Atkinson Jan. 1st. 1799
My Dear Sister
I congratulate you upon the prospect of the recovery of your dearest Friend, the Partner of your youth, the comforter of maturer years, & the solace of your declining life—I did indeed think my good Brother upon the threshold of a better world—I thought it scarcely probable that the best means would be blest; the solicitude of Friends, or even your tender Care could have kept him from the Sky, but thanks to an indulgent Providence, you both behold the dawn of a new year, rich (I hope) in the spared lives of all your dear Children, & their tender Offspring—Do not at this moment think of your Sisters affliction, her sad reverse, least it might damp the ardor of your Grateful incense—For though the Fig-tree is not allowed to blossom, & to send forth its tender shoots, yet I will rejoice, that “the Lord reigneth”—a God infinite in wisdom, & goodness.
Miss Betsy Palmer has written & told you when she got here, how she felt &cc—I think she has ran something of a risk in coming among those she never saw half an hour in her life, & at a time when the roads are almost impassible, buried in Snow—three feet & an half upon a level a few miles beyond us—
She is really a most amiable person, she appears to be exactly the gentle, kind, helpful companion my full heart required—I feel affraid she will not be contented—It is very different here from Boston, amid scenes of gaiety and all her youthful companions—surrounded with both Sexes, with whom she has been long acquainted—I believe it is a perfect contrast with any situation she was ever in before—She however looks placed, & cheerful—I am sensible I cannot be <
to [. . .]> the companion I was formerly—I feel my own impotence—If my natural temper forces a smile, I stand reproved—& feel as if I had done an injury—My joy is chastened, my pleasures < are> fled—she in whom my too fond hopes were placed, she whom I hoped might be spared, to support my feeble Bank, while gliding down the slope of age—she in whom my soul too—too much delighted, lies there—under yonder cold sod—yet I wish to be a miser of my Grief—& Restrain the falling tear—
It rejoices me to hear my Sisters health is so far restored, as to be able to attend publick worship, I knew she there wished first to pay her tribute of gratitude to that beneficent Being, who has protracted her Days, & in mercy lent her a little longer, to her Children & her anxious friends—I have not yet received the letter you mentioned from my Sister, I hope it is on the wing, & will soon reach the heights of Atkinson—I received a letter from my Son, and am glad to hear the President, & he were both well—The very cold weather I suppose is salutary, & may be sent to purify the air—If it was, it will prove mercifully effective, & the destroying Angel will sheath his sword—
My little Abby’s arm is better, quite strait, but cannot bring it up close as the other—It will not I hope be very injurious to her—
Mr Peabody received your kind letter, & thanks you for it—He admires Miss Betsy, & will I hope be very good to her—
We have been expecting his Daughter every day—He had a letter yesterday from her, where she informed him, she could not come till the ninth of January—Her visit will necessarily call up many tender, painful reflections—
I hope Mr & Mrs Foster are very happy in their new habitation, & relations of life—& she in the enjoyment of that tranquility to which her heart, & her too anxious mind has been long a stranger—May many a revolving year, still find them happy—& all my dear Friends in the possession of every needed Blessing, prays
Your affectionate Sister,
DLC: Shaw Family Papers.