RESULTS: TESTIMONY OF ALUMNAE.
The reader will pardon the repetition inseparable from the testimony of so many to the same points.
"DEAR ALMA MATER: The story of your life will scarcely be told in four hundred pages if a tithe of what your daughters might say should be woven into the web.
"The certificate that gives me the right to call you Alma Mater
bears date August 5, 1852. You ask what proves to be the value of my Holyoke
education, and whether it has helped me 'to be, or do, or bear.' These
are rather personal questions, dear Alma Mater. I should fear to give very
positive answers concerning myself. But I think Dr. Wilson was not far
he said, as reported recently in New York City, that the Holyoke graduates were noted for 'Christian culture and common sense.'
"Many of your 'ways,' dear Mountain Mother, used to seem to me unnecessary. To tell the truth, I sometimes thought you very fussy. But now I justify them nearly all, and some of them I almost glorify. Let me mention the silent and solitary 'half-hour.' How could you fit your daughters to bear this rushing life of the nineteenth century, without teaching them the blessedness of being alone with God? Some souls learn its sweetness more readily than others, but with all it is a matter of education, and I am sure that the mature life of every woman will justify the means by which she was led 'Nearer, my God, to thee!'"
'55. "I am too busy with present duties to get much time for retrospect."
'46. "But it would be a guilty silence to withhold my humble testimony to the excellence of my Alma Mater, in whose halls I spent some of the best and happiest years of my life."
'47. "The influence of the seminary has been so interwoven with my life that only eternity can reveal even to myself how much I owe it."
'50. "It has been to me these thirty-five years a comfort, joy, and help."
'70. "I would not have it taken out of my life for any imaginable exchange."
'42. "That life is to be consecrated to the renovation of a fallen world, not frittered away in selfish indulgence, was the very spirit of the place."
'51. "The seminary trained the conscience to carefulness in little things. I cannot well imagine a graduate taking a place among so-called 'society ladies,' or giving her time to the round of fashion. We naturally expect her to enter on the work of doing good, carrying out the principles taught by Mary Lyon."
'65. "It fits women for almost every sphere except that of the devotee of fashion."
'65. "I am not a butterfly - will not despise butterflies - but I must be of some practical use in the world."
'55. "To me, after thirty years, Mount Holyoke Seminary has a sacred sweetness, a special unworldliness about it, that is near akin to the Palace Beautiful, and the Delectable Mountains of Bunyan. I don't mean that everything was always pleasant and easy. I remember when I thought myself near dying with the most painful disease to which the young are ever liable, nostalgia. Such multitudes of strange people surging into examination rooms' I believe no one was so homesick as I, going into all public places where duty called, with aching heart and streaming eyes! As for the domestic work, my memory brings up only one impression, - I thought it 'lots of fun'! I used to drive dull care away as well as algebra and Nepos, and laugh and joke, leading the white crockery circle, setting up china, or cleaning silver. The thoroughness of the teaching was something that I always appreciated. There is a self-respect in doing a thing well and not shirking. A building, high or low, is better for a good foundation; and who knows what the Master Architect may add at any time? When I came to teach in Tennessee, at Andover, and in Persia, I was glad of everything I had learned, and I found that the principles I had been taught were the only ones to give satisfaction. I am impressed by the value of the Mary Lyon plans; they are as valuable in Persia as in Massachusetts.
"I never can forget the impression of awe awakened by the very atmosphere
at the seminary. I went there right from the world and found it a place
peculiar and apart. At morning devotions in the ball, Miss Spofford spoke
of God; he seemed so glorious and real that my homesick heart leaned hard
on him as a heavenly Father. On the way down to breakfast the first Sabbath,
a teacher took my hand lovingly just a moment
on the stairs and said, ‘I hope that the Saviour may be so near that you will never forget your first Sabbath here.' I never did. The 'silent time' was an unspeakable means of grace. The system of the school was throughout an appeal to conscience. No spies - no watching - the reins of government placed in our own hands with only God as witness to our truthfulness; bound by such chains of honor and duty who could deceive? Did the temptation come, 'Do this, no one will know it,' it was sufficient to remember, 'Myself would know it.' In one sense it was freedom uncontrolled, in another we were held to do right as the world obeys its own law of gravitation. Missionaries and Christian workers were born there. After such a stand, it was not easy to go back even when the Master said, 'Go ye into all the world.' So Mount Holyoke's light has streamed afar, and its lines are gone out through all the earth."
'49. "What has my Holyoke education helped me to be, or do, or bear? I incline to answer 'Everything.' My Christian life began in the seminary. There I learned to hold myself responsible for my part of the Christian work in the world, just as for my daily share of the domestic work; I learned to take part in and to conduct meetings, and to try to win others to Christ as I myself was won-by personal appeals in the friendly way which is habitual there. During the three years spent in teaching after graduation I learned that the influences of the seminary are not confined within its walls but may be carried into other schools with gracious results. Whatever I have been permitted to do as a teacher, a minister's wife, or a mother, I have been taught to do as unto Christ."
