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1853 July 10

Devasego July 10th My dear Jack, Your letter of the 6th which I received yesterday has made me sad & thoughtful all day, & I feel too much the need of a talk with you to postpone the writing till tomorrow. Do not let my saying that it made me sad, induce you to tear up your “blue letters,” or refrain from writing for while the thoughts suggested may be sad it is very pleasant to feel that it all moods & at all times you take pleasure in writing to me & confiding each feeling as it arise to me. One cause of my being disturbed by this letter is that I am sure you cannot be well or these things would scarcely trouble you so much tho’ indeed mind & body do so act upon each other that he can scarcely tell which is the cause & which the effect. I am very, very sorry you have had any unpleasant conversation with your Father, & still more so to find that he cherishes as bitter a memory of words which you once hoped were, both forgotten & forgiven. Do you know Jack, strange as you may think it; it is one of my most earnest desires, that your future occupation should separate you from your Father as much as possible. I think for the sake of both, it is most desirable. You have been accustomed to rely so long & so implicitly upon his advice & opinions that you do not put that trust in your own, which they deserve & which you ought to do but which cannot be done while with your Father who naturally enough is disposed to overrule your arguments when they differ from his & treats yours as untenable. While you continue associated with him, his influence over you will continue while every discussion or difference between fiery tempers like yours will be likely to result in the same conclusion as the last; the recurrence to bitter subjects, or a lessening of the strong bond existing between you & which I pray may rather be strengthened if your lives in life were entirely separate, there would be far less likelihood Janey painful conversation or collision, while your love each other would be more likely to be preserved unbroken & without the trials to which these words most expose it. I do think you are right in adhering to the Ex. – but not if the work is to be entirely thrown upon you & spun out indefinitely. Your Father, I have sometime thought is averse to you leaving the Navy. I do not wonder; & therefore I think that he is inclined unconsciously or intentionally (I think too fast) to represent the difficulties & danger of resignation as a greater than they actually are. Besides he must feel badly to think of you, who have so long been so intimately associated with him, going from him to some business which will separate you. Knowing this & loving him dearly as you know I do, I still feel that it would be better for you both to apart. Every time, I hear or think of the unpleasant conversations you have occasionally (illegible) the advantage & wisdom of such a course appears greater, & I tremble to think of their becoming of frequent occurrence. Every such word or thought is a hard strain upon the cord which binds you & the very strength of your affection for each other makes it more painful. It does seem hard to know what to do & I can feel & appreciate the anxieties & though which perplex you so much. I wish I could be with you dear Jack. You won’t call it vanity, but love, which makes me sure, that I could comfort & help you. By letter so little can be said & before this reaches you, I hope the your spirit will have regained their usual tone, & that you will not want consolation. I do not like this waiting & waiting for contingencies which appear so bright to your Father’s hopeful eye & which may indeed prove so but the dependence on such uncertainties is wearing to the spirit & not calculated to rouse the energies of mind & body. I do not like either to interfere with your own ideas or with your father’s plans but to me it seems that the plan I would suggest might be as serviceable as any other. Instead of working on & on at the Ex. Ex. Which appears to become more interminate [sic] every day, make some calculations of the time necessary to finish it & fix a time when it ought to be done than devote yourself wholly to it for that the intermediate time telling your Father that at such a time you hope it will be completed, & then you intend to try your own plans Give up attempting to study one while you only exhaust & fatigue yourself & can do more when the work is completed. So soon as it is devote yourselfs [sic] to adopt. If ordered to sea, resign at once & accept a situation under Em or on any road, for no matter how small a salary; before a year is out you knowledge & talents will have advanced you at least to the receipt of a salary as large as your pay in the Navy with better prospect of increase. Say you devote yourself to the Ex. Ex. Till Oct. by which time both your Father & yourself expected it to be completed you will not have to long a task before you as you may have with this waiting dependence on promises, perhaps if you can make your plans distinct & clear in this way you will not be so harassed & perplexed b the prospective “turning up,” of so many brilliant hopes & deceptions. As soon as you receive an equal salary to your present before if Mother consents & you think right, I am as promised, ready to join you. It is not so very long to wait patiently for me, dear Jack. Nothing can make me either more or less yours than I am now in heart & you know it. I have thought on this plan for sometime but I wished to propose it or interfere while you seemed hopeful in the plans you have been looking on. Your last letter must be my excuse if I have taken too much to giving advice & where my actual knowledge of affairs is but small. While working out this, other things of course may arise to change your plan, but what I would urge you to, is to lay a plan & adhere to it, instead of depending on first one & then another idea, & waiting for circumstances to decide for you. Take your own course, & as soon as possible finish the Ex. & cut loose from Navy work. If you cannot resign then, you may be able to get leave & at any rate if you do remain in it, don’t dear Jack, make yourself unhappy about it. If you must remain, look upon it as the duty God has placed before you, & do it “with thy might.” We will both bear it cheerfully & doubt