Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, June 22, 1829

  • Posted on: 10 July 2017
  • By: admin
Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, June 22, 1829



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Distributor:Seward Family Digital Archive

Institution:University of Rochester

Repository:Rare Books and Special Collections


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Letter from Frances Miller Seward to Lazette Miller Worden, June 22, 1829

action: sent

sender: Frances Seward
Birth: 1805-09-24  Death: 1865-06-21

location: Florida, NY

receiver: Lazette Worden
Birth: 1803-11-01  Death: 1875-10-03

location: Auburn, NY

transcription: sss 

revision: tap 2017-01-16

Page 1

Florida Monday June 22d
My Dearest Sister – Your letter although accompanied by three from Henry
Birth: 1801-05-16 Death: 1872-10-10

was the first opened and shall be the first answered because it is
a long time since I have had a letter from my own Sis. Your letter
came this afternoon just as I was suffering a visit from one Sally Thompson

a very impudent, disagreeable, impertinent girl of sixteen – Perhaps I
shall find nothing more amusing so I will give you a description of
her appearance upon the present occasion – And firstly you must understand
she is the daughter of one Harry Thompson
a tavern keeper in the village
who is about in such circumstances as you would imagine a tavern-
keeper in a country place with three very lazy daughters
to support
to be – Mrs Thompson
a very weak woman is making ladies of her daughters
and does all the work herself – Of this promising progeny Sally is the eldest
she is extremely silly and mistakes a tolerable figure and a very insipid
face for beauty – She sent her P sister over this morning with a note written
on a dirty torn piece of paper scarcely legible saying that if agreeable
to Mrs Seward
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
she would come and take tea with her – Mrs Seward of
course signified that it would be agreeable – only think of the impertinence of
a girl of sixteen sending a note of this kind to a woman of fifty –
I staid up stairs as long after I heard her little squeaking voice as I thought
decent, when I went down she was seated up in great state with a light
gros de Naples frock on trimmed with three or four dozen shirt buttons
(it may be the fashion) and a dress handkerchief thrown over her neck – white
silk stockings (undoubtedly the only pair in her wardrobe) and cloth shoes –
She did not know how to dispose of her hands or feet – and kept them constantly
in motion seeking some more genteel
Polite; having the manners of well bred people • Graceful in form; elegant in appearance, dress or manner •
position – she continued this play
until I became excessively nervous – was fortunately relieved by the arrival
of the mail and my letters which I took without any apology
withdrew to my room where I remained just one hour and returned
very much refreshed – Mrs Seward asked so much about you and little
Birth: 1826-12-12 Death: 1909-08-24
that I read most of your letter to her with which she was much
gratified and Miss Sally remarked that it was a very “pretty” letter also
took occasion to admire the writing and I replied somewhat in the Mrs Rudd
“Yes she is by far the most beautiful writer I ever saw –“ By this time tea came

[top Margin]
I dreamed all night about the Governor
Birth: 1784-08-21 Death: 1874-11-01
and his lady
Birth: 1795-08-07 Death: 1834-06-29
– thought they wea were all at our house
attending a dinner party – you was home and did the honour of the table – for my part
I was spell bound as we so often are in dreams and could not get any clothes to put on
at last I put on my winter hat and made my curtesy to her ladyship – Gus very kindly
awoke me just at that time so I was saved from the interesting and instructive conversation
that must I have followed – your own Sis –
Page 2