'47. "I have sometimes been constrained to say that everything that is good in me is due to the seminary; whereupon my husband asks, 'And is everything that is bad in you due to me?’"
might what my hands found to do. I have been teaching ever since, though now nearly seventy years of age. For fifteen years before the war I taught in Virginia. I have been superintendent and teacher in a union Sabbath-school in St. Augustine, Florida, for twenty-five years. Three years I taught the Indian prisoners in the fort. My sixtieth birthday I celebrated by accompanying Captain Pratt to Dakota to collect, Indians for the Carlisle school. We brought eighty-seven boys and girls. The same fall we went to Indian Territory and brought fifty more; with these one hundred and thirty-seven Indians, Carlisle school was opened. The following year I went to Dakota again with Captain Pratt, and brought back both boys and girls for his school. In 1883, after great efforts, we succeeded in St. Augustine in establishing a school for colored girls, giving them a three years' course in English studies. This may seem egotistical, but Miss, Lyon is working through her pupils not only in foreign lands but in many places in our own country. Let her have the credit due."
'48. "I cannot hope that what I write will be of the least worth, save as an added testimony - a reference to what Holyoke has led me to wish and strive to do, rather than to what has been actually done."
'56. "In every position I have occupied, my Holyoke training has
been a help and a blessing; no part of it was useless, not even the 'side-step'
in calisthenics; and as the years roll on, I am more and more grateful
for it. The lessons of promptness and faithfulness in every duty left an
indelible impression. The old motto on our domestic work books - 'Be prompt,
be faithful, be diligent' - has been to many of us a constant help and
incentive. No one who rang the bells could fail to realize the importance
of using every moment to the best advantage, or to learn that every second
had its value, whose loss was irreparable. Accepting for three years irksome
and sometimes unaccustomed domestic work, not as a disagreeable necessity
- but pleasantly
because it was a plain duty, the habit became confirmed, and made it easier to meet the discomforts of after years in the same spirit of cheerful acquiescence. In these days of steam heat and electric bells, the old 'rising bell' should have an honored place among Franklin stoves, wood-baskets, and other relics of the early days - specially honored because its mission has been accomplished. Peace to its clapper, evermore!"
'43. "To bring out all the powers, moral, mental, and physical, in perfect harmony, was the problem. To aid in this the domestic department was invaluable. The tact, skill, and good judgment required is educational in itself, giving self-reliance and self-respect. Its influence helps in after life to maintain an orderly home and thus throws a charm over home life."
'63. "I distinctly recall Miss Jessup's saying: 'Young ladies, in order that all may run smoothly, everything must be done correctly and in time. You who have charge of meals should be particularly prompt. If they are delayed ten minutes, or even one, multiply that by the number you have kept waiting, and see how many minutes are lost. Always have in your room a book that can be read at intervals, or a piece of work ready to pick up for a few moments, and you will be surprised at the end of a month to see how much you have accomplished.' These remarks made such an impression on me, that the habit then formed has followed me through life. Now that I have family cares, much is accomplished in this way that otherwise had been impossible."
'67. "To me it was a constant object lesson to see those many domestic circles revolve in time and tune because somebody had thought it all out; and to see how the comfort of all was secured by each one's ,doing her part in due season."
'83. "The domestic cares have made me more systematic in all I undertake."
is not degrading; that gold is gold whether in the kitchen or in society."
'49. "It is much to have borne a part in household cares at the seminary. It was a daily object lesson in system and order - a beautiful example of successful co-operative housekeeping."
'83. "When my friends were considering the question of sending me to Holyoke, the domestic work was an objection; but the household duties never burdened me. Many happy hours were spent in the domestic hall, and many firm friends made on the different circles. It was sometimes a sacrifice to be aroused from slumber early in the morning to work on the 'breakfast circle'; but every sacrifice helps us to make greater ones. "
'54. It taught us how to share responsibility with others.
'39. "The domestic arrangements assisted much in developing character, and forming habits of neatness, promptness, system, and consideration for others. It taught us not to despise work, nor ignore workers; and made practical the proverb, 'What is worth doing, is worth doing well.'"
'56. "Some of us spend many hours of our lives in household labors; it was well to learn in our school days, that such work is worthy of a cultivated woman. The true Holyoke spirit finds poetry even in housework."
'58. "It is worth something in these days to have had the idea fully ingrained in youth, that an educated woman can attend to her own housework, without injury to her dignity."
'63. "With much opportunity for observation I believe that no other
school presents any plan which can take the place of this. In an age when
there are so many adverse influences to keep our daughters from acquiring
ability to perform for themselves or teach others to perform the duties
of the home, when so many unwise mothers look upon service as menial,
it has been the glory of Mount Holyoke Seminary to teach the dignity of labor."
'59. "The share in the household cares helps to maintain the 'sweet home' atmosphere of the place, which is a remarkable feature in so large a school. The cultivation of the spirit of helpfulness, the repression of caste feeling, the more thorough acquaintance of students with each other, and the diversion that comes from entire change of thought, are among the incidental advantages. It tends to develop the feeling of personal responsibility, for it shows plainly that the faithfulness of each is necessary to the good of all."
'55. "Some of my classmates would applaud, if they knew the obligation
I now feel to the domestic department. They have listened to my raptures
over Miss Jessup's morning lectures on theology and been amazed at my lack
of appreciation of her running commentary on the 'weekly items.' The elucidations
of theology are forgotten, but I have never in thirty years used a flat-iron,
without remembering not to rest it on the ironing sheet. I protect matches
with the utmost care, and if I take thick peelings from apples, it is because
I do not live up to my instructions. . . . The text-book attainments are
worth to me all that I expected. The lectures and the criticisms on composition
are invaluable. But now I have grown rusty in these departments; yet all
my life, ordinary and extraordinary, is made happier and worthier, from
my training in domestic work, care of my room, wardrobe, and accounts.
