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[To Aaron Burr]
My letter missed the post yesterday not from my neglect. It waited for Brooks's packet, which was not ready till the mail was gone. Mr. B. Livingston just handed me the one you intrusted to him. I was the more pleased with it, as he accompanied it with the most favourabie account of your health I have received since your absence, and promises to forward this in the afternoon.
The Edwardses dine with me; they had taken lodgings previous to their arrival, in consequence of a report made them by the little Bodowins (who were at Mrs. Moore's last winter), that my house was too small and inconvenient to admit of a spare bed. I esteem it a lucky escape. It would have been impossible for me to have borne the fatigue. Charlotte is worn out with sleepless nights, laborious days, and an anxious mind. Hannah constantly drunk. Except William, who is a mere waiter, I have no servant.
My guests are come to dinner. I have solicited them, and shall again, to stay here; but, if they positively decline it, I will go to Frederick. I will steal a moment after dinner to add another page.
The person Mr. Livingston expected to forward my letter by did not go, nor could I hear of an opportunity, till, this moment, Mr. Williams offered to take charge of this. I had arranged every thing to set out for Frederick this morning, when a mortification was found to have taken place on Charlotte's child, and she could not be moved. As I had carted every thing on board, which I assure you was no small piece of business, I sent Natie with the three younger children, and kept Louise and Theo to go with me, whenever this disagreeable event is past.
Theo never can or will make the progress we would wish her while she has so many avocations. I kept her home a week in hopes Shepherd would consent to attend her at home, but he absolutely declined it, as his partners thought it derogatory to their dignity. I was therefore obliged to submit, and permit her to go as usual. She begins to cipher. Mr. Chevalier attends regularly, and I take care she never omits learning her French lesson. I believe she makes most progress in this. Mr. St. Aivre never comes; he can get no fiddler, and I am told his furniture, &c. have been seized by the sheriff. I don't think the dancing lessons do much good while the weather is so warm; they fatigue too soon. I have a dozen and four tickets on hand, which I think will double in value at my return. As to the music, upon the footing it now is she can never make progress, though she sacrifices two thirds of her time to it. 'Tis a serious check to her other acquirements. She must either have a forte-piano at home, or renounce learning it. For these reasons I am impatient to go in the country. Her education is not on an advantageous footing at present. Besides, the playfellows she has at home makes it the most favourable moment for her to be at liberty a few weeks, to range and gain in health a good foundation for more application at our return, when I hope to have her alone; nay, I will have her alone. I cannot live so great a slave, and she shall not suffer. My time shall not be an unwilling sacrifice to others; it shall be hers. She shall have it, but I will not use severity; and without it, at present, I can obtain nothing; 'tis a bad habit, which she never deserves when I have her to myself. The, moment we are alone she tries to amuse me with her improvement, which the little jade knows will always command my attention; but these moments are short and seldom. I have so many trifling interruptions, that my head feels as if I had been a twelvemonth at sea. I scarcely know what I speak, and much less what I write.
What a provoking thing that I, who never go out, who never dress beyond a decent style at home, should not have a leisure moment to read a newspaper. It is a recreation I have not had since you left home, nor could I get an opportunity by water to send them to you. Albany will be a more favourable situation for every conveyance. But I don't understand why your lordship can't pay your obeisance at home in this four week vacation. I think I am entitled to a reason.
Brooks attends regularly. Ireson from six to twelve, and from two to six, as punctual as possible. I should have made the office more my business had I known it would have been agreeable to you. I shall be attentive for the future. Bartow is here every morning. Most people either choose to wait for him, or call at some appointed hour when he can be here. Mr. Broome is here every day.
God knows the quality of this epistle; but the quantity I am certain you won't complain of. 'Tis like throwing the dice--a mere game at hazard; like all gamblers, I am always in hopes the last will prove a lucky cast. Pray, in what consists the pleasure of a familiar correspondence? In writing without form or reflection your ideas and feelings of the moment, trusting to the partiality of your friend every imperfect thought, and to his candour every ill-turned phrase. Such are the letters I love, and such I request of those I love. It must be a very depraved mind from whom such letters are not acceptable.
Neither the packet you left at Kingston, nor the money and greatcoat by Colonel Gausbeck, have yet reached me. I wish you could have passed that leisure four weeks with me at Frederick's. How pleasant such a party would have been. How much quiet we should have enjoyed.
I was interrupted yesterday by the death of Charlotte's child. Though a long-expected event, still the scene is painful. The mother's tears were almost too much for me. I hope nothing new will occur to impede my journey. I set off to-morrow morning.
I am not so sick as when I wrote you last, nor so well as when you left me. I confess I have neglected the use of those medicines I found relief from. The situation of my family has obliged me to neglect myself, nor can I possibly use them at Frederick's. We shall be too crowded. I will nevertheless take them with me. I live chiefly on ale. I buy very good for one dollar per dozen. I have had twenty-one dozen of your pipe of wine bottled. I think it very good.
I thank you for your remembrance per post of 30th June. It was acceptable, though short. How is it possible you had nothing more to write? I know the head may be exhausted, but I was in hopes the heart never could. I am surprised at your not getting my letters. I fear several have either gone to Albany or are lost. I shall, from this day, keep the dates. I wrote you last Sunday--so did Ireson.
You can have no idea how comfortable the house seems since the small tribe have left it. A few weeks' quiet would restore my head. It really wants rest. You can't know how weak it is. I cannot guide a single thought. Those very trifling cares were ever more toilsome to me than important matters; they destroy the mind. But I am beginning another sheet; I am sure you must be tired of this unconnected medley. I will bid you adieu.
Theo. has begun to write several letters, but never finished one. The only time she has to write is also the hour of general leisure, and, when once she is interrupted, there is no making her return to work. I have nothing more to write, except that I am yours affectionately,
- ltrs fr women
- Project Gutenberg's Memoirs of Aaron Burr, Volume 1., by Matthew L. Davis, 1836