Diary Of A Little Girl In Old New York 1851
( Originally Published 1921 )
These excerpts are from the manuscript of the author who is still living in Stamford, Conn., and are a continuation of the first installment of the Diary which appeared in the previous issue of the Manual.—Ed.
I MUST now write about our Christmas party. Every year before school closes for the holidays my sister gives me and my schoolmates a party. I wish I had curly hair, but I haven't; and so the night before the party Maggy puts up my hair in curl papers and keeps them pinned in until the party, and it is horrid to sleep on them for they are so hard and lumpy and hurt my head, and then as soon as we get warm playing our games, the curl all comes out and my hair is as straight and stringy as ever. Ellen has lovely dark, curly hair. By and by, while we are playing our games the sliding doors into the dining room are shut, and the lights turned up bright there, and then we know the supper is getting ready. The lights shine so pretty through the glass panes, and show the birds of Paradise on the palm trees, and then the girls all gather near the doors so as to get in quick when they are opened. One of the girls has a pocket tied around her waist under her dress, and as soon as she gets her plate with figs and nuts and raisins and mottoes handed to her, when she thinks nobody is looking she turns up her skirt and dumps it all into her pocket, and then looks as if she had not had any-thing. No boys are invited to the party and only two gentlemen. One is Mr. Hoogland, our writing teacher; he wears blue spectacles, and the other is a second cousin of ours who has attacks, my sister says, but he never has had one at the party. I wish he would, as I have never seen anybody have an attack, but of course I don't want him to suffer. The table looks so pretty at our party. My mother and my sister and Maggy fill the dishes with mottoes and heap them up high, so that there will be plenty for all my schoolmates, and last of all comes the ice cream and cake. Then all the girls say good evening to my sister, and thank her for the party, and go home, and no more lessons till after New Year's day.
I think consciences are very troublesome, for if they tell you you are good you feel proud, and if they tell you you are doing wrong you are unhappy.
I did a very wrong thing in school one day, but I didn't mean to. I laughed out loud in prayer time. This is how it happened. It was raining and my cousin Annie had some money tied in her handkerchief to ride home with, and while my sister was opening school with a prayer, and we all had our heads down on our Bibles, Annie took out her handkerchief and somehow the knot got loose, and out flew the money, and rolled along the desks and all the girls looked up to see what was the matter and some of the Bibles slid onto the floor, and there was an awful noise, and before I knew it I had laughed out loud, and then there was an awful silence, and my sister stopped praying, and you could hear a pin drop; and before we went to our classes my sister said she was astonished and grieved at our behavior and asked who had laughed aloud, and I said, "I did, but I didn't mean to," and she told me to take my books and leave the room. So I went down to my mother, crying, and she was very busy and asked me what was the matter, but I was crying so hard I could not explain it; so she said she would hear about it by and by, and she gave Maggy fifty cents, and told her to take me down to Barnum's Museum. But I didn't enjoy it very much, for I dreaded to meet my schoolmates after I had been punished.
My sister says because I am her little sister I ought to set an example to the school, but it is hard to be always having to be an example. Now I must resolve to try to do everything right in this new year to please her, for I know she loves me dearly, and often buys me things I want when my mother says she can't afford it.
School has begun again and Katy Stewart, who is one of my best friends, had such a time today in our reading class. My sister was hearing us and corrected Katy for saying "either" and told her to call it like "eyether," but she wouldn't, but kept on calling it "eether," and finally when my sister asked her why she was so stubborn she began to cry and said, "I can't say `eyether' and `nyether,' for my father said he would punish me if I kept on saying it." (Katy has an uncle named Etienne, which is the French for Stephen, and she always pronounces it as if it was "Eighty-N," in-stead of "Ate-yen").