The living by bells, which often seemed so tiresome, cultivated such habits
of system that I have been able to accomplish more than I ever expected.
Of course, both in family and parish, any system has to be elastic; and
I long ago learned not to consider myself interrupted. . . . The training
in religious activities is another blessing for which I thank the seminary.
The little praying circles were educators not only in spiritual life but
in Christian fellowship and conquest of self. Many of us who have since
been called to lead in Christian work have thanked our teachers for the perseverance with which they drew out our small abilities in the recess meetings and taught us the preciousness of united prayer. I am ashamed that I was not more enthusiastic in such mission enterprises as were then on foot-like basting patchwork for mission schools; but no time was ever more worthily spent on composition than the eight hours I devoted to the old volumes of the Missionary Herald in following the history of one missionary in Africa.
"Miss Catharine McKeen once said, 'The feature which distinguishes Mount Holyoke Seminary from all other schools is the cultivation of the conscience.' Many of us used to grumble at the frequent use of the word 'discipline,' but we are indebted to it for much that makes us of service in the world. The impression left on the pupils is, that life is to be used for God; that we are personally responsible for all that we can do, not for what we would do. Holyoke girls are ambitious, not to shine or be admired, but to be of use in the world. We were so constantly taught that we were not our own that it was less difficult to yield the will of one for the good of the many."
'55. "We learned that if we would have a sound mind in a sound body we must mingle active with sedentary employments and never fall into the absurd notion that in order to be refined ladies we must be indolent, or become those inefficient, fainting, nervous things that sometimes pass under that name."
'44. "No one can attend that school and not learn that living is
not merely existence. It makes women of practical common sense. No one
can be a pretender there. Drones will not stay. They will be sick and leave.
To bear a part in household cares avails much in making systematic, neat,
economical housekeepers; economical of time as well as means. My one year
at Holyoke has helped me to plan and control a school of five hundred pupils;
to cater for a large household;
to systematize and reduce manual labor; and to discipline others by controlling self; to keep accounts of what I spend and live within my income, no matter how small; and to bear life's burdens and changes with a cheerful spirit."
'55. "My Holyoke education has helped me for thirty years in performing the duties of a wife and mother, of a Sabbath-school teacher, and helper in all departments of Christian work."
'47. "The value of my school training has been continually rising in my estimation since July, 1847. I was utterly unconscious of the greatness of the debt then, and for years after, but have now seen it for a quarter-century. There I first had a glimpse of what Christian obligations are. There, too, were formed friendships which have endured the strain of more than forty years and are the cherished treasures of my heart to-day."
'70. "No Holyoke graduate can fail to realize more and more the value of the daily discipline of seminary life, in building up strong and Christian womanhood."
'63. "My appreciation of the training there grows with years."
'50. "I prize the religious, moral, and intellectual training received there, and see its value more and more."
'78. "The benefits of Holyoke discipline are appreciated only by degrees. Not until within a few months did I think of the way in which our change of rooms helped to fit us for the discipline of life. We did not remain in one room so long that we could not feel at home in another, and so we are less easily disturbed by the frequent vicissitudes of life. The changes of companions at table and domestic work helped in the same direction."
'61. "One regulation to which I attach great importance required us to report accounts balanced. The habit then formed I have not relinquished, and I think if all young ladies could see the importance of being able to account accurately for the money they have spent, many a financial crisis would be averted."
'60. "The seminary training forms habits of economy in time, health, and wealth."
'74. "It has helped me to be prompt, - I never was in earlier life; and it has aided me to meet faithfully the disagreeable things that lie in every one's path. If unpleasant work must be done, why should I leave it for some one else, to whom it would be equally distasteful?"
'84. "Life at the seminary makes one more thoughtful. It showed me the importance of method in little things and how to turn odd bits of time to good account."
'79. "In almost every experience, I feel something of its influence to correct or strengthen me."
'48. "My Holyoke training helped me to be a teacher and then a missionary, and taught me to be faithful in little as well as great things - fearing nothing but that I should not know and do all my duty."
'56. "The seminary training did not make of me a woman of distinguished ability in either public or private life, but it helped me as teacher, mother, and member of society, to be faithful in a few things."
'85. "Mount Holyoke education tends to foster thoughtfulness in little things."
'73. "My life has not been tested by great sorrow, but in the way of daily strength for the self-denial involved in serving others, the Holyoke lessons of thoughtfulness have been a blessing."
'39. "Many of its less gifted graduates have done good service for
the Master, in the humble walks of life; they have taught the little school,
have made the humble home bright; have cared for the sick and
trained the young, with an intelligence and refinement far reaching in their results."
'56. "There are better daughters, mothers, and friends, throughout the world to-day, because of the influences of our seminary home, which dignified labor, deepened conviction of truth and duty, and impressed upon us the grand possibilities of life. Eternity alone will disclose how important a factor this institution is and shall be in the evangelization of our world."
'50. "I rejoice that I was one of Miss Lyon's pupils and among the number of those who received her last benediction. My whole life work has been molded by it."
'45. "I consider Holyoke training invaluable for stability of character and steady religious growth. It helped me to train my children, all of whom became Christians early in life and are now active members of the church."
'60. "I am left with five children. It is worth everything to me that I had the discipline of Holyoke to strengthen me for sorrow. The religious life nurtured there keeps me from sinking now that God has laid his hand so heavily upon me."
