April 1992

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Diary of

Josephine Matilda deZeng

Geneva, New York

About Josephine Matilda deZeng

August 1842

Monday 29th

Miss Sarah Swift has been here today at Josie's particular request. She is really engaged, & Mae is to be married the 15th of September. I cannot realize it—it seems but yesterday that we were all playing together mere children. Can this be a true presentiment I feel?—that H—will be here this week. I hope in mercy it may.

Mrs. Bradford & Miss Dwight called. I think Miss D. very pleasant, more like an old friend than a stranger.

Edward DeL. spent the evening with us. Mr. Worder called. I am sorry Mr. W. is not going to spend some time with us—leaves tonight. Just as Edward was leaving Papa came in with a letter for me from May, much to my delight, and to E's satisfaction. She seems enjoying herself amazingly. The "Revd Proffesser" Mr. Dounes is with them now, at Cooperstown. I should like right well to take a peep at them, to see what they are all about. I can imagine, May & Mr. Tom Rochester, in one corner, and Cally Cooper & Mr. Dounes, in another, saying pretty nothings, and flirting most extensively.

But hark! "Soft music is stealing"—No, it's only some miserable scratching—well done, it's "our Bill"& "Mrs. Stoddard's Thompson" with their violins, and voices, "burlesquing" our boys, who have been out frequently of late. No bad joke.

. . .

Dear Josie is I am sure quite happy. She will make a most domestic wife. God grant she may be as happy as she deserves.

Tuesday 30th

Immediately after breakfast I went shopping with May T. E. On my return home found Mrs. Kingsland here to see about my lessons—promised to go to-morrow at 11. Went in the garden with her to gather flowers, and then heard May calling to me. Upon going to the fence saw her up a plum tree, with a rake in her hand making sad havoc among the fruit. I then climbed up the grape trelisse, and jumped over the fence & joined her—staid with her until twelve o'clock, when I came home in the same elegant style.

While I was there Mr. Russell & Walter Ayraut called. In the afternoon took a row on the Lake with Rachel Smith, Harriet Prouty, Sarah Sutherland, May Ten Eyck, Mr. Whiting & Mr. McKinstry. We went up as far as the Glass Factory. On our return we left May at the Bowery, to go to Mr. Burns, where we had most of us been invited but did not choose to go. I had not had time to get my tea after my return when Mr. Jno. Stoddard & Mr. Russell were announced. We had quite a pleasant chat, wondering what kind of people would live a hundred or two years from this time, what kind of vehicles they would use, etc.

After tea Mr. Kingsland came up & we had a good deal of nice music. Mr. McKinstry & Mr. Whiting were here to enjoy it. After the boys had played until they were tired, Mr. K. & I played some pieces, "The Caliph of Bagdad" (Overture), etc., and then he accompanied me with some songs. I did pretty well I thought & they said & looked more. We are all engaged to tea with May to-morrow. I hope it will not rain. I must go to see Mrs. DeLancey to-morrow, and tell her about May.

Wednesday 31st

This morning I sang with Mrs. Kingsland a long time on one of "The Norma songs" my kind cousin Jeddie sent me. The compliment implied by sending them was more than I deserved, though by practice I can learn them in time. This evening & afternoon I passed with May T. E. I think there were about fifteen of us, it was quite pleasant, all seemed to enjoy themselves, and none more that John W. & Sarah S. excepting perhaps Mr. McKinstry, and myself. He is I think "quite smit." I cannot think otherwise, putting what the girls tell me & his actions together. Sarah S. told me this morning, that Rachel said he came home almost wild last night about the music, & that after he & John had been in bed some time John got up, came to the head of the stairs, and asked his mother to send up a Bible, that he might read a few chapters to Charlie to compose him!!! he could talk of nothing but Miss DeZeng. I staid with May all night.

