Colorado College Tutt Library

William S. Jackson 2-3-24 transcription

William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 3, Folder 24, Letters from Deborah Waterman Vinal Fiske (HHJ’s mother, then Deborah Waterman Vinal) to her cousins Ellen and Ann Scholfield, 1823-1843, transcribed by Gloria Helmuth, fall 1995.

To Ann Scholfield Fiske:

In this volume are collected a number of letters of the correspondence between your departed mother & her dear friends Miss Ann Scholfield & her sisters.

They will show you how much she loved her friends & was beloved by them. The first letter was written when your mother was about thirteen years old; it is the earliest specimen of her chirography; the last by her in this collection was written about nine months before her death.

The letters of Miss Ann & her sisters will be precious to you also on account of the affectionate interest which they have taken in your welfare since your mother's death, & which must ever remain deeply impressed on your heart.

That your social affections may be as warm & generous as your dear mother's, & that you may have also a love to your Saviour as strong & constant & cheering as she had, is the earnest prayer of

Your affectionate father,

N.W. Fiske.

Amherst, June 25, 1846.

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston

Marshfield August 1820

Dear Ann,

I have been in the country now quite a week, and have neither received a letter or a call from your lady-ship; the former I expected last Saturday when I received one from Jane. We had a very pleasant ride from Boston; the country looked remarkably fine! We parted with Hannah with regret about 2 O'clock, then proceeded to Marshfield where we arrived about 5. I think you would smile if you had witnessed my conduct after my arrival, running from the garden to the orchard, and so continued, that it was almost dark ere I had finished my ramble. Miss Ann, if you will call and see me, instead of amusing you with my Piano-forte, I will conduct you round an orchard or other green fields; instead of Cake, give you a good baked apple-pudding & pies; and for wine, a good bowl of milk which to me is far preferable; This will be your treatment, and you must consult your own taste about coming; Please give my respects to your Parents, love to your Sisters, not forgetting your Brothers. Tell your good Mother that her patient is almost recovered, and fears she shall want more of her good wholesome advice, for not being satisfied with one supper, I frequently take 2. I hope on receiving this you will write an answer immediately.

Your affectionate Country Cousin D W Vinal

Please give my love to Aunt Wingate In haste Do not expose this scrawl

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield. Boston
Return address: Saugus 1823

Saugus May 14th 1823.

My Dear Ann,

Yesterday Mr Emerson gave us such a lecture upon writing letters on less than a whole sheet of paper, I cannot justify myself in taking a smaller piece, though convinced the day is so near its close I shall not have time to fill it. I presume this very rainy weather has often reminded you of your friend Deborah in Saugus woods. If I know what it is to be home-sick I think I was a little last night, after all my room-mates were asleep the rain beating against the windows and the sound of the frogs XXXXXX croaking in a pond near the house - then thought I of the contrast between my present situation and that of the last tuesday night when surrounded by my friends I was sitting in the parlour at Home; it was for my happiness that my imagination did not then paint the reality I am very much pleased with my boarding place, there are thirteen boarders beside myself. My room mates are Mary Ann Wilder, Mary Ann Jewett, & Mary Ann Smith. Miss Smith is my Bedfellow- she appears to be a very pleasant young lady; from so short an acquaintance it is impossible to judge correctly of her disposition.

I like my Emerson and his assistant Miss Grant very much; they have about seventy pupils Our lessons are rather hard but Mr Emerson says for our comfort they are nothing to what they will be. There is a good prospect of a pleasant day tomorrow I am rejoiced to see it, and find that it is only the deprivation of our blessings will make us value them as we ought. I miss your society very much I hope you will come to Saugus very soon. Write very often. Give much love from me to Your Mother and Sisters - persuade Adeline and Ellen to write me immediately -- letters from you all would make a delicious feast. With reluctance I close but while in Saugus I must attend to my lessons. Mr & Mrs Currier are very pleasant and provide well for their table. I know you will excuse this writing for to write better I must write less. Do not have the impression I am homesick now- it was last night I described - the idea of being less ignorant when I return than I now am, quite reconciles me to staying here. It is so dark I can scarcely see. Please remember me to Aunt Walker and believe me

Your very affectionate friend

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston

Saugus June 5 1823

My Dear Ann,

It is quite late in the evening my chums are most of them in bed my lessons have become rather wearisome will therefore indulge myself in writing to my dear friend who I trust will view this hasty production with some other than a critic's eye; I believe I informed you when at home that one letter to you was miscarried by Mr Esterbrook indeed you could not think I would neglect writing you for more than three weeks. I regret that I was unable to see more of you when at home I was dissapointed in not finding you at Aunt Vinals with Arthur after lecture, though I should have enjoyed monday exceedingly at home I have since been glad I returned XXXXXXXXXX in the morning, knowing the longer I had staid the worse Saugus would seem.

Accept my thanks for your letter. I have no fault to find with it excepting the length and as you have a good excuse for that will leave the subject without farther controversy. Perhaps some account of the course of studies I persue would prove interesting to you, will therefore commence with the rising of the Sun and give you an account of one day which very much resembles all others, as a variety of anything but Intellectual food is not permitted to XXXXXXXXXX enter Saugus.

At half past four in the morning I am generally awoke with the delightful singing of Musquitoes about my ears then I commence a battle which generally terminates in my victory - take a few moments for sleep - perhaps until a short time after 5 then dress me, Comb my head, make my bed & etc. At 6 O'clock eat breakfast and devote 2 hours to the study of Colburns Arithmetic - after that we are summoned to attend Devotional & exercises - then return home and prepare myself for a recitation in Geography, at eleven return to the Seminary and practice Mr Emersons system of Chirography until twelve, our dining hour - from then until three Oclock I study Geography lesson. then recite it and attend Devotional exercises. Have supper at five Oclock and generally take a walk before dark with some of the young ladies which I enjoy very much there are many fine young ladies here. The evening I devote to study sometimes untill 12 Oclock but often return before that hour. Now I suppose you will exclaim - well if this is a specimen of Deborah's improvement she had better go another year, to get finished - but believe me it is not a specimen of anything but bad writing & Grammar I am in great haste for midnight approaches when all good little girls and Old Maids should be in bed. I do not know of any opportunity of forwarding this to you now but write for fear one will pass unimproved. Please turn over

June 7th Saturday afternoon.

You perceive by the date my dear Ann this letter commenced a few nights since the composition is such I am quite ashamed of it and were it not for the "advice of some Physician and ladies, you should never see it. I am sensible it is very imperfect for a midnight production yet I hope knowing I held my eyes open with one hand while writing with the other will be a sufficient apology.

When are you coming to Saugus? I fear Arthur has forgotten his promise to fetch you. I will exert myself exceedingly to entertain you, you shall visit all the Public Edifices in this renowned place and have an introduction to as many of the natives as happen to be at home, most of them will probably be so engaged in the Literary persuit of mending old shoes they will decline making their appearance, if this is not sufficient inducement I must be deprived of your company untill I return home.

The weather is very pleasant, the country looks delightfully. Our lessons are very difficult and friday night we review all the recitations of the past week. Mr Emerson says we had better spend but little time in writing letters XXXX write them short and well you will think me quite disobedient in not following his advice in either respect - I could not write long letters except by deducting time from my sleep. I now must begin to close and attend to my lessons. Remember me affectionately to your mother and sisters. Also to Uncle & Aunt Walker. I hope you and your sisters will write very soon it would gratify me very much If time permits before an opportunity presents for forwarding this I shall burn it and write another. After I have learnt a lesson I shall write to Martha. That prosperity may always be yours and that you will succeed in decyphering this, is the sincere wish of

Your affectionate friend Deborah W Vinal

I intended to have written Aunt & Martha a few lines tonight but there is a Chaise at Mr Sewals from Boston and I cannot stop, therefore request you to remember me to them and all other friends.

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston

Saugus, July 5, 1823

My Dear Ann,

I was somewhat dissapointed in not receiving a letter from you Independent day, yet do not feel so cross about it, but that I can devote a few moments in writing you with much pleasure, I suppose you was so much engaged in celebrating the freedom of your Country it was impracticable; knowing this generally to be the case with Military Characters, caused this supposition. As I have had the pleasure of seeing you since your last letter was written, I believe I have made verbal replies to all the questions contained in it. I enjoyed your visit in Saugus very much, and wish for another as much as though I had not seen you. Miss Smith went home last thursday and will not return until monday morning, [tr. note: missing word] is more pleasant and awakes me every morning. My boarding place continues good. Our vacation commences the twenty ninth of this month, I count much upon it, - perhaps too much, but the idea of being with my Bosom friends affords me so much pleasure I cannot avoid it. Next week the Compositions will be read aloud in the Seminary, and among the rest my poor little ideas will be proclaimed; where I shall put my face in the meantime I know not, I dread it very much and presume I have your pity. Our lessons are more and more difficult as we grow older - last friday night I reviewed 434 answers in Geography (was so fortunate as not to miss one and 105 tickets to recite in the Seminary - this is quite long enough but as long as I can learn the lesson he requests I do not consider them too long. Write the first opportunity. You can send to Saugus next friday or Saturday by Miss Strong, a pupil of Mr. Emerson's who is staying at Dr. Ingal's's'. Do excuse this writing - it should be better if my lessons were learnt.
expose this not. Love to Aunt Walker.

Your sincere friend Deborah W Vinal.

It so happens that all my letter paper is in half sheets or you should have a larger piece.

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston, By the politeness of Mr Vinal

Saugus, October 12, 1823

I have very many times my dear Ann attempted answering your letter and lessons, compositions etc have as often prevented me. I will not however spend any time in apologies as the verbal ones I have already made appeared to prove satisfactory. You must be thanked for your compliment however unjust for surely the pain of conscience you must have endured in saying one of my letters are worth two of yours deserves a reward.

Your imagination pictured my situation very exactly for our lessons are so increased that were you to visit Saugus in any part of the day when I am not at the Seminary you would find me sitting by a little Old Maids fire writing composition or reciting lessons.

A piece of composition is expected of the junior class every week and rather different from what we have ever written; Miss Grant gives us 12 words which must be contained in it and what is worse than the whole it must be read aloud in the Seminary before the whole junior class and Miss Grant. From the slight acquaintance you have with me you may correctly suppose my face is much the same colour when reading it as it was when I recieved that early, unexpected, short visit from your father in the vacation. I am astonished to see with what composure some of the young ladies will read their own composition at the same am ashamed of myself for blushing so like fire-coals which, by the way, is not the most elegant comparison that ever was.

From what you say of Aunt Carleton I fear the attenuated thread of life will soon be broken and her relations and acquaintances be deprived of a valuable friend. As she can contemplate with pleasure the time when her body will return to dust as it was and her spirit to God who gave it; and has an evidence that her removal will be to that place, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest," it seems wrong for us too ardently to wish her continuence here which would in all probability be connected with much suffering.

On her account I wish I was at home that I might do for her, as well as your sisters and Cousin Martha.

I have been informed of the sudden death of Mr Allen. his family must be in great affliction. If I am not mistaken they live in your street.

In just three weeks and one day my term closes, then I shall take my last look for the season on this little village leaving so many young ladies with which I shall have lived six months will make me feel very unpleasantly but this will be counterbalanced by the pleasure of living again in Aunt Vinals family and enjoying the society of my Boston friends When I commenced I thought of only writing a few lines you see there are many and I fear I have intruded too much upon the sabbath

Sunday is a day on which I do not allow myself to write letters except in particular cases.

Though this writing is intolerable I will make no apologies but say with Miss Smith that when you receive anything like copper plate you may know I do not love you.

Give much love to your mother and sisters from me and say to Ellen the first time I have for writing letters shall be devoted to her.

You can have no adequate idea my dear Ann how much this season of the year has changed the appearance of Saugus; the fields which but a short time were all arrayed in green are now stripped of their verdure the trees are robbed of their foliage and nothing can be seen or heard of the little songsters which used to gladden us with their notes. I think Boston is much the pleasantest in Autumn than any country town. but I am quite contented to stay the remainder of the term. I sometimes wish when sitting by my fireside, trimming the "midnight lamp" over a piece of composition that Ann was here doing the same, though I suppose to tell the plain truth you would rather take a midnight nap with me than accede to my former wishes. I told you I believe that I had a pleasant room mate. But I must now close for it is meeting time and perhaps here is more than you will be able to read.

Yours sincerely D.W.V.

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston, By the politeness of Mr. Watts
Return Address: Saugus 1824

Saugus, May 24, 1824

I have hoped my dear Ann, long before this to receive a good and long letter from you there have been so many opportunities of sending to Saugus; I do not consider your example of silence worthy of emulation therefore improve a few moments in writing you.

