Elizabeth, Letter 1-008: To Eliza Sadler

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Author: Elisabeth Ann Bailey Seton .
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New York 8th February 1796—

At last I have recieved your letter by Morison and as it is nearly five months old1 I hope I shall recieve a fellow to it soon—and really Mrs. Sad it facto you go to Balls on Sunday night, you depraved creature, and what Balls or amusement can compensate for that quiet calm tran­quility which Sunday and particularly Sunday Evening affords with Husband shaking his Slipper by a good coal fire and a volume of Blair2 opened on the table. but avast I am an American savage I sup­pose and should not mention these dull Insipidities to a Lady in the largest Matropolis in the world and who can go to see Blond perugues3 on Sunday Eve and I suppose jump among the gayest and after all my Sad the effects of their manner may be as useful as ours and as I think the first point of Religion is cheerfulness and Harmony they who have these in view are certainly right

According to my calculations with Post counting our fingers to the names of the months you are on the Eve of your departure from France, and so much the better for tho’ you may be settled as if seven years had passed since you are there yet I would rather hear that you was almost any where else, Peace and a potatoe for me I care not for rooms as big as a Church, great Buildings, busy servants or Perugues and as for your Boulteivards I dare say they are very inferior to the pure air, fine prospect and gliding cement of our Battery4 —I grant that the society of it might be improved but never mind, that we will form that to each other—But certainly my Sad I almost envy you the view of so fine a country and your description of the people awakens what formerly was a reigning passion in my breast, a curiosity to see the world and Europeans in particular, but all that is long ago laid aside—a half a dozen form my World—

At this moment William is playing “rosy dimpled Boy,” “pauvre Madelon return,” “enraptured hours” and “Caermignol” all as fast as the violin can sound them in rotation5 so you may suppose my thoughts have a great deal of consistance—as they are addressed to you it is no matter how they are formed, they must all tell that I love you—

Respecting a certain pair of eyes, (Anna Maria Seton (1795-1812) was born May 3. She was the oldest child of Elizabeth Bayley and William Magee Seton and accompanied her parents to Italy in 1803. She came to Emmitsburg in June 1809 with her mother and expressed a desire to die as a Sister of Charity of Saint Joseph’s. She made her vows shortly before she died March 12, 1812. She is buried in the original cemetery at Emmitsburg.[/note] they are much nearer to black than any other color which with a small nose and mouth, dimpled cheek and chin, rosy face and never ceasing animation, and expres­sion forms an object rather too interesting for my pen Her grand Fa­ther B will tell you that he sees more sense expression Intelligance and enquiry in that little face than any other in the world, that he can con­verse more with her than any woman in New York in short she is her mothers own Daughter, and you may be sure her Fathers pride and Treasure—So some little Beings are Born to be treasured while others are treated with less attention by those who give them Being than they recieve from their hirelings—but it is all right, and often those who want the fostering indulgent bosom of a Parent to lean on, get cheerful thro’ the world whilst the child of Hope will have its prospects dark­ened by unthought of disappointments—and so we go, there is a Prov­idence which never slumbers or sleeps—But as my husband begins to gap, the clock strikes ten, and my fingers are cold I must say good by tho’ suddenly for my friend William only gave me ’till tomorrow, or the vessel will go without this my assurance that neither time or ab­sence can change my unvaried affection for you—

My William says he waits impatiently for the letter you promise for which you shall have a very long N.B. The Box which contains my Music is not yet opened, I shall learn it I am sure with very little diffi­culty as Simplicity is your taste—

My very best regards to my friend H6 —Yours ever E A Seton-

  1. Eliza Craig Sadler, who frequenily traveled to Europe, was in Paris as the time.
  2. A book of sermons by Hugh Blair, minister of the High Church and professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres at the University of Edinburgh. In their original publication the ninety-one semions formed five volumes.
  3. Wigs worn by men of the period
  4. A section of New York at the tip of lower Manhattan at water’s edge. Beginning in I789. the city of Ncw York began a program to refurbish this area which was the site of the original colonial fortification. By 1793 a spacious walk ran along the water’s edge shaded by elm trees. It became a popular promenade for “genteel folk” as well as a fashionable residential area.
  5. Witham Magee Seton, Elizabeth’s husband, brought the first known Stradivarius violin to America. William Magee enjoyed playing the violin while Elizabeth was accomplished on the piano. Throughout the years of their married life, music brought a great deal of enjoyment to their family.
  6. Henry Sadler, husband of Eliza Craig Sadler, was a wealthy English merchant who had settled in New York. Located at 215 Water Street, the firm of Sadler and Bailie was a dealer in “cloths. wines. indigo, and tobacco.”

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