Then I went to Oxford where I joined my cousins Clara and Mary Matthews, two Sophie Newcomb teachers from New Orleans, and a friend of their from Vincennes, Indiana. We lived in the Oxford students' lodgings for twp weeks and were cared for by their Cockney maid and cook, Mrs. Harris - a very funny woman.
While in Oxford the group of women I had joined had a good chance to observe the life of English people in a college town. Boating and cricket are the chief outdoor sports. We often sat at beautiful spots along the river. We saw beautiful buildings. Clara. Matthews and the two teachers attended lectures. I did a little: painting and reading.
Mary Matthews handled our united funds for our sojourn and did a very business-like job. She learned that shopping for food on Saturday during the long English twilight was cheap, and that is one way she saved money and gave us two most abusing evenings.
While at Oxford I received word from mother that she and my brother-in-law Sank Norvell and his nine-year-old daughter Lucy were sailing for a visit to Switzerland. She told me to meet them in Paris. This trip was for the purpose of accepting two very pleasing invitations. Mr. Fascio, a prominent banker of Geneva, had visited us in St. Louis and wrote to invite father and mother for a visit. Father could not go so he told mother to ask Sank Norvell to take her. About this time the Norvells had received an invitation to visit in England. Sister Belle was not well enough to travel. Sank wanted a vacation so to wrote to his friend Mr. Shaw that he would like to visit him, but had his little girl, his mother-in-law and me with him. Mr. Shaw wrote back, “Plenty of room – bring them too!" Mr. Shaw had visited the Simmons boys, Wallace and Ed, in St. Louis and played polo with them at St. Louis Country Club. That is where Sister Belle and Sank met him. Sank Norvell was head of Simmons Hardware Company at that time. He and the Simmons boys took their friend through the big store. Mr. Shaw was interested in the hardware business. He had become a Member of Parliament. This work and added responsibility made him want a country estate. He was a wealthy sporty old bachelor. He bought an estate with stables and hounds in Western England where fox hunting flourished. So my lucky star was at work again. I parted pleasantly with my cousins and friends in Oxford and went to London to get ready for the trip to Paris. By this time I had become a good traveler, followed the careful instructions from my brother-in-law, and arrived safely. It was wonderful to see part of my family after five months of travel. Mother loved renewing her acquaintance with some of her favorite picture and statuary in the Louvre, etc. Lucy enjoyed everything in fine spirit and so did her father. It was their first trip to Europe. We went to Lucerne, up the Rigi, and then to Geneva. The visit with my father's friend in Geneva was the most delightful part of the trip to Switzerland. Mr. Fascio was the most prominent banker of Geneva. He and his family lived on a large estate overlooking Mt. Blanc and a beautiful part of the Alps. We were entertained twice while there - an informal luncheon to meet part of his family, and then at a big family dinner in the large dining room. Almost all the guests were in evening dress. I wore the only evening dress I took with me - a long black shimmery silk gauze. It had a low neck with a yoke made of flesh pink velvet that made the cut of the neck look lower. (When I had visited the Sistine Chapel with Claude I wore this black dress, discreetly covering my head and neck with a black lace scarf.) Mr. Fascio's wife and daughters were beautifully gowned. The youngest one, recently married, was delightful and spoke English. She was pregnant and overjoyed at the prospect of a child. In 1899 we were slightly shocked at her candor. Foreign people were different from us.