Sunday, October 30, 2011

* Invitations, Announcements, Furnishings, etc.

Could this ribbon be the "it" mentioned in the following letter (what Evangeline worried she might not have "room" to enclose) ?

Postmark May 5, 1902 [ A month before the wedding]
North Wilbraham

My dearest,

There are so many things to write that I hardly know where to begin and will know still less whereto stop. I do not see what has gotten into the mails for it has been oftener than not that I have sent your letters at eleven o’clock and you have received them at four.  Yesterday we went in the city in the morning and went to the new dressmaker whom the other one recommended. She took the measure and we planned the gown, and mama is to go in on Wednesday to have the linings fitted. So we are just where we were six weeks ago, and before this dress comes home we must do lots of odd things, for when the dress does come all other things must be done as there will be no time after it. I shall be very busy this week, so you must not think I am neglecting my little boy if I do not write three times. I must sew in the daytime, and in the evenings I have lots of letters to write and receipts to copy and music to sort over, and a million things to do. I shall be so glad when I do not have to make every minute count. I seem to have gotten off the track. When we left the dressmaker’s we went to Baris, there to look at dinner sets in the remaining [?] store. We found one in violets for forty-two. Which was the prettiest we have seen anywhere for that price and another for fifty-nine something, which was tiny pink roses and lovely7, and which was also the prettiest by far of anything near the price anywhere, and I shall probably have one of them. Then we went to Meekin’s and selected the brass bed. It is plain and very handsome and I am tickled to pieces, and what do you think? After ordering the bed, mama also ordered a hair mattress of the finest grade which also cost a pretty penny. How is that? I will tell you about the spring bed later, as it is too long for this letter. Now I will give you the list of things which I selected, subject to correction. The dining table is round and fifty-two (or four) inch, claw and ball feet and thirty-five dollars. The chairs I did not select until you come. One set you saw, and another set equally pretty but three dollars less for the six, is the other choice.  The sideboard you have seen. The bookcase is wax finish, double doors of leaded glass for twenty-one dollars. One similar, but smaller, and with one door, is fifteen, but I think the books we would have would fill it and as it is the only one we will ever have, I want some room left for future use. The parlor table is the round spider legged one for sixteen, if it is firm enough. The little table for a window is very pretty and mahogany for four and a half. The bureau in maple is thirty one fifty and a beauty and two maple chairs one a rocker for three and a quarter and four and a quarter.  That completes the list, and I left out music [?] chair and cabinet for we can get along without them  and can select them later if we wish. My selections came to one hundred fifteen and fifty cents without dining chairs which will be at least fifty more. Then there are two floor coverings, and we cannot get a nice parlor carpet such as you want for less than fifty dollars. I think you must be mistaken about your present parlor carpet for this tapestry one cost thirty-two.  Our parlor draperies will cost at least five dollars a pair and the set at least eighty. So there you have two hundred to add to one hundred fifteen. Then there will be a spring for the brass bed, a mattress for the guest room, a covering for the dining room floor, a chair for the the den ( for we have only two) a stove and a refrigerator.  So it seems we had better omit the music cabinet and chair until we see what money we have given us. Now about having the new furniture. What you say is true, but I do not like the idea of moving that nice furniture after it has been unpacked and by someone not accustomed to doing it.  If things are scratched we can’t help ourselves, and if they are unpacked and set up they will be fixed up if marred in any way, and it seems so much better to have them set up where they will stay. Then they will have to be paid for if delivered now, and you will be able to leave half the amount in the bank if they are not. Of course it would be nice to have them but I think we would enjoy them more to have them new when we go to the other house which I hope will  be before cold weather, for we never could keep warm there on account of the stairs if for no other reason. Has anything more been said about rent/ I should not be willing to pay twelve dollars in cold weather, for the house would be too inconvenient with a detached kitchen and well and all that space overhead in the old kitchen. Get your ides in order so you could speak of it if the opportunity is given. My suit has come and looks very nice, but the skirt binding is about three inches too large and cannot be made small enough without spoiling the back of the skirt. How in the world is all that “truck” to grow in that small space? [my emphasis] Did you cover the sweet peas again? I wonder if anything  has been done in our garden. If the wedding ring is all right I would like it engraved where I had mine measured and where I got your chain and locket. I am quite sure the mover included his team, at least I understand it. Do tell me if the architect came and the result. I don’t [sic] know what to say about the boxes for my gowns. I dislike to have them folded so small. She will only just get them done so why not you write her how you will get them on Friday the sixteenth?
I have not looked at refrigerators at all. This letter is mostly business, but I love you as much as if I had told you lots of nice things. It is so long I cannot read it, but hope I have made myself plain. I love you and two weeks more and you will be here. With all my love
                                                            Your Evangeline.