'61. "The lessons of self-denial inculcated there have made it easier through life to say 'Thy will be done.' I was taught that the highest privilege is service for the Master in the lowliest station."
'52. "The teachings received within those walls strengthened me for the trials and struggles of subsequent years."
'81. "Whatever I am my Holyoke education has helped me to be, and next to mother and home has had the strongest influence."
'69. "In connection with my three years at the seminary, I remember
the most distinctly its religious tone. I have always believed that whatever
of success I have had in my sixteen years of work as pastor's wife I owe
largely to the training I had at Mount Holyoke."
'44. "The systematic habits formed at the seminary were of great value to me in missionary work."
'53. "Holyoke training in punctuality, thoroughness, earnestness of life, the making eternity greater than time, and duty paramount, has given me whatever power for usefulness and efficiency I possess."
'56. "The training tends to make pupils conscientious, faithful, and ready to take up self-denying work; such persons as pastors and their wives like to find-who can be depended on for help."
'60. "I have not entered any profession - nor written any books. Nor have I occupied any large space anywhere, but what I am and what I have been able to accomplish, is due to the seminary. Its influence is in-wrought in all I say or do, for it was there I learned to believe in Jesus as my Saviour."
'76. "So suggestive is the course of study, and so thorough the work required, that enthusiastic teachers are the result."
'82. "It is not easy to estimate what Alma Mater has done for me. She has enlarged my sympathies, given me a broader view of the needs of humanity, and taught me how to work. This has been of the greatest value since I went out from the inspiration of numbers to take up my own work in the world. In my education itself I owe a great debt to the seminary, for I could not have had so thorough a course of study elsewhere. I am thankful for the Christian way in which we were taught, because I am constantly meeting theories and questions that tend to skepticism, especially in connection with the natural sciences and my training there fortified me against their fascination. I shall always be thankful that I was sent there."
'46. "The Holyoke training helps in every department of life. The conscientious truthfulness, the honesty of purpose, the purity of motive inculcated, cannot fail to confer lasting benefit. Christianity and science walk hand in hand, and their harmony is so thoroughly
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shown that Holyoke pupils can be depended on to stand up for the faith in these skeptical days, and also to give a reason f or the hope that is in them. It has been a life-long regret that I could not return to graduate.
'65. "To me the central feature of the seminary training was the use of the Bible. But in the whole course of study - revelation, history, or science - truth was shown to be a unit."
'49. "The zeal that was cultivated there was a zeal according to knowledge. How thoroughly we were grounded in Bible truth."
'62. "The Bible lessons were a spiritual feast."
'80. "The thorough course of Bible study has been very valuable to me in Sabbath-school work."
'77. "My quiet life may seem without fruit, but I am so constantly surrounded by skeptical young men that I have opportunities equal to any mission field, and am thankful now for the drill in the Bible, Evidences, and Butler, though I used to regard much of the time so spent as wasted; but these studies have enabled me to show many a weak spot in the skeptical notions that some young men pretend to believe. When a clergyman told me the other day that one studying for the ministry spoke of me as the first person who caused him to doubt the sufficiency of his skepticism, I felt that it repaid a life-time of obscurity."
'70. "My faith in Christ was greatly strengthened. The teaching at the seminary gives strong support against the infidelity rampant in the world to-day."
'51. "That part of the course of study which bore upon Christian belief has been of untold value to me in meeting doubts from within and skepticism from without. The Bible is the great refuge, yet for these added helps I can never cease to be grateful."
'44. "Whatever of Christian work I have been permitted to do in
public or in my family, I attribute to the training of those beloved teachers
and the influences of those precious Sabbaths. The putting
religious life uppermost, and other things as helps to that has been invaluable in strengthening me for the Master's work, and for the bereavements, disappointments, and sorrows it has been my lot to bear. Since being so thoroughly established in the 'faith once delivered to the saints,' I have often been able to put aside the whisperings of infidelity and stand firm for the truth, and have thus been able to assist some doubting ones to get a firm foothold on the Rock of Ages. I often wish in these days, when we see so many church members apparently satisfied with the tinsel of the world's amusements, that Miss Lyon was more generally known throughout our land. I have not heard in late years anything definite in regard to the unreserved consecration of her successors to the Master's work; but in its earlier years the seminary left such a distinctive impress upon its pupils, that strangers often said to them, 'Weren't you educated at Holyoke? I thought so, for you have their earnestness.'"
'50. "What a hushed thrill crept through the seminary that March day when it was known that Miss Lyon was dead! It had seemed as if she was essential to the seminary. But she had prepared other faithful laborers to step into the vacant place; and the wheels never stopped. Nor, since that time, has the steady machinery been seriously disturbed. Year after year earnest souls go forth with a training which fits them to do good in the world and meet the vicissitudes of life with a Christian spirit."
