School teacher writing to sister about teaching, etc, in Mays Landing, N. J.
Aug. 13, 1850
Mary R. Patrick was 10 years old when this was written.
It was written 168 years, 5 months, 5 days ago.
It was a Tuesday.
Leeds Point, August 13th 50’
Dear sister Caroline,
It is ten minutes past twelve o’ clock and the children have taken their dinners, and gone into the woods, and I have swallowed mine. I was at a loss to know what to do with myself and as I can’t afford to lose any time, I thought I would write you on account of my adventures since I left May’s Landing–Well, the last I saw of you, you was starting away from Mr. Endicott’s, and what to make of you I did not know. I could not tell whether you was mad or glad, and with no one but myself. That afternoon, Joseph had seen Benny Dean, and he told him what, “Good morning” and “say something” meant & Joseph said I did not know what it meant, or I would not have said it, and I was so mad with myself for allowing myself to use the expression, that I did not enjoy my ride at all. But at last I came to the conclusion that it was of no use to fret about it, but to take care what I said for the future, and I guess you will not very soon hear me use that expression again.
Well, at half past nine, we got as far as Leedsville, and Maria was ready with open arms to receive me. We soon retired to bed but not to rest, for we talked half of the night, yet we were awake in good season in the morning, and I cannot tell you how many times through the day, we spoke and thought of you, and really expected that we should see you that night. I went into school the afternoon, and we waited with patience for night to come, or we tried to, but as we were going home from school we concluded that we would walk to Smith’s Landing and then we should be sure to see you. We went in after our things and Mrs. Risley said that if you came round to Leedsville to see us, you would come the back road & that we could not find the way that road, as neither of us knew the way, except on the shore road. Well, we did not know what to do, but thought it would be too bad if you come to see us one way and we went the other, so we said we would stay. After tea, we went out and walked on the road that we thought you would come, and walked backwards and forwards till dark, singing as merrily as birds in the spring, but it began to grow dark, and by degrees our singing was hushed, for we were convinced that it was too late for you to come. I looked at Maria and she was the picture of despair. I could not help laughing to see her look so, and I tried to comfort her but she could say nothing only, “I am mad” ( a favorite expression of hers). Nothing pleased her and she went to bed mad. However, she got up in the morning quite pleasant, and the rest of my time passed quite pleasantly. I left Leedsville Friday afternoon and was very glad to get back to Mr. Leeds.
I walked all day Saturday to get subscribers for my school, and Sunday was a day of rest surely–attended Sabbath School in the afternoon, and in the evening, staid at home, and had a fight with the mosquitoes. Yesterday commenced school with twenty-seven scholars, and today there are two more–shall have a good many more next week. There were more yesterday than I expected there would be, but the prospect is that I shall have quite a large school in the course of two or three weeks.
I went to the Post Office just as soon as I had got home and before I went took the precaution to put on a dress that had a large pocket in it, for I did hope to find a load of letters, but I had the luck to find one paper for me, from one of Maria’s old beaux. I went home disappointed of course.
Well, Carrie, I want to see you real bad, just as bad as I did before I went to May’s Landing. Do you ever have red cheeks Monday morning? If you do, you are sure to find it out, even if you don’t look in the glass, as long as Mr. Endicott is at home. Are you going to the Camp-Meeting? I do think I will stay at home, for I have been to two Camp Meetings. They are all trying to persuade me to go, and the Superintendent has given word that there will be no Sabbath School, so there is nothing to keep me from going, only my own inclination, and I don’t care now whether I go or not. It is most time for school “to be sat” and I shall have to let this lie a while. How I do want to see you. When your school is done if you have any vacation, give Joseph an invitation to come down and bring yourself and Rebecca. Now Carrie I want to say a word but don’t tell anybody. Don’t blame Rebecca for not staying down that night. She had good reasons which I meant to have told you before I came away, but forgot it. I won’t put it down on paper, though, but will tell you sometime if I ever see you again. I shall, shan’t I? O Carrie don’t talk of going home, for I can’t let you go anyhow. If there is anything that I can do that will induce you to stay, just tell me, and I will do it gladly. Another scholar has come in this afternoon making the number thirty for the second day. Mr. Brown comes down here to preach a week from Sunday. If you do not get time to write me before, do send me a letter by him, and tell all the news. O Carrie I dreamed last night that I saw you in a splendid carriage with Dr. Sheppard & that you stopped to invite me to go to your wedding. The day came and in the carriage you were, and lots of others, Joseph, Smith, Maria, Miss Hycoff, and I don’t know who all. What a find ride we had, and when we got to the stopping place, no one would perform the ceremony. I was sleeping in a house for the first time, so Carrie, look out!
O Carrie, I dreamed again last night, and I dreamed that my two brothers were drowned, or nearly so, and that I brought them to life. I woke up and the tears were running from my eyes, and I was very much relieved to find it was a dream. I soon went to sleep and dreamed again of being at your wedding. What do you think of dreams?
I have been looking at this letter in its length and breadth, and it put me in mind of something I used to say when I was small, “Poor ink, poor pen, poor writer. Amen.”
Remember me to Mr. Endicott’s family. I had no chance to bid them goodbye.
If you ever see Joseph, give my love and nothing else or you may suit yourself as to that.
Write as soon as possible, and give my love to Hester and Lib.
Your Yankee sister,
Mary R. Patrick