BY MINNETTE SLAYBACK CARPER
Sympathizing with my interest in singing my brother-in-law Arthur tookme to a
production of Lucia di Lammermoor, starring a delightful young prima donna, Mlle
Romeldi. She was fine.
I had been studying vocal practice all winter under the guidance of
Mrs. Kate J. Brainard, who was the instructress at Mary Institute for general
classes. Every spring we had what was called "The Rehearsal", meaning just
a rehearsal of the sort of singing work we did in those classes. There were two
concerts, which in 1885 had taken the form of "The Flower Queen." Now we
were to have a conventional program, with two soloists, Lucia Merrill and I
having that honor. Tickets were presented to their friends by the pupils making
an audience of four or five hundred people with the boys mostly in the gallery.
The girls sat in rows on the platform, tiers of white dresses and looking very charm-
ing, but forbidden to even whisper to each other till the intermission. And then,
the storm of chatter that broke forth always brought a round of amused applause.
Mrs. Brainard had obtained for me a quaint, old-fashioned son called : "Gather
The Sweet Rose Of Love,". It was quite precious and she considered it just a sweet,
simple ditty, but she was not prepared for the effect it would have on a gallery
filled with my college acquaintances.
THE DIARY: When I began singing, I was so scared, it was as if the lights
danced up and down and the platform seemed to rock beneath me. I was
encored and applauded like everything. Twice after the song I had to bow and
then Mrs. Brainard bowed twice. That would not stop them, and so she began
the next piece. I did not get any flowers, but neither did Lucia Merrill. I was
consoled because I got most applause."
A week later came the second concert and the diary says:
"If I was a success last time, this week I was a triumph. Sister says I am
awfully conceited. But when a person is applauded and applauded and receives
two gorgeous bouquets, one of Marechal Neil and one of Katherine Mermet
roses, and when after she has bowed and bowed and smiled and Mrs. Brainard
has bowed many times for her, and a new song is begun and they clap in the
song and hiss it - what else can she think of that night? So."
The newspaper called it a great success and said: " Miss Minnette Slayback
and Miss Lucia Merrill sang beautifully and were heartily applauded." But I con-
sidered that putting it very mildly.
I had been sick in bed all week and was rather doubtful of my success,
but after Lucia sang and received two bouquets I rallied all my powers and was
bound to have some applause, anyway. And when it did come it quite took
my breath away, for with it came the lovely flowers, one from "Daisy, Hord and
Idalie," one from Capt. T.T. Turner, Nancy's father. Oh! I am so happy! I wore
white, with jacqueminot roses, lovely ones, too. I am quite overwhelmed with
compliments and " 'taffy'. Katie says my head is hanging on my left shoulder."
One week later the school gave a "hop", the seniors being entertained
by the juniors. I was told afterward that I was the prettiest girl on the floor. I
invited Mr. Love because he had been very nice to me, and he gave me a huge
bunch of red roses which went very well with my pale blue dress. My card was
filled to overflowing, with twelve extras, and in the midst of the names was that
of Henry Blossom, who was one of my not yet famous friends. That party ended
at midnight, and we went from there to another one and danced till two.
One amusing thing became apparent after that concert; the younger girls
had always been nice to me, but now they became my adoring "fans." It was very
gratifying to see them flock to meet me when I came to school in the morning
and cluster about me in little groups when we were in the yard at recess. Several
of them became my ardent friends and remained so. Just because I could sing!
Isn't it funny? I never knew just how to meet that sort of thing. Confidentially
it was a little embarrassing.
On the fifteenth of May I saw my first complete pantomimic ballet and
I was quite excited over it. It was the "Silvia Ballet" with Theodora de Gillert
as the leading figures combined with the ballet was an opera: "The Marriage
Of Jeannette, " with L" Allemand in the title role, William Lee the tenor. Eviden-
tly it was very delightful.
On the ninth of June school was over. Daisy Brookmire graduated at
this time. I sang in a double trio at the exercises. In July I went to Lexington,
and found that Professor Xaupi was teaching dancing there. He sent word
for me to come to his class. When I got there he asked me to dance with him
and we circled around before the pupils. Then he made me dance with one
of the little girls while he played the violin. The dancing class made a differ-
ence in our amusement. They had evening affairs and we enjoyed them.
