I should have created a vacation message to cover the summer months: "The blog you have dialed could not be reached. Please check the address and try again when fall has arrived and the author has a prayer of getting any time in her desk chair due to the resumption of child care, er, school . . ."
"Out to lunch" is more like it, though. I did load up on some good nourishment during the season of trips, reunions, and sibling rivalry. And I got a tantalizing taste of things to come. I got to visit Marietta Holley's portrait in the "Marietta Holley Room" at the Flower Memorial Library in Watertown. Unfortunately, none of the other things in the room had anything to do with Marietta Holley, but I have high hopes for what I will find in the basement at the historical society, across the street (Photographs! Letters! Articles of dress!) Here is the portrait, complete with boudoir lace getup:
Today I read the passage in Holley's autobiography where her friend Mrs. Newman sets the portrait appointment with one Theodore Pyne, an "eminent portrait painter" and church deacon. (His other clients were Mrs. Leland Stanford and the Pierreponts of Pierrepont Manor, but it doesn't appear, from his lack of a web presence, that his eminence has stood the test of time.) An artist friend told Marietta that Mr. Pyne had made her look too self-satisfied. "You might have known how it would be," he said. "The idea of having a Deacon paint a portrait. If you had made up your mind to have him paint it you should have at least sent him off on a spree before he commenced it."
That's it! I've been off on a spree.