In 1895 Isabella and her family were living in May’s Landing, New Jersey, where her husband, Reverend Gustavus Alden, had charge of the Presbyterian Church.
While her husband was busy with his responsibilities, Isabella paid an early September visit to her hometown of Gloversville, New York.
Her son Raymond (age 22 at the time) and adopted daughter Frances (age 3) accompanied her.
The residents of Gloversville welcomed Isabella back with open arms, and—as they often did—they invited her to speak at one of their assemblies. The evening of Tuesday, September 17 was decided upon, and the local newspaper promoted the event:
The evening began with musical selections, then Isabella took the stage to “an outburst of applause.” She read one her stories, which the newspaper reported was titled “Miss Hunter.”
You may already be familiar with “Miss Hunter.” The character of Miss Priscilla Hunter was one of Isabella’s favorites, and she appeared in four of Isabella’s stories:
Miss Priscilla Hunter
People Who Haven’t Time and Can’t Afford It
The Man of the House
One Commonplace Day
But each of these stories and novels were published well before 1895, and the newspaper reported that Isabella read a brand new story, written specifically for the occasion, that featured a character named Miss Hunter. The newspaper account of the evening noted that the story was “interesting and kept the close attention of the audience,” but gave no additional details about the story.
On Thursday morning, September 19, Isabella left Gloversville and headed back to her home in New Jersey.
She also left us with questions: What was the story she read aloud to the audience at the Presbyterian church? Is there another Pansy story about “Miss Hunter” that has yet to be found?
Until the mystery can be solved, you can read more about the fictional character of Miss Priscilla Hunter—and the stories we she appeared in—by clicking here.
You can also click here to read about Isabella’s charming hometown of Gloversville, New York, and the business her father had there.