FROM MY NURSERY: FORTY-SIX YEARS AGO When I was a little child, Said my passionate nurse, and wild: "Wash you, children, clean and white; God may call you any night." Close my tender brother clung, While I said with doubtful tongue: "No, we cannot die so soon; For you told, the other noon, "Of those months in order fine That should make the earth divine. I've not seen, scarce five years old, Months like those of which you told." Softly, then, the woman's hand Loosed my frock from silken band, Tender smoothed the fiery head, Often shamed for ringlets red. Somewhat gently did she say, "Child, those months are every day." Still, methinks, I wait in fear, For that wonder-glorious year— For a spring without a storm, Summer honey-dewed and warm, Autumn of robuster strength, Winter piled in crystal length. I will wash me clean and white; God may call me any night. I must tell Him when I go His great year is yet to know— Year when working of the race Shall match Creation's dial face; Each hour be born of music's chime, And Truth eternal told in Time. J. W. H.
Lieutenant-Colonel Ward had ten children, of whom seven lived to grow up. The fifth child and son was Samuel, our mother's father, born in Warwick, Rhode Island, May 1, 1786. When he was four years old, the family moved to New York, where the Colonel and his brother established themselves as merchants under the firm name of Samuel Ward & Brother.
The firm was only moderately successful; the children came fast. With his narrow income it was not possible for the father to give his boy the college education he desired; so at fourteen, fresh from the common schools, Samuel entered as a clerk the banking house of Prime & King. While still a mere lad, an old friend of the family asked him what he meant to be when he came to man's estate.
"I mean to be one of the first bankers in the United States!" replied Samuel.
At the age of twenty-two he became a partner in the firm, which was thereafter known as Prime, Ward & King.
In a memoir of our grandfather, the partner who survived him, Mr. Charles King, says:—
"Money was the commodity in which Mr. Ward dealt, and if, as is hardly to be disputed, money be the root of all evil, it is also, in hands that know how to use it worthily, the instrument of much good. There exist undoubtedly, in regard to the trade in money, and respecting those engaged in it, many and absurd prejudices, inherited in part from ancient error, and fomented and kept alive by the jealousies of ignorance and indigence. It is therefore no small triumph to have lived down, as Mr. Ward did, this prejudice, and to have forced upon the community in the midst of which he resided, and upon all brought into connexion with him, the conviction that commerce in money, like commerce in general, is, to a lofty spirit, lofty and ennobling, and is valued more for the power it confers, of promoting liberal and beneficent enterprises, and of conducing to the welfare and prosperity of society, than for the means of individual and selfish gratification or indulgence."
Mr. Ward's activities were not confined to financial affairs. He was founder and first president of the Bank of Commerce; one of the founders of the New York University and of the Stuyvesant Institute, etc., etc.
In 1812 he married Julia Rush Cutler, second daughter of Benjamin Clarke and Sarah Mitchell (Hyrne) Cutler. Julia Cutler was sixteen years old at the time of her marriage, lovely in character and beautiful in person. She had been a pupil of the saintly Isabella Graham, and her literary taste had been carefully cultivated in the style of the day. One of her poems, found in Griswold's "Female Poets of America," shows the deeply religious cast of her mind; yet she was full of gentle gayety, loved music, laughter, and pretty things.
During the first years of their married life, Mr. and Mrs. Ward lived in Marketfield Street, near the Battery. Here four children were born, Samuel and Henry, and the two Julias. She who was known as "the first little Julia" lived only four years. During her fatal illness her father was called away by urgent business. In great distress of mind, he arranged that certain tokens should inform him of the child's condition. A few days later, as he was riding homeward, a messenger came to meet him and silently laid in his hand a tiny shoe: the child was dead.
Not long after this, on May 27, 1819, a second daughter was born, and named Julia.
Julia Ward was very little when her parents moved to "a large house on the Bowling Green, a region of high fashion in those days." Here were born three more children: Francis Marion, Louisa Cutler, and Ann Eliza. For some time before the birth of the last-named child, Mrs. Ward's health had been gradually failing, though every known measure had been used to restore it. There had been journeys to Niagara and up the Hudson, in the family coach, straw-color outside with linings and cushions of brilliant blue. Little Julia went with her mother on these journeys; the good elder sister, Eliza Cutler, was also of the party; and a physician, Dr. John Wakefield Francis, who was later to play an important part in the family life. Julia remembered many incidents of these journeys, though the latest of them took place when she was barely four years old. She sat in a little chair placed at the feet of her elders, and she used to tell us how, cramped with remaining in one position, she was constantly moving the chair, bringing its feet down on those of Dr. Francis, to his acute anguish. In spite of this, the good doctor would often read to her from a book of short tales and poems which had been brought for her amusement, and she always remembered his reading of "Pity the sorrows of a poor old man," and how it brought the tears to her eyes.
