May 21, 1899

May 21, 1899

Dear Mamma,
Did you ever see such weather? No sun for three days! Now I like a rainy day except when I want to print pictures. That’s the trouble just now. All the pictures I took Field Day have been waiting three days to be printed and I am crazy to see what they are going to look like. We did have such a good time on Field Day. You can tell of the things we did when you see the pictures. The sports lasted from 8:30 – 12:30. We staid outdoors all the time in the glowing sun and didn’t discover until afterwards that we all looked like boiled lobsters. The very idea of getting sunburned never occurred to me. You can imagine how we looked for the grand reception in the afternoon. The result was that several of the out-of-town people remarked upon the fact that the Wellesley girls seemed extraordinary healthy. There were loads of famous people there but of course we didn’t meet them. We all went in a body and Olive received with Mrs. Irvine, Miss Hazard & Miss Stratton while we went through. Then Hannah House, President of 1900, received when the juniors went through. Miss Hazard is very large with dark eyes & black curly hair. She is very stylish and seems very pleasant. Later in the evening at the concert, when Mrs. Irvine left her for a moment, she went up to a crowd of girls and chatted pleasantly with them. There are to be many changes next year. Miss Hazard is to be with the girls in a more social way, etc. I should think things would be very nice, but I am satisfied with them as they are at present. The reception was a very small affair. The Art Building was decorated throughout and grand refreshments were served. After dinner we went over to serenade the two Presidents. There was a grand concert in the evening & Mrs. Irvine & Miss Hazard both came. Thursday Miss Woolley gave a very nice little reception to the seniors.
Then yesterday afternoon Mrs. Julia Ward Howe spoke of “Book Form”. I had forgotten how she looked though both she and her daughter Laura Richards were at the Seminary while I was there. She is much larger than I supposed she was, her hair is snow white & her face is very calm & pleasant. I think it is her 80th birthday today yet she is very active & well preserved, does not wear glasses & her voice carried well. She sat as she spoke and seemed unused to waiting on herself, i.e. had someone come up on the platform to move her chair. When she had finished Olive presented her with a huge bunch of red roses, about a 100 I should judge as we all sang her “Battle Hymn” (I thought she looked very bored but she thanked us). When she went out of the chapel she waved her handkerchief and we all waved ours. It seemed like a funeral procession both when she went out & when she came in. She is evidently rather feeble and was supported by the Dean. The Literature Faculty brought up the rear and they all did walk so slow!
In the evening I had a glorious time. Went to a dance given by Tau Zeta Epsilon & as usual had a dance with Dr. Roberts – or rather a “sit out”. She remarked that she had enjoyed very much a sonnet of mine. I was so surprised as she was the last person I would have wanted to see it. In Lit 13 Miss Jewett made us each write a sonnet – imagine our doing such a thing! Several of the girls declared they couldn’t possibly do it, but I guess most of the class made an attempt. A sonnet can be used for almost any subject and as I knew I couldn’t write anything lofty minded & soaring – nature – philosophy etc. I took as my subject a plain matter of fact bit of Chemistry and wrote it up in technical terms, chemical symbols etc. And to think that Miss Jewett showed it to Dr. Roberts!
I think I shall go to town tomorrow but am not sure. Have got lots of work on hand just now. That dreadful written lesson in Economics was postponed until this week, which makes it very bad for me as I have besides that three quizzes in Chemistry. Just think! I am crazy to see Maude Adams in “Romeo & Juliet” but she is to be here only for 4 performances and the only matinee comes at the same time the written lesson in Economics does. So I spect I must forgo that happiness. I wanted especially to go as I haven’t been to theatre for over two months.
Elsie’s gloves should have a white stripe as they can then be used either for reception of evening gloves. Has she a light silk waist?* I have forgotten. I think she would find one serviceable. I suppose I ought to invite Fraulein down for something commencement time but I don’t know as I want to. She might come for a few days & stay with Lillian in the village but I don’t know how long Lillian would stay. She will stay for Float as exams are not over until after then, but I don’t know just how much longer she will stay.
Louise Beach, a senior, has just been taken ill with typhoid fever. Isn’t that a shame, so near the end of her course? She can probably write some papers during the summer & take the degree in Sept. but think of having to miss all Commencement week etc. as she probably will have to do. She was taken to her home in New Jersey night before last. Oh I hope she will not be seriously ill. Some of the girls saw her when she went & said her eyes were so glassy! & she looked so badly.
With much love.

Sincerely,
Mabel L. Bishop

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.

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