W-MCP5-6.312 TO MISS ESTIMATE RUTH ESTHER BALDWIN [MCQUESTEN] from her friend B. [Betsey] R. Abbot
Jan 5 1843
To: Estimate Ruth Esther Baldwin, Meriden, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Wilton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
My dear Miss Baldwin,1
I cannot tell you how happy I was to get your letter,2 & I did not intend it should remain even a week without being answered, but time flies swiftly on & nearly three weeks have gone by since I received it. My date shews you that I am at home. Yes, My dear, I felt that I could not stay through another winter at N. & so I requested the committee to excuse me & employ some one to fill my place--I did not leave there without regret. Oh no, there were many ties to bind me there, but home's attractions were yet more powerful--I enjoyed the last summer there very well--My school was very pleasant, & never went on more smoothly--I had long been anxious to spend some time at home, & my friends urged me to do it,--& I have felt no disposition to regret the decision I made.--I came home the 14th of October, & here I have been ever since--I have been occupied considerably in domestic affairs & I assure you I am quite an accomplished house keeper. I consider a thorough acquaintance with domestic affairs a very essential part of female education.
My brother also is at home--& you perhaps will call us dissipated when I tell you we are out more than half of the evenings every week.--We have a fine singing school taught by cousin Charles which occupies two evenings a week.--All the societies unite in it, & you would presume our performances excellent. On Thanksgiving the different societies met in the old church for worship & the school "did the singing."
Our Lyceum also is very interesting--the exercises usually are declamations--reading of the papers--(we have two) & discussion.--Occasionally we have a lecture--I wish you would forward some of your compositions for our Editors to read.
I have not found but little time to read as yet.--Have been reading some poetry, which with newspapers, Dickens notes, a few novels & some sermons, are pretty much the amount of any reading this winter.--I am now reading "Dymond's Essays on the Principles of Morality"--which I am much interested in.--Have you read Horace Manse's oration before the City Authorities of Boston on July 4th, '42?
It is an admirable thing. Get it if you can--His ideas of education suit me.
I find Wilton has changed during my absence considerably, our young people have grown up wonderfully, & I really find I am one of the old ones. This however suits me, as I take the advantage of age & talk & laugh with our young gents as much as I please, & no one dares say "Why do you so?"
Yesterday, we had an ordination--Mr. Charles Whiting originally from Lyndeboro, recently the Andover Theol. Sem'y (I think he was a classmate of your brother at Hanover). I am glad that we have a minister once more. He is a very diffident young man, but an excellent writer.--He has no wife & I wish most ardently he would select you.3--I intend to speak a good word for you.--Why cannot you come & make me a good long visit? I will do all I can to make you happy.
As to my future plans I have none--If I live till Spring I shall seek employment somewhere. On many accounts I should like to go south but I think I have not showy accomplishments enough [?] make a popular teacher there.
As to music, my friends tell me I have improved in singing, but I have not touched a piano since I saw you. I feel the need of more thorough education--could I now go through all those studies which I have been over formerly, I should be a much harder student than I then was. I was so young, that I did not realize the necessity of going to the bottom of everything. I did hope to study this winter, but I have only read two or three pages in French.
I had a letter from an uncle in Bangor, Me., not long since--He wishes to
know whether I will come there & teach one of the city schools. I should like a situation there on many accounts, but have not yet decided to go there, even should there be a vacancy. Uncle had been on the School Committee for a long time, & I should probably have his influence in my favor--It is more likely however that I shall take some little school about here--Let me know what you decide upon.
I hear from Nashua frequently--Misses Ingles & Night retain their places. Mr. Prate has charge of the upper room & Ida Brastow has my room.--I am very glad she has it. She taught very successfully in the lower part of the town last summer, & I hope she will succeed well. I do not know where the Parkinson's are. Miss Titus was married the first of October & resides in Loucle. Her husband boarded at Mrs. L.'s.--Mary Kindred was married the first of Nov. lives in N. York. Eliza Kindall & Esq. Emerson were married a few wks. since & I know not how many others.--I do not approve of this marrying business & stedfastly [sic] rut in the maiden track.
I called on Mrs. Prescott a few days before I left. They were well--Mr. Richard is still at N. Mr. Smith you know is settled over Mr. McGee's church. I must get tea before going to Lyceum this eve, so I must hasten to close--Give my kind regards to your brother & also Mrs. Wood. I should be very happy to see them here. Write me soon.
Affect'ly ever yours,
B. [Betsey R. Abbot]
[Written vertically across text of first page:]
I have not yet written anything I wish--but must close, but can you realize that 1842 is gone. Oh let us see to it that we are making progress heaven ward. I feel that earth too strong attracts me. I desire to break from its snares & live for God. There is nothing interesting here at present. Oh let us live this year in view of eternity & do with our might what our hands find to do. I have not time to read this over--do excuse all errors.
[Written across top of first page:]
I am ashamed to send such an ill looking letter in return for your neatly written one--but you know my style of writing. Old Mrs. Abbot is in Wilton--Her health is feeble. She often speaks of you & desires love--Charles is teaching school in Litchfield. He is here every week--Livi is teaching in Pelham & has a singing school in Windham.--I had a letter from Miss Night a few days since. She wishes me to give love to you when I wrote.
1 Wilton, is in the southern part of New Hampshire, south of Manchester and near Nashua and near the Massachusetts border. Meriden, New Hampshire is mid-state, near Lebanon, and near the border of Vermont.
2 B.R. Abbot wrote several letters to Estimate R.E. Baldwin (W-MCP5-6.312, W-MCP5-6.334, W-MCP5-6.372, W-MCP5-6.375). There are variations in spelling for her name; however, she spells it Betsey Abbot.
3 In June of 1844 Estimate was making arrangements for her marriage to Dr. Calvin McQuesten (W-MCP5-6.313), and on September 9 (or 11), 1844 they were married (Minnes 6).