December 4, 1843 letter from May Campbell to Virginia Campbell. May mentions the birth of Hugh Campbell, Virginia’s second son, who was born October 9, 1843. He died a few months later of pneumonia on February 15, 1844.
Mrs. Robert Campbell
Mr. R. Scott
Philadelphia Dec. 4th / 43
My dear Virginia
I have had so stiff a neck for the last two or three days that I feared I would not be able to write you by Mr. Scott but this morning I am much better & will inflict one of my unreadable letters on you. The fact is I am forgetting the use of my pen all together. I believe I have not written a letter since I wrote you last + this was on hearing of Master Hugh’s arrival [Virginia’s second baby, Hugh Campbell, Oct. 1843] — from my own family I have had no letters — you have given me the only tidings I have had of them for several months. Betty has no even told of the receipt of a box sent her a long time ago. By the by speaking of boxes I am glad to hear that you have received yours — I fear you will not much like your things — your bonnet was not what you requested, nor what I wished, but I could not get a plain garnet velvet for less than $25 + not a very handsome feather at that. Do tell me if the bonnet is at all becoming — I thought it very genteel, in this age of gay things, + your dress, I know you like the material. Mine is exceedingly admired, thought the most becoming dress I wear — but I am sure yours must be short waisted, it looked so to me, if it is you had better put in a belt & wear a sash or ribbon belt & that hanging cap on the dress I did not like. Miss Rodgers thought it just the thing, you can easily alter that if you do not like it.
[Pg. Break] I have been very busy for the last few weeks fixing up our winter gear. Miss Rodgers makes up the new, but we have all the old dresses to turn + do up ourselves. I have tryed dressmakers in the house but find them miserable, so I have turned to the trade myself + if you had seen a dress I made for Meg to wear to a party at Atwoods, you would think me right smart. Our city is very gay so many weddings + then of course parties. I have declined all so far, except among our intimate friends. I made Meg go to Atwoods on Friday night with Miss Tucker. The girls gave a large party to Mrs. Joe Hidenburn, she was a Miss Smith of New York, an intimate friend of Susan Randalls. They had a very crowded + handsome party. Mary will not be married this winter, Henrietta has no beau that I hear of. Mary Newlin is engaged to a Mr. Taylor from the country. [?]_____ _____ to Frank Bacon, Bill Newlin to Lizzie [?] Wazanin [?] ’tis so said Susan Randall to Sam Williams. Mary Riggs to Mr. Paradin & I might give you a dozen others — it is a most engaging time with the young folks.
I take for granted Hugh has improved, as Robert in his letters to Mr. C. reports you all will — you have not said a word about the little rascal’s looks, who [?]______ + does Jamie talk yet — how we long to see him. I was detailing all his accomplishments to Tom Smith last night, who made me a last call before his wedding he is to be married tomorrow week — give him Jamie a thousand kisses for us all. Meg is dying to see him, she talks of him every day — how do you get along with the two babies, I fear you will confine yourself too much.
[Pg. Break] Mrs. Archie has a fine boy — young Archie ’tis to be. She is doing very well + looks beautifully — more delicate than usual. Mrs.. Baker continues rather poorly but is able to go about a little — she has gone home. Mrs. Matilde is still complaining — frequent colds — she looks badly, but I think she might rouse herself into better health. I hear no prospect of babies. Mrs. Oakman is very well. The Tagerts have had Mrs. Babard staying with them for three weeks which as made us all gay in a quiet way. They all drank tea with more last night — Sunday though it was the old gentlemen + all + he seemed very bright + happy without his [?]_______. They have a drunken party of gentlemen today + we are all invited for the evening. Mrs. Tucker is not very well — has had something of dysentary for a few days. Mrs. Brown always enquires most kindly for you + sends her gest love. Little Louis asked me the other day for little Jamie Campbell + for a moment I forgot who she meant, she has not forgotten him.
Did you see that St. louis letter in the Herald describing Mary Willcot’s marriage. I fear the widow did not much like the style in which she was mentioned. Mrs. Eagle only returned my call a day or so before she left + bad weather prevented me from seeing her again. She kindly offered to take my package for me. We called to see Mrs. Jennings last week, but she was engaged. How is Mr. John Kerr + Mrs. John is dashing I dare say in all the finery Mrs.. J. sent her. Meg sends oceans of love to you all. Give my kindest to Robert & regard to all friends. I hope soon to hear from you & trust to hear our boy is growing a fine healthy fellow. Your cousin,
[Pg. Break, side of 3rd page] Mrs. Davenport has been quite ill for several weeks, looking most wretchedly — she is better. Mrs. Hennesly has [?]_____ a [?]_____ on two [?]_______ down street. [?]_____ I called but once or twice to see her.