Tuesday, September 20, 2011

a bit of lit: a multiplicity of chat

Currently, Cardo and I are very slowly working our way through Women's Letters: America from the Revolutionary War to the Present, edited by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen J. Adler.

We're still in the Revolutionary War era.

First, why did I never know that small pox was such a big problem during the Revolutionary War? Did I know that at some point and forget it?

Second, I love reading these letters.

There're a couple by Sally Wister, a teen, to her friend Deborah Norris. Sally is writing about the soldiers quartered at her home. In the second of Sally's letter included, she goes on for a bit, detailing both a soldier's and her side of a conversation, before she admits that she can't detail the entire conversation. She says to Debby, as she calls her, "'Tis impossible to write a regular account of our conversation. Be it sufficient to say that we had a multiplicity of chat."

I'm working that last phrase into my lexicon.

There's also included a pretty great letter from Abigail Adams to her eleven-year-old son, John Quincy, in which she goes on and on about how he should live out good morals and make good choices. He was with his father in Europe. The letter is seven not-short paragraphs long. In the seventh paragraph, she tells her son, "But, to quit political subjects. I have been greatly anxious for your safely, having never heard of the frigate since she sailed, till, about a week ago, a New York paper informed, that she was taken and carried into Plymouth. I did not fully credit this report, though it gave me much uneasiness. I yesterday heard that a French vessel was arrived at Portsmouth, which brought news of the safe arrival of the Boston but this wants confirmation. I hope it will not be long before I shall be assured of your safety. You must write me an account of your voyage, of your situations, and of every thing entertaining you can recollect."