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1833.04.23 - Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Apr 23, 1833

Dublin Core


1833.04.23 - Mary Huntington to Elizabeth W. P. Huntington, Apr 23, 1833


Mary explains that she is struggling with her physical and mental health to her Mother. For the first part of her time at Troy, her school, she was struggling to get to her lessons but felt that the only time for her to finish her studies was the present. She has dropped her studies completely, but she is still not much feeling better. She knits to pass the time.
Mary states that she wishes that she was as grateful as her mother, as her letters are filled
with positivity more often than not. She begins to muse about how “we” should look at our
blessings as well as our troubles. Mary believes that when things are bad, it is harder to think of our blessings than when things are good.
She then expresses her gratitude at being granted the ability to return home with Edward but then shows her hesitation towards actually going home. She feels as if the option is too easy, and is leaving the decision for her mother (the reader) and Pa to make. While she is disappointed that she will not be following the path she expected to take, she knows that it is best for her mental health to not continue her schoolings at the present time.
Mary then jumps to questioning what to infer from what Elizabeth wrote. She wonders if Elizabeth has become a believer and if so, she will celebrate that with her. Mary then says that it is important to have “the assurance of faith.”
Although Mary wanted to have written back by that afternoon, she was prevented from doing so by Pauline, a guest. Mary makes sure to mention that Pauline has a plan for when she turns twenty-one that includes living in the country on a farm and doing the
housework herself. Two of Mary’s (teachers?) left the seminary on a journey to Clinton, and she hopes they succeed in what they do. She explains how she feels discouraged about herself and a burden to her friends. She asks her mother to express any cautions she may have, especially since she could do it with kindness.
Mary received Bethia’s letter, and hopes to see her brother in a few days. She ends the
letter by asking her mother to send a prayer for her.


Mary Huntington


Porter-Phelps-Huntington Family Papers (Box 20, Folder 13)
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections


Apr 23, 1833


Public Domain



My dear Mother,
The letter which I received yesterday from you and Father, comforted me not a little. If I caused you much uneasiness by what I wrote, I regret it extremely. But with truth I can say that I expressed no more than I felt either with regard to my mental or bodily feelings. The first part of the time that I was here, I felt that I was hardly capable of sustaining the exertion necessary to getting my lessons, but as I thought it probable that the present was the only time for finishing my education. I determined to say nothing about my feelings but continued my studies till forced to give them up. About a fortnight since, Mrs. Willard advised me to drop them entirely, and since that time I have followed her advice. I do not see on the whole, that my health improves much, though thanks to a kind Providence, I am able to sit up all day and walk about the hall, excepting about an hour before dinner. I have amused myself with working cord, on a little apron for Fanny, (dont tell Helen of it) knitting, and sometimes reading. Yesterday Miss Lee one of the teachers, took me to ride Lansingburg. Our road lay along the banks of the Hudson. The morning was delightful, and getting out into the country, and breathing the fresh air, was quite invigorating. It gave me something of a headache but on the whole I think I feel better for it.
I wish I possessed half as much gratitude as my dear mother. You seem to call it into exercise an occasions when others, or when I at least, should not think of it [crossed out] being grateful. The mercies enumerated in your letter are so common, that we rarely are conscious of possessing them. And if by accident we are deprived of them, we regard it as something quite out of the ordinary course of events, and are apt to think our condition very insupportable. I suppose if we were to think more of our blessings and less of our troubles, we should save ourselves much unhappiness, and add much to our real worth. When every thing looks bright, such sentiments are easily uttered, but when a [crossed out] clouds darken our prospects, (and with me this frequently happens) it is far more difficult to bring our minds to a right frame.
I thank you with all my heart for giving me liberty to return with Edward. I am unwilling
to decide in this case. I think if compelled by necessity, I would remain the other few weeks, though I fear I should not be able to continue my studies I know what course my inclination would lead me to adopt, ^for one out of health is apt to be partial to home. But I do not wish to be directed by choice alone. I have endeavored to let you know all the circumstances of the case, and shall leave it to your kindness and judgement, and to Pa’s also, to determine with regard to my remaining here. It is a great disappointment to me not to be able to follow the path I had marked out for myself, but it is for wise ends without doubt, that I am prevented from doing so.
What do you infer from what Elizabeth writes? Can it be that she has been “brought out”
at a protracted meeting? If she has arrived at what she considers the truth I am sure I shall rejoice with her, and on her account. It is worth a great deal to leave “the assurance of faith.”
Wednesday evening. I meant to have finished this letter this afternoon, but was prevented by company. Pauline has been with us an hour or two, and has [crossed out] appeared to be delighted with my description of what I used to do at home. She says after she is twenty one she will leave the country, on a farm, and do the housework herself. Mrs Willard thinks her ^a much better girl since she returned from Guildford. This morning Miss Stevenson, and Miss Patterson left the seminary for Clinton. Their prospects are good and I hope they will succeed according to their wishes. Some appear to be prospered more than others and undoubtedly, more [word crossed out] for some wise design. I frequently feel a little discouraged about myself, for I fear by my ill health, and irresolution, and fretting, I make myself burdensome to my friends. You must not hesitate to caution me whenever you think it necessary, for I should esteem it a kindness to be counselled by you on this point, and every other [every other crossed out], always when I need advice. Coming from a Mother, it cannot but be well received. In kind parents, I have a blessing, of which many at my age are destitute and for which I desire ever to be grateful.
Bethia’s letter I received yesterday, and was so delighted with it, that I have read it over
many times, and intend answering it soon.
After I wrote you that I intended practicing on the guittar, I was not as well, and
since that time I have not had a good opportunity of speaking to Mrs W. on the subject. I am trying to wait with patience for brother’s arrival as I said before, I shall leave it to you and Pa to decide whether or not I shall return with him. But at any rate I shall hope to see him here in a few days. Give my warmest love to brothers and sister, and present my dutiful and affectionate regards to Father. Caroline sends a great deal of love to all inquiring friends. That the loveliest of heavens blessings may rest up on you my dear Mother is the prayer of your daughter.