The stately parlors of Deacon Luke Sweetser struck rather the grand note in
in these affairs. There was more light, more elegance, more inherited silver,
more inherited bearding-school-manner [sic] 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 lgiht [sic] purple shade,) with a rather flippant handshake and the
long low backward dipping courtesy, -- relic of her gay education.
Mr Sweetser was a picturesque looking person with a profusion of gray 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 but moved about among us, lest there should be an empty cup or an
unfilled plate that had escaped the derelict? eye of the servants; all the time waving aloft
a remarkably feather fan sent her from a thousand miles up the Nile by an old friend.
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 invariable
supper.* Friendly talk was the only entertainment, except perhaps just at the end of
the evening the open piano suggested a little music as desirable, and voices some-
what decadent sang sweetly but with a timid tremulo,: "Are we almost there? said the
dying girl", "Coming through the rye", etc or a resident basso of solemn mien with a tone really below any
known real musical neccessity [sic]
sang after the habitual prolonged urging, would be prevailed upon to give us
"Rocked in the cradle of the deep": the refrain held with such sustained power I am
sure the glasses in the corner cupboards tinkled from the jar.
[handwritten in margin beside this paragraph:
By this time music
was in the air, and with a rousing aroused to an almost ? ? cheer all stood about the piano and sang together
"Auld Acquaintance", and "America." We were all in a glow as we went out for our wraps at last.
I can never forget Mr Sweetsers final beaming gallantry, as he stood on the top of
the high terrace step holding an oil lantern in the air for our safety, -- at that time
the only beacon of the night known in all Amherst! Those lanterns, and "lantern bearers!" What
chapters could be written of them! Stevenson alone could do them justice.
H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9