Journal Letters: Chronological Inventory
Journal Leters: Index to Journalists
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Mount Holyoke Seminary,
SOUTH HADLEY, MASS., May 19, 1882.DEAR FRIENDS:
Have you been wondering at the unwonted silence of "Alma Mater" this year, and asking each other if the absent elder children could have been crowded out of her thoughts by the younger ones whom she is just now training up in the way they should go? Well, they do keep her sufficiently busy, to be sure; but she has not forgotten you, though her letter must be brief this time.
Already Anniversary is so near that we can almost touch it with the tips of our fingers. At least, when we venture to look at the calendar and count the few weeks remaining, it seems so, if not when we observe the tardy and reluctant progress of this chilly May. We had the mildest and most amiable of winters; even March was sunny and genial, going out as lamb-like as he came in, and leaving it to his successors to bluster and storm. We wish Mr. Lowell were at home to enjoy it; you remember bow he says
That kind o' haggle with their greens and things,
And when you 'most give up, without more words,
Toss the fields full of blossoms, leaves,,and birds.
And give one leap from April into June.
Mrs. Cordley, who was a teacher here in 1850-52, has been with us all the year; and we have Mrs. Stow's help this term. We have also Miss Mary Bradford, of the class of 1871, as well as Misses Flint, Stevens, and Kies, of recent classes. In the musical department Miss Steele is assisted by Miss Pike, from the New England Conservatory.
So now you can readily imagine us going on in our work much as we are wont to do, from week to week and month to month, thus far; enjoying our constantly increasing facilities for study and research, daily trying to sow the good seed, and waiting with patience for its precious fruit, in these young minds and hearts.
Our missionary friends, Mr. and Mrs. Harding, who made Amherst their home while staying in this country, visited us more than once, and each of them addressed the school. One Sabbath in October Miss Tichenor, of the New West Education Commission, told us of her recent experiences and observations while teaching in Utah; and later, Miss Carter spoke to us of work among the freedmen at the South. On another Sabbath Dr. Tyler repeated in our church his discourse comparing the religion of the Oedipus Tyrannus with the religion of the New Testament; it was written about the time the New Revision appeared and the Greek play was performed at Harvard, and we need not say that we were deeply interested by the contrast presented.
Rev. H. A. Schauffler, of Prague - at present sojourning in Springfield with his family - addressed us on the day of prayer for colleges, and also at another time. His earnest and impressive words go to the heart; we hope to hear him again before the close of the year. Rev. Mr. Stocking, of Persia, gave us a missionary lecture one evening in February, illustrating Oriental customs in a vivid manner. Some of you will remember his wife, formerly Isabella Baker, who graduated in i868. Miss Wells, of the Huguenot Seminary at Wellington, has visited us twice, and has told us something of what is being accomplished there. She hopes soon to return, taking new teachers with her.
Besides our annual courses of lectures from Prof. Thompson and Prof. Young, each occupying several weeks of the winter term, we have had some others, including that of Rev. Dr. Lawrence, on the Philosophy of Travel; Dr. John Lord's recent lectures on Marcus Aurelius and Madame de Staël; and Prof. Mather's extended course on the History of Sculpture, which has been in progress since the latter part of the winter term, and possesses especial interest.
Among the events of the year we cannot omit to allude to one of a different kind the death of Mr. Durant early in October last. Though his absorbing labors and cares in behalf of Wellesley College had prevented his visiting the Seminary for the last few years, and had obliged him to resign his place on our board of trustees, we believe that this institution had still a place in his heart, and a frequent remembrance in his prayers. Our library, which owes so much to him as well as to Mrs. Durant, will ever be their memorial here.
Our good friend, Prof. Thompson, of Worcester, who has been so much valued as our lecturer on Chemistry for some ten or twelve years, has done us his last service in that line, as it appears. A young and aspiring polytechnic institution in Terre Haute, being in need of a head, has succeeded in capturing him. Certainly it shows itself not only "an ambitious infant" -to quote the phrase applied once to Boston University but a shrewd one. We are glad for Indiana, though sorry for Massachusetts, and for ourselves.
You will have noticed the names of our recently appointed trustees in the last catalogue. Some of them we hardly know as yet; but we hope to see them soon. We promise ourselves much enjoyment as well as profit from the address which Rev. Dr. Taylor has promised to deliver at Anniversary. Our pastor, Dr. Love, is now a trustee; and we rejoice in having this additional claim upon his counsel, his sympathy, and his prayers. He has indeed given us all these in large measure from the first; but we can plead a right
to them now. Now and then we see Mrs. Pease and Mrs. Stoddard, whose practical wisdom and ready sympathy are always at our service on demand. But we should not soon finish the list of our friends should we attempt one; we may as well pause at the beginning.
By the way, we must tell you that Mrs. Pease, brisk and busy as ever, has this year enlivened her large house by receiving a circle of young ladies whom she is preparing to enter here. Miss Norwood, of the class of '81, is her assistant teacher, and they are all very happy there.
Mrs. Brown's preparatory school, which a former letter mentioned, has been removed to the old Gridley mansion, a mile and a half from the village. "The Manse" is almost the ideal of a country house, and the school prospers. Mrs. Perry known to many of you formerly as Libbie Childs, goes on with her own family school in Conway, as for a number of years past; she visited us a few days ago with four or five of her girls.
You have already heard that by the gift of Mr. Goodnow, of Worcester, our domain now includes most of Prospect Hill; the same gentleman has since provided a permanent fund of five thousand dollars, whose income is to be devoted to the improvement and care of this park, which will bear his name. He has also given two thousand dollars for present use in laying out walks, planting trees, erecting a pavilion, and other expenses. The plans have been prepared, and we begin to see the outlines of the pretty winding walk which will conduct future generations of our pupils quite easily up the steep ascent, through the bit of forest which will in time adorn it. Some thousands of baby trees, of various kinds, are already planted in a nursery just north of the botanical garden; from which, year by year, the more advanced will graduate, and be transferred to permanent positions in Goodnow Park. We trust that five years will develop some attractions there, though it will require many more to accomplish all that is planned. On the summit of the hill we hope to have a pavilion in which tired pilgrims may rest, and where no doubt many a class-meeting will yet be held.
There is another plan in progress in which every old scholar will heartily rejoice. Our court is to be a clothes-yard no more. An ample space behind the gymnasium has already been enclosed with a neat lattice, to which in time will be added a hedge; and our frames and lines are emigrating thither. So, in the course of a summer or two, we shall have a lovely green quadrangle, duly adorned with vines and shrubbery, on which eyes tired with study will delight to rest.
Dear friends of old, do we not sometimes almost wish we could be school-girls here again? "Could Time, his flight reversed, restore those hours," how willingly would we endure afresh the ordeal of entrance examinations, the pangs of home-sickness, the struggles of writing compositions, and whatever else may then have seemed hard! But, alas! Time does nothing of the kind. So far from reversing his engine he will not even apply the brakes now and then, but just speeds on faster and faster all the while. Yet he cannot prevent loving thoughts encircling the dear old home, and earnest prayers ascending in its behalf. Cease not to ask, dear sisters, that in all future years Mount Holyoke Seminary may not only be kept true to the spirit and the aims that have characterized her from the first, but may go on in an ever brightening career of devotion to Christ, and thus of blessing to the world.
With love from our "Alma Mater" to you all,
MARY O. NUTTING.
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