You have probably heard by Aunt Vinal or Cousin Martha how much pleased I am with my situation, I think if you and about a dozen more of my best friends were here I should be perfectly happy. My Roommates are very much superior to those I had last year, they are not only more amiable but know three times as much; I have only two at present, Miss Grey from Salem and Miss Clark from Hancock, hope I shall be blessed with as small a number through the season.

Mrs. Pike is very pleasant, she has been absent from home once or twice and my cap entitles me to so much pre-eminence that I have had the honour of serving out to the young ladies delightful messes of veal & salt beef; I ought however to mention puddings and Pies as our fare is as good as I wish; not quite as good as I have at home. I hope you will visit me every opportunity; you will if it would gratify you as much to see me as it would me to see you.

Mrs Emerson so far is very pleasant indeed and assists Mr. Emerson in the Seminary.

I had almost forgotten to tell you respecting my fine head of hair, it is 1/8 of an inch in length, excepting where it was formerly bald, on those places it is rather thin presume therefore it must be shaved again.

If my father can leave his business he is coming for me on saturday; I hope he will come; and should be glad to have my head shaved any time this summer for the sake of coming home.

I have the vanity to think you thought of me a great deal the day I came to Saugus - it was so very stormy; I felt very unpleasantly for a while but you know I can not be unhappy long at least, never have been. Please give my love to your mother and sisters - urge your sisters to fulfill their promise of writing me immediately. You can send by Mr. Watts - Mr Holmes J Chickering will give letters to them and a Mr. Little who keeps in Cummings and Hilliards store; his sister boards with me and he frequently comes to Saugus.

Write very soon and tell me of Aunt Vinals health in particular.

Your affectionate friend

in great haste

Saugus, June 16, 1824.

My dear young Ladies,

For so I must call you as you reside in the Metropolis and myself in the woods, I will make a second attempt of answering your interesting letters, and I hope to be as a agreeably interrupted as I was on saturday afternoon.

The more I have of any good thing the more I want, perhaps that is an unreasonable disposition, but be that as it may, I have acknowledged it to you, and would have you all know, that I want letters and visits very much more than if I had never received any from you. I enjoyed your visit very much while it lasted, but as soon as you had gone I felt quite dissatisfied with it, for I was so elated at seeing you, that I talked nothing but nonsense, to the neglect of a thousand enquiries I afterwards wished I had made.

Nothing very particular has occurred since you were here, excepting that on Sunday evening I attended a Saugus Oratorio. Mr Pike, our Land-lord invited me with several other young ladies to go, accordingly we accepted, and were escorted in style to the old school-house I showed you on saturday afternoon. When we arrived, the door was thronged with gentleman cobblers, and as our Beau forgot that we needed any farther attention, we were under the necessity of gallanting ourselves, through the midst of them into the house where a great number were assembled.

We of course took possession of the nearest vacant place and notwithstanding it was the little low A, B, C, boys seat, the natives stared at us with all the eyes in their heads. I scarcely ever had more difficulty in keeping from laughing, especially when the Master made his appearance; he was a man remarkable only for his awkwardness, corpulency, and strength of lungs. The music was tremendously sublime, for the choir having just had a day of rest, had a good stock of strength on hand. This comical scene terminated at nine O'clock; there were some young ladies there from almost every boarding house, so that instead of being ashamed of having been, am glad for circumstances that transpired have afforded us merriment ever since.

I believe I promised in my last that this should be more interesting & better written, but as I have written thus far without fulfilling my promise, I regret that I made it, and will make no more of the kind. I trust you will have charity enough to overlook imperfections or excuse them, knowing how very little time I have to devote to writing. I never transcribe my letters, as you would suppose from their appearance, but write down just what silly thoughts happen to pop into my head. I hope that you will write on separate sheets of paper for the future, that you may write more and not be under the necessity of saying "my paper is most out which is well for both you and myself" when you have only written one page; this last period is meant for a scolding, it is a mild one to be sure, but I hope it will have the desired effect.

It distresses me exceedingly, to hear you presume I am making great progress in knowledge, for I am sensible of knowing so little "and what I do know I don't know certain," that I foresee a sad disappointment, if you expect to see the least traces of literature when I return home. I intend reading considerably next winter, for though I shall attend to Music I shall have sufficient leisure because I shall not have to prepare for Saugus again.

I was very much disappointed in not seeing father on Sunday; I concluded that he ascertained you had been on saturday night, and thought it would be having too many good things at once if he should come the next day. I am glad he did not come, now, on one account, vis. that I am anticipating a visit continually.

Do write again very soon, and Ann also and will you send them to Mr. Little (unless you send them by father) as he comes out every week on saturday or wednesday. I calculate much upon coming home on the third of July if Father can conveniently come or send for me. "My paper is most out which is well for both you and myself." My love to all friends, your mother and Ann in particular. Aunt Vinals family, Aunt Walker, also to Hannah.

Yours sincerely,

[in elegant printing]

Miss Adeline Scholfield and Miss Ellen Scholfield

Will you write me particularly respecting Aunt Vinals health. Do not expose this to any one. Ann may see it.

Be very particular and write all the news however minute. D.W.V.

Did you have any difficulty in finding the way home? I was very sorry you would not stay to tea. Mrs. Pike said a great deal about it. Almost all of the young ladies friends do. I like Mrs. Pike very much. When shall you come again? I do not believe you will be able to read half of this.

I shall write Ann soon but she must not wait for me but write every opportunity.

Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston, By the politeness of Mr. Watts
Return address: Saugus, 1824

Saugus July 31, 1824.

My dear Ann,

I hope you will be willing to "take the will for the deed" in that I have not more speedily answered your interesting letter tho I will allow it must be very unpleasant to miss of receiving such beautiful letters as I am capable of writing. To "tell the plain truth" the reason of my not writing, is, I have had such an amazing industrious fit with my needle, that every moment which has not been devoted to my lessons, has been spent in sewing. You need not however anticipate any farther inconvenience from this fit for I am so free from it now, that I wish the person who is to be the bearer of this would allow me the whole afternoon to write in.

I have been very much dissapointed in not receiving a letter from Martha this afternoon, as I wrote her a long letter by my father on wednesday afternoon, in which I informed her of this opportunity of sending to Saugus. I heard by Papa she is staying at Nahant part of the time and Mr. Watts has just told me that Uncle V-- is preparing to go a journey. I wish to hear particularly respecting these things, and will not you be "so good and so kind and so obliging" as to send letters for me, to No 49 Back Stt. at the corner of Richmond Stt. on tuesday evening or early wednesday morning. I shall consider it a very great favour if you will, and will try to requite it by writing you the same day, - it will be poor pay to be sure, - but such as it is you will receive on thursday morning.

I wish very much to see you, and trust that one fortnight from to-day I shall have that pleasure.

The additional room-mate I have is a very pleasant young lady by the name of Leach. Martha is acquainted with her. I wish you was in Saugus then we would go a whortleberrying together; - and to walk together; and to school together; and to bed together and get up together, if you would be as lazy as I am in the morning. It would make me very happy, but you have been so little from home I presume you would be homesick.

I calculate much upon the vacation - I regret the probability of Aunt Vinal's being absent; but doubt not that I shall have an excellent time notwithstanding.

The classes are not divided, and I am not in the Junior for which I am very glad, as I should be unwilling to go on in the same course I did last year.

Write me a very long letter on tuesday, - write very badly - to countenance me in sending you such a direful looking scribble as the present. Give my love to your mother and sister; also to Martha together with a smart reproof for not writing me. Have you good help now? where is Hannah and when will she be married? when did you see Martha? is she going to journey with Aunt and Uncle? where is little Martha? How doe Uncle's garden look? Do you walk mornings? I have an uncommon inquisitive genius, and hope you will gratify it by answering these, and a thousand other questions which time will not permit of my writing.

Thank Ellen for writing me - if I can possibly make it convenient I shall answer her letter by Mr. Horton on wednesday, when I shall answer the one I shall receive from you in the morning. If Martha is in town will you not inform her of this opportunity that she may write also.

I think you will excuse the numerous imperfections here as I could only write you a few lines if I had stopped to write well. You probably know Caroline is married - if you know the particulars of her wedding will you write them to me.

Do you recollect of attending a party of Emmeline Carletons when a Mr. John Whiting was there? It seems to me I heard you mention him as making a great deal of fun and of singing beautifully. There are two young ladies in Saugus who are enraptured with this gentleman. when I come home I will tell you who they are and all about it.

Your affectionate Saugusite

Miss Ann Scholfield
My vacation commences the 10th of August on tuesday afternoon so you see I shall eat but ten more dinners 10 more breakfasts and 10 more suppers in Saugus until after the vacation. How is your health now? Aunt told me it was not very good.

My dear Ann and Ellen, more properly Ellen and Ann:

I wish Mr. Emerson's stay in Saugus would admit of my answering your interesting letters, as it will not, and he will wait a few moments, I will sincerely thank you for them and say that the very first opportunity shall be employed in answering them. You have indeed had a sad fire but I presume the people who occupied those houses are well able to bear the loss, tho it is not likely they think so. Does it not injure the appearance of that part of the town very much? I shall be sadly dissapointed if my father does not come to Saugus tomorrow for it seems a great while since I saw him or any "Boston folk." How is Aunt Vinal and all other friends - write again very soon. My love to every one that you think I've any for. I am in great haste as the writing shows you.

Your affectionate friend D.W.V.

Misses E. & A. Scholfield

This afternoon myself and several other young ladies have been examined in Grammar by Mrs Emerson up in her chamber in order to be admitted to the Senior Class; owing to "good luck" I did not miss any though I was frightened. I am rejoiced to think it is over I cannot help telling you of it. My health is very poor, for two or three days since, I was violently attacked with the Composition fever which I assure you is a very distressing disorder. I am ashamed either of you should see this but having asked Mr E--- if he will be the bearer of a letter I will even let it go but I should appear silly by giving him none having made the request.

I will write no more for it looks worse and worse.

Your affectionate friend,

I trust you will excuse my writing on half a sheet of paper as I made a mistake in directing it, therefore was obliged to take another piece.

Londonderry, May 28, 1828.

My dear young Friends,

When I left home I promised not to write, until you had, but I am use to breaking promises, and do not mind doing it in this case, for I want to talk with you prodigiously, and I wish we might do it "face to face" that I might not be obliged to wait for an answer to my questions three or four days.

Since I have been here, I have done wondering that Cowper could write John Gilpin in one of his melancholy fits, for though I came from home laughing I felt sad enough inside.

I wish I had time to tell you respecting our ride to Londonderry - our situation here but as I have not, I will refer you to a letter I have written Aunt, in which I have given a particular account. I have not become acquainted with any of the inhabitants excepting Esq Thom (one of the Trustees; and you will rejoice with me I know, that I happened to have sufficient presence of mind, to say, that my name was Deborah Waterman Vinal instead of Grampion Hills. Tell your mother that I have regretted that I did not accept the little scissors she offered me, as there was a man in the Stage with us, whose appearance would have been very much improved, by an application of them to his raving distracted looking head.

To-day has been the fast preparatory to the communion, in consequence of which there has been no school. I attended meeting this morning, and I wish you could have seen me going, for I was invited upon by our landlords father, an old gentleman dressed in small grey small clothes; I do not know whether his wife is living or not.

Londonderry is a very pleasant place, it is as much prettier than Saugus as you are than Nanny; as pretty as it is it is not equal to Boston, and I shall be very glad to see the last day of our "only ten weeks." You must not think from this that I am homesick for I am not; there are several very interesting young ladies here and our boarding place is good so that I expect to be contented.

Do write immediately be very particular to mention everything no matter what. Give my love to your mother, and thank your father for pulling off his gown, putting on his coat, taking off his slippers, putting on his boots and getting his hat to go home with me that evening.

I have but precious little time for writing as now is the time for me to get a good name in school and if I do not study so as to be able to say something beside "I dont know" to every question, the name I shall get will be good for nothing.

Your sincere friend D.W.V

Misses A. E. and A Scholfield

Let no one see this but yourselves, and your mother if she requests the favour

If this is not written bad enough send me word and I shall write the next worse. Martha sends her love to you and Aunt Scholfield.

[to Aunt Martha Vinal]


Lanesborough, June 4, Wednesday morning.

