Washington April 21st ‘38

My dear Sister,

 

I believe I shall be as erratic as the

Wandering Jew, to day I returned from Norfolk, and am told

that most likely I shall have to go there again next week.

I will be ready & willing. My trip was a very pleasant one,

Mr Adams was with me, and we talked over with much delight

old times & the various scenes we witnessed together while in

the Medeteranean. I left him on board his ship, and regret

much that we will be separated for years to come. At Norfolk

I eat asparagus (radishes I had at Balt a week ago), the

peach trees are all in leaves, the Peas in blossom, the early

roses in the garden, in full bloom, the corn planted & every

thing a month or more in advance of you, the change was

really refreshing & delightful. I snatched a moment or so

with my old acquaintances, regretting that my time here, so

limited. From the mouth of the Potomac River to this City

the distance is about 120 miles, 50 or 60 miles below Washington

the shores assume as interesting appearance and you obtain

as you pass along, many views of picturesque beauty, at some

places the banks are steep from the water and are cultivated,

the stream is smooth and unbroken, and alive with numerous

lumber & fishing craft. The fishing stations are at intervals

all along the shores, & are sources of much revenue & profit,

$3.

 

The sound of music interrupts me, I must go. The music

came from the Navy Yard Band, which has been playing in the

Rotunda & Eastern Portico of the Capitol for the last hour.

Crowds of fashionable^ & distinguished personages were

assembled. And I am charmed to find that on every Wednesday

& Saturday afternoon, I shall hear those strains, which

erewhiel gladdened my ears on board the Delaware. The

leader of the Band was 'first fiddle' on board that Ship &

as an old acquaintance, I asked him to play some of the old

Mahon Waltzes &c. Which he did, much to my gratification

& doubtless to the enjoyment of the Company, Mr Clay, Miss

Seargants, Miss Southard &c &c.  Mr Porter the Kentucky Giant

was decidely the Lion of the hour, he had an ear for 'sweet

sounds', though his hearing be in a different atmosphere

from the common herd. I shall never feel tall after this.

I could walk right under his arm, with a cap on, he stoops

when going out of a door, the upper part of which I can just

reach, with my uplifted hand. I was a mere insignificant speck

by his side, and always 'shifted my berth' when he came near

me, to avoid comparsions, his complexion is sallow & sickly

looking, his limbs are not large & in consequence his gait is

awkard & seems painful to him, but his height! Murder! verily

his stature exceeds that of Goliath, in the Museum. I saw him

perform at the Theatre the other evening, in contrast, with

Mr. Stevens the dwarf, my old friend of the Western Stage.

After the muaic ceased, Ladies & Gentlemen promenaded through

the grounds. I went with the current, the sun was just setting

in fiery splendor a fir sight to gaze upon, while yet

under the soft & dreamy infleunce of the music.  To resume

$3,000,000 are said to accrue yearly from the sale of Potomac

Herring.  The seines or nets, which are used, areat some

stations nearly a mile in length, they enclose an immense

extent of water & are drawn upon the beach by horses &

machinery.  I saw the fish piled up in a heap three or 4

feet high, at one place the seine had just been hauled,

they are smoked & packed on the spot.  Excuse the abrupt

change of subject, I cant avoid it.  When you have Mt. Vemon

on your left, & Fort Washington, on the projecting point

before you, with the vast amphitheatre of water, seemingly

shut in by land, you are in the midst of a scene of rare

beauty, & one long to be remembered with delight.  I shall

some day soone take a drive to the place where the great

Washington lived, and where his ashes repose, this house,

which is now the obsy has a holy charm attached to it,

it was built by Genl. Washington for his residence, the

view it commands, does honor to his taste.

 

Tho’ we have not the 40 foot Telescope & complicated mach-

inery & moving seat of Dr. Herschel (modest reference) the

obsy has quite an astronomical appearance, the roof opens

by pulleys & cords, a modreate telescope is fixed upon

granite pillars, four polished marble columns support the

other instruments, a huge siderial clock ticks away with the

utmost regularity & among them all, observing the transit of

the sun at Meridian and the stars at night.  I shall fancy

myself at least, a second Bowditch.  I feel quite an interest

& pleasure in obsg and making & applying the calculations

to the instruments, it is wonderful to me, how such

contrivances & such a complication of figure produce such

accurate results,  I have certainly no invention, there for

my wonder.

 

I have not had time to visit Georgetown, but shall before

long.  Miss Ann told me, she was delighted with Mrs

Davidsons house on the heights.  Mr John Barney of Baltimore

has promised to make Inquiry concerning the school at

Ellicotts Mills & will write to me here, his information.

will be valuable and accurate.  I hope you have written to

me ere this, & beg you will not neglect to do so regularly.

I can allow you no excuse, of the frequency of my letters,

take example & do likewise.

 

With much love & remembrance to all

 

Your affectionate Brother

Wm Reynolds

 

Miss Lydia M. Reynolds