'61. "I have laid the circular away a dozen times, half determined
not to reply, but when I was in the seminary I did as I was bidden and
I cannot disobey now. That is a sacred place to me and will always be,
for it was my spiritual birthplace. I had been waiting for a year, very
impatiently, to go there and begin the new life. The day we arrived, Miss
B--, a new teacher, showed my sister and me to our room. Miss S-- presided
at the table and asked a blessing over our late dinner, and her thin, clasped
voice, and spiritual face, impressed me deeply. Then Miss Jessup prayed so heartily for the new girls and especially for the homesick ones that night, that I was moved to tears. And when a day or two later she spoke about taking time for prayer, and bade us think how fitting it was that we should begin with our new school life a new life in Christ, my sister and I were completely subdued, and went to our room to do just as she had told us. All through those, first weeks Miss B-- lavished on us little attentions that no one expects from a stranger, and that only Christian love suggests. I saw why it was, when, the first Sunday evening, she laid her cheek against mine, while she took my sister's hand and whispered, 'I hope you both belong to the dear Saviour.' It was Miss S--'s privilege to lead me to the light, after weeks of darkness. I never understood how she knew I needed her help, for I could not make my feelings known; but she took me to her room one Sabbath night and without asking a question, told me my trouble and led me to my Saviour. O those Sabbath days, those silent half-hours, and those days of prayer!-how I have longed for their rest and quiet ever since! And in all the years of my Christian work I have been able to think of no wiser, sweeter, or more helpful things to say than were then said to me."
'55. "The one year I spent at the seminary was the most precious of my life. In its quiet halls I found the Saviour, so precious then, and through all the years that have followed."
'86. "I found my All there, and Alma Mater will always be dear to me."
'70. "The memory of those days is very precious to me, for I have never lost the religious interest then awakened."
'68. "It taught us to place religion first in everything."
beloved teachers and of the influence of seminary training; I want to speak of the effect left on me by observing the unswerving integrity of that most obliging man of all work, - faithful Cornelius, - who never lost his temper though wanted in all parts of the building at the same time, and who cared for all the interests of the seminary as if they were his own. I can never forget the lesson taught by the delicacy of his Christian sympathy one sorrowful day when he turned aside in the domestic hall to tell me how sorry he was to hear that my soldier brother would never come back from the war. And when (in 1883) I heard that after nearly thirty years at the seminary he had retired to his little farm, I said, 'It will be hard to find another to fill the place of Cornelius Rutherford, - a man worthy of both his names.'"
'57. "That revival year I was strongly impressed with the consistent Christian lives of the older pupils, about their domestic work, and everywhere."
'59. "It was the general standard of Christian uprightness that left the most pronounced impression on my mind."
'47. "I regard the decision to enter Mount Holyoke Seminary as the
most important one of my life. I had previously made public profession
of my faith in Christ. But I did not know the full meaning of that act
till I saw the consecrated lives of Miss Lyon and her associates. The daily
study of God's Word and its wonderful application to the daily life was
set before me as never before. I was almost in a new world. I had so longed
for the higher education there afforded and for the full development of
all my powers, for which everything at the seminary was admirably fitted.,
that at once I accepted most gratefully the entire system. The family work
was a pleasure, for the young ladies entered into familiar and yet congenial
intercourse, while it continually enabled us to bear one another's burdens
in many appreciative ways. The self-reporting system led every pupil to
watch over her own actions
and always to know whether she was in the right place and making the best use of her time. This watchfulness and care, the regular exercises of school and family arrangements, necessitating 'schedules of time' made out and lived up to, all formed habits of system whose value could not be over-estimated. But the religious life of the school as led by Miss Lyon and her teachers made the place a perennial fountain of blessing. Very few, after spending three years in such training, could go home to settle down into listless inactivity or aimless lives. Christian women in every department of life, with the mental and moral culture gained at South Hadley, are blessing our homes and schools, the church and the world."
'51. "Holyoke training is remarkably adapted to strengthen character, and lead to useful and practical after life. I remember with gratitude the tender religious influences which almost impelled us to consecration to God. Nor can I forget the subsequent influences, which encouraged us to lead in prayer from the very first, and to try to win our friends to Christ. I am confident that these early lessons have followed many into later years, making Christian service sweet, and self-denials for Christ a delight."
'40. "I cannot be thankful enough for what my two years of Holyoke training did for me. It helped me to be more self-reliant, to make sacrifices willingly for the good of others, - in a word to feel that I must live to do some good in the world. It has helped me to train my children for usefulness. Miss Lyon's influence is going on like the waves of the sea and eternity alone will reveal the good she has done.
"Do not think me egotistical if I give an incident. Two years ago
I went as a delegate to a temperance convention in P--, forty miles distant,
and was urged to take the place of an absent speaker. I felt that I could
not, but a lady near me said, 'Go on, you need not make a long speech.'
Breathing a silent prayer for help, before I reached the platform the words
Lyon came to my mind, 'Be willing to go where no one else will go and do what no one else is willing to do.' I gave that as a reason for coming forward before so large an audience with such short notice, and words seemed given to me as I needed them. A year later I attended another temperance convention and was asked to address the meeting. When I declined, the president said with great earnestness, 'if you only knew how much good those words you quoted at P-- had done me you would not refuse.' She said, 'I have been called to labor among rough, drinking men, and my heart often shrank from the task, but those words of Miss Lyon continually came to me with such force I dared not refuse, and my labors have not been in vain.'"
'69. "It was my seminary life that freed my tongue, and made me feel that I could say a word for the Master when occasion offered. I used to think religion was something that one could not talk about; but if I have been led to say anything since, that has helped any in the journey heavenward, it was gained at the seminary; and you may put that in any book you like, if you will only put it in a better shape. I often feel as if I were an idler in the Master's vineyard - but I do love to speak a word for him, though I have not always the courage or the skill to make the opportunity."
'58. "Representing, as we did, all the states and territories of the Union - not to mention foreign countries - we gained from each other an important part of our education; and though New England principles prevailed, the influence of the seminary was neither narrow nor provincial."