At Niagara Falls she asked Dr. Francis, "Who made that great hole where the water came down?" and was told "The great Maker of all!" This puzzled her, and she inquired further, but when her friend said, "Do you not know? Our Father who art in heaven!" she "felt that she ought to have known, and went away somewhat abashed."
She remembered a visit to Red Jacket, the famous Indian chief, at his encampment. Julia was given a twist of tobacco tied with blue ribbon, which she was to present to him. At sight of the tall, dignified savage, the child sprang forward and threw her arms round his neck, to the great discomfiture of both; baby as she was, Julia felt at once that her embrace was unexpected and unwelcome.
Sometimes they went to the pleasant farm at Jamaica, Long Island, where Lieutenant-Colonel Ward was living at this time, with his unmarried sons, and his two daughters, Phœbe and Anne.
Phœbe was an invalid saint. She lived in a darkened room, and the plates and dishes from which she ate were of brown china or crockery, as she fancied her eyes could not bear white. Anne was equally pious, but more normal. She it was who managed the farm, and who would always bring the cheeses to New York herself for the market, lest any of the family grow proud and belittle the dignity of honest work.
It is from Jamaica that Mrs. Ward writes to her mother a letter which shows that though the tenderest of mothers, she had been strictly imbued with the Old Testament ideas of bringing up children.
Dearest Mother,— ... I find myself better since I came hither.... Husband more devoted than ever; children sweet tho' something of a drawback on my recovery.... Thus in one page, you have the whole history of my present life, reading and thinking only excepted, which occupy by far the greatest portion of my time.... I was obliged to whip Julia yesterday afternoon, and have been sick ever since in consequence of the agitation it threw me into.... I felt obliged to try Solomon's prescription, which had a worse effect on me than on her.... I think it is the last time, however, blow high or low, for she is as nervous as her mama was at her age, at the sight of a rod, and screamed herself almost to death; indeed her nerves were so affected that she cannot get over it and has cried all today, trembling as violently as if she had the ague all the time I whipped her and could not eat.
Julia was to retain through life the memories of the dear mother so early lost. She remembered her first sewing-lesson; how being told to take the needle in one hand she straightway placed the thimble on the other. She remembered her first efforts to say "mother," and how "muzzer" was all she could produce, till "the dear parent presently said, 'if you cannot do better than that, you will have to go back and call me "mamma."' The shame of going back moved me to one last effort, and, summoning my utmost strength of tongue I succeeded in saying 'mother.'"
All devices to restore the young mother's failing strength were in vain: soon after giving birth to the fourth daughter, Ann Eliza, she died.
Her life had been pure, happy, and unselfish; yet her last hours were full of anguish. Reared in the strictest tenets of Evangelical piety, she was oppressed with terror concerning the fate of her soul; the sorrows of death compassed her about, the pains of hell gat hold upon her. It is piteous to read of the sufferings of this innocent creature, as described by her mourning family; piteous, too, to realize, by the light of to-day, that she was almost literally prayed to death. She was twenty-seven years old when she died and had borne seven children.
Mr. Ward's grief at the death of this beloved wife was so extreme as to bring on a severe illness. For some time he could not bear to see the child who, he thought, had cost her mother's life; and though he gathered his other children tenderly around him, the little Annie was kept out of his sight.
By and by his father came to make him a visit and heard of this state of things. Going to the nursery, the old gentleman took the baby from its nurse, and carrying it into the room where his son sat desolate, laid it gently in his arms. From that moment the little youngest became almost his dearest care.
He could not live with his sorrow in the same dwelling that had contained his joy. The beautiful house at Bowling Green was sold, with the new furniture which had lately been ordered to please his Julia, and which the children never saw uncovered; and the family removed to Bond Street, then at the upper end of New York City.
"Mr. Ward," said his friends, "you are going out of town!"