Again I began to ride horseback, which I liked better than anything. We had
many picnics and in fact the old town seemed to have awakened. There was a
stranger in town, a Mr. Seth Serat who was a mining engineer and who had a
sophisticated air I found very interesting. Diary says:
"He is very entertaining and dances divinely."
Meantime Katherine had been visiting Birdie in Chicago, and now she
arrived in Lexington. Diary says: "She is much changed for the better as regards
conversational powers." Of course we soon found ourselves attended by cavaliers,
seven one Sunday afternoon. We continued to go driving and riding and had a
wonderful time enjoying country diversions. A great crowd of us went to the
circus when it came to town. We had never enjoyed Lexington so much.
I went to the home of my uncle John Waddell for a visit, this house being
in the town proper and we had a jolly time. One of the great diversions was
driving in a farm wagon drawn by two young mules. One night when the moon
was brilliant and unclouded and the mules were fresh and swift, seven of us in
the wagon went the usual four mile circuit around Lover's Lane and after re-
turning to town had some ice-cream soda. Katherine and I had been asleep
for about an hour when we heard some delicious music, and aunt Betty inform-
ed us we were being serenaded. It was lovely. We had a great deal of company
and hated to leave and go home. Early one morning six young men came to
see us off. Diary says: "So many people seemed to be really sorry to see us go
that it was the one pleasure of going."
My friend Talbot was not there that summer but there were several
people I had not known before, among them the celebrated editress Rose
Young who afterwards lived in New York. George Kreihn lived there, a clever
boy of German extraction who afterwards became a professor at a New York
College. Lee Davis also lived there and afterwards he and Seth Serat were
almost inseparable in their attentions to me. They came to call together, and
they combined forces to tease me in a clever fashion both irritating and amus-
ing. I had a correspondence course with all of these people in the winter time,
and Seth Serat particularly was an interesting correspondent. And this time I
hated to go home. Diary says: "Here I am at home, writing this! How dreadful!"
And of course school was the purpose for which I came home and that soon
chained my devotion, with music and the eternal vocal culture exercises taking
much of my time.
I had advanced certainly in my music, and now Mrs. Brainard organized a
singing group that she called the K.J.B. Quartette. My voice was a mezzo soprano
and she asked me to sing the second soprano part. We each got five dollars when
we sang in public, and on the side we had a very delightful social time. I was the
youngest of the four women, and of course this was just something more to get
Minnettte Slayback in the papers. On the seventh of June, 1887 was the follow-
"Mrs. Brainard's musical complimentary to her pupils at Mary Institute
was a charming affair. The music room of the Institute had been arranged and
decorated for the commencement exercises of the following morning, and the
audience, composed of well-known ladies and young girls all in pretty summer
costumes, giving a very gala air to the occasion. The program ran as follows:
"The Blue Bells of Scotland", Schilling, the K.J.B. Quartet. "Last Night",
Kyerulf, Miss Slayback, " "The Tempest," Buck, Mrs. Mosher," Ave Maria "Abt,
K.J.B. Quartet," "T is I," Pinsuti, Mrs. Anderson. "Stacato Polka," Mulder,
Mrs. Philips, "O Sing, Sweet Bird, "Mazzinghi, Mrs. Brainard, Miss Wait and
Mrs. Anderson. "Water Sprites," Schumann, K.J.B. Quartet. "To The Woods,
"Alary, Mrs. Philips and Mrs. Anderson. "Now the Day Is Over", Barnby, K.J.B.
Quartet. The numbers were all delightfully rendered and the work was a
credit to Mrs. Brainard."
I continued taking private lessons from Mrs. Brainard and also sang in
the choir of the Unitarian Church under the able direction of Professor Ernest
Kroeger. Needless to say I learned a great deal about good music from these
two activities, Mrs. Brainard had a nice taste in songs and chose delicate small
classics of Europe gems of songs of which I never grew tired. I learned the
works of Edward Lassen, Adolph Yensen, Franz Abt, Meyer-Helmund, in addi-
tion to better known composers. Mrs. Brainard was a stickler for enunciation
and intelligent rendering of the poetry of a song, and if perhaps she was not
the genius for the building of a voice that she might have been, she could at
least teach you how to express your song. And so, during that winter I con-
tinued to practise faithfully and was connected more or less with things musical.
