MEMORIES AND ANECDOTES
AUTHOR OF "ADOPTING AN ABANDONED FARM," "ABANDONING AN ADOPTED FARM," "OLD-TIME WALL PAPERS," ETC.
WITH SIXTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK LONDON The Knickerbocker Press 1915
ALL MY FRIENDS EVERYWHERE
ESPECIALLY TO MY BELOVED "NEW HAMPSHIRE DAUGHTERS" IN MASSACHUSETTS, MY PUPILS IN SMITH COLLEGE, ALSO AT PACKER INSTITUTE, BROOKLYN, AND ALL THOSE WHO HAD THE PATIENCE TO LISTEN TO MY LECTURES,
WITH GRATEFUL REGARDS TO THOSE DARTMOUTH GRADUATES WHO, LIKING MY FATHER, WERE ALWAYS GIVING HIS AMBITIOUS DAUGHTER A HELPING HAND
My Early Days—Odd Characters in our Village—Distinguished Visitors to Dartmouth—Two Story-Tellers of Hanover—A "Beacon Light" and a Master of Synonyms—A Day with Bryant in his Country Home—A Wedding Trip to the White Mountains in 1826 in "A One-Hoss Shay"—A Great Career which Began in a Country Store
A Friend at Andover, Mass.—Hezekiah Butterworth—A Few of my Own Folks—Professor Putnam of Dartmouth—One Year at Packer Institute, Brooklyn—Beecher's Face in Prayer—The Poet Saxe as I Saw him—Offered the Use of a Rare Library—Miss Edna Dean Proctor—New Stories of Greeley—Experiences at St. Louis
Happy Days with Mrs. Botta—My Busy Life in New York—President Barnard of Columbia College—A Surprise from Bierstadt—Professor Doremus, a Universal Genius—Charles H. Webb, a truly funny "Funny Man"—Mrs. Esther Herman, a Modest Giver
Three Years at Smith College—Appreciation of Its Founder—A Successful Lecture Tour—My Trip to Alaska
Frances E. Willard—Walt Whitman—Lady Henry Somerset—Mrs. Hannah Whitehall Smith—A Teetotaler for Ten Minutes—Olive Thorn Miller—Hearty Praise for Mrs. Lippincott (Grace Greenwood.)
In and near Boston—Edward Everett Hale—Thomas Wentworth Higginson—Julia Ward Howe—Mary A. Livermore—A Day at the Concord School—Harriet G. Hosmer—"Dora Distria," our Illustrious Visitor
Elected to be the First President of New Hampshire's Daughters in Massachusetts. Now Honorary President—Kind Words which I Highly Value—Three, but not "of a Kind"—A Strictly Family Affair—Two Favorite Poems—Breezy Meadows
GREETINGS AND WELCOME TO EVERY READER (KATE SANBORN) Frontispiece
THE STREET FRONTING THE SANBORN HOME AT HANOVER, N.H.
MRS. ANNE C. LYNCH BOTTA
PRESIDENT BARNARD OF COLUMBIA COLLEGE
PROFESSOR R. OGDEN DOREMUS
SAM WALTER FOSS
PINES AND SILVER BIRCHES
PADDLING IN CHICKEN BROOK
THE ISLAND WHICH WE MADE
TAKA'S TEA HOUSE AT LILY POND
HOW VINES GROW AT BREEZY MEADOWS
GRAND ELM (OVER TWO HUNDRED YEARS OLD)
MEMORIES AND ANECDOTES
My Early Days—Odd Characters in our Village—Distinguished Visitors to Dartmouth—Two Story Tellers of Hanover—A "Beacon Light" and a Master of Synonyms—A Day with Bryant in his Country Home—A Wedding Trip to the White Mountains in 1826 in "A One Hoss Shay"—A Great Career which Began in a Country Store.
I make no excuse for publishing these memories. Realizing that I have been so fortunate as to know an unusual number of distinguished men and women, it gives me pleasure to share this privilege with others.
One summer morning, "long, long ago," a newspaper was sent by my grandmother, Mrs. Ezekiel Webster, to a sister at Concord, New Hampshire, with this item of news pencilled on the margin:
"Born Thursday morning, July 11, 1839, 4.30 A.M., a fine little girl, seven pounds."
I was born in my father's library, and first opened my eyes upon a scenic wall-paper depicting the Bay of Naples; in fact I was born just under Vesuvius—which may account for my occasional eruptions of temper and life-long interest in "Old Time Wall-papers." Later our house was expanded into a college dormitory and has been removed to another site, but Vesuvius is still smoking placidly in the old library.
Mine was a shielded, happy childhood—an only child for six years—and family letters show that I was "always and for ever talking," asking questions, making queer remarks, or allowing free play to a vivid imagination, which my parents thought it wise to restrain. Father felt called upon to write for a child's paper about Caty's Gold Fish, which were only minnows from Mink Brook.
"Caty is sitting on the floor at my feet, chattering as usual, and asking questions." I seem to remember my calling over the banister to an assembled family downstairs, "Muzzer, Muzzer, I dess I dot a fezer," or "Muzzer, come up, I'se dot a headache in my stomach." I certainly can recall my intense admiration for Professor Ira Young, our next door neighbour, and his snowy pow, which I called "pity wite fedders."
As years rolled on, I fear I was pert and audacious. I once touched at supper a blazing hot teapot, which almost blistered my fingers, and I screamed with surprise and pain. Father exclaimed, "Stop that noise, Caty." I replied, "Put your fingers on that teapot—and don't kitikize." And one evening about seven, my usual bedtime, I announced, "I'm going to sit up till eight tonight, and don't you 'spute." I know of many children who have the same habit of questions and sharp retorts. One of my pets, after plying her mother with about forty questions, wound up with, "Mother, how does the devil's darning needle sleep? Does he lie down on a twig or hang, or how?" "I don't know, dear." "Why, mother, it is surprising when you have lived so many years, that you know so little!"
Mr. Higginson told an absurd story of an inquisitive child and wearied mother in the cars passing the various Newtons, near Boston. At last the limit. "Ma, why do they call this West Newton?" "Oh, I suppose for fun." Silence for a few minutes, then, "Ma, what was the fun in calling it West Newton?"
I began Latin at eight years—my first book a yellow paper primer.
I was always interested in chickens, and dosed all the indisposed as:
Dandy Dick Was very sick, I gave him red pepper And soon he was better.
In spring, I remember the humming of our bees around the sawdust, and my craze for flower seeds and a garden of my own.
Father had a phenomenal memory; he could recite in his classroom pages of Scott's novels, which he had not read since early youth. He had no intention of allowing my memory to grow flabby from lack of use. I often repeat a verse he asked me to commit to memory:
In reading authors, when you find Bright passages that strike your mind, And which perhaps you may have reason To think on at another season; Be not contented with the sight, But jot them down in black and white; Such respect is wisely shown As makes another's thought your own.
Every day at the supper table I had to repeat some poetry or prose and on Sunday a hymn, some of which were rather depressing to a young person, as:
Life is but a winter's day; A journey to the tomb.
And the vivid description of "Dies Irae":
When shrivelling like a parched scroll The flaming heavens together roll And louder yet and yet more dread Swells the high Trump that wakes the dead.
Great attention was given to my lessons in elocution from the best instructors then known, and I had the privilege of studying with William Russell, one of the first exponents of that art. I can still hear his advice: "Full on the vowels; dwell on the consonants, especially at the close of sentences; keep voice strong for the close of an important sentence or paragraph." Next, I took lessons from Professor Mark Bailey of Yale College; and then in Boston in the classes of Professor Lewis B. Monroe,—a most interesting, practical teacher of distinctness, expression, and the way to direct one's voice to this or that part of a hall. I was given the opportunity also of hearing an occasional lecture by Graham Bell. Later, I used to read aloud to father for four or five hours daily—grand practice—such important books as Lecky's Rationalism, Buckle's Averages, Sir William Hamilton's Metaphysics (not one word of which could I understand), Huxley, Tyndall, Darwin, and Spencer, till my head was almost too full of that day's "New Thought."
Judge Salmon P. Chase once warned me, when going downstairs to a dinner party at Edgewood, "For God's sake, Kate, don't quote the Atlantic Monthly tonight!" I realized then what a bore I had been.
What a treat to listen to William M. Evarts chatting with Judge Chase! One evening he affected deep depression. "I have just been beaten twice at 'High Low Jack' by Ben the learned pig. I always wondered why two pipes in liquid measure were called a hogshead; now I know; it was on account of their great capacity." He also told of the donkey's loneliness in his absence, as reported by his little daughter.
I gave my first series of talks at Tilden Seminary at West Lebanon, New Hampshire, only a few miles from Hanover. President Asa D. Smith of Dartmouth came to hear two of them, and after I had given the whole series from Chaucer to Burns, he took them to Appleton & Company, the New York publishers, who were relatives of his, and surprised me by having them printed.
I give an unasked-for opinion by John G. Whittier:
I spent a pleasant hour last evening over the charming little volume, Home Pictures of English Poets, which thou wast kind enough to send me, and which I hope is having a wide circulation as it deserves. Its analysis of character and estimate of literary merit strike me as in the main correct. Its racy, colloquial style, enlivened by anecdote and citation, makes it anything but a dull book. It seems to me admirably adapted to supply a want in hearth and home.
