March 7, 1897

March 7, 1897
Lexington, Mass.

Dear Sister,
I suppose you are thinking of me as in Lexington today, as there I am. It is such a pretty town and must be lovely in the summer. Grace has a fine new house – moved in since Christmas. We would consider the house large for a private family with library, sewing room, bathroom, five rooms on third floor, etc. but it is none too large for the family. It consists of father, mother, grandmother, aunt, deaf and dumb older sister, Grace, sister about eighteen and a little sister Helen about twelve. Think of eight women (with hired girl) to one man! It is so bad that there are no boys. I like them all especially the father. You will excuse me if I use a pencil, won’t you? I can’t make this pen go very well. We got here Friday night about seven thanks to the holiday. Talked till about ten and then went to bed. Next morning made candy for the evening and lazed around. In the afternoon we took a train for Arlington – six miles away – and called upon Alice Upham who was also home over Sunday. We brought her back to Lexington, where she staid until the last train a little after ten. Clara MacIntyre, Grace’s most intimate friend – a Radcliffe girl – came in early to supper. In the evening Grace gave a little party in my honor and a fine time we had, over twenty nice boys and girls came in, and think all of them had been through High School and some were studying! Compare with the Avon youths! We had an awfully nice time. Played a pillow-dex*, observation party where I got a prize, a hat pin for being so sharp! The booby was a lorgnette* made out of hairpins twisted together for use so as to be more observing. Then we went out in dining room and played “quarter” (where you slap down your hands and they must guess where the quarter is) and “patent medicine” around the table. Later we cut animals out of paper to see who could make the best one cutting freehand. We pinned them on a sofa cushion and exhibited them. Some of the beasts looked so funny. We played “What sir, me sir”, etc. etc. and had great fun. Yesterday afternoon, too, we went into the library and saw many of the revolutionary relics, Paul Revere’s lantern among other things of note. We also saw the old belfry from which the alarm was given, and the tongue of the bell that gave the alarm. Tomorrow we are going to see the Common – the old battlefield. This morning we went to church and Sunday School. Such a pretty church. Only four years old. I am enjoying myself greatly and am getting rested. Oh I got some malted milk to please you and really I don’t mind taking it. I wonder when you will get this letter. Also don’t worry if your next week doesn’t arrive on time. Amy Cole is expecting me there but I can’t decide whether to go or not. Agora has its formal meeting next Saturday and we are going to initiate Mary Clark and have a good time generally and I hardly want to miss it. On the other hand I hate to refuse Amy again. I have refused three of her invitations already. Then too I should like to go before I come home as I think my winter rig* looks very nicely, don’t you? But then I shall have a new hat and a new dress won’t I when I come home? I wish you would advise me whether to go this week or not. If you answered by next mail I could get it Wednesday night anyway time enough to write and let her know whether to expect me or not. I will write to her Thursday morning whether I hear from you or not so you had better answer next mail if you know what to say.
Last week we had to hand in a character study as our theme. We could take any person, historical, fictional or from real life, man, woman or child. It was very hard choosing and still harder to write a character sketch as I never can do that sort of thing. I finally chose Robert Louis Stevenson and enjoyed him so much and I know so much more about him than I ever did before. I don’t think the paper was very good but I am anxious to see the criticism on it. This is our second theme since Christmas. We don’t have very much this year, you see, only one every three weeks now. But think of the forensics ahead of us next year! Next week I have got to write a German paper. It is hard enough to write them in English and as for writing about a foreign subject in a foreign language –
We are going to have a fine concert at Wellesley tomorrow night, and four of Grace’s Lexington friends are coming out to it. I did such a fool thing last Monday that I am almost ashamed to tell of it as I can imagine what Papa will say. Never mind, everybody laughs so I will tell you. I was studying Physics in Laboratory with some mercury near. I had heard that mercury would turn gold white but I wasn’t sure and of course wanted to try it but I didn’t have any gold on except my Agora pin, so like a little “phule”. I stuck the tip end of the pin in the mercury. But unfortunately the rest got in & when I took it out lo and behold ‘twas silver white. Sure as you live you can imagine my distress! But acting upon some saga advice I sent it into Boston by a girl who happened to be going. It got it back the next day as good as ever fortunately and it didn’t cost much luckily. I will never do such a thing again. Another added to the lessons I gain by experience! Think the truth. Wasn’t I an idiot? Weekend all over. Will only send love enough to last two weeks as I will see you then.

Mabel

Oh, the most important! More money for a change. New books, extra class assessments, traveling expenses, laundry, etc. Have used up nearly all I have and if you want to see me in two weeks, — Just think, you haven’t sent any since I came back Christmas. Haven’t I been economical? Oh yes I am going to buy some bed springs. Might as well be comfortable while I am here and can then sell them for nearly as much as I paid for them.

Goodbye again,
Mabel

*lorgnette – a pair of spectacles (eye glasses) with a handle. They are held in place rather than fitting over the ear.
*pillow dex – a board game.
*rig – clothing.

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