During the summer of 1887 I became ill with dysentery. I lost nine
pounds rapidly, and did not recover my health for some time. All my life I
suffered from colonic condition which the doctors failed to recognize, or kept
to themselves, and to me it was some mysterious dragon in a cave which
occasionally filled me with dread. I continually caught cold, I knew nothing
about diet, and did not realize that it was a catarrhal condition of the colon
that might have been remedied , till I was an old woman and ran across a
doctor's column in a newspaper that helped me to take care of myself properly!
I found that I should not have eaten sugar as I did. In my young days I would
get a sort of sugar thirst, and I would cook a pot of fudge or buy some caramels,
or stay with a box of candy till I finished it. But the trouble that summer was
caused by some fruit, and I was quite sick. Arthur Adams attended me and he
was a good physician, but the trouble returned and lingered.
Birdie Slayback came to visit us, and during her visit we learned to smoke
a cigarette, doing it secretly and with great caution, as if it was something
wicked and wild. But smoking never claimed me as a victim. It got in the way
when I worked and tasted like dead flies in my mouth in the morning. So I did
not smoke. When Birdie returned to Chicago I accompanied her, still shaky and
uncertain, and not knowing what to eat, and evidently getting in trouble with
my relatives because of it. A letter to my mother after the railroad journey says:
"Chicago, July 7' 1887
"My Dear Mama:
"We had the nastiest , dirtiest trip you ever heard of.
I grew rapidly better on the train, and when I was sickish, once, I took a little
Syrup of Rhubarb and it made me feel better. But the seats were so small one
could not lie down, curled or any other way, so I did not get to sleep once.
"Uncle Charlie and Aunt Annie met us at Thirty-Ninth Street, -
and I had my cloak on. I had resisted all fruits and similar temptations on the
train, in spite of Birdie's teasing offers, and when we reached their very pretty
rooms, lo, and behold, they had spread out an exquisite little lunch for us:
fruits, pickles, olives, sliced ham, sardines and wine, bread and crackers. I
took some ham and bread and one olive, and later, when the ice-cream came,
some cake, but I did not touch another thing except some port wine. On top
of that I took my tonic and some paragoric. To tell you the truth, in two
minutes I was "swimming," that is, my head was. Then we went out and saw
the moon rise over the lake, then we came in and went to bed and This
morning; (after sleeping well by the way,) I quite offended Uncle Charlie by
not taking cracked wheat. He gave me a lecture. But I would not eat it.
"I came through Pullman on our route and it struck me as being
a beautiful little city. Everything is new and prettily built, and the town is so
well laid out.
"Birdie said the lake did not look pretty, but I say it did. The
sunset was red and reflected pink in the sky; the lake is east of Chicago, and it
reflected the pink sky clear to the horizon, but there the sky was a beautiful blue.
Oh it was lovely!
"Birdie's room is charming. It is rather small, but, as one of her
friends told her "it just suits a little body like you." It is furnished in light furniture,
and has a closet and a wash-stand (stationary) in a closet. So it is very nice.
Tell Lon there's a little boy outside my window who looks just like
him; and all along the lake shore as we came through the suburbs on the train
I saw little pink naked fellows in bathing.
Everything is so delightfully clean here. They have gas lamps
about every fifty feet.
"Oh! this is lovely air; I feel much better already. I know I'll get
well. Aunt Annie says she is going to put me on the train and send me home
if I get sick. But I won't get sick. May I eat cracked wheat? Best love to every-
one and do write soon.
Your Loving daughter
I remained in Chicago for three weeks and very much enjoyed that visit.
Amongst Birdie's friends was a young college student named Jim Todd. He
was interested in Botany, and finding that I was, he brought his herbarium to
show me and it fascinated me. In it he had a number of ferns, amongst them a
"Pellea Atropurpurea", and a "Walking Fern," both of them strangers to me, and
I resolved I would find one and have them for my own.