I lectured next in various towns in New Hampshire and Vermont; as St. Johnsbury, where I was invited by Governor Fairbanks; Bath, New Hampshire, asked by Mrs. Johnson, a well-known writer on flowers and horticulture, a very entertaining woman. At one town in Vermont I lectured at the large academy there—not much opportunity for rest in such a building. My room was just off the music room where duets were being executed, and a little further on girls were taking singing lessons, while a noisy little clock-ette on my bureau zigzagged out the rapid ticks. At the evening meal I was expected to be agreeable, also after the lecture to meet and entertain a few friends. When I at last retired that blatant clock made me so nervous that I placed it at first in the bureau drawer, where it sounded if possible louder than ever. Then I rose and put it way back in a closet; no hope; at last I partially dressed and carried it the full length of the long hall, and laid it down to sleep on its side. And I think that depressed it. In the morning, a hasty breakfast, because a dozen or more girls were waiting at the door to ask me to write a "tasty sentiment" before I left, in their autograph albums, with my autograph of course, and "something of your own preferred, but at any rate characteristic."
My trips to those various towns taught me to be more humble, and to admire the women I met, discovering how seriously they had studied, and how they made use of every opportunity. I remember Somersworth, New Hampshire, and Burlington, Vermont. I lectured twice at the Insane Asylum at Concord, New Hampshire, invited by Dr. Bancroft. After giving my "newspaper wits" a former governor of Vermont came up to shake hands with me, saying frankly, "Miss Sanborn, your lecture was just about right for us lunatics." A former resident of Hanover, in a closed cell, greeted me the next morning as I passed, with a torrent of abuse, profanity, and obscenity. She too evidently disliked my lecture. Had an audience of lunatics also at the McLean Insane Asylum, Dr. Coles, Superintendent.
I think I was the first woman ever invited to make an address to farmers on farming. I spoke at Tilton, New Hampshire, to more than three hundred men about woman's day on the farm. Insinuated that women need a few days off the farm. Said a good many other things that were not applauded. Farmers seemed to know nothing of the advantages of co-operation, and that they were as much slaves (to the middlemen) as ever were the negroes in the South. They even tried to escape from me at the noise of a dog-fight outside. I offered to provide a large room for social meetings, to stock it with books of the day, and to send them a lot of magazines and other reading. Not one ever made the slightest response. Now they have all and more than I suggested.
When but seventeen, I was sent for to watch with Professor Shurtleff, really a dying man, and left all alone with him in the lower part of the house; he begged about 2 A.M. to be taken up and placed in a rocking-chair near the little open fire. The light was dim and the effect was very weird. His wig hung on one bedpost, he had lost one eye, and the patch worn over the empty eye socket had been left on the bureau. My anxiety was great lest he should slip from the chair and tip into the fire. I note this to mark the great change since that time. Neighbours are not now expected to care for the sick and dying, but trained nurses are always sought, and most of them are noble heroines in their profession.
Once also I watched with a poor woman who was dying with cancer. I tried it for two nights, but the remark of her sister, as I left utterly worn out, "Some folks seem to get all their good things in this life," deterred me from attempting it again.
Started a school a little later in the ell of our house for my friends among the Hanover children—forty-five scholars in all. Kept it going successfully for two years.
I dislike to tell a story so incredible and so against myself as this. One evening father said, "I am going to my room early tonight, Katie; do not forget to lock the back door." I sat reading until quite late, then retired. About 2.30 A.M., I was startled to hear someone gently open that back door, then take off boots and begin to softly ascend the stairs, which stopped only the width of a narrow hall from my room. I have been told that I said in trembling tones, "You're trying to keep pretty quiet down there." Next moment I was at the head of the stairs; saw a man whom I did not recognize on the last step but one. I struck a heavy blow on his chest, saying, "Go down, sir," and down he tumbled all the way, his boots clanking along by themselves. Then the door opened, my burglar disappeared, and I went down and locked the back door as I had promised father I would. I felt less proud of my physical prowess and real courage when my attention was called to a full account of my assault in the college papers of the day. The young man was not rooming at our house, but coming into town quite late, planned to lodge with a friend there. He threw gravel at this young man's window in the third story to waken him, and failing thought at last he would try the door, and if not locked he would creep up, and disturb no one. But "Miss Sanborn knocked a man all the way downstairs" was duly announced. I then realized my awful mistake, and didn't care to appear on the street for some time except in recitation hours.
The second time I lectured in Burlington, I was delayed nearly half an hour at that dreadful Junction, about which place Professor Edward J. Phelps, afterwards Minister to England, wrote a fierce rhyme to relieve his rage at being compelled to waste so much precious time there. I recall only two revengeful lines:
"I hope in hell his soul may dwell, Who first invented Essex Junction."
Oh, yes, I do remember his idea that the cemetery near the station contained the bodies of many weary ones who had died just before help came and were shovelled over.
It happened that Mrs. Underwood, wife of the demented governor, who had alluded so truthfully to my lecture, was in the audience, and being gifted with genuine clairvoyant powers, she rose and begged the audience not to disperse, as she could distinctly see me pacing nervously up and down the platform at the Junction in a long sealskin coat and hat trimmed with band of fur. I arrived at last with the sealskin and the hat, proving her correct, and they cheered her as well as myself.
Our little village had its share of eccentric characters, as the old man who was impelled by the edict of the Bible to cut off his right hand as it had "offended him." But lacking surgical facilities, the effort left one hand hanging limp and useless. His long white beard, how truly patriarchal!
Poor insane Sally Duget—a sad story! Her epitaph in our cemetery is pathetic. With all her woe she was quick at repartee. A man once asked her, "Shall you ever marry, Sally?" "Well, yes, if you and I can make a bargain."
Elder Bawker with his difficulties in locomotion.
Rogers, who carried the students' washing home to his wife on Sunday afternoons for a preliminary soak. The minister seeing him thus engaged, stopped him, and inquired:
"Where do you think you will go to if you so constantly desecrate the Holy Sabbath?"
"Guess I'll go right on doing laundry work for the boys."
The aged janitor who, in a brief scare about smallpox, was asked if he had ever had it: "No, but I've had chances."
An old sinner who, being converted, used to serve as a lay evangelist at the district schoolhouse where in winter religious meetings were held. Roguish lads to test him sprinkled red pepper, a lot of it, on the red hot stove. He almost suffocated, but burst out with: "By God, there's enemies to religion in this house! Hist the winders!"
The rubicund butcher of that period (we had no choice) was asked by a long-time patron how he got such a red face. "Cider apple sass." The same patron said, "You have served me pretty well, but cheated me a good deal." "Yes, sir, but you have no idea how much I've cheated you."
Our one milliner, positively brilliant in her remarks, when a lady sent back her bonnet twice on the ground that it was not becoming, said, "Remember you have your face to contend with."
Our only and original gravedigger, manager in general of village affairs.
After the death of a physician, his wife gave a stained-glass window to the Episcopal Church of St. Luke, the beloved physician. She asked Jason if he liked it. He said, "It don't strike me as a particular speaking likeness of Dr. Tom."
To one of the new professors who ventured to make a few suggestions, "Who be yaou anyway?"
He enjoyed buttonholing people he met in our "graveyard" and pointing out where they "must shortly lie."
Our landlord—who that ever saw Horace Frary could forget him? If a mother came to Hanover to see her boy on the 2.30 P.M. train, no meal could be obtained. He would stand at the front door and explain, "Dinner is over long ago." He cared personally for about thirty oil lamps each day, trimmed the wicks with his fingers, and then wiped them on his trousers. Also did the carving standing at the table and cleaning the dull knife on the same right side—so the effect was startling. One day when he had been ill for a short time his wife said: "Dr. Dixi Crosby is coming this way now, I'll call him in." "Don't let him in now," he begged, "why d—— it, I'm sick!"
I must not omit the strictly veracious witness who was sworn to testify how many students were engaged in a noisy night frolic at Norwich. "As fur as I know, there was betwixt six and seven."
"Webb Hall," who today would figure as a "down and out," made many amusing statements. "By the way I look in these ragged clothes, you might take me for a Democrat, but I'm a red hot Republican."
He was obsessed by the notion that he had some trouble with a judge in Concord, New Hampshire. He said fiercely, "I will buy two guns, go to Concord, kill Judge Stanton with one, and shoot myself with the other, or else wait quietly till spring and see what will come of it." A possible precursor of President Wilson's Mexican policy.
He was accused by a woman of milking a cow in her pasture; pleaded guilty, but added, "I left a ten-cent piece on the fence."
An East Hanover man is remembered for his cheek in slyly picking lettuce or parsley in the gardens of the professors and then selling them at the back door to their wives.
And a farmer from Vermont who used to sell tempting vegetables from his large farm. He was so friendly he cordially greeted the ladies who bought from him with a kiss. Grandmother evaded this attention by stating her age, and so was unmolested. The names of his family were arranged in alphabetical order. "Hannah A., give Miss Kate another cup of coffee; Noah B., pass the butter; Emma C., guess you better hand round the riz biscuit."
Life then was a solemn business at Hanover. No dancing; no cards; no theatricals; a yearly concert at commencement, and typhoid fever in the fall. On the Lord's Day some children were not allowed to read the Youth's Companion, or pluck a flower in the garden. But one old working woman rebelled. "I ain't going to have my daughter Frances brought up in no superstitious tragedy." She was far in advance of her age.
I have always delighted in college songs from good voices, whether sung when sitting on the old common fence (now gone) at the "sing out" at the close of the year, or merrily trolling or tra-la-laing along the streets. What a surprise when one glorious moonlight night which showed up the magnificent elms then arching the street before our house—the air was full of fragrance—I was suddenly aroused by several voices adjuring me, a lady of beauty, to awake. I was bewildered—ecstatic. This singing was for me. I listened intently and heard the words of their song:
Sweet is the sound of lute and voice When borne across the water.
Then two other sweets I could not quite catch, and the last lines sung with fervor:
But sweeter still is the charming voice Of Professor Sanborn's daughter.
Two more stanzas and each with the refrain:
The prettiest girl on Hanover Plain is Professor Sanborn's daughter.
