Bait & Switch?

Re-reading Hannah Hastings’ letters of courtship and early marriage to Horton Howard is helping me to create their story. As interesting as their written story, is the one I read between the lines.

Education was important to the Quakers, so it’s no surprise that Hannah’s early letters are well-written with the best grammar and spelling of the time. Throughout his life, Horton’s letters indicate that he was a well-educated man. The surprise in this story is seen in Hannah’s letters after their marriage. Her spelling of simple words was often faulty, and her use of punctuation and grammar were increasingly erratic. In later life she often delegated the task of letter writing to her children.

I suspect that she wanted to make a good impression and had help in writing those early letters. Was she simply wanting to make a good impression on a leader in her faith community, or was she trying to impress a man who was likely to soon be widowed? I wonder what Horton thought of the deterioration in his wife’s writing? It’s unlikely we’ll know either answer certain, but it is interesting┬áto consider this question.


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