To: Miss Susan I. Harrison
Cumberland County, Va.
Tallahassee, Jan. 11th, 1834
Affliction seems to pursue us both, dear friend. I have very
recently heard of the bereavement you and your family have suffered
by the loss of your dear brother - for a long while I expected to hear
this, but finding the blow so long suspended I began to hope, he might
be spared to his family. But he was a Christian, & why should we wish
to have detained him from his home we often long ourselves to be at
rest in the graves & yet we are so selfish, that when our Lord calls
back to himself some of the beloved objects He has lent us to cheer our
earthly pilgrimage, we mourn & lament, sometimes refusing to be com-
forted because they are not. Perhaps I should not say we, for indeed
my dear Sukey, I believe you have made such attainments in grace as to be ready
at all times to hear what the Lord will speak, & to say "It is well". Still
I know when the spirit is most willing, these strokes are grievous to the flesh
& my sad heart is still sadder when I think of you all - of the widow
& orphan children - but most of all for you mother - oh I remember well
when my mother mourned for her first born - what she suffered then
no human being knows - I believe as there is no love like a mother's so
there is no grief like hers when her children are taken from her.
I will not attempt to offer words of consolation. I well know there is
no healing for wounds like this, but what the great Physician gives, &
of Him you all have knowledge, to Him you will apply in this time
of need & He will comfort you. I have heard none of the particulars
of your affliction. I hope when you can that you will write & tell me.
I feel anxious about you, you all especially my aunt and yourself & your precious
babe. God grant that little creature may prove a blessing & a comfort to you
as long as you live, but take care that you do not learn to love it too
well. I too had a child that I loved as my own - I loved him too
well. I had besides a great deal of pride in him, and many vain hopes
had I bound up in his life - he was a fine boy & we were to each other
like mother & son -- beautiful he was - but why do I not come to the
point? He was smitten with disease & in four days taken from me.
It was a dreadful fever that raged at Francis' - we were there & my
poor boy was the first of the white family that had it, & in his case I
believe it was yellow fever. Frances & all the children were ill, two of
them dangerously so. Sister escaped altogether, and I was permitted to aid
her in nursing all the rest, before I was taken. From the middle of
October until about Xmas I was confined to the house & often to my bed -
& during much of that time I was here alone, for Mary did not get back
until December - her arrival with James & Arthur cheered me so much
that I began to get better immediately. Through my difficulties &
dangers they were led back in safety, & I have ever since as if the
Lord had put a new song in my mouth, eve of praise to my God, who
hath love all things well. -- Papa had two right severe attacks of chills
and fever in the summer and fall and has been very feeble an thin until lately
he now begins to like himself again. He loves your mother dearly
and thinks much and often speaks of you all. Remember me affectionately
to each and all of your dear circle. May the Lord bless you my dear
friend and comfort you with His presence and his love.
Believe me with your unaltered affection,
Your L. B. R.
Mary sends her love & to Mrs. James.
I hope I shall be able to say more when
I write again.