LETTERS OF ABIEL T. LaFORGE
From February to May of 1873 LaForge accompanied R. H. Macy on a buying trip to Europe. Most of the letters written during that time were for his wife. Letters written by Margaret are also included in this collection.
Jany 14" 73
Yours of Dec 29 was read in good time but I am afraid it would have remained unanswered for some time longer were it not for my spending to-day in the house to do a little doctoring for a lung cold.
You cannot brag of much superiority on the question of snow and impassible streets. The fall of snow of which you speak ex-tended to us and was here the heaviest which we have had in a score of years.
Still the streets would be easily managed if only the snow which fell in them was to be taken care of, but into the roadway is piled the snow from the side walks as the law requires them to be freed of snow in three hours after a storm. Then comes the snow from the flat roofs which is at least twice as much as what was on side-walk & street originally. this makes about six times as much snow in the road-way as first fell there and it is impossible for any one who never saw a heavy fall of snow in the city to imagine what an obstruction and disaster to us it is. We had twenty men on our back roofs and they were two days clearing them of snow. The weight of the snow and so much shoveling broke the tin. the roofs laked (leaked) badly damaging goods and ceiling. so it has cost us a dircect expense of not less than $500ΕΕ and a loss in trade pro-fits of at least $1000ΕΕ, so you form an idea that such a fall of snow is not welcome to the business community of the city.
You ought to have seen our mountain of snow on 6" avenue, we cleared a cut for teams to drive up to our side walk and between this cut and the passage way which the street cars had cut was a long mountain of hard packed snow about 20 feet high. this moun-tain I am happy to say has gone dowwn under the warm rains and mild sun of our January thaw until we can now drive over it.
We have been unable to get to the Theatre since you were here. our Xmas trade drove us until that was over and now we are taking-stock which will keep us employed all of this month; as soon as that is over Mr Macy and I have to get ready for Europe for which we expect to start ther 15" of February. Margaret takes general charge of the business in our absence and "altho I say it myself &c" there is not another woman in America could do it. We want to get to the Theatre about twice before I leave. The "Merry wives of Windsor" is a good play very popular, and three hundred years old. "Diamonds" is less than a year old so the style of dress and acting is of course very different, altho' very similar in good points.
Mother (Phebe Ann Pinkham Getchell) and Betty (probably a nursemaid) are well and send kind regards. they always think they are busy of course. Baby is a good jobber and twice as cunning as when you were here "Macy" dont want you to be dreaming ..... about him. Margaret is jolly and just now down in the store taking my place.
Mrs Polion died since Xmas and Maggie her youngest daughter has been stopping at our house ever since. Margaret is clothing her up and sending her to school.
Margaret for Xmas present had a fine real bronze Odor case, two pair silver nut crackers and some smaller thing, I had a case of a dozen champaign, besides a few presents from my family. mo-ther got a real fur sack & muff. Betty had also her presents, and Laurie was remembered by a great many; his great uncle gave him ten dollars.
I send you a picture he had taken of himself with his grand ma's spectx on. his mother thinks it is awful cunning but you must judge for yourself. he sends regards.
Tell Joe to keep a stiff upper lip and never mind snow 8 or 10 feet deep. Love to all from
Maj & Margie
R.H. MACY & CO.
14th Street and 6th Avenue,
New York City.
Jany 30" 73
Yours of the 27" recd yesterday glad you are not snowed in altogether. In your fine climate you ought to consider yourself blessed to be able to see daylight over the snow drifts.
Your last storm drew its tail over the city but did not leave such an immanageable deposit as the previous one; altho' we have since its visit had extremely cold weather.
I expect to be sick on the ocean as a matter of course. every body however seems to think that the trip will do me good so I shall try it. Leaving my wife and baby will be the hardest blow for me.
If nothing happens to prevent I shall go on the Steamer "Bal-tic" of the "White Star LIne". she will sail on Feb 15". The steamers of that line are new, handsomly furnished and have proved the fastest of any. The average time to Queenstown in Ireland is 8 days then it takes about a day longer to Liverpool. Winter trips are however very uncertain as to the length of time. Shall be away about three months.
We send your freight butter-tub by the E.R.R. today. send us some more it was good.
Baby has had a very bad time with a sore eye. we have had to doctor him and keep him in a darkened room for the last ten days. his eyes are now very weak but the inflamation is going down.
The family is otherwise quite well
Betty incloses a letter.
Love to all
Your Bro & Sister
Maj & Marg.
Feb 15" 73
Good Morning Love
This ought to reach you in a blue moment so let it give you all the comfort possible. I knew you did not expect to hear from us so quick so took this opportunity to disappoint you.
We are laying off Coney Island, have just had an excellent dinner which we enjoyed with quite as steady an appetite as we would at home. we are at anchor & without motion of any kind. had an excellent dinner, with champagne and at my suggestion Macy, Mc. & I are writing to our families we will send the letters ashore by the pilot (he may not land for a week) and I sincerely trust that the additional love which this will bring you will be new comfort.
We anchored here about half past four and will not get off till 9.30 this eve. The passengers were all so delighted at having one square meal on the water that they were the jolliest possible.
All sorts of bets were being made around the table about how many would be there next meal &c. I dont expect to be there tomor-row morning for one. Mrs. Mc dont for another and judging by the land-lubber look of most of the passengers they dont expect to ei-ther. however we shall see what we shall see.
You were real good and brave this afternoon and you left a full heart behind you when you went to your carriage: Was that you that waved to me from the ferry boat or not?
Kiss baby for me and tell him "bump". papa will tend to his case when he gets home again. Tell mother & Betty that if they want my blessing they must look after that boy carefully. Regards to the family & My love and blessing on you and my child
Your Own Dear Husband
Letter No 2 Feb 16" 73
How are you this morning my dear girl, feeling sorry for your sea sick lover I suppose. well I am not sick yet and there is not motion enough to upset my late breakfast in some time.
We weighed anchor at 9 OC last night came down her to the bar could not get acrost so droped an Iron and have been here all night. Slept pretty well but felt cold. got the clothes out of the upper bunk, and got to sleep with their additional comfort. felt well and hungry for my Sunday morning meal. wish I was able to take it with you. How it did snow when we got up at 7.30 A.M. has turned to rain now however.
Mack, Mack, & wife and myself are all at one end of a table together, and have had a splendid time so far. We have just got our anchor up and are steaming about here some where whether we shall get over the bar in this storm is more than I can say.
I can hear the ice swash against the side of the ship as I sit here in my state room
Give Laurie my morning kiss and tell him that all that stuff you told him last night and this morning about my being seasick was as yet bosh.
10.30 we are crossing the bar Sandy Hook is about 1/2 mile to our right. looks heavy out side.
Good bye for awhile with my best love to all but my warmest to you and baby
Tuesday Feb 25" 73
Here we are expecting to sight the Irish coast in an hour or two at most. then we shall be at Queenstown about four OC where I want to mail this so that you may get it by the 4" of March at far-therist. how I wish I could reach you with it or at least give adequate expression to how tenderly I have felt toward you or how much I have missed your loving tender thot'ful presence. when leaving home I was in some doubt which my heart would yearn toward most you or my boy. but that question is settled intirely and for-ever. you are the idol Margaret and I hope to always feel toward you as I do at this moment. our home would then have few domestic jars. I should be a better husband and father, and you would feel a greater tolarence of my whims. I am going to make a sincere ef-fort to be the lover again as I am so convinced that you so com-pletely fill my heart.
This is the first time I have had pencil or pen in hand since my letters sent on shore by the pilot; we on leaving the Hook ran into a North East storm which lasted four days and completely did the business for me. I at once fell to the enviable distinction of being the sickest person on board and have headed the list ever since. Nothing would stay on my stomach. my strength all left. I could not sit up without bolstering and altogether a more miser-able being you never saw. I am now laying on my side and penning this with a feble hand. Wait till I get on shore to morrow and I expect to make up my lost strength rapidly.
We have had a very rough passage Macy says it is his worst. And let me say in this connection that for Macys kindness and at-tention to me during this trip I shall always hold him in grateful remembrance. had I been of his flesh & blood he could not have been more attentive. Mc & wife have both been more or less sick all of the time still they were able to be around most of the time and were also very good to me in a friendly way.
Reading would have been a pastime but I could not read a word my head felt so badly. So my books are an unexplored mystery yet. We ought to get to Liverpool tomorrow. there owing to my little strength we shall probably stay all night and proceed to London next day. My lungs are freer and my chest less painful that they have been in five years. Good enough.
Now my love charge mother about babys considerate care. how I hope his eyes are entirely well. and how I should like to "bump" him once. kiss him every day for me and give him his papas love.
Land Ho! the passengers on deck are crying. thank the lord! Dont forget and over work yourself my love. for we want to meet next both looking healthy & happy. Make Rob carry all the burden he is capable of.
Try on a Seal Skin sack and tell me length of sleeve, length of body, how broad acrost the back & length around bottom, you want. Remember me to Store Folks, Mother,.(last line not copied)
London Feb 28" 73
We did not send a mail on shore at Queenstown when we got there as it was too rough to run in, so the letter I wrote to go on shore was mailed the next day at Liverpool. I gave you such a bad account of myself that I hasten with this to correct it. I was weighed at Liverpool and found it hard to turn 123 lbs 15 less than my weight at home so there is no doubt my feed cost the Steamboat Co very little. But what a change when once on shore and how many congratulations have I recd since from our fellow voyageurs. they told me they supposed I was on my way to Italy & the grave but were quite willing to change their minds from the wonderful change. I have been splendid since my feet were on shore and the manner in which provisions disappear makes it highly probably that you will see an Alderman on my return. My nerves have not got quite right yet as you can judge from this writing.
We remained in Liv. one night then came on to Lon. & the Laugham too late for biz the 27" but in time to go to the "Gattles" and see Pool the great London commedian see enclosed Programme. To day went down to Wrights and done some biz of which more in my next. This evening went to the Alhambra, saw Two acts of the Black Crook. the place is a confounded sight worse than Niblos, also much larger but less loaferism. Then went to the Argyle a low but famous dancing rendezvous for outcasts and other parties who like ourselves call themselves men. Your image has been a constant re-buke to me all the evening but these places must bee seen & I have consequently sawed them & have enough, and now at 11.30 am con-fessing with full heart and shamed face, of course it is hardly necessary to say they only excited in me the most profound disgust. I gave your respects to St Pauls in passing. Also to the Bank of England and New Gate prison. This is a splendid hotel. must have cost three times as much as the Fifth Ave. yet the furniture of the rooms is not equal to a third rate American Hotel. Gas and water in the rooms are not known in England.
I have more to write about England but want to devote the rest of this sheet to you for my thots and feelings are with you all of the time and I am constantly regretting that with you is left my burden for the spring. we never expected, when married, to make this change and my angel you have just cause of complaint at it, but command my return before your strength gives out. How I love you tonight. We hope for a letter from you tomorrow and if we dont get it then we shall not until next Thursday as we leave Lon. Sunday P.M. for Birmingham, Sheffield and Nottingham. I am most anxious to hear from you as Lauries eyes are a sourse of great uneasyness to me. hug the dear little fellow for his papa and tell him I will come umstairs by and bye. Always remember me to the store people and I wont lose time by writing it every time. dont tell them so however. Mother and Betty have my regards and here is a kiss 0 from your LaForge
Queens Hotel. Birmingham
Sun. Mar. 2" 73
My own Darling
My last was Fri. and now I again send you greeting hoping you and my little treasure are well and happy. also Mother, Maggie & Betty. We have not finished Lon. yet but came up here to night as we wanted to do this place, Sheffield & Nottingham and again have Friday in Lon. And leave for Paris Sat. We expected to find Mc & wife here but it seems they are stopping with their commishioner. This morning we went down to Westminster Abbey and altho' my bump of veneration for old things is not big, I felt it throb there. Never before had I seen the touch of a thousand years on the works of man, and I felt its blight as I wandered thro' the long groin-arched vaults and corridors where repose the ashes of dead centu-ries, checked off and clothed, punctuated as it were, by the dated slabs which wall and pave the passages & mark the resting places of past generations. How very small a point I felt myself to be as standing there I listened to the echoing footsteps of twelve centu-ries; With my hand I could brush away the corosion on the wall and go back beyond the time of Caesar. The blighting breath of all these years has destroyed much of the beautiful sculpturing but enough remains to stamp its e...uce for centuries yet to come. In the more modern part of the church and among the modern burials we found the tomb of Maj. Ander; England has placed him here among her illustrious dead as a martyr to his country. In the arm of the church called Poets corner are found the slab of Dickens with its simple record of name birth and death, in letters of brass let into the stone; one reads around him names which will outlast the structure in which they are inurned. We sat down here to listen to the services which had just commenced and as the solemn chant arose and filled the structure the charm of Westminster was complete.
