W0885 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Catharine C.P. Lerned
May 1 1837
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
Dear & absent Sister,
I commence a letter in answer to your last, hoping to send it by Mr. Silver, on Thurs. but it may find its way into the mail bag. Your letter was long, but not equal to mine by one third; yet as what fail'd in quantity was more than made up in quality, I rest. Your lines ought to be nearer together; and I would hint at the idea of [?] a new set.
No wonder you thought I meant to see if I could [?] you, & prompt at least one line! Now you may think "ditto" again; for here's another sheet, and not the last either. You say you cannot interest us as we can you, giving [?] &c. Well, as I am one of "us," will see what's of importance & interest to communicate.
Dr. L.B. Cole, occupying the westerly part of our building. He was ordain'd a fortnight since, on Wednesday. I assisted in laying the tables for 21--[?], [?] & others. Mother dined with them, on stuffed roast veal, boil'd stuff'd mutton--ham--birds nest & biscuit puddings--apple pies--apples--sauce--cheese--butter biscuit--coffee & tea. After they finished, Mrs. C. & sister ([?]) 3 sisters & self partook of the same fare. Rev. M.B. Chase was present, & was requested to ask the blessing, but declined on account of ill health. Mr. Kimball took his place, and Mr. Foss read a prayer as they ended, while all knelt. Mr. Cummings of Concord delivered the ordination sermon. Mr. Worth of C. the [?] of fellowship, & Mr. [Cutting?] of Warner the charge. Our house was full of people, and our yards of carriages. Look'd little like days [?]. We meet every Tuesday Morn in the [?] study, for [?], singing & prayers. This study is the west chamber--carpeted, & has a bed, [?] table, library &c in it. The parlor has a couch--carpets--handsome pictures in frames--chinese ornaments &c &c. Mrs. C. was [?] of Buckington Seminary many years--pencils & paints finely. Dr. C. was formerly a teacher of musick, & has a fine voice. We had some grand society. Mrs. C. & 3 daughters are all singing. Mr. Eaton, a Newton student, preach'd for them some Sabbaths since, & they requested me to play after tea. They came in, & I found him a superior singer. Was a room mate of F.R. Harvey's at Schenectady College & has travelled [?]
Monday Eve. F.R. Harvey--W.S. Chandler--A. Currier--Mr. E. & the Dr.'s family came in, & we had singing enough from "Pilgrim Fathers" to "Auld Lang Syne." Mr. E. left Tuesday P.M. Mrs. C. had 14 young ladies to sew for her last Thurs. and after team at her request, & gave them some musick. Last Friday eve, Messrs Harvey, Chandler & Currier came in to set out some [?] [?], which being done, we, as accompaniment, had the Piano. Dr. Harvey dictated words for "Auld Lang Syne"--commencing "I wish I had a glass of gin of sugar half a pound--A leetle nutmeg grated in--A stick to stir it round." He is a queer child to keep us laughing, has closed his studies of 3 years. Henry C. Long takes lessons [?] [?] on the Piano. Will make a good player. Col. L. has gone to Georgia. H.L. Currier--B. Wills & G. Palfrey expect orders soon for the same state.
Mother pass'd last week with Cous. Harriet, & Lucy at Mrs. McAllaster. Mary A. Brown & Philip pass'd Tuesday P.M. with me. The latter is nearly as tall as his father, & genteel--leaves soon for the west. Wednesday we had 6 of [?] [?] in eve, & Misses Minot & [Pershee?] of Concord an hour or two. Mr. Dicky (preceptor) call'd also & introduced himself. Academy commences again in a fortnight. Mr. D. is sociable & pleasant--as large as Mr. Burns. Lizzy has attended his school 6 weeks. Had a long letter from Mr. D. [Bean?], at Oswego, some weeks since. L. Wells expects him & Mary every stage. Mr. Chandler returned from Boston last Thurs reported 23 late failures. [?] Breck, one of the number, going west soon. Mr. C. has fail'd also, and is selling at cost. Leaves H. in Autumn. I shall regret his departure. Maj. Mc. says he has not gone yet, for all the talk! Nancy G. Sibley is to be married in June to Dr. C. Gage, now settled in Cincinnati. You recollect Charles Gage, son of widow G. Dr. Savory is very attentive to Miss Mary [Stark?]. Have attended two Cotillion Parties this winter (last) one at Col. Long's & one at Mrs. [Starks?]. Both pleasant. Musick [sic] & entertainment good. Aunt Perkins gave a large party for M.A. Breck. I attended, for the first and last time in '37 so far. [Sam'l?] Chase was married the same eve to a former domestic in his Father's family--Miss Savory of Sutton--a sweet, fine girl. She gave birth to a son last month. Sam'l says he shall go up and see her once in a while! Margarett B. & Hamlet were married Thurs. morn 8 o'clock 13th April--reached Mrs. Perkins in eve--call'd down here Sat. left for Boston Tues. morn in stage. Her wedding dress--green [?] with green velvet trimmings. Bonnet, plain straw, lined & trimmed with light green. She sprain'd her ankle at a [Sugar?] Party, which caused a delay of her wedding two days. A bad omen! She could only walk with assistance, when here was confined to her bed some days before marriage. They will not journey through Brockport, but take a Southern course. She left much love for you.
