This letter was written by Augusta Louisa (Prentiss) Herring (1812-1847), to her sister Caroline (Prentiss) Thayer (1800-1871). Augusta and Caroline were the daughters of Deacon Caleb Prentiss (1771-1838) and his wife, Mary Webber Morgan (1775-18xx). Caroline was married to America Thayer (1799-1873) and living in Paris, Maine. Augusta was married to Sylvanus S. Herring (1812-18xx).
[Addressed to Mrs. Caroline P. Thayer, Paris, Maine]
August 15th 1836
My Dear Sister,
I have been thinking about writing to you this long time and cannot tell what has kept me from doing it I am sure. I cannot plead the excuse want of time for writing as you can for there is seldom a day passes without my being able to find some time to devote to writing if I were so disposed. So you will see by this that I am extremely negligent. I am sorry for it and keep thinking that I will do better, but there is no telling when that time will arrive. One reason why I do not write more is that I have not much to write about. You know it is rather a difficult job for one to set down and write a whole letter about nothing, and no very desirable task to read one neither, I should not suppose.
We are all very well here. Mary has a vacation in her school at this time. It is uncertain about her keeping any longer but most likely she will keep another quarter. She is learning French at a great rate. I was at Foxcroft about a week ago. Had not been there before since I was at Paris. Found them all very well and happy there.
[Our brother] Caleb has two very fine children, I think. I have had little Augusta [Mellen Prentiss] here with me a few weeks. She is an interesting little creature but not remarkably handsome. The boy [named Henry Caleb Prentiss] is a great solid-looking fellow as you ever saw – a good deal of Prentiss’ about him I should think. Caleb had concluded to stay where he is. ‘Tis the best thing he can do, I think. He is about building him a very pretty house. He thinks of going to Paris this fall with his wife and one of the children. _______ is going to move to Foxcroft. We have been looking for him here for a week, first with his family on his way there. I can’t imagine the reason why he does not come. Hope they are not sick, any of them.
Caroline, what is the reason you and your husband cannot visit us this fall? I don’t see what there is to prevent it. I do think you ought to come. What say to it? Won’t you come next month? I guess so. I shall expect you if I do not hear from you. I wish you would write very soon after you get this for I want to hear from you that you conclude to come if nothing happens. Think of it well. I have come very near making you a visit this summer – so near that I got all ready and should have gone but Caleb disappointed me. Perhaps it is all for the best, but I did want to see you and be with you for awhile very much, I assure you. There is no knowing when I shall come now. I am quite certain I shall not go this fall but I do long to be there among the good things. We can get almost everything we want by paying a high price for it. But I begin to despair of having any blueberries this year. Tell them at the mountain if they will dry me a few that I will give them all they are worth and a good deal besides. Sometimes when I think of Paris, it seems as if I could not stay away one day longer – but it will not do to think of. I am very well contented here. Have everything I need to make se so. Have many good neighbors and a number of very pleasant acquaintances and all things considered, I am quite happy. Henry thinks of going to Paris next month to be married. I think he is doing very well here. He said he will not be disappointed about it now he has waited so long. When you write, be particular about telling me how Mrs. Thayer does. I have not heard a word about her health this long time. Hope it continues to be better.
I am writing this letter with the intention of sending it by a Dr. Brown who goes to your town if I am not worked out of the opportunity. I shall write to [our brother] Addison by him. There are a great many ways to send from here to Paris by private conveyance but ‘tis very seldom that I know of one until it is too late and I don’t feel right to send my letter any other way when I can help it for I know they are not worth the postage. Goodbye, — Augusta L. P. Herring