Bond Street in the twentieth century is an unlovely thoroughfare, grimy, frowzy, given over largely to the sale of feathers and artificial flowers; Bond Street in the early part of the nineteenth century was a different affair.
The first settler in the street was Jonas Minturn, who about 1825 built No. 22. Mr. Ward came next. The city was then so remote, one could hardly see the houses to the south across the woods and fields.
The Ward children saw the street grow up around them; saw the dignified houses, brick or freestone, built and occupied by Kings, Halls, Morgans, Grinnells, most of all by Wards. Mr. Ward was then at No. 16; his father, the old Revolutionary soldier, soon came to live at No. 7, with his daughter Anne; his brother Henry was first at No. 14, then at No. 23; while his brother John was to make No. 8 a dwelling beloved by three generations.
Julia did not remember in what year her father bought the tract of land at the corner of Bond Street and Broadway. At first a large part of it was fenced in, and used as a riding-ring by the Ward boys. There was also, either here or at No. 16, something in the way of a garden, which she thus recalls in an address on horticulture, given in her later years:—
"My earliest horticultural recollections go back to an enclosure, usually called a yard, in the rear of my father's house in New York. When my little brother and I were turned out to play there, we might just as well have picked the bugs off the rosebushes as the buds, of which we made wicked havoc. Not knowing what to do with the flower border, we barbarized instead of cultivating it. Being of extremely inquiring minds, we picked the larkspurs and laburnums to pieces, but became nothing the wiser for the process. A little daily tuition might have transformed us into a miniature Adam and Eve, and might have taught us some things that these old friends of ours did not know. But tuition to us then meant six or eight daily hours passed in dry conversation with the family governess or French master. No one dreamed of turning the enamelled pages of the garden for us. We grew up consequently with the city measure of the universe—your own house, somebody else's, the trees in the park, a strip of blue sky overhead, and a great deal of talk about Nature read from the best authors. Much that is most beautiful in the works of all the poets was perfectly unintelligible to us, because we had never seen the phenomena referred to; or if we had seen them, we had not been taught to observe them. You will ask where we passed our summers? In travelling, or at the seashore, perhaps. But we took our city measure with us, and were never quite at home beyond its limits."
She adds: "I state these facts only to show how much of the world's beauty and value may be shut out from the eyes of a human being, by even a careful education! This loss cannot easily be remedied in later years. I myself had reached mature life before I experienced the deep and calm enjoyments of country life. The long, still summer days, the open, fragrant fields, the shy wild blossoms, the song of birds; these won me at last to delight in them—at first they seemed to me only a void. It was a new gospel that the meadows taught me, and my own little children were its interpreters. I know now some country craft, and could even trim fruit trees and weed garden beds. But I have always regretted in this respect the lost time of youth. When I made acquaintance with Nature, I was too old to learn the skill of gardening. Year after year in the savage island of Newport, where labor is hard to hire, I have passed summers ungladdened by so much as a hollyhock, and the garden I at last managed to secure owes nothing to my skill or knowledge."
The truth is, people were afraid of the open air in those days. Julia and her sisters sometimes went for a drive in pleasant weather, dressed in blue pelisses and yellow satin bonnets to match the chariot; they rarely went out on foot; when they did, it was in cambric dresses and kid slippers; the result was apt to be a cold or a sore throat, proving conclusively to the minds of their elders how much better off they were within doors.
Julia's nursery recollections were chiefly of No. 16 Bond Street. Here the little Wards lived a happy but somewhat sober life, under the watchful care of their father, and their faithful Aunt Eliza, known in the family as "Auntie Francis."
The young mother, in dying, had commended her children specially to the care of this, her eldest sister, whose ability had been tried and proved from childhood. In 1810 her father, Benjamin Clarke Cutler, died suddenly under singular and painful circumstances. Her mother, crushed by this event, took to her bed, leaving the care of the family to Eliza, then fifteen years of age. Eliza took up the house-mother's burden without question; nursed her mother, husbanded the narrow resources of the household, brought up the four younger children with a strong hand. "There were giants in those days."
Nothing could daunt Eliza Cutler's spirits, which were a perpetual cordial to those around her. She was often "borrowed" by one member and another of the family; she threatened to hang a sign over her door with the inscription, "Cheering done here by the job by E. Cutler." Her tongue could be sharp as well as merry; witness many anecdotes.