Hamlet said he should like to play once more with you & Miss Peabody. "Three makes a pile." Hiram Blanchard said yesterday that he went all about our old barn, and stop'd a long time musing on the past. The dove holes in the gable end--the [?] of the building, reminding him of his boyish plays with Brooks. I am not as fond of [?] as you were.
Your last was received the morn of [?] marriage. The day previous, Mrs. Cole & self papered [??] part of the front entry, and had but just ended as Esq. Pershee call'd. I said "good morn" and he politely said he'd stop but a moment [?] & make a call in P.M. Do you know him? He is a fine orator & talented. Delivered the oration at [Stark's?] funeral.
Have had a shocking murder at The Bridge. Titicombe of Newburyport kill'd [?] an only son of a Revolutionary pensioner in Autumn, on Friday 7 inst. both coopers in the same shop. After killing him, he broke his bones, in order (tis supposed) to put him in a barrell [sic], and then set fire to the shop--all in the light of noon day! Mr. Chase says the family are very respectable in N. He waits his trial. The plea of former insanity may save him. [?] Merrill (Mrs. [Leech's?] domestic) released two of the prisoners ([??]) in Feb. The former has been caught. She gave the latter $22 in cash, her earnings, because he promised to marry her. She is a fool I believe, & [Dave?] a young, fair faced, villain! They've excommunicated her from the Baptist Church. She was married by Judge Harris a month since to [Tenant?] of Concord, just released from prison for beating his wife to death, when both were intoxicated. O! [Tempora]! O! Mores! The fated example of lost virtue deters not the wicked from evil doings. "The way of the transgressor is hard"!
Tell Edward I had a beautiful letter from S.A. Sawyer a while since. He & brother are at school in Newbury. He is a fine penman. E's last was as good looking an epistle as ever came from his hand into my presence. Am very much obliged for it. Would send some gloves but know not of what size. Tell him Hannah [?] is very much out of health. She thinks some of making us a visit. George Cotton has returned from Natchez and the W. Indies. Hope he'll not forget the writing school--not correspond with boys--not employ too much time talking to shop callers &c &c. but let them do their business, then he go about his own. N. Goffe closes his studies in 18 months, & he must try & complete in the usual time. Why would he not keep school? Mr. J. Ladd I saw last Sun. eve. Said E. was a sweet, fine looking, young man. Wonder if he's forget the "Beaus of Balynithe"! I'd give a bright cent to see his profile.
Tell Miss Putnam, if she will write me, I'll answer with pleasure. Have a good correspondent at Charlestown--Miss Boutelle. Her last contain'd a full explanation of her religious feelings. A very good letter. Mrs. Cole read it (without name) to the working society. She was one of my intimates at C. a real jovial girl. Am glad Mrs. R. is going to be married. I heard a Bap. minis. say he thought it an unsuitble [sic] match, so unlike. Tell Miss P. Kent that Mr. [Brabrook?] & Lucy Griggs were married a week or two since. Mr. Eaton stood groomsman. Hamlet will recite at Pleasant Grove, two miles from Fremont, 10 miles from Peoria in [?] County. The brothers were disputing which had the best wife; each laying superior claim, till Hamilton said he'd proved "how much the wife was dearer than the bride." That's in the future with regard to Hamlet. He shed tears when saying "Adieu."
Mr. Dustin is sick, with a disorder in his head. He thinks some of giving up all business. He looks miserably. Shall send the check, soon as we can get the money. Hard times nowadays! We are having the house repaired--shingled &c. Twill cost nearly $200 & E. will have his proportion to pay with the rest of us. It costs a great deal to live. Flour $16.00 per barrel--butter, 25 per pound & other provisions in proportion.
Yesterday, Mr. Worth of Concord preach'd at the Bap. Mis. Mrs. C. requested to introduce him in eve. I sung many sacred peices [sic], & some songs--"Pilgrim Fathers" & "Tyrolese Evening Hymn." Mr. Chandler call'd--said he thought of going west in Aug. with James Fellows--perhaps through Brockport. He attended prayers with us in Mrs. C's room. Mr. W. was a New Hampton student many years since. His prayer was excellent.
[?] of the [?] are gone, so we've lost this opportunity; but expect a conveyance for E's boots, shoes &c by P. Brown in 2 weeks. Shall forward this by mail, & write to E. there. He spelt some words wrong--"epislite" (epistle) "philipeno" (Phillipini). This last manner of spelling I took from the "New York Mirror"; so suppose it is right. The history of the word was given in full. It means "Loves Penalty"--derived from two Latin words, (I believe) but the pronunciation is French, thus "Philepene." Have spelt it previously--"Phillipense." The proper name for E's [?] puzzle is "Solitaire"--a French word, meaning--solitary--but one. I had a present some time since, of a finished [?] one; & like the game well. Saw many in Boston of Ivory. Have just found some more mispelt words--"familys" families. "Negroe" negro. "Miliner" milliner. Make E. correct spelling on a slate with [?], & attend well to both.
