“I sallied forth to brave the tempestuous weather”

Eliza Southgate Bowne relates the end of her assembly adventure begun in the previous post.

The storm continued till Monday, and I was obliged to stay—but Monday I insisted, if there was any possibility of getting to sister’s, to set out. The horse and sleigh were soon at the door, and again I sallied forth to brave the tempestuous weather (for it still snowed) and surmount the many obstacles I had to meet with. We rode on a few rods—when coming directly upon a large drift we stuck fast. We could neither get forward nor turn round. After waiting till I was most frozen we got out, and with the help of a truckman, the sleigh was lifted up and turned towards a cross street that led to Federal Street—we again went on. At the corner we found it impossible to turn up in turn, but must go down and begin where we first started, and take a new course, but suddenly turning the corner we came full upon a pair of trucks heavily laden. The drift on one side was so large that it left a very narrow passage between that and the corner house—indeed we were obliged to go so near that the post grazed my bonnet. What was to be done? Our horses’ heads touched before we saw them—I jumped out—the sleigh was unfastened and lifted round, and we again measured back our old steps.

At length we arrived at sister Boyd’s door, and the drift before it was the greatest we had met with. The horse was so exhausted that he sunk down, and we really thought him dead. ’Twas some distance from the gate, and no path; the gentleman took me up in his arms and carried me till my weight pressed him so far into the snow that he had no power to move his feet. I rolled out of his arms, and wallowed till I reached the gate; then rising to shake off the snow, I turned and beheld my beau fixed and immovable; he could not get his feet out to take another step. At length, making a great exertion to spring his whole length forward, he made out to reach the poor horse, who lay in a worse condition than his master. By this time all the family had gathered to the window—indeed, they saw the whole frolic; but ’twas not yet ended, for unluckily, in pulling off Miss Weeks’ bonnet to send to the sleigh to be carried back, I pulled off my wig and left my head bare. I was perfectly convulsed with laughter; think what a ludicrous figure I must have been—still standing at the gate—my bonnet half-way to the sleigh and my wig in my hand! However, I hurried it on—for they were all laughing at the window—and made the best of my way into the house; the horse was unhitched and again set out, and left me to ponder on the incidents of the morning. I have since heard of several events that took place that assembly night, much more amusing than mine—nay, Don Quixote’s most ludicrous adventures compared with some of them will appear like the common events of the day.
Portland, Maine, 1 March, 1802.

See the next post for information about Eliza’s wig.

Stedman, E. C. & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. A Library of American Literature; An Anthology in Eleven Volumes, 1891. Volume IV: Literature of the Republic, Part I., Constitutional period, 1788-1820, online HERE.

posted February 10th, 2014 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Bowne, Eliza Southgate, Weather


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