The building impressed me strangely by its mixture of age some parts being almost lost in decay and others well preserved. one has constantly to keep in mind the centuries it took to build it.
We walked around the House of Parliament, crossed the Thames, drove out to Buckingham Palace & Hyde Park but I could not shake the old Abbey off. comparatively modern St Pauls had no charm for me and even the ride up here has been without effect so I suppose I shall have to go to bed with the responsibility of Westminster on my mind.
Biz. Embridery Cotton, how many yards are on the spools Stearns ordered? his order is for boxes containing 1 Doz asst from 7 to 13. We have found a make asst 5 to 10. if we cant get the other will that do as well?
Do you take your constitutional every day as you promised to do? I want to hear from you so badly I dont know what to do. cant get to sleep Nights thinking of you and the baby. How a few mo-ments with my family would enhance this trip.
Love to all-
Here is a 0 from your own Maj.
March 2" 73
I cant write with that pen so you must excuse my using a pen-cil. We had a long trying trip acrost the Atlantic and I was very sick all of the way. My nerves have not recovered yet as you can judge by this writing. I lost 15 lbs on the passage but must be making it up very fast now judging from the amount I eat. Macy has to keep his hand on my throat he says to keep me from overfeeding. We got to Liverpool the 25" of Feb. stoped there one night then went to London where we have been ever since until to night when we came up here. This morning I paid my first visit to Westminster Abbey and although my bump of veneration for old things is not very large I must say that I felt appressed by the air of Westminster. Never before had I seen in the works of man what the blighting touch of a thousand years could do. never before wandered among the dead of eleven centuries and seen their visible record. never on a tomb read the virtues of men who died ten hundred years before I was born; with such surroundings I could not be indif'erent. those under my feet and on both sides of the long arched vaults vaults were the walled in bones of dead humanity since the seventh century. I walked among them and with my fingers brushing away the crumbling tablets in dust and felt as if I was in deed wandering back down the corridors of history to its earliest days. Martyrs, Monks & Laymen, Royality, Nobility, & Peasantry have here gone back to their native dust under the influence of the same damp air for almost untold centuries. As I was wandering pensively among this venerable dust it was with no small surprise I found the tomb of Maj. John Andre, and was bro't with a sudden jerk back to our com-paratively recent Revolutionary war. Yes England has entombed him here among her illustrious dead as a martyr to his country; Far-ther on in an arm of the church called the poets corner is the slab that covers the grave of Charles Dickens. he is among the bones of men famous in literature. Just as we got here services commenced and we sat down on one of the benches which parly covers his slab and listened for a while to the solemn music.
I found mighty St Pauls with its comparatively recent history hardly interesting after Westminster so only gave it a passing ex-amination and hold it in reserve for the future. I could tell a volume or two with the account of the places we have gone over but will have to defer that labor until I am seventy five or so. We expect to get thro' with England and start for Paris next Saturday.
Joe the farming here is the finest I ever saw. such even plowing, such fine kept hedges &c. The fields are green and cattle out pasturing all over. the farmers are plowing still. they use one, two or three horses and harness them one ahead of the other. looks queer.
Write to Margaret so that I can hear from you and beleive me ever your own brother
Wed. March 5" 73
Langham Hotel. London
My Darling Wife
I wrote you last from Birmingham, where we had a duce of a time to find where the cheap white-scotch wood goods which Sterns bot of Stewart came from; we found it at last in the same building where we buy the other S.W. goods kept by another man. Tuesday morning we went to Sheffield (a three hour job) that was the place I wanted to get to, for there I ought to find a letter from my own old girl, so without scarcely stopping to look at the "Victoria" I toted M. down to the Sheffield Banking Co and joy to say yours of the 18" was there. how I devoured its contents and what an uncom-fortable feeling I had about the throat as I read your account of Lauries watching for papa. You must tell the little fellow to cheer up and comfort mama and not make her feel bad, then papa will love him more than ever.
We drove business like mad in S- and succeeded in getting through the same day. Rogers has a tremenduos big place. We buy of Needam Brothers direct this time so save commishion there. we also buy of the new Scotchwood man direct. My idea is to get as many direct accts open as possible to save money. Last night we proceeded to Nottingham and put up at the quaintest old hotel you ever saw, the "George". kept by widow Brown. it would do very nicely as an antique curiosity but neither of us liked it for com-fort. the town however is the pink of cleanliness. London is a very tidy city but N. takes the palm off anything so far. it is smoky of course, all English towns are that, but otherwise all right. Business hours are short here we are nowhere able to get to work before 9 A.M. then nothing is to be done between 1 & 2 P.M. and at 5 OC business is over. on Saturdays it is over at 1 P.M. So we jump while we can work; our first call this morning was at Mills & Gibbs to see Foster, of course he was out of town. We then went into Hyman and Alexanders one of the largest lace houses and the largest Curtain & Tidy manufacturers. Here we opened an account direct. they recd us with some caution at first but when we found one of their head men to be brother in law to Ottenheimer, and they learned our large business connection with Sidenberg (whom it seems they furnished with the originals of much of their machi-nery) and our readiness to refer to any of the New York houses, they grew as open as they had before been close. This acct tho' this time small, ought to become the largest and most important on our books. We were thro bus. there in time for dinner a la table d'hote at 1.15 p.m. after which we took a short stroll about town. M- entered into negotiations with an exceedingly small boy for the purchase of his exceedingly small donkey and very large donkey-cart. They did not agree as to price. It is a constant marvel to me how those diminutive brutes can get over the ground so lively with their big heavily loaded carts. that they are useful and pay their numbers testify. Left N- at 3.15 p.m. for this place. it was a three hours ride thro' as lovely a farming country as I ever saw. two things are very noticeable to an American the absence of fences, their place being held by hedges which would not stop an American horse, cow or even sheep of ordinary intelligence, and the great scarcity burying grounds; Since being in England I have not seen sufficient extramural burying space to accomodate an average size American town if propperly supplied with Doctors. query? where do Britishers die when they go to? The "fine old baronial castles" of our fancy Margaret, are conspicuous by their absence. in point of fact we have only seen one, that of Earl of Stafford which is in sight of cars on the Great Western R.R. even that did not in the distance look at all large or formidable. I fancy it would pass for a stone house if it was not known as a castle. We have seen lots of hunting-boxes (so calld) from the cars and such as we have seen amuse me very much. this is the way of it. a J. bull gets a little extra money and forthwith posts down into the country and selects from such bits of wood as offer a lot suited to his means, say from 1/2 acre to 3 acres this he hedges in, builds his box from 6 to 12 ft square plants a few partridge or Phesant eggs and awaits results. This is his game preserve and his box. here when tired of city dust and turmoil he can retire - with per-haps a friend or two and a basket of provender and bitter ale- and stretch their weary limbs by the sports of the forest; perhaps some luckless bird from some more pretentious preserves may gladden their hearts by squatting within their enclosure and thus getting in their game bags. but the whole thing looks to me like "much ado about nothing".
After a wash and dinner this evening we went out for a walk. M. took a cab and went over to the "Golden Cross" and I came home to write you he found Mc & wife there they are well and will come to this hotel tomorrow if we can get them a room. they dont like the "g. cross." Well good night darling, love to the family and a 0 for you and Laurie.
Your own loving Maj.
You need on 6 cts for any letters sent to B. S. & Co.
Macy says he wants me to leave you some time to spend on store biz.
London Fri. Mar 7" 73
I wrote you on the 6" and the next day I got yours of the 20 & 21" of Feb. so you see it was not read in Paris altho I expect it will be as we start for that place tomorrow morning at 7 O.C. What is the matter with my poor boy are his troubles never to come to an end. tell Dr Gay if he dont cure him up I shall have to come back and see what I can do my self. when it comes bed time I cant keep Laurie out of my mind. now my darling as we have not every confidence in Guy, if our boy does not get better get the best phy-sician in the city to come and see him. dont put it off too long. .....ge Mother about him very carefully. she loves him too well to let him suffer tho. If you discharge Reid, you will find Thompson the driver a good man to put in his place I think. Reed has no instructions that frees him from any orders which you may give. We think that Rothschild is taking in Levys rear, or his whole store perhaps as Levy faild before we came away. Dont get discouraged at the bad weather, for nobody is responsible for that. We are glad to learn Feb's sales are likely to come out ahead.
Write us in your next this information about Eider Down goods. You remember the Ladies Vests were too small. Give us as near as possible the waist, breast, acrost, also the length required, and do we want them in anything ... ............ skirts, what length and waist sizes do we want. Mr Mrs Muro says they sell best in Black Italien cloth. if that is correct they will be much cheaper than in black silk. They use them here in Fig'd col'd chintz same as the quilts are covered with. could we use them? Can we use Ladies & Gents Dressing Gowns in chintz. they are made in silk but would cost very high with 50% for duty. Bed quilts of course we want in chintz only. Write us what are the best sizes & how many we could use of each size. Also a Memo of how many we can use of all of the above goods. Has the price of Atkinsons changed, let us know. Tell Southworth we have bot 100 doz Windsor Ties Plain co-lors, which will cost in his stock about 2.65 Gold. Tell (line not copied) Ret. Dept. at that price. We bot them to sell as a drive. Also we have ordered to be shipt at the same time (not later than Apl 1" 73) 200 doz Ties of a finer quality and best colors, which will cost Ret. Dept. $3.96 gold. tell V- to rate them at that. Starting price of the first is 0.6.3. of the second £ 0.9.0. 1¼ off. With these goods will come some fringed Sashes which are part cotton & will be billed Union tell Val, (Valentine?) to be sure and only pay 50% duty on them. Tell S. to have his stock of windsors down, so as to give these a chance. Val. must hurry them thro' the C. House as soon as possible and to remit as usual on Rect of Goods. we are rather particular about this last as Mr Wright feels pretty sore just now over our buying some of our goods direct. We had quite a squable with him this afternoon when we were giving him our orders to copy. he then discovered that we were doing part of our biz direct, and he was on the point of refusing to act for us at the price he was charging but when he came to reflect that I had all of the names and addresses (I took them quietly as we went around. R.H. had never done it. the houses never give their names, the commishsioner never tells them and driving rapidly about in a cab gives one but small chance to know who he is dealing with. quite different from N.Y. aint it?) and only had to step into Mor-gan Brothers and leave the orders there instead he came down. Af-ter we left he came up to the hotel to remind us that we had not left him our Nottingham order; we told him the people there wanted to work for us direct. When I left R. H. & him to go into dinner, R. H. took occasion to ask him what he tho't of me. the only part of the reply that I have learned was that he thot I made a good commencement. there is some doubt about his being affectionately disposed to me. = while it is on my mind = tell Wheeler that he will receive some plain black gents Ties about Apl. 25". We also expect some Table Cutlery &c for Dept 11 will go forward about the same time, also perhaps knives & scissors &c for Dept 3. Manufgs will not bind themselves to dates.
We expect to be in Paris tomorrow eve at 5 OC. so think of us there. Good night with a 0 kiss for you and Laurie my own darling. Your Devote Maj.
(note at top of letter not completely copied) ... regards every time and I have forgotton to put them in great Hurry L.
