This Week in History: August 23

This week, a glimpse into everyday life for the Campbells.  Virginia writes to Robert from Philadelphia and she talks about the children, trips to the dentist, travelling, and she gives her two cents on an acquaintance’s less-than-affectionate marriage. Does this sound familiar?  Virginia’s sentiments just go to show that times really have not changed all that much.

Incidentally, Mount Carbon was a bustling railroad hub, located about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia.  The Mr. Otey referred to in the post script is Virginia’s sister’s husband, the infamous slave trader Walter Otey.  To put it lightly, he was not very popular in the Kyle/Campbell family.  (For more on Walter, see last week’s post here.)

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Philadelphia Aug 26th 1856.
My Beloved Husband,
We arrived here yesterday at 12 o’clock after a very pleasant  trip from Mt. Carbon.  The weather is delightfully cool and we  enjoy going about in the city to the shops.

I was so pleased to find a letter waiting for me, in which you  recommend me to come home with Mr. Ed Miller, Brother Hugh thinks we had better return with Mr. Wallace and I think so myself-I  think he would be willing to stop if it was necessary and I would not like to ask Mr. Miller as he always travels in such haste.

I have not given up all hope that you will yet be able to come  for me I know you will if you possibly can.

You seem to speak as if there still existed an uncertainty in regard to your movements.  I would be so delighted if I thought there was a prospect of having you to take us out,  but dear husband I will not be selfish, it is a long and  fatiguing journey for you to take merely to turn around and  return, if you could stay a few days it would be so delightful.   I will do the best I can for the children and I trust we will be  spared to reach home in safety.

I wish you could see our dear little family.  Barbara & Eliza and the three children are just starting to go out to Fair Mount, and they are all so delighted.  The two little ones are fixed up in Polka jackets which I got them this morning and which delight the nurses, and they do look so sweetly and act so sweetly that I wish in my heart you could just see them for a few moments.  They were half an hour telling every body good bye and getting started.

Mr. McCauly dined here to day. He is just from Brattleboro he  speaks of Charlie as much improved others think differently.  I  think it is all very well for them to feel so encouraged for how blank life would be all these long years. I saw Miss Wharton today, I will get her a couple of  dresses to make for Bettie-she is making up Miss Puss Morgan’s  wardrobe to be married-she told me to whom had I forget the name.  I shall not get any dresses at present for myself as Levy has  not received his winter silks or woolens yet.

Dear Husband if you were only here to go with me to Dr. Hay’s I  hate so to go by myself there.  I am going over to Dr. White’s to get him to appoint a time to fix my teeth.

I saw Mrs. Stiles yesterday, they are busy preparing to go to  Europe.  We also saw Mrs. Bonneville she talks of going to Europe with them – I dont see why they  married they never live together it is so with many couples I find I trust we will never arrive at that point of indifference.

Your devoted wife
Virginia
Sister received a letter from Mr. Otey at the Sweet Springs, he was very glad that Bettie was so well satisfied.

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