When I climbed the stairs to Hosmer’s Tavern for Sunday dinner, the kind ladies at the front door told me, “Your family’s in the back room.” This directive gave me pause, for while I am one to argue that we each define our families for ourselves, I did not believe the young woman necessarily understood my theorizing on the dangers of calling people “families” when you don’t know their genealogy. Then I saw this image, taken at Jones House the evening before by the lovely Mrs LC, and realized that the young lady on the porch may have seen something I am too vain to admit.
Still, we were a fairly lively party that gathered in the shade before Foster-Tufts House to take in the scene and exercise our sketching powers. My favorite milliner was stationed inside the house, and I was delighted to acquire a new straw bonnet that wants only trimming before I wear it– probably as soon as August.
Mr S had the most meta experience of all of us, for as I photographed him, an artist was painting him drawing. We could not have had a better living history through literary theory weekend if we had tried. Mr B worked with the camera lucida, something that is beyond my abilities. (It is an unintentionally meta image of Mrs B photographing Mr B while I captured both of them: my junior year art history professor would be dismayed.)
Representing leisure is something I haven’t done before. My idea of living history fun is to work, and as one of my friends says, [My] idea of fun is harder than most people’s work these days. We had some work to do in preparing breakfasts and suppers, and in cleaning up, and as I shopped in the weeks before the trip, I saw the absurdity of packing up food and dishes to prepare a dinner party 400 miles away. You can’t let a trifle like absurdity stop you, or most of us would cease to function, so I packed the Largest Platter in Existence and carried on.