Writings by Susan Dickinson

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these same young ladies, at least, there was a sort of collapse after the
party and a slight feeling of gloom in the earlier drawing in of evening
with its sad voiced crickets, and a rather pensive waiting for the return
of the students. But never was the slightest utterance given to that effect,
lest maiden modesty might blush to own dependence upon those naturally fas-
cinating comrades. These levees were held in the ample parlors of the Presi-
dent's house, only recetly remodled [sic], and well adapted for the unusual number
of guests as the hall, stairs and study and the rural side-walks in front of
the house, as well as the narrow porch on the North side, offered abundant
room for the strolling couples who wished to escape, -- ostensibly, the modest
glare of the astral lamps within. There was never dancing, never vaudeville
of any sort. I confess there were flirtations --- whatever that might have been --
entirely un-French of course, in odd corners, especially under the stairs in
the front hall, where a Puritan-backed sofa, covered with horse hair, sans pillow
of any sort, was converted into a rather stiff Arcadia. I do not remember that
any one was bored by these simple affairs. There was music in a modest way,
with the piano, and I can hear now, mostly plainly, the artistic rendering of
the charming "O Summer Night"! as sung in a strikingly clear voice by Miss
X Gridley, daughter of the notable Doctor Gridley, the medical genius of the vil-
lage and the region round about. Her metropolitan grace and culture lent a
peculiar impressiveness to the staccato motive. In effective contrast was the
sweet, winsome, "Wert thou in the cauld blast" -- as sung by Miss Fowler,
afterward Mrs Ford of Brooklyn, a grand-daughter of Noah Webster, a wizard in
person and power. Everywhere at her ease, she was intellectually and socially
a rich leaven, both in the village and at the head of her father's household,
where she entertained her own and her father's friends with a rare fascination
quite her own. Of course there was the diversion of refreshments, -- with a "re-
freshment table", as it was then called. This was usually a most simple but

(Mrs. Delano[?] of N- wife of Charles Delano[?])

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

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Last updated on January 25, 2008

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