Writings by Susan Dickinson

image | previous page | next page | note | other drafts | essay index | search | main index


leisurely and elaborate supper, served after the manner and hour of her own
gay city. We could not blame her as she laughingly asked, "Had they to
meet a train?"" [sic]

The fascinating aroma of the last drop in the glass, of the after-supper wit
and glow, never seemed to entrace our good, busy, practical folk, whose duties
began in early dawn with family prayers. .[sic]

There was little social variety fifty years ago; never dinners; a rare rarely an evening
party perhaps, for some college class, and sometimes the small friendly suppers
or tea parties. When these were too large in number to permit of seating the
guests about a table, a bountiful homely supper would be handed around on large
trays; every one being comfortably seated, with little tables for the tea cups,
for which the gentlemen, with no lap and no tact, were as thankful as a beggars!
* The stately parlors of Deacon Luke Sweetser struck rather the grand note in
these affairs.* There was more light, more elegance, more inherited silver, more
inherited boarding-school-manner on the part of the hostess. Mrs Sweetser, a
most happy, genial hostess, though of a certain pomposity, -- always received
us in gloves, -- usually of a light purple shade, -- with a rather flippant hand-
shake and the long low backward dipping curtesy, -- a relic of her gay education.
Mr Sweetser was a picturesque looking person, with a profusion of grey hair
and a full beard. And although in ordinary daily life he bore himself with
the traditional severity of the at-that-time accepted old-testament doctrines,
at those tea parties he was literally wreathed in smiles of friendly welcome
and approval. Mrs Sweetser never sat down at supper, but moved about among us,
lest there should be an empty cup or an unfilled plate that escaped the de-
relect eye of the servants; all the time waving aloft a remarkable feather fan
sent her from a thousand miles up the Nile by an old friend, she gaily affirmed.
Tea and coffee with delicious cream, very high raised biscuit, sliced tongue
red and tender, escalloped oysters, with many kinds of home made cake, was the

* Now the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

image | previous page | next page | note | other drafts | essay index | search | main index

Writings by Susan Dickinson Main Page
Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith,
Laura Elyn Lauth, and Lara Vetter, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney  <rnmooney@umd.edu>
Last updated on January 25, 2008

Dickinson Electronic Archives