Washington April 27th 1838
My dear Sister,
I hope that you have received the letters Nos, 2. &
3, by way of keeping up my share of the correspondence I dis-
patched No. 4, which has been the general average between us,
mine quadruple the number of yours, n'importe, only when you do
me the honor to write, let your Epistles be rather more lengthy
& more particular, with fewer omissions of words &c. You must
read Theodosia over again before your writings will be like hers.
I see old M.L. Davis every day & every where, a remarkable co-
incidence occured between us, but too lengthy to mention.
My fellow boarders are Whigs, with but one exception, Mr.
Ward from South Carolina (or North). Judge Robbins from Rhode
Island, an antiquated speciman of mortality, sans teeth &c, &
whose days of usefulness I should think had long passed away,
lead the van, I am a cypher, a nobody, my presence is not heeded,
Away they talk, cutting up the President (Van Buren), Mr.
Buchanan & all the administration party without mercy, and mighty
events are concocted & discussed at the table. One says, "such a
thing would ba fine", " Is it " would says another, a third gives
his plan, as how to introduce & carry thru’ the measure, &
presently I hear the embryo concern debated on the floor of the
House, I am perfectly mute, a "looker on in Venice", I listen.
My friends are all Northerners (with the solitary exception) their
forms of speech are "have you been to ham? hadn't ought" &c
&c &c, they prefer molasses for their cakes at breakfast, and eat
boilad rice, with loaf sugar, at dinner, shockingly insipid! I am
amused, while I am among thea which indeed is only at meal times,
for after the eating is finished, we meet not again, until 'tis
the hour to eat once more, further than being amused, I cannot
claim the men are horribly indelicate, manners are at a low par,
I keep my eye on my plate & allow my ears full play.
The other day, while the Band was playing at the Capitol,
I saw a Lady, I saw many ladies, ah! but this one, something whisp-
ered to me that she waa the Hon. Mrs. Bell, I enquired, my
unaccountable conjecture was correct, that lady bore the name of
Mrs. Bell. I will not describe her, for you would deem the
portrait exaggerated, & pronounce me a most illnatured wretch,
but she is the paragon of ugliness, there is no expression of
fury, or --- temper, in her countenance, but there is everything
that is homely, every thing which one would turn away from,
sickened at the sight. She was a wealthy Banker's widow, in
Tennesee, possibly Mr. B married her for her Golden Charms.
I wish him joy, notwithstanding Mrs Keen's threat, I find that
Mrs. B- still boards with her, & therefore is yet my next door
neighbor, some kind power, preserve my susceptible heart.
It is worth any one's while, to walk through the lower
parts of the Capitol & see the thousand arches & walls &
columns, that support the building, & the huge furnaces that
diffuse heat over all parts of it, are there also.
A law was passed to prohibit spirituous liquors from being
sold in the precincts of the Capitol, but Brandy sells as lively
as ever under the title of ‘Pale brown Sherry’, this a specimen
of nearly all reform, between 12 & 1 daily I enter the
"Restaurant", custom is everything, before I get to the bar, the
man has begun to fill for me a goblet of Ale, which I quaff &
retire depositing as equavalent for the same 6 1/4 cents, lawful
money. I am becoming thin, that is, thinner, we will use the
comparative degree, this beverage they say, has a tendency to
increase ones corpulency, or rather to f no I was right, so in
the hope of benefiting by it, I drink every day one pint of
Poughkeepsie ale, have passed a law, prohibiting myself the use
of spirits under any name, for an unlimited time to come.
I heard Mr. Preston deliver an animate speech on the
subject of the annexation of Texas, but hope that, that event may
be long distant.
Mr. Buchanan replied to Mr. Clay on the subject of the U.S.
Bank notes, most happily he hit him so tenderly, so nicely, so
humourously, that the usual decorum preserved in the Senate
galleries, was broken through, and a cheer of applause burst
forth from many, both their remarks will be published soon.
Its strange, how suddenly & rapidly, the galleries of one house
are emptied, to fill those of the other, if any one, who possesses
the magic witchery of oratory arises, to pour forth his eloquence,
crowds flock to hear him, & the other house is deserted anon,
are you tired of me. I must write to you, for it is the greatest
solace I have, make me happy, by frequent letters, telling me how
you all are, what you do & every thing about you. I suppose
Miss Margaret is with you, may you enjoy yourselves. Miss Ann
is in New York by this time & doubtless delighted. She hoped to
go to West Point.
Love to all, your Brother
I shall go to Georgetown, this or next week.