The author of this letter has not been identified. Her signature seems to be Eleanor G. Loren but I can find no one by that name in the vicinity of Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio at that period of time.
Eleanor wrote the letter to her good friend, Laura Fuller Beecher (1807-1884), the daughter of Abraham Beecher (1771-1845) and Lydia Day (1770-1847). Laura married Dr. Langdon Ithiel Marvin (1805-1869), the son of David Marvin (1764-1841) and Deborah Baldwin (1765-1849), on 14 May 1828. Dr. Marvin was a member of the New York Assembly in 1840 and served a surgeon in the 87th New York Regiment during the Civil War.
Addressed to Miss Laura Beecher, Northampton, Montgomery County, New York
The Valley of Solitude
[Near Wooster, Ohio]
April 16th 1828
Oh! My Dear Laura. My heart vibrated with unusual pleasure whilst perusing your very kind and affectionate letter. It yielded me a source of pleasure not to be described. O, every line called to mind the sweet hours I had spent in your society — particularly the last evening. The conversation of that evening will ever stand grand in my memory. Laura, what were my feelings on the morning you left Solitude. Ah! I felt that I was bidding you adieu for the last time. I hastened to the walks we had frequented so often together but O, where was Laura — the friend and companion of my solitary hours. She was gone. Past scenes my memory wandered o’er & pensive sadness filled my heart to think they were no more. Do write often for indeed it is a pleasure for me to know that I am remembered by those I love & receive frequent tokens of their remembrance and affection.
My dear friend, I greatly fear that cruel fate has destined us to pass our lives far, very far, from each other. At present, our barks appear to be steered different courses, yet a friendly gale may blow and waft us nearer to each other. If so, O what pleasure. But alas! We must wait and see what cruel fate has decreed before we anticipate such happiness. I have not been in Wooster for some time but the girls write to me every week & I will endeavor to detail the proceedings of our little society as minutely as possible.
Wooster is much more lively at present than it has been for several months past. Dear Laura, you say that you will expect to hear of a number of weddings in our place. the prospect is very dull at present, yet it is true cupids darts are flying in every direction. But none have been very mortally wounded. Indeed, the blind God has had very little to do since you left there. There has been but one wedding. Miss Christmas married a Presbyterian Minister — a missionary — & is now settled on a farm near Beaver. And pray Laura, would you not thought her too gay when you first became acquainted with her — to please a man of the holy order? But every one suits his own taste.
My dear friend, you appear to think I am better prepared to sympathize with those that are in love — that is to say if cupid has wounded me as well as Mr. Shuckers. Who even wrote to you about that foolish report? Sophronia, I expect. If so, I shall have a crow to pick with her the first time I see her & you hope it has. You are a pretty girl for wishing that. No, no my dear friend, I wear a shield that is proof against the deadliest shaft that cupid can send. I see you smiling at my boasting but tis a solemn fact. You also requested me to tell you if there was any truth in it. I will with the frankness of a sister [say] there is none. O, Laura, you know they are famous for reports in Wooster & this is like all others — utterly without a foundation. Believe me, my friend, for indeed there is no truth in it. Laura, Mr. Shuckers is a gentleman I respect very highly & will in spite of all their slandering tongues can say, but as to love that is entirely out of the question.
Dear Friend, present my compliments to Mr. Marvin & tell him that I thank him from the depth of my heart for the billet enclosed in your letter & that I shall ever think of him with sentiments of the highest respect & esteem.
I presume my dear Laura I shall have the pleasure of calling you Mrs. Marvin for a pleasure it will certainly be for me to know that you are united to the object of your choice & one whom I trust will know how to appreciate your worth. And don’t forget to send me a piece of the wedding cake to dream on &c. &c. &c.
