Helen Banfield Jackson 1876-1877 diary transcription
William S. Jackson Papers, Part 2, Ms 0241, Box 13, diary of Helen Hunt Jackson's niece Helen Fiske Banfield, later Helen Banfield Jackson, transcribed by Lydia Klingensmith, 1994
Helen F. Banfield
1876 & 1877 & 1878
Saturday Jan 1, 1876
We watched the old year out and did not go to bed until one this morning, in consequence of which we did not breakfast until elven in our own parlor. We had the remnants of the "Boston Box," and to our great surprise we received another box from Pittsburg. I think Iona was so kind to remember us and it is such a nice box, too. We shall have a sumptuous breakfast to-morrow. I took a long walk with Miss Gardner and it really seemed like summer instead of January. Lotta was very much pleased with the portfolio and the little Quaker woman Miss G. made her was very cunning & droll. My little picture gallery did not come nor did our picture from Cousin Ann. To-night we had a nice time reading "Bleak House" and I am delighted to feel that Mamma's shawl I finished to night. Miss Gardner's coming to breakfast to-morrow morning.
Sunday Jan 2, 1876
Another very warm day. We had a nice quiet breakfast in our room this morning. There were ten of us. I wrote a twelve page letter home to-day and one to Richie. This afternoon Miss Nylie went in town with me to Communion Service and we walked one way. To-night we all went to the Prayer meeting in Mrs. Terry's parlor. There have been several showers to-day. I cannot believe it is our last Sunday of the vacation, but it has been a pleasing one for the first one of 1876!
Jan 3, Monday
In the morning I made the little blue underskirt and Ray, Bertha & Gardner all were in to see one. After dinner we all had a nice game of ball. Miss Gardner and Nylie played and Miss Gardner was very amusing especially when she fell nearly flat in the mud. My picture gallery, the doll's hats and the charms all came to-day and we like all very much. In the evening we read "Bleakhouse" and became a little excited. Miss G. made a dear little coat for A's doll. I had a nice letter from Iona alias Mary Thaw. She will not return until Friday or Saturday.
Tuesday Jan 4, 1876
Alas! the last day of our vacation has come and what have I accomplished. A few things I have but so few in comparison to what I planned, that I think I shall never plan again. We had a nice game of base ball after dinner and this afternoon we cleaned very diligently on our dollies for we must send them off to-morrow. Yesterday we Misses Gardner, Nylie, Bulketson and I all called on Miss Terry, Mrs. Rayner & Dothetsten. Lillie walked coolly upon us a little before dinner. We did not expect he quite so soon. Just before dinner Jennie & Affie came, it was nice to see them but I wish they hadn't came back. After supper we sewed on, and about nine Lou Mary & Giddie came. We did a very room of things but it did seem so necessary to finish the dolls that A & I sat up until twelve and then finished them. How happy M & K will be!
Wednesday Jan. 5, 1876
A clear lovely morning to begin our studying again. We packed up our dolls and charms and they went this A.M. They certainly will make the children very happy. It seems very natural to study again, it is not near as hard as last year. This is the week of prayer and I have only been twice.
Saturday Jan. 8
I could find no time to write during this week and here it is one of those busy Saturday's again. The week has passed pleasantly. This A.M. I wrote to Maggie and Leila had a committee meeting and practiced over an hour. After dinner we had a Class meeting and decided to have the one design from Tiffany but Sophie afterward told me that she thought we ought to have a reconsideration, so immediately after supper we had another meeting but we could not get a two thirds vote neither Tiffany or Dreka's so it was adjorned until Monday. Last night we went to Sophie's room and read in "Bleak House". It seemed like old times to be with Misses Gardner & Nylie. I went to Prayer meeting to-night. I haven't study near as much as was necessary. I hope to get up early Monday morning.
Sunday Jan. 9/76
Miss Terry was unable to meet us so we didn't have any Bible class. I had time to write my letter to Mamma before Chapel. The President's sermon was very good this morning. The text was "And hath given us consolation and good hope through grace." It has been very mild to-day. I have written to Mama, Papa, Richie & Cousin Ann. Right after prayer meeting I took a bath and went to bed early in the hope of getting up before the first bell.
Sunday Jan. 23,1876
It doesn't seem possible that two weeks have gone by with out writing in this little diary of mine. Many things have happened . Last Monday night two hundred of the girls went in to hear Von
Bulow. Sophie & I went with Mary Shaw. Yesterday class & lectures took place for the ensuing semester. Sophie Richardson was elected the first balloting and I was delighted. She certainly will make a splendid President. We also decided upon a thing which made me and I think many others very happy. We are to begin a scholarship fund of '79 by giving up Tiffany's dues which would have cost $12 or $15 and henceforth are to have no refreshments at our sociables and in every way avoid all unnecessary expenses and add what all these would cost to the fund. I think it is splendid! We certainly will feel glad when we are away from here, to think we each have helped in keeping a girl here. To-day Mr. Morse from the Howard Mission addressed us in Chapel and he brought with him a cunning little girl of six years, who sang a song and repeated a piece of poetry. Although she did it so cunningly it seemed very sad to see her, for I had heard she had been awake all night with a backache. She said she never slept when she was going to sing.
