"....Now, in this house, we have some of the loveliest and some of the most disagreeable people I ever met; I quite enjoy the mixture; it is amusing as well as profitable to watch the mingling of opposites. Sometimes we have a perfect hurricane here; the adverse winds wage a most desperate war, they fight and blow every where, in every nook and cranny, round the corners, `up stairs and down stairs in any ladie's chamber' -- the gale penetrates everything, and finally after making every body shiver and shake with fear it gradually subsides into a -- perfect calm!SOURCE: Letter from Rosalie Ludlow to her mother, 25 February 1859, from The Ludlow Family Letters at this library.
Oh, it is terrific and grand, to get Mr. Hart (the elder F.F.[Y?].), Judge Pierson (the man of irascible temperament and sounding periods), Mr [Shuniway?] (the Black-Republican, sarcastic Philadelphian), Mr. Dew (the younger F.F.[Y?]. who in perfect [wildness?] is opposed politically, philosophically and religiously to his good and imitable Father in law Mr. Hart) and last but not least Fitz Hugh whose moderation and sublime indifferences on the `Goose-question' is most annoying to the two hot-headed fire-eaters who strive continually to engage him in discussion. It is grand I say to hear these five in a controversy. It makes no difference what subject is started -- they all disagree and we are bound to have a word-fight on all occasions.
`Par example' Mr. Ludlow has just returned from fishing and announces that instead of supping on trout as we suppose, we are eating nothing more nor less than the Northern common Black Bass. Mr. [Shuniway?] (from the head of the table, in a weak voice, poor sick man that he is exclaims) `I deny it, Sir, in toto, I am from Philadelphia, Sir, I have caught some fish in my day, By George, I have, and I ought to know.'
Here Mr. Hart raps the table with his fist and in a good-humored stentorian voice addresses both `I reckon you gentlemen know mighty little about fish any way. Did either of you ever angle in one majestic, silver-breasted Rappahannock? With due deference to your own opinions gentlemen, allow me to say, if -- you -- please --, you will never have seen a right smart chance until you have been fishing like I have, in the `[Seems?]' or Rappahannock rivers."
Mr. Dew now opens his large, speculative grey eyes invitingly and remarks in a most scholarly tone. `Whether the fish be Bass or Trout it is greatly to be doubted if a piscine diet is favorable to the highest development of the human species. The [Pethyophagor?] who as we are informed by Herodotus inhabited the borders of the Indian sea subsisted upon the products of the net and hook as their sole aliment; and they, as early as the time of Alexander were a tribe of debilitated savages ignorant of all the commoner processes to say nothing of the more refined acts of civilized life. nevertheless as [Strabo?] hath it -- "Fames optimum condimentum est."' (For this Latin, at least as to orthography, I am obliged to call on Fitz but the quotation is actual, unexaggerated and literal from a scientific disquisition of Mr. Dew's)...
...When it comes to politics we have fine times. mr. Hart roars like a revolutionary cannon, beats the poor table with his fat, red fist until the dishes dance and with his other hand hurls thunder bolts on all the world in general but particularly on Southern democrats -- he himself is a whig -- who buckle to the North. Judge Pierson who is a democrat and has fought duels! rises on such occasions, with carving knife in hand and vows vengeance on Mr. Hart and everybody who dares to disagree with him. He is a Fire-Eater, a Disunionist a [?] and much to his own satisfaction -- an Ex-Judge of the Supreme Court!
Mr. Dew worships Buchanan and [Wise?] as much as Mr. Hart hates them, has promised however to vote for Mr. Ludlow when he is nominated for the Presidency.
Mr. [Shuniway?] -- in these discussions -- `gets mad' -- to use his own expression -- but his voice is too weak to enable him to argue so he can only mutter his favorite expletive `By George' and leave Mr. Ludlow to defend, as well as he can, the interests of the North.
Fitz Hugh does this by laughingly parrying their thrusts and occasionally giving sharp retorts.
he has already made a compact with Judge Pierson to the effect that when the Union is dissolved they shall provide one another with sugar-cane and ice.
Yes, this is an amusing household and equalled in its argumentation by no family except the Ludlows and they are as fond of discussions as you are of flowers...
...My Uncle has the finest buggy in Florida and that with his fine house are at our disposal."