The Papers of Joseph Henry


48. TO HARRIET HENRY

My Dearest

The cars leave at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning and therefore unless I write this evening I shall not have an other opportunity of sending a letter until tomorrow night.
This has been a dark and cloudy day of rather plesant temperature with rain in the morning the first which has fallen in this place for about four weeks. Though I have been some what lonely and a littl anxious about you I have spent the day rather plesantly and I hope some what profitably. I have been twice at Church with Dr Lindsly and in the morning heard a very interesting discourse from a gentleman from Boston whoes name I have forgotten. His subject was the Mysteries of Revelation and for clearness of exposition soundness of doctrine and aptness of illustration I have heard nothing to surpass it for a long time.
There must always be mystery however elevated our intellectual powers we are the finite contemplating the operations of the Infinite. The traveller who assends the gentle acclevity of a mountain beholds at each step new objects breaking in upon his vew but still his prospect is bounded and perhaps interrupted by obstructions at a little distance. As he assends higher these no longer obscure the vew but beyond is the bounding[A] circle of earth and heaven—even this expands in dimensions as his progress continues upward but to what ever mountain height he may clime his vision can ↑never↓ encompass the earth and his vew must still be terminated on all sides by the misty mingling of ocean and sky.
This afternon the church went in at half past four on account of the funeral of one of the elders and instead of a sermond a short address was given with the administration of the sacrament.
I hope my dearest you have recovered from the attack and that I will find you enjoying much better health than when I left home or indeed than you have done for several months past.
You have been to careless of your health and while you have been anxious about the children and myself my[B] better half yourself has not been thought of. You know I cannot do without you scarcely for a single day for though I may be from home for several days in sucession yet you make the arrangements—you facilitate my starting and highten the pleasure of return by the long anticipated kiss and the fond embrace.
I have found this house Gadsby's a very plesant stopping place. The room is comfortable and the servants attentive. Mr Gadsby[1] is quit obliging but the expense is rather heavy.
Washington is very beautiful at this season the trees are in full foliage & the fields around covered with a righ carpet of green.
I called last evening at Mr Frosts the old gentleman[C] was apparently much gratified with my call. Charlot made many enquiries about you the tall maden Lady Miss Frost was as calm and prim as ever.
I have been quite well since I left home the pill I took a few days ago have done me much good. I was however very greatly fatigued last night and could scarcely get asleep with the pain of my feet and leags after walking so far in the Procession and about the Town.
It is now half past ten and after commending you our dear little ones and myself to the Father of all merces I will retire to rest. I am writing this in my room on a little table at the foot of my bead after it is folded I will carry it downstairs and put it in a bag that hangs against the wall and which will be taken before I am up to the cars. That you may be preserved through the darkness of night and from the evils of the day that you may continue to be blessed in this world for many years and when you leave it have a full assurance of greate blessing in the world to come is the sincere prayer my dear Wife of your affectionate Husband. It is necssary almost to a proper appreciation of those we love that they should occasionally be placed in unusual positions with reference to us. That sickness or absence or some other circumstance should break the monotony ordinary existence inorder that we should know the state of our own feelins— The fact that I am from home and that I left you sick calls fourth my warmest feelings and at this moment I can think of nothing which would give me greate pleasure than to clasp you in my arms.
Do you know Dearest[D] that yesterday was our wedding day[2] and that we are getting to be an old couple. Good night

Darest[E]

[P.S.]
Please kiss all the children for me.
Family Correspondence, Henry Papers, Smithsonian Archives.
    [1] Presumably a relative of the original proprietor, John Gadsby, who had died in 1844. He had a son named John Gadsby, Jr., who managed the hotel at one time. The 1846 Washington City Directory lists a William Gadsby at the hotel's address. Dorothy H. Kabler, The Story of Gadsby's Tavern (Alexandria, 1952), pp. 23, 51; James Goode, Capital Losses: A Cultural History of Washington's Destroyed Buildings (Washington, 1979), pp. 168–169.
    [2] The Henrys were actually married on May 3, 1830. Henry Papers, 1:274n; 6:443n.
    [A] Altered from bound
    [B] Altered, possibly from I
    [C] Altered from G
    [D] Altered from d
    [E] Remainder written in margin.