'72. "I owe much to the unsectarian piety of the seminary. Brought
up a strict Presbyterian and having naturally strong prejudices, my sympathies
were greatly broadened there, and I have never been able to consider sects
essential since our little school world maintained a thorough-going Christianity
on a non-denominational basis."
I look back on my days at the seminary as blessed days, fitting me for a life of care and struggle by the development of faith in Jesus as my Saviour. Waking and sleeping I live over my school days. The firm religious impressions, the thorough instruction, and the practical ideas of order, then received, have been of incalculable value to me these thirty years."
'40. "For myself, as doubtless for many of the younger pupils, Holyoke training laid the foundation for subsequent education, showing the value of all knowledge, and stimulating to effort for its acquisition."
‘80. "Its whole education has made me feel unsatisfied with present attainments and desirous of pressing on in the life work open to every Christian woman."
'41. "A Holyoke education leaves a marked impress. Aside from its intellectual training it creates a high resolve 'to be' through life a blessing in the world; 'to do' for others whatever may be given to do; and 'to bear' silently and heroically, whatever toil. privation, or suffering this may involve."
'38. "I was at the seminary only the spring term of the first year, but I would not have been denied the privileges of that one term for any money. The stamp on every one I have met from that home seems to be, 'There is a great work to be done, and I will do what I can'; it is the attitude of the good soldier - 'on duty, and ready for further orders.'"
'41. "Holyoke influence has tended to develop in me independence of character and a greater sense of individual responsibility, so that for the most part the question, what is right, or duty - not what will people think - is paramount; and I have endeavored to stamp the same on our children and I think it has saved them from many a snare."
and a greater readiness to give themselves to Christian work."
"The strongest effect was the recognition of personal responsibility to do or suffer, whatever was to be done or suffered. I believe Holyoke graduates, as a rule, are strong in their devotion to duty, and uncompromising toward evil."
'61. "For myself, Holyoke influence had much to do in making seeming sacrifice become positive pleasure. The impress upon its pupils is that of personal responsibility, the duty of fitting one's self to be a sharer in the world's work."
'63. "Holyoke education, which I regard emphatically as Christian education, helps many to do for the poor and ignorant so far as in them lies, that which has been done for them, striving to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ."
'69. "My three years in the school gave a new direction to my life, and a desire to work. The distinctive imprint of the school is the desire to accomplish something worthy of a Christian woman; to help those who need help."
'75. "A very distinct impression was made upon me by the ambition of so many to fit themselves to work for God in all the walks of life."
'49. "Years ago I met a lady who said, 'I do not like Mount Holyoke graduates, for they always feel that they have a mission, and they cannot rest till they have accomplished it."'
'58. "Holyoke training leaves upon its pupils the stamp of fixed purpose, and earnest Christian endeavor. I have been largely indebted to it in efforts to inculcate on my pupils a desire to act at all times from Christian principle."
'53. "I am filled with increasing gratitude to the seminary for
the grand ideal of life which it gave me. The lesson, from Alpha to Omega,
of living for God, of consecrating all to him, is prominent in every recollection
of its teachings."
145. "I think the distinctive impress is a love of thorough work and a desire to do all things heartily, as unto the Lord."
'77. "I learned that to walk in Christ's way is not only safest, but the only way to satisfy an enlightened conscience, and ordinary common sense. That year stands out from the other years of my life like a cameo from its setting."
'64. "The result is unswerving adherence to duty, after careful and conscientious study to know it."
'49. "Holyoke training leaves its. mark upon its pupils. It is sometimes said, 'Character is its specialty."'
'54. "The seminary produces a certain equipoise of the faculties, the outgrowth of the system for which it is justly noted."
'56. "The regular home duties to be performed as faithfully as George Herbert's' 'sweeping of a room'; the instructions of those faithful teachers; the quiet season of devotion at the close of the evening meal, coming in like a benediction after the toils of the day; the little recess meeting, where souls first learned to pray with and for each other; the half-hour alone; and, above all, the spiritual atmosphere that brooded over all the place, have left an impression on me that nothing can efface.
'77. "I sometimes think the greatest power for good lay in the silent half-hour. Ever since, I have had a deeper sense of the necessity of spending some time each day alone with God."
'74. "If there is one thing of more practical value than any other, it is the habit there formed of regularly setting apart a stated time each day to be alone with God and his word. This is most restful, and of the greatest help, not only in preparation for whatever one may be called to meet through the day, but in promoting steady spiritual growth."
that there was a bell that would shut out all interruption for half an hour each day."
'75. "I can never speak highly enough of the morning and evening 'half-hours.' To me they were the best parts of the day."
'57. "The influence of the half-hour of prayer has never departed from me. The habit then formed has been of untold value to me, and indirectly to my kindred."
'59. "The influence of the silent half-hour, the section prayer meeting, and the instruction given at family prayers, is beyond all estimation. We do not know how deep and thorough that education was, until it has been tested in after years."
'45. "I thank God that I went to Mount Holyoke Seminary, where the training of Christian parents was continued by Christian teachers."
'45. "I am more thankful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to be one of Holyoke's daughters than for any other temporal blessing. It has been a life-long disappointment that I could not stay to graduate."
