To continue the Christmas theme, this excerpt is from a letter Mary Howard Affleck wrote to her sister Sarah Howard Forrer on January 20, 1866.
Harriet has not been here since Christmas. Mary Howard stayed with us several weeks and would willingly have remained longer if her mother, who has no girl, had not needed her at home. I should be glad to keep her all the time if her mother could spare her. She is a very good child, bright and intelligent, and reminds me of Elizabeth Pierce when she was a child. She reads a great deal and understands what she reads, has nearly finished the “Rollo books,” (fourteen in number) which are now hers – the same I gave to Howard and Edward for a Christmas gift several years ago, and with which Howard was so delighted that he read the whole of them to me in less than a week. He used to read a great deal to me, and appeared to enjoy it as much as I did. None of the other children liked to read aloud, and I have missed those pleasant readings sadly
When transcribing these letters, I have enjoyed Mary Affleck’s writings about her namesake granddaughter with some feeling of dreadful anticipation. Before reading these letters all I knew was that Harriet Affleck had a daughter who died young. Sadly, this letter is the last I have found that mentions Mary Howard Patterson.