This letter was written using the archaic "fs" construction for the "ss" sound, which we have replaced with the current usage for ease of reading. Catharine does not always use this construction so this appears to be a discretionary construction at the time, and perhaps even an affectation. W0921 TO MARGARETTE B. [LERNED] MCQUESTEN [Mrs. Dr. Calvin] from her sister Catharine Lerned
Jan 28 1838
To: Margarett B. [Lerned] McQuesten Brockport, New York,
From: Hopkinton, New Hampshire,
I am not your debtor in epistolary intercourse, but make all due allowances for the arrival of the Granger boy, & write hoping a return sometime. Another year has commenced - how swift Time's march o'er a twelve month! Tis but as a past week since I wish'd a happy '37 to friends around, & now, tis 1838! Commenced a new Journal Jan 1'st, & intend having all future numbers made like this & lettered. Referring to its page, I find New Years day, pass'd in as much confidence, though not with as much work, as that of '37. Now to its occurrences.
I rose rather early, & assisted in our usual Monday's task--company to dine--was sick, & laid down past P.M.--company at tea & in eve--got excused, & took a social cup of tea at Mrs Eaton's, for the first time, though have received previous invitations. But I have omitted my morning's adventure--call'd before light at Capt. Flanders1 & found himself, Horace & Mr. Dicky all asleep--wish'd them a Happy New Year & the Capt jump'd from bed, chasing me up & down stairs oft repeating his obligations to me for my good wishes. Well' away I run to the Hotel--found Aunt & Louisa up stairs, the former sleeping; then to Mr. French's & then home.
Jan 2nd accompanied Mr Chandler--Miss M.A. Chase & Hannah in Carryall to Concord. 3d took noon stage in company with Mr. C., Miss Eaton & Miss Chase (Mrs. French's sister) to escort the latter to Goffstown, & returned in Boston evening stage. All took an outside seat, & had a jovial time. Saw Mrs. Richards at G. & her daughters--show'd me over their house, & new Hall--were very anxious to have me stay, & be introduced to Esq. [G.?], of whom she appeared to have an [sic] high estimate--desired regards to yourself & husband--said Mr Hobson & Elisa McQ. were married the week previous, at Doct. Stevens, in Charlestown & were living in East Weare &c. &c. "I love, oh! how I love to ride--In a neat post chaise, with a couple of bays"--said the poet who paradised on "The Sea--The Sea. The open Sea." & I can sincerely unite in his theme & views.
In October, I visited the Misses Chase at Nashua, & took P.M. Steam Boat for Lowell--pass'd night at Merrimac House, & in eve receiv'd calls from Mr & Mrs George [Dyar?]--Mr. A. [Dyar?]--Miss Angeline D. (Mrs. Cole's connexions) & some of my New Hampton school mates. Call'd on Dr. & Mrs. Moore. They were more than glad to see me. Their boy is a fine lad, & they are exceedingly devoted to him. Sarah M. was at home, making preparations for a marriage, since conducted. Mrs. G. Dyar has been a celebrated beauty, & I thought her one of the handsomest ladies I ever saw. She is about 22 or 23 years old. Lowell, I cannot like--all confusion--society too mix'd & [?], & in fact, too great a manufacturing place ever to be a pleasant place. Next morn, at 9 o'clock, took Steam Boat for Nashua, playing Back Gammon the way along; and after dinner, visited the Factories, Cemetery, Stores &c. &c. Bought Lissy a Fine Highland Shawl $6.25 instead of a cloak. Next morn, left for house at dawn, & arrived just before noon. Mean to visit N. again soon, as one of the Misses C. is to be married.
Have just finished a beauty supper of baked beans--pickl'd lemons &c. &c. Tis near night, & Capt. F. has just call'd, to say letters must be sent this eve. Mr. [Tim Breck?] preach'd to day, & am sorry I could not have heard him.
Mother--H.L. & E. are at the centre table, all a scribbling something; & I am at my Desk, which, by the way, is wax'd instead of varnish'd & takes us little strength & time to keep polish'd. Have you seen the travelling Port Folios that roll, & have place for pens--ink--paper &c? L.A.L. Joynes purchased one at B. of stamp'd English calf--color, ashes of roses; lined with plain calf &c. &c. Miss [?] is dark brown both sides. They are very convenient. Miss J's was $3.50.
