Correspondence of Maryette Andrews Smith Platt, 1886-1906

 

[Maryette to Emily]

11-14-1886

My dear Mrs. Hastings
    It was very sweet to hear from you so soon after I had become your sister-elect and to know that you remember me, even though it be in the relation of Sunday School teacher to an unruly pupil. How little we thought then that I would one day be visiting you in so different a condition and relationship. And it will not be many more weeks, for Our Wedding Day has finally been decided upon - Wednesday, the fifth of January, in the morning, at home. If these were the days of miracles, the whole Hastings family should be transported to Columbus for that day.
But no, it cannot be thought of, for they might not be back in time to receive the bride and groom who have been anticipating the delight of visiting you and your paradise for nearly four months. Rutherford has engaged passage for January thirteenth, for "himself and wife."
Donít you think one might accuse him of whistling before he is out of the woods?
Rutherfordís nieces and nephews are the only ones I shall have , and I am looking forward with great pleasure to making the acquaintance of those in Bermuda. Please remember me to Gen. Hastings Your brother joins me in much love to you.

                                                            Affectionately,
                                                        Maryette A. Smith

28 North 3rd St. Col. O.
14 Nov. 1886

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[Maryette & Rud to Emily]

Westminster Hotel
New York           
15 Jan. 87             

My dear Emily
    My thoughts are constantly flying back to your beautiful island, particularly to your sweet home and its occupants, and how happy I am that there is a certain lovely, unselfish little woman there, that I can call my sister, and that I have learned to know her so well. You and your hosts of kind friends have made our visit to Bermuda a very bright spot in our lives.
    But you will be interested to know of our trip. We were kept back so much by head winds that the steamer did not reach the dock until ten oíclock Sunday evening. It was too late to pass baggage, so most of the passengers, bride and groom being of the number, stayed on board until morning.
    We found letters telling us that all is well at home and Mrs. Comers called soon after giving us further accounts. She returned to her house last Friday leaving her fatherís family much better. We have decided to go for a few days to my home as they have not yet found a sufficiently experienced cook and Momma and our Sister Laura find that without my wise head they cannot put the house into working order.
    The Generalís lilies did not mind the cold at all. We gave some to Mrs. Comers and are waiting until they open wider before sending them to our other friends. Tell Lucy and Fanny and dear little Platt that their Aunt Ettie loves them dearly and that they must not grow too big before she sees them again.
    I will write to you again after we reach home. With much love from your affectionate sister

Maryette                     

My love too dear Emily to you and yourís - Rud

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[Maryette to Mrs. Robert S. Smith (Her mother)]

Thursday morning, 20th Jan. [1887]

