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Nellie Bly Interviews Wives Of US Cabinet Secretaries
David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction, David Blixt -- Shakespeare Expert, Author of Historical Fiction,
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Chicago, IL
Tuesday, March 12, 2024


During the election of 1888, Nellie Bly spent a week interviewing the wives of the various candidates, then followed up by embarking on interviewing all the living former first ladies. This must have been well received, for here she is immediately following the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison, interviewing the wives of Harrison’s cabinet members. As ever, Bly will forgive anything in an interview subject, save rejecting an interview. If someone refuses her access, she is them more than willing to smear them with gossip. 

Sunday, March 10, 1889

Sketches and Portraits of the Wives of the New Secretaries

The Social Leaders at the Capitol as Seen by Nellie Bly
Personal Characteristics of the Wives of the Cabinet Officers
The Next Four Seasons Not Likely to Be Marked by Social Brilliancy

While Mrs. Blaine, as the Wife of the Premier, Will Rank Next to Mrs. Harrison, Her Popularity Will Not Be Great—Mrs. Windom Will Be a Social Light—The Empire State Will Be Represented by Mrs. Gen. Tracy and Her Daughter—The Wife of the Millionaire Postmaster-General and Her Liberal Charities—The Merry Family of Attorney-General Miller—Mrs. Rusk’s Long Experience in Public Life—The Literary Tastes of Mrs. Gen. Noble—Mrs. Proctor’s Strong Religious Views—Their Friends and Families.

Washington, March 8.—Now that President Harrison’s Cabinet has been formed there is great speculation as to just what part the wives of the Cabinet officers will play in Washington society. Undoubtedly there will be a battle for leadership. The ambitious wife of the Secretary of State will want to rule, but she is so unpopular and so generally disliked that beyond the compulsory recognition her position demands she will be little thought of and less cared for. 

Mrs. Harrison, with her gentle, unassuming ways, will certainly come first in the hearts of the people, even if she cares but little for society. She is the same considerate woman to-day that she was when Benjamin Harrison was nominated for the Presidency, and the only noticeable change is that her hair has grown whiter. During her stay in the White House we will be free from all gush about giddy girlishness, and no private secretary will stand between her and the public. She is a true woman, a cultured lady, a thorough American, and she is proud of it and America will be proud of her. I wish I could show the little woman to the public—even to the prejudiced public—as I saw her forty-eight hours before she was made the mistress of the White House. 

“I am glad for the party’s sake we won,” she said with a little smile, “and I feel the honor and am proud of it; but think,” the wife and mother-part coming to the surface, “we had such a quiet, happy home, and now this makes a break—things can never be the same again. My husband is not mine first of all, now, but his country’s. And then just think,” she said, with a cheery laugh to dispel the effect of her sad words. “I am giving up nine bedrooms at home for five in the White House.”

Mrs. McKee is very much like her mother and she will be a great favorite. She is always the same and even in the midst of her father’s triumph she is never too busy or tired to be gentle and attentive to others. I am sure that in the history of the White House no women have been more popular or beloved than Mrs. Harrison and Mrs. McKee will be during President Harrison’s administration. 

Mrs. Levi P. Morton, with her beauty, grace, affability and wealth, will also be popular, and one may safely say will be the leader in fashionable society. Mrs. Blaine has not the faintest chance beside Mrs. Morton, who is a very cultured and accomplished woman and even now a favorite. And then, Mrs. Morton is young and Mrs. Blaine is quite old, and her own actions have made the odds so heavy against her that really one might as well consider her out. The Mortons are building a fine flat-house in Washington, and though it has been said that they will reside in it themselves, it is not likely that such will be the case. They have a large family of lovely girls, almost all of whom are too young for society, and they have always been accustomed to an abundance of room, so the Vice-President and his family will surely have an entire house. 

The Administration promises to be a noted one, and something of the personality and social prestige of the women of the new Administration is of interest to everybody. 

The Wife of the Premier Not Viewed with Favor by the Women of Washington. 

It cannot be said that Mrs. Blaine is a popular woman, nor has she ever been. It is undeniably true that the wife of the Secretary of State has never exercised that graciousness of manner or well-bred dignity which is essential to social success and popularity. It is positively stated that the uncompromising manners of Mrs. Blaine have seriously hindered her husband’s political career and that many of his most bitter enemies took affront first at Mrs. Blaine. The people of Washington are bewailing the fact that Mrs. Blaine will have for the next four years, by virtue of her husband’s office, the right to President Harrison’s arm on public occasions. 

