Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Everett Letters: October 14, 1851

What have the Everetts been up to?
Business at Rowes Wharf, the famous singer Jenny Lind, and some discussion about Irish domestic servants.
See their letters from August 19, 1851 and September 23, 1851 for their earlier correspondence and some notes about the history behind the letters and the neighborhood.

Image courtesy of the
My dear Son, [Otis Everett Sr. writing to Otis Jr.]

Our last letter to you was under date of 24 September, forwarded by overland mail to Calcutta, which I hope will come duly to hand.  I suppose that you are now on your passage from Bombay to Calcutta, where this will meet you.  Thomas & Percy left here on Saturday morning 27 Sept., stopping at Brandon till Monday morn’g, from thence thro’ Lake Champlain to Montreal & Quebec & Niagara, stopping at Victory near Saratoga to see Geo. White, and home by way of Albany & Springfield, being absent 2 weeks.  They had a capital time.  Percy as usual is quite busy.  He has been at Charlestown several days from early in the morning to late in the afternoon attending to shipping of ice by the ship Townsend for Calcutta.  I saw Mr. Sharp & few days since he has opened an office as Notary Public nearly opposite the N.E. Bank [67 State Street] .  I learn that their accounts were in a bad state but do not know what they will be short [if] Mr. Bradlee & Mr. Hall pay their debts.  So that is not a failure but very near akin to one.

As I went down to Commercial Wharf to get my Rowes Wharf dividend, I could hardly help looking up to the old store, but did not see you or “Sam.”  The store appeared to be closed.  Business has been rather dull & money most terrible scarce.  The Banks did nothing & the best paper was sold at from 1 to 2 percentage points a month discount.  There have been some failures, amongst others David Pingree of Salem has been compelled to stop, tho’ it is said he will have something left after paying his debts.  The Thompsonville & Tanffville[?] Mfg. Co. have also failed.  Sharp & Co. did not have any of their paper.  Iasigi & Goddard [merchants at 36 Central Wharf] had some 20 to 30,000 & W. R. Kendall also a large amount.

Clipper ships are yet quite in fashion.  The Flying Cloud made a splendid passage, 89 days to San Francisco.  The Flying Fish in the same model is now loading; Capt. Nickels, late of the J. Q. Adams is to command her.  As usual I receive a letter from Canton by every mail and shall expect your Uncle John home during the next year.  Capt. Faucon is still here and has taken up his abode with Mrs. Greene in Dover St.   [Benjamin H. Greene was at 77 Dover Street.]  He usually takes tea with us on Sundays.

17th.  Your very welcome letter dated Bombay 31st Aug. was just this moment handed me by Percy.  It came in the English steamer this morning.  We heard by telegraph yesterday from Halifax of your arrival out and of course were expecting letters today.  I am glad to hear that you had so pleasant a voyage out.  I hope you will write us again from Bombay as often as you have an opportunity.  Do not let a mail leave without writing.  This will be the last letter from home, unless you remain at Calcutta, which you will receive …  If you come home in the vessel let me advise you to keep the right side of Capt. Ewer.  If he is not so agreeable as you could wish, don’t mind it, make the best of it, do what you can to make all go smoothly and pleasantly.
                                                                                    Your aff. father,
                                                                                                Otis Everett

Dear Otis,
You surely are the very best of all good boys to write such a nice, full, long letter.  We had the Telegraphic news from Halifax of the arrival of the Equator, but had to wait twenty-four hours for your letter.  Father and I were both waked about midnight by the gun announcing the steamer in the harbour, and our first waking thought was, “There comes Otis’s letter.”  Uncles, aunts, and cousins came to the house to ask “What news from Otis,” and we received many congratulations upon the receipt of the much wished-for letter.  Your voyage was shorter than we thought it would be and your resistance to sea-sickness far exceeded our expectations.  I can hardly believe that you are the same boy that turned sick at swinging and grew pale on the back seat of a carriage, but if your other manly traits have developed in the same proportion, I am well content.
Picture of one of the Elephanta Caves, Island of
Elephanta, from
Capt. Faucon says your description of Bombay is very correct and that the Island of Elephanta is well worth seeing.  He has promised to lend me the pamphlet of the tour that you spoke of, and he knows all about everybody and everything that you mention.  He is perfectly delighted with his new boarding place and says he has never felt so much at home for years.  He is quite a constant visitor at our home and always a welcome one.  Snap and Nelly are well and feel quite proud of Gip’s popularity.  Ann has gone to live with Mrs. David Weld, and a young sister of Esther’s, just arrived, takes her place at our house.  [Ann and Esther were presumably Irish immigrant girls working as servants in the Everett household.]

