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Lettersfrom a Saugatuck Pastor's Wife

 

(Continuedfrom Page 315)

Saugatuck, June 1, 1878

Dear sister Hattie;

 

Your letter reached us last night. We are crowding ourhouse and farm work as fast as possible. The chimney is done and the cistern isfinally completed after very many perplexities and delays which we will talkabout when we meet. We have recd. our returns from our onion crop in place of 2or 3 hundred dollars on the least sweet we received between 9 and 10 dollars.This week we have met with another very heavy loss, almost like burying one ofthe family. Our dear pony Blucher, who has served us so faithfully forseventeen years died very suddenly Thursday night. We had planned so manypleasant rides with him when you come. We will manage as well as we can and tryto hire a gentle horse to use while you are here if we can secure one. I cannotsee why God should take this beloved animal from us just now when we seem toneed him so much. My strength is so slight that I cannot endure much. I faintedwhen he died and James and the hired man had to bring me all the way from thebarn, or leave me out on the ground in the rain. James is very patient andsubmissive, does not murmur in the least, but we do not know which way to turnwithout our horse. We have borrowed our neighbor's horse with which Grace willpost this letter. Perhaps you can ascertain whether Roots Curriculum is used bythe music teacher in Penn Yan or not. this is the book our children herestudied but if it is not used there we would like to keep it here for Willie touse.

 

Annais down at Saugatuck with her class preparing for graduation. They wish to havetheir pictures taken this forenoon for the Principal. I must send down her nicebrown dress to her. She is a dear good girl and helps us bear our burden. Mr.Sutton the Principal is going to leave very soon for Matamorus, Mexico.He has recd. a government appointment there with a salary of $2600.00. Thiscrowds the scholars as the class must be pushed through in a shorter time thanwas anticipated. With my many thanks for your untiring generosity to us all.

Youraff sister, Mollie

 

Dining-room Nov. 16,1879

My dear sister Hattie:

 

All have been to church excepting myself. Immediatelyafter dinner yesterday, Herbert took our new horse Flora, and his sister Maryand Mabel and went to Graffschap where his father resides Mary cannot remainwith me any longer, as she is needed at home.

 

It is later Sabbath eve and Herbert and Mabel havereturned. Mabel went with them to the Dutch Church.Their services are so lengthy that the poor child was almost wearied out withthem especially as they were in an unknown tongue. Anna is home from her schoolbut must be off again early in the morning. I think she likes her school and asfar as we know is giving good satisfaction. She thanks you for your littlepoem. We do not as yet see any evidence of golden locks or azure eyes, butperhaps these have not as yet developed.

 

Imust thank you also for the little scrap for me entitled"Daily Bread." We have not been as comfortably prepared for Winter inmany years as we now are. We have quite a good supply of groceries, all paidfor, with which to commence the inclement season. Last Monday James paid$100 for another horse. We could not get along with such a feeble team. Shelooks very much like our old Blucher and reminds us of him in many of hermovements. Yesterday Anna and I nearly finished a nice horse blanket for her. Wemade it out of the best of the old church carpet for which we paid a higherprice than any other bidder. We wish to make one like it for Jennie as soon aswe can.

 

I have excused myself from the S. S. lesson for thistime and the remainder of the family are studying the lesson aloud. This isconfusing for me.

 

James attended lectures in N. Haven during the winterof 1 856 and remained thereuntil the last of June 1857. The principle lectures which he attended were deliveredby Drs, Dana Taylor and Goodrich. Noah Porter was not there as prominent, as hehas since become and he did not form his acquaintance. He also attended somelectures on medicine and elocution. These lectures were of a very practicalcharacter and have been of great value to him.

 

I cannot tell you the name of Amelia's friend. Hervisit was very short and hurried and I had my time closely occupied to make itas pleasant as possible as James was away, and we were in confusion, with the paintingthe floors of the middle house. The State Pomological Society meets at Alleganthe 2nd 3rd and 4d' of December and I shouldvery much like to accompany James if I could, but the probabilities of so doingare slight. Mrs. Sailor was a very intimate friend of Susan Ann Pratt whosesister Kate was one of your playmates. If I can go, I will try to make theenquiries. We are much gratified that Grace has passed the Regent'sexaminations. Such examinations are very profitable. We do not know much aboutthe Douglas school. Willie is too much neededat home to be spared. He is experiencing the truthfulness of the scripture,"It is good fora man to bear the yoke in hisyouth." This pen is an old scratchy one. It tries my patience. Mollie

 

Lake Ridge Dec. 8, 1879

 

Sister Hattie,

 

We returned from Allegan on Friday. The day waspleasant for Dec. We were there three nights and three dark days. The weatherwas very unpleasant most of the time & yet it was a relief to get away fromhome and see the outside world. Willie and Herbert kept house for themselves,they did very well. Good order prevailed in kitchen & pantry when wereturned. We are having a very open winter. The ground is not frozen andfarmers are husking corn and plowing their ground.

 

Willie commenced going to school this morning. He doesnot like the Douglas School or rather attachments are in Saugatuck and Douglas School does not seem like home: butthere is no other way at present. He will go with the horse and take Mabel withhim.

 

Wehave been planning to make Grace a Christmas present, and think that as she hasconsiderable writing to do, we will unite our mites and delegate you to buy agold pen for her. One similar to your own,would be very appropriate. I think youtold me that yours cost $1.50. You need not let her know of this untilChristmas. If you know of any thing more useful to her we are willing to turnour mites into something else.

