W0596 TO MARGARETTE B. LERNED [MCQUESTEN] from her friend Elisa
Jul 8 1830
To: Margarette B. Lerned [McQuesten], Hopkinton, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
From: Taunton, Massachusetts, [U.S.A.]
How delightful is the assurance, my dear Margarette, that absence does not sever the ties of friendship, and affection, but that an occasional seperation [sic] only renders doubly dear those whom we love. This I have found true by my own experience but I had an additional proof of it in the reception of your kind letter yesterday morning. 'Tis true I had for many days been wishing to hear from you, but did not impute your silence either to forgetfulness or neglect. Persons cannot always make such a disposition of their time, as would be most agreeable to their feelings, and besides when debilitated by illness, they hardly feel resolution sufficient to make those exertions which are requisite for their own comfort. I have have [sic] had often to contend with this enemy to our enjoyments, and I presume it is the case with you my dear friend.
You say what a blessing is health, it is indeed and those only who have been deprived of it, know how to value it as they ought. I have thought much of late upon the uncertainty of all that this world calls happiness; why is it that we so constantly and eagerly contend for that which invariably eludes our grasp and leaves with us nothing but the bitter sting of disappointment? I have seen in the recorder a beautiful extract from Bishop Hopkins works [horizontal writing]
which thinking you may not have met with I will copy for you. "[Lay?]" up for yourselves a treasure in heaven. Never fear the failing of happiness there: it is true here the waters only bubble, and they may and often do fail, but there thou shall bathe thyself in an infinite ocean of delight; there thou shalt lie near in [?] flowing fountain of sweetness. You shall be eternally there, He will be eternally smiling on thee, and thou shall be eternally [?] thyself in that sunshine. Therefore think with thyself indeed God can be impoverished, or exhausted, if infinite niches of glory can be spent and consumed then and not till then can [thy strength?] fail thee; we shall receive a [vision?] of glory that fadeth not away; It shall be forever as glorious, [?], and flourishing as at its first putting in, and eternity will be but the perpetual beginning of thy happiness." Does not this speak the language of a mind, and heart devoted above this world; it is a language, and a manifestation of feelings that we have a right to expect from those who profess themselves Christians.
I was quite shocked at what you say of Elisabeth Gardners [sic] affectation. No Margarette, I do not think there is religion in any such conduct; it would in my opinion be far more becoming for her to humble than to exalt herself. I presume you recollect how very zealous she was. I think in all, or in most such instances, the pashions [sic] are wrought upon without the head being made better.
I heard a very excellent, and interesting discourse at the church last Tuesday evening from the Rev. J.J. Robertson, the episcopal missionary to the Greeks and who returned to this country to make arrangements for his future and permanent residence in that foreign land. I wish he might visit Hopkinton, that you would have an [horizontal writing] opportunity of hearing him.
I suppose the fourth or rather the fifth of July was very quietly celebrated in our little village. It is a general holy day here, with all the manufacturing people, and a very idle one for all the inhabitants; so you may well immagine [sic] not a little bustle and disturbance. In the evening there was an exhibition of fireworks which was very good. [?] attracted a great crowd of people.
What delightful evenings we have had for the last week; I should have enjoyed some of them very much walking with you my dear, chatting over old affairs, as you know we have done heretofore. I am very happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit and journey so much--and I suspect I was very right in my conjecture that you were at this time to see the person whose fate is to be connected with yours and [?] him you are to [?] your happiness; for I think a married man has it in his power either to make his wife happy or miserable. But I hope and I doubt not, but you will consider and duly weigh the matter before you make a decision of such importance. I think the first thing should be, to ascertain whether he is amiable and affectionate in his disposition, and possessed of good moral, and religious principles. These seem indispensable to a good husband. It is often said that a good son, and brother, make a good husband. I do not like the idea very well of your marrying a widower. It is better to be the first love--however if he is a fine man, I do not think it should be made a serious objection. Why did you not tell me which of the two you liked the best, undoubtedly you have some preference. I shall expect to be bridesmaid you know you promised--[vertical writing] I am flattered my dear Margarette that you consider me worthy of your confidence in these, and all other matters that may interest you, and I hope ever to prove myself worthy of your friendship & esteem.
