16 April 1853
You make me happy, when you write so affectionately, happier than you know, and I always want to write to you as soon as your letters come, but it is not very often convenient that I can. Yet I will the morning after, as I do today. I am all alone, Austin. Father has gone to New York, Vinnie to Northampton, and mother is cutting out apples in the kitchen. I had forgotten Pussy, tho'; she's sitting on the mat, looking up in my face as if she wondered who I was writing to - if she knew it was "Master Austin" I guess she would send some word, for I know Pussy remembers you, and wonders where you are. Sometimes when she's more intelligent, I've half a mind to tell her how you have gone to Cambridge, and are studying the law, but I dont believe she'd understand me.
You cant think how delighted father was, with the account you gave of northerners and southerners, and the electioneering - he seemed to feel so happy to have you interested in what was going on at Cambridge - he said he "knew all about it - he's been thro' the whole, it was only a little specimen of what you'd meet in life, if you lived to enter it." I could'nt hardly help telling him that I thought his idea of life rather a boisterous one, but I kept perfectly still.
I dont love to read your letters all out loud to father - it would be like opening the kitchen door when we get home from meeting Sunday, and are sitting down by the stove saying just what we're a mind to, and having father hear. I dont know why it is, but it gives me a dreadful feeling, and I skipped about the wild flowers, and one or two little things I loved the best, for I could'nt read them loud to anybody [several words erased]. I shant see her this morning, because she has to bake Saturday, but she'll come this afternoon, and we shall read your letter together, and talk of how soon you'll be here [seven lines erased].
I shall think of you taking tea at Aunt Lavinia's tonight, and we shall take tea alone, how pleasant it would be to have you with us while father is away, but it is'nt May yet. Thank you for remembering me when you found the wild flowers, and for wanting me to stay a week with you. These things are very kind, and I will not forget them. The birds sing beautifully, Pussy is trying to beat them. Dont work too hard Austin, dont get too tired, so that you cannot sleep, we always think of you. Love from us all.
John Thompson is in the office of Mr Vose, in Springfield.