July 24th 1853
My Dear Sister
I am almost ashamed of my
neglect, and have really no good excuse to offer.
So the least said the better, and I must try to
do better in future. Nontheless you and mother
are not entirely absent from my thoughts, and I
have been looking forward with much pleasure
to the time when I shall join you in your quiet
and I hope happy home. It is my destiny to
roam - and it seems it is not my lot to have
a permanent home, altho I do really desire it.
I almost envy the happier (as I think) lot of others
whom I knew in school boy days, who have
comfortable homes, and the ties that make a
home lively & noisy if not cheerful.
In Washington I met Mr. Abbot who was at
Exeter with Wm. and me. He is a Clerk in the
State Department - has a family. In Cincinnati
Rev A.A. Livermore, an episcopal clergymen, who
bourded with Wm. & me at the Gilmans - and who
used to sit up with me when I was sick there with
the Typhus fever. Mother will remember the time.
Well we wander about the world, and none
could have had the least idea when a boy of
what his destiny was to be. We do not
control our own destinies - they are the result
of circumstances which we cannot foresee.
However I must get into a more cheerful strain.
Whilst in Washington I passed my time very agreeably
especially when I was in better health than usual.
At the Presidents Grounds we had a band of music
every Saturday evening for two or three hours before
dark also at the Capital grounds on Wednesdays.
On those occasions all the beaus & belles of the
city were out promenading the grounds, flirting,
making love, admiring, envying, gossiping and
discussing the fashions and politics.
It would have been a rich treat to you & the
large assemblage of beauty wealth rank & power
intermixed with the scheming mothers, artful
widows, fortune hunters, office seekers etc, etc.
The President always came out and walked about
among the people - but his lady never made
her appearance - She has never appeared in public
except at the churches. They go every Sunday.
She does not, I suppose, feel like mixing in the
gay throng after the loss of her only child. The
strongest tie to the world has undoubtedly been
broken. I went to the grounds frequently - and
two or three times with ladies - had the honor
of introducing one to the President. Miss Lizzie
Walker - Warren will remember her (the youngest).
My trip west has been a pleasant one. Happening
to meet some friends on the cars as I left Washington
I was induced to go off my route with them and see
them to their home at Hagerstown Md. - We left the
R.Road at Fredrick a small town in Md and
traveled by stage about 20 miles across the Blue
Ridge Mountains - It is a beautiful country, very
much like the granite state - but not so rocky -
beautiful farms - large wheat fields covering the
valley and extending up the side of the mountains.
We had a good road - and the young lady, by her
cheerful conversation made the journey very pleasant.
I was induced to stay at Hagerstown one day and rode
about the neighborhood with the mother & daughter
to see its beauties - invited to a party in the evening
where I was introduced to quite a number of pleasant
and agreeable young ladies and gentlemen.
Called the next morning about sunrise - bid adieu and
was again on my route - I shall perhaps never see them
again, although I thought they expected it.
The incident will be remembered as one of the pleasanter
spots along the journey of life. The route through the
mountains is wild in the extreme - It would have been
frightful to a lady unaccustomed to such travel -
My journey was lovely if I may so speak although there
were plenty of passengers in the long train of cars - but I
knew none of them - The most singular thing was
going through the tunnels - through the mountains.
The longest one was about as far through as it
if to Lang's hill perfectly dark - the air damp
& cold with a cellar like smell. After passing
the mountains we began to descend and soon we
came to then more gently rolling country of the Ohio-
although this is hilly enough to be almost mountainous.
Wheeling upon the Ohio river is not a large place,
but is handsomely located and has a most
beautiful wire suspension bridge over the Ohio.
The River was so low that I was obliged to go by
land route to Cincinnati 70 miles by stage and
the balance by Rail Road through Columbus the
capital of the state. Columbus is very pleasant
looking city & I staid one day in Cincinnati -
and after a trip down the Ohio by Steamer
here I am - I have some friends here which induced
me to spend a day or two - This however is not a
very attractive place - being a real business place
the principal for old Kentucky.
I have been in company here with some young
ladies - but they are not very different from the balance
of the world more fun & easy - full of chat - and
ready to play or fight as may be desired.
I leave tomorrow for Bardstown to see Mr. Yulee(?)
& after I get away from him & his friends I shall
go to the Blue Lick Springs at once.
From that place I must try to write you more about
Your affectionate Brother