Elder Durand was a lovely man, an able preacher, fluent writer and bold defender of salvation by grace. He was a highly esteemed gift to his church, and his labor of love and devotion to the cause of truth was appreciated by his brethren.
|Diary of Silas Durand|
Bought a coat for nine dollars, to be paid in 4 weeks. Also pair of drawers for $1.25. In the evening I went over to Mr. Church’s. Cassie was there and Miss Munson. Cassie is one of the best girls I know and I am almost in love with her.
|sample diary page, partly pencil, partly ink|
I haven’t any very clearly defined feelings today. The outward world looks somewhat dreary – and as for the inner world – there are times when a veil seems thrown over every bright prospect, a general veil like the gloom of a November sky – and this is such a time.
If you are crazy, tell me so – if you are in love tell me so – and if you are both (which I fear is the case, for the two diseases generally go together) tell me so. – Oh, Miss Jenny! Miss Jenny! Thou art the syren whose enchanting spells have nearly put at nought the man of philosophy, as the Syrens of old nearly decoyed Ulysses on his return to Ithica, and would have done it, if they had been permitted by the gods!
...I meet with those every day whom I might “make love to” with all the pleasure in the world. I meet with those who are full of “spiritual influences” and who imbue one with “electrical sympathies.” But I look ahead, and in the mist I see shadowy forms of little flaxen headed urchins, munching bread and butter, and I cannot discover the “great loaf and the cow.” I see the outline of a beautiful figure, and the features of a pleasant face, but I cannot see the hearth, the parlor, the generous table. Call me “calculating” if you please. I am calculating, and I calculate to have the wherewithal to procure me a “cottage in this wilderness” before I take any gentle creature from the comforts of a father’s house to share life with me.
|Closing signature, James to Silas|
The house in which my father was born was built midway up the mountain; below it, on the opposite side of the road, came the barn, an apple orchard, cherry and other fruit trees, corn and wheat fields, meadow land, and a stretch of woods beyond.; behind it were the sheds covering the oven and wash-house. The woods reached to the top of the mountain, where the eye ranged over a vast expanse of lowland, consisting of nearly unbroken forest; a spire on the horizon beyond a blue expanse of water indicated the site of New York City. - John Durand, The Life and Times of Asher B. Durand. Hensonville, NY: Black Dome, 2007; orig. pub. By Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894.
American villages in colonial times resembled each other in one particular – every man was obliged to get his living according to his aptitudes; the chief end of man in all was to ensure the welfare of himself and family to the best of his ability or opportunity. Nobody profited by inherited capital or superior rank; if anybody possessed money enough to buy the land he cultivated – he was comparatively rich, and that was all; but he had to labour like the rest, and derive his support, as well as added wealth, mainly from the crops he raised.
|Sarah's latest obsession|
|James to Rosina|
I have fitted you out with a Papier Maché Desk with every thing necessary to carry on your correspondence, and I think you will discover the hint which I wish to convey by such a present. You will find in it all kinds of letter and note paper and envelopes, besides transparent wafers [?], sealing wax, a box of pens, pencils, paper knife, visiting cards etc. I want it particularly understood that the small sheets are not intended for you to write to me on. I have put into the desk plenty of such paper as this one sheet of which I expect to see again almost every week. You must not let Silas have it for his ordinary writing speeches etc. Foolscap is good enough for such purposes. You will also find postage stamps for the use of you and Bessie. Besides the desk I send you a light silk dress, which I hope will please you.