Our friend and we are invited abroad on a party of pleasure--that is to last forever. His chair was first ready and he is gone before us. We could not all conveniently start together, and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and we know where to find him.
HELPED perhaps by Franklin's letter of sympathy, Bess Hubbard soon recovered her spirits after the death of her stepfather. Eleven months later she wrote her uncle a letter, now lost, to regale him with some amusing story she had heard. Apparently it dealt with the romantic behavior of an elderly person and seemed funnier to the young woman than it did to Franklin, who was just about to celebrate his fifty-first birthday.
Philadelphia, January 13, 1757
Your Story is well told and entertaining. Only let me admonish you of a small tho' common Fault of Story-tellers. You should not have introduc'd it by telling me how comical it was, especially a Post before you sent the Story it self: For when the Expectation is raised too high, 'tis a Disadvantage to the Thing expected.
But let us not be merely entertain'd by the Tale; let us draw a small Moral from it. Old Age, we see, is subject to Love and its Follies as well as Youth. All old People have been young, and when they were so, they laugh'd, as we do, at the Amours of Age. They imagin'd, 'tis like, that the Case would never be theirs. Let us spare 'em, then; lest the same Case should one day be ours. I see you begin to laugh already at my ranking myself among the