Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999 Page: 159
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The Writings of Fannie Amelia Dickson Darden
In the fall of thirty-eight we moved again
to Houston, which place had begun really to be-
come a city. In December the inauguration of
General Lamar took place in front of the capitol,
which event I had the pleasure of witnessing.
The inauguration ball that night was gotten up
with much elegance. The invations were printed
with gold letters on satin. A fine band discoursed
the music. Many of the dresses were superb,
having been ordered from New Orleans and
northern cities. Monsieur Matopez, a French
confectioner, prepared the sumptuous supper.
This ball was held in the House of Representa-
tives, and many of Texas' most distinguished men
The hall of the House of Representa-
tives was also used for divine service on Sun-
day, and the congregations were always large,
serious and attentive. The Rev. Mr. McCullough,
Presbyterian chaplain of the House, officiated.
The succeeding summer of thirty-nine
my father moved again to Galveston. This place
was improving steadily. Being the principal sea-
port of Texas, and with a constantly arriving im-
migration, it was always alive with strangers,
while its society insensibly assumed that cosmo-
politan character which belongs so essentially to
a marine city. During this summer the visit of
Admiral Bandin, of the French navy, occured.
The French fleet, which had been engaged in
the bombardment of Vera Cruz, had succeeded
in capturing that place, and after a treaty made
with the Mexican commandant, returned by the
coast to Texas, and touched at Galveston. Though
his ostensible motive was simply to pay a visit to
this country there was no doubt that Admiral
Bandin came with secret instructions from the
French government looking towards the ac-
knowledgment of Texan independence. The
French officers were gladly welcomed by the
authorities of Galveston and Houston. The en-
tertainment of the admiral and his officers, all of
whom were the flower of the French nobility,
devolved upon my father, who entertained them
with a banquet and ball at his residence on
Tremont street. Colonel A. C. Allen gave them
entertainment in Houston. In return many of the
citizens were invited to a collation and dance on
the admiral's ship, which, with the fleet, was an-
chored some distance outside the bar. The gov-
ernment steamship, Savannah, was chartered to
convey the citizens. It was a delightful day in
spring. The water was smooth, the air balmy,
and as the passengers promenaded the deck of
the Savannah, they were enlivened by the gay
strains of the band, which played the Texas na-
tional air, "Will You Come to the Bower?." Ev-
ery Texan knew that tune, for it had once invited
the Texan army to the onslaught of the enemy at
San Jacinto. As our ship approached the fleet,
the French band struck up the "Marseillaise,"
salutes were fired, while at the same moment
the French sailors, in their white suits and tar-
paulin hats, sprung to the rigging, and, with grace-
ful evolutions, formed themselves into festoons,
stars, and flowers, in the most fanciful and beau-
tiful manner. That was a delightful and long-to-
be-remembered day of festivity. With that re-
finement of courtesy in which the French so
greatly excel, the most delicate attentions were
shown to every guest. Oh! how many years ago
since the participants of this happy occasion
danced beneath the awning, or wandered in joy-
ous groups along the hurricane deck of this mighty
ship-the blue sea around them! the blue sky
overhead! On the ocean of time, they revelled
for a moment. On the ocean of eternity, where
are they? Most of them have long ago drifted
away from the shores of time, while a few are
left upon the deserted strand, to await the phan-
tom sail which comes to bear them hence.
In the fall of 1839 my father moved to
Galveston Bay, at the place now occupied by
Col. Ashbel Smith. It was at this time a most
picturesque place, and the beautiful evergreens
which crowned the bluff, and groves of cedar
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 3, September, 1999, periodical, September 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151407/m1/31/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.