Library Collections: Document: Full Text

Mary Cogswell (Daughter) To Mary Cogswell (Mother), January 8, 1818

From: Letters -- Miscellaneous Cogswell Family
Creator: Mary Cogswell (author)
Date: January 8, 1818
Publication: Father and Daughter: A Collection of Cogswell Family Letters and Diaries (1772-1830)
Publisher: American School for the Deaf
Source: Yale Medical Library

Next Page   All Pages 

Page 1:


To Mrs. Mary Austin Cogswell,


Hartford, Conn.


Albany, Friday Jan. 8th, 1818.


At last, my dear mother, after all my railings against dancing, etc., I have indeed been to an Assembly and actually joined in "heeling it and toeing it" as high as anybody there. But I am more convinced of the truth of Mr. Valm's assertion when he said "Indeed, Miss, your taste cannot never be for the dances"! I enjoyed myself however tolerably well for I had so many acquaintances there that I did not feel exactly among strangers. I danced quite as much as I wished (for I found it extremely awkward to refuse every time) and once with the Hon. Mr. Duer the very best partner in the room. We returned by general consent at a little after eleven o'clock and went to bed quite as early as usual. Mary was considered the second lady in the room, being still ranked something of a bride and was led to her place by the young Patroon with his chapeau under his arm. For you must know that to be very genteel and quite ala Francais the gentlemen carry a cocked hat under her arms, which I assure you appears absolutely ridiculous. The ladies dress a great deal and whether old or young, beautiful or deformed, all display their figures and expose their person more than I should think delicate for our Catherine. One lady, a very genteel and sensible woman, between forty-five and fifty, was there who left ten little children at home and was dressed in white satin with lace over short sleeves and long kid gloves. Her dress loaded with trimmings and her head with feathers. This lady is quite a belle because she dances with so much more life and spirit than the young ladies. I could not but look at her as she was slipping around and imagine what would be my feelings at seeing you in such a situation and dress.


You ask me if I have succeeded in getting a hat. Miss Charlotte Chester went out with me and gave directions for one which I like very well. I do wish you could see some of the hats which are worn here. Mrs. Clinton wears one with a wide front which flares rather backwards than forwards and does not cover half her head which is not very small. The hat then is surmounted by five enormous black plumes, the crown falling so far back that it has a most ludicrous effect.


There was the other day an exhibition of the deaf and dumb from New York held at the Lancasterian School. We of course attended it and I must say it was rather shabby. The regulations were miserable for the little dirty children belonging to the school were running about among the spectators making such a clamour that we could neither see nor hear until we pushed our way to them where I came in full view of Dr. Akerly who I fancy looked at me rather suspiciously particularly when he saw me whisper to Mr. N. when I detected the teacher spelling words when they could not understand the signs. I suspect he recognized me for I could not look up without meeting his eye. Some of the pupils however appeared quite intelligent and have improved more than I thought possible. There is evidently great want of sympathy and I rather thought it not the first time the pupils had been over the same lessons. Mary Rose remembered me and I talked with her whenever I could do so without being observed.


We had a very pleasant party last night to the Cohoes, returned through Lansinburgh and drank tea at old Mrs. Delevan's who lives there and returned in the evening. Miss Clapp and Miss Stansbury, a very fine girl from New Jersey, went in one sleigh with Mr. Bleeker whom Papa will remember as being a partner of Mr. Sedgwick's. Mary, Anna, Mr. N. and myself completed the party. Mr. Bleeker is a man of very superior talents, very polite and agreeable but he is forty-five years old and as much of a beau as you can imagine, talks about beauty and dress and fashions with as much "gout" as if he was yet in his bloom. The Falls were frozen almost entirely over but still are a grand sight. One rainbow was distinctly formed in the mist and the sun shining on the long icicles and snow made quite a splendid appearance. We passed through Troy in the evening and could see but little of it but we think of going again soon.


We are plagued to death with calls. We are going this morning to the Patroon's and I wish you could see me rigged out in white this cold winter's morning, for it will not do to make calls without white or some handsome dress under the coat. Do not be alarmed about my dressing in white for I take good care not to suffer.


Last evening we drank tea at Mrs. Backus' and had a delightful visit. There are to be two or three parties this week but I think I shall attend but one. Both Anne and myself are tired of these gay scenes and feel convinced that instead of shining in them we were formed to grace in elegant retirement the scenes of domestic life.


Mr. Baldwin has invited us to go this week to the Capitol where we expect to hear Mr. Emmet speak. Love to all. I meant to have had room for messages but I hope to have a private opportunity.

Next Page

Pages:  1  2    All Pages