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Mr. Johnson has taken a pardner, a Mr. Hollister, who appears to be a very smart man. This will increase his business much. I have made an arrangement to go with him and shall begin about the middle of March or as soon as the canal opens. He will give just enough to live on. I expect to board with him.
Aunt Charlotte had a little company last week, about twenty young persons. We all enjoyed it very much, especially Emaline who danced herself almost to death. Yes--dancing in a deacon's house! What would you say to that in Bucksport? You are altogether mistaken if you think dancing is going out of fashion. It is all the rage here. Every time I am in company it makes me mad to think I never learned. After tea, one of the ladies played for Emma and Eliza Ripley to dance the polka. After that they all took part and kept it up till ten o'clock. The young lady who was my pardner gave me a private lesson beforehand so that I walked through it pretty well. I shall learn one of these days.
Tim Smith is here yet, doing nothing as usual. I should not be surprised if he went to Bucksport in the Spring.
Last night John took me to the Italian Opera. He had heard it twice and was perfectly delighted. I always supposed that the Italian singing was all affectation and because it was fashionable it was liked but I must confess in spite of myself that I never heard such music in my life. I was most agreeably disappointed, I tell you. You have probably seen an account of the company in the papers. There are between thirty and forty performers in the orchestra and five principal singers. The fellow who sings bass had the greatest voice that ever I heard. The lady is very pretty and has also a fine voice. The opera was Lucia di Lammermoor. You have read the story, the Bride of L. It is all acted. Only instead of being spoken it is sung in Italian. This language is much better to sing than ours. There are some parts of it coming after she has killed her husband and becomes crazy and when she signs the marriage contract and Ravenswood burst in and curses her that are beyond all description. I will send you the opera which has the story as they sing it, if you would like it.
- Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division
A Yankee trader in the gold rush; the letters of Franklin A. Buck