instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

A Buss from Lafayette:


There is a tradition that when Lafayette stopped in Hopkinton on June 27, 1825, he went across to visit the home of Dr. Ebenezer Lerned in order to view the costly French wallpaper there.

This is one section of the costly wallpaper from Dr. Lerned's home in Hopkinton, It is now in the collection of Historic New England. Here is information on it from their website. To read it there, follow this link:
French Scenic wallpaper "Palais-Royal" pattern. Twenty length pattern depicts groups of men and women walking, sitting, riding horses, reading, and playing games. Each panel framed by a leafy arch at top and tree like columns on sides. Block printed in grisaille on blue ground. Original manufacturer and designer are unknown. Removed from a ca. 1800 house in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.

In early nineteenth-century New England, wallpaper was a luxury, and scenic wallpapers like this one were an extravagance. Scenic papers were designed to fill an entire room without repeating a pattern. This example shows three of the thirty-one panels that came from a house in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. The paper may have been installed in preparation for Lafayette's visit to the town in 1825."
Detail from Palais-Royal wallpaper at Dr. Lerned's house. Note the style of clothing worn. This wallpaper was evidently manufactured in 1810, about fifteen years before A BUSS FROM LAFAYETTe is set. The style had changed somewhat by then, with lower waistlines, poofier sleeves, and wider skirts.
Detail from Palais-Royal wallpaper at Dr. Lerned's house. Note the lady riding sidesaddle, as Clara's stepmother insists she does.(Clara thinks it is too much like riding "half a horse.")

Chapter 5

"Prissy pumped water into the sink to rinse the last plate from breakfast. The shallow granite slab, with its small pump and its drain to the outside, was one of the modern conveniences Father had installed in our old colonial house when he had married Mother. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 5

Chapter 6

I curtsied at this pleasing compliment. We then moved past the captain into what was being called "the ballroom" that evening—although it was really just the large dining room at the back of the tavern. It did look particularly grand that evening. Many candles lit up the walls, covered with elegant gold-striped paper, and the tall windows, framed by ivory damask draperies, reflected their glow. Nearly all of the dining tables had been removed to make space for dancing, and the chairs moved to line the walls. —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 22

Clara's family has a pair of oxen called Humpty and Dumpty that pull plows, wagons, etc. Here is a team of oxen pulling a cart at Old Sturbridge Village. When I was there recently, I asked one of the costumed interpreters there what an ox is, exactly. He told me that it is a steer (castrated bull) that has been trained to pull ploughs, carts, wagons, etc., that is at least 4 years old. Before reaching this age, it is simply regarded as a trained steer.


A video of the oxen which I took at OSV is posted on the Buss Videos & Audios page here.

Chapter 7

When I got to the barn, I greeted Humpty and Dumpty, the two oxen who pulled the plow in the springtime, the wagon at harvest time, and the sledge in the winter. Too bad I cannot ride an ox, I thought. I doubt anyone could put a sidesaddle on Humpty or Dumpty. I patted the noses of the large, gentle, brown beasts and fed each of them a handful of fresh hay before moving on to Feather's stall.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 6

In the story, Mr. Towne's hair might have looked similar to this. (I actually have no idea what the real Storekeeper Towne looked like.

I gave him a balding "Brutus" hairstyle so it would parallel someone else who looks quite a bit better with his hair like this.)

—Image courtesy of A Private Portrait Miniature Collection. 

I spied Mr. Towne, his gray hair combed forward in the fashionable "Brutus" style, although his receding hairline made this look a bit odd. He leaned over his counter, which was laden as always with large glass jars of pickles, candy, and other delicacies. Behind him, shelves reached to the ceiling, stuffed with items fascinating to the eye. On one wall, the lower spaces held large wooden barrels of brandy, rum, gin, wine, and molasses, with boxes of oranges, lemons, figs, spices, and sugar loaves on the shelves above. My eye was drawn to the other wall, however, where a rainbow of lace, silk, cotton, wool, linen, gingham, and calico occupied most of the shelves. On the very top level were more personal items: hairbrushes, mirrors, pomatums, patent medicines, and combs. My miracle-working lead comb was up there waiting for me. - A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 7

This is a parlor at the Old Sturbridge Village Bullard Tavern, which probably looks similar to the room used for the dance at Perkins Tavern - minus the glass display case and the furniture in the middle of the space.