not, that “As thy day, so shall thy strength be.” One thing I wonder if you ever talked of while in N.Y. which you ought to know, and which I know very little about, I mean my income, which with all your pride & refusal to hear about, you must take into consideration if you think at all of my plan. The family property I suppose you know cannot be divided until Charlie is of age, meanwhile the income of each of us children amounts to about $500, sometimes more or less according to the fluctuation of the rents. Small as it is, it must have some weight in the event of your resigning & going west as it would there be of more service than in N.Y. & when your salary as engineer amounts to the same I guess we could live in the backwoods. I can’t help laughing & I wish you were here to laugh with me for I can’t be bothered with writing all my nonsense today. I know very little about expenses of all sorts. I only know what others do & what we can do. Aunt Ross once told me in Canandaigua, A. Jeffrey’s income & expenditures had 12 or 1300. 11th I never thought the information would be of use to me in such a way, but it may be. I have forgotten my dear since I was interrupted yesterday, so cannot carry out any calculations. No letter from you today! I fear from your last letter that you are really ill; your Fredericksburg baking has been too much for you. However, I won’t think of that now as perhaps tomorrow mail will prove my fears useless. If you are not well, come up here with the girls at once & we will set you up soon. You may laugh at my sudden changes of moods, but it is a very agreeable accomplishment I think so now for an account of our uneventful life here. Yesterday it rained in showers ever now & then at night fall a steady, soaking, beautiful rain set in & lasted all night. I say at my window for some time in the afternoon reading & watching the rain falling so noiselessly, dimpling the quiet water & making every green herb to rejoice. The grass which was looking brown & rough from recent cutting seemed to grow greener & brighter every moment. The beautiful comparison of God’s grace & blessings as descending as showers upon the mown grass came to my mind with truth & force of beauty & appreciation rarely felt. How often His mercies are compared to the rain, & how much stronger an idea must have been conveyed by it to the people of the East then to us who live in a “land of brooks & watercourses” & frequent rains. “Showers of blessings.” What a powerful comprehensive meaning it has when one is watching the gentle, falling of rain upon the thirsty earth. How brightly everything looks & how thankfully & eagerly each leaf & flower seems to look up to receive the blessing. That same window of mine is a very pleasant one. The trees had grown up so as to that of completely any pretty peep of the water & the opposite bank & a few days ago, I had a young beech cut down which has restored the same pretty view which I have known & loved so long. How many long evening talks Anna Greenleaf & I have had seated on the table drawn to the window, looking out upon the water, sleeping so quietly in the bright moonlight, & each tree, each leaf waving in the breeze & glistening in the moonshine beaded with dew. It recalls many pleasant associations, a glance out of my window. This morning I stood by it while dressing, watching the heavy mist roll away. At first all looked thick & dark as if more rain might be expected; gradually, the trees, the distant hills came in view, & soon the sky began to look lighter, the a patch of blue appeared & before I left my room the sun was shining bright & clear & everything looking so fresh & lovely. Dolph & I set off after breakfast to ride to Gilboa not on horseback on account of the mud. Kate trotted as calmly as could be expected & looked like a beauty. The ride was delightful but I won’t say anything about it lest you accuse me of tantalizing you again. Mrs. Paige was as usual delighted to see me & wanted me to say all day & doo all sorts of impossible things. She was relieved from her state of suspense to her great satisfaction, & expressed a hope to see you some time soon. She had just heard from Anna at Schenectady. Dora Jackson, she says is very well & apparently cheerful and composed, tho evident to suffering much at times. Poor girl, what a sad existence hers must appear as yet that time will soften & alleviate much which is now so hard to bear. I don’t think she will be up here this summer from what I hear. Dolph, Will, John & Fitch are going fishing tomorrow; to start at daybreak & return that night. And we are to have both John & Fitch here to sleep tonight so to be ready for an early start. Dolph has only 3 days more as he must leave on Friday. I wish he could stay longer. My aviary is increasing, & interesting little objects – having been added to it in the course of the last 5 days. So my whole number is now 20! I entirely ridicule the caution of bird fanciers as to the quiet & caution to be observed while the birds are setting, & I have changed the eggs from one next to the others & changed the young birds too till the mothers certainly don’t know which belong to themselves & are quite contented with whatever I give them. Your information about the party at Cold Spring was rather startling for a few moments, but I soon settled it all. When Uncle Gouv Kemble went abroad last May, he offered his house to Mrs. Peter Kemble for the summer. She is to go there the 1st Aug. & probably the Duponts & Henderson will all be with her. I shall write to Ellen soon & find out meanwhile I have fixed no time for my visit & it is quite uncertain you know whether I go at all. If possible, I shall. I shall have to stop now I am sorry to say. I could write on for an hour yet. The family are assembled on the east piazza & the conversation rather disturbs my ideas. I am writing as usual in the afternoon, in the school room, where I hear all that is said. Good bye dear Jack. May God watch you & guard you from all evil. I Hope I shall hear tomorrow that you are not ill. Yours ever, Jeanie 12th Only time this morning to say all are well. Such a lovely morning. The fishing party set off between 3 & 4 this morning so quietly that I scarcely heard them. Goodbye again dear Jack. How constantly & prayerfully my thoughts turn towards you. You know I wish I could be with you now. J.R.S.