Ellen can recite a lot of Scott's "Lady of the Lake," and so can I, and some of "Marmion." A while ago my brother took some of us to Christy's Minstrels. They are white men, blacked up to look just like negroes. As the last man went off the stage, he stumbled and fell flat, and then he said, "Sambo, why am I like one of Walter Scott's pomes? Give it up? Because I'm de lay ob de last minstrel !" And everybody laughed, and one of them said, "Pompy, my wife had an awful cold, and de doctor told her to put a plaster on her chest; but she didn't have no chest, so she put it on her bandbox and it drew her bonnet all out of shape." And then we all clapped and laughed. They are awfully funny. They act on Broadway, down near Grand Street. Down in the Broadway Tabernacle Prof. Bradbury has all his singing classes meet once a year, and we go sometimes. There are hundreds of little girls. Half wear pink sashes and sit on one side of the stage and the other half wear blue sashes and sit on the other side, but they all wear white frocks. Once a year the people from the Blind Asylum have an anniversary in the Tabernacle. They are very musical and they sing beautifully and it is wonderful to see some of them play the piano. The Bradbury children sing, too; and every May, which is the month for all the anniversaries, the deaf and dumb come from their asylum, too, and they say the Lord's Prayer with their fingers, and have dialogues together and their teacher tells us what they are saying. I wish Ellen and I knew the sign language; it would be handy for us to use in the country when we don't want Katy to know what we are talking about.
Katy's mother is my own sister, and she says we must not run away and leave Katy just because she is little, for she has no one else to play with. She is seven years old now and all the Old Church people love her and think she is so smart and cunning. There is one girl in Old Church who is a farmer's daughter and goes right in among the cows, and one time when Katy was down at our house visiting, my brother joked her about Saramanda, and said, "Well, Katy, how is Saramanda now?" and Katy cried and said, "Sarah is a real nice girl, even she isn't afraid of a bull." And everyone at the table laughed.
My brother-in-law has a horse called "Old Bess," and Katy gets on her, bareback, and only has the bridle, and rides to the landing to get the mail. She isn't a bit afraid, but the people are afraid for her; and one day a lady said, "It beats all natur' to see Katy ride that 'ere horse. She's as cunning as a mink, and she ain't no bigger than a pot-boggin." But no one seems to know what a pot-boggin is.
My brother-in-law says he has a "bushel" in his congregation, because he has as many Pecks as make a bushel. I forget how many that is.
There is a lovely shady road at Old Church near the parsonage, and it is called Shady Lane, and we love to walk up there because it is so cool and pretty. Last year some people thought there was copper there and they started to work a mine; but there wasn't any copper there, but a man was killed there by accident, and he was a Catholic, and there wasn't any Catholic priest anywhere near. And so an Irishman came and asked my brother-in-law to come and say a prayer and bury him, and when he asked the Irishman when the man had died, he replied, "Your riverence, he was killed yesterday, but he didn't die till this morning."
Whenever there is a funeral in the church, we children like to go to it, because there are so few things in Old Church to go to. Old Squire F. died after I had gone back to New York, but Ellen didn't enjoy his funeral, because my sister made her wear a pair of bright yellow cotton gloves, that my mother had bought at a bargain. My mother has a friend who is Mrs. Bromley, and she lives corner of Irving Place and Eighteenth Street, and whenever they see in the newspapers that there is to be a bargain in some store they go together and get what they want cheap ; but sometimes they get things because they are cheap, and then they find they don't really want them, and then they give them away. So my mother put those ugly yellow gloves in the Christmas box with other things for my sister. I don't wonder Ellen hated to wear them, but probably the people at the funeral thought they were the fashion. The ladies across the road from the parsonage don't get their hats until my sister gets her's, and then they copy her's, only they don't buy such pretty things to make or trim them with.
Mrs. Bromley's husband has been a sea captain and he had brought home lovely things from all over the world, all kinds of shells and carved ivory things from China and India, and once in a while they invite us up to spend the evening and show us all their curiosities, and once Mrs. Bromley said to me, "My dear, look with your eyes and not with your fingers." She doesn't like to have us finger the things. Once my mother took my little brother Charley there and Mrs. Bromley gave him some almonds to eat, and the next time he went there he seemed to be talking to himself, and she said, "What is the child saying?" and he was saying very softly "Almonds" and then louder and louder, "Almonds, Almonds, ALMONDS !" and she laughed and gave him some more.