Thursday, September 1st

This morning Mrs. Bogert was very ill & I came home directly after I was dressed. After breackfast I gathered some plums & took to Eleanor B. She insisted upon my passing the day with her, which I did. Mr. & Mrs. Dey of Albany were there, & Mrs. & Miss Dey of our own village. We passed a very merry day, & I learned a good deal of scandal from the different ladies, not only about Albany, but here. At tea we had a fortune-telling frolic. Miss Dey says I am going to be very happy, if I have ever had any trouble it has passed away forever, that I will soon receive a letter from a long distance, seemingly from across the water. I will soon receive a very elegant present, quite magnificent. She saw no beaux in the cup, but a gentleman was coming to see me before long & it seems about something quite special. We are soon going to have an arrival of unexpected visitors, whom we will be delighted to see—and last though not least, that some person who has taken a great fancy to me will in his or her will leave me [an] heiress! to some handsome landed property—quite a good deal to make out of a few tea-grounds in the bottom of a cup. I only hope it will all come to pass. About nine o'clock, Miss Dey & Eleanor came down home with me, & just at our gate, I met Rachel & Charlie McK. She had come over to ask James & I to spend tomorrow evening with them. I of course accepted & hope to pass a most agreeable one. Mama was quite amused at my fortune, and (after some music) I came to bed to dream on it.

Friday 2nd

The morning I passed most industriously at home. In the afternoon I went to see May T. E. and sat with her a long time. She had just received a letter from her mother, which says she must be wending her way home in a week or two—her Grandmother is much better.

The evening according to engagement I passed at Mrs. Whiting's—it was very pleasant, all seemed to enjoy themselves. I was nearly the whole evening on the piazza with Mr. McKinstry—he is very agreeable, and withal as much disposed to flirt at I am. Sarah S. says I am the greatest little flirt she knows. I do not mean to flirt, and I do not know why I should not enjoy the society of agreeable men as well as any body else. Henry Dwight promised me some of the best music if I would come to New York in the Fall, indeed I should like it amazingly. Mr. McKinstry and I talked of German Literature, as if we both understood it—of Professor Longfellow's work and particularly the "Hyperion"—he says I have spoken so highly of them he will read them immediately—Q. For my sake?!!

Saturday 3rd

This morning I took May Ten Eyck the "Recollections of a New England House-keeper" to read, and had quite a pleasant chat with her. On my return home I found Henry Dwight here. He was very agreeable, told me "the Rainers" would be here on Monday evening, etc. I sang some songs for him, with which he seemed pleased.

He then teazed me a little, said I seemed carrying on quite a flirtation with Mr. Mc—pitied Mason, etc. I in return run him pretty hard about his cousin Miss Dwight, he says there is nothing in it at all. I then wrote a note to Sarah S. begging to be excused from passing this evening there, as to-morrow is Sacrament Sunday. I suppose it will be a very pleasant party. After dinner I went over to Mrs. Whiting's for a little while, but made it a long while, before I got back. There seemed almost a levee there, Annie Peyton & Mr. McKinstry were there with Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Smith & Rachel when I went in. Soon after May T. E. came in & then John Whiting, then Mr. Walter Ayrault, and a few minutes after Hatt Prouty followed. We sat a long time talking over matters when Mrs. Woods was announced. They urged me very hard to stay to tea, but I could not. Then they insisted upon my returning in the evening, with "Christie's queer letter"—that is the "Lancaster Review," but the letter I could not find, and I took over Mag DeL's letter for Annie's special benefit. John of course hurried off to Sarah's as soon as possible, but Mr. McKinstry staid until Ed came for me, he then came home with me, and I presume went directly to Sarah's, who if she knows he stayed away so long solely on my account will teaze him not a little. Indeed I begin to think I am a little bit of a flirt. I must endeavor to put out all such feelings. I do not know what it is else, but as soon as I imagine a gentleman is pleased with me I do all I can to keep him so, and make him more so if possible—but then the beaux we have around here are only fit to flirt with. They are quite too young to marry or even to think of it, though some of them are amazingly agreeable, but I do not think I could make up my mind to be engaged four or five years to any one—though mercy knows if I'll ever have the chance—!

Sunday 4th

Our Sunday-School was delightful to-day, the children answered with spirit, and as if they understood what they were saying. Just as the school was being dismissed the Bishop came down to tell Mr. Irving that he would not be able to preach to-day, as they had just heard of the death of Mrs. Thomas DeLancey. However he assisted Mr. Irving during the Communion Service this morning and had the prayers this afternoon. I walked home from Church this morning with Miss Munro, she says they expect Maggie home to-morrow or next day. When the bell of the Dutch Church was ringing, I saw May T. E. go in to Mrs. Whiting, giggling & laughing, and then down to church with them afterwards, leaning on "Charlie's" arm, and laughing most loudly, but she got a reproof from Mrs. W. What a harem-scarem thing she is, she thinks all the men are dead in love with her! What a mistake.

Typescript of the diary provided by the Geneva Historical Society.
Index to the Diary of Josephine Matilda deZeng
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