Printed Journal Letter 8: June 9, 1879 


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[For Private Circulation only.]
Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS., JUNE 9, 1879.
DEAR FRIENDS:-  

We are hardly willing to believe that the record of another school year must soon be completed; but the girls are beginning to say, "Week after next," and, as we are well aware that it is not the habit of the last days to linger for our wishes, we are forced to the conclusion that the end is at hand. 

To go back to the opening of last winter term, which occurred January 3d. Although the preceding day was a stormy one, most were able to be present seasonably. The severity of the storm in some localities rendering the railroads impassable, a few were detained some days. 

Of course, we were looking forward with interest and expectation to the approaching days of prayer. Saturday evening Dr. Love conducted a short service preparatory to communion in the Seminary Hall. At the request of a large number of the pupils, a prayer-meeting was appointed in the lecture room, at the fifteen minutes' bell before supper Sabbath night. The exercises of Monday were much as usual, and the day did not pass without tokens of interest. January 30th was the day of prayer for colleges and seminaries. Before it came there were indications that Christian hearts were glad it followed the other so closely. Greater interest was manifested by the young ladies in the various prayer-meetings. It was a day of privilege. Dr. Hall, of Northampton, addressed us in the morning upon the subject of heart culture, "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." In the afternoon Rev. Mr. Trask, of Holyoke, preached from the words, "He restoreth my soul." Our hopes were not wholly disappointed, for there were at this time some new seekers after the way of life. Perhaps at hardly any time during the year has there been no interest among the unconverted, and we notice among many who came hoping they were Christians marked religious growth. 

January 13th there came from Mr. Charles Boswell, of West Hartford, Conn., a timely gift of one thousand dollars as a nucleus for a library fund, which we have felt to be one of our necessities. Mr. Boswell's wife is a graduate of the class of i845, and many of you will remember her daughter, Flora Stearns, now Mrs. Bowen of Manisa. Miss Clary's legacy, of which you were informed in our last, has been invested in an antique Chinese bronze for the art gallery. 

We found letters from Dr. Kelsey awaiting our return after vacation. From these and subsequent letters we learn that she was detained three weeks at Che Foo by illness, but is now in good health, and hard at work studying the language. In spite of the attempt to keep her profession a secret until she can converse without the aid of an interpreter, she had already received a surprising number of calls for medical treatment.  

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In the latter part of January, Dr. Selah Merrill, who lectured in town last December, gave us a few lectures chiefly upon subjects connected with his explorations east of the Jordan. Some of these subjects were Bedouin life, of which he presented lively pictures, Nineveh and Ur of the Chaldees. 

In the same month we enjoyed a visit of a few hours from Mrs. Thickstun, daughter of Miss Lyon's brother, and sister of Lucy Lyon Lord. Of course this was a peculiar pleasure, and we fancied she betrayed her relationship, not only in similarity of feature, but likewise in her cheerful energy of character. She told us, playfully, that she never came to the Seminary as a pupil lest Miss Lyon should enlist her in missionary work. It seems, however, that she is the wife of a home missionary in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and had come to New England to solicit aid in paying a church debt, the people at home having first exerted themselves to the utmost of their ability. We were not surprised to find that she was successful. 

In February came Prof. Young to give a course of lectures in Astronomy. We are much gratified in being able to retain him as a lecturer here, notwithstanding his removal to Princeton. Spring reviews, together with examinations, occupied the last week in the month of February. As in the fall, classes were examined simultaneously in the Seminary Hall, lecture room and in Williston Hall; thus devoting but one day to the exercises as a whole, while more time was secured for each class. In the interval that elapsed before the senior class began the study of Butler's Analogy, Miss Edwards took a brief vacation, making visits in Hartford, Worcester, Boston and vicinity, and returning much refreshed. Meanwhile, Mrs. Stowe had come to us again to remain through the term. Those of you who see the Congregationalist, and have read Dr. Clark's article on "The Mother in Israel," will know of her recent affliction in the death of her mother. 