When my oldest brother came home from boarding school once, my mother asked him if he was sure he had brought all his things home, and he said he had brought everything except his fine-tooth comb, and there wasn't room for that, so another boy brought it for him.
This is my father's birthday. He is 78 years old, and we always celebrate it. We have a very old dinner set of India china, blue and white, and there is a big tureen for soft custard, and a dozen little cups with covers like it that stand around it on a tray of the same china, so among other things we had baked custards in these little cups. I love cup custards, and I ate two before dinner for fear there would not be any left for me, and then I had to eat another at dessert, for fear my sin would find me out, for they all know how fond I am of them, and it made me so sick I can never look at one again.
Two or three years ago Ellen and I had a fair at the parsonage. We had worked very hard for it, and made bookmarks and little thimble boxes of card-board and bachelor's pin cushions and we sold apples and some candy, but we didn't have ice cream, so we had "Bonny Clabber" in saucers for five cents a saucer, and my brother Henry who went last year to Eureka in California was visiting at the parsonage, and he paid for ever so many saucers and said it was delicious, just as good as ice cream, and we thought he was so kind to eat so much of it, and we never knew until long afterward that he couldn't bear it and didn't eat a bit of it, but paid for it all for the sake of the fair. But he stood with his back to the window, and he had put a pail on the grass under the window, and when we were not looking at him, he threw out the "Bonny Clabber" into the pail and after the fair was over, it was given to the pigs. He was full of fun and wrote me the valentine I asked him to send me.
In 1831 he walked all the way up to the White Mountains from Hartford with several of his friends and a dog named Sholto, and he wrote all about it and called it a "Pedestrian Tour of the White Mountains in 1831." One of the party was Mr. Ogden Haggerty. When they got to the Crawford House they asked Ethan Allen, the landlord, where they could fish to find salmon trout, and he said, "Why, here is a gentle-man who knows all about that and can tell you better than I can," and it was Mr. Daniel Webster.
I forgot to tell that I have two more little nephews, who were born three years ago this spring. One is my Staten Island sister's and the other is my own sister's ; so he is Ellen's little brother. He is named Rensselaer, for my father, and the other one is named Edward, for his father. Sometimes my sister comes up from Staten Island in her carriage to do her shopping and she leaves Eddie at our house until she gets through, and one time our cook was frying crullers in a big brass kettle, and when the lard was all bubbling up, Eddie was in the kitchen with Maggy and he was determined to put his foot in the hot fat, and neither Maggy nor my mother could do anything with him, and they had to get his Aunt C. to come down, for they were afraid he would be scalded. He was nearly three years old at that time. He is a dear little fellow and we have a pretty daguerreotype taken of him and his sister Mary. She is very pretty and is grown up now and has beaux, and Eddie is standing by her side in the picture, dressed in a little plaid dress. When I grow up I think I shall have a beau, and his name is Sam B. and he lives across the street, for he sent me a valentine he painted himself, and it is a big red heart with an arrow stuck through it, and one of my school friends says that means he is very fond of me, but I don't see much sense in the arrow. Last winter a boy named Hobart 0. asked me to go to a lecture of the Mercantile Library Association with him, and I said I would be happy to go, but I knew my sister would not Iet me go in the evening alone with a boy no older than I was ; but I wanted to be polite, but I didn't go. The lecture was in Cooper Union, in Astor Place.
In Old Church now I have two nieces, Ellen and Katy, and two nephews, Sherwood and Rensselaer. I don't think my sister will have any more children, be-cause she says the house is too small for the family now. Last summer my parents took me to Saratoga and invited Ellen to go, too. My brother-in-law said he would think about it. So one evening my sister told Ellen and me to go to bed, and after we had gone into bed, we heard her parents talking in the dining-room below. There was a stove in the dining-room, and a drum from it heated the study above it. And Ellen and I were wild to learn what they were saying, for we knew it was about Ellen going to Saratoga with me. So we took turns lying flat down in our nightgowns on the study right over the opening by the drum, to listen, but we got so sleepy we had to give it up, but they did not let Ellen go—I don't know why.