The housekeeper of a certain millionnaire, calling upon her to ask the character of a servant, took occasion to enlarge upon the splendors of her employer's establishment. "Mr. So-and-So keeps this; Mr. So-and-So keeps that:—"
"Yes! yes!" said Mrs. Francis; "it is well known that Mr. So-and-So keeps everything, except the Ten Commandments!"
"Oh! Mrs. Francis, how could you?" cried the poor millionnaire when next they met.
In 1829 Eliza Cutler married Dr. John Wakefield Francis, the historian of Old New York, the beloved physician of a whole generation. He was already, as has been seen, a member of the Ward household, friend and resident physician. His tremendous vitality, his quick sympathies, his amazing flow of vivid and picturesque language, made him the delight of the children. He called them by singular pet names, "Cream Cheese from the Dairy of Heaven," "Pocket Edition of Lives of the Saints," etc., etc. He sang to them odd snatches of song which were to delight and exasperate later generations:—
"To woodman's hut one evening there came A physician and a dancing-master: The wind did blow, io, io, And the rain poured faster and faster."
Edgar Allan Poe said of Dr. Francis that his conversation was "a sort of Roman punch, made up of tragedy, comedy, and the broadest of all possible farce."
In those days "The Raven," newly published, was the talk of the town. Dr. Francis, meeting Poe, invited him to come to his house on a certain evening, and straightway forgot the matter. Poe came at the appointed time. The Doctor, summoned to the bedside of a patient, left the drawing-room hastily, and in the anteroom ran into a tall, cadaverous figure in black. Seizing him in his arms, he carried him into the drawing-room and set him down before his wife. "Eliza, my dear—the Raven!" and he departed, leaving guest and hostess (the latter had never heard of "The Raven"!) equally petrified.
Mrs. Francis adored her husband, yet he must sometimes have tried her patience sorely. One evening they had a dinner party, eighteen covers, a state occasion. Midway in the repast the Doctor rose, and begging the guests to excuse him and his wife for a moment, led her, speechless with amazement, into the next room. Here he proceeded to bleed her, removing twelve ounces of blood; replying to her piteous protestations, "Madam, I saw that you were on the point of apoplexy, and I judge it best to avert it."
In strong contrast with "Uncle Doctor" was "Uncle Ben," the Reverend Benjamin Clarke Cutler, for many years rector of St. Anne's Church, Brooklyn. This uncle was much less to Julia's taste: indeed, she was known to stamp her childish foot, and cry, "I don't care for old Ben Cutler!" Nevertheless he was a saintly and interesting person.
He was twelve years old at the time of his father's tragic death, and was deeply influenced by it. His youth was made unhappy by spiritual anguish, duty to his widowed mother and the call to the ministry fighting within him. The latter conquered. In his twenty-first year he drew up, signed, and sealed "An Instrument of Solemn Surrender of Myself, Soul and Body, to God!" This document was in the form of a testament, in which he solemnly ("with death, judgment and eternity in view") gave, covenanted, and made over himself, soul and body, all his faculties, all his influence in this world, all the worldly goods with which he might be endowed, into the hands of his Creator, Preserver, and Constant Benefactor, to be his forever, and at his disposal. He goes on to say: "Witness, ye holy angels! I am God's servant; witness, thou, Prince of Hell! I am thy enemy, thy implacable enemy, from this time forth and forevermore."
That this covenant was well kept, no one who reads his memoirs and the testimony of his contemporaries can doubt.
There are many anecdotes of Uncle Ben. Once, during his early ministry, he was riding in a crowded stagecoach. One of the passengers swore profusely and continuously, to the manifest annoyance of the others. Presently Dr. Cutler, leaning forward, addressed the swearer.
"Sir," he said, "you are fond of blasphemy; I am fond of prayer. This is a public conveyance, and for the remainder of our journey, as often as you swear aloud, I shall pray aloud, and we will see who comes off best." The swearing stopped!
In his later years, he met one day a parishioner clad in deep mourning for a near relative. The old clergyman laid his hand on the crape sleeve. "What!" he said sternly. "Heathen mourning for a Christian saint!"
But of all the uncles (and there were many) the beloved Uncle John Ward was always first. Of him, through many years Julia's devoted friend and chief adviser, we shall speak later on.
