Sunday, November 20, 2011

* 1890's

NOTE: Most of this collection of letters has no year dated  on the individual items from 1896-1902. Had they not been kept in postmarked envelopes the collection would be a hopeless confusion.

To be continued.


1899. Dec. 11

Postmark Washington DC Dec 11, 1899

Mr. J. Walter Bassett,
Southern Pines,

                                                 1212 K-St., N.W.
                                                  Washington, D.C.

Dear Walter,

       Like you in your last, nice letter, I have so much to write about, I hardly know where to begin.  Perhaps business first will be best. I had a note from Mr. Root yesterday with this month’s rent in advance enclosed, and he said his father-in-law wanted to know my lowest terms for my house, as he was thinking of buying or building in Southern Pines. I have answered, acknowledging the check, and told him I would write again in a few days in regard to the house. Now, did you find the papers in that box in the big bank giving the cost of building the house etc.? If so, I would be greatly obliged if you would send them to be right away, as I think they would help towards an estimate. If you can find a moment I wish you would just glance over them and give me an idea what you think I ought to give as my lowest cash price.  Believe I haven’t written you since Thanksgiving. I had a very pleasant day. Went to my cousin’s to dinner, and she and her husband invited me to the horse races in the afternoon; they were quite exciting, and I enjoyed them very much, but was shocked at the sight of so many women betting.   One has to go to those places once in a while to see what evil there is in the world, and to be able to thank God that you are out of it.  I also went to two or three entertainments that week with some of the people in the house. They are all very kind to me. One was musical and literary and very fine. Another was a visit to Halls of the Ancients, a new building here, which you must surely see when you come.

 The whole inside represents  [page side  numbered 5]the way the wealthy Romans lived at the time Pompeii was destroyed; it was not only entertaining but instructive, and I felt as though I had really been there.  Believe I wrote you about my cousin and her husband celebrating the 4th anniversary of their wedding that week by inviting company in the evening. I was out every night but one, but this last week I have been more quiet, and wanted to be, having taken a little cold, but don’t think it is going to amount to much. I went to the opening of Congress with a lady in the house  and enjoyed it very much, especially seeing the beautiful flowers that were presented to some of the senators. Senator Chandler kindly gave me a season ticket to the Senate

 and I am going to try and get one for the House. The latter I couldn’t get in the opening day, as I didn’t try for a ticket in time, and there was a great crowd on account of the Roberts’ case.     

A day or two ago I received a notice from the Civil Service Comm, asking me if I understood any foreign language, and if I would accept an appointment in Cuba, Porto Rico, or the Phillipines. My not knowing any language of course settles the matter, otherwise you might have heard of me packing my trunk for Cuba or [“the’ crossed out]Porto Rico , the Phillipines. [sic] I might object  to just now. Any way things seem to be moving  a little more my way, as I have at last got a chance to take the Census examination, through a gentleman connected with the Washington Post, who is very influential here, a Mr. Little, a friend of a friends of mine. I am also going to see Pritchard 

again tomorrow by appointment, so there is every hope of a position if I can only pass. I am going to commence [page side numbered 9] to study tomorrow in good earnest, and will have about three, possibly four weeks to prepare. I must pass an average of 75%  and every one tells me the examination is very hard, but I’m bound to try anyway.  Please not [sic]say anything about it to anyone. I am going to keep the word “success”  before me all the time, for I know it will help. I am reading Richard Carrell [Carvel ?] and like it very much , but not quite as well as Hugh Wynne; 

perhaps it’s because I haven’t you to read to me. Oh, I miss the happy times so much, but am trying like yourself not to think about it, but they never never will be forgotten if I live to be a hundred. I am glad your business is so good, hope Johnson will stay away.
Have you had to help John Powell any? If I could see you and talk, I’m afraid I should never stop, but now I must say good-night. Hope you received the candle-holders all right and will have a nice time Tuesday night. Please not forget [sic] the papers.

  “Always the same” – also


 1899, May 19 
(Grace Genevieve Pierpont)

A gentle let-down to the twenty-one-year-old Mt. Carmel lad from a North Haven lady of social status?

(Postmark May 19, 1899) North Haven, Conn.)

My dear J. Walter: -

        Another tribute of your kindness came this morning –you have ever been doing them and I have appreciated [inserted “them”] all. This cheese knife is lovely    my first, and doubtless last, gift from Tiffany’s, and I thank [sic] very, very much.
       How slow and yest how fast the time has gone since I saw you, and I have been as busy as a [“busy” crossed out] bee [inserted], and as happy. Only a week more and then this livable function [?] will be over and we can all rest. J. Walter, when you marry seek “the little church round the corner” every time. The marriage will be just as legal, and you will both live longer.
        I shall never forget you, dear old friend of mine and may “Sweetness” ever live in your memory.  We have had many a pleasant time together, haven’t we?
        Forever your sincere friend,

                                               Grace Genevieve Pierpont
                                         North Haven, Connecticut
                                                May nineteenth, 1899

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