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Title: O'Brien, Maria Wright to O'Brien, William, 1841
CollectionThe Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
SenderO'Brien, Maria Wright
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationstudent
Sender ReligionQuaker
OriginPhiladelphia, Penn., USA
DestinationLake Erie, NY, USA
RecipientO'Brien, William
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1367
Genrestaying with relatives, news of family, lessons
TranscriptPhiladelphia 2nd month 6th 1841

My Dear Father
I would have answered thine and the test of the family's very acceptable letter ere this but thought that perhaps it
would be better to wait till I should come to some conclusion about staying here or returning early in the spring;
and after all I hardly know what to conclude about it. I would like to stay very well but am afraid that the
confinment will be almost too much for me when it is warm weather. I do not want thee to be uneasy about me
and think that I am sick, for I am not: only I have a good deal of the headache, but I find that when I have a very
had turn of it I always find it does me good to take a walk in the air, and as we do not have school on 7th days I
generally go out to Aunt's; but yesterday I did not feel hardly able to walk so far and so came down town to see
Cousin James as he was at C. Fling's. A day or two [ago] he gave me a ticket for a ride on the Omnibus so I had
not far to walk. He says now he is settled in town he wants me often to come and see him - he is with his first wife's mother who is a very nice old and kind old woman. Since I have commenced writing she has brought me
an elegant bunch of imported grapes and laid them on the table. She always has something nice for me whenever I come to see them.
On some accts I would like to stay till about the middle of 6th month - one in particular, which is having
company home with me. Aunt talks a great deal about you and says that if I will stay till in the summer she will
come home with me, but attaches the proviso that I will come back with her whenever she wants me to. I have
not said anything much to encourage her yet, but list night I was speaking to Cousin J. about it and he said that
if she says anything more about it he would rather advise me 10 encourage her, as he did not doubt it would be of
use to her and at any rate would not hurt her, She has several things that she wants to pack up and send to Mother
in the spring, among which are two dozens of tea and coffee china things and a set of teaspoons. When thee writes,
tell me how to manage them, about packing them &c. I wish that thee would write to Aunt, and I like that thee
would encourage her to come and see you, for she seems to think so much about you and I think that all she wants
is a little palaver - as Mother would say. I suppose that thee knows Aunt as well as I could tell th.ee.
1 was somewhat surprised when I first saw her - but she is very kind to me and I would be very wrong to say
anything against her. Tell Mother that she need not be in the least uneasy about suiting Aunt if she should come:
for, the way she lives now, we could fix her quite as comfortable as she is at home, for thee could fix the front part of the house into a little sitting room and have the bedroom arranged for her - she would be very happy I think.
I have told her all about how we are situated and our house and all - which she seems to take an interest in and I
think, from what she said the last time I was there, she would like perhaps to stay with us and make her home there.
She has living with her now a nephew's widow to whom she is not very much attatched and I think, all things
considered, she would be quite as well satisfied to be away from here as to stay, She does not seem to be on very
good terms with any of her relations. If I could see thee I could tell thee a great deal more than I can write to thee
about. Write soon and tell me what to do. She says that if I will stay till she goes home with me, she will bear my
expenses - but I must promise to come back with her - and, another thing, she does not want Cousin Mary to
go with us, which I hardly know to do or say about, as she mentioned going by all means, and she often speaks
of it and how much she will enjoy the tour.
I saw Rebecca Bell and her rather a few days ago and she told me that her father intends going on to our yearly
meeting and said that I had best stay till then and maybe some of the girls would go too. Cousin Mary heard her
sprat of it and said that we could make up a party and travel together, consisting of herself and Cousin Mary Beal
[wife of Joshua Hoare Beale in NY] who she says talks of going to see you next summer. A Bell and his daughter
and we all could attend the yearly meeting and then go on to see you.
Another thing I would like to stay for would be on account of my painting and French, which I would like to
be perfect in, as anything else I could improve myself in by study, but [hey requite a teacher. I like French very
much and think that I get on in it very well, at least our teacher says so. Yesterday he commenced to converse with
us in French and he says that hereafter he will use no other language in speaking to us of our lessons. We were rather
at a loss at first but I found that I could make out much better than I expected, for not having tried to put words
together before, ] did not know how much of it I did understand, I think that he is an excellent teacher and for
that reason I would like to stay and continue my studies under him as I think that I will never have the same chance
again. He gives us exercises to write, that is to translate from English to French and my last one he said was trés
bon. A few days ago he was questioning us on the moods and tenses of the verbs (which I find is the most difficult
part) and he said we must not expect him to praise us unless we deserved it, for though a Frenchman out of
politeness and flattery do so, he was a Polander and would be ... in all he said, however harsh it might sound for
a French teacher to a class of lady pupils. But we got on much better than I at first thought we would, and hope
when I get a thorough knowledge of the construction of the language I will be able to teach it if I like, as I have
got the pronunciation very well and read now with little difficulty and translate the greater part of the words,
which he makes us do as we go along. We read a sentence and then translate and again read and translate, and in
that way we learn very fast. But I must close - I will cross this to Joseph. Thee said thee would like to know how
much money to send me - I think I would not like to start with less than 25 dollars which thee can send to
A. Bell in the spring as thee mentions.
Cousin Mary desires her lore to all and says to tell Mother that she is very much obliged to her for her beau
and she will consider what to think of him when she sees him. Mother must excuse me for not writing to her this
time. Dont let Willy forget Maria.