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We have more snow than was ever known at this season of the year before or, [underline]I think[/underline] at any other season
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Ferrisburgh 3rd Month 19th 1862
My dearest Cousin
Thy kind letter of the 16th instant puts me to shame. But ever since our great bereavement I have felt so desolate & broken up that it seemed quite out of my power sufficiently to concentrate my thoughts upon any thing but that one great void even to [underline]read[/underline] intelligently & much less to [underline]write[/underline], except in two or three instances in which necessity compelled it. Scarcely a day however has passed since thou left us but thou hast been in my thoughts & very often we all [recall?] with heart-felt gratitude to thy great kindness in our time of need, made ten fold more valuable by the tender sympathy with us in our affliction with which it was administered. With regard to the [underline]indebtedness[/underline] thou speaks of, allow me to say that I think thou takes quite an erroneous view of the matter. All I attempted to do was to reimburse the necessary cash expenses which thou & thy family incurred by thy journey & absence from thy home. The few articles of clothing &c should be regarded merely as tokens of the affectionate regard which the precious donor has always cherished for thee & in this light I have no doubt they will be prized far above their mere money value.
Thou wilt be glad to learn that our dear Ann & the chldren are still with us. Lloyd came about two weeks ago expecting them to return with him, but Ann did not seem ready to
[leave?] us there without restoring the house to some degree of order preparatory to our keeping house, if house-keeping it may be called to live without a responsible [head?]. So we made a "compromise" Lloyd returned alone after standing a week with us & I am to go with the family about the second week in next month. We have not yet been able to find a suitable woman. The travelling is so impossible by reason of the great amount of snow that we have done no more than make enquiries for one but as soon as the roads are passable something more [effectual?] must be [attempted?], but the prospect of any good degree of success is very small. Mary & Maryan are still here except that the former went home to attend to the [kind?] [?] for which we have all been vaccinated. She has been absent since 6th day last & is not yet able to do duty though better. We expect Mary will stay with us & the other [will?] leave whenever we find one better qualified to perform the offices of housekeeper.
Ann & the children went about two weeks ago to Shelburne to make dear Charlote & the children a visit. They were detained by the great snow so that instead of being from us one night as she intended they were gone [underline]three[/underline]. Brought Willy with them who has remained here since. The children are all passing through a singular experience - something like chicken pox but not that, as it is somewhat different & those who have had the chicken pox are not exempt from it. The eruption is distinct & the spots are large as a pea attended with great itching, fever & in some instances soreness of the throat. Willy was the first taken then [Aggie?] they are better now. Rowley & Fanny have it. We thought at first it might be
the effect of vaccinaiton, but some children in this town have had it severely who had not been vaccinated. We were at first somewhat alarmed by the strange visitor but we now think it will soon pass off.
Thy account of the doings & movement of the various members of thy dear household was very welcome & interesting & thou judge rightly in supposing we should be glad to see the note from thy soldier boy but we can hardly as yet agree with him in acccording so much merit to McClellan for his long-continued policy of "Masterly inactivity". We certainly should regard a [underline]"bloodless[/underline] victory" with a much higher degree approbation than one achieved through great slaughter & carnage when the ultimate object is thus attained, but [grim?] War is a business which must necessarily involve great risk if not actual loss of human life, & many of us at the north, it may be through great [underline]"ignorance"[/underline], think that the holding that [next?] Army of the Potomac for so many months in utter idleness has resulted in the loss of life quite as fearful as would have happened in more active [service?] & if this great army has, after such long delay permitted the rebels of Manassas to escape only to deal more fatal blows upon some other divisions of our forces, the laurels on McClellans brow may fade before being fairly adjusted. I thank thee for sending the note & will return it to thee as I know thou will wish to preserve it. To recompense thee in some measure - or rather because I think it will be welcome to thee as a beautiful tribute to the memory of our beloved departed I will transcribe for thee a letter recd from our excellent friend Charles C Burleigh - Among the few letters I have written since our [loss?] was one to my
friend Oliver Johnston - Editor of the N.A.S. Standard New York giving him some account of the illness & death of my dear Rachel & while assuring him that my letter was not designed for publication I suggested that a simple notice of her [death?] might meet the eyes of some of our distant who would not other wise be informed but would be glad to mingle their sympathies with us in our bereavement - this was the [?] pf [C.'s?] letter -
I cannot but hope that this [dispersation?] will be blessed to some if not all of us by inciting us to more circumspection in life as the hope of thereby attaining a closer reunion in a better state of existence. The dear boys are exceedingly considerate & kind to [me?]. I shall give up the business entirely to George who I think will manage more economically & profitably than I have ever been able to do - I do not expect to devote myself to idleness & inactivity but shall always find enough to occupy my time & strength without having the [bother?] & care of the business. I hope thou will not fail of coming to see those who may be left at the prior old place though I may not be here to greet thou I know the boys will be very glad to see thou at any time & the kind notice of one they so much esteem & love wil not only be a cordial to them in their loneliness but an encouragement to [?] in [well?] doing. I shall put [C.R.B.'s?] letter on a separate that that thou mayest be able to read it to thy family without being obliged to expose this poor letter. The children all unite with me in love to thee & thine. I am my dear cousin
Thy affectionate cousin Rob. T. Robinson