Sunday Jan. 30, 1876
Another week gone, and no time found to write in this until to- day. I do not think it wrong to write his on Sunday, but I wish I could find some moments during the week. Only one more week and the semester will be over, but oh! how we all dread it, with all its reviews examinations etc. We are having a glorious cold day and it is really quite a treat after all the warm and disagreeable weather past. We are not having our usual chapel service this A.M. but are going to have it this P.M. How happy I feel with my essay off my mind, but oh! how I wish I could write a better one. Nothing of especial interesting has happened during the week except the "Day of Prayer for Colleges" and that I enjoyed very much. We had chapel service in the morning and I sat with Ellie in the evening the prayer meeting was very interesting for Proffessor Ortin & Coaley spoke very well and Miss Learned presided very well. Lottie read at Exoteric last night and did very nicely. Only two weeks ago last night that L & I gave Misses Nylie, Johnson & Spalding such a bad scare by rapping and lifting up the window. It taught me a lesson and I hope I will remember it. But some parts were comical, especially when Mr. Nard went out & brought Lottie and me in as culprits before an assembly of about twenty!
Saturday Feb. 5th 1876
What a week this has been, so busy and full of examinations. I did miserably in all of them, it is a wonder that I passed. We are all through this semester now and the class lists were read in chapel this morning. My studies are just as they were last semester, but I have written to be changed to Latin to the 5th. Last night we had an interesting lecture from a Prof. Neir on Painting. He had some fine pictures and we are to have another one to-night. I was usher with Sophie R. and we are to be again to-night. We have Trig. this afternoon and I look forward to it very much. Ann & I each had a nice letter from Papa yesterday. Trig exercises went off splendidly, every one enjoyed them.
Sunday Feb. 13, 1876
The first week of the new semester has slipped quickly and pleasantly by and I have enjoyed all my studies exceedingly except my Geometry in which so far I have proved to be quite an idiot. I hope to do better this week. The lectures Prof. Neir gave us on Sculpture were very interesting. Yesterday afternoon the Exoteric society had a meeting in the hall and it was a great success. They had the " Mistletoe Bough" and Lottie was bride and looked very lovely. I took much exercise yesterday. In the morning with Lottie from twelve to one helped Miss Gardner photograph the sun and after dinner walked with Miss Nylie. Friday I had a letter from Lucy and in it was a picture which I could't tell until after I had read the letter. Lt Florenatrulf. The Presidents' sermon this morning was good. It was on the sinfulness of sin, but it was very awkward in one place, when we thought he had finished so we all bowed our heads but on he went with the sermon.
Monday Feb. 14, 1876
Dear little Kitty's birthday how I should love to be with her. I wrote her a birthday letter yesterday and sent her a valentine. Ellie's last day here, and to-night Tucker, O'Leary, Ann & myself all went in to see her off. We had a delightful supper in the private parlor at Smith's and then we went to the depot with her, she was the only one in the sleeping car. I hated to say good bye but she will be much better at home and we hope to hear from her quite often. It was dreary enough to come back to our parlor with no Ellie in it and Mary sick. The Doctor came to see and gave her some horrible quinine! Miss Sheppard S.F. had bad news to-day. saying her older sister who leaves a family of little children was dead. It has been a very sad and gloomy day anyway I think. For Ellie has gone and Miss Hasbrook is not expected to live, and it has been raining all day. I was called on in Geometry but was no where near perfect.
Tuesday Feb. 15, 1876
Another sad day. It has rained hard all day and at breakfast we noticed it was unusually quiet when Miss Nord told us that Miss Hasbrook had died in the night. Our recitations went right on as usual, but after dinner Miss Terry called us all to chapel and told us of her death and that to-morrow morning's recitations would be omitted and that we would go to chapel at eleven. There were two sisters but I can remember neither of them. It was the younger who died and it seems so very sad for her father cannot get her until to-morrow morning. She died of Rheumatic Fever and was only sick a little over a week. What an experience of college life for her sister! Mary seemed very much better this afternoon and I hope she will be nicely in a day or two. I looked up and wrote a good deal on Mme Guardin but I found out afterwards that we are to have the grammar for to-morrow. We haven't heard from home this week yet. My music has been changed to Wednesdays and Fridays, which I think I shall like much.
Wednesday Feb. 16, 1876
The rain has stopped at last and it is cold again this morning. We had breakfast at 8 o'clock on account of our affliction. Her death came within a week of little Marie Stewards death of last year. O! how I hope this is the first and last death of this year. At eleven we all went to chapel and during the first hymn, Annie broke down and fell upon me crying so hard, but she quite soon stopped. The presidents remarks were few and good. He said the greatest comfort was that she was a christian. Right after chapel I took a walk to sunset hill with Annie and after dinner I worked some on the slippers I began for Anne, but since Leslie wants to make her a pair, I shall send them to Kittie Sanford. Mary seems much better this afternoon we went over to see Miss Gardner at least that was as long a walk as Mary could stand at once, and we rested over there and she (Miss G) made it interesting by showing us some of Miss Metcalf's pictures she had got abroad. Our regular duties all began again this after noon. No better after all.
Saturday Feb. 19,1876
Another eventful day. This morning right after breakfast I practiced until mail time, from mail time until almost dinner time wrote on my essay. Sophie's transfer came to-day and I am so glad she can come down here to room. After dinner we almost all of us went to play ball and we hadn't been playing long before Annie and Lottie ran against each other in such as to make Lottie fall over her foot and she sprained her ankle. How bad it will turn out to be is hard to say. I only know we had a hard time getting her to her room. I am so sorry about it. She seems very unfortunate. Miss Gardner invited me to "Internos" and I enjoyed Prof. Backer reading very much.
