a week--call'd on us [3?] times--said she ow'd me no visit. She was here the Sunday, E. Harvey's funeral sermon was preach'd. Col. Davis & [Peaslee?] call'd same day, and unexpectedly met her. Carroll's sister pass'd two days with Miss [Bain?] and I became acquainted with her. Not as affable as her brother, the Col. i.e., the Sheriff i.e. the Land Speculator.
Lieut. Ury [?] Dragoons, call'd on me a month since, with a letter of introduction from Lieut. Burywise of the same Regiment. Was pleased with his appearance--a native of Tennessee. Amelia C. is now Mrs. Fenno, and living in a pretty house at Chelsea. Her wedding was small, but social. Mr. Chandler came out of the place that eve and escorted my beau & self home, with the musick of his Accordion. Mary Currier is confined to her bed, with a singular disease--apparently the Palsy--is unable to speak, or if she commences a word, forgets what she wish'd to communicate. Darwin is engaged to Susan Evans of C. His little African is a bright boy.
I did not intend to write any news, but one thing after another crowded itself in the place of intended thoughts, and now, I'll leave common place occurrences & give a brief Sketch of my journey to the White Mountains.
Our first days out lay through Boscawen, Franklin, New Chester, &c. landing at Bristol for the night. Mrs. Smith I found had left her old stand at F. Bristol look'd very well, though a seeing [?] prevented our taking a good view of it, or calling as I intended, on Mrs. Bartlett formerly C. Taylor. Thursday pass'd through the village of Plymouth, among others, dined at J. [Tilton's?] Hotel, Campton and at 11 o'clock! landed at the Lafayette Hotel, Franconia! That carriage ride was lonely enough! The horses were led on the narrow road between the Mts. and not a house or shed or sign of either, to shorten the long way. Towering peaks and thickest foliage obscured a night that had no moon to guide, or stars to cheer, and only a narrow portion of the sky above & earth beneath that told us where we were--not where we were to be. I cannot describe my feelings--but they were strange! Yet, at a house a great way back, they said that there was one Beacon on the long road--the [Gui] Board, pointing to the Profile; and that, within 1/2 mile of the Hotel. You may judge, if possible, our emotions on beholding the long look'd for sign, and imagine our joy on reaching the mountain house. There was nought to disturb my rest through the night, save the rumbling of waters, & the next morn we rode 3 or 4 miles on our evening's path--saw the Man of the Mts.--Lafayette Basin, &c. &c. The Profile is most certainly a curious freak of dame Nature. On spot where man has never trod she's chisel'd features that surpass the powers or art to equal, or imagination to excell [sic]! The Basin of Rock is a great curiosity--an excavation made by the beating of the waters. We carved our names in a tree that bent as if on purpose oer the spot, and returned, to take a sail on a large pond above the Hotel. Mr. Sargent, our host, was an old acquaintance of Fathers, and formerly an Innkeeper at Thornton. His house, lately built, is two stories high, decently furnished, and has Mt. Lafayette on the left and a high Mt. in front. We left after dinner for Franconia, where after visiting the Iron Works, we rode on through Littleton, a [?] and beautiful village, took tea at [Bethlehem], and reach'd [D?] "White Mountain House," in Carroll, at 10. This eve's ride was dark and rather lonely, but now & then, we saw a hut or some spot that look'd like civilized life, though mountains hem'd [sic] us in. The Hotel was a large & long building, handsomely furnish'd, painted &c. Crawford's (the old stand) is 1/2 a mile above. Sat. morn we started with a guide for Mt. Washington. Rode on horse back, in a single track, 6 1/2 miles, & walk'd 2 1/2 before reaching the summit. When within 3/4 of a mile of the top, I was compell'd to stay, & let the rest move on. I was there where vegetation apparently ceased--the thunder roll'd around--the lightning play'd at my feet, a shower gather'd, but pass'd over, & was succeeded by a "fresh & strong" breeze. In an hour or two the party returned, and we reach'd the Hotel at 7 in eve. Sunday we rode through Littleton--dined at Lisbon, stop'd [sic] a few moments at Haverhill, a beautiful village, and pass'd night at a horrible house, in Piermont. This day we pass'd through very fine towns, and coursed the valley of the Connecticut many miles.