My family had gone from St. Louis to Lexington and gave orders I should
join them there. I went by way of St. Louis, on the fourth of August, stopping
overnight at Susie's house. I was very much amused at her cute, pretty little
girl, Alice. Alice was just talking nicely. She said: "I tan't, "No'm, I ain't," "Gim"
me fat meat," and Let do my hand." The parrot allowed her to fondle her
without biting the child. On the sixth of August I made an entry in my diary
at Lexington. I surprised Katherine, who did not know I was expected.
I went to Aunt Juliet's and immediately began to enjoy the happy-
go-lucky life I led in that place. But every time I stirred I had a return of my
intestinal ailment, and aside from the pain it caused, it depressed me and made
me blue. I was so afraid of typhoid fever. But I continued to lead the frivolous
life in spite of it. I saw a great deal of Mr. Davis and Mr. Serat, both clever and
stimulating young men. I rode horseback. But I did not get well, and my drug-
store Uncle thought he could cure me. He induced me to take the following
dose: "Whiskey, castor-oil, turpentine and laudanum." All the next day I lay in
bed and contemplated my sins. But I did not remain there long. The young
people in town were very active and my indisposition did not seem to hamper
me. I went on a hay-ride and to an archery meeting, and had company of
both sexes continually. The diary mentions one caller and says: "I sang a great
deal to him. I am so glad I can sing. It helps wonderfully in entertaining."
Meantime Katherine had been invited to visit some relatives in north
western Missouri at a town named Lawson. I continued to have a good time
where I was, but always fighting my intestinal trouble. I wrote to my doctor
brother-in-law describing my symptoms and Arthur sent me some medicine
by express. It seems I had been resisting the functioning of my liver, so now
he gave me a prescription to affect that organ, and after that I began to recover.
I was in a Shakespeare tableau as Portia. Then Katherine wrote for me
to join her at Lawson at the Watkins Place. They owned what really was a ranch,
a huge farm of thirty-two hundred acres, where they raised cattle, fine horses and
fine pigs. Katherine and I were together. We rode horseback continually, and ate
enormously, especially of some very fine peaches that particularly appealed to me.
I gained eighteen pounds and returned to St. Louis feeling like a new person.
That sojourn in the real country showed me more of the beauties of nature
than I had ever enjoyed before. We were always roaming around on horseback,
and I explored the land in a way I had never done. In the midst of the rolling
country was a hummock of limestone rock that I climbed and examined. It was
here that I found a Walking Fern, and a specimen of the Pellea Atropurpurea,
both at the same time, because of the fact that I had seen them in Jim Todd's
Herbarium, and knew what to look for. The joy of finding the Walking Fern
was a real thrill. I dig it up and took it home with me. I had it for years. Later,
in moving about I left it behind, thinking I could find another. But it is not so
easy to find. It does not grow at all in some parts of the country because it likes
a limestone foundation. For years I looked for it again, without success. Finally,
in northern New Jersey, in the limestone hills of Sussex County, I found it again,
and if I had struck gold it would not have given me a greater pleasure.
The ranch was not far from Excelsior Springs, and one afternoon Cousin
John took Kate and me to the celebrated watering place. We started about
four o'clock in a gay humor.
Diary: It seems that he always drives like mad, and always with two horses,
so we fairly flew. Reaching the Springs we walked to two of them and drank of
the water and started back. The roads were very bad and it grew late. To save
time he made a "cut". All went well for a time till we came to a dreadfully steep
place, with a rut on the left, and a smooth rock about four feet square on the
right. The horses began to cut up and would not straddle the rock, but pulled
into the rut. Katie sat on the left, I on the right of Cousin John. First thing I knew
I felt him slipping and then saw Kate fall out of the wagon on to the road! Cousin
John jumped out immediately, and as she said she was not hurt, helped her back
into the vehicle. But tonight she limps and has a good many bruises.
My record notes my appreciation of that country life as having a romantic
appeal. It was like being in a story book, and the small adventures we had deligh-
ted me and filled me full of material for much writing. I wrote a story called
"The Country Girl," later published in the Waverly Magazine. I also wrote a poem
called "Autumn Evening," which was published in the St. Louis Republican during
the following November. So, altogether, that visit gave me an immense amount
While in Lawson we were visited by two young lady sisters, the Fairleigh
girls, also relatives, who came from St. Joseph, Missouri. I returned with them to
pay a short visit at their home in St. Jo, and while there the whole town seemed
to try to entertain me. The Fairleighs gave ma a delightful party. There were
two hundred guests present. I performed a feat that astonished them because
when they were departing I remembered all their names. I had an uncanny
memory for names and faces, and it amused me that they thought it unusual.