'47. "I shall ever be thankful for the missionary influence which
pervaded life at the seminary. The atmosphere seemed full of it, and the
lights and shadows in the lives of missionary ladies in Persia seemed to
cloud or brighten our lives as well. I well remember Miss Lyon's saying
one day, 'Yes, young ladies, as the millennium draws near, Christians will
cast their luxuries into the Lord's treasury, gladly curtail their comforts,
and even look closely upon the necessaries of life, that they may give
the more.' I have tender memories of the Sunday morning prayer meetings
when we recited to each other the names and location of the various missionaries
of the American Board and sought to hold them up before God in prayer.
Others will ever remember the day appointed for special prayer for foreign
missions when the ‘beloved Persis’ (Thurston) led our section meeting and
told us some of the experiences of her father in Hawaii. I, for one, received
an impulse which intensified my long cherished wish to be a foreign missionary. You will, perhaps, remember Miss Lyon's characteristic statement of qualifications essential for a missionary, - 'first, of course, piety; next, a sound constitution; and then, a merry heart.'"
'47. "Our first missionary meeting was made especially attractive that we might become interested in a subject of which most of us knew but little. Our 'beloved Persis' dressed as a Hawaiian, sought to interest us in the land of her birth. It made a deep impression on me, and from that day I loved the missionary work. In the church of which I was a member twenty-five years ago, I was the only one besides our pastor's wife, who had any interest in missions. This church is now a center of active service, and if I was of any help in creating a missionary spirit, it was all due to the teaching of Miss Lyon. She never knew that she had influenced me for good, for I gave no evidence of it while with her. It will be one of her 'sweet surprises' hereafter to learn that she had done so much for me. To the systematic training of Holyoke I am infinitely indebted in all the walks of life, and I am glad to offer my testimony to its worth."
'42. "Miss Lyon's earnest wishes have been fulfilled in successful workers in many lands, who attribute much of their usefulness to the principles inculcated at Mount Holyoke Seminary."
'67. "I am very thankful to have had my interest in mission work stimulated while at Holyoke by meeting so many who had been in the field. Especially was it a rare privilege to be at the seminary when Miss Fiske was there."
'51. "I could not have continued in our missionary work, without the oneness of purpose obtained at Mount Holyoke."
laid a responsibility which God alone can enable them to carry."
'44. "The missionary spirit burning in the heart of Mary Lyon has kindled an answering zeal in the hearts of thousands. I trace my own long interest in missions directly to the influence of her teachings."
'49. "How could any one be a pupil of hers without feeling that she had a work of her own to do for the conversion of the world? In reviewing the history of the 'Woman's Boards' in our country, it will be found that most of the original leaders were pupils of Mary Lyon, and many of their successors were taught by her pupils. I believe that her influence gave the first impetus to this great movement."
'57. "I have found Holyoke alumnae members of the executive committee of more than one Woman's Board, and their most efficient helpers. The knowledge of Miss Start's self-sacrificing labors as city missionary made me less selfish, for she was far less fitted to endure hardness than I."
'83. "My Holyoke training stimulated an interest in church and mission work."
'85. "If there is one thing more than another that I gained at Mount Holyoke, it is a deep interest in and love for mission work."
'48. "Thirty-five years have passed and my daughter has graduated and is now with us on missionary ground. "
'51. "There I sent my only daughter who left the seminary a quarter of a century after her mother, and I have no doubt she will continue to show the influence of the training received there."
'59. "The best proof of my sincere devotion to Holyoke is to be found in the fact that my only daughter is a senior there now. I have been more than satisfied with the results of her connection with the seminary."
'46. "Perhaps no better testimony can be given to my interest in the seminary, than the fact that two daughters have already completed the course, and the remaining one is soon to graduate."
'57. "My Holyoke education has been the inspiration of my life, and if I had twelve daughters, I should wish them all educated there, as my only one has been. I was glad to hear that there were thirty daughters of alumnae in the seminary in 1886, and that the number this year is larger still."
'53. "Our daughters love the seminary next to their own home."
'62. "My great sorrow is that I cannot send my boys there to be educated."
'61. "I cannot refrain from expressing my gratitude to Holyoke that she placed her tuition so low."
'57. "With me an education in any other first-class institution would have been impossible on account of the expense. Most of my bills were paid from my own earnings."
'61. "I wonder if Miss Shattuck remembers a 'new scholar' asking her how long she had been in the seminary, and to her reply, 'ten years,' exclaiming, 'What, not through yet?' Yes! it is because of such life devotion and energy as she has shown in her department, that our Alma Mater stands where she does to-day; and we bless God that she and other dear teachers are 'not through yet!'"
'55. "With alacrity we obeyed Miss Jessup's. request 'to step to the basement' for an errand, though we were in the fourth story, or vice versa. Dear Miss Jessup, how we would still step for her if we might loose the chains that have bound her for so many years!
'58. I do not know that I should have my present Sunday-school class
- six boys about the age of fourteen, who had driven away three gentlemen
in succession - had it not been for Miss Jessup's oft repeated 'Do what
no one else will do.'"
'47. "The ideal of life, which I have cherished ever since, was largely furnished me by Mary Lyon. Through all the events of my life, 'What would Miss Lyon say?' - 'What would Miss Lyon do?' have been, under Christ, the questions that have guided me. I think I have observed the same influence in many other graduates. I specially rejoice to observe also that some of the pupils of later years, who never knew Miss Lyon, are under the control of an ideal which the seminary has succeeded in perpetuating from her, so that she 'being dead yet speaketh.' May the seminary never fail to preserve that sacred inheritance."
'52. "I was only sixteen and full of life and fun, but there I found Christ. There was always an influence in the school that was drawing me slowly but surely to him. I believe it is there still, a constant answer to all the fervent prayers that from Miss Lyon first, and from so many ever since, have been going up from within its walls."