Monday July 4th took breakfast at Orford, was introduced to Lieut. Bissell, W. [S?] Navy, & his brother & wife. Lieut. call'd with us on Mrs. Wilcox (Mary M.). She has a beautiful cottage on an environ from the Hotel. Dined at Hanover, but felt no inclination to view the place; so left our party, supped at Croydon pass'd through Newport, as the celebration was closing with a Ball, and landed at Mr. G.'s fathers. Next day, I slept & walk'd a little, and eat [sic] maple sugar & molasses, every 5 minutes. Call'd on Nath'l Gunnison. He is married, and has a little one--lives very prettily and is almost as fleshy as Father was. Wednesday morn, left for home--calld on Uncle W. & M. Buck--dined at Bradford--took tea at Cousin Ham's, with Mrs. H. Hill, & Mrs. Tilton (Sarah Fish) and reach'd home at sunset. Mr. G. left Hotel at 4 next morn! Thus ends the history of a journey--time, compound--metre, short--tune delightfull [sic]. Have not written a tenth part of the matter, nor half the best of it. But this must suffice, as time and paper fail. Tis so splendidly arranged, that I think of requesting you to give it a place in some of your B. periodicals! Certainly, I have written in a confusion of tongues & noises.
The children have been calling for pen--the rain beating--wind blowing, Miss Bean practising on the Piano, and I trying to make a bit of a story out of ample matters but all in vain. You must take the will for the deed, & when I see you I'll tell you much--yes, ever so much. You think a powerful magnet must have attracted me in that trip. Well M. be sure I was attracted or I should not have moved--but the query is--Was Mt. Washington, or Mr. J.W.G. the centre of attraction! Think myself, that magnetism can be equally applied to both. "Where the knot is tied," guess twill be on a new day--one that never came before, nor will come again. Dear Sis marriage is a subject entirely out of my line, and of a wedding day I never spoke. Engaged I am not, and friendship is the motto of Mr. G. & myself. Sincerely I speak, and believe me--not engaged, partly engaged, or particular friends--but simply friends.
Augustus has buried his little daughter, and is very much afflicted. Augustus is building at Fremont and has a good [?] of practise. Mary boards at the quakers, Pleasant Grove, where Ham. is also building. Fremont is 12 miles from P.G. E. is going to send a Catalogue to Caroline Bury. Mr. Dickenson is a fine young man, and stands no.1 in the Seminary. Has a brother studying medicine at Pittsfield. Miss Boynton said she often heard Dr. Bigelow speak of you. He is married. Was in Canada. Miss. B. has left Judge H's. A pretty girl, and good Piano Player. Resides at Ogdensburg, N.J.
Poor M.E. Harvey is no more--on Tuesday Sept. 20th 5 o'clock morn, she fix'd her last look on her Father, and died! It seems strange that a man of Judge H's sense should not have consulted with some member of the Medical Society, before the last week of her life. No one save Tyler & Renton attended her, till Dr. Mussey came, ordered cupping & blistering1--said her spine was diseased, but that assistance was too late. Drs. T. & R. said no disease was upon her, only debility--needed exercise, &c. and now they differ in opinion from Dr. Mussey! The latter call'd on us, said the symptoms were a sufficient evidence of the disease--an insensibility in one limb then another--total loss of feeling at times--partial derangement nights--great pain in her back & head--pulse 120 constantly, and sometimes greater &c. &c. She is a great loss to her connexions--to all. But she died in Faith, and is now without doubt enjoying the presence of her Saviour, in the realms of glory!
Mother sends some of our own silk for you all. She has been spinning this week. Now write us soon give love to all, and Believe me, your affectionate sister,
C.C.L. [Catharine C. Lerned]
[Envelope wrapper:] [To] Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten,
1 The University of Toledo provides a description of these medical methods named "heroic medicine." "In this rational system, the body was a machine, and all disease was one disease--an overstimulation of nerves and blood. The cure for overstimulation was "heroic" medicine: bleeding, blistering, purging, and vomiting to restore the natural balance. Bleeding was usually the initial treatment. It consisted of venescection (opening up a vein), scarification (using a spring-loaded instrument to produce a series of small cuts), or cupping (placing a warmed glass cup over a cut which filled with blood as the pressure inside dropped). Blistering involved placing hot plasters onto the skin to raise blisters, which were then drained. The most common purgative was Calomel, a form of mercuric chloride which worked as a laxative in small doses, but usually was prescribed in large doses to purge the system." http://www.cl.utoledo.edu/canaday/quackery/quack2.html
2 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.