Clothing, Costume, historic houses, historic interiors, John Brown House Museum, living history, Providence, Rhode Island Historical Society, What Cheer Day
Let’s begin with the easy part: pretty pictures of a pretty house. (It’s too easy, right? More on that later this week.)
There are only a few for now– while our photographer took over 800 images, before he can process and sort them, we have to put the house back together first!
October 25 was a Saturday in 1800, the last Saturday before the first public schools opened in Providence on October 27. Mr Sweet, the tailor’s apprentice, had too much current-day public school homework to join us.
It was as well, perhaps, that Mr Sweet did not see the client in his natural environment. His tailor, Mr Taber, arrived with many samples and plates for Mr Mason’s perusal, and the room was in quite a state by the day’s end. I do not know why Mr Mason could not take the short walk to Cheapside, but his custom is so good that the tailor made an exception and came to call.
Late in the afternoon, we played battledore and shuttlecock; I was surprised and pleased to see the images and how much like Diana Sperling’s drawings they looked. It was a pleasure to see that we were doing something right, though a cold scoop bonnet was no help in seeing the shuttlecock.
The fortune teller came, much to the consternation of Mrs Brown and her sister. I believe it was the housekeeper who thought she could get away with inviting her friend to the house; in any case, it was foretold that Kitty should have comfort in her life, which was a great relief to someone who had been wearing straight-lasted and very flat shoes for some twelve hours.
Of late there has been a man hanging about the house; he enjoyed Goody Morris’s conversation as well, though late in the afternoon he caused quite a disturbance with a delivery of wine. We think he had been imbibing from our order, and his behaviour caused our new maid, Eliza, much distress. Mrs Brown was not well pleased at the commotion in her house.
Still, by the end of the day, we were well satisfied with our work, and posed for the passing limner.
Corinne Steigerwald said:
Beautiful! Great work!
You should be proud and pleased indeed with the fine day you brought forth! My friend and I enjoyed our day in 1800 Providence immensely!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the day! I hope Providence in 2014 was enjoyable, too. Thank you so much for coming!
I hope Mrs. Mason didn’t get Eliza sacked. She was plotting when I left.
It was a lot of fun! (Probably more than actually visiting the 19th century). I wrote up my experience on my blog. I really enjoyed getting to know the Browns.
Eliza did not get sacked. She is correct in saying that those Browns are bad at having servants– but in return, they get bad servants. I enjoyed your post, and am so glad you came!
It was indeed an excellent day. Thee is probably unaware of some of the goin’s on above stairs–Mrs. Brown was able to discover (or so she thinks) what Mr. Brown’s real reasons are for opposing Sally’s marriage to Mr. Herreshoff, and she and Sally agreed upon a plan for managing Father.
Mrs. Brown also had a little chat with Mr. Mason in which she pointed out that, with his predilections for cards, hard drink, and gambling with other men, he might actually have a natural gift for politicks. She left Mr. Mason looking thoughtful on the subject of whether a political campaign might not actually be a gamble worth the prize. Seeds germinate best if the soil is left undisturbed after the plantin’. so to speak, so that seemed a good stopping place for the moment on the subject of Mr. Mason’s future ambitions.
The new maid expected to be dismissed but earned herself no more than a good scare over the escapade of the sewn-together cuffs; she may settle down into a decent hired girl after all.
All in all, Mrs. Brown felt herself uncommon clever, at least for one day.
The house and its amenities seemed to please the visitors, which does much credit to the housekeeper and the staff. Mrs. Brown extends her heartiest thanks.
Mrs Brown is most welcome, and was enjoyable company on a very busy and excitin’ day. The insights gained by livin’ in the house are unexpected and interestin’. I do not propose another way- -short of readin’ people’s letters– of discoverin’ some of these truths.
Beautiful pictures! And a beautiful day!
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