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Title: Mary Cumming, Petersburg to her sister, [Lisburn?].
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
FileCumming, Mary/41
SenderCumming (n. Craig), Mary
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationmiddle class housewife
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPetersburg, Virginia, USA
DestinationLisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
RecipientCraig, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
SourceT 1475/2 p.126-127: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
ArchiveThe Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
Doc. No.9006111
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by JM 01:11:1993.
Word Count533
TranscriptNovember 24th.

My letters have been detained for a week past, as I wished to
send them with William's . Yesterday he received a large packet
from Ireland, but not a single line from Strawberry Hill,
which I am surprised at. I had another letter from M. Cumming,
where she tells me of poor William's death. I am sincerely
sorry for this melancholy event, I have still hopes of getting
a letter from you by the next arrival. I am stronger than when
I began this epistle. The weather has now got extremely cold
but still very dry. William is the very picture of health, I
have been busy lately getting the black people's winter clothes,
which is a very troublesome business. The women and children
have all to get gowns and frocks of cloth, to keep them warm
during our piercing cold weather. My waiting maid, Mary, is
grown almost a woman within the last year, her face, I can
assure you is not very handsome, but she is very good-natured
and extremely smart at learning anything, and immoderately
fond of dress as almost all the negroes are.
This is Sunday, William is gone to town, he generally
invites someone to dine with us. I have not ventured to church
yet. Had I gone to-day I would in all probability have had
a little bit of a shake when I returned, and this I shall
avoid as long as I can, I am sure you will be tired before
you get through all this long letter, but I almost think I
am talking to you. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to
be wise", as I shall now prove to you. When I lived in
Ireland I heard now and then of a complaint which the good
people there call the spleen, and I have seen a farce which
was entitled a cure for it, and so forth, now I was then so
very ignorant of all diseases that I imagined it to be nothing
more than bad spirits. But in this new found country it
makes its appearance in a very different shape, as I shall
explain to you, having myself experienced what it is for six
weeks past. After having been much debilitated by sickness,
there is a hard lump about the size of a goose egg, which
rises in the left side. It occasions a little uneasiness, but
very little pain, and is not in the least thought to be dangerous.
I shall get quit of it when I am strong again. How very
learned this trip to America will make me! Do not you think
so? What if I begin to study anatomy?? You may know I am much
better to-day. Had I not been I could not have written all
this badinage. I wonder what you are all about just now?
I am very much pleased with the bonnet M. Cumming sent me,
which I shall be proud to wear, I wish I could meet with an
opportunity of sending you all some little keepsake, perhaps
I soon may. God protect my darling Sister, and grant that I
may live to see you once more. Write by every opportunity.