W0735 TO DR. CALVIN AND MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN from Louisa [Lerned] McAllaster
Oct 17 1834
To: Dr. Calvin and Margarette McQuesten, Brockport, New York, [U.S.A.]
From: Sandbornton Bridge, New Hampshire, [U.S.A.]
My Dear Afflicted Brother and Sister,
Language fails me when I attempt to write you my feelings at the reception of a letter which you C. sent mother, & which I immediately received. The sad intelligence of sister's distressing sickness and the loss of your darling babe entirely overcame me.1 My grief for the loss of your son, your only child was so great, that for a time (I am ashamed to say it) I forgot the great goodness of our Heavenly Parent in preserving the life of my much valued sister. And now dear Sister what can I say to you? I can say nothing which will be new--no! you knew our hearts would bleed for you, our joy be turned to weeping and mourning, and again that gratitude would fill our hearts that your precious life has been spared. You have often while weeping at the loss of your little babe "Bone of your bone & flesh of your flesh" thought of your sister at Sandbornton, who had been brought at her last confinement to the borders of the grave, who had seen her Ellen Margarette wasting with disease day by day & at last seen her little perfect form still in the cold embrace of Death.2 "Faith points upward" where the Saviour has taken your babe while spotless, to be an inhabitant of Heaven, taken him in the arms of his love & has a place reserved for the earthly parents who weep for their first-born.
Brother Calvin, you have been tried in the furnace of affliction, how many times I have wept for you, you could say with Job "Pity me oh! my friends for the hand of the Lord hath touched me." May the life and health of my dear sister which has been spared you at your earnest & repeated prayer, be long continued and may this great mercy prove as oil to the wheels of your obedience.
In Parnell's Hermit,3 "Far in a wild unknown to public view" &c. The stranger (Angel) says "But God to save the Father took the Son." It was very much impressed on my mind after the death of my babe & I used to read it, as it shews the dealings of Providence though apparently dark & mysterious, so perfectly right when seen without a glass. Do read it it is in Scotts Lessons and Murrays Sequel. A favorite piece of our departed father's.
I have waited in anxious expectation of a letter from you with a very particular account of all that has taken place--& Calvin if M. is not able to write do devote five minutes a day to me till you tell me all I wish to know. Catharine wrote me yesterday that Mr. Greeley was at Hopkinton, came Tuesday & would leave next week. I had previously sent word to H. that when she arrived I wished her to come to S. but she cannot & I am disappointed. C. says she will not return to Brockport this winter. Mr. Paul Noyes of Northfield started this week for Bpt [Brockport] with his family. I thought much of going with him but he goes by land in his own carriage. Husband said I might go though he thought I better not, I am still wavering between duty and inclination. Duty bids me stay; Inclination says go and see my dearly beloved sister. It has been my earnest wish to do that which is for the best. Sometimes I say I will go, I can "set my face like a flint" but before I sleep some little ail afflicts the children or I have a sick headache & then I am discouraged. The expense of the journey is never thought of--it would not have the weight of a straw to prevent me. It is while looking at my little ones who would have no Aunt Margarette or Caroline to take care of them, that I have my fears & the thoughts of spending a week travelling without a friend. But I trust I have left the event with Him who knows what is best "for me, for us". One satisfaction. I can mingle my unworthy prayer with yours, which are so pure, so submissive and so devotional. (Sometimes my feelings are so excited that I cannot banish the idea but that our voices have at the same instant reached the seat of prayer. I have even felt our spirits were as one that they had met that they were "one heart, one voice." Is it reality, temptation, or my nervous excitement--either it is a happy feeling.)
Catharine wrote me that Jonas was coming in November. I wish I could be there to come with him. When husband went to Boston the last of Sept. I sent for things for Mary & myself expecting them to go, but I have a large family have been without help have now a little girl 14 for a few days. Hannah at the Methodist school at Newbury. H. Rich boards with his mother at the [?] placeľ[?] at Boston. Phebe [?] & a son of [Esq.?] [?] of Canterbury. Mr. Harding lives in the Malony house the only minister stationed here.
