One by One Thy Duties Wait Thee: 1881–1882
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75 r The Jacobses’ boarders in Washington leave with the old administration. Lulu and her mother travel to Englewood, New Jersey, to assist Edith Willis (Grinnell , 1853–1930), whose cousin-husband is dying. After his death, Lulu stays on through the summer and, in the fall, visits her old abolitionist friends the Brocketts. She returns home earlier than planned because her mother is ill. After another busy winter season she travels to upstate New York to supervise a jam and preserves business at Willowbrook, the Throop Martin family estate. Genie, suffering from neuralgia in Camden, is exhausted from teaching and caring for her ailing family. She worries that it might have been sinful to ask God to make her bond of friendship with Lulu “a tie for all time.” Lulu reassures her that human love is part of God’s greater love. Genie offers to care for Louisa should she ever fall ill, and Lulu offers Genie “tender care” in her home—should she ever have one. Lulu finally learns that the dying Delie had asked Genie to consider marrying her soon-to-be widowed husband, Willie Chew, and raise their two little boys. Lulu advises against such a union unless Genie truly loves Willie. Genie takes Lulu’s advice. [From Louisa. Postmarked “Jan. 6, 1881”; addressed to “1748 Fillmore Street, Camden N.J.”] Washington Jan. 4, 1881 My dear Genie I did not mean to let the old year go out without some word from me but it passed and with a half guilty conscience at my delay I come to greet you with the New Year. May God bless you and your dear in this New Year with its unknown future. May all the hopes and confidences that shall come into it be joys realized. I have thought of you in the holidays and know if they had joys they One by One Thy Duties Wait Thee 1881–1882 76 One by One Thy Duties Wait Thee: 1881–1882 had shadows too. So come they to me and ever will with memories burdened with pain. I am sure you and your sister Edith united to make them a happy time for the younger ones of your household. I suppose they have before this come to know all about that mysterious and fascinating individual Santa Claus, the dream and joy of childhood. What if we could go back to those days? What a stretch for me. Yet I would make it if there was such a think as time moving backward. Have you been to Fitzwater Street lately? When I last heard from them they were busy preparing a Christmas tree for the children. It would have made me too sad to have been with them on that day. I was with them on that day four years ago.1 Our loved Delie with her large heart strove to make the occasion happy to all—dear generous loving soul! It is raining to night. I know she does not feel it. And yet the storm hurts me as I think of her grave. We have had such cold weather here and quantities of snow. To night’s rain will lessen the pile. There was to have been a carnival this afternoon on Penn Avenue but the rain interfered with the programme. I must tell you dear how mother and I spent Christmas day and how it came about. She mentioned to Mrs. Claflin (who boards with us) that she had invited an old lady 102 to dine with her on that day and that nothing would give her more pleasure than to invite twenty of the poorest old women she could find to a good dinner on that day. “Do it,” responded the lady and I will help to pay for the dinner. This was sufficient. Of course situated as we are we could not on such an occasion brought them into our home without the boarders sanction. Well we went to work and prepared for them in every sense of the word a Christmas dinner. Several friends went out in the byways and found the old people and bade them to this feast. The day was most unfavorable, notwithstanding twelve of them came. They were received into the big dining room. The waiter and I had set a pretty table, I adorned it with bright flowers cut out of paper. Mrs. Claflin the ladies of her family Kate Jenning2 and myself waited on them. Mr. Grimké came. He...


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Subject Headings

  • Jacobs, Louisa Matilda, 1833-1917 -- Correspondence.
  • Purvis, Annie (Harriet Ann), 1848-1917 -- Correspondence.
  • Webb, Eugenie, 1856-1919 -- Correspondence.
  • African American women -- Correspondence.
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