Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer in Hudson

It's been months since The Gossips of Rivertown published an excerpt from the original Gossips of Rivertown. Now, because it's August, and we're in the culminating weeks of summer, this account of how the good residents of Hudson passed their summers in Alice Neal's day seems fitting.

The summer passed as summers had done in Rivertown for the last ten years at least. There was one evening party, two pic-nics, and a wedding, to vary the monotony. Two families, the Bays and the Barnards, visited Niagara, to the scandal of those who wondered how they could afford it, and Miss Seymour joined the party of a relative residing in New York, and passed two weeks at Newport. Miss Seymour became, for a while, quite the rage, for she had dined with Daniel Webster, on which occasion the distinguished authoress, Mrs. __, sat opposite to her, and Senator S. was pointed out after dinner. Miss Seymour did not usually mention that this was at the "ladies' ordinary" of the Revere House; probably she thought this was "not for them to know." But if she was not a lion herself, she had seen lions, and consequently had innumerable calls and visits shortly after her return.

Then a family from New York had been boarding at the "Rivertown House," and their outpourings and in-goings offered some relief. Moreover, the Forresters, from Albany, had passed two months at their country-house, a mile or two below the town, and several times their carriage, with its liveried coachman, had gathered its crowd of admirers at the street corners and shop windows. Not a few Rivertonians visited their country relatives in July and August, and others among the first circle paid similar family visits in New England or the Middle States. Journeys that from henceforth became data--"the year that I went to Connecticut," or " the spring we were getting ready to go to New Jersey," being often and particularly alluded to.

Rivertonians in general were not a migratory people; one trip to New York City, and two as far as Albany, often sufficing for life-time adventures. Many of the oldest inhabitants could never be persuaded to "court peril" in the wake of the rushing locomotive, and not a few had never set foot upon a steamboat, though numberless were the elegant vessels that passed their wharves daily, preferring the more tardy, but in their eyes far safer conveyance of a "sloop," did occasion require them to visit the metropolis.

Sketch the Third. Death and the Burial. Chapter I

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