We have a little prayer in four verses that we say before we go to bed, and we want so to see which will get in first, that sometimes we rattle it off as fast as we can, and say "Amen, I'm in first," and Maggy says, "Ellen and Katy, God won't listen to you if you pray like that."
Once a month in our University Place Church, the afternoon is given up to the catechism, and all the children go and we have to learn three or four of the questions and answers in the shorter catechism, and the answers repeat the questions all over again, and Dr. Potts and two or three of the elders hear us and we never know which question will come to us, so we have to know all three or four. I know as far as question 50 now.
We have moved our pew now over to the south side of the church, and right behind us in the big square pew near the door is Dr. Kearney Roger's family, and the little girls are so pretty. They have curls all around their heads, and little rosy faces, and such pretty chinchilla furs. Maggie and Annie Strang come to our church and to our school, too, and so do Mary and Helen Beadleston, and their mother has just died, and I went to see them. They live in Perry Street. My sister took me to see some other schoolmates, the Eno girls, Mary and Annie and Nettie. They live in an elegant house, but it is 'way down by the Battery on Greenwich Street. It has a marble hall floor, but Mr. Eno says he will have to move uptown soon, as the sailors' boarding houses are crowding him out. Libbie B. is another of my schoolmates, and her step-grandmother is Mrs. Sigourney and she writes poetry. Then there is Helen T. and she and Constance M. are great friends and sit together by Julia Bulkley. Julia writes lovely poetry for her compositions and my sister says she has a talent for it. Constance wears a string of coral beads, and says she takes cold if she takes them off. Julia has a brother Lucius and he comes for her if it rains and brings her overshoes and umbrella. Ellen broke some rule one time and she was punished by being sent into the room with the smallest girls, and had to sit by Louisa H., who wasn't very bright, and she had a spyglass and lent it to Ellen and it comforted her. We had a new English teacher this year, Miss Abbie Goodell. Her father was the first American missionary to Constantinople, and she was born there. She came to America to be educated at Mt. Holyoke, and now she is to be our teacher. She has beautiful teeth and dark eyes and hair and a little bit of a nose, and her nose is always cold, in our winters ; so one of the girls knitted a little mitten for it, and she wears it and ties it on around her head.
She came to America in a vessel loaded with figs, and it took her over two months to come, and she was so seasick all the way that she could not leave her bed, and she says the figs had worms in them, and she used to lie and watch them making cobwebs in the corner of her room, and the cobwebs kept coming nearer and nearer, and she was too sick to move, and by and by they got to her bed and to her hair, and when she got to New York she had to have some of her hair cut off.
Her father stayed at our house the night before he sailed to go to Turkey, and he had been travelling all over New York State to get money to take Bibles to the heathen in Turkey; but he got very little, and most of it was in big copper pennies. So when my father asked him how much he had got, he said, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil." All the missionaries have to send their children home to be educated. Dr. Jonas King was our missionary to Greece, and be married a Greek lady, and they sent Mary home to be educated, and Mr. and Mrs. William W. Chester who live on the corner of Eighth Street and University Place took her to have her taught, and at one time she came to my sister at Old Church and she taught her how to make cake, and one day she had some and when my sister went to look at it she found Mary had not made any fire in the stove, and one time she made ginger bread and put mustard in it instead of ginger.
When my mother makes quince preserves she keeps out the poorest-looking pieces of quince and puts the peelings with them and boils them down and makes marmalade out of them, and it is so good on my bread and butter, and out of the cores and the seeds she makes bandoline for the hair. She loves to make nice things to eat. Sometimes when she makes crullers she sends a big bowl of them round to the Union Seminary in University Place for the students. They thank her very much and say it makes them think of their homes in New England.
