Transcribed by Carlina Green and annotated by Scott Stegall
My dear Bess,
I dont know whether any body will tell you about Commencement, at any rate you will want to know how we got along. Thank you for the beautiful bread, it was as light & sweet as bread could be & there when there was so much cooking it was a great help to have the bread all made. We began to have company on Monday, had five gentlemen to dinner & so on from that time, at every meal until this morning. I got along quite comfortably but never got a chance to go over to hear any thing but Dr. Dabney’s sermon.1 I hear Dr. D. gave you five sermons on Sunday. Mrs Sinclair thought they were better than the one he preached here.2
We had not so many ladies as usual. The Sinclairs, three Misses Moore4 from Hopewell and Sally Caldwell.5 Miss Verina Moore did not come, nor any body from Wilmington but Mr Grier.6 We entertained the speaker Mr Eaton,7 Mr Grier, Mr Baker,8 Dr Caruthers,9 Mr Burwell,10 Mr Davis (Bank Davis), Mr Brevard Davidson11 – these were all that slept here but to all three meals we had a crowd. I begin quite to enjoy the company & the bustle & seeing so many people in their best clothes & having on their best looks & in their best humour.
Mrs Kerr’s12 illness + Mrs Fishburnes13 death seemed to cast a damper over some of us, but we were en-couraged by hearing that she was better. The Doctor is more encouraged to day than he has been. Dr Whitehead14 leaves here this evening & Dr Gibbon15 is expected up. They all like the two Doctors exceedingly. I have felt all along that Mrs Kerr would not die, not simply because she had skilful physicians, but because so many prayers have been offered for her recovery and “the prayer of faith will save the sick” Kate16 has nursed her a great deal, but I have never seen her since the first day or so- I am afraid this disease is still in the atmosphere, I understand that one of Mrs Brown’s17 sons was taken sick to day, but they have not sent for a physician.
Our black baby has been right sick, but he is getting well without any Doctor either.18 There seemed a large crowd here on Commence-ment day. The music (the band from Salisbury) was very fine, they did not play as much as they would have done, because it Mrs Kerr. I hear the speaking was all very good. Willie’s I read and thought it would sound well, but Kate said he did not speak as well as on ordinary occasions. There was so much excitement about that time that the boy’s got their minds distracted & did not do as well as usual. Mr Eaton’s speech, your Father thought was first rate.
Sing has gone to Dr Morrisons19 – Dru is at the Caldwells or at Hopewell I don’t know which. Willie is knocking about here. I wish we were all away from here now. Do write soon. Tell us what you heard of our Commencement.