[There was no date on this letter but it was postmarked 1844. It was addressed
Per Hibernia Steamship
Miss Murray
2 Wilson Street
New Year's Day 1844

It was stamped with a large postal stamp America £ but the rest of the stamp is unreadable. Postage was paid in England upon receipt of the letter. No envelope was used. Paper was folded and sealed with wax.
D. Bilodeau

SJC comments (Oct 2002):
It is interesting to note that the US was slow to embrace the British invention of the postage stamp. The first US stamps were available in 1847.
This explains lack of stamp on Walter's 1844 epistle.]

Roxbury nr Boston
New Years Eve 1844
My dear Anne

This being the last fortnightly steamer, I have an additional inducement to writing you a long letter as a month will intervene before I can again address you. The last fortnightly steamer from England arrived here about the 18th so that there are now nearly 3 weeks to elapse before I receive any more letters. It seems a long time to wait, but as it is improbable that her Majesty will dispatch an extra mail on my account I suppose I must submit to it.

You have indeed sent me some news and no mistake. Mama getting fat! I hope in this you have told me the truth, for this is so improbable, I might say impossible, that I can't go it, that's a fact. However, as it is vouched for by so respectable an authority as yourself, I will at least try to account for it even tho' I do not believe it. Perhaps it is because she is released of me, or perhaps she had fed on poisons so long that she had fattened on them.

"A highly nervous and excitable person." Thank heavens you do not attend any of our American "revivals" or I should expect you to go real stark raving mad. Pray what business have you to be "nervous and highly excitable", I should like to know. Well! I hope my sudden departure has not excited you into any very great pitch of frenzy. I suppose the love tale you have mentioned is the old story; hard-hearted father, cruel mother, tender young lady; worthy but poor young gentleman - "the course of true love never, etc" - pistols, daggers, horsehounds, etc etc - a sad business, a very sad business but better than marrying cousins, I imagine.

And so Josephine is becoming orthodox after waging fierce war with the world so long. Well wonders will never cease. Aunt Fanny castle-building eh! Well that's more likely than all, and perhaps it is as likely that her castle will topple down like the previous ones. I have a notion they would get along well in N. York if uncle has any friends there.

"You tell me you are indifferent to these things, but prove to me your interest in them". My dear Anne, I shall do no such thing. I shan't take the trouble. How often am I to tell you that this is my affair and that you had nothing to do with it. The only justification for meddling with another person's matters is a submission to it, as the only justification for treason is its success. As your treason has no such justification perhaps you will discontinue it. One of the Lutleys is exactly my age to a day - is he the one who has just died? If so I trust I shall long outlive my contemporary. Another Sunday School marriage too & in the same family.

Charlotte has left us & and so has the foreman Henry Studdley. They are both to work again in another office. Henry as a partner. He is one of the best job printers in Boston & was a sailor for 3 years. Charlotte is setting her cap for him most furiously. He is no fool and sees through, I am sure, as well as everybody else but he treats her very kindly & I think will be caught in the toils tho' he is a prudent chap. She deserves to be married, I am sure, for her pains. There are none left in the office now but myself and the boy. We shall have another foreman on Monday but a very inferior printer. He will be what they call "a cheap hand" & will answer Mr. D's purpose in that respect at least. Most people say it will be mistaken economy but Devereux is determined to pay as little for "help" as possible.

I am getting along better than before at learning the different sorts of type but have been turned about so at different things, setting, rolling, presswork, filling in, machine press and so forth that I'm not improved in swiftness. I enclose a specimen of work done by his machine hand press worked by myself principally. It is as set up by Henry Studdley. Now Charlotte has left us I suppose I shall improve rapidly. Filmer is getting along pretty well with his 7 dollars per week. I spoke for him to Mr. D. about his vacant situation. He has engaged, but Filmer will have a chance, he says, if this one does not suit him or he wants more help. Mr. Filmer has almost quarrelled with the Turners. Henry wants him to lend him money, which he will not do so. Henry is ready to eat him. Henry is indeed a caution to us. He married so young that he already feels the inconvenience of a family tho' he has but one child. Tho' he has just obtained an advance of 2 dollars per week he is full that poorer than before, for he is launching out into all sorts of extravagance; has already forestalled his advance for a full 6 months. He owes his mother as much or more than a month's board for himself & wife & has obtained on credit a coat for 8 dollars; 14 dollars worth of jewelery etc etc besides going to Balls & Theatre. With my board alone I am much richer than he and would not change places with him for 6 dollars, wife & all.

Jewellery seems to be very, very common here, everybody wears some, servants, & workmen, & men wear rings - sometimes 2 or 3 pins, brooches, & gold combs are common. I have heard Charlotte say, speaking of somebody's owing money - "I would sell my jewellery rather than not pay it" as if that was the last thing to be parted with. And yet the love of it exists in her in a comparatively very mild form, tempered as it is with the love of religion.