It is stated as a remarkable fact that a woman so ambitious to be the foremost lady in the land should have been perhaps a serious injury to her husband’s chances for the position which she has so craved. But it is true, many declare, that the recognized leader of the Republican party would have been President of the United States had his wife been a woman of more pleasing personality and better adapted to gaining and holding friends. 

It is not to be inferred by any means that Mrs. Blaine is an ignorant or stupid woman. Added to the advantage of companionship with this brilliant man, her husband, Mrs. Blaine has a natural brightness and a caustic sharpness of invective when she chooses. She was born in Ipswich, Mass., Oct. 12, 1828, and is two years the senior of Mr. Blaine, who was fifty-nine Jan. 31 last. Her father was Jacob Stanwood, a well-to-do merchant, who although by no means wealthy was a thorough-going business man and brought up a large family of children. Her mother’s maiden name was Caldwell, which is a well-known and honored name in Augusta. Mrs. Blaine’s given name was Harriet Bailey, but she dropped the Bailey and adopted Stanwood in its stead, so that she is now known as Harriet Stanwood Blaine. 

Once A Schoolmistress. 

Being compelled to toil for a livelihood she became a school-teacher when the highest recommendation for a teacher was her firm discipline. Miss Stanwood was highly recommended and her teaching was considered a success. It was during her career as a teacher in Kentucky, at Thornton’s Female Seminary, that she met Mr. Blaine. The latter was the Principal of the Western Military Institute at Blue Lick Springs, a nearby school. He was not as conspicuous for ability at that time as was Miss Stanwood. They were married at Pittsburg, Pa., in 1851. It was due to Mrs. Blaine’s persuasions that Mr. Blaine removed to Augusta, Me., and it is said that he is largely influenced by his wife. 

Since 1856 Mr. Blaine has been an active politician, and in many instances Mrs. Blaine has been a great source of unpleasantness to his friends and admirers.  

The Blaines have an ample fortune and will endeavor to take a prominent place in society for the next four years. They will do it, for there are few people who would dare to show their animosities. Mrs. Blaine is not an uncomely woman. She is of good height and dresses well, but she is growing stout, and while one may admire her artistically dressed white hair, they cannot fail to note the marks of age upon her face. She rules the finances and has built up the fortune that is Mr. Blaine’s.

Some things which had been related of Mrs. Blaine show the feeling against her in Washington. One day, when President Arthur was in office and established in the White House, a number of women went through to view the different rooms. Mrs. Blaine was in the party. They visited President Arthur’s bedroom, and there, hanging above the bed, was a portrait of Mrs. Arthur, who had been dead quite a number of years. Mrs. Blaine rested her elbows on the foot of the bed and gazed at the portrait. 

“I don’t know where she is,” she said, nodding towards the portrait, “but if she is in heaven she must be the most unhappy and wretched woman ever born to know she missed all this.”

One day Senator Davis had an appointment with Mr. Blaine at Mr. Blaine’s house and in Mr. Blaine’s interest. He called according to the arrangement, and in a few moments after, when he and Mr. Blaine were in the midst of their conversation, the dinner bell rang. Mr. Blaine made no move to go to dinner nor did he invite Senator Davis to break bread with him. The bell rang again, and then Mrs. Blaine came rushing into the drawing-room in a heat of passion. She neither spoke to Mr. Blaine’s guest, though she knew him well, nor excused herself. 

“Dinner has been waiting,” she announced. “You will come now or do without.”

“Why is it, Mrs. Blaine,” a prominent gentleman asked her once, “that I never see you in the House now?”

“What House?” she exclaimed in great disgust. “Can there be one and Mr. Blaine not in it?”

Not that she was the more loyal wife, but the ambitious woman. She would attend no place where she was not the recognized first and head. 

The Wife of the Secretary of the Treasury Destined to Social Prominence. 

Mrs. William Windom, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury, will undoubtedly be one of the most prominent women in Washington society during President Harrison’s term. She is well known in Washington and was very popular during her twenty-three years’ residence there. Mrs. Windom possesses every requisite for making her a lead. 

