Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
I have sat down to converse with you once more through the medium of the mail and like all persons when they don't know how to begin, commence with the weather. We have had just about such weather as you have in April or the first of January. The thermometer stood only six degrees lower in Brooklyn than it did the fourth of July last, but it has changed for the worse since and now snows. We have not had any sleighing yet. Don't want to see any snow here. It only makes it muddy. We have Christmas and New Year's here as holidays. No business done at all.
On Christmas the Catholics and Episcopalians have a great time trimming the churches with evergreens and have a service all day. I attended three churches. Trinity Church looked splendid and they had fine music.
New Year's Day all the male part of the city call on the female. Wherever you go you will find all the girls dressed out in their best, sitting up very prim, to receive the young men. In the other parlor you will find a splendid table set out, well furnished with all the good things of this life, wine not excepted. About ten o'clock the streets begin to be filled with men going the rounds. The 'upper crust' go in carriages, of course, but there are plenty left to go afoot. They continue to call till ten at night or till they get so corned (which is generally the case) that they are obliged to retire.
On New Year's night it reminded me of the time when musters were in fashion down East. About the time they were coming home, running into the stone walls, singing and shouting and fighting, the streets here presented just such a picture. There is no such thing as Temperance known here. All classes of the community imbibe and liquor is sold openly at every eating house and oyster saloon in the city. It is well I don't love it.
I have joined a musical society which Smith has the direction of. He has got his piano here and we meet once a week at his uncle's. There are eighteen ladies and gentlemen belonging to it. They are all very pleasant acquaintances. We gave a private concert the other night. The house had two large parlors and we occupied one. The audience, consisting of about one hundred, the other. It passed off very well. Some of the members are very good singers and were called out on several of the pieces twice.
After the singing was over we sat down to a first rate supper. After supper we had dancing and games of all kinds. The dancing I could not join in, which was owing to my bringing up. Everyone knows how to dance here and it is always an introduction in company. I feel mortified enough to think I never learned. We left at half past one, which was considered early as the most of the company staid till three. You can't get up such a society in Bucksport because they all want to be leaders and none of the girls there have confidence to stand and sing in the front seat in the gallery in church, much more to sing a duette alone in front of an audience.
I made quite a large acquaintance in the city at this party and called on all of them on New Year's with Smith and Bill Benson and then went with them and was introduced to their friends. We made in the whole, sixty-three calls. Aunt Charlotte received about eighty and Benson's wife about one hundred.
Sunday at noon I should like to step down to your house as I use to but although I am separated from you by many miles in person, my mind is with you very often and you are more dear to me than when I could see you every day. Hope to see you out here another summer.
- New York
- Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division
A Yankee trader in the gold rush; the letters of Franklin A. Buck