Abram P. Maury to Nicholas P. Trist
|Dear Sir,||Poplar Grove August 12th 1821|
I have at length so far conquered my aversion to writing, as to sit down with a view to the fulfilment of the promise which I gave you at parting; my feelings have prompted me to do so, before this, frequently: but I have delayed it untill I find that near three four months have elapsed since I arrived home. nNeglect & forgetfulness, however, do not always go together—I am sure it does not in this case; for I often look back.—& look back with pleasure—to the evenings which we, in company with our friends, have spent together, as verdent spots in the barren waste of that life which I led at West Point. I struggled there against adverse currents—I was engaged in pursuits altogether uncongenial to my taste & inclination; & as I had been too much the child of caprice & romance to move in a direction different from the pole to which they trembled, I thought it best to resign, & prosecute the study of the Law. This Step I have no reason to regret; since my arrival home I have had the disposal of my own time; I have an office to myself—books to amuse & instruct me, &, in my hours of relaxation, friends & acquaintances of both sexes to converse with. There is no corporal of the guard to summon me, when in the full tide of social converse, to perform my tour of guard duty, & to rule for a few hours Lord of the barracks-stoup; there is no plodding mathematical professor to mark others above me for arithmetical solutions of algebraical questions: there is no band of music to remind me, by the infernal clangor of fife & drums, when the day dawns, & no bustling important orderly sergeant to report me for being absent from roll-call: but I rise when I please & go to bed when it suits me; & of a clear, moonlight night can enjoy the repose & freshness of the hour, & the company of girls without being reported as absent from my room in study hours.
I carried your packet as far as Baltimore, & intended to have continued on to Charlottesville but was told by the genttlemen who accompanied me, & who had come that route a few weeks previous that the stage-lines were out of repair—that the horses were nearly broken down, & that the route by Harpers ferry was every way preferable; he proposed going that way; I told him I had no objections, if it were not for the packet which you had confided to my care; he wished to see it; he told me that he had been a postmaster for six years (which I knew to be a fact as he lived in the town near which I was raised) & of course that he knew the rate of postage; & he added that your packet would not cost more than a half dollar of or seventy five cents at farthest, if sent by the mail. as I knew but little of the post office regulations & as I knew my companion to be a correct man, I did not for a moment doubt his statement. we agreed to go the latter route, & he carried [the] packet to the post office. You may judge [. . .] of my surprise when I heard by means of a relation that Mrs Triste had to pay $26 postage for it! I hope you will give me credit for sincerity when I tell you that I would much rather have lost it myself than have been unwittingly the occasion of her losing it: I regret that I did not go to the post office myself, for I would have enquired the amount of postage. I have been thus particular because I understand Mrs Trist has received wrong impressions towards me, on account of it; I hope you will inform her of these circumstances: I would write her myself, if I knew her address. who is the head of the fourth class? who compose the five? I find the Cadets were brilliantly received at Boston: when do you expect Williams? I got a letter from him not long since. give my respects to Washington, Wirt, Wallace, & Newman & belive me to be
P.S. write me [. . .] immediately on receipt of this, & do not forget to give Mrs Trist the above explantion. I should be glad to hear every thing relating to the academy