100 Years on the Ohio part 2

Saturday 18 Sept. 1812

Rose after a chilly night, the insides of the tent were damp.

The Archery Competition for Ladies of quality began at 11 in the forenoon, drawing a large crowd of spectators. Mrs Cooper instructed her husband to have the ladies draw straws to determine who would shoot first whilst she read the rules to all present.

The ladies and gentlemen that gather'd together on the front lawn to watch the competition.

I display the hits to the second novelty target I created for the practice that morning.

Mrs Graham drew for first shot.

Mrs. Dubbeld was second

Miss Waterman was third in line to shoot.

Before the competition was completed, I was forced to depart elsewhere to give my midday medical demonstration for the benefit of the publick. There was a goodly number in attendance.

I returned to the front lawn just as the archery competition had ended. Ms Waterman placed 3rd behind Mrs. Martin and Miss Martin, who, as I understand, have been at archery for a long time. One present even said in jest that Miss Martin had been at it since the womb. Miss Waterman wore her participation cockade with pride. First on her little brown spencer, then later transfered it to her beret. But something was amiss! She informed me of Sgt. Williams' vile behavior toward her and the ungentlemanly things he had said to her in my absence.

This would not stand! I communicated with Captain Cushing on the matter and later engaged him to act as my second in a duel to be held on the green at 4 in the afternoon. All the proper arrangements were made.

As I was checking to ensure that my instruments would be safe in the room where I was to demonstrate a gain the following day, Miss Waterman again took note of my personal letters. This time, she said nothing, but her eyes told the tale. I knew she wanted to ask about the letter from her Aunt Elizabeth again. I gathered them and placed them in my vasculum for safe keeping.


At 2pm there was held a most delightful tea by Lady Rockhold. Cookies and little sandwiches were served under the awning of the Rockhold & Dubbeld tents. I drank several glasses of limeade.

Afterward there was instruction giv'n in the latest dances at the pavilion by the Tumbusch's. We danced the Duke of Kent Waltz among others. It was during the dance instruction that I noticed how naturally graceful and elegant Miss Waterman moved herself about...

At 4 pm, I set out to duel with Sgt. Williams. William's pistol fired with success, but his hand was not true and he missed me. MY pistol however, being loaded and ready would not fire, no matter how many times I pulled the trigger!

We ended up settling our differences and going on our way.

Sgt. Williams and I back to back, attended by our seconds.

Pacing off the field.

I turn to fire...

After the excitement of the dancing and the dual, Ms. Waterman was quite taken with the heat. Mrs. Cooper tended her at first, making her remove her wig and beret before passing her back into my care. I carried her back to her tent where I bade her to lie down and rest. I fed her spoonfuls of iced cream and sips of water while bathing her brow and neck with a moist handkerchief.

Even in her weaken'd state, she asked again about the letter from her Aunt. After careful consideration, I allowed her to read it:

My Dear Doctor,


I write this letter as an explanation for the sudden arrival of my dear niece, Emily Waterman in your country. I believe that, once explained, you will understand all too well our decision to send her there.


The sincere love and affection which I now have for her indulgent father, and for her virtuous mother, together with the tender regard I have for her future happiness and welfare, have prevailed on me to inform you, rather by letter than by word of mouth, that the town rings of her unguarded conduct, and the too great freedoms she has taken with Mr. B-------, whom we have discussed in letters past.


She has been seen with him (if Fame lies not) in the sideboxes at both theatres; in St. James's Park on Sunday night; and afterwards at a certain tavern not a mile from thence, which is a house (as I have been credibly informed) of no good repute. They have both, more-over, been seen at Ranelagh assembly, Vauxhall gardens, and what is still more flagrant, at Cuper's fireworks.


Don't imagine, Doctor, that I am in the least prejudised, or speak out of any private pique; but let me tell you, her familiarity with him gives me no small concern, as his character is none of the best ; and as he has acted in the most ungenerous manner by two or three very virtuous young ladies of my acquaintance, who entertained too favourable an opinion of his honour.


Tis possible, as she has no great expectancies from their relations, and he has an income, as it is reported, of 200 l. a-year left him by his uncle, that she may be tempted to imagine his address an offer to her advantage. It is much to be questioned, however, whether his intentions are sincere for, notwithstanding all the fair promise he may possibly make her, I have heard it whispered, that he is privately engaged to a rich, old doating lady, not far from Hackney.


Besides, admitting it to be true, that he is really entitled to the annuity above-mentioned yet It is too well known that he is deep in debt; that he lives beyond his income, and has very little, if any, regard for his reputation.


In short, not to mince the matter, he is a perfect libertine, and is ever boasting of favours from our weak sex, whose fondness and frailty are the constant topics of his raillery and ridicule.


All this, therefore, duly considered, let me prevail on you, dear Doctor, to watch after Emily as you would your own daughters, until her ardor for Mr. B------ subsides. It is the sincere wish of her family that she avoid his company; for, notwithstanding we still think her strictly virtuous, yet her good name may be irreparably lost if such open acts of imprudence are allowed to continue.


As I have no other motive but an unaffected zeal for her interest and welfare, I flatter myself you will put a favourable construction on the liberty here taken by


Your sincere friend,
Elizabeth Reeser
220 Baker Street
London

Reading the letter seemed to shed new light on her situation, and I could immediately tell a difference in the way she behaved toward me. She seemed to look at me through eyes renewed.

That afternoon, as the sun had begun to set, we played several enjoyable games of Blind Man's Bluff at the insistence of Miss Waterman. She had brought with her a red taffeta blindfold for just such a purpose.

Ladies playing Blind Man's Bluff, 1803.

Miss Waterman ties the blindfold on Mrs. Houston.

The game is begun.

That evening was topped off by another dance at the pavilion. A smashing time!

2 comments:

Elizabeth Reeser said...

Ah, well I am most pleased with the reports and outcome of my Miss Waterman's ventures in your country. Yes, news really DOES travel that fast.

--Elizabeth Reeser

S. Stitchery said...

My dearest and most esteemed Aunt, you would not have permitted me to go but two days without a detailed report and account of all of my actions, and so dutifully I did! But as you see, the Doctor would have done an adequate, if not better, job of it.