We have dwelt upon the generation preceding our mother's, because all these people, the beautiful mother so early lost, so long loved and mourned, the sternly devoted father, the vivacious aunts, the stalwart uncles, were strong influences in the life of Julia Ward.
The amusements of the little Wards were few, compared with those of children of to-day. As a child of seven, Julia was taken twice to the opera, and heard Malibran, then Signorina Garcia, a pleasure the memory of which remained with her through life. About this time Mr. Ward's views of religious duty deepened in stringency and in gloom. There was no more opera, nor did Julia ever attend a theatre until she was a grown woman. In Low Church circles at that time, the drama was considered distinctly of the devil. The burning of the first Bowery Theatre and of the great theatre at Richmond, Virginia, were spoken of as "judgments." Many an Evangelical pastor "improved" the occasions from the pulpit.
The child inherited a strong dramatic sense from the Marion Cutlers. She had barely learned to read when she found in an "Annual" a tale called "The Iroquois Bride," which she dramatized and presented to the nursery audience, with herself for the bride, her brother Marion for the lover, and a stool for the rock they ascended to stab each other. The performance was not approved by Authority, and the book was promptly taken away.
Her first written drama was composed at the age of nine, but even the name of it is lost.
Mr. Ward did not encourage intimacies with other children. He felt strongly that brothers and sisters were the true, and should be the only, intimates for one another; indeed, the six children were enough to make a pleasant little circle of their own, and there were merry games in the wide nursery. Sam, the eldest born, was master of the revels in childhood, as throughout his life. It was his delight, in the early morning, to wrap himself in a sheet, and bursting into the room where the little sisters slept, leap from bed to bed, announcing himself as a ghost come to haunt them; or, when the three ladies, Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Francis (otherwise known as Julia, Louisa, and Annie) were playing with their dolls, to whisper in their ears that they must on no account venture near the attic stairs, as an old man in red was sitting there. Of course the little Fatimas must needs peep, and the old man was always there, a terrible figure, his face hidden. In "Bro' Sam's" absence it was Marion who played the outlaw and descended like a whirlwind upon the unhappy ladies, who were journeying through dense and dreadful forests.
Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Francis were devoted mothers, and reared large families of dolls. They kept house in a wide bureau drawer, divided into three parts. Our Aunt Annie (Mrs. Adolphe Mailliard) writes: "Mrs. Mills' (Julia) dolls were always far more picturesquely dressed than ours, although I can say little for their neatness. Oh! to what numberless parties they went, and how tipsy they invariably got! I can see distinctly to-day the upset wagon (boxes, on spools for wheels), and the muddy dresses, for they always fell into mud puddles."
Marion was as pious as he was warlike. His morning sermons, delivered over the back of a chair, were fervent and eloquent; he was only seven years old when he wrote to his Cousin Henry Ward, who was ill with some childish ailment:—
"Do not forget to say your prayers every morning and evening. I hope that you trust in God; and, my dear cousin, do not set your mind too much on Earthly things! And my dear cousin, this is the prayer."
Follows the Lord's Prayer carefully written out. On the next page of the same sheet, the eight-year-old Julia adds her exhortation:—
"Dear Cousin, I hope that you will say the Prayer which my Brother has written for you. I hear with regret that you are sick, and it is as necessary as ever that you should trust in God; love him, dear Henry, and you will see Death approaching with joy. Oh, what are earthly things, which we must all lose when we die—to our immortal souls which never die! I cannot bear the thought of anybody who is dying without a knowledge of Christ. We may die before to-morrow, and therefore we ought to be prepared for death."
This was scarcely cheering for Henry, aged ten; as a matter of fact, he was to have half a century in which to make his preparations.
Some of the nursery recollections were the reverse of merry. When Julia was still a little child, the old housekeeper died. The children loved her, and Auntie Francis did not wish them to be saddened by the funeral preparations; she gave them a good dose of physic all round and put them to bed for the day.
Julia was a beautiful child, but she had red hair, which was then considered a sad drawback. She could remember visitors condoling with her mother on this misfortune, and the gentle lady deploring it also, and striving by the use of washes and leaden combs to darken the over-bright locks. Still, some impression of good looks must have reached the child's mind; for one day, desiring to know what she really was like, she scrambled up on a chair, then on a dressing-table, and took a good look in the mirror.
"Is that all?" she cried, and scrambled down again, a sadly disappointed child.
