F&M 6/V/2/12 1858 12 20 WR to ER Honolulu
Honolulu Dec 20th 1858
My Dear Sister
Yesterday, soon after breakfast, being in the yard, I saw a native coming in the gate, with ³the box² in his hands, and guessing instantly that it must be ³ the box², I shouted out to Becky that her box and a mail had arrived, which brought her to the spot, and we commenced to open the package forthwith. It was a pretty tough and long job to cut the trim, so as to extricate the paper box and I was compelled to swear once or twice during the operation – but at last we extracted it, and found the contents in perfect condition.
Your shawl is a beautiful thing, and will be much admired: you have certainly a genius in that line – Kateıs postage scale is just what we have wanted, to test our letters, before sending them to the P. O. We are greatly obliged to you all. Jennyıs & [ ] sleeves do do do do.
You ask how much we had to pay on the box from Baileyıs? $15 to San Fran -- $5 from S.F. to Honolulu – I suppose we shall have to pay $5 on this one here.
Should you send any more boxes by X press, send by whichever party will take the cheapest -- I mentioned Wells & Co. without having any preference for them. The agents here, for either line, are equally responsible men – But I do not think you will be called on again for some time to come. We cannot afford to order anything more in that way – and we cannot saddle you children with any expense on our account. Indeed you ought not to have incurred any on this occasion, but as you have so kindly assumed it we accept it freely, and shall remember you all therefore, with a special relish.
I wish you could have seen the ³Lancaster² launched: could not Harriet Lane have taken you? I should like to command the Lancaster, but feel almost too old to wish to be only her 1st Lieut.
My 43rd birthday occurred the other day – I can scarcely realize the tremendous fact, that I am actually thus verging towards 50!
I am happy to say that my leg is now entirely healed up and every trace of the tumor gone – I can walk a little without crutch or stick, but still use one crutch – the muscles from being long disuse, and from being severed by the knife are not yet in good working order, and will come very slowly into full play – I hope to get along now, without any relapse, or return of bad symptoms – but still feel, that there is yet a possibility of further trouble. I ride on horseback daily, for an hour or so, with benefit, and shall go presently, for the 5th time. It is like being born anew to get out thus once more and I enjoy it greatly.
My dear Elly your being willing & ready to come out here to be with us, leaves only on impediment in the way, but that is an insurmountable one I fear. The ways and means being wanting, and no likelihood of them forthcoming at any future period. We should be very happy to have you with us, and I am sure you would enjoy a few years spent here exceedingly, but I fear neither the mountain can come to Mahomet, nor vice versa – in this case.
Becky sometimes tries to conjure a plan, by which you could come here to keep house for me, while she should go home to see her father – but besides the want of the essential dollars, her heart fails her, at the thought of attempting such a journey without me to take care of her, and I do not think it would be prudent to trust her alone, as she is so helpless and sea sick that she needs a nurse, now, even more than she did, when she was younger and voyaged less – So I suppose now we must remain contented as we are, until time & chances shall return us home once more, tho, when that may be there is no telling. I cannot give up this Naval Storekeeper ship, for I know of no other attainable suitable berth & the climate agrees with me so well, that I am daily the more indisposed to leave it. I have been weighed today 141 ½ lbs – a gain of 4 ½ lbs in as many weeks – and 11 ½ more than I weighed when we left home, with my thick clothes & boots on! As I am still taking but very little exercise, you may be sure it is very gratifying to find that I gain flesh at this rate -- and as my appetite holds good, I think I should be contented to let well enough alone, and not to wish for a change.
You inquire as to [Chanıs] banishment. I think we must have mentioned in former letters, that we had to send him off in May last, because he was smoking opium to such an extent that we could not get any work out of him -- he was stupid and sleepy all day. He is on Kauai, cooking for the overseer of Dr. Woods plantation. A rough berth for him after his comfortable time with us & Dr. Guillen.
We have a very good China man for cook and Onlinger on the ³Ancient Mariner², for the other work. This individual is one of our old stock. When we left for Valparaiso, he was transferred to our neighbor Hardy, and on our return, came back to us, as soon as his time with Hardy expired. He remained in charge of Malu Malu for 9 months & brought up the [traps], when we broke up there. So you may see that we are not obliged to change servants quite so often, as you good folks in Philamadelphy.
When I came to read in your letter of ³Reynolds running in to your room & saying do. & do.² It was quite a surprise to find him so far advanced out of his baby hood; what a happiness he must be to you all. I often wish we had little feet puttering about our house.
And I was also astonished to have your information about Dr. [Milhand]! It seems but a few weeks since I asked for it, and yet it must be [divers moons] as you had to send all the way to Utah to obtain it – Dr. G--- is gratified & obliged.
You mentioned that Mr. Evans was to look at a farm in Chester Co. I do wish they would settle, where they would not be so out of the way, as they will be if they go West of the Alleghenies – John & I are enough of the family, to be outcasts. As to Samıs going West, I begin to doubt it, and we hear no more of Georgeıs designs toward moving to the promise land. I trust he will prosper in his business in Baltimore so that he will have no inducement to leave.
From your account of Edward Krug, I suppose the next mail will bring us intelligence of his death; his mother will not survive him long. I fear she has been so wrapped up in him that his loss, though not unexpected, will perhaps prove a greater grief than she can bear.
Wishing to you all both great & small a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and many more of them.
I am my dear [Noribuss]
Ever your affectionate brother
Miss E. Reynolds
1829 Spruce Street