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Nov 25 1834
To: Margarette Barker Lerned McQuesten Brockport New York
From: Catherine Lerned Hopkinton New Hampshire

November 25, 1834 Tuesday

Dearest Sister Margarette,

I have just finished the second part of King Henry fourth (by Shakspeare [sic]) and would fain gratify my eager inclination by continuing on through the reign of his son Henry fifth- but the voice of Friendship claims a letter to a far distant sis- so leaving England to sport in our new established [??] and pour blessings on her new crowned king. I'll improve the present in writing. May never Prince or Peer have cause to say:

(Act 5, Scene 2) "Heaven shorten Harry's happy life one day."

Mr Minot passed through town, having a lady under his protection- he returns noon after thanksgiving and will probably be the bearer of this letter to your ladyship. Mother and sisters have previously filled pages relative to your last confinement but M. as I can give neither consolation nor instruction (being your junior in years and experience) I will only say as far as I can. I do feel in your late troubles--always remembering the words of inspiration "The Lord loveth whom he chasteneth."

We have had 7 boarders this fall--only one lady. All have left to my satisfaction. Mrs Burroughs (Lydia Clark) has been with us 6 weeks, and leaves tomorrow. She says she shall visit you when Mother and Sam'l M'Q come. Mr Sam'l Gale wife & child think of moving in with us this Winter. Mother dislikes being alone in cold weather and storms. But we are not sure of his coming. He is an excellent hearted man and a great favourite of mine. Though a stage drive his principles are a "little slicker than the Perkins." As to ourselves we intend to pass Thanksgiving without the [??] or song, and without a participation in our repast. Then alone can we meditate on the past--be thankful for the present and extend our happy anticipations to futurity. Thanksgiving and praise should employ our powers--that when not a wreck of earth shall be left, we may sing our songs of praise in Heaven. Augustus leaves his present place of residence next Spring for Illinois, and Ham. & wife go to visit him the first good sleighing. Cousin Ted B. is married & has a son 4 months old. Mrs Flanders & Stanwood are thinking of an addition to their families! (Maj. Long passes the winter in town) John D. Bailey has moved into the house connected with W. Chandlers store (formerly Maj. Littles.) Mr. [??] soon goes into a new house next Mr. Curtis'. Dr F.R. Harvey has commenced our town school. Ed. thinks some of attending. E. Little is still at Boston. Mrs Green with her mother Little, and as good as ever. Phebe Call that was formerly engaged to A. Currier is dead. Much was said in the paper of her merits. Emeline Tucker is married to Mr. Sawyer. Mr Ben Chase has moved to Boston and Mrs [?] goes soon. Dear S.D. Gould of Boston taught a singing school here last summer and boarded with us. He is one of the very best and most affectionate men I ever knew. Something like your consort. He is over 50 years old- always call'd me his child and met and parted with a kiss--seems to think much of my being a Unitarian. H.E. Moor of Concord is now teaching at the school house. He has taken tea with us once, and is agreeable, though wanting stability of character. Read a line from M.A. Beech stating that the babe has been very sick. Helen M. Gregory has written me requesting a correspondence- she writes and composes finely. I hold epistolary intercourse with no one, save yourself, sister L & M.A.B. last spring. I had 9 regular correspondents, but found the only way to economise was to be O.P.H. from all but [?] yourself included. Mr Cushing of [?] (merchant at Newport) passed the night with us 2 weeks since- says G.H. Cheney is worse than nothing as to money and principles--every one of note in Warner gives his due--and you may judge for yourself of his claims. A new paper is now printed at Claremont. Sam'l Chase of Cornish is publisher. It is of known [??]. What are the people of B. as to politicks [sic]? A dinner has lately been given in Concord, to Senator Bell, at which Daniel Webster, the greatest and only boast of N.H. was present. [??] also have since given a supper to any body; though before the eve, they caused a report to be circulated of Mr Grundy's appearance, which was in the end, as their principals; without foundation. The Academy closed Saturday last without any exam or [??] to mark its dissolution. Miss Adams left some weeks previous on account of ill health. 'Tis feared she will not survive long. Misses Harvey, Taylor and Wells [too?] charge Elizabeth dresses but is like her father sociable to all- came in on P.M. & took tea without previous invite--seems to have thrown aside in some degree her former "hauteur." "There's policy in war." But in fact (by way of application) we are some of us sensible of, or without our faults. [??] this nights ditty shall end with my page.

Your sis in love

I had only thought of writing 3 pages at commencement; but you perceive that I have doubled it, and begin to fear lest I never end. Now dear sis, tis true I could well fill another sheet with items, illustrated now and then with a little Ornithology-Phrenology-Cosmography &c now and then verified with the spontaneous fruits of my vernacular genius. But my powers of description fail so silence shall be my retreat. A few words, and my agents shall rest.