We have a big family. My sister says a big family creates a diversity of interests. She says that means that no two of us like exactly the same things, and that makes life more interesting. I don't think she means things to eat. Well, if we do have a big family, there is always someone coming to visit us, and now we have had a cousin who has consumption and she is trying a cure called galvanism. Her doctor makes her wear a pair of soles in her shoes, and one is copper and the other is zinc, and it makes some kind of a current that may help her. Ellen and I tried to squeeze them into our shoes and pretend we had consumption and cough, but they were too big.
I like to go across the way sometimes and play with Georgie H. She is older than I am, and the other day when I was there Maggy came over and said my mother wanted me to come home, and I could go back again. So I ran over and thought something good had happened, but my mother only said, "My dear, you have left your things all lying around. Now put them all where they belong, and you can go back." Then I forgot again after a while and did the same thing and she sent for me again. So now I put my things all away before I go. She says that is the way to make me neat and orderly.
Georgie has a friend who goes to Spingler Institute to school, and she took me up there one day and showed me four big paintings by a Mr. Cole, called "The Voyage of Life." They are very fine. Sometimes on Saturday afternoons we go down to the American Art Union on Broadway to see the pictures, and now there is a Chinese Museum down on Broadway, and wax figures of Chinese people, and it shows how prisoners are punished. Some have a board around their necks, and others around their feet.
Mary L. has a white porcelain slate. It is the only one in school. We are all crazy to borrow it. Her sums are always right and look so neat and nice on the white slate. She wears a beautiful plaid silk apron, and now she has a big gold watch one of her brothers gave her. She has seven brothers and soon she is going 'way out to Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio to visit one who is a minister.
Ellen is all alone in her Latin class, so in her report she is always marked head and that pleased her father very much until he found out she was the only one in it. Pretty soon we will have our vacation. I am going to visit a cousin in Rome. I have a cousin who is an old gentleman and he has a glass eye, and one day a little girl cousin said to me, "When you go to visit there, cousin N. will ask you if you wouldn't like to see him take it out and put it in; and you had better not say yes, for I did, and it was dreadful." So, sure enough, one day I was sitting by him with my sewing and he said, "Kitty, would you like to "and I was afraid it was about the glass eye, and so I said very' quick, "Excuse me a minute, Cousin N.; I must go upstairs and get my bodkin." And I never came down until I heard him go out.
I never told how I happened to be born in Lafayette Place. When Mr. John Jacob Astor came to New York, he hired a loft in my father's business house in Front Street, to cure his furs, for he was in the Hudson Bay Company's fur business. So my father got to know him very well, and in 1824 he told him if he would cut a street down through his land from Astor Place to Great Jones Street my father and Mr. David Hadden and Mr. DeForest Manice would all build houses there. So he did and he called it Lafayette Place, because General Lafayette was in New York then. Mr. Astor lived in a brick house on Broadway, near Prince Street, and he died there, and when he died Maggy took me to see the house, and it was all draped in black on the outside. We had been living in Bleecker Street, west of Broadway, on the upper side. Mr. George Douglas and my father had built houses there together, and when we moved to Lafayette Place my father sold his house for $12,000 and made $3,000 by selling it.
One time my own sister Fanny and Eleanor Hadden got into a stage to ride home from school, and they both knew they had no money; but they did it for fun, to see what would happen. So when they were getting out they pretended to be surprised that neither of them could pay, and an old gentleman asked them their names, and when they told him he said, "Oh, I know your fathers, children ; I will pay for you."
My father went to Albany in 1824 and got permission to start an insurance company, and he called it the Howard Insurance Company, and he has been president of it ever since, and my brother says he carried it safely through the big fire in 1835. In 1833, when my youngest brother was a baby, my mother was up one night with him, and she says there was a wonderful sight of falling stars, and it seemed as if all the heavens were ablaze, but it only lasted a minute. My father was very sick that night with cholera and they thought he might die, but my cousin, Dr. Dering, cured him with calomel.
