February 20, 1899

[Feb 20, 1899, postmark]

Dear Papa,
Many happy returns of the yesterday to you!! And now today I’m “of age”. I just do wish that time did not skim along so fast.
I celebrated my birthday and astonished the natives by getting down to breakfast on time this morning. Not that I’m going to turn over a new leaf and make it the rule of my life to always go down early. Oh, no. What’s the advantage? There are usually about a dozen people in the dining room when they sit down and they keep coming in for the next half hour. Now I usually come in about fifteen minutes late, just when there’s a goodly number there. But I surprised people coming in early this morning. I play this little trick occasionally. It’s such fun.
The flunk notes are out at last and I didn’t get any. We expect the non-credit notes to come out this week and I don’t expect to be so fortunate here, though I expect one only in a one-hour course.
It’s too bad I didn’t know as much about valentine parties when I wrote for Miss Neal as I do now. We had a valentine party at our last social meeting of the Agora and we had lots of fun.
First we danced a little and then blew soap bubbles. Each had three trials and the trick was to blow them through a big heart which was suspended from the lamp. Only three people were able to get even one through. The two prizes were heart photo frames of Lucy Wright and a cute little valentine of Rachel Rune. Next we played a game which was a modern version of bean bag. Chose sides and each side had pasteboard* hearts with even numbers for one side & odd numbers for the other. Then we tried to throw them into a waste basket which stood halfway between the two sides. It was a pretty sight when the floor was covered with hearts as they were colored red and white. Our side got 2 in – I got one of those in while the other side got only one in – as could be told by the odd or even numbers of hearts in the basket. So we were given a box of candy, but we were not stingy and so gave the defeated side some. We didn’t do very well on either game as you can judge. Then we had ice cream and on each plate was a little roll of paper containing an appropriate valentine for each member. Mine was as follows:
“Mabel has a camera tis Falcon No. 2
and who so e’er doth fuss with it
That day will surely rue
If Mabel should desire you to be her valentine
She’s fetch out little Falcon and snap you, I opine.”
We had lots of fun reading them aloud and they were all so good. Now wasn’t that a nice birthday party?
Went to an At Home Wednesday given by Faculty of Stone Hall and had a very nice time.
Thursday evening speakers from Hampton Institute, No. Carolina, came here and brought along the Hampton Singers – colored quartette – sang darkly songs with great gusto and were very entertaining.
Our Agora open meeting is to be March the fourth and it is to be a Senate discussion of the Philippine question.
Wish McKinley had come out to visit Wellesley when he was making his visit to Boston. Should have gone in if I had stood any chance of seeing him but I considered it would be useless. He was royally treated. Papers were full.
Oh Papa, here is something that will interest you. A sheep, a duck, a frog & skunk all wanted to go to the theatre. They were all admitted except the skunk. Explain how this was. Don’t turn over the page till you have guessed it. Well, they let the sheep in because he had four quarters, the duck had a bill while the frog had a green back. But the skunk had only a (s)cent and as it was a bad one they turned him away. Isn’t that good?
I am so sorry that 22nd come on Wednesday as I shan’t have much of a holiday. You see I usually have only one recitation on Wed. & so that day I fill up with laboratory work. Now this lab work must be done just the same as the girls who don’t do it on Wed. will have this all done. Isn’t that a shame?
Well goodbye to you all with happy birthdays to you all.

Affectionately,
Mabel

Haven’t heard from Fannie since Christmas. Don’t forget the stamps. This is borrowed.

*pasteboard – a thin board made by pasting sheets of paper together. Also known as card stock.

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