155. "We can never cease to be grateful that our Alma Mater is still pleading for us, and when sorrow comes we feel strengthened to bear it with Christian fortitude."
'70. "The assurance that I am remembered among 'all those who have been of our household in times past' is a great comfort to me."
'39. "Prayers for its prosperity and advocacy of its distinctive features have borne witness, these many years, to what Mount Holyoke did for me."
'40. "My most earnest prayers are for the future extended usefulness of dear old Holyoke."
'63. "The seminary has a peculiar attraction to all former pupils. A visit to her sacred walls is like returning to the paternal roof and asking for one more blessing. A sacred tie exists between those educated there, which binds our hearts together however far we may be sundered."
'61. "I remember with gratitude the delightful family feeling existing between teachers and pupils."
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'58. "I love to recall the courteous 'good morning' with which Miss Chapin was sure to greet us as we met in the halls, never failing to remember our names. This was one of the many ways by which she made us feel her personal interest in each of us."
'63. "If 'the reward of work well done is, not rest, but more work,' then truly did Miss Chapin prove her service acceptable to the Master."
'73. "Mount Holyoke Seminary was to me more than a school; it was a Christian home, filled with all gentle and sanctifying influences."
'86. "I would not exchange my four years there for a course in any other school in the land."
'39. "None of the younger pupils can love our Alma Mater as do we who sat at Miss Lyon's feet, and entered into her endeavors. The progress of the seminary means more to us, who see in it a fulfillment of the grand ideal of those early days."
'46. "It is cheering to note the progress from year to year."
'65. "I rejoice in its present prosperity and that it is so well keeping pace with the progress of the age."
'67. "Thrice glad are we for all the improvement wrought in so many ways."
'61. "We have noted with thanksgiving that our Alma Mater has been kept steadfast in the service of Him to whom it was first dedicated. May the gracious blessing of the Master ever rest on all who gather in the dear home."
'66. "All my home loves and cares do not drive out my love for the seminary and the friends there. I am thankful for the years spent within those walls, and if God should ever put it in my power, one of my greatest pleasures would be to help build up the seminary to the ideal position which all her children desire for her. My heart will be with you at the jubilee, but I cannot be there in person."
'48. "Ever since the first note of preparation for the jubilee was struck, I have proposed to be there. If I cannot enjoy the coveted privilege of being within the walls of my beloved Alma Mater, then give me a cot close by, that I may look upon her fair structure the last thing at night and the first in the morning. For it will be the last visit I shall ever make to that dear spot."
'42. "How I would love to be present at the semicentennial! I shall be with you in spirit, but I never expect to see the dear old home again. May there be a happy reunion, and the blessing, of the Lord rest upon it!"
'43. "I am nearly blind - but I want a copy of the 'History' and will get some one to read it to me."
'40. "Probably I shall not live to see the jubilee or read the book - but I wish to subscribe for a copy for my son."
'40. "May you have a delightful time at the jubilee! There will be few to represent the first pupils who gathered in the dear old home. Some will send loving thoughts from afar. I wonder if Miss Lyon and Deacon Porter will not be permitted to look on. It may be there will be 'a great cloud of witnesses.' You remember Miss Lyon said in her last illness, 'I should love to be permitted to come back and watch over the seminary,' and then added - and we all echo the words - 'but God will take care of it.'"
Let this chapter of testimony close with the words of Dr. Kirk at the reunion on the twenty-fifth anniversary:-
"This unusual gathering of teachers and alumnae shows how much this
school is beloved of God's children. . . . It is just what Mary Lyon intended
it to be; what she constantly prayed it might be; stronger than when she
left it; independent of her or any other individual human being; living
in the favor of God and the confidence and sympathy of the churches. There
cannot be a question that it is already a vast power in
our nation, both as a part of the great educational machinery of our country, and as founded on lofty Christian principles. The question that awakens our solicitude is, Will its guardians prove faithful to their trust? It is no common piety that can keep it where its founder left it. A declension of piety in the churches would come stealthily up here like the miasma of death. If the church ceases to pray for it, the blessing of God will be proportionally diminished. This seminary is a sacred trust from the Lord to his churches. If the trustees should come to regard it in a merely secular light, their influence will be hurtful rather than beneficial. If the teachers should come down from the high places of prayer, of close walking with God; if worldly ambition and self-seeking should gain possession of their hearts, - it would so far fail of its original design, and the most sacred of trusts be so far betrayed.
"Fellow trustees! We are guardians of an institution dear to many now in heaven; dear to Him that sits upon its throne. Let us to-day take a new view of our trust and watch ourselves lest we impair some element of its strength. Teachers within those walls! You are laboring for Christ and eternity. The instant you come down to the common ground of self-seeking you part company with Mary Lyon and you betray her dear seminary. May her Saviour keep you as lie kept her! Daughters of Holyoke! Refresh yourselves with the precious memories of the past. It does a generous soul good to revive its sense of obligation. Remember the goodness of God and praise him. Remember the true hearted ones that so nobly bore the burden and the reproach of this enterprise in its infancy. Bless God for their noble work; greet each other here once more; and then go forth to carry out even more fully the sacred principles you were taught here.
"May our blessed Lord make the coming years witness even richer blessings on the school than all our eyes have yet witnessed! To him we commend its sacred interests!"
[END OF CHAPTER 19]