I’ve been working on an essay about a goose that flew into the yard and fell in love with William, my husband. In the course of my research, I found an amazingly funny letter that Gouverneur Morris wrote to George Washington in the fall of 1788. I could not, in the end, use it — and it was a hard darling to kill — so here is an excerpt:
I promised you some Chinese piggs, a promise which I can perform only by halves for my boar, being much addicted to gallantry, hung himself in pursuit of meer common sows. And his consort, to asswage her melancholy (for what else can helpless widows do) took up with a paramour of vulgar races, and thus her grunting progeny have jowls and bellies less big by half than their dam. Such however as I have, such send I unto you. And to piece and patch the matter as well as I may, in company with the piggs shall be sent a pair of Chinese geese which are really the foolishest geese I ever beheld; for they chuse all times for setting but in the spring and one of them is even now (November) engaged in that business.