Thursday, March 04, 2004

Letter to Arthur G. Hatch, Paris, France, from “Perce” – Moore, Low & Sanford, Attorneys & Counsellors, New York, 1884

Name: Phillip F. Schlee
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New York,
July 14th 1884

Dear Garcon;

I take this opportunity when there is a great lull in the office to speak a few words to you. I am thoroughly bachelor in my habits this summer, as my brother’s family have closed house, and I have to board alone. This does not disturb very much however the evenflow of my spirits as now I can do just about as the Devil prompts me without the intervention of anybody. I am beginning thus to flounder around to suit my cue something after the fashion set by the worthy Garc.

The Fourth was spent quietly, but pleasantly at the Overlook Mountain House in the Catskills. Though the extended view over miles of country was very fine from a picturesque point of view, still from a romantic point of view the swift crowd of young married people at the Hotel quite surpassed it. Picture to yourself the romance of a gang of apparent ladies playing poker for cash, with a theatrical managress in their midst to lead them on, and you have an idea of my associates in the mountains for a day or two. Society’s mouth would be distorted with horror, and his eyes sink in their sockets at the idea of the lovely sex polluting themselves for filthy lucre.

Far from being troubled about the gals I was very much amused at their innovation, the theatrical gamester particularly, who was thoroughly bent on winning her stakes, and was all smiles as she increased her hoarded pile, till the tide turned and swept away every penny, in the last four hands, leaving her $15 short. I do not encourage such conduct on the part of women, but I confess a fondness for the deviltry and mirth the Catskill girls inspired. The stereotyped perfect lady, straitlaced and conservative as she is, is too often a very unattractive creature to me. Give me something spicy, though it may not be over nice.

Cyrus and myself are planning to take a bicycle trip through the Berkshire Hills the fore part of next month. We probably will take in “Society” for two or three days and get a taste of his swift Saratoga life. If I can ever learn to ride a machine without breaking my neck, I don’t care so much. We expect to be gone about two weeks, and to scoop in whatever side shows and cocktails the country may afford.

By the way Cyrus read me a letter received from our Saratoga Swell, in which the latter recounts his delightful picnic tramps with the daisies. Told how charming it was to eat raspberries and cream under the umbrageous bows of Saratoga’s oaks, with something soft and tender chattering away by his side. Such toughs as you and I in Miny’s opinion were never born to appreciate his quiet little episodes. Remember how he used to run off to Boston to “catch on” to the “faeries” without our knowing it. Business is a little dull just now, and it is only a little incident occasionally that enlivens things. For instance this morning the youngest member of the firm came in as full as a goat. He has been off on a summer “tout,” but he found that his empty pocket had such a drawing towards the cash draw that it wouldnt do to keep the one from supplying the other.

See to it Garcie that you keep your head in Paris, the city of magnificent avenues, and every avenue leading to still more magnificent women and most enticing parlors of dissipation. Put me in the French capitol and I doubt whether my virtue would amount to much more than Hamilton’s did, who was reputed to be virtuous so far as it went, that is down to his pants.

Remember me to your friend Jewett. I hope you are having a glorious time. Make the most of it while you are at it. Address me # 102 Broadway. (written in right margin on last page) How did your ocean voyage and the society of the ladies blend together? Charles sends his regards

Your esteemed friend Perce.

Notes: Letter to Arthur G. Hatch Esq., American Exchange, Paris, France, from “Perce” – Moore, Low & Sanford, Attorneys and Counsellors, New York, July 14, 1884; from the Phillip F. Schlee Collection

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