Portsmouth, Va. Saturday

November 19th 1836

My dear Sister,

 

I have this moment received your very welcome

letter of Nov 14th, 'tis just three weeks, since your other

came how time flies, at least to look back, not to look

forward 7 months yet, before I shall be among you again, tis

too long, but to the point, as there is one of my old mess-

mates here, with a draft of men from Philadelphia, who re-

turns tomorrow, I will be punctual in answering yours by him,

though it is scarcely a week since I wrote to you.   I am

happy to hear that you are all so well, I myself am in ex-

cellent health, & not withstanding mothers “disbelief” I

have been & shall continue most perfectly indifferent to the

attraction of or the fair ladies, who dwell in the range of

Norfolk, Portsmouth & Gosport, while I remain here, my book

the immaculate “Bodwitch” the Midshipman’s Bible will be the

only object, which will engage my attention, you will see by

my last, that the ladies complain, not of me, because they do

not know me, but of the general unsociability of the “date”

as they, very sailorlike, & technically term us, but they may

go, I wont say where for me, I would not miss my examination

for all the ladies south of Philadelphia.  In fact if I

could spare time, I do not feel at all inclined to visit,

Solitude I now delight in, though then (without committing

an Irishisher) I am happy in a companion.

 

Since my last letter, I have changed my boarding house

I think I mentioned that our food was rather vile; that, you

know would be with me a serious objection, so that you know

everything in the world being subject to change, I hoping to

benefitby it, transferred Ceasar & his fortunes, from

Mrs. Howlerns, Portsmouth, to Mrs Page’s, Gosport (a marsh

is separation between the places) & am now very comfortably

fixed in every particular.  Adams & I room together.

Wainwright (an old messmate) and May in the next roow. Lt &

Bentwell who both came home in the Peacock with me, are

the other boarders.  Mrs B is very pretty, but too much in

love, with her husband still, that is “before folks”.

Mrs Page’s daughter is married to a surgeon in the Navy & is

a beautiful woman as I wish to look upon, her husband is

Denison, a sylph like creature, something like Rebecca

Lightner, but more airy, more delicately formed, & also

Mrs Page herself, as dignified & as stately as Queen

Elizabeth, but very kind & very attentive, these are our

family and a perfect group we are, fir for the pencil of a

“Reynolds”, do you understand, or the pen of any one else,

Next door lives my first Lieut of the Peacock, Cunningham,

his wife is very pleasant, but not pretty, opposite is

Purser Jackson & his lady (he came home in the Delaware)

living with them is a Miss Tucker, sister of Pass’d Mid

Tucker, a Spanish like looking lady, with an acquiline nose,

black eyes & hair, a fair to gaze upon. Across the river,

which runs just beneath our window, Lieut Poor (of the Boxer)

&  his wife “the up", Miss Mary Stark, sister of Mrs P is

staying with them, she has given herself to the Navy entirely

only 16, two of her sisters have married Navy Officers,

& she cannot, show cause why she shall not follow their

example, she swears she will, a dozen Midshipmen are, or

profess to be in love with her, one went home a few days ago,

shot a huge buck, brought it all the way here, & in the

light of his love, sent it, not to her Father, but horns

& all, with his compliments to Miss Mary herself, a lover

like present truly. The Navy Yard is but a square distant,

& from the window, I can see right down on the North Carolina’s

decks, so that you see I am right in the midst of "Navy

trials'. Ladies & Officers, Ships ^c, all belong to,

Materials”.  Ladies & Officers, Ships &c, all belong to

or taking a great interest in our worthy "Uncle Sam", but as

I said before, I take an interest in nothing here, but my

book.  My eyes are open, but my tongue is silent, I cant

shut my ears, to the talk of some of the Midshipmen about

the ladies, & the most of my knowledge of them, I gain in

that way.

 

I was very much disappointed, at not hearing from you

sooner, three weeks passing without a letter, I need not say

more.

 

John Myers mentioned the wonderful charms of Miss

Harriet Fraser, who among the gentlemen, did she, quite kill,

any one?  Mary Jenkins, that was, is now Mrs Robison, will

they (                 )   New York, I want a long account of

tne wedding, by the (        ) you were not particular

enough in your letter, every per (            ) doings in

Lancaster is of importance enough to me, to occupy, more

than a line about them from you, remember this, you can

never write too much about any one there. I read a piece in

tne papers the other day "A fire at Sea” which from the

particulars, relate to the "Delaware" if you meet with it,

cut it out & preserve it. The Peacock & Enterprise will now

return home, the Captain of the later & Mr Roberts are

dead, the loss of the latter, will render their stay in the

E.I. useless, Mrs Campbell lives here & is almost distracted.

The Potomac is on her way home, I shall be very glad to meet

her officers again.

 

I am at the end of the sheet, have written this in the

greatest haste & want time to write more, which I have not,

so do you send a very long letter to,

Your affectionate brother, William

 

My love and remembrance to all

Keep Adab tied while she is with you, if Sam takes her, he must

be very careful of her.  I wish she was her, I am afraid

she will not be safe with you.