Mary Lyon to Hannah White
To Hannah White  
Londonderry, July 2, 1824, Friday.
My dear Friend,  

Two days since our vacation commenced, and I have intended to write you certainly before Saturday's mail, but my time has been very much occupied, and I have but a very little time, that I can now command. If you will accept a few lines, however, I will endeavor to devote to you a part of this morning.  

Londonderry is quite a pleasant spot, particularly where our academy stands. I think this much the most pleasant part of the town, though much the most of the village is where Pinkerton Academy stands, about a mile distant thro which the stage passes from Boston to Concord. This place is elevated the air is serene, and the prospect fine, particularly from the upper story of the academy and the belfry of the meeting house. I walked up into the belfry last Wednesday. I do not mean a fine prospect of smoking towns and villages. I simply mean, that I think this a pleasant locality for an institution of this kind. A gentleman from Boston, who sends his daughter here to school, remarked that tho he had traveled thro most of New Hampshire, he did not know of a more delightful spot in the state for an academy. The building is convenient for the number of scholars that we now have, newly and very neatly finished. Our number of scholars is about 60, about half from this town. I thought it was probable, that we should have some very indolent troublesome young ladies among our number, but I am happy to say that tho some require more attention than others, yet they have been so much disposed to improve their time, that all we think have made good improvement. I find that it is rather a subject of observation, that our scholars are particularly disposed to study. This we could scarcely have expected. I believe it is owing much, however, to Miss Grant's peculiar method of management. The regulations of this school are such as to enable us to have much system and regularity. This regular system is calculated to give our pupils faithful attentive habits. They feel, that their course is marked out, and generally that whatever is appointed, must be accomplished. Composition, you know, is one of the most trying exercises but even in this, we have not had an instance yet of any young lady, where she has been the least disposed to be delinquent. In this respect, however, our school has not done much better than mine last summer, but it is with less exertion. In some respects, perhaps this school meets our [paper damaged] better than any school I have [paper damaged] seen. [next clear word] might mention particularly [paper damaged] but the beginning of all little evils in school - whispering. We have some young ladies, who have not made a communication of this kind without permission since the commencement of our school; and probably none, who have not passed some weeks without doing it.  

Concord N.H. Friday eve. I am now on the road to Salisbury 16 miles from this place, and 40 from Londonderry where I shall spend most of the vacation. A few weeks since, Mr. Cross was married, and spent one night at Mr. Parker's on his return from Methuen. I could not finish this letter before I left L. as I must be prepared to take the stage at such a time.  

To return and say a little more about our school, as the more you know about that, the more you will know about me. We have but four in the senior class. The young ladies are examined, and placed where it is thought they will improve the most. Some young ladies are put down one or two classes lower [beginning of cross writing] than they expected; but in every instance but one they bear everything of the kind patiently, and seem perfectly satisfied with every direction, that is given them. Mrs. Reeder and Miss Chickering from Dedham are engaged in the school; and we all have enough to do. I am as much crowded with business as ever. For several of the last weeks of last quarter, I devoted three hours a day to grammar, and three to writing. Next quarter we shall not have so much writing, but we shall have some new exercises. A few of our young ladies leave now, and a few will probably enter next quarter. It cannot be proportionably [sic] so profitable to those, who enter next quarter as to those who continue the whole term, but we hope that it will be profitable to a considerable of a degree. I wish you would come next quarter. Mrs. Reeder has a variety of patterns, but I cannot tell whether she has one just the kind you have been wishing. I think it not very probable, I shall find time to take any patterns of hers. My time is really very much engaged.  

I heard of your Aunt Judith’s death on the way from Amherst to Boston. The whole circle of friends must feel the loss very much. A letter came for me a little before my arrival to L. stating the death of sister Moore's husband.  

I have not written to Amanda yet. I hope to while at Mr. Cross's.  

My health is quite good. Please to write to me soon. Remember me to your family, Mr. Shepard's, Esq.[?) Paine's, Mr. Sanderson's, Mr. Hathaway's, any of my scholars to whom it may be convenient, etc. etc.  

I meant to have said that our scholars are made up of those of different ages, possessing different habits, inclinations and capacities, and that there is no way only to make a continued exertion. We receive sufficient attention at Londonderry but I do not enjoy society so much there as among my good Ashfield friends.  

If you knew what an effort was necessary to write any this eve-ning on account of fatigue, you would be willing to accept of only these few [paper damaged] lines. Don't expose this chirography.  

Yours in love,  

M. Lyon  

Our vacation is two weeks.  

[Section cross-written at the bottom right of p. 3]:  

Pray for our school. We have some faint hope before vacation that we might have a revival. Mr. Cross desires me to mention to you that he should be glad to have you write to him, & state your religious feelings.