Welcome, Welcome thrice welcome is Lysander to Braintree, but ten times more so would he be at Weymouth, whither you are afraid to come.—Once it was not so. May not I come and see you, at least look thro a window at you? Should you not be glad to see your Diana? I flatter myself you would.
Your Brother brought your Letter, tho he did not let me see him, deliverd it the Doctor from whom received it safe. I thank you for 47your Catalogue, but must confess I was so hardned as to read over most of my Faults with as much pleasure, as an other person would have read their perfections. And Lysander must excuse me if I still persist in some of them, at least till I am convinced that an alteration would contribute to his happiness. Especially may I avoid that Freedom of Behaviour which according to the plan given, consists in Voilations of Decency, and which would render me unfit to Herd even with the Brutes. And permit me to tell you Sir, nor disdain to be a learner, that there is such a thing as Modesty without either Hypocricy or Formality.
As to a neglect of Singing, that I acknowledg to be a Fault which if posible shall not be complaind of a second time, nor should you have had occasion for it now, if I had not a voice harsh as the screech of a peacock.
The Capotal fault shall be rectified, tho not with any hopes of being lookd upon as a Beauty, to appear agreeable in the Eyes of Lysander, has been for Years past, and still is the height of my ambition.
The 5th fault, will endeavour to amend of it, but you know I think that a gentleman has no business to concern himself about the Leggs of a Lady, for my part I do not apprehend any bad effects from the practise, yet since you desire it, and that you may not for the future trouble Yourself so much about it, will reform.
The sixth and last can be cured only by a Dancing School.
But I must not write more. I borrow a hint from you, therefore will not add to my faults that of a tedious Letter—a fault I never yet had reason to complain of in you, for however long, they never were otherways than agreeable to your own
I have this Evening been to see the Girl.—What Girl? Pray, what Right have you to go after Girls?—Why, my Dear, the Girl I mentioned to you, Miss Alice Brackett. But Miss has hitherto acted in the Character of an House-Keeper, and her noble aspiring Spirit had rather rise to be a Wife than descend to be a Maid.
To be serious, however, she says her Uncle, whose House she keeps cannot possibly spare her, these two Months, if then, and she 48has no Thoughts of leaving him till the Spring, when she intends for Boston to become a Mantua Maker.
So that We are still to seek. Girls enough from fourteen to four and Twenty, are mentioned to me, but the Character of every Mothers Daughter of them is as yet problematical to me. Hannah Crane (pray dont you want to have her, my Dear) has sent several Messages to my Mother, that she will live with you as cheap, as any Girl in the Country. She is stout and able and for what I know willing, but I fear not honest, for which Reason I presume you will think of her no more.
Another Girl, one Rachael Marsh, has been recommended to me as a clever Girl, and a neat one, and one that wants a Place. She was bred in the Family of one of our substantial Farmers and it is likely understands Country Business, But whether she would answer your Purposes, so well as another, I am somewhat in Doubt.1
I have heard of a Number of younger Girls of Fourteen and thereabout, but these I suppose you would not choose.
It must therefore be left with you to make Enquiry, and determine for yourself. If you could hear of a suitable Person at Mistick or Newtown, on many Accounts she would be preferable to one, nearer home.
So much for Maids—now for the Man. I shall leave orders for Brackett, to go to Town, Wednesday or Thurdsday with an Horse Cart. You will get ready by that Time and ship aboard, as many Things as you think proper.
It happens very unfortunately that my Business calls me away at this Juncture for two Weeks together, so that I can take no Care at all about Help or Furniture or any Thing else. But Necessity has no Law.
Tomorrow Morning I embark for Plymouth—with a
fowl disordered stomach, a pale Face, an Aching Head and an Anxious Heart. And What Company shall I find there? Why a Number of bauling Lawyers, drunken Squires, and impertinent and stingy Clients. If you realize this, my Dear, since you have agreed to run fortunes with me, you will submit with less Reluctance to any little Disappointments and Anxieties you may meet in the Conduct of your own Affairs.
I have a great Mind to keep a Register of all the stories, Squibbs, Gibes, and Compliments, I shall hear thro the whole Week. If I should I could entertain you with as much Wit, Humour, smut, Filth, Delicacy, Modesty and Decency, tho not with so exact Mimickry, as a certain Gentleman did the other Evening. Do you wonder, my Dear, why that Gentleman does not succeed in Business, when his whole study and Attention has so manifestly been engaged 49in the nobler Arts of smutt, Double Ententre, and Mimickry of Dutchmen and Negroes? I have heard that Imitators, tho they imitate well, Master Pieces in elegant and valuable Arts, are a servile Cattle. And that Mimicks are the lowest Species of Imitators, and I should think that Mimicks of Dutchmen and Negroes were the most sordid of Mimicks. If so, to what a Depth of the Profound have we plunged that Gentlemans Character. Pardon me, my dear, you know that Candour is my Characteristick—as it is undoubtedly of all the Ladies who are entertained with that Gents Conversation.
Oh my dear Girl, I thank Heaven that another Fortnight will restore you to me—after so long a separation. My soul and Body have both been thrown into Disorder, by your Absence, and a Month of two more would make me the most insufferable Cynick, in the World. I see nothing but Faults, Follies, Frailties and Defects in any Body, lately. People have lost all their good Properties or I my Justice, or Discernment.
But you who have always softened and warmed my Heart, shall restore my Benevolence as well as my Health and Tranquility of mind. You shall polish and refine my sentiments of Life and Manners, banish all the unsocial and ill natured Particles in my Composition, and form me to that happy Temper, that can reconcile a quick Discernment with a perfect Candour.
But my Mother says that Judah will do very well for your service this Winter.3 She is able to do a good deal of Business. And my mother farther says that she shall have no Occasion for her this Winter and that you may take her if you please and return her in the Spring, when it is likely she will have Occasion again for some Help and you will it is likely want some better Help.50
This last Project is the most saving one. And Parcimony is a virtue that you and I must study. However I will submit to any Expence, for your Ease and Conveniency that I can possibly afford.
All these Things I mention to you, that you may weigh them
Rachel Marsh did come to work for the newly married couple, for among the Adams Papers there is a slip receipt in AA's hand: “Braintree Febry. 23. 1765 Received of Abigail Adams one pound six shillings and Eight pence Lawful Money for a Quarters Wages. I say received by me—