Gosport, Dec'r 17th 1836

 

My dear Sister,

 

I have rec'd your of November 27th & although

you say you like me for a correspondent, I must scold you a

little, because I asked you divers questions, which you have

not answered, & various minutiaie you have neglected, which

proves that you do not write in a 'ship shape or seaman like

manner’, by having my letter before you, or rather by not

having it while writing, look over my letters,

atone for your neglect, & do not sin in the future.

 

And so they have established the ‘Inquisition’ in the

family, & secrets are to be torn open & exposed to every one,

chick & child, to make use of what concerns them not, & I am

accused of putting things in my letters to you of which I am

ashamed. I am not in the habit of doing anything to be

ashamed of myself, or to cause others to feel so either,

& I would have them bear this in mind. My letters are to you

& no one else, they should be sacredly respected. I am not

out of the country, they can expect nothing new, nor need they

be so very anxious now, as if I were away. that the seal must

be broken, by any, one, as soon as the letters get into the

house, but I do not like to think of this, for it gives me

pain.

 

I am still pursuing my studies diligently & with some

progress, I think I told you where I first boarded, our food

was bad, & cooking rather indifferent, I used to pity the

good woman's daughter, who was or is really pretty, that she

should be subjected to such vile eatables. Here we have a

second Hannah, & a glorious dish of curry every now & then,

We have tea in the Parlour, two sit at a small table, & the

servants, had round waiters, with tea, toast, cakes, cold meats,

pickled oysters &c &c, our fingers serve as forks, knives are

dispensed with, & all sitting round the fire, we make quite

a sociable meal & Mrs Chandler is so beautiful to look upon.

She & Miss Denison have visiters of course & when they drop

in to pass the evening, ways & Means are devised to bring us

down, so down we go. May, who lives next room, & a nameless

gentleman, are the best looking men here, & of course

favorites. I was at my window the other day & I saw appear

on the piazza at Mrs Cunninghams, a young lady with a piece

of, bread & as I thought apple butter on it, she looked at me

& I of course, did not turn my back on her, presently she

ran into the rouse, the window opened, & Mrs C..m called up

to me, that she had just rec'd from Chambersburg some apple

butter; & that I should come over & eat some, (by the way, it

is never made here) so over I went, it appeared that the

young lady, thought I looked quite longingly at, not her,

but the apple butter, & knowing it was an old acquaintance of

mine, she went in & told her sister to send me some. But

Mrs C. called me over, & I was made known to Miss Mary Stark,

& made sad havoc with the Pennsylvania apple butter. Mrs

Crawford sent it ro Mrs Cunningham, Miss Mary is the young

lady, who has vowed to marry a Naval Officer, two of her

sisters have done so before her, both against the Father’s

inclinations, but not his commands, he vows she shall not,

but she has taste enough to prefer a Blue coat & a true

heart to a cold, mechanical automated citizen.  She has a

younger sister & the old gentleman is worth between

$100,000 & 200,000 so she will be quite a prize to him who

wins her.  She went to Mad. Sigoine’s school in Philadelphia,

with Harriet & Ann Coleman & is still intimate with them.  I

told her I would ask you to remember her to them.  There

was a little party at Mrs Cunninghams the other evening,

to which I went, we danced, waltzed, ate, drank wine & egg

nog, talked & broke up, ‘twas quite a pleasant time.

 

I was twenty one on Saturday last, a week ago today, by

an accident the ‘four of us’ came into possession of some

Champaigne & sherry & we made a day of it.  I see Ada Byron

will soon be in the U.S.  I shall call upon her.

 

A Miss Phoebe Hodgkinson, do not jump at the name, came here

a short time back from New York, to pass the winter in the

family of Lieut Young, of the Navy.  She is an only child

& reputed heiress to $100,000, rather good looking & just out

of school, we met & she was foolish enough to imagine her-

self falling in love with me, & more so, to tell some young

ladies, who kindly told me, well I was “stuck in” to be

one of a party who were to go to the Navy Yard & on board

the Jason.  Mrs. Young, her daughters, & the delectable Miss

Phoebe, were of the number, the Old Lady equally foolish as

the rest of them, was in the girls secret, & you would have

laughed to have observed the manoeuvres to keep Phoebe (I love

to write that name) & myself together, she would go to this

gentleman herself, send her daughter to another, call a

third from Miss Phoebe & busy herself to prevent our being

separated.  I was quite disgusted, & have cut them decidedly

forever.  These little things have not interfered with my

studying, & I could not avoid them, they offer me much

amusement.  I have quite a chapter to write to you about

Portsmouth & Gosport, or rather the inhabitants thereof, it

shall occupy a future letter.  The last paper was written

ovr with names of the young ladies, Miss Emily Hopkins

wrote her own, did she not.  Remember me to all of them &

do not fail to send the papers regularly.

 

Did you get a letter of mine Post marked Phila’a, did

you think I was there, preserve them all, write soon & at

length & with my love to all

 

I am your most affectionate Brother

 

Wm. Reynolds

 

Miss Lydia Reynolds