Sunday Feb. 20, 1876
A perfectly beautiful day, right after dinner Miss Nylie and I both took a charming walk to Sunset hill. The strange minister's sermon was short & practical; his text was "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I unto thee." All the afternoon I read to Lottie "La Petite Madelaine" by Mrs. Southey. The prayer meeting to-night was unusually interesting. I am so glad there is more interest taken in all our meetings now. Sophie is uncommonly interested, I hope she will not let the time pass. Miss Fick had one of her organ concerts and I do enjoy them so much, I wish I could hear them all night.
Sunday April 23, 1876
How little I thought two whole months would pass without my writing a word in this. Many, many, things have happened but they are of each a kind as not to be forgotten easily, for instance that day when Sophie acknowledged her love for her Savior and then also my first month of Geometry. Here it is within nine weeks of our long vacation and our April recess over, but never to be forgotten; our charming visit at Tarrytown, including my first horseback ride, then also Ellie's visit and last but perhaps greatest in the way of happiness was the last Monday before College opened when Papa was here. Giddie brought back a dreadful story about Mr. Lathrope but it is all true. This morning a strange gentleman preached, but his sermon was good, the text being "One thing thine lackest." I wish it were only one thing the most of us lacked, but then we must not be discouraged for if we have faith in Him we shall be saved by grace. Most seventeen, and not at all ready for that dignified age yet.
Saturday April 29, 1876
This has been a happy week and I am sorry to have it end. Last week I received another anonymous present, but I feel sure it was from Mr. Call, but I shall take no notice of it. Being on the decoration committee I spent all yesterday morning in fixing room J and the parlor for Founder's night. Lou such a dear girl as she is helped me all the morning. Just before dinner Miss Dame told me that Col. Higginson would be happy to see us after dinner. We were with him from four until five and I think he is splendid. His lecture in the evening seemed to be like I only heard a part of it as I was usher. We saw him again this morning and had a pleasant good bye talk. We ask Miss Mosley to come see us and I am sure we should be delighted to see her. She also promised to send us the two last editions of the St. Nicolas which contain something for girls by Aunt Nelson and Miss Norsley.
Saturday July 15, 1876
Nearly three months have passed since I wrote last in my diary! It seems nice indeed to be back home again. From Poughkeepsie we sailed down the Hudson and then from New York we took the Fall River boat and we enjoyed ourselves very much, with the exception of May and Miss Gardner who were homesick (well that's bright, I meant seasick) Our visit of five days at Canton was perfectly charming, We went to one picnic, to several lawn parties and Fourth of July we had a jolly time, especially in the evening. We have only been a little over a week, but if all weeks pass as the last has, our vacation will seem as nothing. The heat has been incessant until last night, then there was a change and we are quite comfortable this A.M.
July 28th 1876
I must write once more before July closes. The night before Mamie's birthday we had a most terrific thunderstorm. It occurred at supper time. So severe and solemn was it that we could not eat our supper. After it there was a magnificient rainbow, in fact a double one. Mamie's birthday we went to the point in the afternoon and enjoyed ourselves. That was the day we saw in the paper the sad accident which occurred to Mr. York. We could not help hoping it was as false as were some of the reports after Anne's accident. But no, the next day we saw his death. Yesterday I had a nice letter from Lottie Brown telling me all about it, for she has been staying with Mrs. York at Peterville. I wrote to Emmie day before yesterday. Our picnic to Copplecrown last Tuesday was really very enjoyable. We were considerably burnt the next day. Herbert is here and I guess is having a nice time. Last night We- Anne and I all went to prayer and after we got home we played two games of authors in consequence of which A. and I slept very late this A.M. We didn't have dinner until half past two because Mamma did so many errands this morning. Cousin Ann seems to be gaining and I would never think of her weighing 114 lbs!
March 28, 1877
I can hardly realize it is over half a year since I last wrote in this little book! It seems but a few days ago that we were fitting Nathan for boarding school. How he did hate to go, but he behaved bravely at last. Soon after this Anne and I were preparing for our return to V. We were so glad and yet so sorry to leave home. In no time almost November came and we went to meet the family in New York on their way to Washington. We spent Sunday with them and although very unpleasant out of doors, we could not have asked for a pleasanter Sunday indoors. We had hoped to go to the Centennial and Giddie with us, but the family could not get ready until too late. It seemed but a few days between our November trip and our Christmas vacation. Of course Ann and I did not expect to go home. In fact we expected to spend most of the vacation here at College but Sophie Nichols and Margie Roth gracious cordial invitations to visit them and we accepted.