Grand-Hotel. Paris, le 11me Mars. 73
My own Darling
My last was London, 7" inst writtin the day before we left there. It took us all the next day from 7.40 AM until 8. P.M. to get here, then it takes a day longer for mail from here to catch the English steamer so necessarily in the transit I lose one chance to write you; to day I expected a letter from you by the German steamer but it did not come so I have another days suspense about my little sick boy. I pray your next may bring me word that both of you are in excellent health and like myuself counting the days as they go by and bring our meeting again nearer. It seems as if it would be the happiest day of my life to again take you both to my arms my dear old girl. Mrs McCarty (who by the way with her husband sends kindest regards) says we men are all alike when we are away from home. it is precious little we (line not copied) never loved my family and home so well as now, and could not be truer to my wife. We had a fine passage acrost the straits. I was a trifle sick for about three minutes, so was Mr. Macy that was all. no vomiting; so that dread passage for once proved only a bugbear. Sunny France, indeed; her fields are not here so green as Britans but such a sky compared with our last 10 days. so clear so warm. Such delicate coffee and such palateable cooking, I just be-gin to enjoy myself here. Paris is beyond description beautiful, the most flowery accounts do not equal the reality. You would go wild in this gay city Margie. that it is reckless and immoral and all that does not seem to detract in the least from its attractive-ness. After dinner the night of our arrival (Sat.) we took a stroll and hapening to pass the vaudeville went in to see the can can. It is a perfectly reckless flourish of legs and display of under clothing that is about all. cant say that I think it amusing as the exertion is too evident. Sunday we were up late and out of money. went up to Druckors place and borrowed 300. fcs, then drove down the Champs Elisee to the Arch de Triomphe. back to the Tui-leries, walked thro the gardens, admired the fountains and Statuary some of which are truly naked (statuary I mean) viewed the ruins of the Palace, Walked a couple of miles thro the paintings, statuary, and curious relics ancient and modern in the halls of the Louvre, paced the garden of the Luxembourg the great resort of children and nurses examined the ruins of the Hotel de Ville and got back to the hotel at dark hungry, tired and feeling as if we had done a good days work at sight seeing. Of course the Louvre wants weeks to be seen, but much as I wish it that is impossible. One could spend a day at the Triomphe and still come away feeling that somthing re-mained to be seen. This evening we went around the court of the Palais Royal and examined the rich wares and diamonds there dis-played. it seems as if that one court contained more wealth in Jewelry than all New York City. I am driving business and skipping pleasure as much as possible so as to get home. We get up at 7. have breakfast at 7.15 served in our rooms which communicate it is always the same, cold fowl with jelly, rolls Café au lait & good appetites. get to the office at 9. work there till 12 then go out and have our breakfasts as the French call it. then at 1 OC go at the outside business. Such climbing of stairs you never saw. we have sometimes six flights to go up and then only find the manufac-turer of one article. we keep this up until 7. then come to the Hotel for dinner, after which bed last night and segars and a stroll thro the Palais Royal to night. It almost kills me to here R. H. talk to these Frenchmen. Such pantomime and swearing because they dont understand. This morning he had three waiters here blow-ing them all too the d---l because they woke us five minutes late and brot breakfast 5 mins earley. If he wants a price he says "kil prix madam" &c. Too night he wanted the English speaking waiter for our floor (the 3") he had gone to bed the French waiter said. I told R. H. the reply. this morn'g the same man was Sortie when wanted. R. H. told the Frenchie that the whole of them were either dorman or promade when wanted. My little French was all out of joint when I first got here but it is coming into place quite ra-pidly now. still one lesson is strongly impressed on my mind, that is that I know but little of the language. Mr & Mrs. Mc. crossed the Channel the night before we did. We called at Hotel Holland to see them Sunday eve. they were out. we left our card and they came around to our Hotel a few minutes later. They had started for the circus but that being closed for repairs they gave up Sunday eve to us. Saw Mc at Lippolds this morn'g and he was furious be-cause his wife had to quit her promenade and shopping yesterday on account of being followed and stared at by an impertinent and per-sistent fellow. he followed her to her hotel then left. A boy or old woman is sometimes necessary as an escort even in day light here. In the even'g no woman is safe from insult without a male companion. And judging from my own experience no man either for the women are after every unprotected male. It is after 12 R. H. (who sends regards) is snoring so with regards to all (last line not copied)
The above letter was written on hotel stationery which has a picture of the hotel. The following note was written above and across the picture:
our rooms are about where I make the dot overlooking the Place d'Opera and square. I wish this pict showed more of the opera house it is so very fine. the part in the pict is about 1/5 of one face of the house which like this hotel covers a whole block. It also has on it some of those truly naked figures. one peice on the highest part (not shown in the pict) whis is a man holding up a golden Harp he is a big fllow and the artist has placed him there in the most conspicuous nakedness.
Paris March 12" 73
My Darling Wife
I wrote you last night and this morning great was my joy to rec. yours to me of the 25" Feb. and to the firm of the 26". How releived I feel about Laurie. could have jumped ten feet. Tell Ready he must keep his wits about him if he wants to go aboard of English steamers. What a time you must have had to be sure. I should have thot you would have lost your head also. I am glad Mr R. is likely to recover all right. You ought to have discharged Reid Jr. & Sr. and we are both glad you did. R. H. Sends regards and hopes his stable will be let alone after this. Saw Mrs. McC this eve. she runs the streets again & sends love to you.
March 13" Am a pretty tired individual this eve. Since Monday we have put right thro'. Up at 7 & work till 7. up and down these interminable French stairs. by the time we get thro dinner it is 9. then every other evening somebody is in that keeps us up late talking. I am working harder here than at home. so is R. H. we want to get thro at an early day. Went to dinner with Drucker tonight when we quit business. he lives in nice style on a fourth floor. one has to climb here in Paris to get home but when once there every thing is on the the same floor. He has rich-ly furnished suite of rooms. After dinner Lippold & wife & another son in law and wife droped in to take coffee with us. these with Mr & Mrs D. & grown up son & daughter and a lad their brother made us quite a party. The members of the family greet each other very affectionately here even the men giving the forehead kiss to their father & mother when meeting at the table. It looks like a waste of Material for grown up men to kiss but if they like it all right. We were there until 10 OC and now we are her. R. H. is in bed and I want to be.
We have bot some turt shell highback combs, also some large painted fans which ought to be in New York about May 1". Also a few other small purchases of little importance. Tell Mi2ss Cushman that we have bot French tooth brushes instead of English. And also to expect about $600. worth of the new large fans. they are all the go here. Now love dont overwork yourself or get worried; take things easy as you say to me simply keeping a watchful eye on them. Dont neglect that walk. I dreamed of you and Laurie last night. I could not get to you altho you were in sight. Laurie came to me and taking me up in his arms went around the room bumping my head against everything he could reach. tell him I will pay him for that. 0 Laurie
With best love Darling Mama.
Your own Maj.
Love to Mother, Maggie & Betty.
March 14" Am feeling bully this morn so add a few words as I want you to know it. we have just had our poulet, caffee, & Rolls and it is ten minutes sooner than we need start for Druckers of-fice. Paris gets up slowly. it gets to bed so late that it could not do otherwise. at this hour, 8 A.M. there is about the stir we have at 6 A.M. at home. You dont say anything now about being cold so I trust you have got warm again.
March 12". My love, I add a few lines while waiting for R. H. this morning. Saturday night there were two ball ins the Hotel. Jewelers was one and charity the other. both grand afairs. the carriages commenced unloading about 10 OC and when we went to bed at 12 they seemed as endless as at first. how is that for Sunday A.M. The shops, stores and saloons are all open here on the Sab-bath and if Paris is gay at other times it is wildly gay on that day. How the French do enjoy themselves.
Macy is waiting so adieu. LaForge
March 14" 73.
Grand Hotel. Paris.
My own Darling
Mailed you a letter this morning and had the pleasure of rec'g yours of Feb 28" an hour Later at Lippolds. how glad you make me at the good news. All of my family well even little aflicted Lau-rie; well, most thankful am I for that So you are better than when you saw me off. all right keep better until you see me on again and see what will come of it. (Margaret was about two months pregnant when she wrote that letter.) You say "think of me every night darling after you have finished your days labor" why bless my soul I think of you every hour of the waking day, at meals, in the Voitures, in the streets and in the miserable dwellings of these little manufacturers who live so near the sky. Your presence is with me every where rest assured of that. You must have got the accounts of my miserable voyage some time last week, and my more healthy letter from London before this time. well now I am more healthy still and have an appetite like a horse. hope you have as good a one.
When we paid that $230. for Rheubenstein concert programme, I stoped the adv't, so dont pay any more; You probably will find his programme in one of my pigeon holes with the agreement which R. H. made with him in my handwriting on it, look and see. We both con-gratulate you on the successful easing of your mind on the stable question. think you settled that and the Mme Demorest matter in the most satisfactory manner.
By the way we are curious to know what changes you have made in the store about placing the goods. dont you think you could tell a fellow something about it without complimising your self? Now about that Pearl inlaid crumb pan, we will get it here if we can. Will let you know. Millinery goods seem as dull here as they are at home, nothing moving. the only rage that I know of is the big painted fans and the Highback shell combs. You will have to clear about half the store for ours when they get there. Tell Rob to rate all goods close on the profit-and-loss principal for each case allowing 5% for buyers expenses. We got thro' our dinner at 9. this evening then had three games of billiards, the first we have played excepting part of a game in England since the 10" of Feb. we then came back to the hotel and R. H. M went out to get a paper he said. as he has not yet returned (11.30) I fancy the pa-per must be hard to find. Met Howard Gibb as we came in to dinner. he looks ill, just arrived from Switzerland, rooms near us. Mills is at the Westminster on the Rue la Pais just around the corner.
Sunday 16". Last evening after business went home with Lip-pold to take dinner he has an elegantly furnished home en chambre. much finer than Druckers. McCarty & wife & E. Wallack were there also a French lady and gent. dinner was served with full ceremony, in courses, soup & fish with claret, fowl and meat with Bordeau, sweets, bonbons and fruit with Honey wine; lots of conversation of course. ladies took café noir with us in the smoking room, at which Mrt & Mrs Drucker & their son & daughter who had came in joined us; the ladies left and cordials and brandy were served to the gentlemen, then we joined the ladies and had music & singing and gab until 12- walked down the Boulevard Lafayette to our hotel with Mc & wife, we made arrangements with them to drive out to Ver-sailes to day. So 12 M found us in a fine Landau opened down and a driver in uniform making our way past the place de la Concorde on the road to St Cloud. We stoped there for nearly an hour to look over the ruined palace and town, and enjoy the fine view of Paris and its surroundings. It is said that but 13 houses in St. S- were unburned at the end of the war. the town has been 3/4 rebuilt but the palace has not been touched. We reached V- at 3. drove to the Reservoir Hotel ordered dinner to be ready for us at five then walked up to the palace. It is much beyond my power to describe the palace of Louis XIV so why attempt it. Some 20 of the monarchs of France are in heroic marble ranged around the open court; One of the veranda's is pointed out as the one from which The unfortu-nate queen with her children clinging to her addressed the ....... ....... that had come down from howling Paris back to which they bore her a prisoner. At 4 P.M. the galleries are closed so we only had time to look thro five or six of the dozen miles of paintings and statuary in those Time famous corridors. We did not even look into the part of the building used by the Legislative body. After the doors were closed we took a stroll of an hour among the beau-ties of the wonderful park and tried to conjure up the magnificence of royalty which once aired itself here. but there were so many common people there like ourselves and even commoner that our ima-gination failed to furnish vestments enough to go all round & make them royal. I wanted to stop and not see any more until you could be there with me my darling. I could not help thinking how much more happy I should have been Margie, if you had been with me and with plenty of time on our hands we could have read the Mytholigy and history here commemorted in marble & bronze. How together we could havd admired the more than lovely surroundings. well time will show what it holds in store for us.
At 5 OC we had to go to the Hotel for our dinners then at 6 started back to Paris thro' the gathering night and reached our Hotel at 7.50 with the feeling that we had spent a most instructive and pleasant day. There was but one draw back to my cup being full and that was the absence of my own darling wife to see whom I would value much more than to see all of the beauties and attractions of this most glorious city of Paris.
Mem. just before we got out of Versailes on our way home we met Mr Thiers (president of the French republic) in his carriage surrounded by a few mounted guards going towards his present resi-dence near the Palace.
