Margaret Axson Elliott to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre




Margaret Axson Elliott writes to Jessie Wilson Sayre about their Souther family and preparations for a wedding.


Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University




I am ahead of time to-day, my love, for it's only Sunday and I have until Wednesday to fill out my copy for you. But a Sabbath calm lies over the face of things, the boys are stretched out in various attitudes of ease with the inevitable mass of papers about them, even Cousin Hattie has declared it too hot for church, so what better can I do than languidly drop my pen across the paper in sweet converse with you!I am going down to Adeline's Tuesday or Wednesday. Mean-time I am having my bridesmaid's frock concocted here. It is going to be sweet I think, embroidered batiste, with square neck, and lots of my hand woven “dragon flies” down the front and over the sleeves. Adeline herself is due in town about Monday for one last fitting and then we shall go back to-gether.
In the intervals of dress making I am growing fat from laughing. Never have I seen a jollier crowd of boys. They have grown up and improved so since I last saw them. May is away and of course Lil and Sal aren't here and the boys are all so tickled at getting hold of a girl again that I am in a fair way ofto being completely spoiled. They are genuine young Southerners and can no more help making love than they they can help breathing, even though it be with a cousin. Harold and I were sitting out in the hall the other day going at a terrible rate when Cousin Robert passed by. “This boy is entirely too expert, Cousin Robert.” I called out, “he goes at it like a veteran.”“And may I ask how you are able to recognize his expertises?” demanded Cousin Robert, and every one roared.
But I believe after all that Cooper is my favorite. He is such good company and so deliciously funny. He kept me laughing for six miles of country driving the other day by a detailed account of how he invested ten dollars in the Street Railway Co. and then fell into the state of mind of a careful houseful housewife, so full of concern when the car bumped into anything, lest a wheel should be injured, so full of imporance at a stock-holders' meetings. Cousin Robert is very funny with the boys,—as Cooper says, “one of the leaders in this awful chorus of ours.” Cousin Robert, apropos of some chance remark, delivered his ultimatum the other day.—“I want it to be understood right now,” he said, “that when one of my sons marries, it that moment I lose a son, I do not gain a daughter.”I didn't tell you about my visit in Kentucky, did I? I stopped off a few days with Madesin Phillips,—perhaps you won't remember the name but Margaret will remember her. It was very delightful, unexpectedly so, for at college Madesin was so devoured by a “case” that we never had much sane intercourse. But the atmosphere of her own house sobered her and we had a very jolly time. It is a queer, old interesting house, much more than a hundred years old, one part of it said at one time to have been a monastery. They have five horses, and best of all, an orchard of the most delicious peaches. Oh my, but didn't I eat them! Straight off the tree, big and fat and juicy. Don't you wish that you had some! And the country round about is beautiful, great, rolling fertile blue-grass country, with fields upon fields of hemp, and the faint fresh smell of green tobacco. But Madesin's father was about the nicest thing of all. He ha is a tall, splendidly handsome man, (looks rather like Uncle Lou.) with a big, kindly human heart inside him. He has been judge of that county for thirty years—thirtyyears, think of it! And as we drove through the country it was like a royal progress. “Mawnin, Judge”, “Howdy, Judge”—rows of darkies along the road-side bowing and scraping down to the ground. I discovered while there, that I was still a Southerner. It was a very funny experience, that of mine. I had been so anxious to get South, really wild, and then suddenly on the train a wave of loathing came over me—the people were so untidy, almost dirty, chewing tobacco and drinking even on the Pullman, the houses were all so dilapidated, the places unkempt, a general air of slovenliness and dirtiness. For a while I hated them all in just the proportion that I had loved them before leaving New York. And then I caught myself up, horror-stricken at the disloyalty to mine own people. But at Nicholasville, I found myself rehabilitated, and thought everything lovely.
I am glad that the measles episode seems to be ended, and no more victims, though by this time all of you may be laid low. It does take a long time to leave, doesn't it! The Wilson family must have presented to the natives a scene of almost barbaric gorgeousness as the proceeded to the speechmaking, arrayed in purple, green, and rose. Did they ask if you had any Indian head-dresses in your luggage?I have no Princeton news to give you, and doubtless the Hibbens keep you supplied. Oh yes, I have one piece which will bring joy to your heart. Mr. Prentise, whom you so admired(?) is engaged!!! And not to me! See now, perhaps you have broken my heart by making me promise you not to marry him! Oh constancy, constancy, thy name is not man! Still, I don't think that you need give yourself any immediate uneasiness over your cruel work, for I am bearing up nobly under the blow. It's a Buffalo girl.
Yes, St. Sevithin released his ruthless hold, or perhaps he couldn't get as far south as this pagan country. Anyhow the weather is beatuiful. Hot—oh yes, gloriously hot, but I love it.
But I must say addio, carissima mia, or rather arrivederla. This is no. V. from me and only no. III. has arrived from you. But the vials are still packed away in cotton wool. And with bushels of love for all the blessed family and for mia carissima, as ever your,


Original Format




Margaret Axson Elliott, “Margaret Axson Elliott to Jessie Woodrow Wilson Sayre,” 1906 August 26, WWP17342, Jessie Wilson Sayre Correspondence, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.

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