Then the last verse:
Hot is the sun whose golden rays Can reach from heaven to earth, And hot a tin pan newly scoured Placed on the blazing hearth, And hot a boy's ears boxed for doing That which he hadn't orter, But hotter still is the love I bear For Professor Sanborn's daughter.
with chorus as before.
I threw down lovely flowers and timidly thanked them. They applauded, sang a rollicking farewell, and were gone. If I could have removed my heart painlessly, I believe that would have gone out too. They had gone, but the blissful memory! I leaned on the window sill, and the moon with its bounteous mellow radiance filled my room. But listen, hark! Only two doors beyond, the same voices, the same melodious tones, and alas, yes, the same words, every verse and the same chorus—same masculine fervour—but somebody else's daughter.
A breakfast comment: "It's a terrible nuisance this caterwauling in the middle of the night in front of the house!" For once I was silent.
Many distinguished men were invited to Dartmouth as orators at commencement or on special occasions, as Rufus Choate, Edward Everett, John G. Saxe, Wendell Phillips, Charles Dudley Warner, and Dr. Holmes, whom I knew in his Boston study, overlooking the water and the gulls. By the way, he looked so young when arriving at Hanover for a few lectures to the Medical School that he was asked if he had come to join the Freshman class.
There were also Edwin P. Whipple, the essayist, and Walt Whitman, who was chosen one year for the commencement poet. He appeared on the platform wearing a flannel shirt, square-cut neck, disclosing a hirsute covering that would have done credit to a grizzly bear; the rest of his attire all right. Joaquin Miller was another genius and original.
Another visitor was James T. Fields of Boston, the popular publisher, poet, author, lecturer, friend, and inimitable raconteur, who was always one of my best friends.
When Mr. and Mrs. Fields were invited to Hanover, he and his beautiful wife were always guests at our home. Their first visit to us was an epoch for me. I worked hard the morning before they were to arrive, sweeping, dusting, polishing silver, and especially brightening the large, brass andirons in father's library. I usually scoured with rotten stone and oil, but on this great occasion, adopting a receipt which I had happened to see in a newspaper, I tried vinegar and powdered pumice-stone. The result at first was fine.
I had barely time after all this to place flowers about the house and dress, and then to drive in our old carryall, with our older horse, to the station at Norwich, just across the Connecticut River, to meet the distinguished pair and escort them to our house. As I heard the train approaching, and the shrill whistle, I got nervous, and my hands trembled. How would they know me? And what had I better say? My aged and spavined horse was called by father "Rosinante" for Don Quixote's bony steed, also "Blind Guide" and "Heathen Philosopher." He looked it—and my shabby carryall! But the train was snorting for a stop, and the two guests soon came easily to my vehicle, and Mr. Fields seemed to know me. Both shook hands most cordially and were soon in the back seat, full of pleasant chat and the first exciting ordeal was over. At tea table Mr. and Mrs. Fields sat on either side of father, and the stories told were different from any I had ever heard. I found when the meal was over I had not taken a mouthful. Next we all went to the College Church for the lecture, and on coming home we had an evening lunch. All ate heartily but me. I ventured to tell one story, when Mr. Fields clapped his hands and said, "Delightful." That was food to me! I went to bed half starved, and only took enough breakfast to sustain life. Before they left I had written down and committed to memory every anecdote he had given. They have never been printed until now, and you may be sure they are just as my hero told them. My only grief was the appearance of my andirons. I invited our guests to the open fire with pride, and the brass was covered with black and green—not a gleam of shine.
Often Mr. Fields's jokes were on himself—as the opinion of a man in the car seat just beyond him, as they happened to be passing Mr. Fields's residence on the Massachusetts coast. The house was pointed out on "Thunderbolt Hill" and his companion said, "How is he as a lecturer?"
"Well," was the response, "he ain't Gough by a d——d sight."
How comically he told of a country druggist's clerk to whom he put the query, "What is the most popular pill just now?" And the quick answer, "Schenk's—they do say the Craowned Heads is all atakin' of 'em!"
Or the request for his funniest lecture for the benefit of a hearse in a rural hamlet!
His experience in a little village where he and Mrs. Fields wanted to find a boarding-house: The lady of the house demurred; she had "got pretty tired of boarders," but at last capitulated with, "Well, I'll let you come in if you'll do your own stretching." This proved to mean no waitress at the table.
The morning after their arrival, he went out for a long walk in the mountain air, and returning was accosted by his host: "I see you are quite a predestinarian." As he was resting on one of the wooden chairs, the man said: "I got those chairs for piazzary purposes," and enlarged on the trouble of getting good help in haying time: "Why, my neighbour, Jake Stebbins, had a boy in his gang named Henry Ward Beecher Gooley. He was so dreadful pious that on extra hot mornings he'd call 'em all together at eleven o'clock and ask 'em to join in singing, 'Lord, Dismiss us with Thy Blessing.'"
All these anecdotes were told to me by Mr. Fields and I intend to give only those memories which are my own.
Mr. Fields was wonderfully kind to budding authors. Professor Brown sent him, without my knowledge, my two-column appreciation of dear Tom Hood, after his memorials were written by his son and daughter. And before many weeks came a box of his newest books for me, with a little note on finest paper and wide margin, "hoping that your friendship may always be continued towards our house."
I cannot speak of Mr. Fields and fail to pay my tribute of loving admiration to his wife, Annie Fields. When I first met that lady in her home at 148 Charles Street, she was so exquisitely dainty, refined, spirituelle, and beautiful, I felt, as I expressed it, "square-toed and common." She was sincerely cordial to all who were invited to that sacred shrine; she was the perfect hostess and housekeeper, the ever-busy philanthropist, a classic poet, a strong writer of prose when eager to aid some needed reform. Never before had I seen such a rare combination of the esthetic and practical, and she shone wherever placed. Once when she was with us, I went up to her room to see if I could help her as she was leaving. She was seated on the floor, pulling straps tightly round some steamer rugs and a rainy day coat, and she explained she always attended to such "little things." As one wrote of her, after her death, she made the most of herself, but she made more of her husband. Together they went forward, side by side, to the last, comrades and true lovers.
Two of all the wonderful literary treasures in their drawing-room produced a great impression on me, one a caricature of Thackeray's face done by himself with no mercy shown to his flattened, broken nose. A lady said to him: "There is only one thing about you I could never get over, your nose." "No wonder, madam, there is no bridge to it." The other was an invitation to supper in Charles Lamb's own writing, and at the bottom of the page, "Puns at nine."
Two famous story-tellers of the old-fashioned type were Doctor Dixi Crosby of Hanover, and his son "Ben," who made a great name for himself in New York City as a surgeon, and also as a brilliant after-dinner speaker. Doctor Crosby's preference was for the long-drawn-out style, as this example, which I heard him tell several times, shows:
A man gave a lecture in a New England town which failed to elicit much applause and this troubled him. As he left early next morning on the top of the stage-coach, he interviewed the driver, who seemed not anxious to talk. "Did you hear much said about my lecture last night? Do you think it pleased the audience?"
"Oh, I guess they were well enough satisfied; some were anyway."
"Were there any who expressed dissatisfaction?"
"I would not pry into it, stranger; there wasn't much said against it anyhow."
"Now you have aroused my curiosity. I must beg you to let me know. Who criticized it, and what did they say? It might help me to hear it."
"Well, Squire Jones was the man; he does not say much one way or other. But I'll tell you he always gets the gist of it."
"And what was his verdict?"
"If you must know, Squire Jones he said, said he, he thought 'twas—awful shaller."
Doctor Ben's Goffstown Muster was a quicker tempo and had a better climax. 'Twas the great occasion of the annual military reviews. He graphically described boys driving colts hardly broken; mothers nursing babies, very squally; girls and their beaux sitting in the best wagon holding hands and staring about (as Warner said to me, "Young love in the country is a solemn thing"); the booths for sale of gingerbread, peanuts, cider, candies, and popcorn; the marshal of the day dashing here and there on his prancing steed. All was excitement, great crowds, and the blare of the band. Suddenly an aged pair, seemingly skeletons, so bony and wan were they, were seen tottering toward the fence, where they at last stopped. They had come from the direction of the graveyard. The marshal rushed forward calling out, "Go back, go back; this is not the general resurrection, it is only the Goffstown Muster."
Doctor Ben Crosby was one of the most admirable mimics ever known and without a suspicion of ill-nature. Sometimes he would call on us representing another acquaintance, who had just left, so perfectly that the gravest and stiffest were in danger of hysterics. This power his daughter inherited.
John Lord, the historical lecturer, was always a "beacon light" (which was the name he gave his lectures when published) as he discussed the subjects and persons he took for themes before immense audiences everywhere. His conversation was also intensely interesting. He was a social lion and a favourite guest. His lectures have still a large annual sale—no one who once knew him or listened to his pyrotechnic climaxes could ever forget him or them. It was true that he made nine independent and distinct motions simultaneously in his most intense delivery. I once met him going back to his rooms at his hotel carrying a leather bag. He stopped, opened it, showing a bottle of Scotch whiskey, and explained "I am starting in on a lecture on Moses." There was a certain simplicity about the man. Once when his right arm was in a sling, broken by a fall from a horse, he offered prayer in the old church. And unable to use his arm as usual, he so balanced his gyrations that he in some way drifted around until when he said "Amen" his face fronted the whitewashed wall back of his pulpit. He turned to the minister standing by him, saying in a very audible whisper, "Do you think anybody noticed it?"
He was so genuinely hospitable that when a friend suddenly accepted his "come up any time" invitation, he found no one at home but the doctor, who proposed their killing a chicken. Soon one was let out, but she evaded her pursuers. "You shoo, and I'll catch," cried the kind host, but shrank back as the fowl came near, exclaiming: "Say, West, has a hen got teeth?" At last they conquered, plucked, and cooked her for a somewhat tardy meal, with some potatoes clawed up in the potato field. Once, when very absent-minded, at a hotel table in a country tavern, the waitress was astonished to watch him as he took the oil cruet from the castor and proceeded to grease his boots.
