April 25, 1897

April 25, 1897
My Dear Mamma,
O I had such a delightful time when I went to Somerville. Of course it rained Saturday so I had to hide my new finery under a mackintosh,* shelter my head with an umbrella and protect my feet with rubbers.* I rode in the barge to the depot so I didn’t get wet at this end. When I reached Boston I had to walk to the Hollis St. Theatre and this was rather awkward as I had to hold my umbrella, carry my bag and prevent my two new skirts from the damp. Each thing required a whole hand to see it and so I had a rather hard time. Fortunately the distance was short and I arrived at the Theatre in due season and waited for Amy. Finally she came and do you know I didn’t know her. She wore glasses, etc. etc. But then she didn’t know me. We both thought there might be the person she was looking for so we both started as she approached me. Suddenly we both began to smile and then to grin as we thought how stupid each had been not to know the other. Mrs. Cole didn’t come on account of the rain so Amy and I had to enjoy Julia Marlowe* by ourselves. But we could do it easily. Oh she was lovely and as you can imagine I was in the seventh heaven. In short we decided to come and see her again Monday afternoon in a special matinee for Patriot’s Day. Oh I didn’t tell you how I happened to get my permission. ‘Twas a very hard thing to do – to cut two recitations for a theatre permit and the Dean was very unwilling but when I told her that I had not cut in Math this year and that this was probably the only permission I should want this year, she relented somewhat and after I had seen the instructions in each of two subjects and received their permission providing make up the work, she finally wrote out my desired permission and I was happy. When we came out of the theatre it had cleared off and the sun was shining brightly. After going to Hylers and getting glasses of strawberry ice cream soda with the real fruit in it, we started for Somerville. They were all glad to see me and in the evening we played duplicate whist*. Papa would like that. It is so much fairer. The same cards are played by each side in another hand and so both sides have the same opportunity in regard to cards. I liked it exceedingly and wish we could play at home. The next morning we went into Boston to church. We considered a long time as to where we should go, but Amy went last year to St. Paul’s on Tremont St. and said that the music was fine. So to St. Paul’s we went and such a crowd! Of course the pew holders entered by a side door and the main doors were not opened until a certain time. After the doors were opened it was about half an hour before we got into the church and then we had to stand. But the flowers and singing were fine and the sermon was short so we felt amply repaid. But we were so tired that we didn’t go to church again in the evening with one of Amy’s friends who invited us. In the afternoon little Dora and Harriet Homer, Amy’s cousins who were spending the day next door, came in and staid quite a while. Such dear little children. Dora is about 10 and Harriet about 7. Elsie would have been in her element. Then Amy and I and the two children went to walk and when we came back we went into the Williamses and I was introduced to nearly the whole Cole family who had congregated there. After staying there about half an hour we went back home again and George Lovett was there. He spent the evening. Monday morning the bells rang and the whistles tooted and we were conscious that it was the 19 of April. During the morning I wrote two letters, read “As You Like It” again, went to walk and read Amy’s journal she kept while she was abroad. It was so interesting. She describes things so well. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to finish it. She showed me some lovely photographs and described them. She said they took a camera abroad and took stacks of pictures. One turn of a certain screw would shift the scene (I can’t explain in technical terms). Before they went home they took it to be fixed and without telling them anything about it, the man fixed it so that 3 turns of the screw were not necessary. But they didn’t know it and took stacks of pictures, turning the screw only once between each view. Consequently it was found when they came to develop them that upon every plate there were three pictures. Oh they were so disappointed. Then Monday afternoon I left Somerville and Amy and I went to the Hollis St. Theatre again to see “As You Like It.” Oh this was simply fine. I do wish you all could have seen it. It was much better than “Romola” and Julia Marlow as “Rosalind” was simply dear. Oh did I enjoy it so. After the performance I returned to Wellesley well pleased with my outing for I did have such a lovely time. Amy is surely coming to Avon next summer. She wants to very much and she will certainly come any time that I will send for her. I thought of her home with me but then we couldn’t have the tennis court and she likes that. She is crazy to get one before she comes to Avon. She has some handsome clothes (as usual) but she got some beauties in Paris. I had a letter from Beatrice Oberly she says that she is coming to Avon the first of May. Oh my $10 for room is due May 1. Please be sure and send it in your next letter. Received the box of arbutus* before I went but unfortunately the box was broken and so they were not very fresh. Still there were some beautiful pieces, but those I received yesterday were elegant. I put them in a shallow dish and carried them down & put them on the table. Everyone admired them. I gave each one some of them. I am going to take them to the table again today. Oh about those cats names, for the two that we are going to keep, how would “Pete” and “Repete” or “Kate” and “Duplicate”, they are so near alike. But I like “Kwick” and “Kwack” pretty well. If I find any better ones I will send them. “Cosette” is the Spanish word for cat & makes a pretty name. I enclosed three other cats. And about that cyclometer*, I couldn’t get it because the girl’s brother who was going to get it was sick and couldn’t go out until after the sale was over. I am sorry and so is she. Many thanks for the stamps. But it was so damp in the box that they all stuck to the paper & I hope to soak them off. Have been writing letters to the Agora and alumnae and I will enclose a copy of the gist of the letter. You may be interested. I hope so then perhaps you will give a little money. How is Mr. Fankhauser now? I am engaged in writing a book review on Amos Judd instead of having an examination in English this June. We are to have a paper instead. We are to make our tabulated analysis of some noted essay and then criticize it. It is going to be hard. In German XI too we are to have a paper and we are to have a paper in Literature, but also and examination in it as well. How rushed I shall be writing papers. We shall probably have another one too. Fraulein Elsbeth Mueller says such bright things. One day a girl was translating but she was awfully slow so Fraulein Mueller said “You are like medicine – a teaspoonful every half hour”. The Academic Council have allowed us to have an intercollegiate sport so next Sat. our Varsity basketball is going to beat the Newton High School team. It is going to be great sport to watch them. Oh it is so hot here today. All the girls have blossomed out in shirt waists*. I haven’t put mine on yet but expect to soon. We have ordered our class paper. It is to be perfectly lovely. How is Elsie’s work getting along? Isn’t it almost time for another Clarionette to come out? Please don’t forget to send me a copy as you did last time. We are planning to take our supper out on the lake some day soon. Just our table, you know. If we do we will have an elegant time. I guess you will think that now I have got started I will keep it up forever but I am really going to stop soon as there are four more letters that I must write.
Please excuse the pencil but I wrote the first part out on the south porch & didn’t want to take ink out there & lost my fountain pen. Much love to all.
Affectionately,
Mabel

