[Detroit—Thursday, 28 October 1875]

Thursday 28. “J” returned to Breakfast bringing Mr. Charles A. Bingham with him who lamented I had not seen Ann Arbor with “J.” Mr. & Mrs Hall entertained him sumptuously and the town stood ready to do its prettiest. He said he would go to see Mrs Bagley, the Governor’s wife and tell her we were in Detroit. Meanwhile discovering that Canada lay just across the Detroit River we decided to take a five minutes trip into the Dominion. I was rather relieved when we reached the poor little town called Windsor, to find a Thanksgiving had been proclaimed the night before, therefore we had no temptation to buy anything and be caught Smuggling!! I hope however that when our annual thanksgiving comes no place in the land will be as ignorant about it as Windsor was. Why are the shops shut up? we asked quite innocently!! “Dunno, Sir, guess its some kind of a day they have once a year.” And this answer was virtually the same from every child we asked. A Yankee woman who keeps a bake-shop said “Twas a pretty queer way to do she thought, nobody knew anything about a thanksgiving until the night before when a messenger was sent to say the shops were to be shut the next day.

On returning to our hotel we found Mr. Bingham and two delightful ladies Mrs & Miss Bagley awaiting us. After a brief interview it was decided we should drive and take tea with them in the afternoon.

At 3 P.M. the two ladies re-appeared with a beautiful carriage & horses and for two hours we drove up & down the fine avenues seeing houses, churches, towers, the old Cass place, the old French houses & pear trees of huge size now dying out, the home of Mr. Bela Hubbard, historical scholar, the notorious Ward place, and by no means least of all the fine estate given by old Nancy Martin, the market woman, for soldiers barracks and hospital during the war and for a hospital for women & children when the war should be over. She was a hard working woman and bought the place with her small earnings, for the sake of doing a permanent good to suffering children and to the city of Detroit.

We found the Governor’s house a truly noble mansion. Mrs Bagley has 7 children living, all healthy and attractive. It was quite an ideal home. She is a person of culture herself and of a rare repose of manner. She leads the Women’s Club in Detroit and established one in Lansing of which her friend Mrs Tenny is president. She speaks of the latter in the highest terms as a woman of character and attainment, indeed she finds more attainment in the West and less talk of culture than in the East. It would certainly do our women good to know such a person as Mrs Bagley. Her daughter is engaged to Mr. Elliot  Clarke, son of J.F. Clarke. She is just 20 and an uncommonly fine girl. She made a strange fortune which she confided to us—a year or two ago her mother wanted to buy an edition of The Dial. Her name by accident instead of her mothers was used in the transaction, therefore she wrote the note to Mr. W.E. Channing of Concord enclosing the cheque for $30 and thanking him for the pains he had taken to obtain a copy for her; whereupon Mr. Channing replied, it was a rare pleasure to make the acquaintance of a young lady who valued the Dial. And with her permission he would ask her acceptance of a few books. Day after day and month after month, books of the rarest description began to come from Mr. Channing to Miss Bagley—Horace Walpole’s catalogue, printed by himself, Black letter mysteries, Paradise Lost with notes, the Arabian Nights, in Arabic, nearly two hundred volumes have been received. The last being a copy of Emerson’s Parnassus with an inscription from Emerson to Channing.

This excentric behavior can hardly be accounted for in a man who has grown children who are clever people & to whom the books should properly belong. Miss Florence never saw Mr. Channing until last spring, when being in Concord for a visit he was most attentive to her and showed her the best pictures of Boston. She says she never saw pictures before. His fine discernment taught her to observe and she was lost in wonder over the insight he showed.

There were beautiful flowers on a grand supper table, arranged by little Margaret who is about to be instructed in that art. The children interested us deeply, Bell perhaps as much as any—a little gipsy creature of 8 years.

Talking of the Alcott’s Miss B. said, she thought a small volume of tales called Morning Glories the best thing Louisa had ever done. She found her a bitter woman.

I was sorry to part from these dear people. It was a revelation of western culture and home life of which we knew nothing. The East can hardly compete with it; we shall have to look to our laurels. Miss Florence drove home with us bringing a handful of exquisite flowers. And as we bowl along


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