Doctor John Ordronaux, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Dartmouth and various other colleges and medical schools, was another erudite scholar, who made a permanent impression on all he met. While yet at college, his words were so unusual and his vocabulary so full that a wag once advertised on the bulletin board on the door of Dartmouth Hall, "Five hundred new adjectives by John Ordronaux."
He was haunted by synonyms, and told me they interfered with his writing, so many clamouring for attention. He was a confirmed bachelor with very regular habits; wanted his bed to be left to air the entire day, he to make it himself at precisely 5.30 P.M., or as near as possible. His walk was peculiar, with knees stiffly bent out and elbows crooked as if to repel all feminine aggression, "a progressive porcupine" as someone described his gait. His hour for retiring was always the same; when calling leaving about 9.30. Rallied about his methodical habits, he was apt to mention many of his old friends who had indulged themselves in earthly pleasures, all of whom he had the sad pleasure of burying.
He was a great admirer of my mother for her loveliness and kind interest in the students; after her death he was a noble aid to me in many ways. I needed his precautions about spreading myself too thin, about being less flamboyantly loquacious, and subduing my excessive enthusiasm and emotional prodigality. Once after giving me a drive, he kindly said, as he helped me out, "I have quite enjoyed your cheerful prattle." Fact was, he had monologued it in his most sesquipedalian phraseology. I had no chance to say one word. He had his own way of gaining magnetism; believed in associating with butchers. Did you ever know one that was anaemic, especially at slaughtering time? From them and the animals there and in stables, and the smell of the flowing blood, he felt that surely a radiant magnetism was gained. Those he visited "thought he was real democratic and a pleasant spoken man." He told of an opportunity he once had for regular employment, riding on the stage-coach by the side of a farmer's pretty daughter. She suggested that he might like a milk route, and "perhaps father can get you one." So formal, dignified, and fastidious was he that this seems improbable, but I quote his own account.
Doctor Ordronaux visited at my uncle's, a physician, when I was resting there from overwork. After his departure, uncle received a letter from him which he handed to me saying, "Guess this is meant for you." I quote proudly:
I rejoice to have been permitted to enjoy so much of Miss Sanborn's society, and to discover what I never before fully appreciated, that beneath the scintillations of a brilliant intellect she hides a vigorous and analytic understanding, and when age shall have somewhat tempered her emotional susceptibilities she will shine with the steady light of a planet, reaching her perihelion and taking a permanent place in the firmament of letters.
Sounds something like a Johnsonian epitaph, but wasn't it great?
I visited his adopted mother at Roslyn, Long Island, and they took me to a Sunday dinner with Bryant at "Cedarmere," a fitting spot for a poet's home. The aged poet was in vigorous health, mind and body. Going to his library he took down an early edition of his Thanatopsis, pointing out the nineteen lines written some time before the rest. Mottoes hung on the wall such as "As thy days so shall thy strength be." I ventured to ask how he preserved such vitality, and he said, "I owe a great deal to daily air baths and the flesh brush, plenty of outdoor air and open fireplaces." What an impressive personality; erect, with white hair and long beard; his eyebrows looked as if snow had fallen on them. His conversation was delightfully informal. "What does your name mean?" he inquired, and I had to say, "I do not know, it has changed so often," and asked, "What is the origin of yours?" "Briant—brilliant, of course." He told the butler to close the door behind me lest I catch cold from a draught, quoting this couplet:
When the wind strikes you through a hole, Go make your will and mind your soul;
and informing me that this advice was found in every language, if not dialect, in the world. He loved every inch of his country home, was interested in farming, flowers, the water-view and fish-pond, fond of long walks, and preferred the simple life. In his rooms were many souvenirs of early travel. His walls were covered with the finest engravings and paintings from the best American artists. He was too willing to be imposed upon by young authors and would-be poets. He said: "People expect too much of me, altogether too much." That Sunday was his last before his address on Mazzini in Central Park. He finished with the hot sun over his head, and walking across the park to the house of Grant Wilson, he fell down faint and hopelessly ill on the doorstep. He never rallied, and after thirteen days the end came. An impressive warning to the old, who are selfishly urged to do hard tasks, that they must conserve their own vitality. Bryant was eighty-four when killed by over-exertion, with a mind as wonderful as ever.
I will now recount the conditions when Ezekiel Webster and his second wife took their wedding trip in a "one hoss shay" to the White Mountains in 1826.
Grandma lived to be ninety-six, with her mind as clear as ever, and two years before her death she gave me this story of their experiences at that time. My mother told me she knew of more than thirty proposals she had received after grandfather's death, but she said "she would rather be the widow of Ezekiel Webster, than the wife of any other man." The following is her own description.
The only house near the Crawford Notch was the Willey House, in which the family were living. A week before a slide had come down by the side of the house and obstructed the road. Mr. Willey and two men came to our assistance, taking out the horse and lifting the carriage over the debris.
They described the terrors of the night of the slide. The rain was pouring in torrents, the soil began to slide from the tops of the rocks, taking with it trees, boulders, and all in its way; the crashing and thundering were terrible. Three weeks later the entire family, nine in number, in fleeing to a place of refuge, were overtaken by a second slide and all buried.
The notch was then as nature made it; no steam whistle or car clatter had intruded upon its solitude. The first moving object we saw after passing through was a man in the distance. He proved to be Ethan Crawford, who kept the only house of entertainment. He was walking leisurely, drawing a rattlesnake along by its tail. He had killed the creature and was taking it home as a trophy. He was a stalwart man, who had always lived among the mountains, and had become as familiar with the wild beasts as with the cat and dog of his own home. He said that only a few days before he had passed a bear drinking at a spring. He led the way to his house, a common farmhouse without paint, or carpet, or cushioned seat. The landlady was spinning wool in the kitchen.
Mr. Crawford supplied the table when he could by his gun or fishing-rod; otherwise the fare was meagre. When asked for mustard for the salt meat, they said they had none, at least in the house, but they had some growing.
A young turkey halted about in the dining-room gobbling in a noisy way, and the girl in attendance was requested by Mr. Webster, with imperturbable gravity, either to kindly take it out or to bring its companion in, for it seemed lonely. She stood in utter confusion for a minute, then seized the squawking fowl and disappeared.
When Mr. Crawford was asked if ladies ever went up Mount Washington, he said two had been up, and he hoped never to see another trying it, for the last one he brought down on his shoulders, or she would have never got down alive.
The first night I asked for a change of bed linen. No attention was paid to my request, and after waiting a long time I found the landlady and asked her if she would have the sheets changed. She straightened up and said she didn't think the bed would hurt anybody, for only two ministers from Boston had slept in it. We stayed some days and although it was the height of the season, we were the only guests. Nothing from the outside world reached us but one newspaper, and that brought the startling news of the death of Adams and Jefferson on the fourth of July, just fifty years after their signing the Declaration of Independence.
The large leghorn bonnet which Mrs. Webster wore on that eventful journey hangs in my collection of old relics. She told me it used to hit the wheel when she looked out. And near it is her dark-brown "calash," a big bonnet with rattans stitched in so it would easily move back and forward. Her winter hood was of dark blue silk, warmly wadded and prettily quilted.
Who would not wish to live to be a hundred if health and mental vigour could be retained? This rare old lady wrote lively, interesting letters on all current topics, and was as eager to win at whist, backgammon, or logomachy as a child. Her religion was the most beautiful part of her life, the same every day, self-forgetting, practical Christianity. She is not forgotten; her life is still a stimulus, an inspiration, a benediction. The love and veneration of those who gathered about her in family reunions were expressed by her nephew Dr. Fred B. Lund, one of the most distinguished surgeons of Boston:
To her who down the pathway of the years Serene and calm her blessed way she trod, Has given smiles for smiles, and tears for tears, Held fast the good in life, and shown how God
Has given to us His servants here below, A shining mark to follow in our strife, Who proves that He is good, and makes us know Through ten decades of pure and holy life
How life may be made sweeter at its end, How graces from the seasons that have fled May light her eyes and added glory lend To saintly aureole about her head.
We bring our Christmas greeting heartily, Three generations gathered at her feet, Who like a little child has led, while we Have lived and loved beneath her influence sweet.
Levi Parsons Morton, born at Shoreham, Vermont, May 16, 1824, was named for his mother's brother, Levi Parsons, the first American missionary to Palestine. He was the son of a minister, Reverend Daniel Morton, who with his wife Lucretia Parsons, like so many other clergymen, was obliged to exist on a starvation salary, only six hundred dollars a year. Among his ancestors was George Morton of Battery, Yorkshire, financial agent in London of the Mayflower. Mr. L.P. Morton may have inherited his financial cleverness from this ancestor.
After studying at Shoreham Academy, he entered a country store at Enfield, Massachusetts, and was there for two years, then taught a district school, and later entered a general store at Concord, New Hampshire, when only seventeen. His father was unable to send him to college, and Mr. Estabrook, the manager of the store, decided to establish him in a branch store at Hanover, New Hampshire, where Dartmouth College is located, giving him soon afterward an interest in the business. Here he stayed until nearly twenty-four years old. Mr. Morton immediately engaged a stylish tailor from Boston, W.H. Gibbs, or as all called him, "Bill Gibbs," whose skill at making even cheap suits look smart brought him a large patronage from the college students. Once a whole graduating class were supplied with dress suits from this artist. Mr. Morton had a most interesting store, sunny and scrupulously clean, with everything anyone could ask for, and few ever went out of it without buying something, even if they had entered simply from curiosity. The clerks were trained to be courteous without being persistent. Saturday was bargain day, and printed lists of what could be obtained on that day at an absurdly cheap rate were widely distributed through the neighbouring towns. People came in large numbers to those bargains. Long rows of all sorts of odd vehicles were hitched up and down the street. A man would drop in for some smoking tobacco and buy himself a good straw hat or winter cap. A wife would call because soda was offered so cheaply and would end by buying a black silk dress, "worth one dollar a yard but selling for today only for fifty cents." Mr. Morton was perhaps the original pioneer in methods which have built up the great department stores of the present day. If he had received the education his father so craved for him he would have probably had an inferior and very different career.
