All throughout the winter of 1840 and in fact for the following two winters, I kept open my watch and jewelry repair shoppe on Maiden Lane while little by little, requests for portraitures began to pick up. My neighbors, Mr. Bagley and Mr. Booth were both extremely kind as were all of the merchants on our block and they along with others were quick to offer their customers a recommendation to venture up to my studio to see for themselves, this new form of capturing ones likeness.
I was met with all forms of curious questions. "Will it hurt?" "Will I lose my soul?" "Can the box see under my clothing?" I dare say the least eager to sit were, at first, the ladies and the wealthy. The former as they considered it too immodest and the latter as it seemed too vulgar! Both would come around rather quickly though and in short order they became my very best clients.
These were difficult, long days. Keeping both businesses open, not knowing whether to shutter one for the other or if either would survive to flourish! In due time however, the decision would be made for me. The little jewelry shoppe was failing.
It stung me to have to see it go. A sentimental attachment that men of business should never entertain most assuredly, but it did sting. While my father was the first to see the ambition in me, my mother saw the depth of emotion. It wasn't so much a sense of failure that I felt in the spring of 1842 when I made arrangements to close business at that wonderful little establishment on Maiden Lane. It was that I was saying goodbye for the very last time to a dear old friend. A port who had provided safe harbor for myself and my family.
The unknown loomed ahead.
|April 1842, NY Evening Post|