|Eleanor Malvina Brooks|
While William and Horace Brooks were living in New York, Frank Brooks and his family, practically unknown to us, were for many years in San Francisco at that time a month's journey away. The Cabots' interests were in the South the first years after their marriage, and the Goodhues were the only ones to remain steadily at home. Gradually, there was a more frequent return to Brattleboro, with its early associations, which would not have happened had Aunt Malvina made her home elsewhere.
New relationships through marriage into other families, and the coming of children absorbed fathers and mothers in what was peculiarly their own, but when there were nieces and nephews in each household living near her, Aunt Malvina's interest in their welfare bound all more closely together. She nursed the sick with remarkable judgment, taking charge of households when mothers needed to go away, and visited her sisters every day with the deepest sympathy in everything that concerned their lives. When children's diseases prevailed, a shelter was found in Aunt Malvina's house for those who wished to avoid contagion. The Horace Brooks children were sent to her care when their parents travelled abroad, --they were in boarding school in Brattleboro, because she was near at hand.
She shared our joys and burdens and sorrows, as the fairy godmother, and was generosity itself in gift-making. She made a custom of giving us birthday gifts of money in larger sums than our parents could afford, with the request that the amount was to be concealed, and we were to spend it according to our heart's desires. Our luxuries came from her. The eldest daughter in each family received a diamond ring from her at the age of eighteen. Trips were undertaken at her expense, even as far as Europe, although her income never exceeded $3000. She often interceded with parents for larger liberty and opportunity for us, --and her beauty and distinction, her style in dress and living, added to her importance in our eyes.