Her first lessons were from governesses and masters; when she was nine years old, she was sent to a private school in the neighborhood. She was placed in a class with older girls, and learned by heart many pages of Paley's "Moral Philosophy"; memorizing from textbooks formed in those days a great part of the school curriculum. She did not care especially for Paley, and found chemistry (without experiments!) and geometry far more interesting; but history and languages were the studies she loved. She had learned in the nursery to speak French fluently; she soon began the study of Latin. Hearing a class reciting an Italian lesson, she was enchanted with the musical sound of the language; listened and marked, day after day, and presently handed to the amazed principal a note correctly written in Italian, begging permission to join the class.
At nine years old she was reading "Pilgrim's Progress," and seeking its characters in the people she met every day. She always counted it one of the books which had most influenced her. Another was Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," which she read at seventeen.
She began at an early age to write verse. A manuscript volume has been preserved in which some of these early poems were copied for her father.
The title-page and dedication are here reproduced:
Poems Dedicated to Samuel Ward esq By His affectionate daughter Julia Ward. LET ME BE THINE! Regard not with a critic's eye. New York, 1831.
To Samuel Ward.
Expect not to find in these juvenile productions the delicacy and grace which pervaded the writings of that dear parent who is now in glory. I am indeed conscious of the many faults they contain, but my object in presenting you with these (original) poems, has been to give you a little memorial of my early life, and I entreat you to remember that they were written in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth years of my life.
Your loving daughter
The titles show the trend of the child's thought: "All things shall pass away"; "We return no more"; "Invitation to Youth" (1831!); "To my dear Mother"; "Mine is the power to make thee whole"; "To an infant's departing spirit"; "Redeeming Love"; "My Heavenly Home," etc., etc.
At Newport, in 1831, she wrote the following:—
MORNING HYMN Now I see the morning light, Shining bright and gay. God has kept me through the night; He will, if He thinks it right, Preserve me through this day. Let thy holy Spirit send Of heavenly light a ray; Thy face, oh! Lord, I fain would seek, But I am feeble, vain and weak; Oh, guide me in thy way! Let thy assistance, Lord, be given, That when life's path I've trod, And when the last frail tie is riven, My spirit may ascend to heaven, To dwell with thee, My God. We cannot resist quoting a stanza from the effusion entitled "Father's Birthday":— Louisa brings a cushion rare, Anne Eliza a toothpick bright and fair; And O! accept the gift I bring, It is a daughter's offering.
Julia's mind was not destined to remain in the evangelical mould which must have so rejoiced the heart of her father. In 1834, at the ripe age of fifteen, she describes her
"Vain Regrets written on looking over a diary kept while I was under serious impressions":— Oh! happy days, gone, never to return At which fond memory will ever burn, Oh, Joyous hours, with peace and gladness blest, When hope and joy dwelt in this careworn breast.
The next poem, "The Land of Peace," breaks off abruptly at the third line, and when she again began to write religious verse, it was from a widely different standpoint.
It may have been about this time that she tried to lead her sisters into the path of poesy.
Coming one day into the nursery, in serious mood, she found the two little girls playing some childish game. Miss Ward (she was always Miss Ward, even in the nursery!) rebuked them for their frivolity; bade them turn their thoughts to graver matters, and write poetry.
Louisa refused point-blank, but little Annie, always anxious to please, went dutifully to work, and produced the following lines:—
He feeds the ravens when they call, And stands them in a pleasant hall. "Mitter Ward" (to give him his nursery title) treasured these tokens of pious and literary promise. He even responded in kind, as is shown by some verses which are endorsed:—
"From my dearest Father.
Julia Euphrosyne Ward [sic]."
His letters are full of playful affection. He would fain be father and mother both to the children who were now his all. Under the austere exterior lay a tenderness which perhaps they hardly comprehended at the time. It was in fact this very anguish of solicitude, this passionate wish that they should not only have, but be everything desirable and lovely, that made him outwardly so stern. This sterner note impressed itself so deeply upon the minds of his children that the anecdotes familiar to our own generation echo it. We see the little Julia, weary with long riding in the family coach, suffering her knees to drop apart childwise, and we hear Mr. Ward say: "My daughter, if you cannot sit like a lady, we will stop at the next tailor's and have you measured for a pair of pantaloons!"
Or we hear the child at table, remarking innocently that the cheese is strong; and the deep voice replying, "It is no more so than the expression, Miss!"