She is yet young and is considered a handsome woman. She is of medium height and of slender, graceful form. Her blue eyes are large and expressive, her hair is dark brown, and her complexion is of a clear color, with a pinkish tinge, as usual to that combination of eyes and hair. She is a perfect mistress of the art of dressing. Her street attire is of the most subdued style, as well as of the richest materials, and her evening gowns are always handsome and appropriate. Mrs. Windom impresses a new acquaintance as being reserved and a little difficult to approach, but her manner is so charming and she is withal so extremely graceful that she wins friends everywhere. I do not think greater praise could be given a woman than that which Mrs. Hannibal Hamlin gave Mrs. Windom.

A Friend’s Estimate. 

“She is a good and true friend,” said Mrs. Hamlin, “and a charming acquaintance.”

Mrs. Windom’s maiden name was Ellen T. Hatch. Her father was for fifty years a prominent Congregational minister. He lived in New Hampshire when his daughter Ellen was born, but shortly afterwards moved to Warwick, Mass. Ellen Hatch was called a beauty and a belle. She was bright, intelligent, clever, pretty and of most charming manners. It was during a visit to her sister, who was married and living in Ohio, that she met the handsome and popular favorite, William Windom. Their friendship for each other grew so pleasant that when she returned to her home in Massachusetts it did not become a thing of the past, but continued and grew more sincere until two years after, when the handsome young man followed Ellen to her home, where they were married.  

Mr. Windom became a very successful man and Mrs. Windom became a favorite wherever they lived. She likes to be social and always pays strict attention to her social duties, but she never neglects her home, her husband, her children or her church. True, she does not take time to make tidies to worry the life out of men, nor does she knit woollen hose for the heathen, but her home is always attractive and her charitable work among the poor is of a sincere and earnest kind. Her philanthropy is not for show or done through curiosity, but with a wish to make life better for humanity. Mrs. Windom is thoroughly a “home” woman and has raised a family who are living monuments to a mother’s affection. Her only son, William D. Windom, is an architect, who is married and a resident of Boston. Then there are two daughters, Ellen H. and Florence B. Windom, who are still at home with their mother. 

The Secretary’s Family. 

Miss Ellen Windom is in society, and will undoubtedly be a belle in Washington society, as she is a beauty. She has the graces of her mother and the affability of her father. She has received a most thorough education, and is a musician of great ability. 

Miss Florence B. Windom is still a schoolgirl, but she promises to rival her sister as a beauty. She is a very winsome girl and very bright. 

Mr. and Mrs. Windom have two grandchildren, the infant son and daughter of the son, Mr. William D. Windom, of Boston. The eldest grandchild is William Hutchinson Windom, and his unnamed month-old baby sister is the second grandchild. The Windoms owned a fine house in Washington which they sold only last Summer. For some time past Mrs. Windom and her daughters have resided at their home in Winona, Minn., but they were expected to join Mr. Windom in Washington last Thursday or Friday. They will immediately begin house-hunting, and when once settled theirs will be one of the most popular households in Washington. 

The Delightful Family of President Harrison’s Old Law Partner. 

No change in fortune will ever make any change in Mr. Miller, the new Attorney-General, and his admirable wife. Last Fall when I visited Mrs. Harrison in Indianapolis, I met Mrs. Miller, Lawyer Miller’s wife. To-day in her rooms in the Riggs House I again met Mrs. Miller, the wife of the Attorney-General of the United States. She is the same Mrs. Miller, the delightful wife and mother. 

“I regret the breaking up of our home,” she said, “but Mr. Miller says we should be happy and satisfied if our new position will allow us to do something for our country and to contribute any more happiness to our friends than our old one would.”

Is that not a beautiful way to view such an honor as has been conferred upon them?

Mrs. Miller was a Miss Gertrude Bunce. She was born in Ohio, but very early in her life her parents moved to Vernon, Oneida County, N.Y., where she lived until she was married. After her marriage to Mr. Miller they went to Peru, Ind., where Mr. Miller was appointed Superintendent of the public schools. I think it was some two or three years later that they moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., where Mr. Miller began to practise law. Mr. Miller and President Harrison met and became great friends. Mr. Miller was named after the first President Harrison, but there is no family connection between them. President Harrison, then Gen. Harrison, had a great regard for Lawyer Miller’s abilities and urgently solicited him to remove to Indianapolis and to become his law partner. Mr. Miller at last consented, and eighteen years ago he gave up his large practice in Fort Wayne and became a partner of Gen. Harrison.  