What a rascally set of religious professors there are here as elsewhere. One in particular in whose store Mr. D. keeps a card press is a choice specimen. He practises the most dishonest ways of getting business. If a lady passes by and sees specimens of Mr. D.'s cards hanging out and happens to go in and seeing Mr. D.'s workmen engaged or out, speaks to this Mr. Greene, he will take the job & get it executed elsewhere & pocket what he can get out of it. He is up to other dishonest practices, and the other day Mr. D. went into his store & heard him offer the Boston Almanac to some Customers, saying that he was the only one who had it so early, having contracted for it with the publisher's when he very well knew they had it at the same time next door & a hundred more places. Mr. D. had seen it in several places only a few minutes ago. Mr. D. having some difference with him about pirating on Mr. D.'s card business, went into his store the other day to speak to him about it & being rather a passionate man began in rather a hasty manner, when Mr. Greene stopped him with "Sir, are you a Christian?" a question which under such circumstances should have returned with a knock-down argument. This cold-blooded rascal is a very eminent member of a Christian Church.

Here I am (Sunday afternoon), in one of "those pretty white cottages" sitting alone like a bachelor, as I am, with the bright sun shining through a clear sky. It is cold & frosty & windy without but it is pleasant to look at from within & the sunlight coming in through 3 windows from 3 separate sides of the room makes it pleasanter still. I shall be alone all the afternoon & evening - alone, no, for I shall have you & the whole of my correspondents for companions. I shall not quarrel with my company. I have just put a thick hunk of wood upon the fire, or stove rather, and scod! I'll make a day of it.

Meanwhile I must not frighten the cat or the roosters & hens & must take especial care that the former does not seize upon the canary-bird, cage & all. Being a stranger almost, he has once attempted it, but his fair mistress showed poor master Tom that a lady's hand and a cat's ears may be too closely acquainted for safety of the latter. I have drawn the easy chair - a rocking-chair - up to the table upon which are writing materials, apples, nuts, & raisins & your handwriting & with these & my own thoughts for companions, doubt not I shall make out to get along considerable well. If tired of writing, I betake myself to reading; I have "Change for the American Notes", my own books, the "Mysteries of Paris", "Godey's Lady's Book", "Ladie's Companion", "The Destroyer", "Forest Days", "The Boston Pilot", "The Bay State Democrats", etc etc wherewith to amuse myself. But I doubt not I shall have enough to do without reading for I have two more such sheets as this to fill out before I leave off.

By Jove, here's Filmer - quite by accident, he has called to take a walk with me. Only the second time he has been out here, so we shall spend a pleasant afternoon together. I suppose in England such an innocent pleasure would be thought reprehensible but here I do everything I like that's reasonable and this is. I have given him a sheet of paper and a pen and [he] is writing too.

You will observe that I have changed pens. I have been discussing very much lately, with Devereux the m[?] of Dickens' American Notes. He speaks very bitterly of them. He has read them but certainly to very little purpose. I have never yet found a single American who could bring forward a single tangible [----------] with which they were evidently written, will acquit Dickens of having wilfully misrepresentated anything or anybody. For my part I believe he has [mis?]represented nothing wilfully or otherwise & I shall hold that opinion until the contrary is attempted to be proved at least. Devereux is so pigheaded & withal so ignorant on the subject and so very patriotic that I can't satisfy him anyway I can fix it. What a pity there is no standard but our own minds to judge it by. Well, well Devereux is a good hearted man, that's a fact. It will afford me plenty of food for speculation.

Have any of my letters been charged double? It is important that I should know, for I do not intend you should pay more than 1/6 and if ever through eagerness to write you a full account I have or shall make the letter over the half-ounce you must tell me of it & it shall not be repeated.

Filmer's sister has been to Mrs. Miller's to school and she has lately returned to it in the capacity of teacher; believe me, she is a very nice girl.

I hope you will write to me by every mail as they sail only once a month. Give me all the news you can. How is poor Edward getting on; I wrote to him by last boat. How are Uncle & Aunt G. getting on and that young Scamp Edmund Bunn.

When I have learnt my business, I intend working my way all over the U.S. & perhaps most part of the world, but I shall endeavour to be like a rolling snowball not like a rolling stone, to gather on the way, not the reverse. I have no doubt it may be done if the Americans infuse a taste of their smartness into me.

After weighing my paper by such a crude pair of scales as I can manufacture, I am afraid that two of these sheets of early American paper will weigh more than the half-ounce so I shall only enclose a half sheet which I hope you will put in the post.

My darling, mama wants to know how I look. Now I don't keep company with any young lady whose admiration of my handsome appearance I can transmit for Ma's edification, nor do I practise so much looking in the glass as to be able exactly to tell her the precise point of personal beauty to which I have attained but pray tell her in order to take a weight off her mind that my friends (who are they?) tell me that I look much thinner than when I arrived here.