    The Trinidad started off this afternoon with my fat letters and this week Iíll try to write each evening. The "At Home" this afternoon was a grand success. It was cloudy all morning and quite cool but just at the right moment the sun broke out bright and warm. Fifty-six came- very charming people. I wore my __________ cloth dress & hat, (putting a long sleved [sic] silk vest under the waist), and felt swell.
    I omitted a most interesting item from my other letter, my husbandís wedding present. Before leaving N.Y. he went to Tiffanyís and bought me a beautiful pin and pendant, pearls with a diamond in the center. [diagram included] It goes very well with the bracelet. That makes 95 wedding presents. I wrote out the whole list from memory Friday evening. 21 Jan. Fri. A.M. R. & I drove in the phaeton for miles to the Gibbs Hill lighthouse. From the top we could see the entire island with the ocean all around. It seemed very small but is dotted all over with white houses. This afternoon we all called on Miss Shumway & Miss Johnston, Mrs. Rees, Mrs. Tucker, then Gen. & Mrs. H. went to a tennis party given by the officers in Happy Valley. R. & I begged off and walked home stopping on the way to watch a game of base ball, then took a little row ________ . Emily is making out a list for another "At Home" Feb. 4 and R. is going to read aloud to me in a book on Bermuda by J. Dorr - Sunday evening 23 Jan. The ball last evening was a small affair as it was the first of the season, but quite pleasant. It was in Hamilton Hotel, each guest was asked to invite their friends. Mr. & Mrs. Hoyt of New Hampshire asked us. Emily wore a white _____virline with train. I wore my black satin with violets. The first familiar faces I saw were Kate & Howard of Isle of Schoels. I shook hands with them most cordially. This morning at breakfast Clive came in and said that the signal on Mount Laughton said that the Orinoco [boat] was coming up the Channel and that it was high tide which allowed it to come right in. In about an hour we saw it coming round a point, so Clive, Gen., R., Emily, Little Platt and I piled into the row boat to go to the great Shed to meet her. There we found a crowd of people including a number of friends. It is a Bermuda custom to have a social gathering every Sunday morning that the steamer arrives. And it is a Bermuda habit to be slow. We stood there over an hour until the boat got into position and a staging was built out to it. It is a curious sight. They draw out to it two spars about 20 ft. long. Then two files of men each holding beams by ropes crawl out on the spars and tie them tightly on at intervals. No one hurries. And after it is done someone thinks they should be shifted so they are untied and moved several times. Then planks are laid on these beams & they are fastened by putting ropes throí holes in each end. The poor paid passengers have to wait all this time so near land and yet so far. But more than this, my letter from you is locked up until tomorrow. Is it not exasperating? The steamer disposed of, we rowed home, ordered a carriage and drove to church. It has been a perfect day, just breeze enough and the sun bright & warm. The churches are build cruciform with a pulpit and reading desk in the centre . The chancel, at one end, only used for ante (?) communion service. The clergyman wears in addition to surplice & stole a huge red or purple hood reaching to his knees and every other prayer is for H. M. Victoria. After dinner little Fanny went with R. & me to walk along by the sea in Soucy. She will be five next April 1st. She did not once stop talking and was very amusing.
    We have just made out a list of our engagements. There are one or two for each day up to our own "At Home" Thursday, Feb. 3rd. That is nine successive days completely filled. Emily & Gen. H. are such favorites here that all their friends, and they have hosts of them, want to entertain their bride & groom.

Monday morning, Jan 24. Your letters came at last and what a delight they were. R. had to pay double postage on them but he said he was willing to pay twice as much for such nice letters. The photograph came too, forwarded from the Westminster. (As it was sealed and all unpaid postage is ____________ , we had to pay.) [Crossed out] R. says that is not a good subject for a letter.
    Iím so sorry that you caught such a bad cold and that you still have those awful stitches.  If you were only here in the sunshine how well you might be.
    Miss Shumway & Miss Johnston called this afternoon. They are neither of them pleasant. Find fault with everything. They are going back with us Feb. 10. Iím not glad. We brought in some lily plant in bloom this morning and I made a water color sketch of it. Gen H. got his Feb. Century this morning. He says they always send to foreign subscribers long before we receive it at home.
Wednesday morning, Jan 26. Tomorrow the Orinoco starts back and at the same time the Trinidad leaves N.Y. bearing a letter, I hope, for me. The next time the Orinoco comes it will be to carry us home.
We went aboard her this morning to see our stateroom and were pleased with the looks of all about her. They were putting in electricity.
Yesterday was a busy day. Our regular morning work is to drive old Prince in the basket phaeton. It is great fun turning into any odd road we come to and exploring it.. Yesterday we found a marvelously beautiful sand beach on the South shore and this morning we stumbled upon an old fort of the 16th Century. Entering it by a long winding road cut deep down in the rock. About 3 oclock yesterday we all started for Happy Valley where was a "Tennis" given by Royal Engineers. The valley is entirely surrounded by high hills so you have to climb down a steep winding path, but oh! how beautiful it is! There is no house. It is government land and used for all the officerís receptions. It is laid out with many flowers and plants and three velvety tennis courts where only tennis shoes are allowed. Tea, cake, soda & brandy & cegars (? cigars?) were served. This is a great drinking country. I am contracting dreadful habits. We left Happy Valley at 4.30 [sic] and drove back to Norwood, the place next to Soucy. There to drink tea with Mr. Henry Darrel and his sister. He is a funny little red faced man with a double chin and just the shape of a tub. He is jolly & bright, has a curious voice, very English accent, and tells side splitting stories all the time. His sister keeps house for him, she is a veritable old maid & looks exactly like Mrs. Bates. A few others were there so we sat around our long table, twelve (?) in all. The house is one that Gen. & Mrs. H. occupied before they built theirs. Mr. Darrel inherited it and everything in it from his business partner a few years ago.
The house is the oldest fashion I have seen yet and all the furniture is in the style of our Derby chair. The drawing room ceiling is sealed (?) in cedar. In each bed room a big cedar chest also a high chest of drawers. We were ushered upstairs by the light of a candle. By the side of the house is the family burying ground shaded by and enormous olive (?) tree. Mr. D. has talking parrotts [sic] and a monkey, pug dog etc. After supper we played whist, nap for haípennies and dolci(?) Then to the dining room for cake and any liquor you please.
    This afternoon instead of going to a Hunt Finish, R. & I went in a little sailboat furnished by Mr. Allen the Am. Counsulís son, to Tuckerís Island across the sound 4 miles from here. We had a black skipper in black & yellow striped jersey. We anchored, rowed ashore, and explored. Wishing to see the cave, the boat was carried over land and put into a hole about four feet square. We then got into the boat with candles & lanterns and rowed about in a mysterious cavern full of stalactites.
At one side they burned old palmetto leaves to brighten it up. We could see way down into the blue, blue water.
    Thursday A.M. The steamer starts before long. We are going for a long drive to Walsingham (?) Caves. Good bye with much love from both of us.