You see, my dear aunt, I can practice as well as preach punctuality in writing; this, unless there is some fault in the mails, will reach you on Saturday - the time I promised you should hear, and the time I shall receive a joint letter from you and little Martha and myself - a grand way of securing letters to be one's own correspondent. I must write a package to be sent to me after leaving home the next time. But you are skipping this interesting preamble to learn something of my journey, and I will tell you the particulars, so many of them as have not escaped my memory. We left home you know Tuesday morning. It rained some until noon, but it did not make me uncomfortable. The company in the Stage was neither agreeable nor disagreeable - it consisted of clever folks who said nothing either good or bad. At Framingham we dined - in the afternoon the weather was very pleasant - we reached Worcester between 5 and 6 o'clock; put up at the same house that I did with you and my father last year. Our accommodations were excellent - partly owing to some rivalry between that and anther public house recently opened. We had the same parlour to sit in that you and I occupied the morning we were waiting so anxiously and impatiently for the Stage. I am such a sleepy head mornings I was afraid at night of sleeping until the next noon unless someone should stave my chamber door down to wake me, but I was awake and dressed at 5 o'clock!!! what wonders a little care will do. After breakfast we took a long walk on the hill behind the Tavern to have a good view of the local situation and buildings of Worcester. The stage for Northampton left at 9 o'clock there were 11 passengers inside and 2 on the out; one was an enormous old Englishman - proportioned like the old Dutch governors - 5 feet 6 inches in height and 5 feet 5 inches in circumference. We dined at Brookfield and reached Northampton about 1/2 past 8 o'clock - put up at Mr. Warners but Mr. Warner and his wife were absent; you have probably seen them for they had gone to Haverhill. Mr. Warner's house is an excellent one in every room there is a clothes brush, hair brush and Bible; and books in the parlours to entertain people who are so unfortunate as not to have agreeable company with them, but I did not read any of the books. Thursday morning between 8 and 9 we took a Chaise and rode round Northampton - you recollect I had no opportunity of seeing the place when there before - in the forenoon we went over to Amherst - I have no evil report to give of the land - it is more pleasant than I expected to find it, but it will appear very differently of course in snow storms and rainy days. Our first call was at Mrs. Shepherds Mr. Fiske's boarding place - they treated me very politely and I did not feel so very awkwardly as I expected. We staid about half an hour and then went into the chapel to see all the recitation rooms and up on the Tower above it to take a look at Amherst and the surrounding country; then we called on Mrs. Humphrey. I was interested in her she seemed just as Mr. Fiske had represented her - a very sensible, affectionate, motherly woman; the President was not at home; from Mrs. Humphrey's we returned to Mrs. Shepherds and dined. I met a young lady there acquainted with Lucretia Parker and going directly to New Haven. I sent some love to Lucretia which she will be surprised I think to receive from that quarter. This young lady remembered me. She was at Mr. Wilson's 4 or 5 years ago when Maria was alive and I now remember seeing her there. I rode very slowly past Mrs. Moore's house, and the other one below the hill. Mrs. Moore's house is the largest and the situation the pleasantest but the situation of the other is not unpleasant and the house is larger than Mr. Hookers. I know nothing about the interior which is of the most consequence but the exterior is respectable - it is painted some very light colour and has green blinds. In the afternoon we ascended Mount Holyoke - the prospect from it is the most delightful and extensive I ever witnessed. I wish to ascend it again because the atmosphere was rather smoky; returning to Northampton we crossed the Connecticut in a Horse boat but this was not a novelty because I did the same when we went to the Springs. We reached Mr. Warners just before dark - retired at 9 for the purpose of rising at 1 o'clock the next morning - at that hour the Stage started - there were but 2 or 3 other passengers - the weather was very rainy and prevented me from walking one single step. I had no disposition to walk because our load was so light we breakfasted at Cummington, reached Pittsfield at 12 o'clock - stopped there a couple of hours and rest and then went over to the Parson's - the Tavern keeper furnished us with a very pretty barouche instead of such an open jolting waggon as we had last Summer; this Tavern has been built since last year, and things of a grander order are furnished than at the other house. Mr. Hooker and Martha did not seem unwilling to receive us. Miss Sarah stared as if some new folks had arrived. She is a pretty child and appears much older than she is. Martha is very well. I have not done much work yet - my tongue is more active than my fingers - my arms are not idle - I love to tend Sarah - especially when my awkward manner of holding her does not make her scream as if a wasp stung her. Saturday the weather was rainy all day. Sunday the weather was pleasant. I attended meeting all day and had the care of a class at noon. I wished much to see my Bible class girls. Mr. Fiske preached for Mr. Hooker both parts of the day. Monday we took Mr. Hooker's "goacle" and Mr. Sheldon's horse and went to New Lebanon. The road is some of it very bad, but not being a son and daughter of Anak's the horse carried us without much difficulty. There are fine accommodations there for company. I thought at the time it would be pleasant to stay a week. The Spring water is only good for cutaneous diseases and is used for bathing. We returned in the afternoon, reached home about dark. Mr. Hooker met us at the gate to enquire my name because ladies so often return from Lebanon with a new one - but I could honestly tell him as you will be very glad to learn that my name was Deborah Waterman Vinal. Yesterday which was Tuesday morning Mr. Fiske left us. Mr. Hooker carried him to Pittsfield. He arrived at Northampton last evening probably and this morning will go to Amherst; he will write to my father the latter part of this week or the first of next. Martha must say in her next letter (I hope you will write too) when Papa is coming to Lanesborough for me - when it is most convenient for him to come I shall feel it to be my duty to be ready. Now, aunt I have a plan to propose that I hope you and Uncle will consent to comply with, it is this - when Papa comes for me I want him to bring you. The day that he will go to Amherst you would like to spend with Mrs. Warner, or if you should not be willing to do so Papa could stop at Amherst when he took me home instead of the time of coming for me at Lanesborough. Martha wishes this very much. Mr. Hooker will leave home on the 17th of this month which will come in a fortnight from yesterday. He will be absent about thee weeks - I cannot spend enough time in Lanesborough to be with Martha then and she will be lonesome very without some one. Uncle Vinal can come for you - you can leave home then better than later in the season, or I can spare you better. 8 years I have been indebted to you, and expect to be the whole of my life. Love to Papa, I shall write him in one or two days. Martha sends love. Yours truly,


Mr. Hooker will go to Falmouth by the way of New York because it is less expensive, but he intends to return by the way of Boston. My love to all the family - be sure to write again next week. This letter is not common property it is only for you and Martha to see.

I am in earnest in saying that no one must see this but little Martha and you. You will despise the whole concern there are so many we's, but how could I avoid it since there were two of us? I hope Mary is sewing for me. I did wrong I fear in asking you to purchase anything shopping tires you so much.

To "Misses Ann Scholfield" written in pencil - & done over with the pen by me, March 5th, 1845 [Wednesday]. N.W.F.

Marshfield, August 29, 1828

I am glad of an opportunity, my dear Ann, of spending a little while this morning "in solitude all alone by myself" to thank you for writing me, and for your forbearance in not inflicting the dreadful punishment you threatened by uncle Vinal, of sending me a great sour apple for not earlier answering your letter. My apology is, that it has not be practicable, and this is sufficiently weighty to satisfy you, without any explanation, because you know I am too fond of answering letters, to let trifling circumstances hinder me. I have spent my time pleasantly since I left home, but as is always the case, I shall be glad to return, there is a possibility of my being homesick after Aunt leaves Marshfield, but I am not worried about it, I am so much like the Chimney Sweep, who pelted his shins, that he might know, how good it would feel to have them stop aching so if I am homesick it will procure for me the pleasure of thinking how delightful it will seem to be home - well, or rather well home again; it is said that "some strange comfort every state attends and if this is true there is comfort in being homesick but I think this is the strangest comfort I ever experienced.

Did you ever know so long a storm as we have recently had? I never did - at the commencement of it, I began to prophecy "pleasant weather tomorrow", and continued till my predictions so often failed, that all laughed when I uttered them, so at last, I merely prophecied "pleasant weather next" and surely it is a great cause of thankfulness, that it has at last come. The Farmers have been much injured by the rains (the plural number is the most appropriate now) much hay has been spoilt, also many vegitables - the apples under the trees, many of them look like boiled potatoes their skin being cracked open and in very many instances almost pealed off. Have you any faith in Almanacks? I have but very little, for mine said nothing about the storm, but now that it has become so pleasant it says "signs of rain."

I never knew it to rain so immoderately as it did last week. - it poured down with such violence that I should have been very much alarmed had it not been for the promise "there shall not any more be a flood to destroy the earth" what a consolation it is in view of any calamity to have the promises of God on our side! - to have an assurance from one who "cannot lie" that no evil shall befal us; then though the elements seem ever so portentous we need not fear knowing that. He who once said "Peace be still" and quelled the raging of the sea will in due time stop the raging of the tempest. He it is who has now said to the rain "no farther shalt thou go" and to Him are our thanks due for the cheering sight of the Sun again - it seems as if I should value more than ever his shining rays they have so long been hid from our view - you know I am a great admirer of fair weather. I think one reason why the idea of a storm is so unpleasant to me is because there was such a long storm once at Saugus when I was very homesick. such associations have a very lasting effect. I am very much obliged to Ellen for her letter and this is as much to her as to you tho I am ashamed to have mention a division it seems so like splitting a cherry. I wish much to see you both and Adeline and your mother. The boys are very well and delighted with Marshfield. I am very glad to hear Isaac has obtained a medal - what kind of one is it - write me next saturday if you please Miss as Mr. Taylor says - I send you some rare poetry - perhaps you will not like it well enough for your book - I will give you all I can get and then you can select what you please. I write on this coarse paper because it is the best I can get in Marshfield - I write with a pencil because uncle Clifts ink is very pale; I write badly partly because I am in haste and partly because you requested me to. I stop writing now because I have come to the end of my paper - and now write D.W. Vinal because that is my name and say finally that I am your very sincere friend because it is the truth.

Monday Evening 11 o'clock
[September 1, 1828]

I very often think when writing how much more pleasant it would be to talk and wish the friend I am writing to by my side but it gives me pleasure not to be at your side now, for it is so very late and you are so sleepy if not asleep that there would be no hope of my hearing anything from you but oh! umh! or "get away,"; any one I think would prefer being at peace at some distance off to being nearer accosted by such uncerimonious salutations as these. I suppose in time you might be brought to your sense and manners but like me you sleep so soundly it would require a course of pounding to effect it.

I am very much obliged to you for writing me. I wish you knew by experience the feelings awakened by reading a good package of letters from home. Did I promise to write you from Hanson? I did not remember it if I did; we made each of us less promises for not meeting before I left to make any parting speeches; I regretted not seeing you again but perhaps it was as well that I did not for if I am as pathetic as Martha thinks our hearts might have been broken.

The "crotchet tree you mentioned is cut-down, also a beautiful, large oak tree fronting the house. Aunt and I had a pleasant visit. I'll tell you all the particulars respecting it when I return; we came to Marshfield last Friday and found aunt Clift quite unwell but now she is rather better. I was surprised Saturday to see my father; the Stage only comes within a quarter of a mile of Aunt Clifts so I went to meet it for my letters, fully intent upon getting them, I didn't give the company one look, till a voice from the stage so familiar that it startled me said "how do you do"; and there sat my father as prim as a mouse, out he was obliged to jump for "Uncle Dire" more properly dire uncle thinks it a foolish notion to carry his passengers to their homes so each of us took a bundle and trudge off toward aunt Clifts

I have not had scarcely any time for reading, so little that I cannot tell you whether your books are such as I wanted or not, I presume however they are, I covered them both the first afternoon I was in Hanson and this is the most that has been done with them.

I wish you could visit aunt Hobart - her situation is very pleasant but you must leave your ears at home or also be deafened with apologies she ought to read Mrs. Opie to teach her that it is fibbing to say she has nothing fit to eat and I have eaten nothing when her table is covered with good and my poor stomach tired of seeing come into it I often thought, could it speak it would cry out what next having such a vanity call for room there.

Tuesday morning

My father is going so I must say less to you than I intended to have said - give my love to your mother, Adeline and Ellen. I hope you can red this. I procured a bunch of poetry for you at aunt Hobarts and you shall have it when I come home.

Yours sincerely


It will seem good to get home on some accounts - the moral atmosphere here is cold - there is no revival here - one must have a heart well warmed with love to God not to feel the chilling influence of so much indifference manifested to the things of Eternity - I hope we shall be prepared for it my dear Ann. let us not rest with endeavoring to render ourselves useful and pleasing to our friends but seek to commend ourselves to God.

Londonderry, October 4, 1828.

It appears to me, my dear Ann, we are strange kind of "twin cherries", not to write each other for so long a time, and it is so very long since I have written you or your sisters, I expect so far as I am worth scolding at, you all feel disposed to do it. But I hope you will graciously condescend to receive me again into favour, without any parade of this kind, for strange as it may seem, I always had a particular antipathy to scoldings in any shape.

I have thought very much of you this summer, especially when I knew there was so much sickness at your house. I often wished myself with you at that time, and indeed I often do now. When I think how long it is since I have seen those two best streets in the world, Hancock and Pinkny, it seems as if I must immediately take "french leave" of Londonderry; but the time will come when I shall see them without running away, for the term closes in just six weeks from to-night. I shall not come home appearing much like a "book worm", for instead of being pale and emaciated, and having very weak eyes I never was blacker, & fleshier, or ever had stronger eyes than I now have. To appear like a poor worn-out student I should be obliged to diet on bread and vinegar until my return, and then cover up my strong eyes with a pair of green glasses.

