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The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
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Text for Page 034 [11-26-1857]

              25
Potter�s niece�s daughter.   Presently to see the boys perform
their customary exercises for the day.    Some four hundred of
them were present in a spacious school-room � looking as though it
contained an acre of boys � with a sprinkling of girls. (They are
the charity children of the city; and the Island has 800 of them upon
it, in all.)      All looked clean and chubby.  The boys faces were mostly
Irish and unintelligent, not so the girls.  They did considerable
speech-making and some singing.  Some of the speeches were rather
spread-eagley, others capital and amusing � all turning on the occasion,
and their condition.       One little chap not higher than a table whistled
�Hail Columbia�.    One boy made up as a street vagabond, with rent pants,
dirty face and unkempt hair, while another � a moral boy-hood to des-
cant upon his disreputable appearance.     This was rather hard, I thought
on the impromptu gamin.      There was also a sulky boy who denounced
the Ten Governors as �humbugs,� intimated that he entertained a desperate
intention of turning Mormon, and was, finally, rebuked and put to
shame by a virtuous � and of course � contented juvenile.   The girls
sang sweetly.   One was a real little beauty, with soft dark eyes and
dark brown hair; she had a delicious contralto voice, and seemed quite
the prima donna of the party.  (Mr Eldredge told me subsequently that
she had a devil of a temper.      No matter � there�s a soul in that little
thing�s eyes.)    They sang two pretty forceful dittys � one a fairy song.
I liked this � as it recognizes something beyond their condition.  Also their
hair was cut short.      One naturally expects that the children of the poor
will be made as ungraceful as possible, and is agreably surprised at the 
reverse.        Finally, to the beat of drum, the boys marched out; did military
exercises, and so � as old Pepys would say � to dinner.       We all dined
subsequently at Mr Eldredge�s house: present himself and wife, Mr
and Mrs Carpenter � the latter Mrs Potter�s sister, a jolly, buxom               
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