Thursday, March 25, 2010

Transcription: Mott Memoir, Part 7

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"We soon heard about William [Holly] having small pox at a boarding house in New York.  All the boarders were frightened and no one would go near him.  (I suppose there were not many nurses at that time.) except a young Frenchman who came to his room and took care of him.  After William recovered his family were very grateful to this young man whose was Eugen Lies.  Mr. Holly always came to the farm Saturday and remained over Sunday.  On one of these visits he brought Mr. Lies and introduced him to his family, who of course were anxious to show him every attention as possible.  One Saturday after our arrival Emma said her father would bring Mr. Lies with him that evening.  She seemed anxious to have everything in good order and that we should be nicely dressed before they came.  I was curious to see this wonderful person as I had heard so much about him.  After Clara and I were dressed we walked down the road to meet the wagon, as it came in sight on the seat beside Mr. Holly was a dark haired young man holding a guitar with a broad blue ribbon passed over his shoulder, when we came into the house it was twilight and the parlor was nearly dark.  As we sat there I watched this strange young man in a kind of fascinated way, his eyes were so black and brilliant they seemed to shine through the dusk and a sensation of fear came over me.  We became very good friends the next day.  I admired him greatly, he was so different from anyone I had ever seen before.  His French accent, his manners and his looks and most of all his singing with the guitar made him seem to me like a hero from a novel and for some reason that I do not understand myself he took a great fancy to me.  He told me many years afterwards that he was really very fond of me then and had never forgotten me.

He spent several Sundays on the farm while we were there and I soon noticed that he and Emma were much interested in each other.  Sometimes he sat on a low stool by her feet while she was sewing and sang Kathleen Mavourneen and other sentimental songs with his guitar.  His voice though not very sweet was well trained and agreeable and his ear was perfect.  Though so young I had read several novels and I felt as if some romance was being acted out before me.  Poor Emma.  She made quite a pet of me but I wonder how she would have felt if something had told her how short her married life would be and that I should be her successor.  How little idea any of us had then what fate would bring us.

When it was time for the school term to commence we were obliged to return to New York.  We left the farm and all our kind friends with much regret.  It had been the most pleasant vacation we had spent and I still think of that summer as being one of the most happiest periods of my life.  After our return Mr. Lies called to bid us goodbye s the Prebble on which he had the position of captain's secretary was to sail shortly.  No one could know that we were to meet again in California.

When we returned to school I was nearly twelve and in the highest class and looked forward to the next year when I should be promoted to the high under Mr. Tappen's supervision.  By that time I would be thirteen and if I passed through the three classes there as well as had the others I might graduate at sixteen.

But before the term was over our father wrote that owing to losses caused by the Mexican War he would be unable to continue paying our school bills so we could not begin the next term and it was very uncertain when he could return, he wished us to join him in Mexico by the first good opportunity.  I was dreadfully disappointed by having to leave school so young.  Our mother having been away for such a long time I was accustomed to being without her.  I had grown up to Evy in some degree so she was more of a companion and I was very fond of Rosie also, I was sorry to stop the music lessons.  We had been taking lessons at intervals since we came to New York but there had been many interruptions.  The first teachers we had were young ladies with little experience and my long illness kept me back so our lessons were very irregular, but when I was strong again we had a very nice young gentleman for a teacher and I improved rapidly.  Evy did not care much for music, she preferred drawing but I loved it and our teacher told Aunt Clara I had much musical ability and if I kept on studying would play very well, I was so pleases I practiced carefully and was proud when called on to play for company.  If I could have gone on with my lessons for two or three years I would have played well by the time I grew up.  This seems conceited but I have longed so often to play really well, it is some consolation to know I could have done so but I was only twelve when I left off and never had a teacher again until after I was married.  I improved then but I could not keep it up.  There were too many babies.

We spent out last Eastern Christmas with the Hollys.  The farm was white with snow, the cherries and peaches were gone but there was plenty of apples and nuts and when we sat around a blazing wood fire in the open fire place in the evening and roasted apples and chestnuts we enjoyed ourselves very much.  Though the ground was covered with snow the sky was clear and Clara and I amused ourselves building snow houses.  It was very cold but we did not mind, we kept ourselves warm by working hard.  But it was an unfortunate visit for poor Evy.  She caught a cold which developed later into inflammation of the lungs and at last into a disease from which she never recovered.  That Christmas was the last time we saw any of the Hollys.  After we left New York Mr. Holly retrieved his fortunes in some way and moved his family back to the city.  Gus became a successful business man and a very rich one before he died at the advanced age of eighty.  I have said very little about Evy.  She grew up so young that for awhile she was shy and awkward, but she had a gently amiable disposition.  She was sixteen now and would have been very pretty if she had not been so near sighted that her eyes had a peculiar look and she was obliged to wear glasses.  She was tall with a slender well formed figure and delicate regular features.  Her skin was white and her hair dark though her eyes were blue.  She was seriously ill for sometime after we returned to New York.  Though she became apparently better and went about as usual she had a slight cough but the Doctor thought the sea air would be the best remedy and she would probably be quite well again. 

Sometime during the spring our cousin Rosalie was married to Henry Wilbur, a handsome young man to whom she had been engaged for quite awhile.  They went away for a time and I was sorry to lose my dear Rosie, but she returned before we left, so I was able to bid her a last goodbye."

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