At Hamptown we spent Christmas and a few day besides. While there we enjoyed the grandest sleighing I ever imagined there could be! Such views of Hudson and surrounding mountains can never be forgotten. Lillie, Anne and I all decided we had a lovely visit at Mrs. Nichols. The only drawback was my breaking a pitcher of a pretty set, which practice I have kept up since vacation. We three and Sophie visited Margie and never can we forget the festivities of Orange. Mrs. Colgate gave a good sleigh- ride party, at which we met Lola and her brother. Lola had a lunch party for us and Margie's company was a perfect success. Anne and I fully intended to leave Orange with Sophie and Lillie the Saturday before New Years, but so urgent were the request of Dr. & Mrs. Pierson to-gether with Margie that Anne and I decided to stay over New Years Day. We helped Margie receive as also did Miss Jennie Osgood. We had between sixty and seventy callers and enjoyed ourselves very much. When Jo Iddings called he said Lola was to have a company the next evening and that Lola and all wanted us to stay over. After some deliberation we decided to do so. It seemed to be the very least we could have done for Tuesday morning proved to be a very stormy one and besides enjoying ourselves at Lola's Tuesday evening, a most delightful surprise awaited us in New York Wednesday morning. We had to stop at the Astor House for an umbrella Anne left there in November. After asking for it and just as we were about to leave, the clerk said, "A Mr. Banfield arrived here this morning," and sure enough it was Papa. He was not then in but we left a note and on our return from a call on Mrs. Lottingham we found him waiting for us. This little glimpse of him just crowned our good times, it was so unexpected! He came back here only a few days before vacation closed. We feel much indebted to Mrs. Nichols and Mrs. Pierson for the many pleasant times we have had at their houses.
The night vacation closed there was a general assembly in our room where we related to each other our many good times. In fact we did so much that we had to be reminded quite a while after the last bell, by Miss Finch that we might be disturbing those around us. Our parlor has been a great comfort this year, it is so cosy and we all know each other so well. We all seemed to enjoy our semester's studies. I have no Geometry to try me. To be sure I was no "star" in "Inig" but I can get along in that. As a parlor we have been very fortunate in regard to "spreads." Parlor 43 has given us a number of treats. Before long the end of the semester arrived and so many of the girls were tired that after a request for Friday between the semesters it was given.I was very glad of it, especially for "Inig" committee and "Inig" performers. We had "Jack the Giant Killer." Ethel was "Jack" and she did very well indeed. Sophie, Nan and the rest of the committe deserve great credit. My selection of studies for this semester were Greek, Latin, and Geology, all of which I enjoy very much. I think I shall like Greek even better than I do Latin. I am sorry to have Miss Mitchell in Gr. and Miss Haskell in "Ge" instead of Prof. Orton.
Washington's birthday of this year is an everlasting one in our memory, owing to a grand row in '78. Sophie Richardson and Nan Bradern are now room-mates. They are a nice pair of "ponies." Last week was quite a festive one toward the last. Thursday evening Miss Lydia Dame gave a little company at the observatory. About thirty were there and we had a very pleasant time. When the rolls of candy were passed around, in each we found a verse applying to some one of us. Some were very bright indeed. Anne and I had one together. We plague Sophie about her invitation. We say she is not only fond of "Teddy" but also "Toady." Friday Giddie's cousin Miss Fanny Cutter came here. Giddie and May gave a little supper in the parlor for her. Affie was the only outsider. In the evening Delta gave a hall play "The Jacobite." The comic parts taken by Misses Willard and Root were acted very well. Misses Benton and Freeman lacked animation.
Saturday we had a concert, in which chiefly younger students took part. Lola played and did very well. In the evening Lillie and I made a very pleasant call on Miss Learned, after which we went to parlor 48 to partake of Lillie Pratt's birthday cake. To our surprise they had a regular little supper. Miss Hiscock, Lola and Ethel, besides our parlor are the only outsiders. We were not at all constrained and had one of the jolliest times we have had this year. I cannot believe that our girls have gone and that to-day our Easter vacation has really begun. Lillie, Anne and I are the only inmates of 26 and so far we have had a lovely quiet time. However there are many in the college. About one hundred and fifty- I should think.
This morning Anne had letters from Mamma and Nathan, the latter of whom has done so well in his correspondence this year. I wish Richie might have done as well. I hope we shall soon hear whether he has accepted Mamma's offer to come East. Nearly two years since we have seen the dear boy! We are much surprised at our first editor, who is Miss Perkins. She may do well but I wanted Ethel to have it. Yesterday we voted for second editor, and Really Miss Moore was ahead of Ethel and came very near getting it. A two thirds majority for either was not obtained, so they are to rest until after vacation. Miss Hiscock told Sophie that Miss Hetcher and Miss Hagard are the best fitted for the place. I am very sorry Miss Hagard did not get it, but I can't say that of Miss Hetcher. Our first day has been very quiet but very pleasant. This A.M. Anne and I had a nice practice to-gether. We also had a nice read aloud. This P.M. Miss Gardner and I had a pleasant stroll up Sunset Hill. I ought to have said blow, for it was very windy.
April 2, 1877
Nothing highly exciting has happened during the first four days of our vacation, but we have had just as quiet, cosy and restful time as any heart could wish. To be sure Anne and I had to spend some little time over our trunks in the cellar, but it gave us a restful feeling after it was done. Friday I spent two or three hours sorting letters which were in dire confusion in my trunk. Vassar letters were in one pile, Brooklyn letters in another, Washington in another, Boston in another, but of course Mamma and Papa have written me enough during my course here to put them in a separate. Now they are all in such an arrangement that I love to think of them. Our practicing was not kept as quite so well toward the end of the week, but we shall renew it to-day and this week I hope. Most every evening we read "Student Life at Harvard", and we finished it Saturday night. I was interested but on the whole we do not think it is worth much. To-night "John Brent" is to begin. This morning I mailed six letters and it did my heart good to do so. They were to Grandma, Cousin Ann, Mamma, Aunt Helen, Emma Lawford and Janice Burnside, to the last of whom I sent as many of the class monograms as I could get. So far none of the girls have favored us with a letter. Yesterday, Easter Sunday was a lovely quiet day. It was not very pleasant so none of our parlor went in town to church. We read all day long. Lillie read "Caxtons", Anne Lambs Life, and I "Animals of a quiet Neighborhood". I almost finished the book and liked it very much, Helen Carver had the joyful news that her father would meet her in Poughkeepsie Sunday morning. She has not yet returned. She may have gone to New York. The weather has not been the most cheerful thus far.