I have been to a new dentist today. I used to go to Dr. Parmly, in Bond Street, and now I go to a Dr. Johnson, in Thirteenth Street. He is a little man, with a little reddish hair, and he never speaks a word except to say very slowly "O-pen your mouth wider, child." There are ever so many dentists on Bond Street now, and Mme. Fererro, the milliner, is there, too; but they are all on the lower side. She is a very expensive milliner, and some ladies give $20 for a bonnet. Her husband is Mr. Edward Ferrero, and he has a dancing school. Very nice families live on the upper side, and on the corner of Broadway Mr. Joseph Sampson has a big brick house, with a stable and grounds around it. On Broadway, facing Astor Place, are two granite houses, where Mr. Spofford and Mr. Tilestone live, and I go there sometimes to play with Pauline Spofford, and her grandfather is Dr. Spring. Dr. Spring has sixteen children. The ministers all wear white linen scarfs to funerals. They are fastened on the right shoulder and go across the chest and back and meet at the left hip and the ends hang down, and Mrs. DeWitt told my mother it made enough linen for all the family to wear. Dr. DeWitt is very absent-minded, and he went through Ninth Street one day with a boot on one foot and a worsted slipper on the other; and one summer in the country he had been feeding his chickens on Sunday morning, and he forgot and put some corn in his pocket and when he took out his handkerchief in church he scattered the corn around.
Our minister lives at 27 Fifth Avenue, and his daughter was married yesterday, and my mother and sister went to the wedding. My mother wore a wine-colored organdie dress, with pink flowers on it, and a pink tulle turban, instead of a cap, and she looked lovely. All the University Church people were there and the bride and her husband are going off to Europe.
My mother heard old Dr. Bethune preach a sermon once about the woman who lost her piece of money and searched until she found it, and he said, "One thing is certain, my friends; she raised a great dust."
Old Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox was a great friend of my grandfather's, and when he was married my aunt invited him and his wife to tea; and he was very fond of using long words, and my mother says this is what he wrote to say they could not come: "For the duties of housekeeping do prospectively vociferate their claims to tasks unwonted hitherto, of earth-born aspect and transitory moment."
My father's brother Jonathan went to Yale College, and his home was on Shelter Island, and he wrote a letter to his father from New Haven to ask how he would get home, and it was in 1774, and my father said I could copy it in my Diary; so this is a part of it:
New Haven, March 29th, 1774. Honored Sir:
I take this opportunity by Mr. Hathoway to write you a few lines. As the spring vacancy draws nigh, I begin to think of coming home, and I believe I shall want to bring home a pretty large bundle, as a good many of my shirts begin to wear out and some of my stockings. Together with these I de-signed to have brought home my cloath for a coat and some of my books, which I make no use of ; which I fear I shall not be able to perform, as having nothing but a pillow case which I was put to great difficulty with when I went home last, unless I had a pair of saddle-bags or some other conveniency, or could get a passage directly home in some boat, tho I have not heard from you whether you designed to send a boat on purpose. I should be glad to hear whether it is worth while to bring all the things home which I have mentioned, or in what manner I shall act, and I remain with love to all, your loving and dutiful son,
Jonathan Nicoll Havens.
My brothers said they wouldn't like to have to ride all the way from New Haven to New York and cross to Brooklyn and ride all the length of Long Island on horseback with their clothes in a pillow case, but our uncle got to be a very distinguished man, and was in the House of Representatives in Congress.
I had my picture taken yesterday, to send to my brother in California. It is not a daguerreotype this time. It is called an ambrotype. I have on a blue and white foulard dress, and it is made with a basque, and the basque is trimmed with blue satin ribbon about an inch wide, box pleated and quilled, and I have on my black lace mits, and some Valenciennes lace in my sleeves, and my hair is braided and put around my ears. My mother's wedding lace was Mechlin lace, and there were three yards of it gathered around the neck of her white Canton crepe dress. It was bought at Thomas Morton's, on William Street, and cost eight dollars a yard. It would seem funny to go down to William Street now to buy lace.
