To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    New York City        13 October [1788]

    Dear Sally

    Saturday in the afternoon as I was stroling along the Streets I accidentally fell into a Book-Store; and after enquiring for one book, and another, that I was pretty confident was not to be had, my eyes fixed upon the word Charlotte, on the back of a book standing on a shelf—I took down the book—it is small, about the size of Werter1—and opening to the title page, read, The Letters of Charlotte during her connection with Werter2—Without any further inspection or enquiry into the merit of the book I asked the man what was the price—and he told me six shillings—that is, four & six pence our money—which I promised to give him, having none about me, and took the book in my pocket—

    In the evening I gave it to Mrs. and her Sister3 they handed it to me this morning—They have both gone through it—they like it—But seem to think it does not end right—but tis my opinion if it had ended less tragical they would have read it with less emotion and consequently with less pleasure—

    They have abused the book a little, by starting some of the leaves—but this is what I expected—and evidence to me their whole attention was engaged—When women read a good novel, that is, one that they like, they feel much; but think or reason none at all—The Cover of the book might drop off—or a page or two drop out, and if it was not immediately connected with the expected tragedy it would never be missed by them—

    I have, this morning, run over half a dozen of the first Letters—they are from Charlotte to her friend Carolina—containing an account of her first acquaintance with Werter—and some description of her friend and companion Theresa—this was interesting—it several times brought tears into my eyes—And I have laid aside the book, lest I should insensibly get too much engaged to yield my attention to any thing else for the day4

    Adieu my dear; and as Charlotte sais—“present or absent, always believe me to be your affectionate”5 husband—

    P.S. I ought to have told you that I feel in good spirits this morning—also that yours of the 28th. of September—and the 1, 2d. & 3d. of October were recieved on Saturday evening—

    * * *

    FC, TFP