April 4, 1877
Yesterday morning before breakfast I did quite a good of disagreeable mending. It was a beautiful bright morning. After breakfast I wrote to Cornelia and at ten Anne and I went to the Music Hall and practiced to-gether over an hour, after which I thought over my essay for a period. Then came mail-time and we had a very cheery letter from Papa. Giddie also favored us with a letter. Lillie, Sophie, Anne and I all took up a walk, Sunset Hill before dinner. I played ball with Miss Gardner for a short time, then she came over to our parlor and we read on in "John Brent" all the afternoon. We had a very nice time. I began on my gray silk ruffles. In the evening we were all invited to Room J to hear some of the representatives of the Woman's Congress. The only ones who spoke were Mrs. Howe and Miss Abbie May. I really cannot enjoy Mrs. Howe, but Miss Abbie May was very interesting, but she cuts a queer figure in her short suit and blouse waist. Miss Gardner drew her outline for Sophie and me. This morning I had an hours practice before breakfast. After breakfast we all had to put our little things away, for Christie was to clean our rooms and parlor. Anne and I had not been practicing very long before Lill came over and told us Miss Gardner could read John Brent in Sophie's room. We read until twelve then Miss G. and I accompanied Mrs. Whiteman, an artist who came with Miss May, over to the Art Gallery's Museum. No letters came to-day for us. This afternoon we spent at the Observatory and had a very pleasant afternoon. After supper we made eight plates of candy and then read some more, almost finishing one book. Just as I sit here the girls are in a great discussion!
Last Thursday morning right after breakfast Miss Gardner came to our room and we finished "John Brent". We enjoyed it very much. I worked a good deal on my sick underskirt and finished all I could do on it. Thursday night we Lill and I had a hard time trying to get a bath. Finally we did, but just as we were in the midst of it, we heard a voice asking us if we did not know that the last bell had rung. Lillie was sure it was Miss Godsell, but it turned out to be Anne who was fooling us. We three did sort of a wild thing in sitting up and reading, but I toppled over very soon. Anne and Lillie read until half past one and in consequence of which slept very late Friday morning. After mail Lill decided (Friday morning) to go to town and as I had some time that day I went in the morning. We had a very good time and were quite successful with all our errands. The only disappointment was that Anne's hat could not be pressed over. We rode both ways and even then did not get back until after dinner time. In the afternoon I wrote to Mamma simply a hurried business note and then mended. In the evening Sophie, Lillie, Anne and I had a nice social talk and before we knew it the retiring bell rang. I decided to wear my camel's but I feared my silk skirt, the cook had not been finished. So Lill went down to see and it was not, but she said she would do it. She did not bring it up until quite a while after ten. I slept down in Ethel's room so as not to disturb the girls by my very early rising Saturday morning. Nan, Sophie, and I arose at quarter of five, breakfasted at half past, took the horse cars at six and at quarter of seven found ourselves seated in steam cars. It could not have been a more delightful. The views on the Hudson were as beautiful as ever.
On arriving in New York we found Sophie's brother awaiting us and lo to our surprise a carriage was ready for us. It was so kind of Mr. Richardson. We had a delightful time shopping, but we did not see very many spring clothes. Nan and Sophie were very successful in their shopping. They bought some very pretty spring hats and by that time it was lunch time. We took lunch at the St. Dennie but as we had finished our first part and ordered our dessert we found it was only five minutes before the matinee was to begin. So we retracted the order and hastened to the theatre, arriving there just in time to be comfortably seated before the play opened. It was a Russian play the "Danicheffs" and I enjoyed it very much. The play took place in the Union Square Theatre. The matinee ended just in time for us to take the five o'clock train home again. The trip back was charming and I never shall regret my acceptance fo Sophie's kind invitation for we did have such a lovely time. I do not know how I can repay her. Sunday I slept soundly until eight when I came up to 26 and found Anne and Lillie sleeping soundly. They did not get up until just in time for dinner. I had a lovely quiet morning. I wrote a six page letter to Mamma and after dinner wrote one to Nathan and read. Just before tea Sophie and I took a walk up Sunset hill and after tea we had a nice long talk to-gether. I took myself to the Observatory it being my first night visit this vacation.
Monday morning I wrote on my essay for an hour, then I cleared up our room, washed my head and did some mending before dinner. After dinner Lill and I went right to work on our Mother-Goose-Party- costume. Lill's idea was that we should be "The dish ran away with the spoon." I was the dish and it was quite a piece of work to make the dish, but Miss Gardner was very kind and helped me. She painted it as though it were old china. Lill's spoon was also a piece of art, but it was mastered and she looked so cunning and pretty enveloped in the immense white spoon. All the girls look very funny and droll. We could tell no one until unmasqued. After our festivities were over at the "Gym" we went to Nan's room and there had a delightful little ice cream supper with St. Paul cake.
