February 8, 1896

Saturday
Feb. 8 – [18]96

Dear Mama –
Midyears are such fun! I wish they came oftener (before and after taking). I passed in French, German, and Geometry and haven’t heard from English or Bible yet, but I know I passed in Bible, but am rather doubtful about the English. However, I shall know Monday. I received a card from Miss Hart tonight. She is home Feb. 14 from 7-9, St. Valentine’s Day. Won’t it be fun? We did have such fun during the Midyears. Went visiting, played games and in short did about what we wanted to. You ought to have seen our English examination! They were printed upon paper 20 X 8 in. two columns, that is if they had been printed in one column the questions would have covered paper 40 in. long. Imagine! The examinations on the whole were much easier (Eng. excepted although that was comparatively easy only longer) than we expected. Now comes the great time for the Freshman – their first class meeting. We haven’t formed yet. Had to wait until after the Midyears as no conditional students are in the class, i.e. they cannot vote and take part in the class meeting. I think it will be great fun voting for President and Class Officers. Before the exams we all said that one didn’t think that it would be much fun voting, etc. and if they wouldn’t let us vote with the rest we would form a class of our own and have a President etc. But now we think we would like to join the rest in family matters. Thursday was such a lovely day, it poured all day. But we got tired staying in the house so six of us went up to College Hall to the Gymnasium. During the Midyears it has been open from 2:30 – 4:00 for whoever wants to put on their suits and practice, dance, etc. We marched up in Indian file and it was such fun. It is needless to say that we didn’t meet many people. We had fun in the Gym though learning the five step. That is the latest and it is fun! There are two long “dip” slides in it and is it so pretty when danced by good dancers. This of all times was the time for my rubbers* to give out (those I got at the store just before I came back) so after we got back from Gym I went down street and bought a new pair. (Probably you are imagining me walking down street in holey rubbers but you are mistaken, Joanna lent me hers). There were huge lakes everywhere and the road was one vast river and the wind blew in gales. It was such fun and I didn’t take cold at all. (By the way I am much better and my catarrh* is getting along beautifully). Friday night after all our exams were over we had a jollification at Mrs. Nyes in celebration of the enjoyable Midyears. We wore light dresses, we danced, we had banjo & guitar concerts, we ate. Mrs. Nyes furnished a sumptuous spread, pineapple ice (which was fun), sandwiched, olives sardines, apples, oranges, dates, etc. We had some dear little programmes for our dance all in heart shape with Wellesley blue ribbon. We moved away the tables in the dining room and had a gay ballroom. Sport!
But today. Have you ever read the “Prisoner of Zenda?” Well, I went to Boston today to see it played. We went on “Rush” tickets ($.25) and of course sat in the second balcony (“Nigger’s Heaven”). But it was comparatively good, much better than we expected as we expected to have to stand. I had rather gone to four matinees on “Rushs” than to one and have a $1.00 seat. Hosts of Wellesley girls were there. Leonora Barr said that it seemed like chapel to see so many of the girls but that is stretching it a little too much. But really there were lots there that we knew or know by sight. The play was fine. I read the book yesterday before going. The principal part was taken by E.H. Sothern and the chief lady was Grace Kimball (isn’t it funny that their names are the same?). The play was romantic, tragical, sad, exciting and amusing – all in one. It was changed quite a little from the novel as in the novel the climax took place on the water. The novel is the most adventurous story I ever read. Full of adventure. Bought a pair of undressed kid black gloves*. Received your letter due season. I should like to see Carl’s telephone. The girls here are real interested in him and his inventions. Tell me all of them. The most important books I want are “Matthew Arnold’s Essays” & “Macaulay’s Essays”. I also want Ruskin’s “Lesenie and the Lilies” sometime in a pretty dainty binding. Joanna has one with a cover of watered moiré satin* and it is dear.

Sunday
I do so want my waist* for next Friday when Miss Hart has invited her class to her home but I suppose it is next to impossible to get it. Why didn’t you get it the last time you went to Hartford? Do you think I could possibly have it? I hear now that we will wear full dress to the Glee Club Concert so I shall probably wear my white dress, but may not, so don’t neglect to send it. I think I shall invite Amy Cole to come to the Concert and spend Sunday with me. I want to invite Anna but as I said something to Amy when I was there she would think it strange should I invite Anna. But I can invite Anna to Float Day which she would probably enjoy more. Received that $25 puzzle. Why didn’t Papa keep it and try it? I haven’t the time now to waste on such things although I shall try it a little. If you or Papa think of anything which the paragraph would be likely to contain, send it to me and let me try it.
It is snowing again today. Just when the ice would have been perfect when it froze again! I wish you would send me a box of Clears Soap when you send my box. I can’t think of anything else at present, though I shall probably after it is too late. You know the chapel was formerly built for about 400 girls so now when there are about 800 in it, it is rather crowded and the seats are so close together that sometimes you can’t stand up and the aisles are less than a yard wide and all the Freshman had to sit on the platform. They decided that something must be done so they have taken over a hundred seats and all the Stone Hall girls hold chapel at Stone Hall. Tomorrow our seats are to be changed & we will not be arranged in alphabetical order so perhaps I shan’t sit on the platform any more. I wonder where I shall sit and how we will be arranged. Where did you get the “Pallasime ” What did you cut out of it? Well, I must stop now with all love to all. Fountain pens* are real nice. Hope you have got a good girl.
Mabel
*catarrh- inflammation of the mucous membranes.
*fountain pens –a nib pen which contains an internal reservoir of ink. The ink flows onto the paper through the nib via surface tension or gravity.
*kid gloves – leather gloves made from young goat skin.
*rubbers – a shoe made of rubber that is worn over a regular shoe.
*waist – is a common 19th century term used throughout the Edwardian and Victorian period to describe the bodice of a dress, a blouse or a woman’s shirt. It was exquisitely designed and usually worn with a fairly plain long skirt.
*watered moiré satin – a design pressed onto the satin fabric to give it a wavelike or watery appearance.

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