March 17". Like the long winded preacher I must say "one more word & I am done". this letter need not be mailed until 5 this P.M. but after we leave the hotel at 8 A.M. there is no more rest for the wicked until 9. or 10. P.M. our Paris business is finished but the bronzes and looking up a few new things. We now expect to leave here by next Thursday at any rate. shall probably go as fol-lows. Cologne, Frankfort & vicinity until the 24". Vienna until Apl 1" or 2" Nuremberg, Lichtenfels and central Germany Apl 12 Berlin until Apl 21 Leipzig until April 29" Then it will be my delight to turn my face toward home wife & baby. So you can now imagine where we will be on certain days. Love to the family
Paris March 19" 72 (73)
Mailed my last letter to you the 17" and with much joy this morning recd yours of the 4" inst. should have had a later date but nothing but the German steamers mail has came to hand. McCarty had letters and papers of the 8". If we had recd letters of that date we should no doubt have learned that you had our Liverpool letters. Lippold must think I am a maniac on the subject of let-ters for I have bothered him no small amount to get information about the arrival of mails. I am very sorry you have had so much difficulty about that confounded Stable matter but I trust you have it in a shape now that will give you a season of peace. Mr McCrac-ken need not feel sore over Mounts remarks about his incapacity to do us justice over there, for if we had not every conficence in his ability and good sense we should not have put him in that position. In this sentiment R. H. joins me most heartily and you may say to McCracken for me that the care of the stable is intrusted to his hands with more confidence than I felt in the previous regime. R. H. wrote to Rob. this morning on the same subject also I think to his wife but am not sure of that as he has no letter from her today and consequently might not think it best to speak first. he how-ever feels entirely satisfied with all your doings. If Mount is inclined to make himself obnoxious around the establishment I fancy forbidding him the diggins would be a salutary lesson. he likes the almighty shinplaster too well to cool in his own shaddow long. who can blame McC. for getting mad at such insulting language I am mad myself. We are glad if that is the last of your trouble in the horse line "the last chapter" as you named your expressive picture on the back of the letter, which by the way ought to have a place among the productions of other famous artists in the Louvre.
What a ravishing account you give of your flower window, we congratulate you on its success. R. H. thinks your ideas are first rate and says to me quite often that if there is any money to be made this spring you will get it out of the biz. Dont be discou-raged at the amount we are behind now for if my memory serves me we were some thousands worse off on March 1" a year ago. Dont let lack of success make you sleepless and sick however for your health is much more precious to me than any addition to my fortune. dont forget your "constitutional" perhaps you will find that a better sleepin potation than any thing else. Dont get sick if the biz does go bad. Think of me nights when you go to bed, think of these warm skies and green fields from which our tables even now are sup-plied with new vegetables; you write of the extreme cold. I have seen no snow since leaving Liverpool and many days my overcoat is a great burden on account of the May like weather; think of my good health and how happy I should be to divide with you also how happy it would make me to divide the bed with you. in fact think of any think that will make you good natured and jolly. then you will sleep well enough. I find it a great hardship to sleep alone and will have lots to make up on that score on my return. "think of me" you say "on going to bed" well blest if I dont do that same very much indeed my own and only darling.
Laurie is getting his little obstinacy developed is he? well I will trust you to lead that in the right direction. I find that much more pleasant news than what you first had to write about him. tell him that papa expects him to behave very genteely at the table when he next has the pleasure of meeting him at dinner, dont talk to him too much about me if it makes him feel bad.
We are thro' here and leave for Cologne at 7.20 tomorrow. Mr Drucker came to the Hotel and dined with us à la table d'hote as a farewell this evening. Our relations with he and Lippold have been of the most friendly and cordial character, so Paris in every way has a very warm place in my memory. In my last I gave you our pro-gramme of travel; to day I secured the refusal of a state room on the Adriatic sailing 8" of May. dont look as if we could get off any sooner. R. H. thinks of trying to return with me. we shall know when we get to Vienna next Tuesday. in that case I shall also spend a few days down at the Exposition; as your humble servant is likely to be pretty sick on the water it will be very pleasant to have somebody along to look after him a little. So I hope we will be able to make the arrangement. it all depends on wether the Fair opens promptly May 1" and wether you wont need releif sooner. Now dont let this make you delay sending for me if you feel the need of my presence for I dont care a snap for the Fair personally (true as gospel) and would come at once if you expressed such a wish. And also the people on the steamers are very kind to sick people. so if you think I ought to be home before nothing will keep me here not even if seeing the Fair was the purpose for which I came. De-pend on that my love.
We have been so very busy ever since landing in L- and every-thing is so new to me that Time never drags Excepting after going to bed. before I get too sleep then seems longer than all the day, for my mind goes off to you an Laurie and the days that must elapse before you will again be in my arms and calling me your own darling boy. Laurie will be able to talk when I kiss him, just think of it. It will be a long time before your next letter will get to me as we lose two mails in going to Vienna. wont it be delightful to find a big mail awaiting our arrival there after such a long fast.
Tell mother I am bringing one of my shirts back to her for old rags according to orders. Tell Maggie if she wers Kiddy out she will have to get another for me to play with when I get home. Tell Betty she must keep that Kitchen door shut. Your Own Old Boy.
Frankfort Mar 21" 73
My Dear Wife
Wrote you from Paris the 19" eve. did not get a chance to mail it as we were hurried to catch the train so mailed it at Co-logne last night; to night on getting here from our biz in Saxen-hausen just acrost the river we found yours of the 7". After din-ner we telegraphed, "All right, If South wont accept bonus put him behind the counter." we were afraid if you discharged him before the season was over he would come down on us for his salary, where-as if he accepts the bonus he cannot have any other claim. also if he sees fit to leave himself because he is superseded he has no claim or if he is discharged for not obeying orders he is in the same fix. It seems as if your troubles were to be of a formidable nature this spring just because you have the whole thing to manage. we are glad that with all these troubles coming on the business is in such good hands; but my dear old girl you have got much more than you bargained for, havent you?
With you I hope that Laurie may get his double teeth in the season most favorable to him. tell him papa says hurry up about it. but not to make mama sick by adding to her anxiety.
Left Paris at 7.20 A.M. yesterday. came thro thrifty Belgium and got to Cologne very tired at 6.40 P.M. put up at the Hotel du Nord and after dinner went up to see the famous Cathedral by Gas light. What an immense thing it is to be sure. some parts of it are crumbling with age and yet there are 200 workmen now building away at its main towers which this and another century will probably not see completed. We tried to conjure up the spirits of the 10000 virgins whoes bones are intombed in these massive walls, but the few old women kneeling before the massive shrines only crossed them selves and would not answer for virgins at all. No substitutes answered until the gas was being turned out then the shadows became so numerous and mighty that we were glad to make our excape from the cold gloomy structure. Went to bed at 11. at 11.30 two Dutchmen and their wives (so called) were shown into the next room to us and commenced kicking up such a row over their wine that sleep was impossible; we summoned the waiters and had our-selves removed to a less noisy precinct. Came up the ..... Rhine this morning, how I wish you had been with Me to see the romantic ruins which crown nearly all of the hights. also the quaint old walled towns with there queer old houses built the year before the flood. And the signs and names, oh! Margie what a delicious time you would have reading the signs. I know you could spend happy hours over some of them; when you get tired of life you have only to come among these delectible jaw-breakers to find for yourself perpetual joy. try it. I know the result. McC and wife are here and send regards.
My next will probably be from Vienna.
It is 12 OC and I am tired and sleepy so will end. R. H. sends regards to all.
Love to my family and a good hug for you an baby
You should have had our Liverpool letters the 7".
Vienna March 25" 73
My Dear Margie
Wrote you last the 21" from Cologne or rather Frankfort as there was where the letter was mailed. We left that place Sunday 23" @ 11.40 expecting to be in Nuremberg at 5. P.M. much to our surprise and at first disgust we had to lay over at Wurzburg from 2.30 until 5.50 R. H. was furious as usual but some how the mis-understanding tickled me and after lunch feeling better humored we took a stroll thro the funny old town; the tops of the houses seem all of the time to be resisting a strong inclination to Knock their heads together. A stream of people seemed to be all going in one direction so we followed and found they were going to a lot of booths on the bank of the Mame where armless sewing women and other monstrosities, wild animals, wax automation figures, merry-go-rounds, swings, Punch & Judy &c &c were being exhibited; it was a merry Sunday picture; the women are always hatless and in their homely costume. looked like the d.l but all seemed to be enjoying themselves hugely. We found the old churches also pretty well pa-tronized and also strayed into a fine large but very old building. a guard stood at the entrance but he allowed us to pass into the court without opposition. we found it impossible to conjecture what the big place could be used for. the people all acted very queer. we attempted to make some further explorations but were stoped by a polite gent who in answer to my inquiry informed us in french that we were in an insane hospital; it is quite remarkable to think how conmpletely the information satisfied our curiosity and with what alacrity we remembered we wanted to see altogether another part of the city. We got back to the Depot at 5.20 called for our lager and was thinking what a fine rest we would have be-fore the train left when the waiter informed us in french (my french is of more use to me in Germany than in France which speaks worlds for the intelligence of the Germans) that our train left 5 minutes before and we could not go before 7.45. we were vexed slightly R. H. blowed the waiters for not being able to say 5.15 so that it would not sound like 5.50 but as they did not know any thing he was saying except when he swore, the lesson I fear will be soon forgotton. We were hungry so stepped to the lunch counter to pick out some bits of cold chicken. the waiter to be sure he knew the peices we wanted fingered them every time we pointed to a bit. we skinded those chicken before swallowing them. We got to Nürn-berg at 10 P.M. found young Ley waiting for us and were glad to get to the Hotel de Réviere and sleep. There is quite an air of antiquity about the hotel altho' it was only built in 1521. I did not like it as well as the Grand at Paris. We concluded to remain in the town until the next night so did some biz with Ley, combin-ing some pleasure to be sure. It is the very queerest old town we have been in so far. very few horses, hand carts do all the truck-ing and they are mostly propelled by women, bare headed and round faced women. Church sculpture seems to take a new departure for the time worn, defaced old stone saints have a more hidious aspect than any we have seen. I say "aspect" advisedly for one old party has his gown split down behind and the flesh removed from his sto-ney back so as to show his veins, ribs, entrails and other "in-nards". Among other historical persons who adorn the niches of the sacred edifices Mr. & Mrs. Adam seem favorites for each of the churches have them life size on or near the entrance. they stand looking at each other with sheepish but knowing looks stare, apple in one hand and in the other a bunch of what appears to be leaf tobacco held by the stems in such a manner as to give one the idea they had just pulled them from between their legs. I was rather shocked to find several representations of The Vergin unmistakably far gone in child carrying and evidently bent on making the fact as visible to the public as possible. I looked in vain for a blush but none appeared which perhaps may be accounted for by the fact that she had such a hard cheek. This was the birth place of Albert Drurer and many evidences of his great talent as a painter are ex-hibited by his townspeople in the churches and they will tell you with pride the noted galleries on the continent where his produc-tions may now be found. They are now celebrating his 400 and odd birth day. . .
Left N- at 8 P.M last night (no Express runs in the day) for the long uncomfortable ride here. Had to wake up at 3 OC and ac-company our baggage into the Depot on the Austrian frontier and open for the inspection of Customs Officers. Got here at 10 A.M. today. found Sorger at the depot with his double team awaiting our arrival. He bro't us to the hotel and said as it was a holliday and we could do no work he would come around at 4 P.M. and take us out to drive. So we have been out thro the Prader where the Expo-sition Building is under way. It certainly is a big thing but not near enough done to pass judgement on yet. I was greatly disap-pointed at not finding a letter from you here, but cant help think-ing we shall get two mails tomorrow. Our latest dates are the 7" and we ought to have the 12"
March 26" evening.
Have been at work with Sorger today he certainly is the most nervous case in Vienna. have to keep my wits about me all of the time to keep from getting nervous myself. The clerks here all go home to lunch and we can do nothing between 1.30 & 2. O.C rather a long lunch time to one who thinks a half hour for the mid day meal as too long. (hours must have been mistakenly given)
Vienna is a beautiful city it is only surpassed by Paris the queen. You would like the place, very clean, very fine architec-ture very pleasant looking people. The morals are worse than Pa-ris; we are at a strictly first class hotel yet we are told by the waiter that we can bring a new lady to our rooms every night, & keep them all night without question, in fact it is rather expected that single gentlemen will do so. It is proper to keep them until 9 OC in the morning as at that hour many women come to the hotel to show goods to customers and the proper lady guests will not find their modesty shocked by seeing them leave the hotel at that time. Pest beats this town on the matter of morals however for there sin-gle gents are charged for female bed fellows whether they have them or not. for the charge they have a good selection to pick from. this is an actual fact. Vienna has the handsomist women we have came acrost so far in our travels. Dont think by my enthusiasm on this point that I have forgotten my marriage vow my own love for you are the only woman who can for even a moment claim my thots or wishes on that score. I mention the facts as curiosities for mis-sionaries. We are another day here and no news from you since the 7" my heart feels quite heavy with anxiety for we ought to have yours letters of the 13" by this time. the delay must be in the mails for I know you will write regularly. We have been waiting to get here to learn from Sorger if the Expo' is sure to open on the 1" of May, before we made up our minds about returning together. We are now satisfied that it will open promptly and have according-ly written to secure a Stateroom on the Baltic for May 15" and you may look to May 25" or 26" as the time you will be able to give your own dear lover a hug that will make him the happiest mortal in the U.S. or any other place. We expect to come here from Leipzig May 1", remain here a week, go to Paris for a couple of days Lon-don ditto and catch the Baltic at Liverpool the 15".
