An Unpublished Letter of Mrs. Whitman
Waiilatpu, July 7, 1842. - My Dear Maria: Your kind letter was duly received, and merited a most ready reply; but my engagements for more than two months past have rendered it impossible to do so, it being the time of our general meeting. We had a more general attendance this year than formerly; Messrs. Walker, Eells and their families were present; also Mr. Spalding; Mrs. S. and children did not come. They were here about a month. And, besides, I had the pleasure of entertaining our mutual friend, Mrs. McKinlay, for five weeks, during which time she gave birth to a lovely little daughter, the almost perfect image of its father. She is a very quiet child. They left here a short time since, and now I am once more alone, busy with the cares and instructions of my little family, which, by the way, increases as my neighbors do, yet in a different way. We have taken a little boy whom we call David Malin. He is the son of a Spaniard by a Walla Walla woman. When I give you some items of his short history, you will not wonder why I could not shut my heart and doors against the poor and friendless stranger. He is probably 2 years old, and last winter was put down into a hole at Walla Walla by his inhuman mother and left to starve to death; but he was found by the Indians. At another time he was found by the interpreter at W.W. in the same place, surrounded by children, who were gratifying an evil heart by burning his naked body with sticks of fire; when he was brought to me he had several deep sores upon him. He is a bright, active child, and learns to talk English faster than either of the other two. Should we succeed in keeping him without too much perplexity from his relatives, we hope he will prove to be of some use in the world.
It would afford me much satisfaction to see your dear mother again. I hope she enjoys health this summer. Do write me all about her. She has much to do in the care of so many children, now her earthly support is taken away from her; and she feels to lean with more firmness upon you, dear Maria, as her eldest daughter, the sharer in her toils and sufferings.
I regret that it is not in my power to comply with your mother's request at this time. Our broomcorn did not do well last year, and for that reason we have none to send. We shall endeavor to keep in mind the request and send at some future period when the corn is grown.
Husband unites with me in love to your dear mother, yourself, and all the beloved ones of the family, not forgetting the little favorite, Sarah.
Hoping soon to hear from you, I subscribe myself, your sincere friend,