Tuesday we were somewhat tired from our Mother-Goose-Party. In the morning I wrote again for an hour and then I joined Anne and Sophie in sewing, who were in Lill's room because Lill was in bed. We told them about the "Danicheffs" and afterwards Lillie and Sophie told us about "Pique". In the afternoon Anne and I read "Qui ouie" which as far as we went was very easy. I slept at the observatory again. Prof. Mitchell and Miss Harrison for the past two night have arisen about two or three in the morning in search of a comet.
This morning a beautiful bright morning. I practiced nearly an hour before breakfast. The girls have already made there appearance. Miss Culbertson made a mistake and came back last night. Miss Shaw has arrived and to-night all will be back. Such a short vacation, but such a pleasant one. We have seen very little of Abbie. She has not been down to see us once! We expected it would be quite different. I it (vacation) were beginning now, and I had done what I have. I have accomplished nearly all I wanted to except in the reading line and there I have been not negligent but something. Anne, Lillie, Mamie Burch Helen Carver are all off for a week to Cedar Ridge for some violets and hypaticas. It it just the day for a tramp, but I prefer base ball cette apres oui di. Received a letter from Mamma including check for spring things. She only wrote it last night! How I hope that Steven's business will succeed for Papa seems so poorly and that would make him better I think. I worked somewhat on my essay but did not make much progress. It is so stupid! I am thoroughly disgusted. All our friends came back to-night except Giddie, May and Margie. Poor Sophie seemed homesick enough. This evening I fixed my black and white overskirt. Lill was kind enough to reloup it for me.
April 12, 1877
A perfectly beautiful day. It did not seem bad to begin again at all perhaps because Miss Mitchell excused us in Greek and there was no music lesson on account of the turmoil of Music Hall. I received a box of the lovliest arbutus from Mrs. Burnside. I acknowledged them this afternoon. Margie came back and we are so glad although her parents did not wish her to. Giddie and May came to-night. Poor Miss Dame is not coming back. How lonely she must be!
April 28, 1877
Over two weeks since the girls have been back and how they have flown. A great deal seems to have happened in them. Miss Rumsey was sent for on account her sister' sickness. She arrived home just one day before her death. It is so very sad, because she had everything to live for. Her little girl seems to be perfectly well and I do hope she will live. Poor Mr. Wheeler! English began very soon after vacation. Ethel, Miss Moore and Miss Hagard read the first night; all were good. Ethel read her story, but on the whole I liked Miss Hagard's better than any and it showed she was well-fitted for an editor of the Miscellany. I am sorry Ethel was defeated for both but I am very glad Miss Hagard fills one of the places. The second english class I read, but not my latest essay. I feared Miss Hiscock was disgusted with the last but she thought the first one more unlike an essay and therefore nicer to read. It is and was a great relief to have read and to have had my last essay corrected before Founder's Day. I only wish I could write something worth the while for my last essay. This past week I have been favored with such nice letters. An eight page one from Janice Burnside , one from Lottie today we had home news which is always so acceptable Saturday. It was such a relief to hear from Richie again. His tone in the letter did one good but made one feel sad. This past week we have worked hard on the decorations committee. Friday was spent for decorating. Miss Cornwall was an excellent chairman. The dining did look truly charming with all the arches between the posts. In the evening Lillie made her appearance as marshal and she looked beautiful in her light pink organdy, made so simply! She ushered in the procession very well. Lola's friend did not come till quite late. They lost Miss Brown's address entirely. So did a number of us ushers, but she lent it to us and can have an idea how well it must have sound from the platform. Our change in meals seems to have suited all . We now have lunch at noon and dinner at five. Somehow it seems to make time for us. I should have mentioned Miss Beattie's essay when speaking of English class because hers was really a beautiful essay. The subject was "Open doors" and it did, as Miss Hiscock said contain a lesson for every one of us. When I had my last stupid production corrected Miss Hiscock was so very kind and just as we were in the midst of it, we heard some voices approaching her window. Miss Hiscock turned to see and I followed suit and whom should I see but Annie Page with Miss Adams! It was a surprise to Miss Adams too. We enjoyed seeing her very much and I think she was pleasantly surprised with 42 and its surroundings. She has been visiting in New York. Papa I think is quite encouraged about business. I think Mamma might not go to Wolfeboro until June.
Friday May 4, 1877
May has been ushered in with a storm but it did not amount to much. A snow storm in the west May 3; and it does feel at least it felt as if might be favored with one night before last. To-day it is warmer. This has been a very pleasant week and as much as I long to be with the people at home, I hate to have this year end. The director of the Alleghany City Observatory lectured to us this week and to-night many of the girls are enjoying Madame Essipoffs concert and to-morrow night we are to listen to Rev. Howard Crosby on the "Latest explorations of Palestine. Miss Terry assured us it would be very interesting and valuable. Our English class last night was unlike the proceding owing to the presence of Prof. Backus. Miss Bently read first and Prof. B. praised her essay quite a little. Then Nan read and when she finished Prof. B. just pitched into her. I cannot understand why he asked so many unkind questions, he was a little unjust I think. Miss Fern read last and he puffed her up making his actions toward Nan all the more marked. Miss Rumsey returned to-night and Abby had the outside room in Parlor 48 all nicely fixed up for her, they having changed with Miss McKeague. Miss Dame and Miss Barr have both returned this week but only to pack up. Anne and I called on Miss Dame this evening and she seems to bear up wonderfully but she looks very sad and somewhat carewarn. I have heard fr. Nathan this week but not from home, but I think we shall to-morrow. I have written to Lottie and Lydia Dame, sending Lottie her "Miscellany" and a catalogue.
