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Letter from Sophia Peabody Hawthorne to Wellington Peabody, Oct. 1828

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Date: 1828

Type: Letter

Categories: ,


This letter from nineteen-year-old Sophia to her brother Wellington, offers a glimpse into the dynamics of the Peabody family. Sophia offers updates on members of the family, including a description of her own recent trip to visit family friends and a reference to the poor health that plagued her throughout her life. And, like any good sibling, Sophia ends the letter with a postscript mocking her brother’s spelling.



Letter from Sophia Peabody Hawthorne to Wellington Peabody, Oct. 1828

Transcribed by Shelby Spaulding

Several annotations were made after the creation of the letter in a different hand. They are bracketed { } where they appear in the text.

{Peabody, Sophia

Wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne}


22nd of October {1828}


My dearest Welly,

I hope your little affectionate heart

has not felt any thing like neglect because I have

not written to you for such a long time – for I

assure you I think of you every day. But you

know my poor head will not allow of much exertion,

& you will forgive me for its sake, I know

I have lately been to Dedham with Lydia to see

Miss Haven & staid a week. You cannot think

what a beautiful time I had, for I was strong enough

to walk about almost any where, & besides walking,

I rode & even sailed. Judge Haven’s house is very

large & delightfully situated, & his family the stillest

I ever was in, & you know quiet is the pleasantest

there is for my head. They were so kind & careful

about making the least noise, that I became quite

in love with them all. One lovely day, I went

down into the garden, & took the house, which you

shall see when you come home. There is a piazza

around it & on one side a woodfire covers the

pillars & fence entirely, & Langsdown [sic] in graceful

festoons all about. There I an artificial pond

in the garden, & a little grove of trees with seats

in it, & all kinds of fruit trees scattered over the

grounds. – I have some news to tell you, Welly dear,

& I hope that you will be as glad as we are. Our dear

Lydia is engaged to Mr. Samual Haven! I know you

will admire him, when you come to be acquainted

with him, & acknowledge him fully worthy to have

such a prize.

I am rejoiced that you continue to be con

[Page Two]

tinue happy & contented, because it proves that you

are in a wise & good state of mind. You will be

doubly dear to us when you come back, & we shall

be rejoiced to find our brother, who is so capable of

every thing noble, acting up to his capabilities, & showing

that he knows how to value the gifts & favours [sic]

of his Father in Heaven. Lydia sends her best love to you.

Elizabeth’s school grows larger & is very

pleasant. Miss Lewis gives drawing lessons three

times a week to the scholars, & Mr Rapell is

now well enough to begin his labors again.

Mary & Susan Benjamin came home from their

travels vastly better & desire their love to you.

Mary has grown fleshy & really rosy; if you can

imagine such a thing! Susan says that Mary is

always well enough when she is doing nothing.

George is still very happy with Mr Leale

& goes on with his german [sic] very swimmingly –

Nattias is the same honest, kind soul, & even wears

a longcoat Sundays! He looks like a real man

at such times. Now, my love, I must bid

you goodbye, wishing you all manner of kind

things – & Never forget your true sis – Sophy.

When you have time, dearest, you must try to

spell correctly in your letters, would you?