Mrs. Harrison’s Intimate Friend.

Mrs. Harrison and Mrs. Miller also became very intimate and for eighteen years have been friends and neighbors. Mrs. Miller’s lovely home, No. 665 North Delaware avenue, is almost opposite the Harrison home. The Miller house is built in a Queen Anne style, has wide porticos and is surrounded by a large, smooth lawn. Everything inside is artistic and comfortable and almost always some guest is sheltered under its hospitable roof. Mrs. Miller is a Presbyterian and attended the same church with the Harrisons, having the pew directly back of theirs. She always took a prominent part in church affairs and charity work and is the treasurer of the Free Kindergarten, one of the most important charities in Indianapolis. 

Mrs. Miller is tall, probably five feet seven, and is plump but not fleshy. She has a most pleasant face and kind expression. Her eyes are blue and she has an abundance of reddish-blond hair, which she bangs slightly in front and coils the rest around the back of her head. She is not fond of dress, but likes to be quietly and respectably clad. Mrs. Miller is an artist. She is very fond of painting, but while she protests that she does not pain on china as well as Mrs. Harrison, yet everybody affirms that she excels in pastels. Mr. Miller owns a magnificent farm north of Indianapolis and during the summer he and Mrs. Miller drove out to it every day. 

Mrs. Miller has been married twenty-five years and is the mother of three children—Florence Gertrude, Samuel Duncan and Jessie. Florence Gertrude is a young lady and is in society, of which she is very fond. She was graduated at a college in New Haven. She possesses remarkable musical abilities, and has a lovely contralto voice and plays both the piano and banjo. Florence is tall and slender and has genuinely blond hair and large, expressive brown eyes, which make havoc among the young men. She is very agreeable in manner and artistic in dress. She is said to be the most popular girl in Indianapolis, and one can easily believe it. 

“I dread leaving home,” she said, when speaking of their removal to Washington. “I am sure I will never enjoy myself half as much here as at home among my own friends.”

The Merry Family. 

The only son—Samuel Duncan—is a handsome boy and gives promise of being a brilliant man. He is at present at Hamilton College, New York. But Jessie! She is the dearest, plumpest, prettiest girl of thirteen I ever saw. She is the very personification of frankness. 

“Now put something in about Joe, won’t you?” she said, coming close to me. “He is as lively as a cricket and he is seventeen years old.”

“Who is Joe?” I asked, smiling back into her sweet face. 

“Joe is my sorrel pony. I do want him in. He is seventeen years old and is as lively as the day he was born. I take a ride on Joe every day.”

Jessie is a decided blonde. She has large blue eyes and a bewitching mass of short curly hair, and a perfect pink and white complexion, is as plump as a partridge and as jolly as the day is long. 

“I just love everything,” she said, with a laugh. “I love to be out and I love to play tennis and I love all the babies and dogs in our neighborhood and I love Joe.”

Jessie outdistances all the rest of the family as a musician, and when she grows older, if she retains her charming manner, she will be a belle as well as a beauty. 

“I do not know when we will move to Washington,” said Mrs. Miller. “I will go from here to central New York to visit my mother, and in two weeks or so we will return to Indianapolis, where we will stay in our own home until next Fall at least. My son will be coming home for his vacation, and I could not think of coming to Washington until after he returns to college. I do not know whether we will board or keep house during our first Winter in Washington, but my daughter will be in society, and, although I am not fond of society, I shall do whatever is required of me in my position and what will be a credit to it.”

She and Her Daughter Will Represent New York at the National Capital. 

Mrs. Tracy will be prominent in representing New York in Washington. She was born in the Empire State, educated there and married there. She did not accompany Gen. Tracy to Washington, but remained quietly at home in Brooklyn, nursing a sick daughter. Mrs. Tracy is fond of society, and is a very agreeable and pleasant woman. She belongs to the Methodist Church, and is always ready and willing to devote her time to working for it.  

In appearance Mrs. Tracy is pleasing. She is fair-complexioned, has blue eyes and light hair, and is plump. She dresses well, and her artistic touch is shown in her home as well as in her gowns. The Tracys are in very comfortable circumstances and can well afford to keep up with any society. Besides their fine old home, No. 148 Montague street, Brooklyn, they own a large and valuable farm, which is stocked with some of the most noted racers. 