                                                Mrs. R. H. Platt

R. does not think that nice. Forgive me, your own Maryette -

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[Maryette to Emily]

Columbus, O.
21 March 87    

My dear Emily
    How I should like to look in upon your family group this morning - it is all so clear in my mind that I can see it almost as plainly as though I were there. But you should see our family group. The library is our delight- it is so pretty and so comfortable.
    Your letter brought dear Bermuda back to me most vividly. Think of taking moonlight boatings all throí this fearful March weather. Yours asked about the Generalís friend Mrs. Bliss - I have not seen her but received from her a note saying that she was starting for New York and might possibly be persuaded to go to Old Point Comfort.
    But I must tell you what Mrs. Edwin Parsons told us about Mr. & Mrs. Ogden. Mr. Oís mother is a friend of hers. "Last summer young Ogden went to Alaska and there met and actress (!)[sic] and became engaged to her. He was but twenty and she said she was twenty-six, althoí everyone suspected it was nearer thirty-six. Shortly after coming home he said to his Mother that next week he would be of age and would have his property and expected to be married. Being a spoiled child, he had his way, much to his Motherís grief. They went to Bermuda on their wedding tour." "It was rumored that she was a failure as an actress."
    Rutherford and I have been so selfishly occupied with our own affairs since we came home that we have neglected to order a "self-baster" for you. We will try to send one by the next boat.
    All my time and mind is occupied now with a cooking school. The teacher does all the talking and work, while we use both forks and spoons.
    With love enough to reach all the way from Columbus to Soucy from both Rutherford and you Sister

                                        Maryette

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[Maryette to Emily]

[1906]

My dear Emily
    I am very glad that you can arrange to come to us in August. From Friday to Monday sounds very short but it is very much better than nothing. Mother has written to Cousin Jeanie Couverts(?) to make her a visit , so I hope all things will work together ó for we really must keep Lucy two weeks. And that naughty Fanny! She will forget all about her small cousins if she "stands off" this way every summer. Perhaps she would come for a peek at the baby before she goes West. Please tell her she would be most welcome any time. With neither her Uncle nor Rob here it would be pretty stupid for her, as I do nothing but look at the baby, but Ruddy will do his proudest and for once no doubt assist so I hope she can come.
    Rob has written happy letters from the camp. Mrs. Richards (Laura E.) reads aloud to the boys twice every day, and the daughters are musical; so they combine home life with camping, and the fun of being with twenty-five boys.
    With love and looking forward to Aug. 17th.

                                                                        Your sister
                                                                            Maryette

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[Maryette to Emily]

Kennebunkport
August 4, 1907

Dear Sister Emily
    Rutherford has been acknowledging many of my letters but I wanted to write to you myself; and yet how little there is to say except thank you for your kind letter, and Lucy also for hers. The days are passing almost too fast, for it is easier to go on living here, than it will be to take up our life again in Columbus. But it must be done. You had that to face when you went back to Soucy, did you not? Little Emily is so sweet with the Grandfather and seems to cheer him more than any of us. He never forgets to have peppermints in his pocket for her and she always has kisses for him. Rob stay over at his house with him, only taking one meal a day with us. Dolly Henderson and her sister Lucy are also with him now - and I have Rutherford and the blessed children.
    Much love dear Emily, to you and those dear girls of yours.

                                                                                 Lovingly
                                                                                    Maryette

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