30 October 1851
Something seems to whisper "he is thinking of home this evening," perhaps because it rains - perhaps because it's evening and the orchestra of winds perform their strange, sad music. I would'nt wonder if home were thinking of him, and it seems so natural for one to think of the other - perhaps it is no superstition or omen of this evening - no omen "at all - at all" as Mrs. Mack would say.
Father is staying at home the evening is so inclement. Vinnie diverts his mind with little snatches of music, and mother mends a garment to make it snugger for you - and what do you think I do among this family circle - I am thinking of you with all my heart and might, and it just occurs to me to note a few of my tho'ts for your own inspection. "Keeping a diary" is not familiar to me as to your sister Vinnie, but her own bright example is quite a comfort to me, so I'll try.
I waked up this morning thinking for all the world I had had a letter from you - just as the seal was breaking, father rapped at my door. I was sadly disappointed not to go on and read, but when the four black horses came trotting into town, and their load was none the heavier by a tiding for me - I was not disappointed then - it was harder to me than had I been disappointed. I have got over it now tho'. I have been thinking all day of how I would break the seal and how gallantly I would read when my letter came, and when it did'nt come, I found I had made no provision for any such time as that, but I wont chide you Austin. I know you will write me soon - perhaps your eyes disturb you and will not let you write. I should be unkind to have so much importunity. Dont you wish you were here tonight? - Oh I know I wish so, and all the rest of them too. I find I miss you more "when the lamps are lighted," and when the winds blow high and the great angry raindrops clamor against the window. Your room is snug and cozy thro' these chilly evening - I really hope it is - and I hope the stove is singing a merry song of the wood, and how are the cigars - "pretty comfortable" say, now? The weather has been unpleasant ever since you went away. Monday morning we waked up in the midst of a furious snow storm - the snow was the depth of an inch - oh it looked so wintry - bye and bye the sun came out, but the wind blew violently and it grew so cold that we gathered all the quinces - put up the stove in the sitting room, and bade the world Good bye. Kind clouds came on at evening, still the sinking thermometer gave terrible signs of what would be on the morning - at last the morning came laden with mild south winds, and the winds have brought the rain - so here we are. I hope your eyes are better. I have been feeling anxious since we have heard from you lest they might not be as well and had prevented your writing. Your very hasty letter just at your return rejoiced us - that you were "better - happier - heartier" - what made you think of such beautiful words to tell us how you were, and how cheerful you were feeling? It did us a world of good - how little the scribe thinks of the value of his line - how many eager eyes will search it's every meaning - how much swifter the strokes of "the little mystic clock," no human eye hath seen, which ticketh on and ticketh on, from morning until e'en." If it were not that I could write you - you could not go away, therefore -- pen and ink are very excellent things!
We had new brown bread for tea - when it came smoking on and we sat around the table, how I did wish a slice could be reserved for you. I fell at once to thinking perhaps Mrs Reed had brown bread, and oh I hoped she had, and I hoped you were well and hungry so that you could enjoy it. You shall have as many loaves as we have eaten slices if you will but come home. This suggests Thanksgiving - you will soon be here - then I cant help thinking of how when we rejoice - so many hearts are breaking, next Thanksgiving day. What will you say, Austin, if I tell you that Jennie Grout and merry Martha Kingman will spend the day above? They are not here - "while we delayed to let them forth, angels beyond stayed for them."
It cannot be - yet it is so - Jennie Grout was buried yesterday - Martha Kingman died at four o,clock this morning - one and another, and another - how we pass away! Did you know that Merrick in Mr Colton's shop was engaged to Jane Grout? The poor fellow is quite heart broken - he walked to the grave with her parents, and was prayed for as one deeply afflicted in the funeral prayer. I dont know of any one very sick just now. Did you know that Helen Humphry was going to be married soon to Mr Stoddard of the "Stoddard and Lathrop" firm - Northampton - it is so! Mother and Vinnie and Martha send you their love. Will you remember us to Mr Converse- will you tell your friend how sorry [we were] he could'nt come? Now Austin, mark me, in four weeks from today we are all happy again!