Arrangements will be made for a house in Washington as soon as possible, and the Tracy family will move there. The home on Montague street will be closed, unless it is decided later to keep it open for the benefit of Mr. Frank. B. Tracy, the only son, who looks after the interests of his father’s property. 

The Family. 

The Tracy family, besides Gen. and Mrs. Tracy, consists of three children and one grandchild. Mrs. Emma I. Wilmerding, the eldest, is a widow with one child. Mrs. Wilmerding has resided with her family since her husband’s death and will go with them to Washington. She is considered a handsome woman and dresses beautifully. She will be of great assistance to her mother during their residence in Washington. 

Frank B. Tracy, the only son, favors his father in appearance and in his business ability. He is a handsome young man of thirty and unmarried. He now lives at home, and will only spend in Washington what time he can spare from his father’s business. Miss Mary Tracy, the unmarried daughter, is like her mother in appearance and is in society. She is very amiable and has a host of friends who will be sorry that her father’s new honor will remove her from their circle for a time. Miss Tracy is at present lying quite ill at her home in Brooklyn. 

Alice Tracy Wilmerding, the twelve-year-old grandchild, is the pet of the household. She is a pretty, bright child and resembles her grandfather, who makes friends among all whom he meets. Of course, Alice will go along to Washington, but her studies will not be interrupted. 

Mrs. Tracy was Miss Delinda E. Catlin. She is the sister of Gen. Catlin, who is now a prominent Brooklyn lawyer. Mrs. Tracy is cultured and is very fond of books. 

“She is an excellent woman and wife,” said Gen. Tracy, “and a good mother.”

Gen. Tracy and Mrs. Wilmerding were stopping at the Arno, but expect to leave for Brooklyn Saturday, when arrangements will be perfected for their removal to Washington. 

Personal Characteristics of the Unassuming Wife of the Postmaster-General. 

Mrs. John Wanamaker’s husband is undoubtedly the richest man in President Harrison’s Cabinet, and Mrs. Wanamaker is one of the most retiring and modest women in the world. It is difficult to say what part she will take in Washington society, but it will surely be a quiet one. Mrs. Wanamaker was a Miss Mary Brown, of Philadelphia. Nathan Brown, her brother, went into the clothing business in a modest way with John Wanamaker in Oak Hall. Mr. Wanamaker had no money whatever then, and Miss Brown was the daughter of a well-to-do and prominent grocer. Through the brother they became acquainted, and when Miss Brown married Mr. Wanamaker he was a poor man. 

But wealth made no difference to Mrs. Wanamaker. When Mr. Wanamaker became one of the richest men in Pennsylvania, Mrs. Wanamaker was just as quiet and modest as when her husband was a poor man, but her work of charity grew larger and larger. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and takes a prominent part in all the real work, wanting and claiming none of the credit. Bethany Sunday-School, which is said to have enrolled some two thousand five hundred scholars and teachers, is her especial pride. Before she went abroad she taught a Bible class of young women, and, regardless of weather, she was always at her place of duty.  

Of Exceedingly Simple Tastes.

It is rather difficult to write about Mrs. Wanamaker. Outside of her church duties she cares for little except her home and a small circle of friends. These friends regard her as perfection, and her family worship her. She has four children, Thomas, Rodman, Minnie and Lillie. Thomas is twenty-seven years old, and married Miss Minnie Walsh, of Philadelphia. Rodman, twenty-five years old, married Miss Fanonda Henry, a young Philadelphia woman, and they have the only grandchild, little Fanonda, who is familiarly called “Nina.” Minnie and Lillie, the daughters, are about twenty and eighteen years of age respectively. The home, No. 336 Walnut street, is said to be a palace in its furnishing. It is now closed and the servants dismissed until Mrs. Wanamaker’s return from Paris, where she has gone with her daughters to have their music and French perfected. Mr. and Mrs. Rodman Wanamaker are also away travelling through Europe. 

Mrs. Wanamaker is a handsome woman. Indeed, when Dr. Preston returned from Europe he said that Mrs. Wanamaker was the handsomest woman he saw while in Paris. Mr. Wanamaker laughed when told this, and asked Dr. Preston why he did not bring her back with him. She is about fifty-two years old, but looks much younger. She is probably five feet four inches in height, and quite plump, having a very pleasant figure. Her hair is brown and does not show any gray. She wears it twisted high on the head, and has a slight fluffy bang which has apparently not been cut but looks like a short growth of hair about the forehead. Her eyes are bluish-gray in color and very calm and quiet. Her mouth is beautiful and her teeth perfect. 

