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[139] to enable you to understand the grammar and etymology of your own, and also to enjoy the numerous allusions to and quotations from the authors of old Rome, with which elegant composition is so often interspersed. Further, the study of Latin will be a very proper discipline to your mind. The value of French, as a part of female education, I do not think so high as that of Latin.1 Fashion and custom, though, have settled this question against me; and, in fact, have required from every lady a knowledge of this tongue. You, therefore, should learn French, as it were, in self-defence, to show that you are not behind that standard of education fixed for ladies. Remember, further, that books will be constant friends, to relieve you from lonesomeness and perhaps sorrow. . . .

These are incoherent hints, my Jane, which I wish you to think of, and, if willing, to adopt. I might expand them into a treatise. I hope Mary—who is not so docile as you—will imbibe some of your spirit of study, some of your willingness to undertake labor. She has fine intelligence and an inquisitiveness, which I think a good omen. I hope she will not abandon any of that; though I wish she would try to bear her little disappointments, in not being able to have her questions answered, with more nerve. She must remember the fable of Hercules and the laborer. The laborer's complaints and Mary's tears are equally unavailing.

There is little in Washington to interest you, or I would have written you about what I have seen and heard here. There are many strangers here. Indeed, Washington is peopled by them. It is a great encampment, where some pitch their tents for the season, and others for a month or a week. The Capitol you have read a description of. It is a sumptuous edifice, worthy in every way its high object, as the place of meeting of the representatives of the greatest republic on earth. The President's palace is of equal attraction. The description given of it in your ‘Juvenile Miscellany’ is correct. I have been in many of its rooms, and seen General Jackson (the old tyrant), who appeared very infirm. He seemed to have hardly nerve enough to keep his bones together. When I first called upon him, he had just gone out with some gentlemen to see a horse. He soon returned, and went into conference with Secretary McLane, who was with him when I was introduced. Judge Story has shown me great kindness and afforded me many facilities here, for which I am grateful. He sends his regards to father. I wish, Jane, you would ask father to send me, enclosed in a letter, twenty dollars, if convenient. If not convenient, I will try to do without. It would be a comfort to me to have more than I have. My expenses here are considerable,—board ten dollars a week,—and I wish to stop a day or two in Baltimore and Philadelphia on my return. The money will be remitted, of course, at my risk.

This letter is written in the Supreme Court, while F. S. Key is speaking in a case of great magnitude.

Your affectionate brother,


1 His foreign travels changed his opinion as to the study of the French language.

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