and then I washed up the tea cups very nicely and put them away and swept
out the room, Mrs Seward and I taking occasion to praise industrious people
every now and then – By the time this was all accomplished Miss Sally said
she believed she must go home and assist her Ma who was not very well I
suppose she gave up seeing George
Birth: 1808-08-26 Death: 1888-12-07
who had not come home and would not
have seen her if he had as he entertains very much the same feelings
towards her as myself – I had forgotten to mention that her only covering
for a cold afternoon was a white lace veil thrown over her head – the
other day I saw her out riding in a lumber box waggon with nothing over
her head but a parasol – I am about half provoked that I have occupied
so much of my paper with so worthless a subject. –
Birth: 1769-11-27 Death: 1844-12-11
and Jennings
Birth: 1793-08-23 Death: 1841-02-24
were here last week on their way to Kingston or
rather Bolton which is two miles from Kingston – Do you remember Rhinebeck
it is directly opposite and as none of the day boats land there they are
obliged to land at Rhinebeck and cross the river in a horse boat which
is not quite so pleasant. Bolton is a small place or rather no place at all
as there are but very few buildings there – I imagine Marcia will find it
rather worse than a country village – however she says she is very well
satisfied as she can be with her husband – Jennings is one of the best men in
the world he made many enquiries about you said you was a favorite of his
and said Gus
Birth: 1826-10-01 Death: 1876-09-11
was a darling boy – Marcia although I believe her to be perfectly
good at heart has a little too much of the Lord At Ashden manner of
of saying things that make people wonderfully dissatisfied with themselves-
and I was almost tempted to say “Of all the plagues Good Heaven thy wrath
Very angry •
can send ^Save me O save me from a candid friend” —^
A couple of lines which I could not in my younger days comprehend –
but the import of which has appeared marvellously plain to me for the
few last years – I talk some of going to Bolton and making a visit
and waiting there until Henry comes but that unfortunate horse boat
makes it appear like a great undertaking – I think it very doubtful
whether any of the good people here will find time to accompany me
We have spent one afternoon at Polydore’s
Birth: 1799 Death: 1872-04-23
one at Jenn Dr Evans
Birth: 1770-03 Death: 1829-08-16
one at Mr Cummings
. Marcia and Jennings went with us to the two
last places – Have not been to Thompsons
Birth: 1762-06-15 Death: 1847-12-09
or Wickhams
x Birth:   Death: 1864-02-05  Birth: 1772  Death: 1845-11-16 
yet but am in
daily expectation of a summons. As one of the Miss Thompsons has called
and invited me I have no particular objection to going there but Mrs
Wickham I do dislike extremely – she gives herself so many airs since he has
married the general and withal – I believe her to be a hypocrite an unpar-
donable sin in my eyes – After all my dear sis I find I write with more
Page 3

freedom to you than any one else in the world – we grew up together when you
was Zetty and I was Fanny – I think you know my heart and can make
more allowances for the waywardness of my disposition than anyone else
did you see me behave very naughty every day of my life I should still
retain the same place in your affection should I not dearest? At least
I have the vanity to imagine so – It is the easiest thing in the world for
me to write you a letter only see how much I have written already and
after all this letter cannot be sent until Thursday and then it will
be a whole week going to you - - I have undertaken since we came here
to teach Sarah to read, write, and spell and as she is not very good natured
I find it rather an unpleasant task – To give you some idea of Miss Rays
Certainty: Possible

judgment I must tell you what progress Sarah made under her tuition –
Augusta said Sarah knew every thing in the Spelling book and ought to
commence some other study – I began with words of two syllables and
found that she could not spell much more than half of them correctly
as we proceed she spells worse and grows more ill natured daily – In
reading she had learned by heart I what she calls the ‘comma’s’ but
could n[ ot te ]


Reason: hole
ll the name of one single pause by looking at it – She cannot
(and I fee[ l m ]


Reason: hole
ost discouraged about her) comprehend the most simple
story by reading it even the little fable about the fox and the stork she
could not understand after reading it and studying it half an hour
Why Lazette when we were elen eleven years old we used to read, and to say
the least comprehend the plot of every novel that fell in our way – is
this a defect in the education or mind! or both! She had attempted to write
it appears before which only makes the matter worse – as her master
her (so she says but I rather doubt it) to hold her pen on one side and I
tell her to put it square on the paper – she will not try which is rather
provoking and as I cannot reason her into compliance I certainly shall
not compel - - I have had very little time to read but have got through
with the disowned
Author: Edward Bulwer-Lytton Publisher: J. W. Lovell Place of Publication:New York
which I admire very much shall read many parts
of it again and again – Dont you like Clarence Linden? Marcia’s boys
Birth: 1828-10-07 Death: 1897-07-24

name is Clarence but not Clarence Linden – Of course I have not
opened the book that contains Berdans
Birth: 1803 Death: 1827-07-20
letters perhaps have saved myself
from the hypo


A Greek preposition for under, beneath • A morbid depression of the spirits •
by this means. Has Serene
Birth: 1805 Death: 1884-01-19
gone yet? Does Goodwin
Birth: 1800-10 Death: 1845-09-13Certainty: Possible

come to see you in three days? Is Jane
Birth: 1810 Death: 1877-01-07
with you yet? Tell me all
and every thing in which you have any lot or part – Kiss little Fran
for Aunty – Gus sends two kisses and is just now behaving very improperly
about having his shoe strings tied – Mrs Seward read me a letter from
Birth: 1805 Death: 1839-01-04
the other day – She said that she and Mahlon
Birth: 1798-11-26 Death: 1865-01-05
had just been I sprinkled
Page 4

and joined the Methodist Church – her letter was entirely on religion. I have written
to her since I came but have had no opportunity to send the letter to any other
office – Do you have as cold weather all the time as we do it is not comfortable without
a fire – Has Frances got entirely well? Do you continue to dip her yet?
Mrs Lazette M. Worden
Cayuga County –