18th century, history, John Brown House Museum, living history, Providence, Rhode Island, Rhode Island Historical Society, What Cheer Day
Esther Hudson here has a terrible fascination for knittin, and an abundant fascination with sheep.I fear sometimes for her sanity, as she spends much of the evening sketchin cats on her slate and showing em to me. Cats, sheep, and knittin are much of her conversation and I wonder if she will ever be settled in a home of her own. I durst not send her away, as her father is at sea, and knowing what might befall her, given her simple ways, I think it best to keep her close. She is fond, as you can see, of dressin, but refuses utterly to quarter a fowle. She will beat a fine pound cake, but the coarser tasks of the kitchen she finds distasteful, preferrin to dress the ladies’ hair. Of her future, I do sometimes despair.
My cousin, Miss Eliza Smith, has donned her new dress to come up to town from her beloved Newport to see about a position. The family with whom she has found employment these many years has suffert in that city’s decline since the late war, and she seeks a new future in Providence. She writes a fine letter, and with excellent references, Miss Smith would be well suited to manage a household for Mrs Brown’s youngest daughter, the recently married Mrs Mason. Miss Smith seems also to steady Esther, whose conversation grows more sensible when she is not with me. Perhaps after speaking with Mrs Mason, Esther, Eliza and I can slip away to enjoy some of the newly pickt apples she has brought up from Rhode Island.
At the end of a long day filled with visitors– every stage has stopt at our house, some mistaking it, I think, for that questionable establishment operated by ‘Mrs’ Mary Bowen on South Main Street–I was ready to remove my soild apron (thankfully Esther has a spare) and venture down the hill to seek refreshment with my frinds. I may chanst to hear some news of the Ann & Hope, bound for Canton, and on which my son is a sailor. Or perhaps, before the light fails, I may read a bit of Mr Defoe’s most moral tale, Moll Flanders, and think in gratitude that my late husband’s family has seen fit to give me employ. I cant read at home, for if Mrs Brown catchs me readin that book agin, I will surely be trouble.
(Top photo thanks to the Providence Journal; bottom two thanks to Sharon Ann Burnston, our Mrs Brown)
Nancy N said:
This is absolutely grand! I wish you had time and space to devote a separate blog to marvelous Mrs Smith and her doings and sayings. (Sounds to me like her pet leopard is nowhere in evidence?!)
Please let me know if you will be presenting another day like this What Cheer day? Im so sorry to have missed the fun. next time My little buggy will hotfoot it back to my old stomping grounds not far from Thayer Street for the day!
I think I will get to have more fun with Mrs Smith next year, so she can write again. She and her cousin, Miss Smith of New Port, may correspond.
No leopard…I couldn’t think how to work it into conversation, everything was such a whirlwind.
And as for the next time we’ll do the full-on family, servants and guests? Probably early October 2014.
Nancy N said:
Maybe the son can return from Canton with a stowaway feline?
In which case, make it a snow leopard! that Silk Road must be good for something.
Anna Worden Bauersmith said:
I simply love this: ” She is fond, as you can see, of dressin, but refuses utterly to quarter a fowle. She will beat a fine pound cake, but the coarser tasks of the kitchen she finds distasteful, preferrin to dress the ladies’ hair.”
It may be that I can relate to it so well. Well, maybe not a /fine/ pound cake.
Corinne Steigerwald said:
Lovely work! Thank
you so much for including all of us on your unique journey.
Pingback: Longbourn: Book Review | Kitty Calash
Pingback: Back Bump: The Regency Silhouette | Kitty Calash