Your [?] are my own, and I would sooner publish my own to the world than betray my friend. What do you mean by dreaming about the west; is it a play upon words? There is a young gentleman by that name that calls here very frequently and Mrs. Chase says he comes to see me, but I do not allow it he treats me with nothing further than ordinary politeness, and with the same strength and civility that he does other ladies. His mother has a most splendid house, and splendidly furnished; we were invited there a few evenings since to feast upon strawberies [sic] and cream. I never saw such a profusion. But this said gentleman has not any charms for me. Theres [sic] not one in Taunton excepting brother Charles that is worth leaving one's home and friends for.
You see that your expectations about my being engaged are again disappointed; why, it is a thing altogether out of the question, I never expect it to take place. If I cannot meet with a congenial spirit I would infinitely prefer remaining single. I should be perfectly wretched to be treated with that indifference and disrespect that some [?] are. I am glad to hear Clarissa Hill is so happy. Hope the honey-moon will last as long as life. Are you not astonished to find so much deception among the other sex. They try so many ways to interest the feelings, and gain the affections, without any better motive than to expose what they foolishly term weakness. I heard of an instance that occurred in New York, but [vertical writing] is too long to relate. I might say too horrible. I fear Miss Peabody's trouble will be quite too much for her, you know how exceedingly nervous she is, and trouble of this kind would increase it. However, I suppose she casts all her sorrows upon Dear Jerry he can console her under affliction. I presume as [?] all other times. He is very attentive to her, and I hope will make him happy as a wife.
Give my love to Louisa, and tell her if she dont [sic] give me an invitation to that party I'll tell my marm. I suppose you will have a grand time; please to eat a piece of cake and drink a glass of wine for me. I have been at three parties since I came here, and although they would in Hopkinton be called very splendid, and [?] the greatest profusion of dainties yet to me they were stupid and tedious. Have been [?] to the Lyceums by invitation; the last time with Mr. West. They are more interesting than ours, because the time is all occupied, there is not that backwardness in the members indeed they have things so arranged, that there is not the least delay. Have you heard from Emily Clark lately, I suppose she intends to be engaged before she returns. I wish she might find a good husband, for she would make a good wife. I think it is important that some of us should get engaged, for the village will shortly swarm with old maids. Has Anne Harris picked up a beaux [sic] in her travels? Excuse my asking so many questions I hope you will for you probably feel a like curiosity. I shall leave Taunton probably, the first of August how long I remain in Boston is uncertain, as I have not made any arrangements with regard to it. Let me hear from you while there, if not previous. Tell me about the letters you will have half a dozen before the month expires all the particulars. I shall expect to hear of the pleasure which we experience from a correspondence with our friends; depended upon the manner in which letters were written, mine will ever meet with an unwelcome [vertical writing] reception.
But I rely upon your kindness my Dear Margarette, to excuse this great defect; and to overlook old faults and imperfection which will present themselves in almost every line. Please to give my love to those young ladies who may inquire for me if there are those who feel in me so much interest; and to my mother & sister if convenient.
I would request you again to write to me whatever may interest yourself, you know that I shall ever be happy, and indeed shall rejoice if I am in any degree, or in any way [?] to your happiness. Your attached,
I have been looking over this letter and I am seriously afraid that you will not be able to read it for unfortunately I was obliged to write with very pale ink what you can not find out you must guess at it will answer quite as well. This is a miserable example [?] letters I am sure you will not be disposed to weary one's eyes and patience so much.
[Envelope:] Miss Margarette B. Lerned, Hopkinton, N.H.
1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.