In a family with NINE children, never mind the in-laws, the Smiths of Suttons celebrated many birthdays over a calendar year. And today, February 8th, celebrates the birth of the first of those nine: Augusta Smith. Born the year after her parents’ March 1798 marriage, Augusta was “on the way” by the time her mother, also Augusta Smith, finished penning her delightful diary for that year. Alas! no — yet? — diary for 1799. But the thoughts Augusta/Mamma has about becoming a mother exist in the diary we do have. And thanks (once again!) to Mark Woodford, I’ve examined and been able to mull over these thoughts of hers.
But my birthday gift — to myself (birthday last week) and to Augusta Smith Wilder — was the unearthing of a letter, written in 1824, and penning by my Two Augustas! It pre-dates a letter to the same recipient which Angela in Alberta has transcribed.
This letter’s “unearthing” was due to Craig in Australia — a man with an eagle eye!
Let me share a little morsel
When the seller sent scans of this letter, I was EXCEPTIONALLY puzzled to see what seemed to read “Dear Aug” — yet how could young Augustina (as she signed herself here) be writing to herself??
It took a few lines of the letter to solve that conundrum:
“Dearest Aug See the consequence of chatter, chatter all round! the childrens tongues are running so fast & so bewilderingly that I was absolutely going to address myself, & more they will not let me scratch it out but insist on its remaining as a specimen of my distraction.”
Had I been able to read the lines on this page, I would have been spared the “but how???” head-scratching — which lasted two loooonnnggg weeks, while the letter moved through the postal systems of Canada and the US. I swear it took longer to reach me than to reach its recipient in ITALY in 1824!
(though I’m VERY grateful it finally surfaced!! You simply cannot replace a “one-of-a-kind” item like an original autograph letter signed.)