Praise from Sir Hubert, my dear Doctor! (Loomis Nelson tells me you resent, since our Yale experience, the failure to give you your proper title). [Doctor]
Seriously, I thank you heartily; and I am touched and pleased by the welcome words of your Christmas greeting. / Always yours…. [MTP].
Note: “Approbation from Sir Hubert Spencer is praise indeed” is from A Care for the Heartache (1797) by Thomas Morton (1764-1838) [Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, 2002].
December 29 Sunday
December 30 Monday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, wishing they could come to Boston but “must put the temptation by; that seductive holiday is not for slaves.” Sam related the blissful state of his work—he was having “a noble good time,” with all his days his own, taking “no engagement outside the city & not more than 2 per month in it.”
They can’t improve on this happiness in heaven. If Joe Jefferson had stayed at his post I should have pulled through December scot-free; but he had eloped to the South & I must do Founder’s Night for him to-morrow. It has been seven or eight years since I was at the Players on a New Year Eve. I would a person might venture a political speech there. Such larks!
The fambly are all down town shopping & losing hankerchers & pocketbooks & commutation tickets & umbrellas, after the custom of their sex, & so they miss their chance to send their love to the House of Aldrich & their gladness over that hopeful report your letter [not extant] brought us; but I done it for them, & for myself as well [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Horace N. Allen in N.Y.C., having just received his letter [not extant] which had gone to the wrong address. Sam wrote he “shall be glad to see you & the boys any afternoon toward 5 o’clock” that was convenient as they were almost never away from home at that hour. He closed by writing he was glad that “Mr. Hunt has come safely out of that long illness” [MTP]. See also Dec. 4 to Allen. Mr. Hunt is not further identified.
Sam also replied to Mary C. Trask (incoming not extant).
Dear Mrs. Trask: / It is sixteen years since I saw those girls; I should vastly like to see them again. But a speech in the daytime?—& on a peaceful, courteous, social, non-political occasion? It is too ghastly; I couldn’t possibly do it. I am not young, I am not shy—but there’s a limit.
Don’t you think a recitation would answer? Not a long one—only five minutes; one that I exploited at Vassar when we were all children, & happy, & unspotted with crime; one which I know some of those girls would remember. Don’t you think that would do? [MTP].
Note: Sam refers here to his May 1, 1885 reading at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. for the school’s “Founder’s Day.” At that time he read “Trying Situation” and the “Golden Arm” story. Though Mrs. Trask is not mentioned in that entry, she likely was in attendance; a Vassar record of a “Trask-Vassar letter, Copy in SLCs secretary’s handwriting” (from Isabel Lyon) dated Dec. 20, 1901 is online. It is likely Lyon replied initially to Mary Trask’s incoming sometime on or before Dec. 20.
Charles S. Fairchild wrote from N.Y.C. to receipt Sam for his check of $16,000 for bonds of the American Mechanical Cashier Co. . [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Will send the bonds & stock or hold them there for me. The latter is preferable—I will call & get them.”
Theodore Weld Stanton wrote to Sam:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.