I am very glad your mother and Adeline are so well as to visit Charlestown, and that you & Ellen have spent an afternoon at our house lately. As Aunts health is so much better, and Martha's ankle is so well, and you are all recovering, I think we have reason to anticipate a very good time next winter. I wish very much to begin to take Music lessons again - my old tunes will seem like new ones it is so long since I have heard them.

Misses Grant has been very sick, but she has now so far recovered as to visit the school almost every day; it is doubly pleasant to us all when she is present. I think this Academy very much superior to Mr. Emersons, if it was only kept in Boston I should like to attend two or three summers more.

Now you are so well I hope you will write me very often, with all the news; you cannot imagine what a treat it is, to have a good long letter when one has been away from home so long.

I wish you could see the young ladies with whom we board; I do not believe you ever saw eight prettier girls I shall regret leaving them and yet I shall be glad to have the time come on account of coming home.

I often make visits at your house in imagination, and at one I made this afternoon, I saw your mother mending the boys jackets - you and Adeline working muslin and Ellen playing on the Piano-forte and I heard Sarah singing down stairs; I hope in about seven weeks to make you one in reality which will be worth to me ten thousand imaginary ones.

This letter is not only short but poor, I will however make no apologies for you know in what a hurry I am always obliged to write. I wished very much to write you some time ago and begun several letters which I was unable to finish for want of time.

Do you ever see my father? if you do I wish you would try to make him come to Londonderry - he is so busy I fear he will not. Martha requests a particular remembrance to you and the rest of the family - she would write you this evening if it was not impracticable on account of her lessons and a letter she must finish to Elisabeth.

This is as much to Adeline and Ellen as to you; I need not have mentioned this for your common sense would undoubtedly tell you, that so excellent a letter as this was never intended for the instruction, edification and unspeakable advantage of one only. Remember me to your mother, all the family, and aunt Walker. I shall expect letters from you, Adeline and Ellen on Saturday.

Your very affectionate friend, D.W. Vinal

March 12th, Monday

My dear Ann,

I am very glad to hear of a private opportunity of sending to Boston, that you may receive some flower seeds from us in good season to plant them; if the soil of your garden is rich I think the Marigolds will be very large & handsome, for the ones which bore the seeds in our garden last year, grew to be three feet high. I should send you more of the other kinds, but had but a few to take them from; you need not say -- "you have robbed yourself" for I have a very tender conscience upon this point in common with the more selfish part of mankind that prevents me from ever committing robberies of this sort.

I wish very much to hear from you all, how your mother does, whether Ellen's cough troubles her yet, whether Adeline is well & whether you continue to be favoured with the good help you had when I was at Boston.

I requested Aunt Vinal in a letter a few weeks since to ask your kind services in purchasing for me some calico, perhaps she has done it and the calico may be bought, but if not, give yourself no needless trouble in selecting one from ten thousand but buy the first you meet with of small figure, with no yellow in it, between light & dark coloured, proper for Spring

You have heard of course how very sick I was immediately after arriving in Amherst; my recovery thus far has been as wonderful as the attack was sudden & dangerous. For one night & day I thought it very doubtful whether I should ever be permitted to leave my room again till carried from it for the last time, & it pained my heart more than can be expressed to remember the little interest I had felt for the immortal souls of my dear friends, & the little effort I had made to induce them to seek their salvation. I thought then, if ever able to use my pen again it should be to urge you & others I love for whom the Saviour died to pray earnestly & without delay for a new heart without which we can never be admitted to the holy Society of Heaven. Will you not be persuaded dear Ann to seek this great change which is called in the Bible being "born again""? I cannot think but you believe such a change necessary; are you not conscious of having no such feeling of love & nearness to God as you have towards your dear father & mother & sisters? this is the great sin of which the whole human family are all guilty & the Holy Spirit alone, can awaken within us that affection for God & delight in his word & happy activity in his service which is so reasonably required from our great & glorious maker Saviour & sanctifier. You cannot wonder at the solicitude I feel for so dear a friend as you have always been to me & it would be exceedingly grateful to my feelings to have you write me in confidence whether you have such feelings as would enable you to meet sickness and death in composure. I have written as much as it is prudent for me to write at once, on account of a slight pain in my left shoulder in consequence of continuing for any length of time in one position.

Remember me affectionately to your Mother and sisters. I would have taken a sheet of paper had I foreseen such a letter upon scraps.

Your sincere friend

D.W. Fiske

Little Helen is well and is learning to talk tho she does not make a good use of the words she can speak, not unlike older children. I ask her if she loves Pa & Mama & she says, "no, no" with great earnestness

[winter of 1833-4]

Friday afternoon

My dear Ann

I have thought a great deal of writing to you since my return from Boston, and the only reason I have not, is because I could do it as well one day as another - a very poor reason to be sure, but if ever you become so rooted and grounded in idleness as I have this winter you will find it a great job to accomplish any one thing, especially if it requires any head work, and you know all ladies letters they discuss obstruse subjects so deeply all very excruciating to the brain. Another subject about which I have thought a great deal as having a visit from you this winter; surely your winter clothes are done and on before this time, and that you recollect was one great obstacle in the way of your coming with me. I should enjoy very much a visit from you this winter; now while the sleighing is good you could soon slide to Amherst; the Stage gets in about 7 o'clock, and when you have arrived and are warming yourself and taking tea in my sitting room it will seem hardly possible that you have left Boston so recently as for a gallant you must take Adeline or Ellen for I should admire to see them and you would enjoy yourself better with a sister while here, than all alone; a gentleman, in my opinion is not half so essential on a journey as some imagine, and you must come now while the sleighing is good. My health is very much improved tho not perfect. I have a little of the whooping cough left yet, which is troublesome for a few moments every morning and I do not breathe with the ease I used to, if I eat a little too much, but I had no expectation when in Boston of ever being any better than I was then, and after my return - I felt certain that my last sickness had come and would probably be short, but every thing was done that could be done to remove the inflammation from my lungs and God in his infinite mercy was pleased to cause a blessing to follow their use; it is He that "bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up", And I feel that in return for the kindness which has healed my diseases the first question of every day should be, what shall I render unto God for all his benefits towards me. no language can express the infinite obligation that we are under to God for the mercies of every day, but above all are we compelled to be silent with wonder when we think of the glorious inheritance purchased with the blood of our Saviour; who could lie upon a sick bed and see the King of Terror approaching and expect every day to be summoned before the Throne of God to give an account of every wicked deed & word & thought, without unspeakable agony, unless we could flee to the Saviour for Salvation - God grant that when our last hour comes and our spirits leave this tabernacle of clay the Redeemer may recognise us as those who have known and loved him on the earth.

Remember me affectionately to your mother and Adeline and Ellen how is their health? and have you good help so that you are not obliged to work yourselves sick? Do you not pity me in this respect, I have only three to help me - a good little girl - good large girl and a good "middling sized" nurse - My little girl goes to school and helps mornings and evenings - Miss Leonard my nurse sews & knits & bakes & washes & Maria, the large girl does the remainder and I "see to things" and "putter about" as Aunt Vinal calls it and when you come you shall take care of the plants and make Helen willing to learn to sew - she is so fond of sweeping and carrying away dishes and bringing up wood I cannot catch and keep her still long enough to learn anything and if Ellen or Adeline come with you they shall read aloud - that is the only thing left to make some employment for each one; and everybody but me I think ought to have some regular business; - you will think I do my part toward furnishing you with regular business when I ask you to purchase for me another Calico or Gingham dress. I like the one you bought for me very much, but I have almost worn the new out of it and will you get me another black and white, or "mourning Calico" as it is called the first pretty one you see when you are shopping for yourself, please to buy and leave at Aunt Vinals (I am in no hurry) - you may get 10 yards - I shall like some little dot or crinkle, or vine blended with a larger figure; you know what is neat & pretty

I hope it will not make you cross eyed to follow such crooked lines through such a long letter - I have no lines and one reason I do not get any is because I wish, even in my old age, to learn to write without lines it saves so much trouble - and as for pens I have forgotten how to make them, and must learn that again - alas! how much I have got to learn - you must come to Amherst and teach me and encourage me or I shall fall and break my neck before I get half way up the hill of Science.

You must write the very day you get this, or the next - tell me when you are coming - unless, which I should much prefer you will get her yourself about as soon as a letter.

Yours very affectionately & gratefully


I have had a very pleasant visit from Papa and should be glad to keep him longer, but he says he "must go back and pay his debts" he thinks as much of his debts as any man "within the limits" perhaps it is the best way to keep out.

What are you reading now? if you want an interesting book get Dr. Cornelius's life. I have just read it - I always thought he was an eminently benevolent good man but the half was not told me.

Have you see Mrs. Sigourney's letters to young ladies, just published?

Monday Morning, 5 o'clock

My dear Ellen,

Pray take notice of this date, for it seems to me a most remarkable act to be up so early and sitting down writing a letter. I was just thinking myself smarter than anybody, but two men must needs appear to dash my happy conceit, one with an ox team, and another with a pail full of milk so the painful conclusion is forced upon me that these two men have been up as long as I have. And no things will happen I dare say all the week, leaving poor me as its clown with no reason to consider myself ahead of anybody or anything; this apprehension is in accordance with the sign that Monday is a sure index of the six following days

It makes me feel dreadfully to look up and see the old date of your letter and why it is that it has not got answered I am puzzled to tell, for it has been in my mind and heart to do it for a dozen times at least, let us charge the delay to the witches for sure I am as if I had seen them that some sort of invisible bad powers have stood in my way.

You are having sad times I hear in the culinary department, do be careful yourself and try to keep Addy from working all day long, if you cannot do any better, initiate some of your gentlemen in kitchen mysteries, and make them take hold, - try Isaac first, because he loves good things so well, and is so apt to laugh at troubles - his epicurean fancies would soon get cooled down going through the fuss of getting nice dishes ready.

From certain sounds I suspect breakfast is going to the sitting room, so I must leave you very abruptly and go with it, and then if the Stage comes rattling along I must only say good bye but if it does not more of a letter shall be pieced out.

How provoking - the Stage has come.

Yrs. very sincerely,


Monday afternoon

My dear Ann

I hardly know which to tell you first how sorry I am to hear that sickness has entered your family or how grateful I am for your kindness in getting my bonnet and sending little Ann such a pretty apron - The bonnet suits me exactly - the colour, shape, size and feeling are all right - Ann is not quite large enough yet for her apron, but I put it on once and she seemed to admire it, rattling the gingham, laughing and strutting with all the vanity of a little peacock. It was last evening that I heard Adeline and Ellen were sick - if you can get time from nursing and housekeeping I wish you would tell me definitely about their cases and whether they seem to be getting better. The eresipelas I have always heard is a very uncomfortable humour, it must be difficult for Adeline to bear it patiently, but I presume she does. If Ellen has a fever I know how to pity her having had fevers myself; the restlessness and languor of a fever are very trying - I have sometimes thought them worse than real pain if not very severe. You must find your hands full - I hope you will not get sick and I trust you will not; for in the unwearied care that you all took of your dear mother your strength held out wonderfully - altogether beyond the expectation of your friends because you all seem to be naturally rather frail; - how often Aunt Scholfield used to say when aunt Vinal would enquire "how do you all do up at your house" "oh I dont know, pretty well excepting the girls - poor slender things they can't bear anything."

Of course you know Martha Hooker is to return to Boston or to some place in the vicinity - I am very glad for her sake and aunt Vinal's all her old friends - after all there are no friends like old friends - the friends of our youth with whom we have played and studied and grown up. Martha and her family will stop a while with me on her way to Boston - I shall almost want to throw my things upon the same load and come with her, perhaps I ought not to say or even think so, for my situation in Amherst is altogether more pleasant than Martha's was at Lanesboro - there are as many ladies in our village as I can find time to visit and call upon, and I really enjoy their society - the only difficulty is I dont find your house or aunt Vinal's, or my father's in any direction. In every situation in life there will be something not in accordance with one's wishes and the only way to be uniformly happy is to have learned as St. Paul did in whatsoever stall we are there-with to be content. And surely if we compare half our blessings with what we deserve every discontented feeling must vanish - nothing ever seems so strange to me that God should have left so much for us to enjoy in a world ruined by sin.

How glad you must have been to get a letter from Charles - I hope that intemperate man's good habits will last till he get fingers on shore. Charles is at the end of his voyage probably or mouldy - I wish he could find some good sisters to fit him out for his voyage home.

Perhaps you know Helen and Ann have both had the measles, Ann had them quite severely and since the measles left her a bad humour has appeared upon her face which I suppose is in consequence of the effect of the measles in her blood.

