March 23, 1896, [postmark]
Dear Mama –
I was so surprised when I received your last letter. Of course I wrote to Fannie immediately. What an awful blow it must be for them all though I fancy Uncle Ed feels it the deepest?
I have lots to tell you this week. Wednesday night I went into Boston to hear a lecture on the “X Rays: by Prof. Cross of Institute of Technology. It was given by the Natural History Society and Miss Cooley of course had an invitation but as she couldn’t go she asked me if I would like to go and ask a friend to go with me. So I asked Mabel Eddy and we went under the chaperonship of Miss Walker of the Faculty. Prof. Whiting, Miss Chase, Prof. Hallowell and Prof — all Faculty, went from Wellesley. There was a most awful crowd there every bit of standing room was taken up and the doors were shut before a prefect sea of faces. As you can imagine the lecture was extremely interesting. Twas accompanied by illustrative experiments. Then they showed pictures they had taken. Most of them were hands, ladies hands, gentlemen’s hands, with rings on, hands with one finger out of joint, deformed hands, etc. But the last one was such fun. It was a goat who after the fashion of every animal of that series, had peculiar tastes. The X Rays revealed what he had eaten recently: scissors, spectacles, gold watch, hairpins and other articles opaque to X Rays. This called forth much applause. Then sad to say we missed the 9:25 train and there was not another to Wellesley until 11:30. Mabel Eddy lived in West Newton and there was a train she could take so she went home for the night. She asked me to go home with her but I refused because I knew Miss Cooley would be sitting up for me and would worry. But we didn’t wait until 11:30, we took a train to Newton Lower Lakes at 10:15 and then took the electrics for Wellesley and got there at 11 after quite an eventful day.
At last we have got a President! Agnes Louise MacFarland, the one we wanted. She got a majority vote of 25 more. We had a class meeting Friday night and such a time! After the result was announced Miss MacFarland was escorted to the chair and made a dear little speech. Then the door opened and Elizabeth Higgins, the Sophomore President, came in and presented the gavel and made a speech. She said, “I am terribly embarrassed.” Then she began her speech. She said that we had met before (referring to the rumpus*) and then told a little anecdote about a man who was going to hear Mark Twain or some such funny man and by mistake got into church and didn’t know the difference. When asked if he liked the sermon he said, “Yes but he wasn’t so blamed funny” and so she said it was the way they thought of the little rumpus we had. Then she said that she had noticed that we had always been like sheep without a shepherd and although we were the “ninety and nine” we did not have to seek “on the mountains cold” but on the plains of Illinois to find the one we wanted. Then she presented the gavel covered with flowers. It did not see it but some of the girls who did said that it was awfully dear, of course pretty dark wood and had on it in silver letters “98 to 99”, etc. I hope I shall see it soon. Then Elsa Young, Senior President came in and in a few graceful words congratulated Miss MacFarland. Next came Helen Gordon, Junior President, who also congratulated her and presented her with some lovely flowers. Then we adjourned and amid many cries carried Miss MacFarland down stairs (she is very large). We have a cry which we christened on that occasion “Three times ten times three plus nine, Wellesley Wellesley “99.” Then for the next half hour the place was bedlam as the girls in the house came out and the different classes gave their cheers and we all gave the Wellesley cheer and there was great excitement. Miss MacFarland lives in the village and we all escorted her home and on the way we serenaded the college houses with our new cheer “MacFarland” and Wellesley cheers. After we left her we staid outside and sang “Good night Louise, good night Louise. We’re going to leave you now. Gaily we’ve elected you, ‘lected you, ‘lected you, gaily we’ve elected you to fill our President’s chair.” The next morning each of the freshmen carried a few flowers and left them at the chapel door with some planted glads. You know we platformers always have to wait and be the last to leave the chapel but yesterday when the first freshmen on the floor started to go out, the platformers jumped up in a body and crowded out. We pushed out so that Miss MacFarland was the last to leave the chapel. We all hurried to the Centre and stood drawn up in two rooms with a passage between. Then Miss MacFarland had to “run the gauntlet” and receive her stacks of flowers at the other end. Then the proceedings of the night before were resumed. Until nine o’clock we carried her around, shouted, sang, etc. while the different stores of the Centre were crowded with spectators. It was rather exciting. Each member of the class voted for the minor officers yesterday but the result is not yet known. And last night we went to the open meeting of the Agora. It was fine but I haven’t time to explain it, if you want to receive this letter Monday night. (??) got it he got 140 and Wentworth got 139. Allison McKinlay and Has Ellen gone? We give our party Norton were withdrawn. Positively must stop. With much love and hoping to see you soon. We give our party tomorrow night.
*rumpus – loud commotion
Letters were made available courtesy of Wellesley College Archives.
Transcribed and footnotes added by Heddy Panik.