Laura, I forgot to get a lock of your hair before you left Wooster so if you please, send it to me the next time you write & with it a lock of Mr. Marvin’s. I will blend them together & have them put in a ring & wear it [as] remembrance of my two friends of New York. You see that I shall ever consider the reticular friend of Laura Beecher as my friend although I have never seen him, nor do I ever expect to. What you wrote on the billet I will keep sacred within my own heart & I do most sincerely thank you for the frank around you made. You say that you have many things to tell me that you can’t write. You may write with perfect safety. My letters are opened by none but myself.
O, we have another gentleman added to our little social circle, a Mr. Mortimer — or rather Lord Mortimer. Can you tell me where we will find a Miss Fittsallen? I do not think he will do for _____. He is rather small & I think is in mind as well as body. He is teaching the French & Spanish. They are trying to make up a class of ladies. I learn that the girls in general don’t like him. He deals out most too large doses of flattery. I suspect you remember one said Mr. Bostwick who visited at Cherry Grove very often. He is gone to New York. He spent several days in Wooster & principal part of his time at the Grove. O, I am interrupted. I see several ladies & gentlemen riding up the hill. They are gone & who do you think they were? the Miss Sloanes, I think, & Mr. Shuckers. O, we had delightful walk to the “rock” & it was there proposed that we should each write a piece of poetry. The gentlemen did, but we were excused upon condition we would another time. I will give you a copy. Mr. Shuckers [wrote]:
“Spring again in smiles appears
And charms our raptured eyes,
O rosy dawn your genial aviz
To Nature’s vales — awake arise.
Half opened portal of the skies
Thy beams — celestial wanders here
Hope — vain to me this smiling ‘guise
Deceives — forebodings of that dreadful fear.
I received a letter from Sophronia by M___ with a request to go to a ____. I shall go on Monday but will not have time to go & see Ruth. T. C. ___ leaves Wooseter tomorrow for good. O, Laura, there is something so mournful in bidding a friend adieu that my heart dies within me. Is there a heart so cold, so dead, it never grieved to say farewell? In me such coldness hath no part. Past scenes my memory wanders per, &c. Stelle is in Wooster yet but expects to go soon. O, my dear friend, you know the good qualities she [possesses]. Yet I fear I shall soon have to lose her. I am glad upon her own account she is going for ___ her path has been strewn with thorns thus far & she appears to be patiently waiting to see what fate will next demand. I will give you piece of poetry T. C. _____ composed & gave you, my friend. O, remember that there is a stream running before the “rock” & two beech trees bending oer it, one which is engraved the names of my friends last summer. Mr. Hacket gave it the name of Forget-me-not & he composed the piece there.
Thou “Solitude” enchanting spot
How sweetest place on earth
Those hallowed halls “Forget-me-not”
Wakes memory into birth.
How oft beside this murmering rill
Have I with pleasure strayed
Still gazing on the distant hill
That overlooks the glade.
Imagination here can rave
To earthly remotest end
And call to mind an absent love
Or mourn an absent friend.
Sublime the thoughts which here arise
In contemplation sweet,
And pure & mild as cloudless skies
On crystal dreams that meet.
Here on a silent summer’s eve
When nature seeks repose,
I’ll sit me on the “Rock” and grieve
To mitigate my woes.
And while that sacred monument
To evening breezes bends,
I’ll wander here & here lament
And mourn for absent friends.
I must ideed bid you adieu for my paper & I expect your patience say Eleanor, in mercy, stop! Adieu, my dearest friend, & don’t forget to remember me to Mr. Marvin & may heaven bless you both us & ever shall be the prayer of your affectionate friend, — Eleanor G. Loren
Oh! My Dear friend. I have not told you half that I wanted to nor could I between this & tomorrow night. Write often for alas! Our last refuge to converse with each other is through the medium of our pens. Your brother & sister is well. They were in Solitude last week & John — O, he is the sweetest child I ever saw. Sarah Platt is going to marry a Dr. B____ of Columbus. O, she is the wildest girl I ever saw. I had a letter from her not long since. It was ____ in every line but indeed I think her a very amiable girl.