MY DEAR ABIAH, I am really at Mt Holyoke Seminary and this is to be my home for a long year. . . .
am now quite contented and am very much occupied now in reviewing the Junior studies, as I wish to enter the middle class. The
school is very large, and though quite a number have left, on account of
finding the examinations more difficult than they anticipated, yet there are
nearly 300 now. Perhaps you know that Miss Lyon is raising her standard of
scholarship a good deal, on account of the number of applicants this year and
on account of that she makes the examinations more severe than usual. You
cannot imagine how trying they are, because if we cannot go through them all in
a specified time, we are sent home. I cannot be too thankful that I got through
as soon as I did and I am sure that I never would endure the suspense which I
endured during those three days again for all the treasures of the world. . . .
I will tell you my order of time for the day, as you were so kind as to give me your's. At 6 o'clock, we all rise. We breakfast at 7. Our study hours begin at 8. At 9 we all meet in Seminary Hall for devotions. At 10 1/4 I recite a review of Ancient history in connection with which we read Goldsmith and Grimshaw. At 11 I recite a lesson in "Pope's Essay on Man" which is merely transposition. At 12 I practice Calisthenics and at 12 1/4 read until dinner which is at 12 1/2. After dinner from 1 1/2 until 2 I sing in Seminary Hall. From 2 3/4 until 3 1/4 I practice upon the piano. At 3 3/4 I go to Section, where we give in all our accounts for the day, including Absence-Tardiness-Communications-Breaking Silent Study hours-Receiving Company in our rooms and ten thousand other things which I will not take time or place to mention. At 4 1/2 we go into Seminary Hall and receive advice from Miss Lyon in the form of a lecture. We have supper at 6 and silent study hours from then until the retiring bell, which rings at 8 3/4 but the tardy bell does not ring until 9 1/4, so that we don't often obey the first warning to retire.
Unless we have a good and reasonable excuse for failure upon any of the items that I mentioned above, they are recorded and a black mark stands against our names. As you can easily imagine, we do not like very well to get "exceptions" as they are called scientifically here. My domestic work is not difficult and consists in carrying the knives from the 1st tier of tables at morning and noon, and at night washing and wiping the same quantity of knives. . . . You have probably heard many reports of the food here and if so I can tell you, that I have yet seen nothing corresponding to my ideas on that point, from what I have heard. Everything is wholesome and abundant and much nicer than I should imagine could be provided for almost 300 girls. We have also a great variety upon our tables and frequent changes. One thing is certain and that is, that Miss Lyon and all the teachers seem to consult our comfort and happiness in everything they do and you know that is pleasant. When I left home, I did not think I should find a companion or a dear friend in all the multitude. I expected to find rough and uncultivated manners, and to be sure I have found some of that stamp, but on the whole, there is an ease and a grace and a desire to make one another happy, which delights and at the same time surprises me very much. . . .
From your aff. EMILY, E.D.