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Title: O'Brien, Maria Wright to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 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, Joseph Sinton
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1372
Genrestaying with relatives, news of family, socialising
TranscriptPhiladelphia 3ld Month 29th 1841

My Dear brother,
I fear thee will begin to think I have forgotten to answer thy letter, but doubt not: thee will forgive me when I tell
thee the reason. To-day is the first I have been in school for about 10 days. I have been so unwell I had a physician mended me every day for nearly a week. He said my disease [is] a nervous affection occasioned by intense
application to my studies. He has ordered me Co take a walk every morning before breakfast, which I find is a great
benefit to me. Thee would not think I was the same person that came here a few months ago. I do not ever
remember being so much altered in so short a time: but do-not feel uneasy about me for I am so much better that
in a few days I am going out to aunts, which is about a mile, and I always walk. The doctor says he thinks I will
be better when I get my strength than I have been in a long time. I think that the worse thing I do is painting- it
always makes me feel sick when I sit any length of time at it, and I think when I finish a piese I have partly done
I will not begin another. I was at Cousin Jas Greeves a few days before I was taken sick. He was not very well and
has been confined to the house the most of last week. I heard however yesterday that he was better.
Tell Mother that I have had a letter and a packet containing a new dress pattern and a little crape shawl and
scarf from Aunt Jane Greeves. They were brought by a brother of Thomas Richardson's who is now in New York
but is expected to be here soon, when I am to dine with him and his brother Thomas at Cousin James's. The dress
Aunt sent me is called Polish or Orleans cloth: it is a very rich thing but will be rather to[o] heavy for a summer
dress, but I have had a present of one from Cousin James. It is an elegant brown satin. I have not got it quite done
yet: aunt sent me a sovereign to get it made nicely and it is a beautiful dress for going in the street. I got a ... cloak:
it is almost black, as no other colour is worn here in cloaks. Aunt has made me a present of a calico dress and a
printed mull, one of which I have made and the other is nearly finished.
When I was last at aunts she told me she was going to send father the Encyclopedia: it will [be] a library in itself.
It contains 18 large volumes. She has several other books to send besides. I was very sorry to hear of its being
so sickly m that place and hope you may all keep well. Tell father that Cousin James thinks very hard of him for
not writing to him: he says something about it every time I see him and I dont no what excuse to make. I am sure
if father knew how anxious he is, he would write soon and often. Aunt Jane says in her letter that they were well
as usual. She said I might send it co mother if I choose, but I dont think it would hardly be worth while as there
is nothing that I cannot write. She says Uncle Thomas has been obliged to confine himself to the dtawing room
the greater part of the winter but is now much better. Aunt Mary S. [John Greeves' widow] is also much better
and was about coming to reside in Lisburn during the summer. She sends her love to all, in which grand-father
and Aunt Molly unite.
I saw Cousin Mary on first day evening and told her I was about writing home. She desired her love to all, as
also did Aunt Greeves the last time I saw her, which is two or 3 weeks ago. I will go out there on next first day if
nothing happens to hinder me.
I have been so much better to day that I fee quite encouraged about myself. Thee need not be at all afraid of my
forgeting any of my country friends, for to tell the truth I like old Collins with all its wild woods and log cabins,
far better for a house than any places that I have visited yet, and I often fancy to myself all the family assembled
around a fine blazing wood fire and one of you reading aloud and all as happy as can be. We spend our evenings
in a very different manner. In the fore part of the evening, that is till about half past 7 oclock, we are engaged in
learning our lessons for the next day. Then we dress to go in the parlor, and about 8 oclock company begins to
call in to spend the evening (for we seldom pass an evening alone) and stay till about half past 10. So we seldom
are in bed till 11.00 ... then not till 12 oclock then every 4th day wene we have what we call the "Literary and Social
Circle” (of which I am a member) to attend. This society consists of about 23 gentlemen and ladies: we meet at
the different houses of the ladies and spend the evening in a very improving manner. The society is regularly
organized, having a president, vice president and secretary; also an editor for our manuscript Magazine, to which every one sends voluntary contributions and every week 3 members are appointed to furnish pieces to be read and
two are appointed, called the readers, who read aloud for the edification of of the rest. It is my turn to read at the
next meeting, which is tomorrow night. The circle consists of a very select company, all very intelligent young
people, so that I think it has been a great advantage to me. 1 am quite a lion, being from Buffalo near the Niagara
Falls and always introduced as a young lady from Buffalo; and many is the description I have to give of the tails,
the City, the manners, dress and customs of the Indians, and I think thee could not help smiling to see me
surrounded by half a doz gentlemen and ladies, far my superiors in information and intelligence, listening with
intense interest; to the description of an Indian womans dress and the way she carries her papoose- or some other
similar description; and I did not think I knew half as much as I do, or that my conversation could be half so
interesting to such people as I meet with here, who have spent their whole lives in good society. At first thee may
be sure I felt rather diffident and was very careful not to say anything at all, but I find that it is such ones that are
always taken most notice of and made to talk whether they will or not almost.

I intended to have finished this letter last night but Cousin Mary came in to spend the evening and hindered me.
I expected to have gone to our circle to night but it meets farther away than I felt able to walk, so I thought best
stay at home and finish my letter: 3 of the girls have just gone and a gentleman called for me, but I declined going
though he would have got a carriage if I had said so; he saves it will be very interesting this evening as they will
have several excellent pieces read and there is to be a present sent to the Society. I have written this far but must
say good night as Cousin Mary has sent for me to spend the evening with her, and I will finish this letter to
mother; so will close by desiring thee to give my best wishes to all who may inquire after me I am

thy ever affectionate sister
Maria W. O'Brien