Mr. Morton greatly enjoyed his life at Hanover; he was successful and looking forward to greater openings in his business career. My father, taking a great fancy to this enterprising, cheery young man, invited him to dine each day at our house for nearly a year. They were great friends and had a happy influence upon each other. There were many jolly laughs and much earnest talk. He met Miss Lucy Kimball of Flatlands, Long Island, at our house at a Commencement reception, and they were soon married. She lived only a few years.
Mr. Morton was next in Boston in the dry-goods house of James Beebe Morgan & Company, and was soon made a partner. Mr. Morgan was the father of Pierpont Morgan. It is everlastingly to Mr. Morton's honour that after he failed in business in New York he was able before long to invite his creditors to dinner, and underneath the service plate of each creditor was a check for payment in full.
Preferring to give money while living, his whole path has been marked by large benefactions. My memory is of his Hanover life and his friendship with my father, but it is interesting to note the several steps in his career: Honorary Commissioner, Paris Exposition, 1878; Member 46th Congress, 1879-81, Sixth New York District; United States Minister to France, 1881-85; Vice-President of the United States, 1889-93; Governor of New York, 1895-6.
Mr. Morton recently celebrated at his Washington home the ninety-first anniversary in a life full of honours, and what is more important—of honour.
A Friend at Andover, Mass.—Hezekiah Butterworth—A Few of my Own Folks—Professor Putnam of Dartmouth—One Year at Packer Institute, Brooklyn—Beecher's Face in Prayer—The Poet Saxe as I Saw him—Offered the Use of a Rare Library—Miss Edna Dean Proctor—New Stories of Greeley—Experiences at St. Louis.
Next a few months at Andover for music lessons—piano and organ. A valuable friend was found in Miss Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, who had just published her Gates Ajar. She invited me to her study and wanted to know what I meant to accomplish in life and urged me to write. "I have so much work called for now that I cannot keep up my contributions to The Youth's Companion. I want you to have my place there. What would you like to write about?"
"Haven't you anything at home to describe."
"Why I have a homely, ordinary dog, but he knows a lot."
And so I was roused to try "Our Rab and His Friends," which was kindly mailed by Miss Phelps to Mr. Ford, the editor, with a wish that he accept the little story, which he did, sending a welcome check and asking for more contributions. I kept a place there for several years.
In Miss Phelps's case, one must believe in heredity and partly in Huxley's statement that "we are automata propelled by our ancestors." Her grandfather, Moses Stuart, was Professor of Sacred Literature at Andover, a teacher of Greek and Latin, and a believer in that stern school of theology and teleology. It was owing perhaps to a combination of severity in climatic and in intellectual environment that New England developed an austere type of scholars and theologians. Their mental vision was focused on things remote in time and supernatural in quality, so much so that they often overlooked the simple and natural expression of their obligation to things nearby. It sometimes happened that their tender and amiable characteristics were better known to learned colleagues with whom they were in intellectual sympathy, than to their own wives and children. Sometimes their finer and more lovable qualities were first brought to the attention of their families when some distinguished professor or divine feelingly pronounced a funeral eulogy.
It's a long way from the stern Moses Stuart, who believed firmly in hell and universal damnation and who, with Calvin, depicted infants a span long crawling on the floor of hell, to his gifted granddaughter, who, although a member of an evangelical church, wrote: "Death and heaven could not seem very different to a pagan from what they seem to me." Her heart was nearly broken by the sudden death of her lover on the battlefield. "Roy, snatched away in an instant by a dreadful God, and laid out there in the wet and snow—in the hideous wet and snow—never to kiss him, never to see him any more." Her Gates Ajar when it appeared was considered by some to be revolutionary and shocking, if not wicked. Now, we gently smile at her diluted, sentimental heaven, where all the happy beings have what they most want; she to meet Roy and find the same dear lover; another to have a piano; a child to get ginger snaps. I never quite fancied the restriction of musical instruments in visions of heaven to harps alone. They at first blister the fingers until they are calloused. The afflicted washerwoman, whose only daughter had just died, was not in the least consoled by the assurance that Melinda was perfectly happy, playing a harp in heaven. "She never was no musicianer, and I'd rather see her a-settin' by my tub as she used to set when I was a-wringin' out the clothes from the suds, than to be up there a-harpin'." Very different, as a matter of fact, were the instruments, more or less musical, around which New England families gathered on Sunday evenings for the singing of hymns and "sacred songs." Yet there was often real faith and sincere devotion pedalled out of the squeaking old melodeon.
Professor Stuart's eldest daughter, Elizabeth Stuart, married Austin Phelps in 1842; who was then pastor of Pine Street Church in Boston. Their daughter was born in Boston in 1844, and named Mary Gray Phelps. They moved to Andover in 1848, where two sons were born. Mrs. Phelps, who died when Mary was seven years old, was bright, interesting, unusual. She wrote Tales of New England, chiefly stories of clerical life; also Sunnyside Sketches, remarkably popular at the time. Her nom de plume was "Trusta." Professor Phelps married her sister Mary, for his second wife. She lived only a year, and it was after her death that Mary changed her name to that of her mother, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps. Professor Phelps had a most nervous temperament, so much so that he could not sleep if a cricket chirped in his bedroom, and the stamping of a horse in a nearby stable destroyed all hope of slumber.
Miss Phelps inherited her mother's talent for writing stories, also her humour and her sensitive, loving nature, as is seen by her works on Temperance Reforms, Abuses of Factory Operators, and her arraignment of the vivisectionist. Later, when I was living at the "Abandoned Farm," she had a liking for the farm I now own, about half a mile farther on from my first agricultural experiment. She called on me, and begged me as woman for woman in case she bought the neighbouring farm, to seclude all my animals and fowls from 5 P.M. till 10 A.M. each morning, as she must get her sleep, for, like her father, she was a life-long sufferer from insomnia. I would have done this if it were possible to repress the daybreak cries natural to a small menagerie which included chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, besides two peacocks and four guinea fowls.
But to return to the Youth's Companion. When I found it impossible to write regularly for Mr. Ford, he made a change for the better, securing Mr. Hezekiah Butterworth, a poet, historian, and author of the Zigzag Series, which had such large sales. Happening to be in Boston, I called at the office and said to Mr. Ford: "It grieves me a bit to see my column taken by someone else, and what a strange pen name—'Hezekiah Butterworth.'"
"But that is his own name," said the editor.
"Indeed; I am afraid I shall hate that Hezzy."
"Well, just try it; come with me to his work-room."
When we had gone up one flight, Mr. Ford opened a door, where a gentle, sweet-faced young man of slender build was sitting at a table, the floor all around him literally strewn with at least three hundred manuscripts, each one to be examined as a possible winner in a contest for a five-hundred-dollar prize story. Both English and American authors had competed. He was, as De Quincey put it, "snowed up." Then my friend said with a laugh, "Miss Sanborn has come to see Hezzy whom she fancies she shall hate." A painfully awkward introduction, but Mr. Butterworth laughed heartily, and made me very welcome, and from that time was ever one of my most faithful friends, honouring my large Thanksgiving parties by his presence for many years.
I shall tell but two stories about my father in his classroom. He had given Pope's Rape of the Lock as subject for an essay to a young man who had not the advantage of being born educated, but did his best at all times. As the young man read on in class, father, who in later years was a little deaf, stopped him saying, "Sir, did I understand you to say Sniff?" "No, sir, I did not, I said Slyph."
In my father's Latin classes there were many absurd mistakes, as when he asked a student, "What was ambrosia?" and the reply was, "The gods' hair oil," an answer evidently suggested by the constant advertisement of "Sterling's Ambrosia" for the hair.
I will now refer to my two uncles on my father's side. The older one was Dyer H. Sanborn, a noted educator of his time, and a grammarian, publishing a text-book on that theme and honouring the parts of speech with a rhyme which began—
A noun's the name of anything, As hoop or garden, ball or swing; Three little words we often see The articles, a, an, and the.
Mrs. Eddy, of Christian Science fame, spoke of him with pride as her preceptor. He liked to constitute himself an examining committee of one and visit the schools near him. Once he found only five very small children, and remarked approvingly, "Good order here." He, unfortunately, for his brothers, developed an intense interest in genealogy, and after getting them to look up the family tree in several branches, would soon announce to dear brother Edwin, or dear brother John, "the papers you sent have disappeared; please send a duplicate at once."
My other uncle, John Sewall Sanborn, graduated at Dartmouth, and after studying law, he started for a career in Canada, landed in Sherbrooke, P.Q., with the traditional fifty cents in his pocket, and began to practise law. Soon acquiring a fine practice, he married the strikingly handsome daughter of Mr. Brooks, the most important man in that region, and rose to a position on the Queen's Bench. He was twelve years in Parliament, and later a "Mr. Justice," corresponding with a member of our Federal Supreme Court. In fact, he had received every possible honour at his death except knighthood, which he was soon to have received.
My great-grandfather, on the paternal side, was always called "Grandsir Hook," and Dr. Crosby assured me that I inherited my fat, fun, and asthma from that obese person, weighing nearly three hundred pounds. When he died a slice had to be cut off, not from his body, but from the side of the house, to let the coffin squeeze through. I visited his grave with father. It was an immense elevation even at so remote a date. David Sanborn married his daughter Hannah Hook, after a formal courtship. The "love" letters to "Honoured Madam" are still preserved. Fortunately the "honoured madam" had inherited the sense of humour.