Church of the Savior, Bedford St., Boston. Courtesy of
the from their
Anna Adams died a week since of quick consumption.  She is a great loss, and her death is much felt by all her acquaintance.  I have just received a wedding card from James Clapp, who has taken up his abode in Roxbury.  Anna Smith is to be married next Thursday, and has a large levee at Mr. Huskins brother’s, where they are to board.  Carry Curtis is to be married in three weeks.  She will be married about 11 o’clock in Mr. Waterston’s church, after which she receives morning calls at home.  [Rev. Robert C. Waterston was minister of Church of the Savior, a Unitarian church on Bedford Street.]  In the evening Aunt Curtis has a family party, like our Thanksgiving gatherings, and the next morning they start for the West to be gone all winter.  They intend to visit Niagara and the Mammoth Cave on their way and be back about April.

Thomas and Percy stayed whilst at Niagara at the same house with Jenny Lind.  [Jenny Lind, the Swedish nightingale, the most famous diva of the 19th century, was then on tour in the United States.  P.T. Barnum managed her tour and created a craze for all things Jenny Lind.]  They had the room directly opposite hers and heard her sing for two hours.  They went under the sheet at Niagara, walked over the suspension bridge, crossed the river close to the falls in a skiff, and saw all other wonders.

We all had a sad start the other day by hearing that Aunt Williams had had a fall and broken her ankle bone.  I went immediately out, and felt quite relieved when I saw how cheerful and comfortable she was.  She had just returned from riding, and their man (who always lifts her) had taken her safely from the carriage and set her in a chair on the steps, when William [William Williams, her son], thinking her too near the edge, moved the chair a very little, when she fell forwards down the whole flight.  She immediately fainted and remained insensible until some time after she was placed upon the bed.  The Doctor was procured as soon as possible who set the bone, and now it is quite healed.  She thought a great deal more about William than about herself, as he feels so badly about it that we thought he never would get over it.  He has always been so careful of his mother that he could not bear to have her have the least jar, and to think that he should let her fall was altogether too much for his fortitude, but with her usual fortitude she made as light of it as possible, and the next day but one was carried out as usual to breakfast, and since then has taken her accustomed place in the family, to the great relief of us all. 

All the other members of the family are jogging on the same as usual.  Pray do not lose a word of your journal, but write it out as full as you can.  I think you must have looked exceedingly graceful getting into the Palanquin [an enclosed litter carried on bearers’ shoulders with poles] for the first time.  I do not believe I should have known you to have met you in one.  I suppose I must leave a little bit of blank paper for father, and so, with ever so much love, I remain your affectionate
                                                                                                            Mother

Monday 20th
I must put this into the Post Office today to go by the steamer from New York on Wednesday, tho’ if you have a quick passage round from Bombay to Calcutta & do not meet with much detention there this letter will hardly reach you .  Just before I left home this morning Mr. James Edward Blake from Warwick called at the house.  He is here on a visit.  I went with him to Whittemores the Rifle Makers & to Uncle Williams’ store.  I hope that whilst he is here we may have an opportunity to try some shooting.  He says the dog you gave him is getting to be very good at hunting.  Not long since he started a rabbit in the road.  They had quite a long run but he caught him & brot him in.  He & the cat eat together out of the same dish, so he does not inherit his father’s antipathy to cats.  It is now getting to be cold, so that we have to take Nelly into the house.  Snap does not much like being alone but we let him in occasionally.  I told him about your letter.  He looked up in my face with his usual knowing look as much as to say I understand it.  I told him I was writing you & asked him if he had anything to say.  He said, “Sigh, sigh,” which I suppose means, tell  … [The last sheet of Otis Everett’s letter to his son is missing]