Chapter 9

The egg-shaped stagecoach came into view at the other end of the village, and the driver soon pulled his four horses to a stop in front of the store. The leather curtains on the sides of the coach were all rolled up, so we could see that the inside seats were jammed with passengers.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 9

Had he grown even taller since I saw him last? Under his well-patched smock, his cotton trousers barely reached his ankles, which certainly hinted that he had.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 9


This is a smock, which is a garment worn by farmers and other manual laborers over regular clothes to protect them from dirt, etc. As in England, these were worn by New Englanders up through the 19th C.  (They were sometimes called "smock frocks.")

Chapter 13

"Marching behind them were twenty companies of New Hampshire militia. Twenty! It was quite a sight, I tell you."


"Was 'the Troop' there?" asked Joss eagerly. "I think its uniforms are better than those of any other militia in New Hampshire!"


"The Troop" was an independent militia company famous for the horsemanship of its riders and the beauty of its horses. My brother yearned to wear one of the Troop's scarlet coats with buff facings and one of its leather, bell-crowned caps with long white feathers tipped in red."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 13

A picture of mounted militia from the Old Sturbridge Village website. I think this is a close approximation of the splendor of "The Troop's" uniforms and horses! (Although the color is not red.)

After the famous hero had visited the legislature, he came out of the Capitol to find two hundred Revolutionary soldiers, assembled under the command of General Benjamin Pierce, waiting to pay him their respects. After Pierce was formally presented to Lafayette, he presented each individual veteran in turn to the esteemed visitor.


"It was very affecting," said the major. "All the veterans shed tears and some of them sobbed aloud. Many had served under Lafayette at one time or another during the Revolution. In fact, Lafayette remembered a number of them by name!"


Father asked, "Were you able to speak to General Lafayette?"

"Yes, of course. In fact, later I had the honor of sitting right next to him at the huge banquet on the State House grounds. Over six hundred people sat down to dine." —A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 13

The historic plaque on the New Hampshire State House, commemorating Lafayette's visit to Concord on June 22, 1825. It reads:
General Lafayette was welcomed to New Hampshire in this State Hous by Governor Morril, the General Court*, many veterans of the Revolution and the public at a banquet held near tis spot. Lafayette planted a tree to commemorate his visit. June 22, 1825. 
*what they called the state legislature

Chapter 19

A parlor from an early 19th century house in Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum set in the 1830s
The sofa isn't blue and probably not covered in damask, but Hetty would have posed on it, anyway, don't you think??

"You must tell us all about meeting Lafayette, Henrietta," said Prissy, motioning them all to follow her into the parlor and to sit down. "How very interesting that must have been!"


Hetty looked around the room as if in search of the piece of furniture most becoming to her attire, then sank down gracefully on the blue damask sofa. She pulled out a lacy white fan and waved it in front of her face. "La, it was quite wonderful. Such a handsome gentleman! So noble. And so famous!"


- A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 19 

Chapter 22

"You have been a witcracker, Miss Clara Hargraves, ever since you were a little bit of a thing. I can still see you now, giggling away at some foolishness or other with your red locks peeking out from under your little pudding cap. You know, I have always thought your hair absolutely glows with good humor."


A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 22 

I saw this pudding cap at Colonial Williamsburg.
Parents put them on toddlers to protect their heads when they were learning to walk.

Chapter 27

The sound of the Revere bell came to a stop. This hurried us the last few yards into the church where we quickly sat down in the pews inside our family's box. As always, I looked around at the inside of the sanctuary. Galleries lined the upper walls on three sides. At the front was a tall, imposing pulpit, its floor fully six feet above the one our pews stood on. Over the pulpit was a large wooden canopy, a sounding board that magnified the minister's voice. When I was a little girl, dozing off in the pew next to my mother, I used to fancy I was hearing the voice of God himself.—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 27

Father leaned forward to put in a word. "There is some talk of replacing the musicians with a seraphim, a reed organ with a keyboard. That would be a loss, I think. I would rather see the lively faces of these friendly fiddlers, er, violinists, up in front than see the back of some stranger seated at a keyboard."—A Buss from Lafayette, Chapter 27


This Old Sturbridge Village church looks similar to Clara's First Church interior, with its enclosed pews and upper galleries. Of course, this church lacks the wooden sounding board over the minister.