 

Mary & I are greatly pressed to know what to dofor our classes in the Sunday School. Since Mrs. Wright went away about July 1st. I have taken her class by their request. I am engaged foranother wedding to take place about Christmas. The lady is a member of thechurch & has been in the Sabbath School every since wecame to Saugatuck. Frequently such persons want my photograph. Mary has had aclass of young men, who seem to be unwilling to give her up, although she hasnot been there for two months. We have concluded to give these young men &maidens each of our photographs, if you can procure them in time & at reasonablerates, as the most appropriate thing.

 

For this purpose we must trouble our friends a little.We can not get them here as there is no artist in town. If Mr. Mills willattend to it for us we will have them printed from the old negative in Dr.Mills possession. It will require two dozen of Mary's & two of mine. I donot remember what you told me he charged for those you sent to us last winter,but if he can furnish us a doz, we will send a P.O. order for them and the penalluded to above. We also want one photograph of Grace from the negative takenin 1871. This is for Mrs. Names who had a little girl about Gracie's age. Theywere very intimate and Mrs. H. wants the photographs of her child's playmatesabout the age when her girl died. As we have only one of Grace taken at thattime, we would like another for that purpose.

 

Loveto all James

Douglas, Mich. Dec. 25, 1875

 

Bro. E. W. Mills Dear Friend:

 

Your letter and the photographs came on the 23. We putyou to much trouble but did not know how to avoid it. We never have given awaymany and this seemed to be the best thing we could do for the young people. Wehave had four weddings during Dec. the 4th came off about one hoursince in our parlor. Grace knows the young man - Mr. Cornelius Zwemer &Katie Kruisenga of Holland City. We were all over tothe church at the Christmas tree last evening. It was late when we reachedhome. Some of us will write the particulars of the occasion.

 

I am going to town after dinner which is near at hand tohelp clean up the rubbish and prepare the church for its accustomed uses, Iwill include a P. 0. order in this letter for the photographs.

 

[The rest of the letter was written by Mary Taylor.]

 

Jameswishes me to add a line to this while he gets ready for town. Hattie's lastletter was handed me in church last eve and I ready it very hastily whilethere. We are very sorry to learn of your continued ill health. Hope you may endrelief ere long. I very much fear manytimes that you are doing too much for our daughter, Grace. You have so many andunintermitting demands upon your sympathy and purse that it seems wrong thatyou should have the additional burden of our child. Of course we cannot lavishupon her the advantages which you so generously bestow, but we can do for her,as we do for the other children. I hope you will utilize the child in every waypossible so as to make her presence in your family of some shadow of advantageto you. The best way for the young to be prepared for life's struggles is toknow something of them experimentally while in youth. No amount of solid work,of which Grace's strength would admit, would in the least displease any of us.

 

Our primrose which came from Hattie furnished threemore blossoms for the young bridge this morning. It had many other buds which Ihope will soon open.

 

The bracket saw came all right and Willie would insiston getting it ready for use, last night before he retired. All of thesearticles add to your cares. James is ready "Merry Christmas" to all.

Mary P. Taylor

 

Lake-ridge dining-room Mon, morn. Jan. 26, 1880

 

My dear Gracie

 

Thereis so much confusion that I can scarcely collect my thoughts at all. WilliamDrout has just come in with a pair of small ox-bows with which to break theyoung steers and Willie Taylor is flourishing them around the occupants of theroom in most Lordly style. He is so full of pranks we can scarcely livein peace with him. I sometimes think we will have to send him away from home toget him humanized. Now he is making most unearthly cries in imitation ofunsubdued calves. Now he is changing so as to imitate all the outcries of theexasperated breaker. We can hardly live with him, neither can we live withouthim. Mrs. Perry was taken home Thursday. She is seventy four years of age andis a marvel of a well-preserved woman though she has failed much since theillness which she suffered about two years since. She is well skilled with theneedle and can turn her hand to almost anything. She did quite a little sewingfinishing up for Anna. Saturday we planned out a pollonaise for Anna out of themaroon empress cloth skirt which Aunt Hattie sent me several years ago. We aremaking her a combination suit of this and black mohair. It will be very prettyand durable.

We recd. your last letter. If you take only one musiclesson a week perhaps you can review some of your past ones more thoroughly. Iam anxious to have you do what you do in music very thoroughly, so thatyou can have it to rely upon as one means of self-support. Mrs. Perry says thatBelle Barnard is now in Englewood, near Chicago, with her aunt Mrs. Ensign. shehas pushed ahead in her music until she is now a highly accomplished pianist.After the family left here she took up her music with a persistent energy andis now reaping the reward of her efforts. While here she was very stubbornabout her practicing and tried all of her friends to the utmost, especially herfrail patient Auntie Ensign, who stood anxious to teach her all that sheherself knew, which was a very great deal. Belle is now taking lessons of agentleman teacher. Mrs. Ensign has all the pupils she can teach in theimmediate vicinity of her present home. Mrs. Perry says that Belle is far inadvance of Lizzie Johnson. Mrs. P. thinks that Mr. Barnard's family have losttheir nice farm. This may have energized Belle to do her very best. There is nocompetent teacher here as Lizzie Wallin soon leaves on account of her health.Her throat troubles her very much. She is extremely careless. Willie is readyfor school.

Good bye Mamma

 

To Be Continued- page 340