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letter to his mother 1870

Sterling describes his lady friend

Franklin, Feb 10, 1870

Dear Mother,

This my 35th birthday is being quietly celebrated at my rooms, with snow outisde and comfort in. Some of the boys got up a party which was partly in my house but I thought it as well not to go down and spend the whole night (for they generally dance all night) at Scrubgrass where it is to be and then come up to the manor - it is late enough in life for follish things and early enough for substantial pleasures.

I have been thinking for some time past on a very serious matter. I met on my second trip to this place in 1868 a young woman who had had some of the expreiences ofl ife and in whose history I became interested. She is now about 22 years of age. At 16, she (then a girl at school ) married against the wishes of family to a man who turned out to be a worthless scamp and who in open adultery deserted her when in confinement with a boy. Divorce was at once and without opposition granted by the Court and he has since died in a drunken spree or from constant drinking. She has since with her boy (now about six years old) lived with her parents. So far as I can learn without reproach I have watched and listened closely for over a year and it all the time appears that she is a true and pure woman with a very sad experience of life and who has seen all the hard strips of it; capable in every way of being a good wife and mother - who has always worked and knows how - kept her boy as he should be and does her best to sustain her own character and good - has intelligence and a good education for her opportunities - belongs to one of the old and established famililes fo this place - that is her father is a solid man of good sense who has carried his family as he should and any faults are their own. I do not think the family are of any great importance, but such as woud not exert any influence upon Mary nor would it be marrying a family excepting her boy - he seems a quite quiet little fellow with light hair and much like his mother - his picture I enclose. She is not a beauty and has not much, but I think good sense and a proper appreciation of the blessign of right - I am entirely uncommitted and not "over head and ears" - I am thinking of the thing deliberately and calmy, and would like thy good advice and feeling - I have got past romantic feelings and with a knowledge of the realities and responsibiliites of life - would rather the mature than the girl and the swan rather than the beauty, call C & E into council as thee has the opportunity and let them also ready for although a matter more of my own especial happiness yet I ____ our families brotherly and that "all togeher" shall be our creed. and their advice will be gladly taken.

I do not propose immediate action and in fact am "counting my chickens, etc." but I want to perpared for future opportunities.

As soon as anything definite is arranged you can tell Father but he might be premature in his announcements.

Hoping you are all well and doing so - I am in love.

thy son,

Linked toThomas Sterling BONSALL

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