With pleasant regrets I left St. Joseph and returned to Lawson, where Katherine
was waiting for me, to go back to Lexington. There we joined in with the rest
of the family and returned to St. Louis.
I was rather at loose ends. In some manner I had managed to spend too
much money and needed eighty dollars for tuition if I were to go back to school.
I had been painting pictures and I wanted frames for them. It was easy for me
to obtain a charge account, and I found myself in debt at the framers, and I am
positive I paid one bill twice. Leaving the receipted bill on the man's desk, he
sent me a second bill and I had nothing to do but to pay it again. Katherine
always had money. It just happened that at this time she had some extra
cash on hand and my mother persuaded her to lend me the money for my
schooling, but I had wasted so much time deciding what I was going to do, that
I did not get back to school till the second semester, and I was obliged to take
private lessons in German and Physics in order to get back in my class to graduate.
Not that I was idle, for my fussy glands would never permit me to be that. I am
quite sure that I changed more during that year I was nineteen than at any other
time during my whole life. I grew up. My brain seemed to unfold, and I was full
of inspirations to accomplish things. I had made up my mind to be a writer, and
although I was continually overcome by a desire to paint a picture and although
I would set up a study and go through to the completion of it, I had no intention
of being an artist, and Mother threw all her weight to the encouragement of my
literary talent. Fortunately I had the power of concentration, which was a good
thing in that large and lively family.
Sister Susie had gone away from the house next door and lived in the
block below, still on Olive Street. But she had left a certain small, walnut desk
behind, and I "made love" to that at once and it filled my requirements to a
nicety. For the time I believed that I was not to return to school, and so I began
a systematic effort at writing. I always felt the urge to use my pen on a Monday
morning. Formerly I had written letters at this time, but now I began writing
stories. I laid in a supply of the proper kind of paper and if the creative streak
was impatient I wrote in pencil and copied the manuscript in ink. There was no
type-writer to simplify matters.
My first attempts at real literary work were very amusing. I had read so
much fiction that I was saturated. I had come to the point where I could not
read without wanting to write something myself. The compositions I wrote
at school were not love stories and adventure, and I wanted to create romance.
Among the friends of my sister Susie we saw much of a family named
Mitchell, refined and lovely people, quite literary in their tastes. Webb Mitchell,
a young man verging on bachelorhood had always been my particular friend.
We were affinities. When he came to call on Sister we always had a chat before
she came down, and I lingered as long as possible to talk to him. He was a sweet
man, and it was to him I turned when I wrote my first story, knowing he would
respect my confidence. My story started out with a girl walking up a road -
going somewhere. She entered a house and another girl began talking to her.
I became interested in the affairs of the second young woman, and finished with
her. The story ended, and I was quite surprised when Webb Mitchell said:
"But what became of the girl who was walking up the road?"
I can still hear his charming laughter.
Of course I did not do that again, but I continued to write and was soon
pouring forth a host of sentimental romances that I didn't know what to do with.
The Waverly Magazine was a modest publication, filled with nothing but roman-
tic tales, and I sent them one called "Five O'clock in the Morning." It was accepted
and later was published, and with the introduction: "Five O'clock in the morning is
charming." But my joy was incomplete because they didn't pay for their contribu-
The editress of the magazine, Mrs. Duchemin, liked my work and encour-
aged me, and for the time being it was the best I could do. I did not know any-
one who wrote for publication and I was ignorant of what to do. However, my
stories looked good to me in print, and I continued with the Waverly Magazine
until I had seen seven stories in that publication. I then decided I wanted to
have money for my writing. I had things printed in several other small maga-
zines, one called: "Fashion and Fancy" one "The Home Record", also in "The
St. Louis Spectator", a popular weekly, and I found I could write indefinitely
if I gave the material away. I was inexperienced and did not appreciate the
policy of getting my name into print. It seemed to me that if I did not get pay
for it, it placed the stigma of unworthiness on it. At school the teachers had
been much interested in my writing, and I always got 98% and 100% for a
composition. One of my teachers was Miss Hilda Clemens and she encouraged
me to write as much as possible, and after I was through with school and she
was married we continued to be devoted friends.
