Following is the next letter Alice Lee Shippen wrote to her daughter at Mrs. Rogers’ school. It deals solely with what in a time of war would seem to be petty matters. But so it was with many privileged young people. Note also that parents often promised rewards for desirable behaviors on the part of their children. Bribes you might call them.
My dear Nancy
Why don’t you write to me & tell me how you do & how you improve in your work, in writing & drawing, in your address, in holding yourself & in the Graces. These are absolutely necessary to make you shine, but above all let me know how you improve in humility, patience & love, these will make my dear Girl shine to all eternity. These are the inheritance that fadeth not away. I was pleased with your last & only letter I received since I left you. I say it pleased me because it informed me your good Mrs Rogers has found out a way of encourageing you in your work & pays great attention to your improvement & by way of joining her in encourageing you to be industrious, which makes so great a part of a female character. I have sent to Carolina for Tambour cotton, silk & needles, & that I may be prepared to reward you if Mrs Rogers should write me you are much improved & are a very good Girl. I have sent for some very pretty things which I can either bestow upon you or dispose of in another way if you should not answer my expectations. I have sent you silk for a bonnet & cloak which you must take great care of, not only because a young Lady should not dirty her cloathes but because they cost your Papa so much money. I wou’d have had them made here but that they wou’d have been spoild in coming to you. No trimmings of any sort can be got therefore you must make your squirell skin do. I have sent flanel to line it which is genteel & very warm & that I know you like. I wou’d have sent you black silk for a bib & apron but can’t get any in this place, but I have desired your Papa to look out. … yr Collar is at Bethlehem, your Papa I hope will remember to bring it you for I am sure it is absolutely necessary for you. I send you a yard of cambrick which you may give as much as you please of to your Polly for caps. The book muslin I send is to work a pr of ruffles for General Washington. I should like them grownded like the Apron Mrs Rogers shewed me & I am sure if you do them well they will be taken for lace, but it is impossible for me to get thread. You need not make Bobins for me I shall not want them. Has your Uncle Joe given you the dimity? he promised me he wou’d. I have some thoughts of going to Virginia when I return with your dear Brother. If I should I will bring Mrs Rogers a pupil, one of your pretty Cousins. Present my Compliments to Mrs Rogers & that you may so improve as to do her credit & make Your Papa & me happy is the Prayer of