A great revival appears to be in every part of the town. Mr. Conant does nothing but pray & visit his people & Mr. Harding the same. Next week a protracted meeting at Mr. Conants. I went down Saturday to carry her a Merion's dress the ladies purchased. They always inquire for you & send their best wishes. Mrs. Moody & Hancock love you both always have much to say & have sympathised with you in your affliction.
I am more discontented here than ever. I have done visiting, making calls & lead a retired life. How is business with you? Follinsby the great gamester has opened a store where Molony traded, sells 5 bls rum a day. Husband bought a hogshead to prevent his making on rum by the advice and good wishes of all Temperance men--they think it will spoil the sale of it for Follinsby. Husband sells a qt. where they do a hogshead but he keeps the price down. Horrid for rum drinkers to obtain it so easy but I do hope & pray it will forever spoil the sale. Business with husband is not so great as with other merchants, he has had his day & I wish was away. I hope sometime that he will give up for the west. I tease enough for to make him unhappy as I am here. B. has the Methodists. McQuesten, Northfield people & the whole rabble run to the New Store. But enough!
Monday Oct. 20. But two years this day since my dear Sister imprinted the fond kiss to her dear friends & was rapidly hurried from us by the unfeeling stage man for the west.4 I would rejoice if I might this day start. Margarette I will send the Religious Magazine once a month if you wish & can send me some periodical, we can exchange again when a convenient opportunity presents. Have you seen the Young Christian, or Corner Store--please let me know if not I will lend you mine when Jonas comes. I will copy a few verses I found the week I lost my babe in the Mothers Magazine at the Office.
The turf lies gently on his head.
The babe so dear to thee.
How [?] sleep the infant dead
From care & sorrow free.
They do not sleep--the tomb enshrines,
Indeed, their mouldering clay;
And there it rests, till glorious shines,
The awful judgment day.
They do not sleep--in heaven they wake
And safe from all alarms,
Repose on him who once did take
Such infants in his arms.
Then do not weep--a little while,
Will give him to thy love again;
And he will greet thee with a smile,
And soothe himself a mother's pain.
And he, perhaps, thy voice will raise,
To strains of heavenly harmony,
And teach thee how the Friend to praise
Who died to rescue him and thee.
Perhaps it would interest you to know Miss C. Holmes was out published yesterday to a Mr. Clement of Claremont, a very short courtship but a short time since utter strangers. Mr. Page last fall made a Shelling machine & Mr. Grey went to Washington and took out a patent he is now growing rich will probably be worth 20,000 dollars. He is building a very large brick house between his little one & Mr. [Merrils?] gave 300 dolls. for the land. His shop is enlarged, painted Piazza &c. Some think he is too fast in his plans. Frank Smith married Mehitable Gale & lives where Alvah Dungin used to. We have a cooking stove in our kitchen.
Do Dr. & sister write very soon & tell me what you think about my plan of leaving my
family and do say Dr. do say do, do, do that you will bring Margarette next year to see us. Children are very well often talk about you visit Brockport in all their plays. Jane teases to
write but my girl is waiting to set the table for dinner. Ever yours dear brother & sister in love & Husband joins me in love & good wishes.
Husband wishes you, if you have received the check he sent you to acknowledge it in your next. Phebe sends much love to you both. Does Jonas know that Charles is a confirmed Deist thinks the Koran as true as the Bible. Dont say to him where you heard of it. Mr. Glidden is here from Ohio goes through Brockport next week. Husband says I may go with Glidden I wish I could but believe best not--[sewing?] all behind hand. Charles will write by Glidden.
Aunt M. I love you.
Sandbornton Bridge, [?] Oct 20, Dr. Calvin McQuesten, Brockport, Monroe Co., N. York
1 Margarette's son, Calvin Jr. was born August 15, 1834, and lived only 10 days. To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.
2 Louisa's baby, Ellen Margarett, was born May 29, 1833, and died approx. July 31, 1833, see W0675 & W0680, W0687, W0701, W0735.
3 Thomas Parnell (1679-1718), "The Hermit."
4 According to this letter, Margarette must have left Sandbornton for Brockport on October 20, 1832.