My first publications were before I left school. It got into the society
column and made me locally famous. The stories were the silliest little love
tales and a poem or two, but they furnished a lot of talk. I quote on excerpt
from my scrap-book.
"Talking of books reminds me that I heard during the week many pleasing
comments upon the literary ventures of Miss Minnette Slayback, the gifted,
beautiful daughter of the late Col. Alonzo W. Slayback, whose literary talent
she seems to have inherited. The Young lady has a short story in the Boston
Waverly Magazine of December 10th, called "Five O'clock in the Morning."
That the story was accepted and published in the literary 'Hub' is quite a feather
in the young lady's cap. Success to the bright girl in her literary role!"
My first money came from a sad little tale called "Not Available." In the
S.S. McClure Syndicate. By this time I was subscribing to a professional writer's
magazine, and together with the proud ideas I had developed about money
for my work, I was encouraged to fight for my rights. I think it was Mary Roberts
Reinhart who was so patient with S.S. McClure when he was struggling to estab-
lish himself, and afterwards she was rewarded by his assistance. But I was not
that canny. He did not pay me for months for "Not Available", so I wrote to the
Writer's magazine and asked what to do about it. They wrote a letter to McClure
and under that pressure he sent me a check. But of course it closed that avenue
of publication and I was innocent of what I had done. He would never accept
The Waverly Magazine was edited by Mrs. Amelia Duchemin. She wrote
me a helpful letter:
"I am glad to be able to tell you, consolentiously, that your sketches have
genuine merit. They are sweet and pure, and gracefully written. The Waverly
does not pay; but there is no reason why you should not succeed in other quarters.
Send one of your sketches to Mrs. Frank Leslie, and I am sure it will be read.
Literary Editor, Waverly Magazine."
I thereupon sent one of my stories, called: "Aleck's Love" to the Godey's
Magazine. At least I had some luck and I received fourteen dollars for this
manuscript, and in a most satisfactory way, but not for a long time after I sent
it away, not till the next summer, and in the midst of a tennis match, that was
rather going against me. I had never seen anyone play tennis, but I had read
about the game and wanted very much to establish a court. I was at Aunt
Juliet's and we had a fine piece of grass that I could use, so my cousin Walter
and I marked it off with lime and I bought a net and racquets and we were
launched in a persuit that remained with me. (Eventually it graduated into
Badminton, it is true, but at seventy I still play Badminton.) There was a girl
in Lexington named Maisie McGrew who also established a court, and we play-
ed together with great enthusiasm, and were always trying to prove superiority.
She got up a special tennis match, and just because it was a contest, with
spectators, my nerves interfered, and I did not do so well. I was feeling blue
and discouraged, and temporarily out of play, when someone brought me my
mail. I opened an envelope and out came a check for fourteen dollars for
"Aleck's Love." After that tennis did not matter. This occasion has always been
one of the bright spots of my life.
The little poem called, "A Slumber Day" I wrote at school in line of
composition duty. It was afterwards published in the Waverly Magazine. The
one called "An Autumn Evening," inspired while at Lawson in 1887, was pub-
lished that November, in the St. Louis Republic, and was the first poem in print.
I was nineteen years old.
A short story called "Marie," made part of my literary history. I sent it to
the St. Louis Republic. They did not like to accept literature from local talent.
(They afterwards told me they got their material from the east, sent there to a
syndicate, I suppose, from the west.) The returned my story, but it got lost in
the mail. It was some time before I established that fact, but when I was satis-
fied with it I sent the story to the Waverly Magazine, and it was accepted and
published in February 1888. "Not Available" was syndicated in several papers,
among them being the Chicago Tribune. My Uncle Charles Slayback saw it
there and sent me the clipping, very much pleased.
After January 1888 I began studying to return to school in the last
semester, but I still continued the part of Sisyphus, trying to write literature.
