Letter to my Brother Beekman, who then lived with Mr. Schenk
by Henry Livingston
at New Lebanon - 1786
To my dear brother Beekman I sit down to write
Ten minutes past eight & a very cold night.
Not far from me sits with a baullancy cap on
Our very good couzin, Elizabeth Tappen,
A tighter young seamstress you'd ne'er wish to see
And she (blessings on her) is sewing for me.
New shirts and new cravats this morning cut out
Are tumbled in heaps and lye huddled about.
My wardrobe (a wonder) will soon be enriched
With ruffles new hemmed & wristbands new stitched.
Believe me dear brother tho women may be
Compared to us of inferiour degree,
Yet still they are useful I vow with a (fegs)
When our shirts are in tatters & jackets in rags.
Now for news my sweet fellow - first learn with a sigh
That matters are carried here gloriously high,
Such gadding - such ambling - such jaunting about,
To tea with Miss Nancy - to sweet Willy's rout,
New parties at coffee - then parties at wine,
Next day all the world with the Major must dine
Then bounce all hands to Fishkill must go in a clutter
To guzzle bohea and destroy bread and butter
While you at New Lebanon stand all forlorn
Behind the cold counter from ev'ning to morn
The old tenor merchants push nigher & nigher
Till fairly they shut out poor Baze from the fire.
Out, out, my dear brother, Aunt Amy's just come
With a flask for molasses & a bottle for rum
Run! Help the poor creature to light from her jade
You see the dear lady's a power afraid.
Souse into your arms she leaps like an otter
And smears your new coat with her piggin of butter.
Next an army of Shakers your quarters beleager
With optics distorted & visages meagre
To fill their black runlets with brandy & gin
Two blessed exorcists to drive away sin.
But laugh away sorrow nor mind it a daisy
Since it matters but little my dear brother Bazee
Whether here you are rolling in pastime and pleasure
Or up at New Lebanon taffety measure.
If the sweetest of lasses, Contentment, you find
And the banquet enjoy of an undisturb'd mind
Of friendship & love let who will make a pother
Believe me, dear Baze, your affectionate brother
Will never forget the fifth son of his mother.
P.S. If it suits your convenience remit of you please
To my good brother Paul an embrace and a squeeze.