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Mason Cogswell To Mary and Alice Cogswell, April 14, 1830

From: Letters By Mason Cogswell
Creator: Mason F. Cogswell (author)
Date: April 14, 1830
Publication: Father and Daughter: A Collection of Cogswell Family Letters and Diaries (1772-1830)
Publisher: American School for the Deaf
Source: Yale Medical Library

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Hartford, April 14th, 1830


Mary and Alice


Philadelphia, Pa.


My dear Children: --


Mr. Norton from Albany, Mr. Gallaudet and Mr. Woodbridge, have have been drinking tea with us and have just gone and although it is near ten having so good an opportunity of writing by Mr. Huntington who starts for Philadelphia in the morning boat I cannot refrain from indulging for a few moments conversation with you on the interesting occasion which has just passed away. And although I cannot do justice to its merits by any description I can give you some general account which I know will at least amuse you. My daughters have already informed you of a Fair that was gotten up to raise funds for our Benevolent Society established in this place for the relief of poor female children. For a month past nothing has been heard or seen but preparations among our ladies and young gentlemen for this novel and animating event, which has been consummated during the last few days in the spacious and elegant room over our new market. The doors were opened the day before yesterday at eleven o'clock. On entering each one paid 12 1/2c as an introductory trifle. On the east side of the room four tables were spread twelve feet in length and four in breadth with everything that genius could invent or taste could adorn from the mouse to the lion in the natural world and by way of refreshment from trifles onwards to custards, ice creams, jellies and sweet meats, with a quantity sufficient of pickled oysters, ham, tongue, etc., with almost every kind of fruit and topped off with fine lemonade and coffee. Four other tables on the west side of the room, were decorated in the same manner. At the head of each table sat or stood a matronly lady as Mrs. Wadsworth, Mrs. Terry, Mrs. Philipps or some other equally respectable, aided in assistance by half a dozen young ladies at each table such as Elizabeth, Catherine, etc. playing the merchant and recommending their goods in the most inviting and persuasive manner until all were obliged to buy whether they intended to or not. Across the end of the room on raised benches was a large and beautiful collection of plants and flowers from Mr. Tudor's greenhouse, most of them in full blossom and almost all for sale and these were surmounted by a picture of General Washington copied from Stuart's for the singular history of which I must refer you to Mr. H. as I have not time myself to give it. In half an hour after the room was opened, it was filled and for a short time was inconveniently full, but in an hour or so there was just enough to make it pleasant. The whole area, between the tables being full but not crowded and when everyone you met whether friend or foe was clothed with smiles you could hardly see too many. But the evening was the time! How happy, my dear Children, should I have been could I only have seen your two countenances in the midst of us illumined as ours were. The room was beautifully lighted with lustre lamps, both above and on the tables. This gave a softened light on everything around and aided by the warmth of the room and by all the Benevolent Associations, inspired by the occasion, every female countenance shone with unusual brilliancy. The ordinary face became comely and the beautiful, beautiful indeed.


The sun has just risen upon us clear and bright for the first time for three weeks and had I time I would finish my letter as it should be but I must conclude by telling you that everything at the Fair went off grandly with a collection of about six hundred dollars. Love to those who love me.


Affectionately, Your parent,


Mason F. Cogswell