Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transcription: Mott Memoir, Part 5

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"I enjoyed this voyage on the canal extremely, particularly going up and down on the locks.  I might not have done so if I had been older but I was not ten years old and the primitive arrangements that would seem very uncomfortable now only amused me.  We went through the Mohawk Valley part of the time.  The scenery there was very beautiful.  I can still recall the high banks covered with green bushes and wild flowers and rivulets of sparkling water running  through them.  Of course our progress was very slow.  We passed two days and nights on the boat before we reached Rochester as we remained there only a few hours.  We went to a hotel and from there took some kind of a coach.  There was only one other passenger who looked like a farmer.  The road was very rough and the springs of the coach poor and we bounced and rattled about so it is a wonder none of our bones were broken.  At last we reached a place where Uncle Fred met us with a wagon and took us to his house.  I don't know much about the farm.  There was plenty of fruit and milk and the house was comfortable.  Aunt Evy had two children then.  Willie, who was about six and a baby boy who died very young.  We remained at the farm for school to re-open and came back by canal and train until we reached New York.  We resumed our school life and everything went on quietly for awhile.  Our Grandmother taught me to knit for which I am often thankful for and also to work on canvas with worsted.  To encourage me she said I could make a pair of slippers for my little brother when I could work nicely.  I was much pleased with the idea and started to begin the slippers until we heard of the dear little boy's death at sea.  I was much distressed at first but I was so young I soon forgot him.

When ten years old [ca. 1845], while still living with my Grandmother I had an adventure that made such an impression on my mind I sometimes dream of it even so many years after.

A little girl in my class at school asked me to come to her house and spend the afternoon with her.  My Grandmother said I might go and she would send for me when it was time to come home.  The next day I went with the girl, there were some other children there and we played and had some candy, I enjoyed it very much.  By and by it began to rain and grow dark.  The other girls went home but no one came for me and I was very much troubled.  I thought perhaps my Grandmother had forgotten to send for me and the girl's mother would think it strange if I stayed so long.  I was so foolish that instead of explaining that I was waiting for some on and did not know the way very well, I said I must go home.  The lady lent me an umbrella and I started off by myself.  After going a little way I became bewildered, I did not know where I was.  The wind blew so hard I could hardly hold the umbrella.  The people who passed were in a hurry on account of the rain.  I tried to ask someone to direct me but no one paid any attention.  At last I went into a dry goods store that was open and asked one of the clerks the way to 6th avenue.  He told me to walk on two blocks more and I would come to it.  I started off again but when I came to the avenue,  I turned the wrong way.  I walked on and on but every step took me further in the wrong direction.  I kept looking for the big Catholic Church that was opposite my Grandmother's house but I could not see it and I soon realized that I was lost again.  The streets were quite deserted, I saw nothing but rows of houses with the blinds closed.  I was very tired and frightened, I did not know what to do, when an Angel of Mercy, in the guise of an old Irish lady came out of an area door to empty a pan of ashes.  I told her I was lost and asked how to find my way.  I did not remember the number but when I said it was opposite St. Joseph's Church she said she was going there her self and I could go with her.  She went in for her bonnet and shawl and in her company I reached my Grandmother's safely.  I found that Uncle John had gone for me and if I had stayed I would have had no trouble.  I was so tired my Grandmother did not scold me but gave me some tea and sent me to bed.

Captain John Patterson had been engaged to Aunt Lottie for some time and now for some reason that I do not know, though she had consented to the engagement, Grandmother wished Aunt Lottie to break it, and would not allow the marriage.  In spite of her opposition Captain Patterson came to see Aunt Lottie every evening.  We used the back parlor as a general sitting room but Aunt Lottie always took him into the front room.  Her mother did not want her to see him alone and would not go in her self so her decreed that I should stay in the room with them, I did not want to, but I had to obey.  I took a book and pretended to read but probably thought it more interesting to watch them for Aunt Lottie said to me the next day, "I wish you would not stare at us so.  I think it would be a good time for you to practice."  I had begun to take music lessons so after that I sat at the piano with my back to them and could not hear what they said.  I think Uncle John must have wanted to throw me out of the window.  One day they went off quietly and were married.  Aunt Lottie came back to the house as usual.  When she told what she had done her mother was not as angry as might have been expected but said the ceremony must be repeated in her house to make it more respectable, so one afternoon with a few relations present they were married over again and went to the farm in New Jersey for their honeymoon, Uncle John made a very good husband.  He was over seventy when he died and Aunt Lottie said he had never spoken an unkind word to her.

Not long after this it was decided by our elders that it would be better to have us live with Aunt Clara Dymock.  I did not understand why, nor how it was arranged but the change was made.  I was pleased because I could play with Aunt Clara's children.  They were all younger than I, but they were better than nobody."

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