Remember me to your father and brothers - also to Elisa and Henrietta - much love to Adeline and Ellen - I shall wait almost impatiently to hear that they are better - write soon if you possibly can - and when you write please to mention the price of my bonnet, and what my dress and Helen's were a yard.

I have met with the misfortune lately of losing one of my front teeth, not a central one, but it seems very odd to have it gone - I can compare it to nothing but having my mouth in the front entry with the door wide open.

Yours very affectionately, Deborah.

You will receive with this letter some flower seeds that I hope will come up and give a cheerful look to your little garden spot.

Mr. Fiske requests a remembrance to you and your sisters - he has just come in from a Faculty meeting and it is half past nine o'clock. You must not think I have been over since noon writing such a letter as this - In the meantime a lady came early and spent the afternoon, a student came to tea and staid sometime after - Little Ann occupied me till 8 o'clock and while writing the first page I was spelling words, two letters at a time for Helen to print to her grandpapa and playing with Ann besides. *
* a pretty thorough violation of the good old maxim "never do but one thing at a time."

Amherst, Sept. 19th, Tuesday Evening

My dear Cousin Ann,

Have you heard that I have been partially deranged ever since last Spring? my friends have not liked to say much about it, so perhaps you haven't; but certainly my brain and heart have both been in a sad state or I never should have been so silent toward you - especially when reminded of you almost every day by putting on something you have purchased, and I have thought within myself all along "Ann shall have a letter in a day or two." But happily my wits and conscience too are restored to life and action, and the result is I am noticing old friends, and paying up old debts with very commendable honesty and all possible speed; already I see my way through, and as soon as the last account is settled I shall start off on a journey, for being so lighthearted and light fingered and lighfooted. I can never go with less expense or fatigue. Nothing makes me feels so rich and independent as to be owing no calls visits or letters.

I was very glad to hear so definitely from you, all by Mr. Fiske, and to know that you are well, and that Ellen is so well. I can hardly believe that Ellen is so comfortable; is it not possible that her lungs are not really diseased, and that her physicians have been mistaken - perhaps she has had what I have been told is my difficulty the chronic bronchitis - some sort of obstruction or inflammation in the passages that lead to the lobes of the lungs - this may be cured, and should this prove to be the cause of Ellen's feeble health and be removed, many will rejoice beside herself, I am sure I shall most heartily. Adeline I know how to pity, or think I do - the wheezing turns I have are very much like the asthma, I presume not near so severe, it surprised me to hear it said that Adeline was more unwell than Ellen, I thought now others must return the kindnesses they have received from her - in the course of life we all take our turn in being sick and ministering to the sick and in this way we learn patience and submission. Martha wrote me in the Spring that you and Adeline are intending to board out in the country; have you been out much? or have you staid in the City? - there has been no oppressive heat this summer to drive people about in pursuit of cool air. I should have been very happy to have seen you here and even shall be whenever you can come by you I mean Adeline Ellen and Ann. Mr Fiske was very unwell all the time he was in Boston and Charlestown - at your house he said he could scarcely hold his head up. I hardly dared to say "how do you do" to him when he drove up to the door - he rested one day and then went to farming on our great half acre farm and he is now quite well. My health is about the same that it has been for five or six months - it is about three month since I have been obliged to apply a blister.

Mr. Fiske said Cousin Abby was absent - where is she, and how does she do, and when is she to be married. I wrote to her abut a fortnight ago. Unless the equinoctial storm comes and shuts me up, I am thinking of going to Springfield and Hartford to be absent about ten days to visit Mrs. Lathrop an old schoolmate, and Mrs Terry - formerly Miss Shepard one of my particular friends in whose family Mr Fiske used to board before I took him to board with me. I did think of coming to Boston, but Mr. Fiske spoke to Papa about it and he replied "you tell Deborah not to come" for she will race all over Boston and make herself sick; - as there would be some danger of it; especially at this season of the year I have concluded to accept my fathers invitation. Let me hear from you very soon - render good for evil and thus reform your old friend Deborah.

The things you procured for me in the Spring I am greatly obliged to you for purchasing - they all suited - the bonnet I like very much and in addition to other things that could have been said in its praise at first I can now testify that it is good to wear.

Mr. Fiske said he saw Henrietta, give my love to her if she is a good girl yet, and to Elisa if she is with you. Mrs. Smith continues to do well and seems happy with me. Give a great deal of love to Ellen and Adeline and my best respects to your father and brother. Where is Charles? and when do you expect to see him?

Have you had a pretty garden this season? One of our neighbours has had a fine one. I gathered a large variety of seeds from it the other day and have done them all up and labelled them - half for you and half for myself. I shall send yours to you in the course of the winter.

I hope you will see aunt Vinal soon after getting this letter she will be so glad to hear that Mr. Fiske is quite well again. Give my love to her and to Martha.

[Thursday, April 19, 1838]

My dear cousin Ann,

I do think I have compelled you to hold the office of penny post quite as long as is proper, especially, as you get no pence for your trouble. Do tell me, for I don't remember, how many times you have walked over to Charlestown with my packages for cousin Martha. You certainly ought to have a handsome fee, and I would deputize my father to settle the account, were it not for the lecture he would give me for making you so much trouble; I hate to be lectured dreadfully, when I've nothing to say in self defense, so I will just ask you to let the matter rest till you come to Amherst this Spring or Summer. I wonder if you realize, surrounded as you are by brick walls on every side, how rapidly Spring is coming. The fields are dressing up in a new suit of green, the trees are decking themselves with buds, and the birds have begun to sing delightfully - their music would well pay the most lazy for getting up; they build nests very near our house, and I see them looking about as if to find the best places; Helen says she has seen some looking at each other as if they were choosing their mates. Now I am for choosing my company, and I will tell you of three I have chosen; - Adeline Scholfield, Ellen Scholfield, and Ann Scholfield; will it not be convenient for you all to visit me in the course of the Spring and Summer? - You cannot leave together I know, but one can leave at a time, and perhaps two, and I should enjoy a visit from you exceedingly. I am not thinking of going from home anywhere this season; it seems necessary at present for me to be at home to see that my husband behaves properly, you know his habits have been bad for a good while. I have undertaken to reform him and am so ambitious of success I shall keep on the ground and know what he is up to every day.

When the box came to us its contents occasioned great glee in Helen and Ann - Mother Goose would have considered herself as having a very popular task at writing for children could she have seen how eagerly her products were devoured. Helen was delighted with the shells, and has just come to charge me to thank you for them, and Ann says "my thanks too for the book" and I add my thanks three, for Ellens kind letter, and the purchases you made for me. My father will leave us Monday and be in Boston the latter part of the week; I shall miss him very much, and when he is away it is very painful to me to think of him as boarding among strangers who of course will take no special interest in attending to the thousand little things that contribute to the comfort and happiness of any one, but especially to the aged. But he dislikes the stillness and monotony of the country so much, he is happier on the whole to stay a good part of the year in Boston. It is not strange that gentlemen out of business do prefer the City, something new can always be found to look at or listen to, a person feels busy in the midst of a bustle although doing nothing himself - he will drive along with others that are driving without asking himself why.

As I am expecting the wagon every moment I must stop short of the end of the sheet, which seems very odd to me so famous am I for making nothing hold out to the last inch of room - Much love to the girls, and all your family - Do tell me what sort of human beings you have in the culinary department in these days.

Yours affectionately & gratefully

D.W.V. Fiske.

P.S. I cannot describe to you what my feelings were when I found from Ellen's letter that she had "taken to drinking" nothing will ever surprise me after this.

One more P.S. -- Thursday Afternoon. April 18th or 19th. [19]

If I had not been imposing upon you so long I should have written this letter, or rather a letter to Ellen instead of this, this afternoon I hesitated half an hour before I opened my desk not being able to decide which was the most imperious duty to pay my debts or confess my faults, happening to be in an uncommonly penitent mood I decided upon the last.

Amherst, February 14th, 1859
[Cousin Ann]

It is often the case that the most prominent agent in bringing things about is not the one most deserving of thanks. Having a most praise-worthy anxiety to give every one his due, I will tell you that you are indebted for this letter to a Mr. Somebody in Congress St. whose mis-cuttings compel my father, instead of carrying me to ride, to be cramped up in the corner with a pair of thin pantaloons, while Mrs. Smith's scissors and needle are remedying the said gentleman's blunders in a thicker pair. This is one instance among a great many in which good comes out of evil; for let my letter be worth ever so little in many respects, you cannot but be glad of tangible evidence that I have not turned into stone. Friends of long standing are not so plenty as to make it a matter of indifference to hear that one still exists, especially after such premonitory symptoms of "petrification as has been manifested in my case. But for all I have been so mum, you will give me credit for many grateful thoughts in connection with your kindnesses for it is the truth that such have passed through my mind almost every day. With the dress directly before my eyes which you purchased and got made for me, how could it be otherwise. What would have been written next to "otherwise" if a kind neighbour had not come in to sit half an hour I cannot say; please to imagine some very sensible speech, and let me tell you about the call, for I am sadly afraid I have been guilty of a passive lie. The good lady brought in a bowl in her hand, and after sitting a while, handed it towards me saying "I've been trying and trying to think of something nice to bring you, but I knew you had everything unless it might be oysters, so I've brought you in some." Now how could I tell her that I had a whole keg full I was eating just as fast as I dared, to save? I couldn't or didn't at any rate, and she went away gratified I know with supposing she had brought me a rarity. This case of conscience we will turn over to Ellen as judge, you and Adeline may sit as jurors. I shall wait my sentence with all possible composure, but there is something within that makes me fear I shall be pronounced guilty.

So far on my way and another call from the Misses Smith, daughters of that rich farmer in Hadley where I think you called once with me; the family have been so kind to me I was very glad to see them, but what will become of Ann's letter thought I. I must tell you what a box I got into in the midst of the very best endeavours to entertain them. Ellen will know how to sympathize with me for I recollect what a laugh we had one day last summer in your library, over the appropriate remarks, she in her honesty had made to different people. We were speaking of the comparative looks of two gentlemen, I said of one of them, he is not so old as he looks, he has lost his front teeth which is a great disadvantage to his appearance; the very Miss Smith I was speaking of has lost every one of hers - oh dear, thought I, what shall I do, so as quick as possible I added but he looks well notwithstanding, notwithstanding didn't help the matter an atom, so I stopped short, and had it not been for a lucky recollection of some other topic remote from teeth, I really believe I should have ran out of the room. The bell rings again; whoever comes I shall give them a pretty careful survey, and if I tell any more lies, or make any more blunders I shall think as your father says "the deuce" is in the cells, or in me. No bad fortune this time but the loss of the ink that has dried into my pen. Have passed a very pleasant hour with a Miss Partridge, sister of one of the former tutors, a most excellent girl about my age. She spent a week with us last winter, and such visits you know make a more intimate acquaintance than occasional calls for years. I feel that same freedom in talking with her that I do in writing to you, in both cases, I am sure of being understood, and of having nothing received as any worse than it really is.

Miss Helen and Ann have just returned from school, to help your letter along, and there is the bell again; I wonder who has come now; - two little girls of an errand, but they have sat down rather ladyish, as if making a call, so I must stop and talk with them a while. Now they are gone, but night and tea-time are close by, and your letter, instead of being on its way to Boston before morning, will have a whole nights rest in my desk, which cannot but be beneficial even to a letter after so many spells of being operated upon.

If my gentlemen or little girls knew me to be closing a letter to you some love and respects from them all would occupy this corner as it happens the wafer will have a better place.

Friday Morning.

I have just given your letter another reading and see that you are fearful respecting the colors of my frock; I think they are very pretty together. my dress fits well, and in all respects is just the thing and it came very opportunely for outward appearance had become very unfit to be out by reason of age and hard service. The linings you enquire about I think I put away upon the upper shelf in the closet of the chamber where we slept; perhaps they were rolled up in the bonnet silk and you gave them to cousin Mary Vinal without knowing it; she has not, however mentioned them to me.

You must have enjoyed the Catlin lectures and exhibition of Indian curiosities. That Courting flute I am sure is a funny affair, but what a way to get a wife! there is so much beside music in real life it is best to find out something more before hand than ones ability to play upon an instrument. The Russian ladies I think must have delightful anticipations of happiness with their husbands, hearing the promise from them which the parents of the young lady require - that their daughter shall not be whipped of kicked; Mr. Stephens mentions this as perhaps you remember.

You enquire if I remember Mrs. Ward. I do, and am sorry to hear of her misfortune, I presume old people suffer much more with broken limbs than the young, but they must be dreadful for any one.

