Charles Willson Peale to Rubens Peale
Philadelphia, August 23, 1824
My rambles into the country has been of much service to me, something of Tenismus had long before I went into Maryland been troublesome, from what causes this tenismus came I cannot tell, but knowing that nature if not oppressed, will ever tend to heal and restore a disorganized body, and having used according to advice, Laudamum in my engestions of flaxseed, I found no advantage, rather I thought injury. I like not any of the stimelus, but that of nourishing food taken in small quanties, with exercise in the open air. Ripe fruits are given us to correct the heat of summer. The blackberries brought into our market have many berries amongst them not ripe. Those that pick then eat the lucious berries they pick and fill their baskets with the unripe and ripe mixed. There is also a great difference in the fruit, those bushes that cannot receive the heat of the sun are not so sweet even when full ripe. This is telling you what you know.
I took the Frankford stage last Sunday morning, and from the bridge took the road towards the Delaware, expecting that along the fences to meet with the object of my wishes, I went into the woods and low grounds without success enquiring of a woman at a farm house. She said that she believed that there were no black berries now. I took my rout along a path to the river and coming to a house of entertainment I got a drink of water and bought three cents worth of Gingerbread. Walked along the shore untill I came to the seat of Mr. John Lardner. I was acquainted with him and his family on my first coming to Pennsylvania. He was not at home and his wife told me that he would not come until dinner time. I did not wish to intrude myself on them for a dinner, she told me that they had lost a son 19 years old and she feared that Mr. Lardner would not bear the lose of so promissing a youth. They had lost another son of 22 years not long since, she was much affested with grief--
I hastened to make a sketch of the building it being of handsome architecture. Young men came to me while I was making my drawing. They offered me porter, etc. I prefered water yet it is not good near the river. I enquired my way to a road leading westward. I made a sketch of the next seat belonging to Mr. Slater (uninhabited), and then found the road and on my way to the Frankford Turnpike distant from the river I found plenty of the fruit I wanted and I determined to make the experiment of eating to fullness, and with blackberries and my gingerbread I made a hearty dinner. Three miles above Frankford I left the Turnpike and took a road towards Oxford Turnpike-- An appearance of a thunder cloud made me turn into farm house for shelter, as the sun was hot and being in full perspiration I feared being caught in the storm.
The farmer politely asked me to take some brandy with my water--also if I would eat some apple pie and milk, he had some dinner. I declined the acceptance as I had fully satisfied my apetite. We talked on farming etc. The rain being over I walked on untill I came to Mr. Eddows place--here they gave me fruit and I made a slight sketch of their house almost covered with trees. Then took directions to Mr. Swift's farm--about three miles distant, but finding his maiden sister had here set close at hand I crossed through the bushes and came to it in a back way. I found her at home and was received politely. I admired the situation of the house and the taste of improvements, made a sketch of the house, on an eminance with sloping lawn before it round which a gravel walk bordered with many hundred flowering shrubs. Having finished my drawing, I took tea with Miss Swift and her sisters. I thought then to shape my course toward Germantown, but the ladies observed that it was growing late--they thought I had better take the morning for my walk. I accepted the offer as I wished to make another sketch which would define what was deficient in the first, and I could have the pleasure of their conversation. I made my sketch before breakfast, and then I said I would visit the brother. Introducing myself as a rambler for blackberries, he told me he would show an abundance of fine trees. I spent the day and slept here. He is a widower. Three daughters & Miss [illeg]kley ever busy in preparing for a wedding.
The next day I drew a sketch of Miers Fisher's place. Returning homeward, I made two sketches of Mr. Hartshorn's seat, then the Friend's Asylum, and reached Philadelphia as they were lighting lamps. I walked upwards twelve miles that day, and it has not surprised how little when I found myself without fatique, and my health greatly improoved.
I have seen Mr. Robinson, but avoid saying any thing to him about your affairs, least I might give offense, for I cannot believe that he is a friend unless for his own interest. The frame ordered by Mr. Calvert is with the picture in the Museum, but if you do not keep the Museum I shall not give it to Baltimore. They must encourage your labors. Justice to my family says that the picture must remain here, if you cannot be benefited by it. I must close to be in time. I begin to prepair making transparencies this week in honor of the General Lafayatte.
Love to Eliza Children, Anne & Sally.