March 27" Sorgers office. Dear Girl. no letters yet. have kept open until the last moment. Best of love.
Letter from Margaret G. LaForge to Susan LaForge Potter:
March 27 1873
If you had the least idea of how much I have to do with both Maj. and Mr. Macy away you would be surprised that I find time to write a line. I am so tired nights that I drop asleep in my chair as soon as I have eaten supper. I am sure that you must have had a letter from Maj or I would have dropped you a line before. I have had several. He was very sick indeed going over but feels firstrate now that he is on land. His last letter was from Paris and he was working pretty hard but enjoying his trip very much. I shall get along just as long as I can without him, for I want him to come back feeling firstrate. Laurie is in splendid health now. His eyes are perfectly well and he is a pretty lively boy to man-age. He is learning to talk very fast and talks plainly. The rest of us are all well and send regards.
My dear woman don't you suppose Mrs. Macy eats as much butter in May as she does in any other month. I have told her that she can probably get a tub of you of about 20 lbs some time in May at 35 cents a pound. Now can you make her some nice butter in cakes like the last you sent us so that she can have it in May. If so let me know in your next. I inclose $5.00 to pay for our butter. It was very nice and fully worth the money. Give my love to all and excuse haste and write soon
Your aff sister Margie.
LaForge letters from Europe:
Vienna March 28" 73
My Own Old darling
Your letters of the 11" & 14" were brot us at the breakfast table this A.M. you cant imagine what life it gave me. That is right, go out riding every Sunday at least and oftener if you can. give your self and Laurie all the air and recreation possible. You must know long before this (if you have my first letter) that the Baltic did not touch at Queenstown so our letters were not mailed until we reached Liverpool, even then I think we were too late for Wednesdays Steamer so it is quite possible that my letter from Li-verpool & my first letter from London were on the unfortunate City of - I forget the name - that was towed back to Queenstown after being out 20 days. I can feel for your disappointment for I have had something of the same feeling the past few days. Your letters have been so regular heretofore that their stopping was very uncom-fortable. All right; you go ahead and have as good a time as pos-sible shifting the goods about every dull day, but dont worry your life out over it or me. I am having a fairly good time but will be mighty glad to get back to you. R. H. says he is afraid you have lost all confidence in Mount, how is that, you had better not give way to your convictions. if he sends you bad stock four or five times perhaps a mild remonstrance might add to the amount of glue & putty in his wares; You know he is an innocent & well meaning boy. dont snuff his candle. We congratulate you on your success-ful management of the finances and if you have ceased to lose money in the face of those big storms which you are writing about you must be running the machine on a plan that it would be well for us to learn of you when we get back. Let us know when you have made up our losses and have a gain to report. I dont think that we co-vered our losses last year until after May 10". do you remember? Has Rothschild done with his back side yet? Miss Becker undoubted-ly stole from us also. My boy can have a good time as long as he behaves himself but he must be good to mama for she belongs to me also. he will not know me never the less on the 26" of May when I hope to hug him for his mother.
So Miss Van Cleft is dead, poor girl, & Lacy our carpet man also.
Tell Frees to let us know sooner about well dressed ladies stealing next time and we will have them photographed in the act. also tell him if he saw these Dutch Billiard tables and the pump-kins they use for balls he would not wonder that we have only twice taken cue on this side of the water. If you get up a good grocery store I will use my influence with my family to give you their custom. Do as your judgement dictates about Florida Hats. last year buying them direct was the best thing that could have been done for straw goods this year the reverse may be the case. If you did not get our letters on the 17" I shall expect to see yourself and family in a few days. only sell out to the best ad-vantage & and nobody can complain.
Yesterday we got tickets to the Grand Ballet at the Imperial Opera House which O.P.H. is the finest in the world the unfinished one at Paris being the only exception for the immediate future. R. H. had a cold and did not feel well enough to (he is all right to day) so I took Mrs Sorger who speaks English very well and she in-terpreted the play very well for me. It was a pantomime ballet so she only had to explain the programme as each scene passed before us; The scenery and ballet surpassed anything I have yet seen. you can imagine it must be attractive to hold an audience for three hours and consist of only pantomime and scenery. There are two boxes for the imperial family one of them was occupied by some of the royal relatives but the emperor & empress were not there. Theatres open in Vienna at 7 & close at 10 as at 10.30 the court yard doors of these big houses = occupied by so many families liv-ing on the French plan = are closed and getting in is a matter of some bother thereafter. Ask me about these big houses when I get home and I will explain myself. How different from Paris, 12 OC midnight is there the gayest hour of the twenty four.
Saturday 29" 73
Have just had my constitutional saturday night bath and consequent-ly am thinking of you. have just been looking at you and Laurie and almost feel homesick after you two. You look so modest and true in that picture that it proves a most splendid protection against temptation. The girls here are so handsome and self grati-fication is made so easy and comfortable that one needs some pretty strong protection against himself. We are so busy that we are very little away from the hotel. I have only been out for a walk one evening since being here.
Sunday 30" 73
I see by The Time of the 14" that you are advtz a "job lot of Tucked Skirtings, our new kid glove &c" how do they go? to see our star (the Macy logo) in this out-of-the-say place is quite re-freshing I assure you. Was up late this morning (so were you I suppose) went over to St Augustines church to here the divine music and at 4 went out with Sorger & wife in their carriage to do the park again. On our way back stoped in the Stadt Park to hear Strauss. at 7 drove to the Circus (Rins) and was very much taken up by it as I had never seen such a circus before. it being Sunday night did not detract from the enjoyment in any perceptible degree. at least 3000 people were there. Had a 11 P.M. dinner at the Grand Hotel and are now ready for bed after the pleasures of the day. I shall take this letter up to the office in the morning so as not to close it until I know if the mail brings word from you R. H. sends regards and is glad to have such fair reports from you. our other american news is of a very dull time in America. our commissioner had none but the very worst news from all of his correspondents on your side of the Atlantic. We expect to finish here so as to leave next Wednesday for Nuremberg again. when we leave there to do the interior of Germany we shall have to bid goodbye to mails for a week as we go from place to place making such short stops that no mail can find us until we get to Berlin.
If you are counting the days as they go by and bring us towards May 25" with as much anxety and wistfullness as I am it will be a great comfort to me to know it. I had no idea how ne-cessary you were to my happiness until I got where your loved pre-sence was beyond my reach and I now feel like a young romantic lo-ver towards you again. think of me often my own love and be sure that you are on my mind in the brightest colors all of the time. by the time your answer to this reaches me my face will almost be turned homeward. God speed the day.
March 31". No letter so I close with my very truest love to you. Kiss baby for me and give regards to the family
0 Laurie Your Own
0 Margie Maj.
Vienna Austria. Mar 28" 73
What a round of travel and novel experience I have had since my English letter to you; Reading about these strange old country places and surroundings gives one but a very faint idea of the no-velty they will really possess for him. I fancied that I knew so much about Paris, the Rhine, the quaint old german cities, the his-torical places and the lay of the land generally, that all would have rather the appearance of old friends. nothing of the kind. when I go into a church it seems to say, you may possibly have heard of me, maybe seen my photo but you are far from having the honor of my acquaintance and such is really the case. there is so much more about one of these old cathedrals, ruined castles, pri-sons and time worn towns than one has ever read about that he feels his previous want of a proper introduction. The people too, altho from child-hood we have been familiar with highly colored pictures of their strange dresses, strange pursuits and ways of living still the heavy people of the Netherlands, the short skirted fareheaded girls of the Rhine and gthe high caped open bosomed women of Eas-tern Austria gave me a strange sense of something I had dreamed about may years ago.
In Nurnenberg we put up at a hotel that had quite an appear-ance of antiquity altho it was only built in 1521. along the cen-ter of Germany there are very few roads where teams can be used. consequently little is seen of horses. the fields are spaded up by men and women and the carrying is nearly all done by women either on their heads, with handcarts or with the assistance of dog teams. In Bavaria the old houses = now used for business are so low in the door ways and ceilings that I have used up two hats and one head by constant collisions with them. The people who built these houses are represented by history to have been of much lower stature than the present generation. I have no doubt of it now. This is after Paris the handsomeest city I have visited. it is being torn down and rebuilt so rapidly after that it has an air of newness quite refreshing after for two weeks looking upon nothing but the work of hands dead from some 300 to 1900 years.
Of course the trip is pleasant and I enjoy it hugely. but all the time I keep thinking how much nicer it would be if Margie were only with me. She and I have been together so constantly sinc our marriage and have grown to be so necessary to each other that I feel the want of her society as much as I would the loss of a limb. She knows that it is a positive necessity with me to do this busi-ness in Europe but I am afraid she will never be able to overcome her dread of the ocean enough to come over with me; perhaps when I have made a few perfectly safe passages she will change her mind however. Kind regards to brother Joe and your family and believe me ever, Your loving brother
Violets from Shönbrun "Hotel de Baviere"
Nuremberg. Apl 3"
My Own Darling
My last was the 31" ult from Vienna which, as the Germans say, I wish you safely in hand. Last Sunday I wrote you about; Monday we nearly finished our biz there so we worked only Tuesday A.M. and at 3 P.M. with Sorger and his wife drove out to Shönbrun the coun-try seat of the Emperor. it is an extensive palace but not at all imposing or old. the grounds must look very finely in Summer but nothing to compare with our park. in fact that is the virdict on all of the parks we have seen so far. Yesterday we had a few small articles to purchase, then drew some money and finished up our bu-siness in the bill paying line and left the city at 4.40 for this place and an all night ride; arrived rather used up and dirty at 8. A.M. today. No letters. we breakfasted feeling rather blue over the disappointment but before our cigars were smoked out yours of the 21" came up and I jumped for them you may be sure. R. H. also had a letter from Florence. In this letter you say you have mine of Mar. 6". well have you no other of my previous letters? you must have them and have written about them to me and the letter somehow has not reched its destination. The last letters we had were dated March 15" you have mailed us letters between that and the 21" which perhaps will still reach us while we are here. Our telegram should have read. "If South will not accept bonus make him (a) saleman." Enclosed is a letter from R. H. to his brother. he wants you to send for Robert Macy, Have him come up to the store and give you his answer to the enclosed note. show him Mcs letter. he undoubtedly already knows the contents but it will be well enough to show him the notes.
My little boy will probably be after holding long conversa-tions with you before my return. he learns so rapidly; tell him he will best suit papa if he will learn to be a comfort to his ma-ma. how delightful it is to know that he is so entirely well of that dread eye disease. If you have the little front room fitted up to please you as a sitting room let it remain until after my return. perhaps if you like it so we may conclude to let the ar-raingement last. You have no occupant for your empty rooms I sup-pose. I note your disapproval of the Seal skin saque and will act upon your desires.
We expect to get thro here by about Sunday then during next week we shall be occupied with Lichtenfels, Sonneberg, Coburg, Wal-tershausen, Gotha & Hildburghausen. we think if we can get to Ber-lin by the 13" "Sunday" we shall do well. we expect no mail be-tween here and there. Did I write you why we concluded to came back together? I found we could not get thro Leipzig before the 27" then I had to stop in Paris and London on the way to Liverpool and could only at the best catch the steamer of May 8" On her I engaged my passage, but R. H. had determined to come on the 15" and as only one week intervened between us we decided for our mutual comfort to set, At the same time unless of course you should want me sooner. Hope your changing the millinery stock will pay. it is dead stock thro Europe also. My health is good. have a little cold & rheumatix now and then but am gaining flesh I think. my feet are growing anyway. have to cut holes in my boots to give them room. You have just had your line storm you think. we have seen nothing but the brightest of skies and the sunniest days since the 21" ult. You must go out more. dont stick so close to the store. Love to all and an embrace for Mama & Laurie.