Her dresses are of the richest material but the most subdued colors. No one has ever seen her on the street, either in Summer or Winter, in any other color than a dark garnet, a dark-blue or black. For the house and in the evenings she wears grays and drabs and such shades. She is very particular about her boots. There is only one kind she will wear and she wears them always. It is a medium height, French kid, with a yellow, projecting sole. The toe must be neither square nor pointed but rounded and slightly boxed and the heel must be of but few layers of leather. She buys a 4½D, but should wear a 5D, and often does without knowing it. She always buys two pairs of shoes at a time and she only wears them until they are slightly rubbed with her skirts. The boot she buys for the house only differs from her street boot in having a thin, hand-turned sole. A black opera slipper, modestly beaded in black, is the only slipper she ever buys. She never wears anything light in color on her feet. She always has the wooden French heel removed from the slipper and replaced with a low leather one. 

Mrs. Wanamaker is even more strict with her daughters in regard to their foot gear. They wear a shoe of the same make as hers, but the heel is removed entirely. They often beg to be allowed a little bit of a heel, but she is unrelenting and it always comes off. They are also dressed in the modest garb of their mother. At the present time they are not remarkably handsome, but they give promise of being so when their school days are over and they have entered into young womanhood. 

Lindenhurst, the country home at Jenkintown, is a perfect paradise, and there the family dwells in love and happiness. Mr. John Wanamaker never takes his business into his home. It drops him off when he leaves his mammoth store, and in his house he is a boy. He takes off his coat and they all romp together like a group of merry children. Mrs. Wanamaker is worshipped by her children, and her “big boys” put their arms around her and kiss her as if she were a girl with whom they were in love. Every day flowers are brought from the conservatory at Lindenhurst to the $65,000 Presbyterian Hospital annex which Mrs. Wanamaker built and endowed. In addition to this books are taken there every week, and her good work goes on just as if she were not in Paris. Mrs. Wanamaker built a memorial chapel in Jenkintown which is said to be a beautiful building. 

Her Fad About Shoes. 

Mrs. Wanamaker is not a prude and is not narrow-minded. Her charity embraces all the needy, and the poor are her people. She does not stop when she finds a case of want to ask what church they belong to and when they were to communion last, but with the peace of God in her face she says, “You are one in need. Let me be your friend.”

I do not mean that she throws money away on people without any knowledge as to whether they are deserving or not. No one of any sense ever does. But she investigates, and she is not slow at knowing the real needs of every case brought to her notice. Like any well-known persons, the Wanamakers receive thousands of begging letters from lazy, unworthy people which they never notice. 

At Lindenhurst, Jenkintown, is a play-house, which was built for the daughters, and which is perfect in every way. It is two stories high and has balconies, a flagpole and a perfectly appointed kitchen, where the girls tried their hands at cooking. It is large enough to admit a man, but if he be full six feet high he has to bend his shoulders slightly to go in. Mrs. Wanamaker is a musician and still plays the piano and sings. She reads a great deal, especially books of travel and biography. She also reads novels of the better class and gives a great many books away. She pays for everything she gets in the store, the same as any other customer. 

Mrs. Wanamaker’s manner is agreeable to every one she meets, but she has no liking for gay society nor the falseness nor frivolity of it. No one seems to know when she will return from Paris, and whether she will live in Washington or not. 

Visiting Friends in California While Her Husband is at His Post of Duty. 

Gov. Redfield Proctor was travelling through California with his family three weeks ago when he was sent for in all haste to come on and accept the position of Secretary of War. He come and is now a member of Mr. Harrison’s Cabinet, but his family remained in California to finish their visit. Mrs. Proctor is at present at the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, Cal., where she intends to remain for some time. Before she comes East she will visit friends in New Orleans, and Gov. Proctor will meet her there and bring her to her new home and new acquaintances. 

Mrs. Proctor is mistress of the fine old Proctor homestead, in Proctor, Vt. The town derives its name from its founder and her husband. The Proctors are well supplied with this world’s goods, and are very popular in their State. The Proctor mansion is said to be a most comfortable and grand old place, and the adjoining farm, which Gov. Proctor owns, is a model. It is kept in the best of order, and is stocked with blooded cattle. 