The family was still at 16 Bond Street, when all the children had whooping-cough severely, and were confined to the house for many weeks. Mrs. Mailliard writes of this time:—
"I remember the screened-off corner of the dining-room, which was called the Bower, where we each retired when the spasms came on, and the promises which we vainly gave each other each morning to choke rather than cough whilst Uncle Doctor made his visit to the nursery; for the slightest sound from one of us provoked the general order of a dose all round."
It was after this illness that Julia Ward first went to Newport. A change of air was prescribed for the children, and they were packed off to the farmhouse of Jacob Bailey, two or three miles from the town of Newport. Here they spent a happy summer, to be followed by many others. They slept on mattresses stuffed with ground corncobs; the table was primitive; but there was plenty of cream and curds, eggs and butter, and there was the wonderful air. The children grew fat and hearty, and scampered all over the island with great delight.
(But when they went down to the beach, Julia must wear a thick green worsted veil to preserve her ivory-and-rose complexion.
"Little Julia has another freckle to-day!" a visitor was told. "It was not her fault, the nurse forgot her veil!")
Julia recalled Newport in 1832 as "a forsaken, mildewed place, a sort of intensified Salem, with houses of rich design, no longer richly inhabited." She was to watch through many years the growth of what was always one of the cities of her heart.
But we must return to Bond Street, and take one more look at No. 16. The Wards were soon to leave it for a statelier dwelling, but many associations would always cling about the old house. Here it was that the good old grandfather, Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Ward, used to come from No. 7 to talk business with his son or to play with the children. Our mother had a vivid recollection of once, when still a little child, sitting down at the piano, placing an open music-book on the rack (though she could not yet read music), and beginning to pound and thump the keys with might and main. The Colonel was sitting by, book in hand, and endured the noise patiently for some time. Finally he said in his courtly way, "Is it so set down in the book, little lady?" "Yes, Grandpapa!" said naughty Julia, and went on banging; the Colonel, who indeed had little music, made no further comment. But when a game of "Tommy-come-tickle-me" was toward, the children must step in to No. 7 to share that excitement with their grandfather, since no cards were permitted under Mr. Ward's roof.
The year of the first Newport visit, 1832, was also the terrible "cholera year." Uncle Ben Cutler, at that time city missionary, writes in his diary:—
"The cholera is in Quebec and Montreal. This city is beginning to be alarmed; Christians are waking up. My soul, how stands the case with thee?"
"I am now in the midst of the pestilence. The cholera, the universal plague, arrived in this city four weeks ago. It has caused the death of over nine hundred persons. This day the report of the Board of Health was three hundred new cases and one hundred and thirty deaths."
Many parts of the city were entirely deserted. Dr. Cutler retained through life the vivid recollection of riding down Broadway in full daylight, meeting no living soul, seeing only a face here and there at an upper window, peering at him as at a strange sight.
Newport took the alarm, and forbade steamboats from New York to land their passengers. This behavior was considered very cold-blooded, and gave rise to the conundrum: "Why is it impossible for Newporters to take the cholera? Answer: Because they have no bowels."
Grandma Cutler was at Newport with the Wards and Francises, and trembled for her only son. She implored him to "flee while it was yet day." "My most precious son," she cried, "oh, come out from thence! I entreat you; linger not within its walls, as Lot would have done, but for the friendly angels that drew him perforce from it!"
The missionary stood firm at his post, and though exhausted by his labors, came safe through the ordeal. But Colonel Ward, who had not thought fit to flee the enemy,—it was not his habit to flee enemies,—was stricken with the pestilence, and died in New York City, August 16. His death was a grievous blow to Mr. Ward. Not only had he lost a loving and beloved father, but he had no assurance of the orthodoxy of that father's religious opinions. The Colonel was thought in the family to be of a philosophizing, if not actually sceptical, turn of mind; it might be that he was not "safe"! Years after, Mr. Ward told Julia of the anguish he suffered from this uncertainty.
It is with No. 16 Bond Street that we chiefly associate the sprightly figure of "Grandma Cutler," who was a frequent visitor there. The affection between Mr. Ward and his mother-in-law was warm and lively. They had a "little language" of their own, and she was Lady Feltham (from her fondness for Feltham's "Resolves," a book little in demand in the twentieth century); and he was her "saucy Lark," or "Plato." Mrs. Cutler died in 1836.