But dear M. my pen has run a race and my digits and opticks [sic] have alike kept pace. Poor things and weary! Poor paper and heavy laden! But poorer reader--may thoughts of vision and nerves be given you. To one and all of you I fall, petitioning forgiveness. My paper-pen-ink thoughts and a sisters and brothers love be ever ready in time of need- and here's the fulfilment of my promise. Rest.

Your loving sister
Catherine Lerned

Wednesday Morn. Now dearest sis, you must bear a little more of my rattle since I have not said more than half of my intent. [??] a little, while I try a new theme. The Baptists and Congregationalists here held [aweekly?] meetings at the respective churches--a revival has ensued--much time has in proper school hours been devoted to the all important subject; and many of the scholars have loudly complained of the loss of their time, while some have embraced the rock of Salvation. What think you of teachers employing recitation hours, in conversing, when an hour at morn and eve is found sufficient in most [current?] schools? But I've not to answer for the deeds- and well it is so ordered; as mine own are so evil that I wish they were not. These meeting have been a "Wind Up" to the few amusements enjoyed this season. So many exhibitions "all upon a time" are comical in the extreme. Eliz. H. and myself have attended all but one and then it rained hard. Twas the exhibition of S.R.[?] Kelly. Mother went with children and boarders. I have had a pretty good time since the re-establishment of my health, though I can always say with Shakspeare [sic]: "The future and the past seem best--the present worst" and again with him: "The darkest cloud obscures the brightest sun." I should truly love to write the "Lights & Shadows" of my own life. How think you 'twould show in this "great piece of soil"? In good troth [sic], I think the facts might be as roast meat, dried, and the gleanings of my masters field might serve his gravy--(rather impenetrable I guess). My "gift of gab" is wonderful in reality--so "the Parrot prates he knows not what". What conceited mortals we are! How seldom we think when we come & whether we go! The more I see the more I read; the less I think I know. We all seek to attain some fancied bliss, and when in our grasp, there is still something more we would be at; though Lord Byron says "Looks tell the wanting." I cannot say this verse would apply in all cases. However I'll leave this subject for wiser heads to scan.

One of our boarders- Mr Dudley Bean--former Editor of of [sic] the Amateur at New York- thinks of passing the winter in town and wishes to board with us; but we do not intend to take any this winter. He intends studying law with Hon. H. Chase. He boarded with us 9 weeks- kept his horse and carriage--read the "literary stuff" of the day--had his memory well stock'd with words- as "most unquestionably"--"most decidedly"- "most assuredly" various variety &c &c--all of which were used at every "gabbing" exertion- lastly, he stays at home winters, makes shoes & boots--then pedles [sic] them out in the spring, and with the procedes [sic] boards out in the fall at some place where where [sic] "Hon" "Esq" & "Dr" are plenty. What a fine division of time! Well give him his due--he's an admirable calculator for one whose soul is propositioned to the vegetable for which his name is taken. His all is "A fine face and a shining garment." But "who art thou that judgest another"?

Mother says "I am coming to see you with Sam'l M'Questen and when that will be I ken [sic] not but hope soon. You do not know how much we all wish to see you at H. and hope ere long you will welcome the land of your nativity." Margarette we look a little different now from common. The high post bedstead in the front room & secretary moved---books rack near the front entry door and looking glass handsomely trimmed with tissue paper. When you visit N.H. will cut you a glass trimming as pretty as my own. The paper costs but 21cts. Louisa has some but tis not cut well. But I must close for the present. C.

27th Thursday Morn. 11 o'clock. Dear sis--tis Thanksgiving day and all are at meeting but Lizzy and myself and [I?] stay at home to finish this attempt at "compo"--as L. says letters must be ready by day after Thanksgiving. No one but "us six" dine here to day; and in the eve the children attend a party at Wid. Brown. Prayer meeting is a Judge Harris' this eve. The meetings are of late well attended by the male and female members of the church. Col. Long--Judge Harvey--Harris--Chase & others. I do not attend as I do not go out evenings. A number of [???] have just gone by outside the [???] stage all playing. They are destined to Warner Sutton & Bradford where there are balls this eve. Also one at Weare-Pembroke-Merrimack and many other places in this vicinity. I had an invite to one at Warner & Weare--but think "I'd rather be excused." In fact [?] I'm growing weary of being actress in such dramas--so contented will I "sit and see the end, while others do the work." Mother has two good chickens to the fire, and tis for me to make 'em [??] about and [??] Jim Crowe". I wish to see you coming in to take a dine with us as of Old. Joy [???] now. I long to see you and your consort.

[Address on Envelope]
To Miss [sic] Margarette B. M'Questen
Brockport, NY

1 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.

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The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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