Transcribed by Sarah Zeszotarski and annotated by Scott Stegall
My dear Bess,
I have just learned that Mr Junkin goes to Charlotte tomorrow & will call by, early in the morning for my note.1 I have no time to look up the things you want but the next opportunity will send them. The short gown I intended partly for you when I made it. I will send the cap which Priscilla made, & you must keep it and wear it when you sit up.2 I believe it has never been worn except on such occasions – like the short gown. The old blankets are not so soft as an old petticoat, but we can well spare you one or more if you want them. I need not say I got your letter this morning. There were sixteen letters brought to this house to-day by the mail, one was from Sing3
which I will send you, also the papers. I would try & plan some way to get to see you, but Aunt Amy continues so sick.4 I see no prospect of being able to leave home. For a whole month she seemed to be suffering from debility, but symptoms of torpor of the liver having developed themselves, I sent for Dr Weddington,5 Dr. Caldwell being absent.6 She is now entirely confined to her bed taking quinine ever three hours & lots of other physic besides. I sent out to Mrs Read to day [sic] for some one to come and take of her, for Aunt Maria must needs make herself sick eating green water melons, & seeing Aunt Amy was nursed & waited on, she went to bed too, & would’nt be at work to day, if I hadn’t told her the Doctor said she was well. She is a hard old case.7
Your Father says he hopes you a thousand pardons for not paying the bill for the curtains, but he had no idea what it was about and when he came home and found out, he felt mighty bad about it. I told him there was no occasion for his feeling bad I knew you did not care. He says please ask Mr Dewey to send the $3.00 on at once, and set it down to his account.8 I will try & send Mary’s trunk (rather her Mothers) by Mr Junkin and the strap is one I borrowed from Mr Cook and feel particularly anxious should be re-turned. Tell Mary to bear it in mind. I don’t know that I need Mr Dewey’s names, for this baby & the next are provided for; this is to be John Holt
and the other Charles Phillips!9 You have heard I suppose that Mrs McPheeters has lost Ceesey & her baby. You know she was married twelve years & never had any prospect until now. They were uneasy about her when I was there and so was she.10 I was very sorry to hear of Dr Haywoods affliction he doted on his children & especially little Sally.11 Mr Fowles wrote he gave up all his practice & scarcely ever left her bed. She had the same disease that little Charlie had, so you may feel even Dr Haywood don’t always save.
We got a letter from Mr. Craig to day. (I mean yr Father did, but I was the moving instrument to make him write to Mr C.) We cant get a coach but another order has come from
Washington, that we should have three mails per week, arranged thus the mail to go down on Monday & return the same evening & then all the others as before. He also promised to inquire (I mean the P.M. General) into the delay of our letters, between Raleigh & Davidson C. which will lead I think to a poking up of the Charlotte Post Master. Dont you wish it may? Somebody asked Helper to day, why they had ordered another mail, “oh he said its of-no use, but some of the big boys want it.”12 John is as fat & good as ever & the other two are as lean & bad.13 Agnes is a very curious child, but you know how she talks.14 I think your management of her so much better than mine. I wish we
lived nearer & she could be with you more. Her sores are rather better & I hope she will soon get rid of them. Mr Junkin stayed with us this week as the Hills were absent & your Father too. He im-proves on acquaintance greatly. By the way he says Fishburne says I am a “model housekeeper” which tickled me vastly, as your Father says I am one of the poorest.15
I think Mrs Caldwell meant to go down on the eighth.16 She told me of a remedy for sore nipples. The ooze from a tanners vat. Ask her about it when you see her. I dont know a single double wrapper pattern that I like & therefore made none. What did it cost you to have yr merino dress dyed? I think of sending mine on but hardly know whether it is worth it.
Your Father got back from Salisbury this evening, bringing the plan of the new building, which I havent had a chance to examine yet, except to see that it is one great big building. He looks fatigued and I dont think stay-ing with such a low spirited man as Baker has done him any good.17 He has come home looking more broken down than when he went. Davis the architect got here Saturday & stayed with us until Monday morning.18 He is very English in his looks and ways though a New Yorker. He has spruced up amazingly since he was in Raleigh some five years ago & I found the cause to be that he had in the mean time taken him a wife. I did not specifically fancy him though he
seems very intelligent on his own subject. I wish you would send me by Mr Junkin half a dozen of the self sealing cans, I want to put some some peaches & tomatoes. My corn is too hard which I am sorry. We have had peaches several times. They are all very little larger than hickory nuts, but very sweet. How does your garden grow? The sun & drought has ruined our melons. We had twenty or thirty delightful ones at first, but of late they are only fit to feed pigs. I had all the grass pulled out just before the drought commenced & perhaps exposing them to the sun ruined them. I reckon we have cut fifty or more water melons & not a good one, I set out my celery plants the first of this week & that very night had a nice little shower on them. I keep them covered up.
If you can get the cans send the prices too.
Love to Mr D. & Mary. Your Father sends love Kate has gone to bed. Yours affct MRL.