Mr. and Mrs. Proctor were born in the same State, and passed their childhood days near together. They were friends at school, and when school-day lessons were over their friendship grew to love and they were married. They have four children living. Arabella, the oldest, is the wife of Fred G. Holden, and resides in San Francisco, Cal. Fletcher D. Proctor, the second child, is married and lives in Proctor, where he looks after his father’s interests while the latter is absent from home. He has a daughter, who is the only grandchild of Governor and Mrs. Proctor. She is a year and a half old, and bears her grandmother’s name—Emily. Emily D. Proctor, the only unmarried daughter and the third child, is with her mother. Redfield Proctor, jr., is the baby. He is ten years old. 

Mrs. Proctor has never lived in Washington, so that everything pertaining to Washington social life and duties will be new to her. She is not especially fond of society, nor is she at all averse to it. While her husband was Governor of Vermont she was very popular and never attempted to shirk any of her social duties. She is fond of literature and is always contented and at ease either in managing her household affairs in Proctor or in gracing some social gathering. 

Their Simple Life. 

Gov. Proctor keeps a number of fine horses and during the Summer months his family and their guests have a most enjoyable time. When Winter comes on and the country life becomes a dreary one, the Proctor homestead is always closed and the family go to Boston, where they are warmly welcomed by a large circle of friends. Every Winter their home is in Boston, excepting for occasional pleasure trips, such as the one they are now enjoying in California. Mrs. Proctor is of medium height and much the same build as Mrs. Harrison. She has very dark hair and very handsome blue eyes. She is modest in attire, but has very good taste in dressing. At present she is in mourning for her second daughter, who died some three years ago, and since that time she has seen very little of society, except among her most intimate friends. 

But her daughter Emily, who is nineteen years old, is now in society, and Mrs. Proctor will have to resume her rightful place when she comes to Washington. Emily Proctor is a handsome girl and a clever one. Though in society, she still continues her studies and has with her, even now, a teacher and companion who is making thorough the hasty education which was completed at boarding-school. She is lively and fond of society. She rides beautifully, and is accomplished in all the little graces so rightfully a woman’s. 

Mrs. Proctor is a Congregationalist and is a hard worker in her church. No amount of society can make her forget what she believes she owes to her church, and some congregation in Washington will be the better off for her membership. Of course they will rent a house and entertain largely. It has always been their custom, and life in Washington is not likely to change any family in that particular. Gov. Proctor says that he will look about, but hardly thinks that he will decide on a house without Mrs. Proctor’s assistance. 

“What can I say about Mrs. Proctor?” he said to me, with a thoroughly happy smile. “I can only say that she is the best wife and mother in the world.”

She Will Be the Literary Light of the New Administration. 

Mrs. John W. Noble aspires to run the literary part of the new régime. She is stopping at the Hotel Normandie. I called there to see her one day last week and my interview with her was very entertaining. A colored boy at the door told me he was very tired, and wouldn’t I just go up on the elevator without going through the formality of sending up my card—which meant that he was too lazy to walk up to the fifth or sixth story. I had no objection and so I went up. 

I rapped on the door of Gen. Noble’s room several times. There was a sound of masculine voices inside and I had to rap very briskly before any one gave the least sign of having heard. Then the door was opened, and a man, whom I instantly recognized as Gen. Noble from the newspaper cuts I have seen of him, opened the door far enough to put his head outside. I asked for Mrs. Noble, and he told me to go back to the bedroom, where I could find her unless she had gone out. As I started back towards the room designated the door opened and a maid came forth, whom Gen. Noble called and asked if Mrs. Noble was still in. The girl replied yes, that she thought Mrs. Noble was having breakfast, so, excusing myself for disturbing him, I turned to the girl. Before I could speak to her Mrs. Noble came out, and as I started to introduce myself Gen. Noble called to her to come in, as he wanted to introduce her to a friend. 

As soon as I found the chance I told her what my mission was, and that I would prefer not to keep her from her husband’s guest, but wait her pleasure afterwards. 

“Well, if you don’t mind waiting in the bed-room,” she said, and was gone. 

The maid was just making the bed, but I sat down and read The World’s account of the inauguration and the rain and the ball. Before I had half finished Mrs. Noble returned, and, taking a low rocker in front of me, she asked what I wanted. 

Not Abashed By Her Interviewer. 

“All about yourself,” I replied. “Your name and where you live and everything.”

