Primary Source Transcription
Submitted by Gordon MacDonald
Note: Mr. MacDonald sent us the following e-mail accompanied by the text of an intriguing old letter. The NHN, as well as Mr. MacDonald, would enjoy your comments about this piece of correspondence, and we would particularly like to learn the identities of those mentioned herein, especially of the writer "Mary."
Several years ago, I purchased at a community garage sale a thoroughly delightful letter written by a young Nashville girl ( I'd guess about 16-18 years old) to her best friend in Ringgold, Tennessee. The letter is written on two sheets, each on a different date, but mailed together. Unfortunately, the letter is undated, but since it mentions a daguerreotype, I'd guess it was written after 1840. The young writer, Mary, seems to come from a prominent Nashville family and she mentions several names which should be traceable genealogically....The envelope is very small; about 3-1/2 x 2" [Note: in a subsequent e-mail Mr. MacDonald corrected this size to 4 1/4" x 2 1/2".], and is written on florally-embossed stationery in a beautiful calligraphic hand. You are free to publish the letter in your newsletter if you wish.
Here is the letter:
Miss Sallie FauntleRoy
At Home Dec 3rd
Best loved Friend,
While Lou is reading over her lesson, I will employ my time in answering your more than welcome letter. The young lady I speak of is Miss Lou Craddock of Virginia. She is studying with me. Winter has just begun with we Nash-villians, and we feel it very sensibly, after so much pleasant weather, and would you believe it, after suffering all the Fall, with a severe cough, Dec. finds me wearing cotton Hoes (sic) and kid slippers. Sallie what do you think I have done to make me look more like a grown lady; why, I bought a pair of high heeled Gaiters. I know you would laugh to see me walking. You ask an invitation to my wedding. You know I have often told you that you were to be my first-Bridesmaid, and so you shall be, should such a circumstance ever occur in the annals of my history, providing you are unmarried yourself. I believe you spoke of stepping off yourself soon, now if you will invite me to be present on the interesting occasion, I will present you with my love of a Tea Set, to commence Housekeeping. Oh, it is so cold I can scarcely write, adieu 2 o'clock.
Sallie I have such a nice beau, Mr. Sweet; really he is the handsomest -- did I say handsomest, I meant to say, with one exception (perhaps you are aware whom) he was the handsomest gentleman I ever saw, and is not his name "Sweet". Tell Dr. Dabney when you see him, I had a most interesting dream about him the other night and it were so sweet, I fain would dream it o'er again. I wish you knew it Sallie, but indeed I can't relate it on paper. Guess who I have fallen in love with,"Mr. Graves", but don't you tell Sister ever, I like to have broken my neck last night at church, peeping under the "Chandelier" at him, he was down stairs and I was up in the Choir and the Chandelier was between us. I am going to primp my best tonight to see him at church, ha! ha! ha!
Guess, whose daguerrotype I saw at the Hotel the other evening, but I know you can't. Miss Margaret and Susie Dabney's and they were quite like the originals. Now if it had been Edmond's, I would have stolen it. Mrs. Scott never would have dreamed I took it. I have a cousin from Murfreesboro studying with me now, Jennie : She sends love to you. My compliments to your Ma and Pa. Love to all others. They had me married last Thursday night, and I went up town Friday and received lots of congratulations and I wish you much joy, of course I was obliged to them. Sunday, they looked for me as a bride, but when I came in with a blue bonnet, it was all explained, but adieu.
(Written around upper border of page:)
And a kiss for every day, till we meet and a sweet goodbye, Mary - - - - - - - -
Dec 4th. After all my primping, Mr. Graves was not at church last night. Now wasn't that provoking. To night Amzi is coming to see me; and I believe Cousin Jennie expects two beaux; but I have nothing to do with entertaining them. Jennie does not like Lewis Freeman, He sent word to know if he could go to church with her Sunday evening and she would not go with him. she is quite a Coquette. I think of going to Murfreesboro soon, Sister is going home with T Saturday. I do wish to see you all but I fear many long months will come and go ere I can behold your loved faces again but I will never cease to remember the many happy hours I have spent in "Montgomery". Sallie dear I have a very interesting book, a new work, and if your Ma reads at all now, write me and I will send it down. it is well worth a careful perusal. You may read it if you can collect your thoughts long enough from a certain person, to do so. I am going to send your Ma some very nice crackers made according to Dr. Jenning's directions, especially for the sick; they are very nice indeed. Excuse writing (but I am not in the habit of making this excuse) and write very soon.
With the most devoted love,
(Written on inside flap of envelope)
Ellen I know you will write soon . Compliments to John, Rannie sends love to Miss Sallie and Ellen. Love to Cousin Mat and the girls. Tell Millie to write me about what Sam H. told her.
(Written on outside flap of envelope.)
Here is a kiss for you.
Photograph by Kathy Lauder.