Amherst Feby 19th 1820-
After so long a time, I send you the screen pattern which I promised, & ought to apologize for my apparent neglect—The pattern, as I observed to you at the time, was lent, and this is the first opportunity of sending to you, since it has been returned, except by mail.
Since I saw you, I suppose you have passed through one of the most interesting periods of life & after offering my most hearty congratulations on your on your fair prospects, instead of making any wise remarks on the subject, I transcribe for you a scrap of poetry which Mrs. Betsey Parsons says, you have much admired & which she says every married lady ought to have by heart—I trust you will excuse this impertinence from one younger than yourself—I do it partly by her request.
Let not dear Lucy now a wife
Bid all her cares adieu,
There’s comforts in a married life,
And those are crosses too.
I do not wish to mar your mirth
With an ungrateful sound,
Yet still remember, bliss on earth
No mortal ever found.
Before Orra herself was married, she wrote this letter to her friend Lucy Douglas Fowler in regard to Lucy's recent marriage to the Hon. James Fowler. Orra and Lucy became friends while both were teaching at Amherst Academy.
Upon the insistence of another friend (Mrs. Betsey Parsons), Orra included a poem that gives marital advice. There are no "happily ever after" illusions here ("it is but seldom husbands bring a lighter yoke to bear") and the tone is down-to-earth and practical, yet ultimately optimistic, much like Orra herself.
It is not clear who wrote the poem. It appeared in the London Tee-Total Magazine and Literary Miscellany in 1840, in Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine in 1859 (where authorship is attributed to "M.S."), and in the Christian Nation newspaper in 1909, so its popularity endured. It certainly expressed Orra's beliefs about a woman's place in marriage: She must submit to her husband's will—yet the poem also implies that the man will be wise and kind.