Give my love to Isaac and ask him to please to take out the ifs from his promise to make me a little visit; it will be very gratifying to me and to Mr. Fiske too to see any of your family at our house and I shall hope for some visits next Spring or Summer. I am much obliged to you, or Ellen, or both, for the offer of books to read. I am very favourably situated in this respect having the privilege of books from any of the College libraries, there are three in College and ambition or competition makes the students look out for all new and valuable works. I really pity any invalid destitute of so valuable a source of recreation and improvement as good books, and how any one can get along comfortably without the pleasure of writing letters to good friends and getting letters in return I do not see. The rough and dull side of the world you and I have never tried; I am very much afraid it would send my contentment to the winds.

A few days ago I wrote a letter to Ellen, which on account of its shape and bulk must go in the baggage wagon. In that letter there are messages for you and Adeline about the guava jelly, Thomas A. Kempis and Letters from Algiers. I will not repeat them here.

I was fearful the wagon would be off before I should get a letter to you finished, but it is not going till next week so I shall send this by mail to give my conscience earlier rest. As soon as you receive it, will you not have the kindness to signify it by sending me a newspaper, if it should not be convenient for you to write. Add somewhere in the paper, if you are all well, and if they are as well as usual at uncle Vinals make these letters a. w. h. a. w. a. u. v. I haven't heard a word from Martha for three or four weeks, four I believe.

I have had a second sickness from a slight exposure one night taking care of Helen when she was rather unwell, but am almost recovered from it; it was a fortnight ago. Wednesday that I was taken down, now I ride out, eat oysters and go out in the sitting room when I please and intend to move out tomorrow or next day. I feel so well and so like doing something that I cannot realize till I am down how very little I can bear. Old Winter and I have been upon the point of quarreling for a good while. I have even turned him out of the sitting room and nursery, and what do you think he does by way of revenge -- ? he comes and sings or rather whines the worst tunes you ever heard - every stormy night at our cellar door.

Mr. Fiske and my father and the children are all well, or rather as well as usual, my father is some troubled with the rheumatism and Mr. Fiske has a chronic difficulty in his throat which troubles him occasionally, but they both say "pretty well" when their health is enquired for, and considering my fathers age and the pressure of labor upon Mr. Fiske they are highly favoured. The third edition of the Manual is now going through the press, Mr. F. does not intend to revise it any more after this edition if there should be any demand for a fourth; so I am anticipating a little more leisure for him next Summer.

Remember me to Mrs. Parker, Miss Hall, and Miss Appleton when you see them. what do you hear from Falmouth by the way of Mrs. Parker? Mr. Hooker and Martha are still good I hope. Has Mr. William's found any lucrative business in Georgia? Abby will not be married, I suspect at present, and I am sure I am glad she did not go off to Illinois, for I know her health and spirits would both fail under the hardships and privations of new-settlers. Has Sarah improved from being at Newton? And has anything been heard from Gilbert? Aunt Tufts's trials have really been peculiar; the cheerfulness with which she bears them is very commendable, but doubtless she passes many sad hours that her friends know nothing about.

Your eyes will not be ruined I hope over this crossed affair, if you were not accustomed to my scribbling I should think you could not read it; it will be handed to you by day light I hope. I never sit down to write to you without wishing to sink the distance (not the people) between Boston and Amherst, it would be so pleasant to have neighbourly afternoon and evening visits from you all. I have the kindest of neighbours and the best of friends in Amherst, but there are a thousand pleasant appreciations with ones early friends that never exist with others. The society in Amherst is altogether better than is found in most country places and it is not so scattered but that ladies can meet when they choose. Much love to Adeline and Ellen and a remembrance to all your family.

Your affectionate and grateful friend,


Much love to Charlestown friends when you see them.

[1839] Amherst, Monday afternoon.

My dear Cousin Ann,

This kind of paper I believe is called foolscap, and the name will be singularly appropriate when I have filled the sheet. Yesterday I went to Leverett to preach, with Mr. Fiske, and in consequence of it, am more than usually void of ideas to day. How ministers hold out to preach every sabbath I do not see, nor how the ladies can be so fond of holding forth in public can I see. One thing I see, that it would be quite as pleasant not to see, and this is my face every time I look up; if it was only a little good looking, no doubt it would be gratifying in the extreme to have my desk before the glass - I might however never get this letter done for stopping to gaze at my beautiful phiz, and I am sure I would rather not be handsome, than miss of thanking you for your last very kind letter, and Ellen for her's, and her note, by Mr. Fiske. I can assure you that I do feel under very great obligation for all your kindness. You doubtless know by a letter to Martha on Saturday, that I am better; - I requested her to send it immediately over to you. And taking it for granted that you have seen it, I will spare you a second detail of diseases and prescriptions. But lest you should say "I wish Deborah would be a little more definite: I will add that what I suffer from now is a difficulty in breathing that is apt to seize me in the latter part of the evening and towards morning. I do not have it every night, nor always badly, but quite frequently, when it has been severe I have been able to remove it by an application of what our physicians call the dry cup, over the spot that seems to hinder me from taking a long breath. This mode of cupping is called dry, because it draws no blood. The way in which it is done, is to dip a little piece of paper in alcohol - put it in the blaze of a lamp, throw it into a wine glass and while the paper is burning, apply it very quick to the place you wish to draw, the air being thus exhausted, the glass clings to your flesh, pulls very hard, and makes the place rather sore. Perhaps Ellen may some time find benefit from trying this. You are right in saying I shall be glad to hear that Ellen has a good appetite. I used to feel very sorry for her last summer, when she tried so hard to eat as the rest of us did; when she cared so little for eating at all, and could only say "pretty well" to the enquiries whether she did not love this or that good thing that you or Adeline had made or contrived.

The work you mention of Mr. Stephens; I am waiting patiently as I can to obtain; I shall enjoy reading it very much, and shall purchase it as soon as Mr Adams our bookstore keeper procures the work. While waiting for this, I am going to read Helen by Miss Edgeworth, Mr. Snell owns it and Prof. Tyler tells me that he thinks it one of her best works. Tell me if you and your sisters have read it.

You must enjoy having aunt Vinal near you again; I wish she was as near to me, and you too, as near to me, as Boston is to Charlestown; it would be so handy always to call when going by to the north end, or South end or down shopping.

You seem to think you have the advantage of me in our dispute about visits, but I can tell you, that from my journal it appears that I made six calls at your house, - staid three days in succession, dined at four different times, and spent four nights; it also appears from my journal that ever so much of it may be lost; the leaves are all falling apart, and half of it written with pencil I can scarcely read, so you would probably make no great mistake in saying that I made twelve calls, staid six days, dined eight times, and spent eight nights. - At any rate, this is the charge that I shall make, and I shall not be willing to wait any longer than next Spring for my pay. - If you do not appear in Amherst with the apple tree blossoms our case shall be legally settled. I am for justice, and you will do well to be for justice too, or else you may have to ask for mercy.

I am glad to hear from poor George once more; it is very fortunate that he has a kind uncle willing to furnish him with a home, if he has to be told that Winter is coming to make him work* "I reckon" I did well not to have him, and it is a clear case that he did well not o have me, for "little Dobby is such a feeble concern, her husband is obliged to work very industriously to maintain and take care of her.

*Cousin George used to say I reckon I shall have little Dobby. A.D.

Ellen's letter was a real treat to me, coming into my hands upon a sick bed it was doubly valuable. I did think when I began this of writing you together, but I have looked her letter over, and the result is I resolve not to do so mean a thing; it shall have a whole answer by itself, and that very soon, if I continue as comfortable as I am now. I felt no ill effects from writing Martha's letter, and am quite encouraged by it, and very glad, for it is too much like being deaf and dumb not to receive letters from ones friends nor be able to answer them.

I am very glad of the improvement Ellen writes there has been in your "kitchen cabinet" for there cannot be much quiet comfort upstairs when everything is going wrong down.

Mr. Fiske has just come down from the Study and is dancing with Ann Scholfield who is in a broad laugh, he sends love to you all. I was very glad to see him looking so much better than in the summer; his health is really better and he is not quite so much hurried.

You will see from Martha's letter that I have a prospect of keeping house comfortably this winter and that I have a niece and a cousin of Mr. Fiske's with us that are very kind and pleasant. You will remember me to all your family - I am always glad to see all their names in your letters. Remember me also to Mrs. Parker, and Miss Appleton when you see her. Write very soon, tell me how you all do, whether Adeline escapes the asthma, whether your father's back serves him any better - How Ellen bears the cold.

Yours truly


Will you have the kindness to let aunt and Martha know that you have received this letter and that I am as well as when I wrote to Martha. Give much love to them. Has Papa called to pay you for Mrs. Smith's dress? I hope he has, he is not apt to forget debts. Tell me in your next.

Helen says give my love to Ann and tell her I wish she could visit us - And Ann says, oh, mine too, mine too.

Addressed: Mr. David Vinal, Boston, Mass.

[1839] Thursday Evening, Dec. 5th

My dear Ann,

Your letter came in just the right time, as any other time would have unquestionably seemed, but I mean it came the day before Thanksgiving, and put me into my good spirits for the occasion. I had not heard from Boston for a long while and had begun to fear aunt Vinal or Martha or somebody was sick. Your letter put me at rest, and Thanksgiving afternoon I found myself about as happy helping my children play with seven or eight of their little neighbours as I used to be playing with you and the rest of the cousins at aunt Vinal's - And we certainly did have good times; deducting my wicked thoughtlessness it would be really pleasant now and then to take one of those days we spent together and live it over again.

But I am almost at the foot of the hill, the bottom of the page I had better say, as nothing in the least sentimental is coming, and I must thank you upon this very line for all the walking and talking and thinking that have been necessary to bring together the materials for my dress and bonnet and then to get them made and packed up. I wish I could tell you how grateful I am, but everything I can think of seems flat, so I won't try, but just tell you what a ludicrous dream I had the night before your letter came. Queen Victoria was dead - your unaspiring friend D.W.V. Fiske was to be her successor; her Coronation was to take place at Mr. Isaac Scholfield's. You and Ellen were dressing me for the occasion; the operation was going on in your "back parlour". I was standing upon a block in the middle of the room. You had put on a splendid white satin dress just to suit your taste but, the Crown you nor Ellen could not put on "to look right" as you said, and was so wearisome to my head and neck to have you work over me any longer and I was so troubled with the thought of being at the head of all England that I woke up without beginning to reign, and there I was in bed - wrapped up in unbleached cotton instead of white satin and upon my head a little borderless night cap of Helen's instead of a Crown. I laughed at the contrast and was asleep again in 10 minutes.

Remember me to all the family especially to Adeline. I suppose she was preparing or superintending an entertainment for the coronation or I should have seen her with you and Aunt Ellen last week. I hope you will keep Charles safe and snug at home, this winter and always if he will stay. He must get a farm and a wife and settle down as your father advises. Does your father continue well for so old a gentleman? Tell me how he does and very definitely about all of you when you write again. With how good a grace is Ellen bearing the cold weather and does that impertinent asthma still insist on boarding with Adeline and do your limbs wait upon you about up stairs and down and from the north end to the south and without grumbling. I need not specify any further you know what I wish to hear always.

In answer to your question abut John's wife - I was very much pleased with her, she seemed just like an old friend, a cousin, at once. I enjoyed every moment of her visit, and how well John appeared, it did me good to see him. John was always as kind as a brother to me. Martha is as frank and artless as a child and told me all about her acquaintance with John and their plans for the future as if I had been a sister. Mrs. Humphrey who knows her mother, says she has been brought up, although in a great deal of style, to know about the management of things below stairs and she presumes will take hold quite handily when she commences housekeeping.

You did exactly right to get some silk without waiting for my package and whatever I am owing you shall be paid forthwith when I receive the account. Love to Martha Vinal and tell her she must write without delay if she is well enough.

Mr. Fiske would send love but he is out. Helen has just been up to my desk & pronounced your letter "splendid writing" and charged me to put in her love. Helen is overtaking me very fast as to height; every little while she parades herself to let me see that her head is even with my shoulders. And Ann Scholfield is so heavy I shall not dare to take her up into my lap after my father comes; she often tells me, "if grandpapa was here he would say that child is too heavy for you, let me have her [tr. note: missing material here]

and attend a good school close by taught by one of the Miss Nelson's your sisters saw. Mr. Fiske continues well; he preached at the village last sabbath and a friend of ours remarked to me that he began to look as he did 15 years ago. It is doing him great good not to be so driven and I enjoy seeing him at leisure somewhat, as much, about, as he enjoys it himself. As to my health I continue very well for me. I cough a little more than in the warm weather but go out and about and do pretty much as those do who are not called invalids.

* coveting Madame Victoria her robes of station. I wish there was more paper in a half sheet, but I shall answer your letter when the basket arrives as you will wish to hear of its safety.

Yours truly,


Addressed: Miss Ann Scholfield, Boston, Mass. To the care of Mr. Isaac Scholfield.