Sunday May 20, 1877
Here are four of us only sitting in our wrappers and dressing sacks and really considering how warm the day is we are very comfortable. Sophie has gone home to spend Sunday and May went with her. They have had two beautiful days, for which I am truly glad. Since May, many interesting scenes have changed our usual routine into one of variety and pleasure. Two weeks ago to-day was communion but as Dr. Crosby was to preach in the afternoon we, Anne and I did not go in. Sophie did. In the evening we had no sing on account of May's being a little sick. The following week until Friday was quite uneventful. We as a class, were asked to send an official representative on Class Day, to partake of the exercises under the tree. Sophie read her essay quite unexpectedly and she feels as much inclined as did I.
Friday evening we had the second concert given by the New York Mozart club, and all enjoyed it. very much. Mr. Bischoff did not come up to Mr. Rimunerly in most of our opinions but Mr. Arnold was wonderful with his violin. We feel fully repaid for not hearing the Thomas Orchestra, and I hope the Poukeepsie feel pleased with their generous assistance! I never enjoyed the two concerts more in my life.
The next night, Saturday the Phil-society gave the play of "Spanish Gypsy" by George Eliot. It was a beautiful play and all the actors did so very finely. The whole affair was so high-tuned and what they learned they will always be glad to know. The scenic effect was beautiful and Miss Teel looked so beautiful and Hinda alias Miss O'Leary was perfectly bewitching. The ushering that night was very hard, such a crowd as there was. Giddie was head usher and I am thankful we had one, for the people some of them were so obstreperous May, Maurice and I were on the same isle. The next Sunday was very warm. I took my writing materials out under the pines directly after Bible class, and it seemed almost no time before I heard the choir singing. That of course meant that I would be late, but I sat in the very backseat and it was quite a relief from the very front seat of which I am getting very tired. Mr. Lawrence preached. In the afternoon some of the girls went to sunset hill and others stayed indoors and over comfortable. I had a delightful nap before dinner. This past week not very much has been going on. English met neither Tuesday or Thursday, because no essays were ready. Home news was that they were to leave Washington Sunday night, but we have not heard from them since, and know not where they are. Both the boys favored us this past week, and to them I wrote very stupid letters, but to Papa and Mama I only wrote postals, one addressed to Wolfeboro and the other to Washington. Papa wrote us of Walter Rankin's death which is hard for one to realize, for when we knew him he seemed so well and strong. Exoteric Society gave "Meg's Diversion" Friday evening and it was very pretty. All day Saturday nearly was spent in reading from my essay, the subject of which I feel is too hard for me, but I shall always be glad of the reading and studying in connection with it, even if the essay is nearly a failure, which I feel pretty sure it will be.
Friday May 25, 1877
Day of senior party and I imagine one that will never be forgotten by many many a one. Poor Anne and Giddie have had quite a hard time of it I think and how they have consulted the "old probabilities". It has been a fitful day, but I am glad they went at last. At one they were not going but at two o'clock the string of carriages and wagons drove up to the door. The letter May wrote us about the party, we enjoyed but were provoked enough that we were sold by the first part of it. Between dinner and chapel young Mrs. Iddings and Estelle came up to our parlor and we had a very social time. After chapel we had a short but quite good Beta meeting. It was a treat to hear from brite Papa and Mamma this week. Papa came first as Anne was starting off. After Beta meeting I wrote some Latin and after that fully intended to write on my essay, but Sophie and I became interested in our talking, and soon I suggested making a call on Miss Hiscock. We did not make a very long one, but it was a very pleasant one. We had a fine chance to see her brother's picture and his fiancée Miss Barnes. Evidently she thinks the world of her brother and really I do not wonder if he is real life, what his face has in it. As I bade her "Good Night" I asked for another week on my essay for I knew I would not finish it respectably; owing to-morrows excursion down to West Point and the amount of extras we have had this week.
Tuesday evening the President read to Shakespeare Club the "Tempest" and owing to a rain storm we had it in chapel and all were invited the invited guests having received seats. Owing to reading we had English Class Wednesday and Thursday, so on the whole the week has been much too broken up for any advancement on an essay. I trust Anne will not be all come out after to-day's and to-morrow's festivities. This week Molly and I were invited to join Natural History Society- and we both accepted. I hope we shall never regret the acceptance.
Home July 15, 1877
To think that I found no time at V. in June to record the festivities of that month, makes one feel sorry. The accounts of the Seniors after May 25, ought to have comforted the committee people at least. The following day came our excursion to West Point and it was such a perfect one! The girls were finely behaved. The scenery was grand and as we neared West Point it was very picturesque, to see the cadets on the rocks. It was a sight worth seeing, when our four hundred landed. The drill was very interesting and their change of figures was wonderful. Our rail home was as pleasant as that down. Mr. Campbells supper was very acceptable, and the moon favored us part of the way.