We have a mahogany center table with folding leaves and a big carved ball underneath and claw feet, and it was made in 1825 for my mother by Mr. Henry Spies, who is a cabinetmaker, and one time he was sexton of the Brick Church. It cost thirty dollars. And in my nursery we have a mahogany bookcase that was made for my grandfather's new house in Maiden Lane in 1811 by Mr. Mandeville in Fulton Street, and in the parlor we have a very old pier table of mahogany with a white marble top and a mirror underneath, and it stands between the windows, and above it is a very old mirror in a gilt barrel frame, and my aunt bought them both at Mrs. Lewis St. John's auction in Varick Street. My mother says those streets were very genteel streets when she was young and we know some people who live on Varick Street now.
My sister sent me down with Mme. Kohly, our French teacher, today to Mr. Roe Lockwood's bookstore, to order some books for her. She gets all her school books there and her books for prizes. Every-body goes there to get nice books and you see all your friends looking over the books. It is down below Lispenard Street. I love Mme. Kohly. She has a daughter named Caro. They are Catholics and Caro will not eat any meat in Lent, and her mother says, "Caro, eat your meat. You know Father Reilly said you could eat it, and the doctor says you must ;" but Caro won't eat it, and says she is going to be a nun when she grows up.
Mme. Kohly has a brother living in Switzerland and he has just died and left her a great deal of money, and she is going over there to live. She has a sister in New York and they are rich and have three sons, and she says, "Katy, when you grow up you must marry one of my nephews, and he will make a good Catholic of you ;" but I am very sure my father would not let me marry a Catholic. I expect I shall marry somebody by the time I am eighteen, for I don't want to be an old maid.
When my mother went to Miss Pierce's school in Litchfield in 1815 there was a Mr. Catlin who kept the hotel, and he had a daughter Flora who was very pretty, and the students in Judge Gould's Law School used to serenade her, and her father said, "Yes, Flora's assassinated most every night," and he meant serenaded. And he wore an old-fashioned seal on his watch chain, and he said, "I wear it for the antipathy of the thing," but he meant antiquity. My mother says when she was in Litchfield she boarded at Dr. Lyman Beecher's, and they kept Saturday night instead of Sunday night, and when she went to the post-office she had to hurry home before the sun went down, but on Sun-day night they could take out their knitting; and all they had to eat on Sunday was a piece of apple pie and a mug of milk. I have a friend and sometimes she spends Sunday at her grandfather's who is a minister, and once she was in the garden, and when she picked a rose she heard the study window open softly, and her grandfather said, "My child, have you forgotten what day this is ?" They kept the Sabbath very strict in Connecticut.
My mother says Mr. Pickett who kept the school in New York I told about was very severe, and he used to thunder out "Order is Heaven's first law, and order I'll have in my school," and slam down his ruler on his desk, and the scholars were dreadfully afraid of him.
But he kept a good school, and my mother says that is where she got such a good memory. She recited over six hundred lines from "Thompson's Seasons," and I have got the book with Mr. Pickett's mark in it. When she recited it, she said "Dear winter comes, and reigns tremenjous o'er the conquered year," and Mr. Pickett said, "What ! What ! Miss Catherine! Tremenjous? There's no such word in the English language !" I guess my mother never forgot to say tremendous after that!
She knows ever so many pieces of poetry and repeats them to us children. One is about a little girl who was cross to her sister and the sister dies, and then how sorry she was. We cannot help crying when she tells it to us. I will copy it down.. It may help some little sister not to quarrel.
My sister says there was a man on Shelter Island and his name was Sine Conkling, and one time at a church meeting the people said they would adjourn sine die (she says that means some other day), but he thought they meant till Sine died, and he was so angry he left the church.
Mr. Guy Richards and his brother Mr. Nathaniel Richards live next door to each other in very handsome big brick houses in Bleecker Street. They have white marble steps. They both go to the Brick Church. My grandfather had a letter from old Dr. Cox, in 1812, and in it he said "Skinner is turning the world upside down, with his new doctrines," and my father says that was the beginning of the New School Presbyterian Church. Dr. Skinner preaches in the Mercer Street Church. My mother's mother goes to Dr. Phillip's Church, on Fifth Avenue and Twelfth Street ; and Dr. Bedell preaches in the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street. We have so many churches all around us, we ought to be very good.