W0910 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from her sister Mary [Lerned] Flanders
Dec 3 1837
To: Margarette B. Lerned McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
My dear dear sister,
Mother received your letter yesterday dated Nov. 21 by it, I find you "want a long letter from Mary"--and now I intend you shall have one. I do greatly rejoice with you my dear M. in your joy. I very well know the fond attachment between Mother and child. I dearly love your little boy, although a perfect stranger. I see you every day in imagination dressing your babe, watching every movement &c &c. It was entirely unexpected news to us and very joyful news too.1 We think by mother's writing he is dreadful tickled! Mother says she used to think he was a man of sense but he has altered amazingly lately. And methinks Peggy feels a little silly in her old age. I do not wonder at it my dears. No doubt your darling is a treasure indeed! If his golden silken lock is an emblem of Calvin Brooks we at once pronounce him lovely. Much more do we want to see you than ever, and when your little son begins to smile and goo goo then tell him of his aunt Mary, and other eastern aunts with his grandmother and cousins who are all talking about him daily--and wondering if his old Father and Mother know how to take care of him. Is he fond of mangoes? Mother will give him one if he will come and get it when his uncle Edward comes on. I hope he will have sense enough not to think that "Sugar is Cranberries" as his mother used to in her young days.
We used often to wonder you did not write oftener last summer or say any thing about visiting N.H. in the fall? and thought, "Is it possible it can be so?" We hope all things will prosper so well that you can come on with brother Edward in the spring. The Doct promised you should come in five yrs--they have fled! and we have not seen you.
January 21st--1838--I little thought my dear sister that so long a time would elapse before I closed this letter. First, I thought of waiting till after our Thanksgiving, which was the 6th of Dec--then till after Christmas and so on till I saw Dr. Long--who said he would take a letter as far as Rochester. Since I last wrote you, many things have transpired which would be new and interesting to you--did we communicate oftener. It is nearly a year since I wrote to you. Mother's family were frequently writing and receiving letters and papers by whom I could hear all the news--and still procrastinated writing myself.
We were invited to spend Thanksgiving with sister L. but did not go--neither had any company except one or two to pass the evening. We had a most delightful Christmas a full Church good singing--pleasant weather--and every thing pleasant. It was a delightful season to me. I felt that it was truly a time of refreshing to the soul to celebrate the birth of Christ. I had 8 to dine--Louisa came up the Saturday before--Minister Chase Dr. Leach, Maj McA' and their wives Horace T and Mr. Dickey the preceptor who boards with us--invited Mother and Catharine but they were expecting a large party the next night, and were engaged preparing for it although it was Christmas day. I received a paper from you mailed on that day. I thought much of you, and do still think much of you and wish to see you. I do not allow myself to dwell on the thought of again meeting you and seeing you to converse verbally. It brings the subject too near home, and I almost imagine it a reality. Therefore drive it away, but did I know you was coming soon I should delight to dwell on the thought.
Since I last wrote to you I have united with the Episcopal Church. The 12th of last March was indeed a solemn season. I dedicated myself and four children to God in baptism. Lucinda Wells at the same time and in Aug. the church was visited by our good Bishop Griswold. Meetings were held three days. Wednesday Eve the 6th of Aug was set apart particularly for confirmation. There were 9 confirmed and I was happy to be of the number. It was a delightful evening every thing wore a new aspect. I was renouncing the world and all its pomps--and felt as though I could give up every thing for Christ and never let the world gain an ascendency [sic] over my heart again. But those bright hours and happy feelings are not always mine. Oh no! at times my heart is cold and views of religion dark--then there is an aching void the world can never fill. Still, I profess to love the way of holiness more than all things worldly and do enjoy the light of Gods countenance generally. Religion is in a very cold and stupid state, not any excitement in either of the churches. The Episcopal society is very small and thinly attended in cold weather. I think it is owing in a great degree to the house being so cold, you recollect the stoves are close by the pulpit.
I hardly know what to say it is so long since we have written to each other and you
have an opportunity of hearing all the news by Mother's family. I will just tell you something it may be news to you. (Mrs. Gilman is expecting an addition to her family in the spring--quite a joke for they have been married more than 12 years.) Charlotte is not married is engaged to a Mr. Clement. Mr. Sargent did not stay long in Boston. Has commenced trade again in town. I could talk volumes, could I see you personally--many and many a thing I would not commit to paper, but must on this account be silent, & hope you are calculating to visit us another season we shall be very happy indeed to see you with your little darling we think very much of him I assure you. Give him a sweet kiss from Aunt Mary. I can see how he progresses in knowledge daily. His stories grow longer and more interesting I wish we lived near each other, I would help take care of him. I have very good help this winter. Her name is Hannah Young--Mrs. Jonathan Straw's sister. Formerly a Shaker at Enfield. Mr. F. has commenced trade again. I don't know how well he will prosper as business is dull every where. I believe however he has his share. My children are all very healthy now they have all had the measles this winter.
Give much love to my two brothers, I hope to see them next summer with you and Calvin Brooks. Louisa's family are well. She and the Maj. spent last Tuesday here. We have had a remarkable winter not any sleighing--and as mild a great part of the time as April. Last night a few inches of snow fell enough to carry the people to meeting to day in sleighs.
Aunt Betsey Currier is confined to her bed with a shock of numb Palsy is not expected to live. She makes it her home down to Mr. Clements. Aunt Jane Morse is spending 2 or three weeks with me knitting for her board. She is excellent company and a devoted Christian. She sends a great deal of love to you and baby. Lucy Blanchard came to visit me a week last fall--was taken with bowel complaint and confined here nearly five weeks. Had watchers every night. Jane Morse was nurse. I did not have any help at the time. I had to work very hard I assure you. She was dangerously sick. She walked over and spent the day here last week for the first time since she was carried home in an easy chair. Mother's family are all engaged writing to Brockport which will in part excuse me from finishing my sheet. I do not feel in the mood of letter writing to night you will percieve [sic] by the look of the letter. Do write to me soon. Let me know all about you whether you intend coming East another season &c &c.
Your sister in much affection
Mary Eliza [Lerned] Flanders
[Envelope wrapper:] Mrs. Margarette B. McQuesten, Brockport, N.Y.
1 This statement would suggest that in 19th century New England a pregnancy was not discussed even among a woman and her mother and sisters. The baby was Calvin Brooks McQuesten (Dr.) (Oct. 27, 1837-Feb. 19, 1912). To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.