The Private Franklin: The Man and His Family

By Claude-Anne Lopez ; Eugenia W. Herbert | Go to book overview
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XI
Father of the Bride

As a Daughter is neither to anticipate nor contradict the Will of her Parent, so, to hang the Balance even . . . she is not oblig'd to force her own by marrying where she cannot love.
-- Ladies Library, 3:34

DEBORAH PUT SO MUCH STRESS on her policy of staying at home and keeping out of the limelight that Franklin eventually started to worry about the effect such a retiring life would have on his daughter's social activities. She was now well into her twenties. Knowing that "my dear Papa likes to hear of Weddings," Sally sent him lists of her acquaintances who had "entered the matrimonial state"1 since he left. Yes, but what about her? Did she at least increase the number of her friends?

Indeed she did, came Deborah's ever-obliging answer. That very morning, for instance, Sally was still asleep because she had danced so late at the assembly the previous night. City assemblies were prestigious and decorous affairs in the course of which, sustained by tea and rusks, some fifty ladies and as many gentlemen from the best families, Anglican and Proprietary, danced with each other, partners being drawn by lot. So long as the Stamp Act had not been repealed, Franklin had turned a deaf ear to his women's hints about Sally's having to wear her mother's gown on such occasions, for lack of a proper one of her own. As soon as the American boycott of English goods was lifted, he resumed his shipments and even filled some rather frivolous requests transmitted by Sally but originating with her more urbane and elegant sister-in-law Elizabeth who pined for the London shops. The governor's wife was taking Sally in tow; Debbie's letters, once she felt free to mention social events, fill up with references to her daughter's trips to New Jersey. One "Twelef night" Sally was driven across the frozen Delaware in a "Chariot in four" by James Logan, Jr., son of William Penn's longtime secretary. She was old enough to "answer for her selef,"2 as

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