I took private lessons in History, Chemistry and German. My former teacher
Miss Clemens, now Mrs. Archer Douglas taught me German. We would read
for three hours at a time. I belonged to the choir at the Church of the Messiah,
a Unitarian Church, because it was conducted by the famous musician, Ernest
Kroeger, a brilliant man in many ways. From this association I benefited much.
I labored at my singing, with Mrs. Brainard.
DIARY: Took my music lesson this morning. Mrs. Brainard told me that
now my purity of attack of tone was perfect. After years of trying to overcome
that terrible "glide!" And now I am studying portamento, a near relation to the
glide, but what I may call a swell relation.
But the dear lady said my corsets were too tight. Regularly pounced on
me, going so far as to declare I might get another teacher if I could not wear
looser clothing - when she would not give me up for pay! And tough I tried
to convince her that I was not one bit tighter than usual, she regarded me with
the calm eye of unbelief.
I took part in another cantata called "The Snow Queen." All I remember
about that performance was my beautiful dress . It was of white canton flannel,
with the fuzzy side out, and stitched to it occasionally were bright silver icicles,
usually worn by Christmas trees. There was a silver crown, which I made myself,
of pasteboard and tinfoil. But there must have been something more to it, for
Mr. Kroeger was there, and the next time I went to choir practice Ernest gave
me some very nice compliments about my singing in the part of the Snow Queen.
And in the halls of my heart is the memory of my small sister Grace who had a
part in it and not only sang like an angel, but looked like one, with her halo of
red gold hair. She was twelve years old.
My intimacy with Georgie Towner continued to flourish. I know I had too
much company, but I could not stem that tide. I merely kept afloat with it. The
diary notes Bertie one Sunday afternoon, and four young men in the evening.
I have referred to the surmise that the young men who liked Daisy Brook-
mire seemed also to like me. At this period I had two instances of that. Jack was
one of them and at the time he like me I think she like him very much, and perhaps
a word from her ended it for me. It began at a party given at the Mary Institute.
I had a marvelous time, according to the record.
DIARY: I went with Will Matthews and Kate went with Jesse Hendel - in
separate carriages. Lovely time will not describe it. My dress was a pink albatross
cloth skirt with fern green silk rosettes over it. The short waist of the green silk the
low neck filled in with pink tulle, and pink tulle forming sleeves in short puffs to
the wrist. In my hair a pink feather aigrette. My card was filled to overflowing -
fifteen dances, - thirty-seven names on my card. Oh! The fun! Danced with
Jack. We had lots of fun together. And I am proud to say it was a thoroughly
enjoyable party to me. Will Matthews gave me a fan which he brought from
Japan. Oh! I am tired!
I was writing at about one o'clock.
The next day Jack accidentally crossed my path. The night before he
had accused me of not speaking to him on the street so I bowed and said:
"You see, I am speaking, today."
We stood talking for a few moments, then I said:
"Are you just roaming around? I knew he was. The I put in a stroke of
quiet audacity and said:
"Come and roam with me."
"Where are you going to roam?"
"I'm on my way home"
"Don't go home."
And I didn't. We went out the Boulevarde past Donaldson's and it was
a delightful walk. He walked home with me and I asked him to call. I was not
sure that he would. But he happened to live in the region where Georgie
resided, and it seemed inevitable to meet Jack every day. Or at times to see
him pass under her window. It was remarkable how often he caught up with
me as I came or went from her house. Once he whistled just as I rang the door-
bell, but the door-bell was not answered and we talked for several minutes. At
one time my diary complained I had not seen him for two days. Georgie was
always surrounded by a bevy of girls, and they began to be suspicious of the
way I watched out the window or came to the house accompanied by the young
man, and naturally they teased me about him. I tried avoiding him and his
immediate corners, but he seemed to sense that I was in the neighborhood and
would turn up on other streets and join me. And then, one day he asked if I
would be at home that evening. Why of course I was. He did not know that I
was dated to a rehearsal of Jarley's waxworks at the church, but it was auto-
matically cancelled as soon as he spoke.
Scott's Time Portal to Old St. Louis
Copyright 2001, Carol Jane Belding, All right reserved. HTML and graphics edited by Scott Williams. Transcription by Deanna Adams Holm