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By this post I received a letter from Colonel Ward, requesting leave to remove his family into my house, Richmond Hill. He lives, you may recollect, in the part of the town which is said to be sickly. I could not therefore refuse. He will call on you to go out with him. You had better, immediately on receipt of this, go out yourself, and apprize Anthony and Peggy.
Your letter to Kersaint is much to the purpose. It came by this day's mail, though put in the postoffice on Tuesday, but after the closing of the mail. With it I have also received your letter, written, I suppose, on Tuesday evening, because it speaks of the circus; but, as usual, without date. I beg that, when you sit down to write a letter, you will begin by putting a date at the top; this will then presently become a habit, and will never be omitted.
I am sorry, very sorry that you are obliged to submit to some reproof. Indeed, I fear that your want of attention and politeness, and your awkward postures, require it. As you appear desirous to get rid of these bad habits, I hope you will soon afford no room for ill-nature itself to find fault with you--I mean in these particulars; for as to what regards your heart and your motives of action, I know them to be good, amiable, and pure. But to return to the subject of manners, &c. I have often seen Madame at table, and other situations, pay you the utmost attention; offer you twenty civilities, while you appeared scarcely sensible that she was speaking to you; or, at the most, replied with a cold remercie, without even a look of satisfaction or complacency. A moment's reflection will convince you that this conduct will be naturally construed into arrogance; as if you thought that all attention was due to you, and as if you felt above showing the least to anybody. I know that you abhor such sentiments, and that you are incapable of being actuated by them. Yet you expose yourself to the censure without intending or knowing it. I believe you will in future avoid it. Observe how Natalie replies to the smallest civility which is offered to her.
Your habit of stooping and bringing your shoulders forward on to your breast not only disfigures you, but is alarming on account of the injury to your health. The continuance in this vile habit will certainly produce a consumption: then farewell papa; farewell pleasure; farewell life! This is no exaggeration; no fiction to excite your apprehensions. But, setting aside this distressing consideration, I am astonished that you have no more pride in your appearance. You will certainly stint your growth and disfigure your person.
Receive with calmness every reproof, whether made kindly or unkindly; whether just or unjust. Consider within yourself whether there has been no cause for it. If it has been groundless and unjust, nevertheless bear it with composure, and even with complacency. Remember that one in the situation of Madame has a thousand things to fret the temper; and you know that one out of humour, for any cause whatever, is apt to vent it on every person that happens to be in the way. We must learn to bear these things; and, let me tell you, that you will always feel much better, much happier, for having borne with serenity the spleen of any one, than if you had returned spleen for spleen.
You will, I am sure, my dear Theodosia, pardon two such grave pages from one who loves you, and whose happiness depends very much on yours. Read it over twice. Make me no promises on the subject. On my return, I shall see in half an hour whether what I have written has been well or ill received. If well, it will have produced an effect. I have sent Alexis with your letter to Kersaint while I write this. After closing of the mail I shall present myself. To-morrow morning I take stage for Baltimore; thence to Washington, &c. You shall certainly hear often from me. You have not yet acknowledged the receipt of my letter from Bristol. R. Strong has received his, written at the same time. Having many letters to answer by this mail, I cannot add any thing sprightly to this dull letter. One dull thing you will hear me repeat without disgust, that I am your affectionate friend,
- Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 1., by Matthew L. Davis, 1836