A few words about Mr. Daniel Webster. I remember going to Marshfield with my mother, his niece, and sitting on his knee while he looked over his large morning mail, throwing the greater part into the waste basket. Also in the dining-room I can still recall the delicious meals prepared by an old-time Southern mammy, who wore her red and yellow turban regally. The capital jokes by his son Fletcher and guests sometimes caused the dignified and impressive butler to rapidly dart behind the large screen to laugh, then soon back to duty, imperturbable as before.
The large library occupied one ell of the house, with its high ceiling running in points to a finish. There hung the strong portraits of Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster. At the top of his own picture at the right hung his large grey slouch hat, so well known. In the next room the silhouette of his mother, and underneath it his words, "My excellent mother." Also a portrait of Grace Fletcher, his first wife, and of his son Edward in uniform. Edward was killed in the Mexican War.
There is a general impression that Mr. Webster was a heavy drinker and often under the influence of liquor when he rose to speak; as usual there are two sides to this question. George Ticknor of Boston told my father that he had been with Webster on many public occasions, and never saw him overcome but once. That was at the Revere House in Boston, where he was expected to speak after dinner. "I sat next to him," said Ticknor; "suddenly he put his hand on my shoulder and whispered, 'Come out and run around the common.'" This they did and the speech was a success. There is a wooden statue of Daniel Webster that has stood for forty years in Hingham, Massachusetts. It is larger than life and called a good portrait. It was made more than sixty years ago as a figurehead for the ship Daniel Webster but never put on. That would have been appropriate if he was occasionally half seas over. Daniel's devotion to his only brother "Zeke" is pleasant to remember. By the way, there are many men who pay every debt promptly and never take a drop too much, who would be proud to have a record for something accomplished that is as worth while as his record. When Daniel Webster entered Dartmouth College as a freshman directly from his father's farm, he was a raw specimen, awkward, thin, and so dark that some mistook him for a new Indian recruit. He was then called "Black Dan." His father's second wife and the mother of Zeke and Dan had decidedly a generous infusion of Indian blood. A gentleman at Hanover who remembered Webster there said his large, dark, resplendent eyes looked like coach lanterns on a dark night.
Mrs. Ezekiel Webster told me that her husband asked her after their marriage to allow his mother to come home to them at Boscawen, New Hampshire. She said she was a strikingly fine-looking woman with those same marvellous eyes, long straight black hair, high cheekbones; a tall person with strong individuality. Mrs. Webster was sure where the swarthy infusion came from. This mother, who had been a hard worker and faithful wife, now delighted in sitting by the open fire evenings and smoking an old pipe she had brought with her.
Webster saved his Alma Mater, and after the favourable decision on the College Case, Judge Hopkinson wrote to Professor Brown of Dartmouth suggesting an inscription on the doors of the college building, "Founded by Eleazer Wheelock, refounded by Daniel Webster." These words are now placed in bronze at the portals of Webster Memorial Hall.
To go back, as I did, from Andover to Hanover, I pay my tribute to Professor John Newton Putnam, Greek Professor at Dartmouth. His character was perfect; his face of rare beauty shone with kind and helpful thought for everyone. I see him, as he talked at our mid-week meetings. One could almost perceive an aura or halo around his classic head; wavy black hair which seemed to have an almost purple light through it; large dark eyes, full of love. What he said was never perfunctory, never dull. He was called "John, the Beloved Disciple." Still he was thoroughly human and brimming over with fun, puns, and exquisitely droll humour, and quick in seeing a funny condition.
It is said that on one occasion when there happened to be a party the same night as our "Thursday evening meeting," he was accosted by a friend as he was going into the vestry with the inquiry, "Are you not to be tempted by the social delights of the evening?" To which he replied, "No, I prefer to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." The college inspector reported to him that he was obliged to break into a room at college where a riot was progressing and described a negro's efforts to hide himself by scurrying under the bed.
"But how unnecessary; all he had to do was to keep dark."
Once he was found waiting a long time at the counter of a grocery store. A friend passing said, "You've been there quite a while, Putnam."
"Yes, I'm waiting all my appointed time until my change doth come."
Expecting "Help" from Norwich, he was gazing in that direction and explained, "I'm looking unto the hills whence cometh our help."
We often diverted ourselves at his home with "Rounce," the duplicate of euchre in dominoes. And we were startled by a Madonna dropping to the floor, leaving its frame on the wall. Instantly Professor Putnam remarked: "Her willing soul would not stay 'in such a frame as this.'" And when called to preside at the organ when the college choir was away, he whispered to me, "Listen to my interludicrous performance."
How sad the end! A delicate constitution conquered by tuberculosis. With his wife he sought a milder climate abroad and died there. But no one can compute the good accomplished even by his unconscious influence, for everything was of the purest, highest, best.
Soon after my return from St. Louis, I received a call from Packer Institute in Brooklyn, to teach English Literature, which was most agreeable. But when I arrived, the principal, Mr. Crittenden, told me that the woman who had done that work had decided to remain. I was asked by Mr. Crittenden, "Can you read?" "Yes, I think so." "Then come with me." He touched a bell and then escorted me to the large chapel capable of holding nearly twelve hundred, where I found the entire faculty assembled to listen to my efforts. I was requested to stand up in the pulpit and read from a large Bible the fourteenth chapter of John, and the twenty-third psalm. That was easy enough. Next request, "Please recite something comic." I gave them "Comic Miseries." "Now try a little pathos." I recited Alice Cary's "The Volunteer," which was one of my favourite poems. Then I heard a professor say to Mr. Crittenden, "She recites with great taste and expression; what a pity she has that lisp!" And hitherto I had been blissfully unaware of such a failing. One other selection in every-day prose, and I was let off. The faculty were now exchanging their opinions and soon dispersed without one word to me. I said to Mr. Crittenden, as I came down the pulpit stairs, "I do not want to take the place." But he insisted that they all wanted me to come and begin work at once. I had large classes, number of pupils eight hundred and fifty. It was a great opportunity to help young girls to read in such a way that it would be a pleasure to their home friends, or to recite in company, as was common then, naturally and without gestures. I took one more class of little girls who had received no training before in that direction. They were easy to inspire, were wholly free from self-consciousness, and their parents were so much pleased that we gave an exhibition of what they could do in reading and recitation in combination with their gymnastics. The chapel was crowded to the doors. A plump little German girl was the star of the evening. She stood perfectly serene, her chubby arms stuck out stiffly from her sides, and in a loud, clear voice she recited this nonsense:
If the butterfly courted the bee, And the owl the porcupine; If churches were built on the sea, And three times one were nine; If the pony rode his master, And the buttercups ate the cows; And the cat had the dire disaster To be worried, sir, by a mouse; And mamma, sir, sold her baby, To a gypsy for half a crown, And a gentleman were a lady, This world would be upside down. But, if any or all these wonders Should ever come about, I should not think them blunders, For I should be inside out.
An encore was insisted on.
I offered to give any in my classes lessons in "how to tell a story" with ease, brevity, and point, promising to give an anecdote of my own suggested by theirs every time. This pleased them, and we had a jolly time. The first girl who tried to tell a story said:
I don't know how; never attempted any such thing, but what I am going to tell is true and funny.
My grandfather is very deaf. You may have seen him sitting on a pulpit stair at Mr. Beecher's church, holding to his ear what looks like a skillet. Last spring we went to the country, house-hunting, leaving grandfather to guard our home. He was waked, in the middle of the night as he supposed, by a noise, and started out to find where it came from. It continued; so he courageously went downstairs and cautiously opened the kitchen door. He reached out his skillet-trumpet before him through the partly opened door and the milkman poured in a quart of milk.
This story, I am told, is an ancient chestnut. But I used to see the deaf grandfather with his uplifted skillet on the steps of Beecher's pulpit, and the young lady gave it as a real happening in her own home. Did anyone hear of it before 1868 when she gave it to our anecdote class? I believe this was the foundation or starter for similar skillet-trumpet stories.
The girl was applauded, and deserved it. Then they asked me for a milk story. I told them of a milkman who, in answer to a young mother's complaint that the milk he brought for her baby was sour, replied: "Well, is there anything outside the sourness that doesn't suit you?" And Thoreau remarked that "circumstantial evidence is sometimes conclusive, as when a trout is found in the morning milk."
This class was considered so practical and valuable that I was offered pay for it, but it was a relief, after exhausting work.
We had many visitors interested in the work of the various classes. One day Beecher strolled into the chapel and wished to hear some of the girls read. All were ready. One took the morning paper; another recited a poem; one read a selection from her scrapbook. Beecher afterward inquired: "Whom have you got to teach elocution now? You used to have a few prize pumpkins on show, but now every girl is doing good original work." Mr. Crittenden warned me at the outset, "Keep an eye out or they'll run over you." But I never had anything but kindness from my pupils. I realized that cheerful, courteous requests were wiser than commands, and sincere friendship more winning than "Teachery" primness. I knew of an unpopular instructor who, being annoyed by his pupils throwing a few peanuts at his desk, said, "Young men, if you throw another peanut, I shall leave the room." A shower of peanuts followed.
So, when I went to my largest class in the big chapel, and saw one of my most interesting girls sitting on that immense Bible on the pulpit looking at me in merry defiance, and kicking her heels against the woodwork below, I did not appear to see her, and began the exercises, hoping fervently that one of the detectives who were always on watch might providentially appear. Before long I saw one come to the door, look in with an amazed expression, only to bring two of the faculty to release the young lady from her uneasy pre-eminence.