[1842] January 18th, Tuesday Morning.

My dear Ann,

The least I can do in return for your kind letter received last evening is to answer it this morning and relieve you from the solicitude which made you add a letter to your weeks work, and write with an aching arm. I am very much better than you would believe possible could you have see me a fortnight ago; I left the nursery last Friday, rode out Saturday and yesterday and have called upon one neighbour. But the Wednesday night before poor Sarah died I was obliged to give up entirely; you can realize how painful it must have been when I saw her failing so fast; for mere fatigue I could not have done it, but my pulse were so rapid, and I had such a strange distress in my head that it seemed both presumptious and impossible to move, beside, I thought Sarah might continue a week or ten days, and I was looking forward to taking care of her again; but, she was soon beyond the reach and the need of our care; she had good care from others, but I did wish very much to talk with her again; her mind was bright to the last; Mr. Fiske watched with her Friday night, she had one spell of talking like a person in sleep, but with that exception was perfectly rational - enquired how I did and whether Helen had a fever she was very unwell at the time and just before six o'clock when Chloe came down to take Mr. Fiske's place she enquired, "how did you all sleep last night knowing that Sylvia, a colored girl that lived with me last summer had come to help us, and that I should not put her into the same bed with Chloe; she soon complained of closeness about her neck and wished to have one of Ann's table [missing word] that she wore taken off, then of pain about her stomach and bowels but made her groan, Chloe told her she would get some warm application as quick as she could, while she was getting it she suddenly became still. Chloe went to her bed her eye appeared glassy - she did not speak, her breath was short, she told my father of the change, he called me and just as quick as possible I put my clothes and a cloak and hood on and hastened to her room, only in season to witness her last gasp and close the poor child's eyes; as I returned to the nursery and sat down it seemed as if it was more than I could bear but for the hope that her soul had gone to Heaven. Sarah had lived with us so long, that she seemed very near to us, she was affectionate and intelligent, our family was her world, when her work was done all the recreation she wanted was books to read, or some errand to go for me. I dont know but Aunt showed you my letter to Martha but I will repeat to you my last conversation with her the last day. I was able to be about. Sarah, said I, are you still willing to die, "yes,m I am" she replied. I asked do you think you have repented of all your sins, you know you have forgotten a great many - "yes,m I know it, she replied and I've told God that I cannot remember them now, but that he knows them all by name and I've asked him to blot them all out of his book." before this I asked if there were any particular sins that she thought of with special regret and with perfect frankness she told me of a few little instances of unfaithfulness towards me that occurred years ago, and asked my forgiveness; the evening before she died. Mr Fiske prayed with her and talked with her some but not much because she seemed languid at the time, but she told him that she hoped her sins would be pardoned on account of the blood of Christ which was asked for sinners and seemed perfectly calm when he told her that he thought she would not continue long, he had no idea she was so very near the end and was greatly shocked to find her gone when he returned from prayers.

It is as you remark as great consolation that Sarah was willing to depart and died so peacefully; there was perfect simplicity and sincerity in all she said and she never manifested the least impatience under all her sufferings, the most she would ever say when she did not want to take her medicines was "won't it do to wait a little longer." and when I wished to have her take rice water, or any nourishment (to which she was averse from the beginning) she would frequently say, I dont want it but I'll take it to please you." her pulse ranged from 120 to 140 from the beginning to the end of her sickness, her disease kept ahead of everything that was done for it; her time had come.

Do let me hear again from you very soon and from Adeline and Ellen I should admire a letter.

Ann was much pleased with her birthday present from you, and would send love & Helen also if they were not asleep, and so would Mr. Fiske if at home, he is well notwithstanding watching nights, and anxiety for poor S. and for me all the time.

I will give your love to Mrs. Snell, poor woman, she is deeply afflicted. I am glad you appreciate the kindness of my neighbours, it has been really astonishing in every possible way of showing it food all prepared, offers to take my mending, offers to watch nights, to stay days and everything that could be thought of. Mrs. Humphrey has been just like a mother, she came right down when poor Sarah had gone and intended laying out her body, prepared medicine for Helen (she was quite unwell then) and staid all the forenoon doing anything she could find to do for our comforts; these friends in trouble are the real friends; you must have patience with my minuteness if it was proper to publish in a newspaper I could be contented without publishing to you. Your suggestion to try "perfect rest" I am following, having two girls Chloe (a most excellent girl capable of taking care of things, and doing common cooking without watching) and Sylvia, an ordinary, slow ignorant girl, but strong and goodnatured, and answering very well to do chamber work, washing, bringing in wood. I intend to keep her till I feel quite rested but what I want is a good little girl with one large girl, and Sarah's youngest sister, a very pretty child ten years old I am desirous of taking; she returned with Sarah, and was living not far from our house with a married sister during Sarah's sickness, often came to see her, and interested me very much, after the funeral she returned with a brother to Hartford, if he is willing to part with her, and she gets rid of a cough which I noticed I shall, I think, take her in the Spring. I should love the child for Sarah's sake. Sarah's mother seemed to feel perfect confidence that we had done what we could for Sarah, and gratitude for what had been done, it was a satisfaction to me, for I did not know but she would think, as mother's are apt to think, that if she had been with her she would have thought of things that would not occur to others. Sarah's sister looks much stronger than Sarah did at her age, has a healthy look, and is really handsome for a little colored girl, she had not coughed but a month or two, but I could not bear to think of becoming interested in another to die; Sarah's cough was only of rather more than two months standing, and was up soon after I came to Boston, she took repeated colds, before she went and she never seemed as well after; she was always a child that needed watching to make her take care of herself. I always felt obliged to tell her what to wear when going out as much as I should Helen, she was so apt to go out without protection against dampness or cold.

___________between them, but I feel as if I could _______________ it means too much alone so I will add but, I fear I don't wonder your heart jumps at the thought of Charles so near, I cannot but think he will have a safe passage in spite of your fears, and soon present himself in your front-entry; when you have looked at him enough for the first treat say "why how do you do Charles" for me and shake hands over again on my account, and then ask him from me to stay at home now and settle down and get a good wife and take real comfort such as cannot be found tossing about upon the ocean shut up with a parcel of sailors. Remember me very affectionately to all the family - tell Addy to look out and take care of herself while taking care of everybody and everything else; tell Ellen to stop killing nerves, she has fame enough for fortitude and patience already, & give me a chance to do the next remarkable thing, only if it must be anything in the murdering line let me wait my own time for the exhibition.

My father is very well and has been a great comfort to us this winter, and when we were so pressed, could do anything to help, he felt very sorry for poor Sarah, she was always delighted to wait upon him, and used to say to the children "what a pleasant old gentleman your grandpa is, I wish he would stay here all the time." He tells me to remember him to you, and is thinking that I have a deal to say to write both ways across the sheet. It is evening now, I put aside my desk after dinner to ride over to Hadley to Deacon Dickinson's, the weather was so mild Mr. Fiske thought it would do me good to take a ride, I can bear exercise out in the air, but the least thing in the kitchen throws me into such a heat I look as if I had been broiling beef steaks half a day, it is because I am so weak but I hope to regain my strength soon, my cough is not very troublesome and my voice better than when I went to Boston not as clear as when I came home, but I hope it will be before long, it is remarkable that I have had no attack of inability to take a long breath my appetite is good and I sleep well; what shall I pay for this visit? Dr. Jackson's price is $2.00.

Addressed: Miss Ellen Scholfield. Boston. Mass. To the care of Mr. Isaac Scholfield. Postmarked Amherst, Mass. Sept 21

[1842] Amherst September 20th, Tuesday

My dear Cousin Ellen,

How perfectly awkward and embarrassing are sudden elevations? No washer woman ever felt more genteelified in her silk gown at meeten than I do a my desk writing letters -- Just think of it -- right from scraping the gridiron, taking up ashes, and mopping up the hearth, to sitting down before this superfine sheet to write to you! but for being a woman I should be struck dumb by such a jerk up in the world, it takes a good deal to silence us, excepting when we ought to speak, to the truth of a part of this, you can testify, and are saying, I presume before reading it here, -- "yourself, for example", and I am ready to add, "myself, for example;" feeling sorry to the very ends of my fingers that I did not answer your invaluable letter the very day after it came. But the truth was I could not bear in return for such a graphic description of everything that I wished to hear about, to send you a little short business letter, and kept hoping, although Commencement was coming right at us, there would be an evening I could spend with you, but the evenings, and the days too, flow by like the cars till Commencement was over; -- and since then, there has been a period in our kitchen, which Cousin Martha designated "the dark ages", dark literally when we had good for nothing darkeys, black as ink, to sort o' help us, and dark figuratively when we all had to turn to, pull up sleeves and do the whole. But I thought there was good fortune ahead, and so it proved, we could not see, standing at the sink, who were coming and going out in the wide world, at least, without being mesmerized, and for that no less we couldn't stop in the midst of cooking and dishwashing but at the very time an excellent girl was on her way from Ireland for us and I am keeping house with her now as quietly and comfortably as anybody need to wish; although we have been cheated enough to make us suspect everybody, I cannot but think she is a prize. And now I will let you out of my kitchen, how many more such correspondents have you? -- if many I am sure you must enjoy looking up from reading and seeing that after all you are in your own snug little library, where Helen wrote me the other day she had had such a good time. Thank Adeline for her skillful operation upon Helen's eye (how many other things has Adeline learned how to do within a year) give my very best love to her, with many thanks for purchasing my dress, which I admire, and it sets like a glove, and the sleeves are just such as I prefer, the tight sleeves would be ridiculous for me. I have been very sorry to hear that Adeline has not been well, what is the matter, that asthma? was her journey of no service? And how is Ann, and how are you; since Martha has been at Amherst I have known much less about your family than when she is at home to write. Although I deserve a letter, don't deserve I mean, one atom, I do wish you would, with your looking glass pen, give me a sight, of all of you. You must have missed Adeline greatly when she was absent, but you wrote as if in very good humour with your department, and made it manifest that your intellect and spirits were not impaired by "flourishing among pots, kettles, and stew-pans." While without help, we were all sick in succession with sore throat attended with fever, all but Mr. Fiske; Cousin Martha had not regained her strength when she left. Mrs. Fowler has buried her youngest son, a promising little boy, 7 yrs old, and she is now confined to her bed herself, but hopes she is getting better. I presume you noticed the death of Mrs. Crawley in Amherst, she was sick only three days, they thought it a stoppage in her stomach, and it was, for no common medicine produced the least effect, but I have thought since, from knowing other cases, considerably similar that it was some disease common to the season. August and September are two unhealthy months in this region, owing I think, to the cold fog by which we are surrounded mornings and evenings, it looks just like a smoke, and keeps everything damp and mouldy in the lower part of our houses; we begin now to have less, and the good cold winds from tho north west are as grateful and invigorating to me as ice water on a hot day.

Ask Martha to tell you all she knows about mesmorism. A mesmeriser almost put her into that sleep at our house, her eyes closed and she breathed like any one asleep and nodded enough, to break her neck, in five minutes after the gentleman made those passes before her, and if the conjuration hadn't brought on one of the spadmodic turns such as she has once in a while I don't know what wonderful revelations would have been made, but as it was, I broke it all up, declared they should not act so any more, and led Martha off to the kitchen fire and gave her some warm drink and so got her home into the old material world. Tell Adeline and Ann how glad I should be of a letter from each of them and the fear of an answer like this need not deter them from writing, for unless I change my habits, it would be two or three month before a letter would reach them.

Thank Ann for the elegant silouette she sent me. I do not see how she could cut them so well, the children were delighted, they never saw any before.

Mr. Fiske and Ann would send love, but they are in sound sleep; you will not report them asleep as news from Amherst as they will probably be awake when you read this, but it is reason enough for sending no love. Remember me to your father and brothers. Where is Charles now?

Dr. Gridley has had some cases and found the only way to manage them is to give a powerful emetic at the beginning; Ann was first taken with distress in her stomach though fever and sore throat was her disease. We have great reason for gratitude that all of us recovered so soon. I kept my bed but two days, and the children and Martha but three or four. Give my love to Helen when you see her, and dont let her make you any trouble when she comes over to your house; Ann says it seems as if she had been gone forty-eleven years, we all miss her.

Yours very affectionately,


and gratefully too for all transportations of my dress, made and unmade to and from Charles st. and many other favors no room for naming here.

