Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

“I have good chickens”

Writing from Trenton, to which the Stodderts moved with the government to avoid exposure to yellow fever in Philadelphia , REBECCA STODDERT recounts her efforts to adjust to a new location. She tries to find sheet music that her niece Eliza requested and she goes on to describe the house the family lives in until they return to Philadelphia in the fall.

September, 1799My Dear Eliza,—It will give Betsy [her daughter] much satisfaction to get you the music you say you shall want, or anything else, indeed, that you may need. I did suppose one could supply all their reasonable needs in Philadelphia if one had but money. I find I was mistaken. I had made Betsy try all the music shops to get “Miller” for Harriet and Nancy, but to no purpose. I tried myself, too, at one or two shops, but all in vain. I hope I shall be more fortunate in my endeavors to serve you. She has the “Chase” by Haydn, and says it is much easier than Fisher’s “Rondo.” We brought the instrument with us from Philadelphia; but for want of a teacher, I wish Betsy may not lose what little she has gained by Mr. Taylor.

If I was a “gad,” I should enjoy myself very much here. The inhabitants are very sociable and very polite to strangers. I have been visited by several, and in one instance met with much kindness.

The governor’s lady I have not seen (this is the seat of government, you must know), because I have not waited on her. When I return the ladies’ visits which I have received I shall wait on her.

I suppose when I tell you that this house, which I find fault with, contains nine rooms, you will think I am very unreasonable to be displeased with it, but if you were to see it you would think of it as I do. Down-stairs are two rooms and an entry, as they call passages here and in Philadelphia; upstairs are seven rooms, but you must not suppose they are only over the above-mentioned two. One is over the kitchen, and another over a store which we have at the end of the house. The greatest evil I have to complain of is a number of small ants, which are troublesome. But I have good chickens, which, for my life, I could not have till I came here. It is the practice in Philadelphia to buy them at market alive and kill them the same day. I do not suppose half a dozen families think of fatting them up before they kill them. This, by way of specimen of what is done in large cities. Houses and furniture as clean as possible; but there all cleanliness ends, I daresay. How I shall wonder at myself when I get home again—you know where I mean, don’t you?—that I was ever able to eat particularly!

Kate Mason Rowland, “Philadelphia a Century Ago, Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, Volume 62, 1898, pages 813-14. The chicken illustrated is one of several breeds raised at Colonial Williamsburg.

posted May 12th, 2016 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Capital of the United States,Food,Music,Philadelphia,Stoddert, Rebecca Lowndes,Trenton, New Jersey

“we were waked with a most delightful Serenade”

Sarah Bard accompanied her aunt Sarah DeNormandie Barton and her husband Reverend Thomas Barton to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, when he was given a pulpit there. Paying visits was part of the ritual of welcome.

Lancaster 17th January 1776[After a difficult journey] Wednesday which was the day we were expected many of the Gentlemen came out to meet us, but it was Thursday evening before we got there . . . In the night we were waked with a most delightful Serenade under the window consisting of two Violins, one flute, and a hautboy played extreamly well, a Compliment to Mr. and Mrs. Barton. Saturday Mr. Barton was visited by all the Gentlemen of the place; its Customary here to send cards to all those you would wish to come and have an elegant Collation served up at twelve Clock with wine punch, &c—Yesterday Aunt made her appearance and today she receives company.

Would you believe that our Church music at Lancaster exceeds any thing you ever heard, It is entirely Vocal and performed by Soldiers [British] who have been used to sing in Cathedrals. Their voices are really heavenly, so much melody I never heard before; when they begin to sing the whole congregation rise. Uncle Barton has raised a subscription for them and they are to sing every Sunday.

The excerpt can be found on page 212 of In the Words of Women.

posted January 15th, 2015 by Janet, comments (0), CATEGORIES: Bard, Sarah,British soldiers,Music,Pennsylvania,Religion

   Copyright © 2017 In the Words of Women.