In June Mrs. Maria Dame gave her spread at the "Observatory" and we had a very nice time as we always do over there. Our lectures in Geology by Prof. Comstock were much enjoyed. He stayed but two weeks, lecturing sometimes twice a day. By this time the Seniors were practicing for Commencement and we were looking forward to that week, especially Class Day. However before we entered upon that last week, Sophie Richardson, her brother, Mr. Weeks and myself went to Lake Wohunk. I was very glad Papa and Mamma were willing that I should go. Sophie and I had a very pleasant interview with Miss Terry upon the subject, for she could but give permission after I had read my letters from home. Contrary to what Sophie and I expected we did not start until nine o'clock in the morning and planned to return by moonlight, but that little plan was destroyed by Miss Terry just as we were starting off and we promised that we would be back by half past eight. Our ride over was charming after crossing Hudson. The great part of it is through lovely woods with a brook on either side.
After reaching New Polly there is a constant ascent for three or four miles, and after one of the hardest hills you come suddenly on this beautiful lake which reminds you more of the descriptions of Italian lakes then anything else. The water is a queer light green color, it is surrounded by high, commanding cliffs, and as every little resting place is a picturesque summer-house, very rustic whose top is covered with straw. The hotel is pleasantly situated and there we took dinner. The place is full of wonders such as the "Labyrinth", "Eagle Cliff", "Sky Top", all of which we investigated with much enjoyment. We were sorry indeed when the time came for us to return. But it was good that we arrived at V five minutes earlier then Miss Terry said. We mentioned that fact in the note we sent her. I feel very much indebted to Sophie for all the pleasure she has given me, perhaps it is her brother to whom I should feel indebted, but I go for Sophie's sake and not for his, although he has been kind many times.
Baccalaureate Sunday Pres. Raymond preached and I was disappointed in his sermon. Monday was busy, I mean we were very busy over our packing. In the evening I was usher at the parlor door with Mamie Burch and I never knew such a crowd. Sophie R. saved me a seat in the gallery and so I enjoyed the concert as much as anybody, as far as good seats are concerned.
Tuesday we did not have much time to ourselves as Prof. Backus and Miss Terry had something to tell us in the morning and we who were ushers had to be ready very soon after lunch. The chapel exercises began quite early and I had to loose all Miss Shephard's address, and a part of Miss Stoyell's. Ellie Gresur and I went up to the gallery to-gether, and found a very passable seat. Abbie's "Voice of the Sage and Seer" was by far the most interesting exercise of the day. She looked very handsome in her delicate lavender silk and she kept us in a soar most of the time. After her part was through we adjourned to the trez where Mary Shaw performed and she did very well too. We just returned to the college when it poured for a little while.
Commencement Day I was usher again, but did not lose so much of exercises or preceding day. Essays as a whole were quite interesting. Miss Woods and Miss Whipple's were fine ones. I liked Lanore's valedictory although I could not understand a part of it. Wednesday afternoon was very short. Sophie left us before five as well as Margie. Thursday we had a delightful rail down and whom should we meet on board the but Dr. Stors and Charles, who is a very huge young man. When we arrived in New York Sophie's brother was there and he offered very kindly to see about our trunks. He could not attend to it then, so he said he would come in the evening. We did not then realize what a blessing his coming would be. We went directly to Brooklyn, Ellie accompanying us and she invited us to lunch at Dieter's before going to Dr. Jarvis. Dr. Jarvis was as pleasant as ever and he is certainly wonderfully gentle. He found a cavity in one of my front teeth after all Dr. Miller said. Just as we were to leave his place I could find my purse no where and it had in it the check for the three trunks as well as my traveling money. Oh! how unhappy I felt. Mrs. Frottingham was with us and she felt so sorry too. We went to Dieter's but it was not to be found. I worried about the trunks, thinking I might not be able to get them.
When we arrived at the wharf we were glad to see May and Millie, but especially so to see Mr. Richardson knowing that he could do more then two "unprotected females" could in getting our trunks. The baggage men were very unwilling to give them up but they finally did. We were now ready to go on deck with May and Molly and just as we were in the midst of telling our day's experience, up rushed Dr. Jarvis' clerk saying, Miss Banfield your purse was found in the operations chair." Great was my relief. We after had a peaceable time and enjoyed our trip and supper on boat very much. The next day and next were spent very pleasantly spent at Cousin Ann's and Aunt Mary's.
Saturday, we arrived at our humble abode, and it seemed good to be at home, although very lonely without Papa. He has not come home and it will be three weeks to-morrow since he left. Nathan and Mamie have grown much.
Friday Mr. Ferris called and told us that Sadie Rollnex was engaged. In the evening she affirmed his word and we saw Annie Lawrie. Sadie is the fiancee of Mr. Lewis. I think she is too good for him.
Upham School April 7, 1881
Why I should take up this almost entirely laid aside journal to-day, I scarcely know. Many times I have thought I should write my remembrance of Anne's commencement, my own and even 80's, but here it is almost time for 81 to leave the stage and I am teacher of two years standing. Oh! how old all these unrelated incidents in my life make me feel now, but I am truly thankful for so many happy days to look back upon.
And if heaven contains our treasures
Love above us, and before us,
It will shed such radiance o'er us,
As transfigures present sadness
Till it glows like very gladness.
Life is not a time to mourn
Over griefs which must be borne,
But a time for singing.
For its flight is bringing
Christ and endless gain.
Mr. Hall the author of those his stanzas. He wrote them not long before his death.
Helen Hunt Jackson
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