Addressed: Miss Ellen Scholfield. Boston, Mass. To the care of Mr. Isaac Scholfield. Postmarked Amherst, MS, Dec. 15

[Tuesday, December 13, 1842]

My dear Cousin Ellen,

You dont know how narrowly you have escaped getting a letter from me filled with clear butter and flour. I was in the very midst of making pies when Mr. Fiske put yours into my hands. Your "sincere hope that it would find me with nothing in the world to do but just sit down and answer it" was an almost irresistible temptation to take my pie-crust fingers and tell you how exactly you had hit the real state of things. But I have since been glad that I did not suffer myself to take such a hasty step, being convinced by further consideration, that you had not the least expectation, of a very important ingredient of hope that your letter would find me "entirely at leisure" and that the suggestion of such an impossible thing was only a playful artifice to make me write at once in spite of everything -- just as I used to make Ann, and other good studious girls, speak in school time when they wished to "mind their books", by saying things too provoking not to be contradicted. Thus it appears that we are two rogues together, and no conclusion could be so satisfactory to me as one that puts me into the same class with yourself, hoping thereby to get a bit of reputation, since it is a very common way to judge people by their associates.

I had heard by Helen Maria that Adeline was better but was glad to see the report confirmed by your pen; what a favour that you were so comfortable while she was suffering as much. Give my best love to her and tell her how very glad I am that she is better on her own account and on account of others to whose comfort and happiness she contributes so much. It were better that a dozen useless ladies who only live to be waited upon should be laid aside than Adeline. Ann, too, has been sick of inflammatory sore throat, the same disease we all had after Commencement and charged to the unhealthy season in Amherst. Touching the matter of a letter to Ann, my "judgment and discrimination" decide that she is probably owing me a letter, which the sooner she pays the better, as old accounts grow harder and harder to settle, and, beside I'll write her again in a fortnight if she does not send along a letter within that time, and then she will just owe two instead of one. So Charles's money-making, sailing propensity has taken him off again; may the same kind Providence which has preserved him through so many dangers, watch over him for good upon this voyage, and permit you still again to welcome him home. We should have been delighted with a visit from Charles when he was at home if he could have gone by the way of Amherst in any of his land voyages.

Unless Mr. Fiske is too much engaged pillaging in the Atheneum to call anywhere till "tomorrow", he has called upon you before this time, and you have learned that I am keeping house, in one sense, alone, but far from alone in other important respects, having been entrusted to the special care of the village sexton, who calls every morning to see if we are alive, and having the pleasantest neatest girl anywhere about to do my work, and Ann Scholfield to wake up mornings, kissing and winking all over my face, and acting almost sociable part all the time she is not in school, so we have each other, and the sexton (who is a very kind neighbour) to enjoy and also the anticipation of a very desirable recruit from Boston and Charlestown, which I shall hope to see sometime next week. It was not till the other day, that my Mary happened to hear me speak of the man who takes care of us, as the sexton, "indaad" said she, "and if I am not glad to hear that he is the sexton, for iver since I've been here, I have been saying, God help that man, ivery Sunday, going up asking prayers after prayers, as if the whole of them at home were sick the whole time "but now it seems they were not all of them his family." Ann sends her love to you all, and charges me not to forget to ask you to tell Helen to come right home this week Friday without waiting for anything only just to pack up. I have just been reading Dickens notes on America, and are they not all "spit," from beginning to end? To be sure the habit of spitting upon floors and carpets is a vile one, but then he might give it one good cut and let it go. As to spittoons, kept in proper order, they are a proper article in every sitting room, and I predict that Boz will see the day when he will regard a spittoon a convenience so much as any Yankee; Dickens' way of relating little incidents is really amusing, and reading his notes yesterday helped me forget, and I believe half cured, a stupid cold in my head; writing this letter to you, I think must complete the cure, for after sending off so much stupidity, there must in the nature of the case, be much less left.

A regular old fashioned snowstorm has just commenced, and I wish you were caught in it at our house, but there you are in Pinckney St. (How do you spell Pinckney, I always forget) and may you have a good time there till the storm is over, and longer too. Ann asked me the other day if any of uncle Scholfield's family were married. I told her no, to which she replied that you must have such a good time together that she hoped none of the young ladies would be married, for if they should happen to get ugly husbands, they would want to get back again so that they wouldn't know what to do. I think it quite as bad an affair for a gentleman to be cheated, still I am quite inclined to have Isaac run the risk, not from the least ill will as he may well suppose as we have always been on good terms, but with the hope that he might possess the treasure of a real good wife -- his own wife there are fine girls, good enough, even for him, and why shouldn't he find one, the very one to make a happy home for him; -- ask him if I can help him in any way, if he will send me word what he considers indispensable qualifications, and what he would dispense with (since nobody's perfect) I will look out a little for him in this region.

I see I have omitted to date this letter, which would be a great omission, on account of the important facts it records, so you are here informed that this document was prepared Dec. 13th, 1842, Tuesday afternoon, the 36th anniversary of the author's birthday, according to the Family Record, the authenticity of which however seems doubtful, owing to an entire absence of the wisdom and infirmities supposed to be the universal attendants of almost forty.

May this reach you in a bright sun shine, so that you need not put your eyes out for such an object as making out the meaning of this affair. Will you not write quite soon (all of you together upon a large sheet) while I am alone, such a letter would be worth its weight in gold, for though I get along well and dispose of my time so that none of it hangs heavily, I do think more of a letter, or a call, or a newspaper than when my family are all about me, and when you see any of my stray members, please to advise them in a polite way to be going home. Do you see much of Martha? And what should you think of her health this winter?

If Adeline is obliged to excuse herself from some of her former cares and labours on account of her health, will she not, some leisure afternoon sit down and write to me, I have never learned yet what disease she has been suffering from, asthma, neuralgia, or what. I was afraid it might be dyspepsia such as she had many years ago, and was wasted by it to a skeleton. I am very glad to hear that your father "is the best of the whole bunch, may he long remain at your head; having done with the perplexities of business has undoubtedly improved his health. Give my love to him, and remember me to all the brother hood by the name of Scholfield.

Give my love to Abby when you see her, I think she will make a fine mother to that little urchin -- give him a good tossing for me and tell him to sleep all night and play all day and mind his mother, instead of making her mind him.

Yours very sincerely,

D.W.V. Fiske.

Addressed: Miss Ellen Scholfield, Boston, Mass. To the care of Mr. Isaac Scholfield.

[1843] Friday afternoon, April 28th.

My dear Cousin Ellen,

Although I dont like the idea of keeping any more sharp elbows from coming through, I'd thankfully take some additional arms, and more darning, for the sake of extra hands to write letters with. A sheet of paper should be before one pair, half the time for you, so if anything has been said because your last letter has remained so long unanswered, I hope it has only been in the form of lamentation that I was not born into the world with more hands. And yet I fear you have been thinking, if not saying, that even with but one pair of hands for everything I might just write a line to acknowledge the reception of the ink and handkerchiefs and "remaining filthy lucre". And so I might have done, weeks ago, if my Irish dependence had not taken wing, and left poor and Helen and I in full possession of what she called her "real nice ples" till there was a chance to be off. And as you have been through this pot and kettle experience, I hardly need remark that it goes miserably with writing letters and hemming cambric ruffles, especially is this true with me, as my eyes absolutely refuse to keep open, after the work is done, till a nap has taken us round to tea time again, after which, there are more dishes to wash, and after which again, I must sit down and seem at leisure to pacify my father, who does think it a most dreadful thing to be without help, and expects every day our whole domestic establishment will go down smash, just for the want of one good strong woman to do the heavy work, and though he is entirely averse to slavery, he does wish some good help could be bought. For my part, I am thankful, not to be the owner of any help we have had the last year; so far from the city or any place of resort for mercantile or manufacturing business, there is no choice in helps, we must take just such as can be had, or go without. But enough of this; I have a very clever Irish woman working for me by the day, and can have her for some time, and a very pleasant seamstress doing Helen's sewing, and have no idea that our ship will sink till I pack up and jump out the third week in May.

I am very worry to hear that you are not as well as usual, but it is very favourable that the warm weather is so near, and I guess you and I will have some recruiting walks, if not rides, together; my cough has been more troublesome the last fortnight owing to a cold I took, getting rather too tired, and the extreme dampness of everything, so much snow has melted away rapidly that the ground is full of water, our cellar is a mere mud puddle and we leap about in it like frogs from one barrel to another upon boards. Hadley has been almost inundated by the overflowing of the Connecticut as I presume you have seen in the papers. I dont doubt you will be recruited by the delightful air of May and June and I expect it will do more for me than all the solutions Dr. Jackson or any other M.D. can think of. You enquire who Mrs. Perkins was -- she was a Miss Bane from Middlebury Vt. her father is a very respectable physician there. Mrs. Perkins was at our house last Commencement, the poor man has become almost a wreck from the hardships she has endured; epileptic fits have evidently affected her mind; I felt distressed for her and for her husband too. she is not silly, but she is excitable and strange -- will speak very loud when there is no occasion for it, look significantly about nothing, and then tell some common thing as if it were a great secret. It would not be strange if she should never complete the journey to Ooroomiah; much less fatigue than she will be obliged to encounter day after day, brought on a worse fit than she had ever had, just before Commencement, and as she is undoubtedly prepared for a better world, I am sure in such a state and with such hardships her continuance in this is not desirable. I dont doubt Mr. Perkins is one of the kindest of husbands, but what can a man do with the best heart in the world, under such circumstances as a Missionary among heathen must be placed in. I am reading Mr. Perkins work with great interest. I presume it has interested you but to his friends it is particularly interesting because it is so perfectly characteristic -- the style is just like his conversation, it is like sitting down by him and hearing him talk. Another book I am trying to read is D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, an intensely interesting book, but I dont get any time scarcely now for reading, and hardly expect to finish that till I get to Charlestown -- I shall lend it to aunt and Martha, and to you of course, if you have not read it, but I presume you have already taken it from the Library. You dont know how badly I felt about that ink and the handkerchiefs. I failed of getting my letter into the office as soon as it should have been put in -- and I wrote that Dr. Humphrey would leave the last or first of the week, so that you were fairly forced into a real whew to make the purchase and send it to Charlestown, and then Dr. Humphrey was sick and did not go for a week. For all the contriving and scampering, I am greatly obliged to you all, and I think you will not be driven again into two days for any such purchasing and transporting.

What you say of Mr. Little the Stage Driver is perfectly natural; why should money be spent for nothing "staying up to Boston" is a question that would weigh very heavy upon his mind, and as for its being such an affair to have a limb amputated, no one could make him see any essential difference between having a leg taken off, and sawing up a leg of veal which he had done himself a hundred times.

Helen leaves Monday for Pittsfield, so of course I am quite busy with last jobs for a child needs a very thorough fitting out for five months away from a mother's needle; she is quite well and sends much love to you all as does Ann. Mr. Fiske is as well as usual and requests a remembrance to you all, from his corner of the sitting room which he has used as a Study this winter. The stereotyped edition of the Classical Manual will be through the press next month, he is preparing the index now, and I think he will never be so driven by anything again, or he declares himself tired of this book making. As to Mr. Fiskes's short call which you mention I dont approve of it in the least, but I verily believe he had better intentions. I laugh at him always when he comes home from Boston for being able to give no better account of himself -- if he stays a fortnight, all he can tell of having done, is getting an awful cold, going nowhere, seeing nobody, and being frozen to death, and it has actually happened. I dont know how many times, that a real north east storm would come on just as he had reached Boston so that underneath laughing, I really pity him, (I do, Miss Ann, although I hear you saying that you know about my pitying people): owing to an unfortunate way of showing it, I never got much credit for sympathising with people under every day ills, such as storms, musquitoes, spillings, upsetting etc; in spite of the most earnest assertion to the contrary, all the answer would be, "I wish you would be still, for I know you are glad of it."

Give a deal of love, after helping yourself, to Adeline and Ann, of course, out of good manners you would take but one third -- I know of no one I would sooner trust to divide love or anything else than yourself. Martha wrote that she had made a very pleasant visit at your house recently; she mentioned that your shoulder and side troubled you, so dont answer this letter -- wait till I come to Boston and answer it when we are walking together. Martha wrote that Ann was still troubled with neuralgia which I was very sorry to read -- such pain must be a great deal harder to bear than a cough.

Adeline is well, Martha says, which I am sure is very fortunate, when you are more feeble than usual; I am often struck with the manifest kindness of Providence in the alleviating circumstances connected with sickness and other afflictions, showing so plainly that "God does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men," but "for our profit that we may be perfected in holiness."

I am ashamed thus to have raised your expectations by such a quantity of paper -- it is like receiving a pin done up in a whole newspaper, but I can write faster upon more space When you get well, and write to me, I wish you would try taking four sheets, for whether you can write faster or not upon more space, it will give me four times the pleasure to read them.

Yr. very sincere friend


Remember me to your good father and brothers. I wish Charles might land while I shall be in your region. Ann has just trotted up to my elbow and tells me to tell Cousin Ellen that she hopes she will get well very soon. Ann often says morning "I do wish Ma I could cough for you, and as she cannot do that, she makes it up by bringing shawls or night clothes or something to throw over me till I stop. I always cough most while getting up.

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