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‘My Dear Henry . . . ’
seward_letterSENDING NEWS: In this 1832 letter (transcribed below), Frances Seward tells her husband, William Henry, then in Albany, New York, about the family Christmas. He was almost always away for the holidays. (Photo: River campus Libraries/Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation)

Thursday evening 27th

My Dear Henry. I intended to have wished you a merry Christmas on Teusday [sic] but was prevented by company and yesterday was prevented by headache. This evening I am quite alone and my head is more comfortable. Monday afternoon I went out to purchase the Christmas toys for the little boys stockings, it was cold and unpleasant and no slight inducement would have given me courage sufficient to venture out but the little boys are too nice to be disappointed and I could not trust Sarah’s taste in the selection of the articles in demand. I found Mrs Joseph Richardson at the toy shop engaged in selecting toys for her little girls who she said had still implicit faith in the visits of the Dutch Saint. I told her I almost regretted that the illusion was dispelled from the mind of Augustus but our friend Tracy’s arguments had partly convinced him and when he asked me soberly and earnestly to tell him was it so the truth was not to be disguised. I came home with a violent headache. After tea accompanied Clary to the New Church to hear Dr. Rudd preach a very flat sermon which was intended to be very sublime and impressive. The Church was full because it was Christmas eve and because an Episcopalian was to preach in the Presbyterian Church. I think they will all be satisfied with this experiment. We went at half past six and came home at half past eight!! I never heard the service so miserably read. During the sermon the Dr once lost his place or his notes altogether and there was a pause of about two minutes which seemed 20, in the middle of a sentence. I did not know but he had fallen in a fit for I had not ventured to raise my eyes during the [end of this page; continues on next page] performance. I wish I did not always feel myself obliged to blush for the sins of the whole world as well as my own. . . .