“Well, my name is Elizabeth without an E,” she said. “Here, give me your paper, I will write it,” she continued, and, taking my paper, she wrote her name. 

“What else?” she asked me, as if she were interviewing me instead of me interviewing her. 

“Your home,” I replied. 

“All right; St. Louis,” she said, writing it down. 

“What street?” I mildly suggested. 

“Oh, that is of no moment,” she said. “What else?”

“Are you going to board or will you keep house?” I asked, softly. 

“House,” she said, smiling. “What will answer for that.”

“Any family?”

“No, excepting my two sisters,” writing away. 

“What is your religion?”

“I have none. Mr. Noble is a Presbyterian.”

“What are your sisters’ names?”

“Just say the Misses Halsted. That will do.”

“Are you fond of society and dress and will you entertain a great deal?”

“I am not fond of society as society, but I am very fond of literary society,” she said. “I always draw around me a large circle of literary people whose tastes are congenial with mine. My sister is an authoress and has written a good deal, but only acknowledges one book”—

“What is the name of it and her name?” I interrupted. She wrote it and handed me a paper bearing these notes, which she had written on it:

Lizabeth Halsted Noble.
St. Louis
House. No children.
2 young lady sisters.
Presbyterian. Misses Halsted.
“Bethesda,” Lenora B. Halsted.

“At home,” she continued, “I send out my cards, and when my friends gather I have a professor introduce some subject, which we discuss, such as the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of political economy and such things. Can you remember all this? My sisters are beautiful young ladies and very talented. Miss Halsted is a perfect blonde and Miss Leonora Halsted has a most exquisite face, wonderfully large brown eyes and dark hair, and they are great favorites everywhere. They dress in perfect taste. My dress you can judge from what I have on. Do you think you can remember all this?”

“It is fifteen minutes past 12,” a fretful voice interrupted. 

“Yes, yes; coming,” replied Mrs. Noble, getting up and putting on her silk circular. “I am not in society now. I am just here with a sick lady to consult a doctor. You can say that”—

“We will be late,” complained the voice at my back. 

“Coming, coming,” Mrs. Noble answered, starting out in the hall. I told her how much I regretted it if I had detained her and bade her good morning, but heard no reply. They walked along back of me to the elevator, when they were joined by Gen. Noble and his friend. 

“This is my little sister Leonora,” Mrs. Noble said to Gen. Noble’s friend. Leonora shook his hand and told him she was pleased to meet him, and I looked at Leonora and—wondered. 

Mrs. Noble was a Miss Halsted, of Rochester, N.Y., and was married to Gen. Noble in Northampton, Mass. They celebrated their silver wedding in February last. She is a rather prepossessing woman. She is short and somewhat plump. Her face is pleasant and she wears silver spectacles and carries gold glasses fastened to her bodice. She was dressed in a neat costume of a green rough material with bonnet to match, and wore a silk circular which was rather unbecoming to one of her stature. 

The Allurements of Public Life Not New to her. 

Mrs. Elizabeth M. Rusk, the wife of Gov. Rusk, of Wisconsin, spent six years at the National Capital, while her husband was member of Congress, and now as the wife of the Secretary of Agriculture, the life will not be new to her. It is doubtful whether it will be any pleasanter to her than her reign at the Gubernatorial residence of Wisconsin where she is one of the best known ladies of the State and a general favorite.  

She is of prepossessing personal appearance and medium height and has light complexion, light-brown hair, frank blue eyes, and a kind and pleasant expression. She has an easy grace and a natural, quiet dignity, but is so unassuming and modest that she charms every one she meets. She is a devoted wife and mother, and since the death of her daughter, Miss Ida, about two years ago, she has lived a very quiet and retiring life in the Executive Mansion. 

Besides her pleasant, winsome manner she is very gifted and intelligent, and is an exceedingly well-read woman. 

Mrs. Rusk was married to Gov. Rusk in 1856, and by her loving help has assisted him greatly in his life as a public man. In 1882 he was elected Governor of Wisconsin, and has served three terms. 

Four children were born to them, only two of whom are now living. Miss Mary Rusk, the daughter, is a young lady of rare social qualities and handsome looks, and has been of great assistance to her mother in giving the Executive residence of Wisconsin its reputation for hospitality. She will surely be a social favorite in Washington. Master Blaine, the other child, is yet a little boy, and the pet of his parents.

Nellie Bly

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