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Documenting the American
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Patterson describes for his mother his room and several friends. Senior orations have ended; he has been selected as one of the commencement declaimers; and he would like his father to attend commencement.
Last sabbath's mail brought me another of your very welcome
letters, the perusal of which, I assure you, gave me, as it always does, much
pleasure. For the last few minutes I have been sitting in one of the large
windows of my room, listening to the conversation of my little "chum"2
and one of our neighbours; but as I
] only have as delightful a room, as I occupy. I
think that you would not complain of it, as being
close, inconvenient, & c But as I have but little else to fill up a letter,
you must excuse me for giving you a short description of it, though I cannot
promise that you will be much edified by my descriptive powers. In the first
place then, it is some 20 by 18 feet, with a ceiling 12 feet high; three very
large windows, with long green curtains; and furnished with a neat centre-table covered with green
baize, a neat toilette table, two beds, a good
wardrobe, washstand, c On the
mantel-piece we have a pictures of
c which we have. So, if
this you will forgive me for tiring
you are is now congregated in here. On the other side of
the table sits my "chum" a nice little fellow, all life and spirit,
and is at present chatting away as usual, little conscious of what an important
part he occupies in what I am now writing. He thinks there is no one like
" Rufe c the largest of the former (a good
sized one, I assure you) being sent, as he says, especially to his roommate by
a young lady in
perfect gentleman in every sense of the word, of ready wit, fine disposition,
kind heart, and c Beyond him, talking as if he were on board a steamboat, is my friend
But I fear I have long since tired you out with my nonsense; so I
will endeavour to speak of something
yet there is a magnetic influence existing between us, which
nothing can destroy; my thoughts wander homeward, with the rapidity of
lightning, whenever my time is not otherwise occupied; and although I cannot
know exactly what is transpiring there, yet imagination has full play.
On last wednesday commenced the Senior Orations, and continued
until friday night. We had [some] first-rate speeches, and fine music, and the
h three holidays passed off
delightfully. The Senior vacation has now commenced, and most of that class,
who do not get speeches at Commencement, have left
For the last day or two, quite a gloom has fallen on some of the
students, on account of the departure of
m both of
you and my dear of old home,8
than I am w may
2. "chum": roommate.
ing on top of
5. "The Declaimers from the Sophomore class were
Speech of Mr. James McDowell, of Virginia, on the
formation of governments for New Mexico and California. Delivered in the House
of Representatives, February 23, 1849
9. Reaching the end of the last page of his letter,
to, directing his mother back to page one, where the
letter continues alongside the left margin.
10. The postscript is written up the centerfold of