|Henry, Sarah A to O'Brien, Joseph Sinton, 1848
|The Transatlantic Letters of an Irish Quaker Family_1818-1877 [B. Jackson]
|Henry, Sarah A
|Collins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
|Collins, Lake Erie, NY, USA
|O'Brien, Joseph Sinton
|Tuesday evening, Aug 22nd, 1848
Mr. Joseph S. O'Brien
It is the still hour of midnight and all around are wrapped in the arms of Morpheus save your humble
correspondent. The measured ticking of the clock as it tells the fleeting moments alone breaks the profound
stillness, and I could almost imagine myself in solitude, were it not for the stifled sigh that occasionally escapes a
wearied sleeper. I am watching at Mr Camp's with a sick child, who being asleep at present, I take this the first
opportunity to answer your interesting communication of the 19th. I answer it thus early for several reasons; the
most prominent of which is that you may have time after the receipt of it to finish and send your piece for the
Harvester before the next meeting of the Circle which was postponed until the 2nd of Sept on account of that
famous "pic nic", to which you no doubt received an invitation.
With my usual presumption, I presume you would like to hear about it, so here is all I know about it myself.
I dont know who planned it, but I presume the ... [K]err's Corners folks did a good share towards it. The
committee wished Helen to invite the "Sub Town" folks which she did, and thinking you are so small that perhaps
you might be overlooked among the multitude, she sent an invitation which you should have received Friday
Morning, but which I presume you did not, as you did not mention it in your letter. It was in a beautiful spot,
the tables were neatly spread, and the company very large. They had a famous swing, made of chains with a seat
large enough for 5, and strong enough to hold all that could get in, on, and around it. Every one appeared to enjoy
it very much, but you know, I am always on the contrary side, and I must confess that it gave me more real pleasure
to witness the gratitude of poor Mrs. Wilcox when we carried her a basket of the fragments, than all that had
previously transpired that day.
It is evening, and I am again alone, but not as a watcher for, I feel as though I ought to be watched with, rather
than to watch. I spent a very pleasant night last night, although alone. How sweet it is at times to be alone with
ones own thoughts, and let them wander at random over the past, the present, and the future: my frame of mind
was such last night and I enjoyed it.
I own I was rather surprised at not receiving any thing for the Harvester, though your excuse was sufficient to
free you from all censure. Indeed I think such pictures as you drew of the beauties of Niagara by moonlight are
quite sufficient to tempt a less romantic person than yourself to leave the dull employment of writing and enjoy
the beautiful scene. I hope ere long to view the Falls by sunlight and moonlight too, as Pa has partly promised to
take us there after the fair in Buffalo, though we may be disappointed. He has engaged rooms at Laing's for the
three days of the fair so if you visit the city at that time, pray call and see us.
It is all nonsense for you to flatter yourself that I dream about you, especially as going to visit any one else, for
dreams always go by contraries you know, and if I dreamed anything, it stands to reason that it would be that you
came to see me. Now, rather than have you think me guilty of anything smaller than "Small Potatoes", I will
inform you where I got my news. The Monday morning after you came out on your visit, Miss Mary Locke came
to school and in the course of our conversation, she told me that you were in Collins. I asked her how she knew,
and she replied that she saw you go by their house the morning previous. I did not pay any attention to it, nor
think of it again till Tuesday (that was 4th of July). I spent the day at the Locke's with Mary, copying our paper for
examination. I had just got there when she told me that you went by but a few moments before with a lady, and
she supposed you were going to attend the lecture at... [Kerrs] Corners. I told her I doubted it, but I was forced
afterwards to believe it as a lady of truth and veracity told Mary that she both saw and spoke to you on the 2nd.
However I'll believe you just for accommodation sake as it makes no material difference, whether you did or not.
When you write again, please let us know where we can find you, in case we do visit the Falls week after next, for it is possible that we may like to see you, chough (as a matter of course) very improbable. But it is getting late and
I must bid you "Good Night".
School is closed for the day and once more I sit down to add a few words to my already lengthy letter, but no
matter, 'Twill scarcely be worth the trouble of reading, be it ever so full. I wish I could communicate my thoughts
in an interesting manner. I have felt the want of this faculty, this afternoon more than ever, for I have been writing
compositions, and such a piece I done think you ever saw. My bead has ached all day as though it were aching for
a wager, besides it has rained, and every thing looks gloomy and sad, and my writing perhaps partakes of the
general sentiment. O we have great times here at school on Saturdays, all about the women. One of the young gentlemen expressed his opinion that women are inferior in point of intellect as well as in every thing else, and even went so far as to say that there is nothing that women undertakes to do, but what if man set himself about it, he could do it better
than she can. Now we girls did not like the plan of being placed so low in the scale of human beings, so a Miss
McMaster again answered him, and such a composition, you scarcely ever knew a school girl capable of writing.
She is going to give me a copy of them, and you shall have the reading of them, for they are worth reading, I assure
you. But this is all uninteresting to you: please to excuse me for so forgetting myself. A week from Saturday the Circle meets in Mr Vosburgh's Orchard. I wish you could be here, for I think we shall have a good one. Oh, if I could see Thomas just this minute I would laugh at him so. Please give him my
respects and ask him "Heh?" for me, will you?
Pardon me if in this letter I have written anything to offend and believe me ever to be
Your sincere friend
Sarah A. Henry