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Saturday night Captain Cole and myself rode out to Harlem and Monday evening after I got through making calls, we got in with a merry set and rode out to Bloomingdale and sung ourselves hoarse. New York, 'with all thy faults I love thee still.' After all there is no place that I feel so much at home in, as this vast city. I know every street and alley in it and every corner and building. From the Battery to Union Park is as familiar to me as the front street in Bucksport.
I called on all my friends Monday, but could not bid any of them a serious farewell as the girls would not believe that I am going. Although, my dear sister, you are not here to pack me off, yet I am not altogether forgotten by your sex. The girls have met at Frank Pond's and had a Sewing Bee and presented each of us, on New Year's Day, with a Bachelor's Companion--a bag to roll up, containing needles, thread, scissors, buttons, etc. A very nice affair, gotten up with good taste and very acceptable. They are evidently laying an anchor to windward and want some of the dust.
You probably know by Father's letter that I am going around the Horn with Captain Cole. The plot thickens! We shall take the Brig down town this afternoon. She has been put in complete order, caulked, coppered and painted. We are going to have a fine cabin, have torn the old one all to pieces, and shall have it fitted up in good style for ten passengers. Our list of stores is made out and we are going to live high. I shall purchase 100 volumes of books, at least, and exchange my French for Spanish and learn that on the voyage. It is a long time to be at sea--four months and a half at least. We shall stop at the Isthmus of Panama and at Valparaiso. I should much prefer going across, but Uncle Richard made me such a good offer that I could not refuse it. It will be much better, after I get there, to go in this way, for I have a place to live and something to eat. If we have a pleasant set of passengers we shall enjoy ourselves, no doubt.
I received your present and I am greatly obliged to you and will spend it, or part of it, in writing materials and keep a journal for your perusal. Please accept from me a trifle, which I send by Sewall, and distribute to Frank, Charles and Alice as my New Year's gift. I will write next New Year's from California.
Give my love to Mother. That is the best New Year's I can send her, and for her sake and yours, I will try and resist all the temptations I may be exposed to. I have no fears on this subject, myself.
I will write you again before we sail, which will probably be one week from to-day.
- Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collections Division
A Yankee trader in the gold rush; the letters of Franklin A. Buck