Gist of letters sent to Agora alumnae

I. The Trustees, because room is needed for college purposes, are anxious to get the societies out of the college buildings. Classical has already been transferred from the Art Building to Elocution Hall. T2E is to be transferred to Elocution Hall next year.
II. BE, 2A & Shakespeare, who have money with which to build separate chapter houses, have planned to build a joint house. Each of these societies has about $3000 pledged and wishes to raise the sum to $5000. The whole matter has been discussed with President Irvine and the Trustees, and if such a house is built, the Trustees have agreed to pay the moving expenses. These three societies have very courteously asked the other three societies to join them in building a chapter house for all, the expense for each society to be between $4000 and $5000. T2E has decided to join the Classical, though deciding that it is unable to do so, favors the project.
III. The Agora wishes to join, with your approval, for the following reasons: (a) There would be less intersociety feeling if all the societies were in one building than if some were in such a building and others elsewhere; among non-society members of the college there would be less chance to estimate the worth of respective societies on a false basis; (b) It will be cheaper to join with the others in building one house than to attempt to provide for ourselves separately as we may be forced to do unless we embrace this opportunity; (c) The society has felt from the beginning the need of a room of its own with the increase of societies’ properties, and the placing of two other societies in Elocution Hall, this need is more strongly felt than ever and increases each year. We have already lost valuable properties in furniture and flags.
IV. We have the approval of our faculty members, Miss Cannon especially thinking this the best solution of the society problem there and the wisest thing for us to do if it is possible to raise the money.
V. We shall need from $4000 to $5000 and we hope to raise more of this amount among our members. We have four plans to accomplish this: 1. Gifts; 2. Pledges to run possibly for several years; 3. Solicitation from outsiders & 4. Borrowing what is not obtained by the first 3 means.
VI. We shall be very glad to hear your opinion and hope we shall hear your hearty cooperation. The report from each society is demanded by June 1st. May we have an immediate reply from you? Any contributions of money or pledges will be received by Mary W. Capen ’98.

*arbutus – is a small tree or shrub that produces edible red berries. The fruit development is delayed about five months after pollination. The flowers appear while the previous year’s fruit is ripening.
*cyclometer – a device used to measure the distance traveled by recording the number of revolutions made by the wheel.
*Julia Marlowe –an English born American actress. (Aug 17, 1865 – Nov 12, 1950).
*mackintosh – a rain coat.
*rubbers – over shoes made of rubber that were worn over regular shoes to protect them from rain, snow, sleet, etc.
*shirt waist – a woman’s dress with a tailored button down bodice similar to a shirt.

Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.