June 1, 1827
My dear Mrs. Briggs:
After leaving you I had a pleasant ride to Boston, save the suspicion that I had left that conserve so carefully put up. By the way, please mention in a letter the proportions of the ingredients. The remainder of the day I spent at Deacon Melledge's. I saw some company, among others, an English lady who has been teaching in a private school in Boston a few years. She had a deal to say about her success, such as having a greater number of pupils than others. To sum up the whole, however, she supposes her success to be owing to her numerous circle of friends. I could not but secretly say, "How Unlike Miss Grant."
Saturday, a little past noon, I met Miss Grant. I never was more rejoiced to see her. I think her countenance has never indicated so much health since she came to L. Soon after the commencement of school, she took cold and I think has not been so well since. She has been afflicted with a daily headache part of the time, tho at present she suffers but a little from that kind of pain in her heart. She thinks her health has been improved from the exercise she has taken. The flexibility of Miss Grant's joints gives her a week since, she commenced teaching great advantage. Little more than the young ladies. Last Friday we had a very amusing scene. The seats and tables were so placed as to give most of the floor to the young ladies, and as we keep the swing partitions raised to accommodate monitorial recitations, a convenient station was furnished for Miss Grant. Just imagine nearly 80 young ladies, arranged in geometrical order, all jumping at the same moment with the additional exercise of constant laughter. Miss Grant never appeared more lively and graceful. But to damp the merriment, the leader of the play received an injury to her ankle, which has confined her to the chamber ever since. But tho' lame, she designs to give you a particular account on the last page of this." (Ed.: It appears in that place, written in that maddening old-fashioned and thrifty manner -- one set of lines scribbled at right angles over another set. It could be read with a magnifying glass. And is plainly initialed 'Z.P.G." (Zilpah P. Grant)
"We board at Mr. Bly's. So far, I really like our accommodations and independence. Miss Grant says but little as you might expect, but when I tell her, that on many accounts I think this is a better place than . . . I mean better than I expected, she seems in her countenance to assent to it.
"One exception, however, O.T. Esq. is our company at table with Mrs. Bly. At first, he attempted to introduce religious subjects, but you will know Miss Grant has a talent to evade whatever she thinks it expedient to evade. Of late, he is very silent on such points and we have heard, by the by, that he says he is afraid to 'express his opinion of religion to Miss Grant." The division of Londonderry, affairs at the city of Washington, and political subjects generally furnish us with abundance of table talk. Sometimes the story is so important, that it seems as if the last saucer of tea would be spun out to an insupportable length. This is more tedious now Miss Grant is confined from the table and I must be the chief replier. Occasionally I get excused but I suppose it very important to treat a very polite carver with all due attention. We rarely see him except at the table. He never comes into Miss Grant's room, only when he introduces Mr. Bell or some gentleman from abroad. And then Miss Grant is particular to invite him to walk in and take a seat and particular not to invite him at any other time.
"We have good food. For breakfast and dinner we have meat and always that which is very nice. Mrs. Bly is very attentive, especially since Miss Grant's sickness. She is as ready to do as to say.
"We have a good school. The monitorial system is more popular than it ever has been. The school had been brought into a very good state before Miss Grant's lameness, which gives us a great advantage now. She hears the senior class recite twice a day at her chamber, besides her individual attention to many others. But we think it not best to admit the young ladies into the chamber generally without an object.
My regards to your mother and husband and my love to little John
Grant. (Ed.: John Grant Briggs, named for Miss Zilpah.)