Moving day quickly followed reviews, and a day of rest followed the moving. This was a novelty much enjoyed, especially as the announcement came as a surprise, when the arrangements for rooms were read on Wednesday. By way of entertainment in the afternoon of Thursday, we listened to an illustrated lecture on Mammoth Cave and other caves in Kentucky, given by Rev. Mr. Hovey, of New Haven. The lecturer also exhibited treasures which he had collected in his explorations. 

You will all rejoice to hear that at a parish meeting held here March 24th the announcement was made that the debt of ten thousand dollars, which the people had incurred in building the new church, was raised, and for the first time in forty years this church was free from debt. This was mainly due to the energetic and persevering efforts of Dr. Love, who went from house to house seeking to enlist every one in the good work. Unusual harmony likewise prevailed in the councils of this people, and the following week a unanimous call was extended to Dr. Love to become the pastor of the church in South Hadley. This call, after due consideration, he accepted, and on our return May 1st we found his family established in the parsonage. We were privileged not only to attend the services of his installation, at which Dr. Tyler preached one of his fine sermons, but many of our family embraced the opportunity to attend the morning examination, which was not the least interesting and profitable part of the exercises. The senior class especially enjoyed the discussion of knotty theological questions. 

May 2d, Rev. Mr. Herrick, missionary to Constantinople and brother of our former pastor, visited us and gave an eloquent and stirring missionary address. We have been less favored than usual with such visits this year. Then followed a few 

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lectures on History from Dr. John Lord, the well-known popular lecturer. His subjects were Hildebrand, Queen Elizabeth, State of Society among the old Romans, and Madame de Maintenon. Dr. Lord's style is as entertaining as when we listened to him years ago, and his lectures abound, as of old, in valuable and stimulating thoughts. Our only regret was that the course must be limited for lack of time. A short course of lectures in Geology was also given this term by Prof. Charles Hitchcock, of Dartmouth College, who while here completed the work of arranging and classifying fossil footprints. 

June 13th. As it was so late in the year when Dr. Love's family came to us we had not anticipated the reception which for several years has been given by the inmates of the parsonage to the senior class. The teachers and seniors were, however, invited last evening to meet not only Dr. and Mrs. Love, but also all former Holyoke pupils in town, these ladies furnishing the entertainment. Their number is surprisingly large, and the occasion was informal and very pleasant. 

Special effort has been made to secure the lot of land on Prospect Hill directly opposite our present grounds, recently advertised for sale, and through the kindness of Mr. Goodnow, of Worcester, and of several other friends, including some former pupils, this has been accomplished. Many of you will remember this particular field, with its fine old chestnuts.  

We are enjoying a little visit from Mrs. Porter, whose health is somewhat improved, though her sense of loss hardly seems to lessen with the passing months. 

This last year has been a suffering one for our dear Mrs. Gulliver, who has hardly left her room since August. She is now slowly improving, but is still confined to her bed for a large part of the time. Friends are mostly excluded from her room, though she is able at times to listen to reading. 

Mr. Williston, who has recently lost his oldest child, a boy of fourteen, is now in Europe, and will not be present at the coming anniversary exercises. 

June 17th. We must not fail to mention a recent addition to our art gallery of a collection of valuable photographs of works of the old masters, taken directly from the originals. And to-day Miss Edwards had the pleasure of unpacking the busts of Homer, Socrates, Ajax, Virgil, Dante, Goethe, Schiller and others. These are the gift of the class of 1874. 

We must bid you good-bye, thanking you most heartily for letters lately received. We acknowledge those from Mrs. Gulick, Miss Hollister and Miss Mary Scott, who is teaching the freedmen in Tougaloo, Miss., and do not forget the especial treat Miss Washburn has given us in sending one of her good letters for three successive weeks. The journal from Stellenbosch has lately arrived, and in a few days we hope to welcome Miss Bliss from the Huguenot Seminary.  

With good wishes to all,  

SARAH H. MELVIN. 


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