Thursday, March 25, 2010

Transcription: Mott Memoir, Part 6

For previous entries, click here.

"She [Essie's aunt, Clara Dymock] had a three story basement house with a large yard where the children could play.  We were very comfortable there.  Aunt Mary Ann Feeks, always called Auntie, and Rosalie lived there also.  I was happy to have Rosalie with us as I loved her better than anyone.  We were a large family, ten all together.  Aunt Clara had four little girls under seven years but for all there were so many we lived very peaceably.  Aunt Clara was a pleasant woman, I do not remember hearing her say anything cross or unkind, during the two years we lived with her.  She was quite pretty in a different way from Aunt Emmie.  She had more color and was stouter.  Uncle Dymock was a tall fine looking man and very kind to his wife and children.  I had no idea that at times he was intemperate.  He showed no sign of that while we were there.  He was a bookkeeper in a wholesale leather company and apparently doing well.  I heard afterwards when we were in California that he relapsed and poor Aunt Clara was in much trouble.

When the next vacation came we went to Long Island with Cousin Rose.  When we crossed the sound in a steamer the wind blew so hard and the sea was so rough we had to stay in the cabin and we were nearly sea sick.  We were glad to reach the landing.  We stayed at a pretty house belonging to William Feeks, Rosie's Uncle.  There was an old blind lady sitting in an arm chair, she was pretty with a sweet expression.  When someone said these are Isaac's children, she wanted to see us.  I went to her and she passed her hands softly over my face.  Poor old lady.  I wonder who she was, she was probably Mr. Feek's mother.  There were several other persons in the house.  Everyone was kind and pleasant and I was enjoying myself very well until one day we picked blackberries and I ate too many or perhaps they were not ripe enough.  I was taken ill that night, I was in bed several days and poor Rose had to take care of me instead of amusing herself.  When I was able to go out Uncle George came with a carriage and a cream colored pair of ponies that I admired excessively and took us to another part of Long Island where the Holly family were living at that time.  We stayed with them until we returned to New York.  We resumed our school duties and both made good progress, Evy was now in the highest department and I in the next.

Sometimes one of our Mott cousins would come in their carriage on a Saturday afternoon on a Saturday afternoon and take us to Bloomingdale.  We always enjoyed these visits.  They had such a pretty quaint old house on the banks of the Hudson river with a summer house built almost over the water where sometimes we had tea.  At the side of the house was a large garden with flowers and fruit.  When we came home on Monday morning we often had a large bunch of flowers with us.

There were five young men in the family, the only girl having died some years before.  Our Great Aunt Lavinia was a gentle sweet mannered old lady, so little it seemed strange to think those young men were her sons.  Jordan was the one we were best acquainted with, he was a pleasant good natured young man and sometimes took us to the dancing school balls.  The school we attended was considered the best in New York at that time.  It was kept by a Frenchman with a queer name that I cannot spell. Twice a month during the winter he had evening dances, some for the children and some for the older pupils.  Naturally Cousin Jordan preferred the evenings when the ladies came.  I wonder now how he found partners for such a little girl but he managed to somehow for I danced all the time.  These dancing school balls were a good experience for me.  I became so used to dancing with grown people that in Honolulu where I attended parties while still a child, I was not the least embarrassed.

My Grandmother's brother Great Uncle Smith [George Bridges Rodney Smith] was an agent for old Jacob Astor's property.  It must have been a profitable business for he had a handsome house with large grounds at Chelsea, which was then a suburb of New York.  I went there sometimes with my Grandmother.  Aunt Johana seemed a pleasant old lady.

Every May each class in our school choose a May Queen, the one chosen gave a party at her house to which all the class were invited.  We always selected someone who had a large house and whose parents would allow her to have a party.  One year the girl we chose was named Fairbanks.  Their house was large and handsomely furnished.  Sitting in the reception room was an odd looking man who watched us and seemed pleased and interested like a big child.  I heard afterwards, he was an imbecile son of Mr. Astor, Mr. Fairbanks had charge of him.  The house with a large salary were a compensation from Mr. Astor.

When our next vacation came it was arranged that we should go to Westchester where Mr. Holly's family were living on a farm.  I have no doubt now that our father paid our board but at that time I gave no thought to such matters.  I was glad to go and thought it very kind of them to ask us.  We went on the cars to some station where one of the Holly boys met us with a wagon and drove us to the house.  Aunt Holly was considerably older than our mother.  She had been considered quite a beauty when young and was a handsome woman still.  Mr. Holly and the elder son William did not live on the farm, but in New York where their business was.  They were both lawyers by profession but Mr. Holly was fond of speculating and in one of his schemes lost most of his money and as I understood in the late years some that belonged to other members of the family which accounts, I suppose for the estrangement I noticed before.  The family at the farm were Emma, about 25, the twins Augustus and Frederick just 21, Clara exactly my own age, nearly 12 and Charles, about 7.  Emma was an elegant interesting girl, tall and slender with  clear white skin and dark hair and eyes.  She was well educated and accomplished, as young ladies were expected to be in those days.  Both she and her mother looked out of the place on a farm but they were capable and energetic, keeping the house in fine order.  There was an Irish girl to do the rough work but Aunt Holly made the pies and cakes and Emma superintended the rooms and made the younger ones keep everything in its place.  The twins managed the farm.  They were nice well mannered young men.  I was particularly partial to Gus as he was called.  He was so good natured and quite handsome too.  Clara and I were good companions and ran around together all day.

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