I hardly knew my own name at the Packer Institute. The students called me "Canary," I suppose on account of my yellow hair and rather high treble voice; Mr. Crittenden always spoke to me as Miss "Sunburn," and when my laundry was returned, it was addressed to "Miss Lampoon."
Beecher was to me the clerical miracle of his age—a man of extraordinary personal magnetism, with power to rouse laughter and right away compel tears, I used to listen often to his marvellous sermons. I can see him now as he went up the middle aisle in winter wearing a clumsy overcoat, his face giving the impression of heavy, coarse features, thick lips, a commonplace nose, eyes that lacked expression, nothing to give any idea of the man as he would look after the long prayer. When the audience reverently bowed their heads my own eyes were irresistibly drawn toward the preacher. For he prayed as if he felt that he was addressing an all-powerful, omnipresent, tender, loving Heavenly Father who was listening to his appeal. And as he went on and on with increasing fervour and power a marvellous change transfigured that heavy face, it shone with a white light and spiritual feeling, as if he fully realized his communion with God Himself. I used to think of that phrase in Matthew:
"And was transfigured before them, And his face did shine as the sun."
I never heard anyone mention this marvellous transformation. But I remember that Beecher once acknowledged to a reporter that he never knew what he had said in his sermon until he looked at the resume in Monday's paper.
During the hard days of Beecher's trial a lady who was a guest at the house told me she was waked one morning by the merry laughter of Beecher's little grandchildren and peeping into their room found Mr. Beecher having a jolly frolic with them. He was trying to get them dressed; his efforts were most comical, putting on their garments wrong side out or buttoning in front when they were intended to fasten in the back, and "funny Grandpa" enjoying it all quite as sincerely as these little ones. A pretty picture.
Saxe (John Godfrey) called during one recess hour. The crowds of girls passing back and forth interested him, as they seemed to care less for eating than for wreathing their arms round each other, with a good deal of kissing, and "deary," "perfectly lovely," etc. He described his impressions in two words: "Unconscious rehearsing."
Once he handed me a poem he had just dashed off written with pencil, "To my Saxon Blonde." I was surprised and somewhat flattered, regarding it as a complimentary impromptu. But, on looking up his poetry in the library, I found the same verses printed years before:
"If bards of old the truth have told, The sirens had raven hair; But ever since the earth had birth, They paint the angels fair."
Probably that was a habit with him.
When a friend joked him about his very-much-at-home manner at the United States Hotel at Saratoga, where he went every year, saying as they sat together on the upper piazza, "Why, Saxe, I should fancy you owned this hotel," he rose, and lounging against one of the pillars answered, "Well, I have a 'lien' on this piazza."
His epigrams are excellent. He has made more and better than any American poet. In Dodd's large collection of the epigrams of the world, I think there are six at least from Saxe. Let me quote two:
AN EQUIVOCAL APOLOGY
Quoth Madame Bas-Bleu, "I hear you have said Intellectual women are always your dread; Now tell me, dear sir, is it true?" "Why, yes," answered Tom, "very likely I may Have made the remark in a jocular way; But then on my honour, I didn't mean you!"
TOO CANDID BY HALF
As John and his wife were discoursing one day Of their several faults, in a bantering way, Said she, "Though my wit you disparage, I'm sure, my dear husband, our friends will attest This much, at the least, that my judgment is best." Quoth John, "So they said at our marriage."
When Saxe heard of a man in Chicago who threw his wife into a vat of boiling hog's lard, he remarked: "Now, that's what I call going too far with a woman."
After a railroad accident, in which he received some bruises, I said: "You didn't find riding on the rails so pleasant?" "Not riding on, but riding off the rail was the trouble."
He apostrophized the unusually pretty girl who at bedtime handed each guest a lighted candle in a candlestick. She fancied some of the fashionable young women snubbed her but Saxe assured her in rhyme:
"There is not a single one of them all Who could, if they would, hold a candle to you."
He was an inveterate punster. Miss Caroline Ticknor tells us how he used to lie on a couch in a back room at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston, at a very early hour, and amuse the boys who were sweeping and dusting the store until one of the partners arrived. I believe he never lost a chance to indulge in a verbal quibble. "In the meantime, and 'twill be a very mean time."
I often regret that I did not preserve his comical letters, and those of Richard Grant White and other friends who were literary masters. Mr. Grant White helped me greatly when I was doubtful about some literary question, saying he would do anything for a woman whose name was Kate. And a Dartmouth graduate, whom I asked for a brief story of Father Prout, the Irish poet and author, gave me so much material that it was the most interesting lecture of my season. He is now a most distinguished judge in Massachusetts.
Saxe, like other humourists, suffered from melancholia at the last. Too sad!
After giving a lecture in the chapel of Packer Institute at the time I was with Mrs. Botta in New York, I was surprised to receive a call the next morning from Mr. Charles Storrs of 23 Monroe Place, Brooklyn, asking me to go to his house, and make use of his library, which he told me Horace Greeley had pronounced the best working and reference library he had ever known. A great opportunity for anyone! Mr. Storrs was too busy a man to really enjoy his own library. Mrs. Storrs and Miss Edna Dean Proctor, who made her home with them, comprised his family, as his only daughter had married Miss Proctor's brother and lived in Peoria, Illinois. Mr. Storrs had made his own fortune, starting out by buying his "time" of his father and borrowing an old horse and pedlar's cart from a friend. He put into the cart a large assortment of Yankee notions, or what people then called "short goods," as stockings, suspenders, gloves, shoestrings, thread and needles, tape, sewing silk, etc. He determined to make his own fortune and succeeded royally for he became a "merchant prince." His was a rarely noble and generous nature with a heart as big as his brain. Several of his large rooms downstairs were crammed with wonderfully beautiful and precious things which his soul delighted in picking up, in ivory, jade, bronze, and glass. He was so devotedly fond of music that at great expense he had a large organ built which could be played by pedalling and pulling stops in and out, and sometimes on Sunday morning he would rise by half-past six, and be downstairs in his shirt sleeves hard at work, eliciting oratorio or opera music for his own delectation. A self-made man, "who did not worship his creator." He was always singularly modest, although very decided in his opinions. Men are asking of late who can be called educated. Certainly not a student of the ancient Assyrian or the mysteries of the Yogi, or the Baha, or the Buddhistic legends, when life is so brief and we must "act in the living present." But a man who has studied life and human nature as well as the best form of books, gained breadth and culture by wide travel, and is always ready for new truths, that man is educated in the best sense, although entirely self-educated. Greeley used to say, "Charles Storrs is a great man."
Greeley used to just rest and enjoy himself at Mr. Storrs's home, often two weeks at a time, and liked to shut himself into that wonderful library to work or read. Once when he returned unexpectedly, the maid told Miss Proctor that Mr. Greeley had just come in from the rain and was quite wet, and there was no fire in the library. He did not at first care to change to Mr. Storrs's special den in the basement. But Miss Proctor said "It is too cold here and your coat is quite wet." "Oh, I am used to that," he said plaintively. But his special desk was carried down to a room bright with an open fire, and he seemed glad to be cared for.
Whitelaw Reid was photographed with Greeley when he first came on from the West to take a good share of the responsibility of editing the Tribune. He stood behind Greeley's chair, and I noticed his hair was then worn quite long. But he soon attained the New York cut as well as the New York cult. Both Reid and John Hay were at that time frequent guests of Mr. Storrs, who never seemed weary of entertaining his friends. Beecher was one of his intimate acquaintances and they often went to New York together hunting for rare treasures.
I have several good stories about Mr. Greeley for which I am indebted to Miss Proctor who told them to me.
1. He used to write way up in a small attic in the Tribune building, and seldom allowed anyone to interrupt him. Some man, who was greatly disgusted over one of Greeley's editorials, climbed up to his sanctum, and as soon as his head showed above the railing, he began to rave and rage, using the most lurid style of profanity. It seemed as if he never would stop, but at last, utterly exhausted and out of breath and all used up, he waited for a reply.
Greeley kept on writing, never having looked up once. This was too much to be endured, and the caller turned to go downstairs, when Greeley called out: "Come back, my friend, come back, and free your mind."
2. Mr. Greeley once found that one of the names in what he considered an important article on the Board of Trade had been incorrectly printed. He called Rooker, the head man in the printing department, and asked fiercely what man set the type for this printing, showing him the mistake. Rooker told him, and went to get the culprit, whom Greeley said deserved to be kicked. But when he came, he brought Mr. Greeley's article in his own writing, and showed him that the mistake was his own. Mr. Greeley acknowledged he was the guilty one, and begging the man's pardon, added, "Tom Rooker, come here and kick me quick."
3. Once when Greeley was making one of his frequent visits to Mr. and Mrs. Storrs, the widow of the minister who used to preach at Mansfield, Connecticut, when Mr. Storrs was a boy, had been invited by him to spend a week. She was a timid little woman, but she became so shocked at several things that Greeley had said or written in his paper that she inquired of Miss Proctor if she thought Mr. Greeley would allow her to ask him two or three questions.
Miss Proctor found him in the dining-room, the floor strewn with exchange papers, and having secured his consent, ushered in the lady. She told me afterward that she heard the poor little questioner speak with a rising inflection only two or three times. But Mr. Greeley was always ready to answer at length and with extreme earnestness. He said afterwards: "Why that woman is way back in the Middle Ages."
When she came away from the interview, she seemed excited and dazed, not noticing anyone, but dashed upstairs to her room, closed the door, and never afterward alluded to her attempt to modify Mr. Greeley's views.
4. A little girl who was visiting Mr. Storrs said: "It would never do for Mr. Greeley to go to Congress, he would make such a slitter-slatter of the place."
Miss Proctor published A Russian Journey after travelling through that country; has published a volume of poems, and has made several appeals in prose and verse for the adoption of the Indian corn as our national emblem. She is also desirous to have the name of Mount Rainier changed to Tacoma, its original Indian name, and has a second book of poems ready for the press.