Sat. Apl 5" 73
My own Darling Wife
In my last of the 3" I told you that yours of the 18" ult was nmissing. it came yesterday and is the most precious letter you have sent me. I read it twice during the day, read it after going to bed, dreamed of it and again read it the first thing this morn-ing. still on reading it now it is more sweet and perfect than ever and so it will remain to the last. May our sentiments remain the same until we are called upon to lay down our lives.
My health is good and more than the 15 lbs has been made up since landing in Liverpool. Did not take the Chloral as the phy-sician of the ship would not allow it. he said my stomach was to weak to be treated with it. as he visited me four to six times every day and knew my case pretty well, his advice had to be taken.
What a joy, time of our separation is half gone today and by the time you are reading this it will be two thirds gone or more. then a few days and we will be the happiest mortals alive, shant we?
I was up to the citadel (palace once the residence of the Em-perors of Germany) from the lofty towers of which a magnificent view of the city and surrounding country was obtained. no where in Germany can such another sight be had. This place before the days of Leipzig was the walled center of trade between the far East and far west. here was held the annual fair at which the Orient and the Occident met and exchanged. to their mutual advantage proba-bly; this was also a stronghold of the crusaders and probably of the Romans also for at one end of the decaying Imperial stables is a well preserved tower which is pre historic, but from its substan-tial character is attributed to the Romans. Many parts of the cas-tle are occupied as residences by the people the main building however is kept as a museum of its former grandeur saving two suits of rooms which are somewhat modernized and are occupied by royalty perhaps once or twice a year. A tree in the palace court is known to be 800 years old. it has lost its head and in all probability is past its prime. even now it has taken to night caps, part of its bald pate being roofed over. Visited the hall of the Inquici-tion, a gloomy vault near one of the entrances, filled with such horrible instruments of torture and pictures of the tortured, that I will not add you to the list by attempting to describe the place. The Castle must have been very strong in its day; one thing bo-thered me. where could they store the water to stand a seige. As I was going out the graceful motions of a handsome girl arrested my attention. could it be she wanted me? yes she did. leading me thro' a low door into a low stone building she told me to look at a hole in the rock. it was about 10 feet in diametre and looked as tho it went down a good bit of a distance. She took a glass of wa-ter, poured a little into the hole and counted one, poured again, counted two, and so on up to ten. then set down the glass and lis-tened. in a second the sound of the first portion striking the wa-ter below came back followed by the sound of the other nine as dis-tinctly as if they struck not five feet from ones ear. Then she lit four candles in an open lantern and lowered them down that ori-fice down, down until I was unable to tell whether it was the light of the candles or light from the other side of the earth which I saw; that ten foot hole was the castle well and went down thro the solid rock something like four hundred feet. I got away from that opening least temptation like that of Saxes Briefless Barrester "Heres an opening at last and in a jiffy was in it" should overtake me.
R. H. is well & send regards. he has letters from home with yours. We as you request congratulate you on the success of your groceries. perhaps in these bad times it would be well to add a shoe store and barber shop. what do you think. we bot some ladies and gents slippers to come out this spring which tell Rob to rate cheap. if they succeed there is no telling what it may lead to. also a few bags with belts. they ought to sell if still in vogue if not make the price sell them. Your statement shows we are still losing money which is not surprising considering weather and trade; above all things dont worry. keep up yours spirits and out door exercise for I want you to be the picture of health so as to com-pete with me on my return. which as far as the water is concerned will not, let us hope, be so confoundedly uncomfortable as the passage out.
Dont let Laurie become an Erin go brag. Is he growing fast or what is it makes him eat so. tell him papa dont understand it. will he say papa yet?
We do Lichtenfels tomorrow and go from there to Coburg. and shall have such a busy week in the heart of Germany that it is pos-sible you may not hear from me again until we get to Berlin a week from today.
Fifty days more and we shall be together. I am counting the days now that the centre is turned. you do so as well so that the time may be short a possible.
Love to Mother Betty & Maggie. I want to bring them some lit-tle present but am puzzled what to get. can you help me?
0 Laurie From your own lover
0 MaMa Maj.
Gotha. Apl 9" 73
My Darling Wife
Worte you last on the 5th & did not expect to write again un-til Berlin but that would break my promise for semi weekly news, so altho I am very tired tonight here are a few lines. Last Sunday we did our business in Lichtenfels and came on to Coburgh. up at 5.30 bed at 11. Monday to Sonneberg. up at 5.45 bed 10.30. Tuesday into the Thuringian mountans by carriage & back to Coburgh. up 6.30 bed 11.30. To day Hildburghausen & on here up at 6 to bed soon as I have done this. feel decidedly used up and shall enjoy a good rest at Berlin. It was quite romantic driving up the moun-tains to Lauscha and meeting the peasants coming to market thro the crisp frosty morning air with their healthy looks and big loads. It is a continual wonder to me how these women can carry such loads in those baskets on their backs. they bring the heaviest kind of goods off these steep mountains & the pace at which they swing alonong the road would tire even a New York business man. we said good day to every one we met and invariably recd the most polite response. if we bowed to the men they touched or removed their hats. About 1 OC a furious snow storm drove over the mountain it only lasted an hour but was far from agreeable. On the way back we saw the women carrying wet manure on their backs into the fields. they looked dirty & their business was far from attractive and I found myself utterly unable to invest them with wings after seeing them at that work.
Love to all. kiss Laurie and sweet sleep to your self my own dear girl Maj.
Hotel Rome, Berlin. Apl 15" 73
My last was the 13 which owing to the lateness of the hour was ended rather abrubtly. Our Com. here goes on the cheap plan so the four of us went out to Potsdam 2nd class. coming back at 7.30 the cars were all crouded so we could not find a compartment. finally got into one reserved for ladies. it was occupied by 2 ladies and a young married couple and we four filled it. R. H. was smoking and the gentleman called out that this was not a smoking compart-ment so we had to get. Heidner then called the conductor and had the gent put out also as that place was for ladies entirely. never saw a more disgusted man than that young husband was when he came out his wife who by the way was the handsomest woman I have seen in Germany very dutifully came out with him. the last we saw of them they were looking in vain for accomodations. we got into a 1st class coupé which being for three the conductor allowed us four to ride in on 2nd class tickets. We have enough of 2d class busi-ness new. Heidner goes on the same cheap principle in everything. to day RH & I breakfasted very li'lly so were very hungry at 12 M. & Heidner trotted us from that time until 1 to find a place cheap enough to suit his ideas of ecomomy. how we went into the grub when we got at it. We usually dine at 6 at a restaurant near here where English is spoken, then go to a French Cafe on the Unter den Linden for our black café and the London Times which with the prin-cipal papers of Europe is kept there. reading the news and smoking passes an hour then to the hotel and bed at an early hour(?) when we dont set up late. We breakfast in our room. The last of this week (Sat) we go to Leipzig and the last of the month to Vienna again. I expect to get an answer to this letter in Paris or London Your letters of Sat May 3" you had better address to the North Wes-tern Hotel Liverpool and if there is a mail Leaving New York Monday May 5" or Tues. 6" I wish you would send me a private letter to the same address and I shall live in hopes of getting it before leaving for home on the 15" inst. all previous letters address as usual.
We ought to get a letter from you tomorrow but even that is a matter of uncertainty R. H. is writing to his family and has just addressed his wife at 62 West 14" St, the old mistake you know. The country is just beginning to look like spring, green crops, a few blooming trees and a warm uncertain temperature very changeable and unhealthy. Nevertheless travelling is quite pleasant at last.
Yesterday was quite a complete holiday. we tried in vain to amuse ourselves. The Museum and all buildings of that kind were closed. the troops and every body else were off duty, at last we got an unoccupied billiard table & actually devoted three hours of our precious time in trying to wear out the balls and cushions, failing of course. We saw the crown prince and wife out driving and saw some grandees horse fall down and they were the only not-able events of the day. I think the horse was the best pastime. Girls here not so handsome or well dressed as those of Vienna or Paris, but there is a whole world between them in morals; Berlin girls look as if they brot virtue as their portions to their hus-bands and held it for them ever after ward. No city of Europe has so impressed me and the fact seems also to have a marked affect on the men also. they look better, more honest less careworn and more really happy than any men I have ever seen. Love to baby. I ex-pect to have a chapter of new pranks in my next. your word of him is a sure delight. My warmest love and confidence to you my own darling. my heart goes out to you with every thot, and your unsel-fish self sacrifizing love for me has a true return
Your True Love
A T LaForge
Hotel Rom. Berlin
Apl 17" 11 P.M. "73
My Dear Margie
My last was the 15" and this will not go until the 19" but today yours of the 1" came to hand and it was such a dear letter that it must be noticed at once. What shall I do for you to pay you for the uncomfortable Spring I fear I have caused you to pass on account of my absence. My dear wife you are appreciated now for this self scrifice which you should have never had if I had be-leived the full extent of it. We shall have still many pleasant weeks when I return and such beautiful rides and walks that you will be pleased that I have really been away so long the plasure of being together will be so much greater. I laid awake for three hours last night thinking of you and no maid in her first love could have desired greater devotion than my whole sense yields to you. Do you think you love me as much as that? perhaps you are getting tired of this repetition of the subject but it is so plea-sant to myself that I cant forego the gratification it affords me. Laurie must be a source of endless delight to you or you would not keep me so well posted on his prancks. do you know that sometimes it seems as if he cant be the same little invalid that kissed me good bye two months ago. the change seems too great for so short a time. Sunday Mar 30" at 10 OC of your time must have been 4 A.M. March 31" at Vienna. if Laurie was dreaming of me I cant recollect if it was reciprocal or not. I seldom see him in my dreams but you often. You always look pleasantly at me and seem happy to meet me even in dreams. Of course before this time you have my answer in numerous shaps as to when we should again meet, provided there is not now a letter from you under way asking my earlier return. a month from today will I hope find me five thousand miles nearer you (counting what travelling will have to be done before) and sea sick enough to long for you most devoutly.
I can see by your letters that the biz is heavy on you mind. Margaret if you love me "dont"; take your exercise, ride if you feel like it, ride Sundays sure and be as sensible generally as you have always advised me to be. You have my entire simpathy as to Mrs Colwells efficiency in going thro stocks. it is a good point to have they Buyers Know that somebody does that, but ten minutes of your time is worth a week of hers. "Still you cant do every-thing you know and as she is hired and paid for the work have her do it" dont that sound natural? it has a very familiar look to me. Regards to Bradlys sister, tell her I am delighted to know her even by proxy. We finished here today but do not go to L- until Saturday as this is more pleasant until the Fair opens. We expect to get thru L- before we want to go again to Vienna so may possibly stop for a day at Dresden or Prague. What a world of difference in the weather here and in New York. we have seen but four rainey days out of 35 and you are wetting or snowing all of the time; high winds we have and the dust in ones eyes is not pleasant, but all the houses and hotels have double windows so that but little if any finds its way into our rooms in this country
Apl 18" Morning
Have decided to send this now instead of tomorrow so if possi-ble it will catch the Sunday Steamer and make you glad a day soon-er. Will write you again from L- Sunday. Twenty seven days more and I shall be on the ship for home. I wish the days would count down faster. Tell mother I want her to take a little supervision of your conduct. if she & Betty & Baby & Maggie all together cant keep you from making your self sick call in the Doctor
My own wife adieu 0 Mama
Maj. 0 Laurie
Leipzig Apl 20th 73
My Darling Little Margie
Wrote you last the 18". This morning I was not well being trouble for two days with want of tightness and was breakfasting alone in a fit of the blues when yours of the 4" was handed to me. never did medicine have such a charming affect as your delightful letter. the rain outside lost its gloom at once, all of my sur-roundings asssumed the most cheerful appearance and I was as happy as a lark. the effect has lasted all day and to night I feel as if my difficulty was quitre cured, so as you were the Dr. please charge the same to my acct and be assured of my most cheerful as-sistance in collecting the bill when I get home; We shall have such large bills against each other that many days after the 25" of May must elapse before we shall have the score satisfactorily wiped out. dont you think so? Tho this is a dangerous subject to write about when we are so far apart. You must have been dreadfully dis-appointed when after getting my expected return of May 8" it was changed to the 15". to be sure a week is not much ordinarily, but a week to you and I, my love, is a very wide difference of time. 35 days more and wont we be jolly? just think of it. I do every morning as soon as I wake up, usually having a very strong reminder that certain other bodies were asserting their claims to speedy re-turn. This letter now feels almost lonely because it will never have an answer. Yesterday before leaving Berlin I was weighed and turned 119 german pounds, equal to 131 lbs. I dont know when I have weighed that before.