Mother has gone out shopping, as Mr. C. is selling at cost. He brought me this morn a beautiful varnish'd box--picture transferred on top & sides, & slide cover. Twas a large size, & contains all my worsteds. The wind blows furiously, & tis cold enough. Mother has just returned & thinks some of going to Mrs. McAllasters this P.M.
You wish I "was coming out Bride." But I do not & was determined not to marry till I get tired of my present situation--till I get ready. "Not disposed to tell me about your affairs." None to communicate in fact. What think you? that I've engaged? If so, you are in great error. Your referrence [sic] extends, no doubt, to [?] [?] G. Were I to engage myself tomorrow, I know of no better selection to be made; but as that little article is not in accordance with my principles, I shall never stand in fear of man's inconstancy. Mr. G. graduates in June, & will make us a visit, to afford [matter?] for people's speculation. He is, I trust, a good friend. We have long been intimate acquaintances, & correspondents for two years. He has annually visited H. since his residence at W. Point. These, with other ncircumstances, have given rise to a reputed engagement. But tis all a "sham" & when tis reality I'll inform you. I'm rather against long courtships--cannot trust to my own or any other judgement so long ahead--would have a good understanding 'tween parties, but no engagement. This is the long & short of the matter, & when I'm married, I shall know it for certainty, only three weeks beforehand.
You say I "must not make an idol" of my Piano. There's not much danger of it, for I very often hate the sound of a key, & wish twas at Boston--such continual [drumming?], & every one wishing a tune or two. Believe you never mention'd the [?], save in your last. Come home, and help me sing. Tis time for wanderers to return--travelling good--conveyance cheap & easy, & more than all the folks stand waiting. Yes, dear sister, we all wish to see you, and all think you ought to gratify our wishes. Edward ought soon to be ready to attend Lectures; & if he travels in this direction, can gallant you. Just think a little, of all our visages in smiles & tears at seeing Margarette--our yards & gate ways fill'd--sisters--Mother--aunts--cousins--[?] &c. to see the vehicle that held the wish'd for sis, & every mouth wiped clean for a kiss! No greater parade would be made for a conqueror--no greater pleasure experienced at sight of a nation's [deliverance?]! Black Lydia is at work for Mary, so she'll appear in a robe of white, & head the company. The Band shall play "Home! Sweet! Home!" & the "mare" shall be "ready," for you to mount & ride in state [?] [?] door. Then shall come a good supper, & served too with good grace--then a bed all soft as down, & Piano, with vocal & pizzicato accompaniment shall, when day is past, lull to sleep the stranger sister in her Native Land.
Mr. [?] (Tailor) whose wife is at Exeter, brought a letter from H. Burley and some cloth cuts, to Mrs. Stanwood. She made particular mention of "dear little Margarette, & Mrs. Lerned." Have finish'd" [C?] in Search of a Wife." Like it tolerable. Have you read it as yet? Bradbury Sargent is doing but small business in B. His wife will come here with Charlotte in June. Catharine W. Bailey is teaching the public school at Concord, for 8 months. Sophia B. commenced the district school here to day. Rev. M.B. Chase is [?] his house, as two of L.A. Joynes sisters are expected in June.
Singing is all adrift at the Congregational Church. Not but 4 male singers in the seats for 3 Sababths, & last Sun. they sung below stairs. The choir have resolved not to sing, until the society do something about a singing school. Mr. Gilman call'd on me a week since, requesting me to take the lead at the Church and have H. Chase lead in the [?]. I gave no deffinite [sic] answer, since I knew such measures would offend the female part of the choir; at least some of them. Col. Long & self had quite a conversation on the subject. Said if they wish'd good singers, they must make an effort, not ask Miss "Anybody" advice. Have not sung with them these 4 years.
The belt your husband gave is in good keeping, and in a good way to last long; since bodice waists are the fashion. Why cant he just write me a little? These married men have lots of business, but think they ought to be charitable once in a while. If he does [?] my repeated request, I'll not rub his head when he visits us, if it aches ever so much. How do Minot & his wife? George is handsomer than ever, in my estimate.
We shall all write in three weeks, as Mr. [?] Fellows has sent word that he intends going west this month. This long epistle will no doubt tax your time & patience, but letters from a distance, in my estimate, should be well fill'd. So write me as often, & as much as you can, resting assured, that the longest cannot satisfy. Mother & sisters are in good health, & send a vast deal of love to you. Dr. & Ed. Louisa & Mary well, & in good spirits. Send a bushel of love. Am going to send you such a kiss, first opportunity. Now sister M. I must end this staver, as tis [?] and I am rather tired of penning thoughts.
Receive this, from your ever affectionate sister
Catharine C.P. Lerned
Lizzy has just been reading a little in "Diary of a Physician," of a man who thought his head was [?], and dressed himself accordingly--"his pants being buttoned behind, bulged out in front." Liz read it "bugled out in front." Dont you remember the "[?] [?]"? Bless my stars! how I want to talk a lot with you.
Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten,
Brockport, Monroe County, N. York
Care of: Doct. Calvin McQuesten
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.