The next entertainment I remember was a dancing party at the house of Mr. R. P. Hall, of the grocer firm of R. P. Hall & Father.” This was on the northeast corner of Pine and Sixth streets, where I first met your mother, Miss Mary Spotswood Nisbet. As I had another sweetheart at the time (Miss Annie Green, Mrs. Sire’s niece), I was not interested. Subsequently I changed my views. So much, that our marriage was the sequel. It was to her self-abnegation and economical habits that I owe much of my success in life.
On several occasions, large social entertainments were given at the old tobacco warehouse, Sixth and Washington Avenue. On one occasion two boys were standing in front of my store, and one said to the other – “Bill, if you go in and beg a stick of licorice, I’ll give you half of it.” I gave it to him. Such initiative was sure to lead to success. It was Ed. Stetinius, whose older brother was one of my intimate friends. Mr. Stetinius is now of the firm of J. P. Morgan & Company.
About 1860, it was a common custom for gentlemen
to call on the ladies on New Year’s Day, usually several going together.
In this way, the lady friends of each, met all in the party, and in some
ways the custom had merit. Those who did not wish to have callers would
hang baskets on the door knob for cards. At every receiving house elaborate
refreshments, including wines, liquors or eggnog, were served and the
gentlemen were invited to partake. Unless they were careful, they would
take too much in going the rounds and be put out of business for a while.
Many of the ladies would join together in receiving, previously sending
cards to inform their acquaintances where they would be found. In some
instances the boys tied crepe on the door knobs, calling it “fun.”
Finally the custom was so much abused by many who were persona non grata,
that it was abandoned.