About those Ribbons, you have already acted upon them before this so it is of no use to say anything about that. your own judgement being on the ground must be your governer. it is pretty heavy of course a mark down of 6 or $7000- Glad your report shows such a favorable condition of trade.
We had to leave the Hotel Rome yesterday at 11 OC altho we did not leave Berlin until 1. on acct of its being impossible to cross the Linden after it was taken up for the procession in honor of Prince Alberts wedding. the display that was already out when we left was promise enough of the magnificene which would characterize the undertaking. How magnificently the country has changed in the one week of our stay in Berlin, and in one week more how perfectly beautiful it will be. There was such a jam on the cars and at the depot here last night that it was one hour after the arrival of the train before we could get our baggage and leave the station. it rained of course. it always rains during fair time and today also has been moist enough. we have the finest room in the Hotel for view. it is on the first floor. over looks the park and prome-nade, also a large Platz devoted to booths for the disply of goods. so we are as comfortable a the city can make us. Leipzig is enter-prising, so altho there are still many old buildings and curious ones too, still standing, no reverence for them with'olds the hand of progress if their room is wanted more than their company. the number of inhabitants has doubled in 20 years. We lunched with Jacobi in Ackerlines Keller this nown and it being Sunday and the fair not opening until Monday we imnproved the time and our minds by playing three handed french-caroms until dark.
Tuesday Apl 22" 73. Well we were at work yesterday with our old Coms as usual. they did not like the idea of our having bot all our goods at Sonneberg, Coburg, and all of those places we vi-sited after leaving Nuremburg. but they concluded to swallow the pill. We met Strasburger & Pheiffer & Mrs. P- in a crouded alley yesterday they were quite cordial. Stras- was very sorry he was not at home when we were in Coburg &c.
Wed 23". Must finish this for the mail this morning. McC & wife arrived the afternoon of the 21". when we were coming home at night we saw some body waving to us from a top room at the hotel, and Mc boarded us as soon as we got in. They had a jolly long yarn to tell of travels and adventures since leaving us at Frankfort. Mrs. Mc is home sick and wants to come back home with me at once leaving Mac & RH here to finish the biz. would'nt it be jolly. R. H. went out and I staid at the Hotel spending the evening with them. Last eve we went to the Opera House to see the maid of the little glass slipper. couldn't understand any words but did under-stand the acting and legs without any interpretation Rained Sun-day. fine Mond- rain'd Tues'd and fine today I suppose; hope so any way for I have a cold running around in this rain.
Shall have hotel full of acquaintances here soon. Althof, Ley, Nichols, Fuller, and some steamer friends, wallach and several others were in the dining room last eve and we had a jolly time un-til midnight. Mrs Mc held out as long as any of the party. Althof went with some friends into another room and was nice and tight when we came up to bed.
Evening. Had to go to press (bus) before finishing after all. it makes no difference after all as this letter could not leave Liverpool until Sunday. we shall get about thro here by Friday and probably go down to Dresden that afternoon. Mac & wife will go with us that far and then continue their journey to Vienna at once. I shall write you from D-. Mrs. Carty wants to know if I send you her love every time I write. Yes of course? is my answer so if she says any thing to you about it you will know what to answer. She is heartily sick of her European trip and would gladly return at once if she could. dont mention it to any of her folks, as no doubt she writes them the most glowing letters. I like her company first rate, but there is something about her (I dont know what) that I dont like. worlds would not tempt me to have her for my wife instead of you. do you know what it is? 32 days more (every time I write it is less) and I can once more fold you to my breast. how I do look forward to the day my own dear girl. you were never so dear to me since we were married. we shall have a happier Ho-ney-moon this summer than when we were married that June morning four years ago. Your pict- I keep where I can study it twice a day regular and it is so impressed on my mind that if a single hair shadow were missing I should know it. Tell mother and Betty I am thankful to them for looking after my boy so lovingly- Regards to all the store. God bless wife and baby 0 Mama
Maj. 0 Laurie
Last page of letter was written on the back of his hotel bill from the "Grand Hôtel de Rome", Adolph Mühling, proprietor.
Dresden. Apl 27" 73
My own Margie
My last was the 23" since then yours of the 9" came to hand and altho very short I have to forgive yu as you seem so very busy. I think you have done the only thing that will move our Ribbon Stock and only hope it will prove effectual. R. H. is all right on the subject. I know from the way you write that the connfounded thing is worrying you to death and made a strong effort to get off on the 1" of May as soon as I got your letter. I took R. H. into my confidence and we figured for two hours to get at some way that I could. Telegraph to Liverpool for room on steamer of 1" get re-ply as to whether they had room for me before leaving Leipzig. Then (line not copied) the Steamer, it was simply impossible so I had to give it up. I could have got the 8" but it seemed hardly worth the discomfort and trouble of changing tickets, telegraphing, and perhaps getting refused after all, losing Vienna and only mak-ing a week in the end, so we concluded to abide by our old pro-gramme of May 15".
In my last we were just getting into the ways of the Fair. well there are some things about the thing besides the rain which I do not like. Viz, a fellow is apt to go to bed pretty tired af-ter a day on the cobble stones, nevertheless as soon as the hotel opens in the morning the host of drummers flock in and they keep up a continual tat too on ones door from that time until we escaped to biz. of course there was no such thing as that last forty winks in the morning and it is not to be wondered at if sour tempers started the morning. of course we did not get up and let the bores in but they would form in a row outside and the moment we opened the door to get our boots or admit our breakfast our room would be filled. it made no difference as to the state of our toilet and we have each had two or three men at each ear all talking in all the lan-guages of Babel while we stood in our drawers going thro the neces-sary morning washing combing dressing & eating. to look uncon-cerned under such circumstances is very difficult. McCarty one in-cautious morning for a moment left his door unbolted being called from it to the window by music in the street. it was a funeral and he called to his wife to jump out of bed and come to see it. she got up and at the very interesting second of putting on a shawl to replace the removed night-gown a drummer rapped and walked in. Mac went for that fellow with some real big words.
We finished L- in time to get here the evening of the 25". Mc & wife came on same train. there was not a first class compartment on the train excepting for three persons so we had to take a second class which was for eight, but in consideration of our tickets the conductor kept for us four. R. H. & Mac raised the very devil all the way down and I am sure the people along the road were more likely to think we were escaped lunatics than anything else. After tea went up to the Belvidere Music Hall and listened to the very fine band and drank our bier. I enclose the programme. our enjoy-ment was hightened in no small degree by meeting there Mr Wilson and his son. it was quite refreshing to see & listen to people so recently (line not copied) Yesterday we visited the celebrated Pic-ture Gallery and gazed with awe of hasty manifestation on the pro-ductions which for three centuries have kept a continual stream of tourists to this place. Also went thro the immense wealth of the Green Vaults in less time than the most shameless spendthrift could have gone thro a like value. These vaults are so arranged that each room you visit is more wealthy than the last, commencing with bronz & iron gems of art, then comes ivory, silver, gold, 1/2 pre-cious stones, precious stones. The last vault, 20. x 20. ft has gems to the value of $15.000.000. All of this wealth was once the property of the Saxon princes but now belongs to the state. I can tell you more about this in a few days. that sounds nice after saying a few months. 28 days more comes home wife & baby. Glory. I dreamed of you last night the grandest kind, by the holy spoons it was only next to being home. We are about thro with biz now. a little correspondence, perhaps a few more things in Vienna, Paris & London which would take up one day in each place yet we have got to spend 15 to do it. This is it. 3 days at the fair 2 days real biz besides, and fours days travelling. that is 9 days, and to the steamer time is 18 days, so we have 9 days for positive loafing or sight seeing. I heartily wish the trip were that much shorter in-stead. R. H. seems to think you are doing almighty well which is a view of the case he would have to admit any way for I tell you when we talk over the biz you are well represented. We go to Vien-na the 29" thence to Paris the 3" prox. thence to London the 10" or 11". I have succeeded in writing this without its being so full of love as to exclude every thing else. I dont half like the change of style. Regards to family & friends and my warmest love & Re-gards for you & Laurie
0 Mama Maj.
Vienna May 1" 73
My last was the 27" ult from Dresden. The 29" we left there at 7 P.M. for this city. about 1 OC at night we run into a snow covered country in the mountains of Bohemia which lasted for three hours travel and made every shawl and wrap we possessed come into play. I could not sleep but passed the night looking over the moonlit snow covered steppes and thinking of you and home. Now that business is really over I begin to feel almost home sick to see you. the excitement of travel is all gone and it is a source of continual regret that I did not get off on an early steamer of this month. At the depot here Mrs Sorger very kindly met us with her carriage, without which I hardly know what we should have done as the Cabmen are on a strike to get a rise during the fair and not one was at the depot. The 28" an Austrian prince made an unexpec-ted return from some place to the city and failing to notify his family no carriage awaited him. he offered 50 florins for a fiacre but had finally to walk home and have his baggage follow him on man-back. Lots of such yarns are told for mind this strike is very unexpected. This morning one of Sorgers men came in to say that dresscoat had been ordered as a badge of admission to the opening, but that had finally been modified to allowing one to wear an over-coat (the weather is suddenly very cold) and white tie. we sent out for white ties and felt very much like first class waiters when we got them on. We paid 25 fls each for our tickets yesterday and 1 fl ea for our ties to day so the price of seeing the opening is 26 Austrian paper florins. At 9 Sorger came for us and driving to the Ringstrasse we had to get into line three miles from the build-ing. it would have taken us at least five hours to get there in that way, so we drove around about five miles and came into a less popular entrance so saving about four hours. Up and down the grounds were stationed military bands and they were making the air vocal with gay music. it rained slightly but April like very per-sistently all day. about 5 P.M. settling into a steady disagree-able drizzle very trying to the unhappy multitude unable to get in but most anxious to be as near to greatness as possible. we spent the time from 10½ to about 1 OC in going over a portion of the building. then the rolling of musical echoes thro the vast pile sent us back to the Great Rotunda (the largest ever before attemp-ted) the royal cortege was just entering and such a stretching of necks to see them was wonderful = well perhaps I did the same but I thot I detected an effort on the part of the persons on the royal stage to return the compliment to me an American Soverign, so smoothed my own back complaisantly. No doubt before this you have read and reread all about the opening and the music and have formed your opinion of the whole lot; well the music was the only thing I enjoyed. No doubt many are willing to say about the same thing tonight. seeing the immense concourse of assembled nations, as it were, and a royal representative or so for each was a gratification not an enjoyment. this you can readily beleive for I covertly re-read yours of the 12" which I first recd and read in the carriage going to the Fair. But few departments are completely ready. pro-bably some will not be complete for a month to come; the U.S. is scarcely out of the hands of the carpenters, nothing but a few arms and a Mason & Hamblin organ are open. at this there is not much to be wondered as the commissioners were suspended for dishonesty just at the time they were most wanted. Some other nations are no far-ther advanced however so they have company.
I have all of your letters but I must most particularly thank you for this of the 11th it is delightful. so full of loving words, so much to say of Loddie and so unselfishly unmindful of yourself; Bless that dear boy his papa loves him better every day but he is second to mama. still mama keeps putting his pranks into her letters to the exclusion of her own thots and feelings. That little bit of poetry was exquisite. it sounded very much as if you composed it yourself. there is but one line that marred its sweet-ness for me. still there is a skeleton at every feast.
We now expect to leave for Paris Sat- since turning our faces homeward I am in a perfect fever to get as near you as possible- 24 days more, the time begins to look long now from its very nearness. How much I long to see you again is not expressible in words. If you think you are over working yourself by such constant applica-tion to biz my dear girl why do you attend to it so sharply. Oh how I wish for the power to govern your actions right.
R. H. writes to Rob by this mail as to his private biz so I will not have to say anything about it. only your course is in-tirely approved.
I pray you sweet dreams tonight and all nights until I can again influence them by my loving company.
Your truly loving husband
Regards to all. 0mma Maj.