When I first met her at the home of Mrs. Storrs, I thought her one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen—of the Andalusian type—dark hair and lustrous starry eyes, beautiful features, perfect teeth, a slender, willowy figure, and a voice so musical that it would lure a bird from the bough. She had a way all her own of "telling" you a poem. She was perfectly natural about it, a recitative semi-tone yet full of expression and dramatic breadth, at times almost a chant. With those dark and glowing eyes looking into mine, I have listened until I forgot everything about me, and was simply spellbound. Mr. Fields described Tennyson's reciting his own poems in much the same way. Whittier once said to a friend, "I consider Miss Proctor one of the best woman poets of the day," and then added, "But why do I say one of the best; why not the best?"
Miss Proctor has always been glad to assist any plan of mine, and wrote a poem especially for my Christmas book, Purple and Gold. Mr. Osgood, the publisher, when I showed him the poem, said, "But how do I know that the public will care for your weeds?" (referring to the asters and goldenrod). He said later: "The instant popularity and large sale of that booklet attested the happiness of Miss Sanborn's selection, and the kind contributions from her friends." Miss Proctor's contribution was the first poem in the book and I venture to publish it as it has never been in print since the first sale. My friend's face is still beautiful, her mind is as active as when we first met, her voice has lost none of its charm, and she is the same dear friend as of yore.
GOLDENROD AND ASTERS
The goldenrod, the goldenrod, That glows in sun or rain, Waving its plumes on every bank From the mountain slope to the main,— Not dandelions, nor cowslips fine, Nor buttercups, gems of summer, Nor leagues of daisies yellow and white, Can rival this latest comer!
On the plains and the upland pastures Such regal splendour falls When forth, from myriad branches green, Its gold the south wind calls,— That the tale seems true the red man's god Lavished its bloom to say, "Though days grow brief and suns grow cold, My love is the same for aye."
And, darker than April violets Or pallid as wind-flowers grow, Under its shades from hill to meadow Great beds of asters blow.— Oh plots of purple o'erhung with gold That need nor walls nor wardens, Not fairer shone, to the Median Queen, Her Babylonian gardens!
On Scotia's moors the gorse is gay, And England's lanes and fallows Are decked with broom whose winsome grace The hovering linnet hallows; But the robin sings from his maple bow, "Ah, linnet, lightly won, Your bloom to my blaze of wayside gold Is the wan moon to the sun!"
And were I to be a bride at morn, Ere the chimes rang out I'd say, "Not roses red, but goldenrod Strew in my path today! And let it brighten the dusky aisle, And flame on the altar-stair, Till the glory and light of the fields shall flood The solemn dimness there."
And should I sleep in my shroud at eve, Not lilies pale and cold, But the purple asters of the wood Within my hand I'd hold;— For goldenrod is the flower of love That time and change defies; And asters gleam through the autumn air With the hues of Paradise! EDNA DEAN PROCTOR.
Shortly before the Civil War, I went with father to St. Louis, he to take a place in the Washington University, while I was offered a position in the Mary Institute to teach classes of girls. Chancellor Hoyt of the university had been lured from Exeter, New Hampshire. He was widely known in the educational world, and was one of the most brilliant men I ever knew, strong, wise, witty, critical, scholarly, with a scorn of anything superficial or insincere.
I had thought of omitting my experience in this city, to me so really tragic. Just before we were to leave Hanover, a guest brought five of us a gift of measles. I had the confluent-virulent-delirious-lose-all-your-hair variety. When convalescent, I found that my hair, which had been splendidly thick and long, was coming out alarmingly, and it was advised that my head be shaved, with a promise that the hair would surely be curly and just as good as before the illness. I felt pretty measly and "meachin" and submitted. The effect was indescribably awful. I saw my bald pate once, and almost fainted. I was provided with a fearsome wig, of coarse, dark red hair, held in place by a black tape. Persons who had pitied me for having "such a big head and so much hair" now found reason for comment "on my small head with no hair." The most expensive head cover never deceived anyone, however simple, and I was obliged to make my debut in St. Louis in this piteous plight.
We then had our first taste of western-southern cordiality and demonstrativeness. It occurred to me that they showed more delight in welcoming us than our own home folks showed regret at our departure. It was a liberal education to me. They all seemed to understand about the hideous wig, but never showed that they noticed it. One of our first callers was a popular, eloquent clergyman, who kissed me "as the daughter of my mother." He said, "I loved your mother and asked her to marry me, but I was refused." Several young men at once wanted to get up a weekly dancing class for me, but I was timid, fearing my wig would fall off or get wildly askew. Whittier in one of his poems has this couplet, which suggests the reverse of my experience:
"She rose from her delicious sleep, And laid aside her soft-brown hair."
At bedtime my wig must come off and a nightcap take the place. In the morning that wig must go on, with never one look in the glass. Soon two persons called, both leaders in social life, one of them a physician, who had suddenly lost every spear of hair. I was invited by the unfortunate physician and his wife to dine with them. And, in his own home, I noticed in their parlour a portrait of him before his experience. He had been blessed with magnificently thick black hair, a handsome face, adorned with a full beard and moustache. It was an April evening and the weather was quite warm, and after dinner the doctor removed his wig, placing it on a plaster head. He was now used to his affliction. He told me, as he sat smoking, looking like a waxwork figure, how several years ago he awoke in the dead of the night to find something he could not understand on his pillow. He roused his wife, lit the gas, dashed cold water on his face to help him to realize what had happened and washed off all the rest of his hair, even to eyebrows and eyelashes. That was a depressing story to me. And I soon met a lady (the Mayor's wife) who had suffered exactly in the same way. She also was resigned, as indeed she had to be. I began to tremble lest my own hair should never return.
But I should be telling you about St. Louis. We were most cordially received by clergymen from three churches and all the professors at the university, and the trustees with their wives and daughters. Wyman Crow, a trustee, was the generous patron of Harriet Hosmer, whose Zenobia was at that time on exhibition there. The Mary Institute was founded in remembrance of Rev. Dr. Eliot's daughter Mary, who while skating over one of the so-called "sink-holes," then existing about the city, broke the ice, fell in, and the body was never recovered. These sink holes were generally supposed to be unfathomable.
Since I could not dance, I took to art, although I had no more capacity in that direction than a cow. I attempted a bunch of dahlias, but when I offered the result to a woman cleaning our rooms she looked at it queerly, held it at a distance, and then inquired: "Is the frame worth anything?"
I acknowledge a lifelong indebtedness to Chancellor Hoyt. He was suffering fearfully with old-fashioned consumption, but he used to send for me to read to him to distract his thoughts. He would also criticize my conversation, never letting one word pass that was ungrammatical or incorrectly pronounced. If I said, "I am so glad," he would ask, "So glad that what? You don't give the correlative." He warned against reliance on the aid of alliteration. The books read to him were discussed and the authors praised or criticized.
St. Louis was to me altogether delightful, and I still am interested in that city, so enlarged and improved. I used to see boys riding astride razor-back hogs in the street, where now stately limousines glide over smooth pavements.
I have always had more cordiality towards strangers, homesick students at Dartmouth, and the audiences at my lectures, since learning a better habit. Frigidity and formality were driven away by the sunshine that brightened my stay at St. Louis.
I do not wish to intrude my private woes, but I returned from the West with a severe case of whooping-cough. I didn't get it at St. Louis, but in the sleeping-car between that city and Chicago. I advise children to see to it that both parents get through with all the vastly unpleasant epidemics of childhood at an early age. It is one of the duties of children to parents.
Happy Days with Mrs. Botta—My Busy Life in New York—President Barnard of Columbia College—A Surprise from Bierstadt—Professor Doremus, a Universal Genius—Charles H. Webb, a truly funny "Funny Man"—Mrs. Esther Hermann, a Modest Giver.
I was obliged to give up my work at Packer Institute, when diphtheria attacked me, but a wonderful joy came to me after recovery.
Mrs. Vincenzo Botta invited me to her home in West Thirty-seventh Street for the winter and spring. Anne C. Lynch, many years before her marriage to Mr. Botta, had taught at the Packer Institute herself, and at that time had a few rooms on West Ninth Street. She told me she used to take a hurried breakfast standing by the kitchen table; then saying good-bye to the mother to whom she was devoted, walked from Ninth Street to the Brooklyn ferry, then up Joralemon Street, as she was required to be present at morning prayers. Her means were limited at that time and carfare would take too much. But it was then that she started and maintained her "Saturday Evenings," which became so attractive and famous that N.P. Willis wrote of them that no one of any distinction thought a visit to New York complete without spending a Saturday evening with Miss Lynch. People went in such numbers that many were obliged to sit on the stairs, but all were happy. Her refreshments were of the simplest kind, lemonade and wafers or sandwiches. It has often been said that she established the only salon in this country, but why bring in that word so distinctively belonging to the French?
Miss Lynch was just "at home" and made all who came to her happy and at their best. Fredrika Bremer, the celebrated Norwegian writer, was her guest for several weeks at her home in Ninth Street. Catherine Sedgwick attended several of her receptions, wondering at the charm which drew so many. There Edgar Poe gave the first reading of "The Raven" before it was printed. Ole Bull, who knew her then, was a life-long friend to her. Fanny Kemble, Bryant, Halleck, Willis were all devoted friends.
After her marriage to Professor Vincenzo Botta, nephew of the historian Botta, and their taking a house in Thirty-seventh Street, she gathered around her table the most interesting and distinguished men and women of the day, and the "Saturday Evenings" were continued with increasing crowds. She had a most expressive face and beautiful blue eyes. Never one of the prodigious talkers, dressed most quietly, she was just herself, a sweet-faced, sincere woman, and was blessed with an atmosphere and charm that were felt by all.