Salem, September 9, 1802.
My Dearest Mother:
Once more I am safe in Salem, and my first thoughts turn toward home. I arrived last night. The attention I have received from Mr. and Mrs. Derby has been of a kind that I shall look forward with delight to a time when I may be able to return it as I wish. I am in perfect health and spirits, and have enjoyed the journey more than I can express to you. I don't know that I have had an unpleasant hour since I have been gone, and, what is still more pleasing, I look back on every scene without regret or pain. At Leicester, I went to Uncle Southgate's, and Cousin William helped me into the carriage when I left the tavern next morning. We did not return through Northampton, and I consequently missed seeing Aunt Dickenson. I regretted it extremely, but Mr. Derby was in such haste to return, that he left us at Worcester and took the stage. I, therefore, could not say a word of Hadley. I found two letters from Octavia on my return here; felt really grieved at Eliza Wait's death. She must feel it sensibly, as they were such intimate friends; yet time blunts the sharp pangs of affection, and when I return she will feel that happiness has only fled for a while, to make its return more delightful. I have received more attentions at the Springs than in my whole life before; I know not why it was, but I went under every advantage. Mr. Derby is so well known and respected, and they are such charming people, and treated me with so much affection, it could not be otherwise. Among the many gentlemen with whom I have become acquainted, and who have been attentive to me, one, I believe, is serious. I know not, my dear mother, how to introduce this subject, yet as I infer you may hear it from others, and feel anxious for my welfare, I consider it a duty to tell you all. At Albany, on our way to Ballston, we put up at the same house with a Mr.
Bownefrom New-York; he went on to the Springs the same day we did, and from that time was particularly attentive to me. He was always of our parties to ride; went to Lake George in company with us, and came on to Lebanon when we did. For four weeks I saw him every day, and probably had a better opportunity of knowing him than if I had seen him as a common acquaintance in town for years. I felt cautious of encouraging his attentions, though I did not wish to
discouragethem. There were so many
New-Yorkersat the Springs who knew him perfectly, that I easily learned his character and reputation. He is a man of business, uniform in his conduct, and
very much respected;all this we knew from report. Mr. and Mrs. Derby were very much