Paris May 6" 73
My own Margie
I wrote you last the 1" since when some 1600 miles of the dis-tance between us has be lessoned and I feel quite near to you this morning. We have travelled continually since Sat. morn, the 3". Leaving Vienna at 9.30 arrived at Munic 11 P.M. Staid there until 6 A.M. then left for Strasburg where we arrived at 6 P.M. Net morn. 5" at 10.23 resumed our journey for this place and got here about 10 last evening very tired of travelling. Met some steamer friends in the hotel court who were congratulating me on my im-proved appearance. Am writing this in great haste to catch the steamer of tomorrow. have not had breakfast yet. will write you a better letter to night or tomorrow.
Recd your charming letter of the 18" just before leaving Vien-na. it is perfectly delightful. Yours of the 15" is lost some-where. may find it at Lippolds when we go up there but it is out of place in its rotation any way.
Of course you will tell Rob to have a telegram come to your house notifying you of our arrival at HOME. then have O'Connor send a carriage down for me containing of course my own darling precious wife = unless the weather should be too bad for you = R. H. Is writing Rob to have a carriage for him. and get O'Connor to send down an Ex. wagon for baggage for both of it can stop at my house on the way up, leave my duds then go on to R. Hs; Rob must get tickets from the White star office to be admitted to the dock and be sure to get them countersigned at the Custom House or you will all have trouble to get on the dock.
Three weeks more and I shall be home. by Jorge it makes every nerve tingle with delight. I become every day more & more impa-tient. Clerk says no time to write another word.
Your own Loving husband.
0 Mama - God bless her
0 Laurie God bless him
no time to reread
Grand-Hôtel. Paris, le 8me Mai "73
My own Darling
Yours of the 22" and 25" were recd yesterday and for their loved contents you have my warmest thanks. Your firm letters were very exhaustive and with the series recd before give as perfect a chapter of business as it is possible to put into a volume of that number of words; I have them all; there seems to be no reason especially for destroying the documents about V-. I have several times represented the matter in the same light as far as procrasti-nation was concerned. as the subject relates entirely to R. H. however it is not necessary for me to reply in any manner.
according to the instructions in your letters we have bot Oxi-dized Clasps, Dress Buttons, a few fine sleeve buttons and tomorrow shall buy some common sleeve buttons. Bot a dozen fine belts also. I ordered a belt for you which will be delivered tomorrow and which I trust will be to your liking. Black Russia. I had already bot a string of coral for Maggie. will buy a belt for Betty and some-thing for Mother and sister. Dont know the size of Bettys waist but will consider it about 30 in. How I wish you had suggested something for Laurie. I have walked up and down the Boulevard looking into all of the windows in the vain hope that an idea would present itself. none has as yet. I want to get something nice yet dont know his size for anything to wear. he is too little for any jewelry I see and my brain is in a perfect muddle about the lad God bless him. How he must have progressed since I left home. how I want to see the cunning little piece of humanity. did tangle up his grandmas thread eh. well as long as he can get forgiveness in advance he is sharp enough for anything. R. H. approves your steps in regard to his Bridgepot store and it seems rather mythical about R. Bs getting another such endorsement out of him. Coddington in law must protect his tenants from rain in so far as a roof is con-cerned. that is a matter that can rest however until the 26".
It has rained about all day ever since we landed in Paris. weather is usually all right until 9 or 10 A.M. then it commences and lasts until 9 or 10 at night. Drucker says he cant remember such a backward cold spring since his time in France, so you see you cant have all the bad weather to yourselves. Paris still is gay rain or shine. such a display of fine shoes and legs as this dampness brings out you would never see in New York. the Paris women are reckless as to the amount of stocking they show even if sometimes they are colored or not over clean. The fine ladies look perfectly gorgeous in their perfectly fitted clothing. one cant tell much about their forms they are so much in the hands of the milliner. but the common women without any furbelows are the best made females you ever saw, not handsome in face but such splendidly developed busts. these fancy pictures one sees on boxes, and the windows of print shops are no exaggeration of facts. bosoms, arms and legs are really quite the size and beauty represented; in jus-tice to a certain loving little body who calls me husband I must say in passing that nowhere in my travels have I seen a foot, an-kle, leg or arm which would eaqual hers in beauty and grace not even in the finest embodiment of painters or sculptors fancy. Nor a heart of greater truth I beleive I may add.
It is a wonder you & Miss B- did not take cold as I was not there to take care of you; you think I have done the same by your not being near to watch over my health. all right I will put my-self in your hands when I get back.
Sat. 10" Mai
Yesterday we had quite a carriage drive thro the city going over Mt St Genevive, the Pantheon which crowns the Mount. St Genevive contains not much of interest save the splendid view of the city from its dome, under which (the dome) is the four celebrated fres-coes, of Country, Justice, Glory & Death. The 1" Napoleon is of course the centre figure in Glory. Thro the quartier Latin and the aristocratic fanbourg St Germain to the Notre Dame, thence stopping a moment at the Morgue which contained but one "unfortunate" home. Our original intention (line not copied) but in driving there we found the buildings draped for a funeral and the large squre in front full of people attending the funeral of a French admiral who had been very generous to the institution and was much loved by the people of Paris. We also did the hotel Cluny which I find is an ancient Roman ruin partly restored and kept as a museum of ancient curiosities. Many funny things are pointed out by the gentlemen on duty in the rooms provided. the party consists of gents only Of course we had to be caught in two or three showers. they did not amount to much but as usual made a great display of legs necessary. the conviction forces itself on one that the Paris shop girls (as well as ladies) take advantage of this rainy weather to put on their new shoes and have special occasion to trip fareheaded a half block or so thro the streets at just the moment when it is most necessary to give an extra ..... to the dress and .......
Have today your belt which really looks very pretty. it was made to order. also got a belt for Betty. for mother & Sister have Jet setts which I am very much afraid you will think very ugly. "Done the best I knowed" however & it is not satisfactory even to myself. R. H. suggested some present for you. I told him any present of course would be charged to the firm, which was I suppose his idea also.- and I thot it best to wait until I could get your ideas on the subject; I thot it quite reasonable that as you had worked there all the sprin, some compensation in the way of salary would be the most just way of recognizing your services, as I know there are many things for which you would like money without my knowing beforehand that you had some special thing in view. this of course I did not say. only favored the idea of salary as against a present. perhaps my wishes somewhat influenced my judge-ment. at any rate the (line not copied) it is entirely competent for you to say in which way your sevices shall be recognized. unne-cessary repetition. very bad ink. (A 1.41 carat diamond ring, set in a "Tiffany" setting was given to Margaret by Abiel. Family tra-dition is that it was bought in Paris as a gift at the time of son Adrian's birth, which was September 29, 1873.)
Of course my darling there is no thot in my head excepting that your wishes are the ones to be gratified in this matter so you have only to speak for your word to become law. To day we have finished up with Lippold and bade him good bye; R. H. is off with Drucker to see an occulist and I am here. The programme now is, Tonight the jardin Mabille, tomorrow (Sunday) if pleasant a drive about Paris, Monday at 7 A.M. start for London arriving there in the evening, Tuesday business with Wright,- eider down &c- Wed. noon start to Liverpool arriving in the evening and Thurs. 15" the Baltic and homeward voyage. so a few days after you receive this I most fervantly hope you will also receive its writer. one of the happiest of living mortals. This is my last letter and some how I feel uncomfortable in giving up a correspondence which I (last part not copied)
June 12" 73
Dear Sister & Friends
Yours of the 9" just received, the butter arrived Monday in rather a melting mood owing to the high state of the thermometre probably. Enclosed find check to $5.95 (17 lbs @ 35 = 5.95) and also receive our thanks.
It is jolly to be back here with my "kitchen maid" wife and Laurie; we have not got over our frolic yet, the baby & I, we have an every day play spell on our farm and every evening we take a lovely walk. Laurie has a great admiration for mouse holes as he calls them and the number he discovers on the side walk are quite marvellous. last night he spent quite a while investigating a coal hole in front of a boarding house much to the edification of the people who were sitting in front of the door. they probably learned for the first time that was a mouse hole. He also took a great fancy to my cane but found it uncomfortably long to walk with so was wearing it out very rapidly shoving it before him over the side walk. I had to attend to the transportation of that cane my self afterwards.
The "long stairs" need not bother you any more for Laurance is as much at home going up and down them as I am myself; he is im-mensely fond of strawberries and altho he has eaten them twice or three times a day for six weeks he is the best "tawberry" man we have in the house.
We sleep up in the large front room now, (off your room) our former bed room is a sewing & smoking room Margaret has a Cabinet Organ in the front room (parlor) with which she regales me evenings while I enjoy a cigar, so we are quite changed from what we were during your visit.
Lat year we wanted to come out your way this summer but the fates have decided otherwise. it would neither be safe or comfor-table for Margaret to travel now so we are looking about for a com-fortable & convenient country place to spend the hot months in. we have our eye on Cornwall but have made no arrangements yet. Corn-wall would be convenient for an occasional visit to Uncle Joe or Uncle Tommy.
I think you are more proud of me than I am of myself. the Lord has been pleased to make me fairly successful, but I think more of domestic happiness than of money. an untroubled fireside is far above wealth. What is the matter with Sherman. he and I were always good friends and I wish him every success in life with-out a particle of envy. I thot that the Crandalls were next to your self in the warmth of their congratulations when I came home a Lieutenant and there was no falling off in their warmth when I was promoted to a captaincy. I dont remember their remarks when after the war my Brevet of Maj was made but this you may be sure of I have always had a sincere respect for the family & trust they have the same esteem for myself. envey at least should not make us strangers for I have none of that.
Betty was called away to attend a sick sister last night, but if here would thank you for your good wishes. mother sends regards "Laudy" (he so calls himself) would love you lots if he had a chance, while you may always be sure of the
Love of Maj & Margie.
July 8" 73
All well. did not go to Cornwall as it was too far off to sute Margie. she thot I would not get to her often enough. We are at a hotel on the heights above Tarrytown, right among the sur-roundings made so famous by the inspirations of Irving. Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle and the capture of Andre are all quite near us and we enjoy the full romance of the thing. The hotel is sur-rounded by beautifully laid out grounds and is altogether so cool comfortable and pleasant that one could sit there and dream away the summer gazing on the Hudson and its beautiful frame of moun-tains. Wife is doing well and Laurie is just famous. the way he has grown fat up there is a severe caution. he is very strong and very knowing. his pranks are among the staple amusements of the place.
We advertize very little at this time of year, so you will not find us in any weekly paper. Haven't been up to Uncle Joes yet. may go up this month. Joes girl is a boy this time. it will be Josiah Fuller iii. have to call them by number now. Dont know if Bettys sister is out of the Hospital or not. She is not with us during the summer. My farm is sprouting with flower----pots. looks very nice. it has been so dry and hot that my crops of every-thing but flowers will be very light. My cows will have to go cheap this fall as I shall cake all my hay.
Mother says she stands the heat remarkably well until it gets in about a foot, then she gets angry. dont do much good tho'.
Macy is travelling around New England looking for a cool spot. at last accounts he had not found one. his family is with him.
I am clearing out the walls &c of 200 & 202. 6" Ave so as to add the upper parts of those buildings to the store. am also tak-ing an account of stock so as to make up the last six months busi-ness. my hands are consequently full.
Tell Joe to keep a stiff upper lip for Oscar is coming along and will soon be able to take the helm.
Best love to grandmother and the rest.
Ever Your Loving Brother
A. T. LaForge.
Adrian LaForge was born in New York City at 7:30 P.M. on September 29, 1873.
Nov 25" 73
Your Chickens of on or about Nov 5" were duly and I take my pen in hand to answer the same.
First please receive our thanks for your favor. your ex-pressed your sentiments in such a manner that it was impossible not to get to the bottom of your tub meaning at once. The subject to was one that even Laurie comprehended at once and discussed it with as good an appetite understanding as any of us. We went into the matter seriously and probed it to the very bottom and found only satisfaction from head to tail of it, which is more than can be said of may messages.
We have been expecting to get a letter from you since the Tub arrived but as we have received none, we concluded that although those misguided chickens had ceased to crow in Andover, you be-leived they would speak for themselves in New York. Your confi-dence was not misplaced.
Very many Thanks. We are all well and send love.
Your Bro & Sister
Maj & Margie.