Postmark, June 1902 (no day on postmark)
North Wilbraham, Mass

Mr. J. Walter Bassett
Mount Carmel

     After dinner I went over to spend a little while with Miss Phillips and select something from among Eunice's trinkets. When I came home Emma was here and has just gone, so it is getting near time to go to church, and I must go tonight, for I have been very bad lately. I guess I wrote last Thursday night, so I will begin there. Friday morning was the usual housework and in the afternoon I wrote the invitations to the wedding, and it took all the afternoon. In the evening I did my mending, and yesterday I spent in he city [Springfield?] and had a hard day. I make my bank book squeal, for I got a check for Mrs. Welden, and money for other things which are big. I got a hat for traveling and for general wear, which I thought stylish and serviceable, but mama does not like it, as it does not look nice enough, she thinks. Then I got two pair of shoes, one a high black pair, and the other a low yellow pair. The latter are lighter than I like, but will will grow dark. I got an appointment Thursday to have my broken tooth built up, and hope to buy my nice hat then. My announcements and cards came yesterday and now we can't back out. The card plates were each three dollars so he gave me the extras and letter and the one hundred cards were one dollar. When I have answered all your questions I fear there will not be room left to enclose something else to amuse you, and please do not show it, because you know I am funny.[my emphasis] I saw Mr. Davis about the carpet and he said he would put a plain color outside the border to make the three inches. He also said they would lay the carpet, but there might be some trouble, as I was getting the carpet at almost wholesale price. So for that reason I would like if possible to get our dining room carpet there, and they would send a man more willingly. I got my ring, and it was engraved nicely, the six initials, and I paid the enormous and exorbitant sum of twelve cents for it.
Last evening I read, for the first time. Tomorrow they are going to begin to paint the house, in spite of all we can say, and Mrs. Gates tried to help us, but the painter has finally got to it [my emphasis], so Mr. Gates feels he must have him. So he agreed to go over one coat, and then estimate how long it will take to finish, and I am about as uncomfortable as is possible to be. Tomorrow I must write the invitations to the reception, and Tuesday I will go to the city, and Wednesday I must begin to address my announcements. So my dearest even though I love you so much, I cannot write three times, for the hours are so precious, and so many little things still left to do. I want to get my announcements done before Steve comes, for she will want to do them, and I am afraid she will not get the inside envelope right, for I understand, and she doesn't. I shall miss the third letter too, but it's only seventeen more days, so we can be patient. Now put this where you won't lose it. Dr. Squire told me to get one (Z) of bromide of soda and put it into four (Z) of water and take one teaspoonful after each meal and before going to bed for a week before going on the water and we wouldn't be sea-sick. So you want to try it, too.  Emma has a lovely big cape and she offered to loan it to me,  when she heard me say I hoped my money would hold out to buy one. So I shall accept the loan,and be comfortable. When you have the leisure, would it not be well to measure the dining room floor and make a diagram, and then put it in your new pocket and we will have it, if we want it. It would be better to have it and not want it, than to want it and not have it. I will send the tickets to Mr.Herrick, as I shall wish to write again. I shall try to engage the mover next Tuesday for early Wednesday morning. Since we have two tables for the parlor, it seems a little unwise to have another , unless we know just the place for it. A chair for my desk would be very acceptable, as we need one, or [& ?] so would silver. Mr. and Mrs. Terry have given me a pair of silver spoons, solid of course. I hope the architects [sic] visit was satisfactory. I think I would like my wedding gift from you  the night that you come. What is it? Mama is coughing badly, and had to come out of church this morning, but does not appear sick. The Buffalo Bill's Wild West was the effort of the Jones boy, and I found it in my desk the other day. I suppose when we give our ages, we had better tell the truth and shame the Devil [my emphasis]. There is a new barber here, but as I have heard nothing about him, I cannot recommend him. There is more trouble at Mr. Bell's for  two weeks ago Mrs. Bell had a nervous collapse and has been in a state of melancholia ever since and yesterday they took her to a sanitarium. She has been through enough mental strain and done enough hard work to drive the woman insane. Miss Phillips leave us tomorrow and Mrs. Thomson in a few days.
With my best love to my heart's dearest,

                                      Your own,

Postmark June, 1902 North Wilbraham

Mr. J. Walter Bassett
Mount Carmel


      Just a line to reply to your note. You are correct in your price of the chairs , 3.25 and 4.25. Since they have put the bed and mattress in the bill, it  seems to me the simpliest [sic] and least confusing way would be for you to pay half the bill as it is, and mama will settle with you. Tell me just how much the bill is, how much you sent them, and how much more you have left. Also how much you think you will have when the wedding expenses are paid.  [It sounds like there is no 'papa' to underwrite the wedding]  Annie has been down all the afternoon, and asked me if I preferred a present which they purchase or ten dollars. I said I preferred the money, then I could buy what I needed. Do you not think  that a generous gift? We are going up there to supper and it is after six, so must stop. One week from tomorrow and  I will have you again.
                                                 With my dearest love,

NOTE: "Mama" came to live with the JWB's in Mount Carmel.  Here is her death notice, twenty-two years after the wedding. JWB's pocket diary for that date has the handwritten note, "Grandma C died 4.40 P.M."

For BASSETT deaths see:
(courtesy, RR)

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