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We are having sad times at the house. You know Mr. Johnson was complaining before you left but did not give up until a week ago last Thursday. Last Saturday he was taken very sick, so much so that Dr. Spear was alarmed about him. I came over in the morning and got the best doctor in the city, Dr. Paine, to consult with him. Monday his disease took a new form and went into his brain. He was raving crazy all night. Yesterday they adopted a new mode of treatment: shaved his head and blistered it, and he now is in a very critical situation. They are to hold a consultation at noon and they think they will be able to decide about his case. It must soon come to a crisis one way or the other. I have talked with the doctors and they think the chances are against him, but men sometimes live after doctors give them up, you know, and I can't believe yet that he is going to die. I hope not.
I am glad you enjoyed your journey home. We had a fine day in the city the day you went up the river. You want to land at West Point in order to see anything of it and go up on the plain. I supposed Boston would look small after leaving New York--don't wonder you were disgusted with it. It won't compare with Brooklyn to live in. I wish with Joseph that you were settled down out here and hope he will make up his mind to come out here at some future time and go into business. I enjoyed your visit as much as you did and can now write to you with more interest about things that you have seen.
I suppose it is quite a change from walking Broadway and dining at your nabob cousin's at five o'clock and going to such churches as Trinity, to go back to housework and to your humble church in Bucksport. It is too bad, as you say, that you don't have a larger organ. It must sound small, I think--but as Joseph used to observe to me while we were looking at some of those splendid houses in the upper part of the city: 'Do you suppose they are any happier than we are?' I guess not, although I would not object to owning two or three of them. You are probably just as well off as you would be if you were worth a million--and much happier.
I am glad you have the faculty of making travelling acquaintances. It is very pleasant, I think, but the Yankees have the name of being too stiff, and I think you will notice this in travelling north. The farther south you get, the less you see of it.
- Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division
A Yankee trader in the gold rush; the letters of Franklin A. Buck