Mount Holyoke Student to Elizabeth Bull, Letter

Full Title:

A Letter Written on Dec 1, 1832 Addressed to Miss Elizabeth S. Bull, Mount Holyoke College

Excerpt:

Ipswich Dec. 1st. 1832.

My dear Elizabeth,

I begin this letter not knowing when I can finish it. I now have so much to do that I can scarcely find time to write to my friends at home.

Dec. 22. I really feel ashamed to think I would not write but three lines to you before I had to stop. I fear you will think I do not care much about you. But if you knew all my circumstances you would readily excuse it. I cannot write letters at any time excepting Saturday evenings, & then I have so much else to do that I can scarcely spare my time. I will give you a description of the […] in which we spend our Saturdays. This day Miss Lyon calls our leisure day. We rise at our usual time quarter past five, & at six we must be ready to go into the dining room to leave our roommates alone half an hour. Then we have breakfast, & usually get done about seven o’clock. Then our roommates leave us & we are alone till half past eight seven. We go to school at eight & stay till nine to practise calisthenics, then sing till ten &c. get home about eleven.

Ipswich Dec. 1st. 1832.

My dear Elizabeth,

I begin this letter not knowing when I can finish it. I now have so much to do that I can scarcely find time to write to my friends at home.

Dec. 22. I really feel ashamed to think I would not write but three lines to you before I had to stop. I fear you will think I do not care much about you. But if you knew all my circumstances you would readily excuse it. I cannot write letters at any time excepting Saturday evenings, & then I have so much else to do that I can scarcely spare my time. I will give you a description of the […] in which we spend our Saturdays. This day Miss Lyon calls our leisure day. We rise at our usual time quarter past five, & at six we must be ready to go into the dining room to leave our roommates alone half an hour. Then we have breakfast, & usually get done about seven o’clock. Then our roommates leave us & we are alone till half past eight seven. We go to school at eight & stay till nine to practise calisthenics, then sing till ten &c. get home about eleven. Then we have an hour to write composition, go to meeting at half past one & stay till three, & from between that time to Monday morning we have all our letters to write cloths [sic] to mend &c. Miss Lyon always says, “now young ladies if you have any extra time you may copy off one of your old compositions for correction.[“] But I scarcely ever get any time. When it comes Saturday I feel so tired I can scarcely sit up. I get a long bible on Sunday, & have but few moments to devote to reading. I am quite pleasantly situated in a family of twenty-seven – rather larger than I have been accustomed to – but all things go right.

Dec. 28th. Now Elizabeth I am going to finish this letter, if it is possible. Three weeks is long enough to have one letter on hand. But I cannot help it. I received a trunk from home last evening & four letters. This was quite a treat for I have not heard from home much since I have been here. Mother sent a letter which Hannah Peck wrote to Aunt Olivia dated Oct 30. It was written very simple – but I thought it was done very very [sic] considering things. – –

You gave me an invitation to spend vacation with you – but I think it will be impossible for me to go. I shall have only a week at longest, & in this time I shall have much to do. And besides, it will cost three dollars & a half only for stage fare, besides other expenditures. Though I have decided that it is not best to go to Dorchester at that time yet I intend to go as soon as I can. – – –

I am quite happy here – but think I should occasionally be a little homesick if my mind was not so actively employed. I wrote as much composition the first four weeks I was here as I should in a year at Wrentham Academy. I have now taken for a subject next week the anointing of David. We are to imagine Jesu [?] & his sons to be talking together about Saul &c. Then Samuel comes & chooses David, from among his brethren & anointed him. What is not in the bible we fill up with imagination & I think it is very interesting – now I have told you something about this school but the best is to come. Our religious instruction is excellent. I think Miss Lyon is as good a preacher as most ministers. We have three meetings every week be[s]ides those upon the sabbath, & also a lecture upon the bible an hour long every day. I know, a hope I feel the importance of improving these precious privileges. I cannot go from this seminary without exerting some influence & oh pray for me that this influence may be thrown on the side of Christ. –

There are several young ladies here who are to become missionaries to the East, & some are going to the West. A Miss Parker is also here, sister of Mrs. Bird missionary to Syria – a most interesting girl. Two widows are here at school, & one Indian from Macinaw, whose mother now wears the blanket among her native people. We have about one hundred scholars, & six teachers besides Miss Lyon & four assistant pupils. The teachers are dear creatures, & seem like mothers, friends, & companions to us. I hope I shall be enabled to profit by the instruction wh which I here receive, & be enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of my heavenly Father. I wonder I can be so stupid – I am not half as active as others around me, yet I enjoy equal privileges, & have the same father in heaven to watch over me.

Jan 6th 1833 – 1832 has gone. All […] thoughts, words, & actions which were com said or done are registered in the book of Gods remembrance. How solemn the thought. Let us strive after more holiness this year upon which we have entered than we ever have had before. Do write me a long letter soon.

Your Nancy.

I could write much more if I had time till all the margins were filled, but other duties call me away almost as soon as I begin to write. Do excuse the appearance of this letter for I have written it upon our atlas in my lap I have written too as fast as possible, & have not time to transcribe it. I fear you cannot read it[.]

Nancy.

My respects to your brothers wife &c.

Source Citation:

A Letter Written on Dec 1, 1832 Addressed to Miss Elizabeth S. Bull, Mount Holyoke College. 1850. Letter. Letters to and from other Mount Holyoke women, before 1850. Mount Holyoke College History. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~dalbino/letters/text/bull01.html

Cite this page:

Nancy. 1833. "Mount Holyoke Student to Elizabeth Bull, Letter." History of Higher Education. https://higheredhistory.gmu.edu/primary-sources/mount-holyoke-student-nancy-to-elizabeth-bull-letter/