She told us she did not mean to change it. It is comfortable, she said, and lots of her new people really admire it in their hearts! And it will last her time, and when her granddaughter comes into it it will no doubt be “down town” and turned into a shop, things move so fast.
After lunch we all came up to this fearful salon, and then we saw what a perfect hostess she is, moving from group to group and saying exactly the right thing in her crisp, old voice—there is nothing sleepy and Southern about her. At last she sat down by me and she told me such an exquisite story, showing the feeling after the war and the real aristocrats the Southerners were. Two old aunts of hers were left absolutely destitute, having been great heiresses, and to support themselves took in sewing, making dresses for their friends. Their overseer became immediately rich, and a year or so afterwards gave a grand ball for his daughter. The day before the ball an old and not bright friend called, and found Miss Barbara sewing a white satin frock and the tears dropping from her eyes. She pressed her hand in sympathy, and said she felt as badly as she did to see her making when she ought to be wearing, the frock; but Miss Barbara sat up straight and said, “It is not that; I like the work, but what do you think! Timothy Murran (the overseer) has had the impudence to send us an invitation!” Isn’t this a dear story, Mamma, and should not we have loved and honoured those old ladies?
But Mrs. Van B.-C. says the modern people in New York would not in the least understand this subtle pride, and would only think them old fools, and she added—“which they probably were!”
She says we are not to judge of American men by most of those we have seen in New York as yet; that there are a section of elderly, refined and cultivated gentlemen, no longer interested in trade now, who were contemporaries of her daughter (the beautiful Duchesse de Ville Tranche, who died so tragically). She wants us to meet them.
But Octavia and I both told her we liked those we had seen very much indeed; they were so kind, only not naughty like Englishmen. And she had such a look in her eye as she said, “That is just it, my dear, and it makes all the difference.”
You see, Mamma, I am not telling you of any of the people we know in England, because as I said before they are just like us, and not interesting in consequence. Octavia and I feel we want to see quite others, and next week perhaps we start for the West.
Heavens! The mail is going. I must stop!
Fondest love to my angels,
Your affectionate daughter,
Latour court, long island,