Miss M. Gregory informed me that [Mr.?] & Martin Breck were both at home. Tis vacation of the former, & the latter thinks of buying out his Father, & settling at N. [?] says that Martin & Miss F. are as much in love as ever, and Mrs. B. has consented to their reunion! What a queer, queer world this is! Martin has been a roving--changing planet since he was forbidden Miss F's society, & mayhap they fear results. William will make a smart man.
There is a new Book Store at Concord. Have purchased some Books there--"Willards Universal History" & "Cable's Miniature Lexicon of the English Language" for Lucy. The latter is a very small Pocket Dictionary, & one of the best in use. Wish E. had one--only .90--gilt-edged--spring back &c. Each page has your [?] on its sides.
Mrs. Francis has just come from Goffstown (Jack's wife) and says I must give her best love to you & Edward. [???] for [?] families to night, & knife dull as you please. Oh dear! wish you were only at my side, that so much ceremony could give place to a free & happy chat on past, present, & future. Absence & distance makes me more conscious of the loss!
Mothers health is not as good as I could wish. But we have had so much company & work that I do not much wonder. We have, for the week past, spent three evenings without a visitor or caller, save a man at the door, with some articles from the store; & I hope we may be as favored next week. The Piano is constantly in use (almost) as two others, besides Lucy & E. are taking lessons. I give a course to J.L. Chase, free of expense; & she seems pleased & attentive, instrument needs tuning.
Doct. L.B. Cole & family moved from our building to Mr. Chandler's in Nove. We could not accommodate them longer; so much company & want of order or management (entre nous). Miss [?] Dack's singing much, & wish he would come in oftener. We have no very good singers in town, at least tenor voices.
Does E. take Rochester Democrat? We have papers from all quarters, loaned for our perusal, with Magazines, and what not. Mr. Chandler has just come in--says walking is excellent ["?"]. Send you a pattern of a collar I worked for Mother, & L. & self, am working one from same design. Miss Shipley sent it me from Boston. Miss Bean sent for it, & hired L. Wells to work her a cape like it; & Mrs. Ben. Chase hired her to work a collar & wrist cuffs. Swiss Muslin is not to be had at Concord, or Nashua, not the shear [sic] unglazed kind, but by sending to Boston I have some quite passable.
Mary will probably mention Aunt Betsy's dangerous sickness from a shock of the Palsey, and Mary Chadwick's illness, from a similar cause. Mrs. Chase Smith died some weeks since. Emery came from his school to make a visit, & found his Mother past recovery. She was ill but a few days. Mary watch'd with hus. Rode with E. a week since to see Mr. Dustin, & returned by Contoocook Ville. Mr. D. is much better. Cousin Clara had a fine Musick Box--play'd four tunes. I am an excellent [teamster?], & love a horse next best to self (?) (I guess). Chase had an offer to ride to Nashua & back, in noon stage, as often as I please, or a less distance, free of expense--made to Mrs. French & self. But her health is not as good as in Autumn, & I think she will not ride much. Mr. F. keeps at Nashua, most of the time. Mrs F. was carried to the door a few days since, & rode a little way with Dr. Tyler. Some think she will never recover. Saw her Thurs.--had sent her little son away, as his crying worried her. Mrs. Arnold keeps house for her, & she has a boy to assist in all matters. She gave a party Dec. 8th and that, with [?] exposure since, has caused her sickness.
Mrs. Harvey call'd last Monday, in the midst of our work, & requested me to play for her for the first time. Said she had not felt like having a Piano, & that it never would sound as it used to. This is the third call made here since Mother has returned one. Indeed, she goes out but little, & then takes cold. Wish E. would bring us a Citron, or some seeds, as the one I purchased at Nashua is not as good as the "Western" one. And Mother loves Snuff! But my paper & time forbid further communication.
Hope you will write me soon a good, long letter. Kiss the little M.D. & your hus. & Ed. all three for me i.e.
Mrs. M. B. McQuesten
Mr. Long M.D.
1 Possibly Daniel Flanders, the husband of Catharine's older half-sister Mary (Lerned) Flanders. The Lerned children made no distinction between half-siblings and "full" siblings and shared affection easily. However, in 1874, after the death of Elizabeth (sometimes called Lizzy or Lissy), the Flanderses tried to make claims on her rather small estate, upsetting her younger half-siblings and seemed to create a rift in the family, although there are indications that there may have been problems beforehand (W1054).
2 To learn more about Margarette Barker Lerned [McQuesten] please see W0609.