Vassar College Digital Library

Pratt, Mary (Morris) | to mother, Jun. 8, 1879:

VC 1880
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vassar:24951,,Box 72,VCL_Letters_Pratt_Mary_1880_005
June 8, 1879
1 item
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: VCLLettersPrattMary1880005001
Vassar College
April 22, 1879.

My dear Mither-

I suppose that by this time you all know what has happened, but you can't begin to be as surprised about it as I am. When I went to the meeting of the Student's Association last night I went prepared for a long struggle in deciding upon next year's president. I was all ready to nominate my candidate as soon as the minutes were accepted, when my next neighbor said "Do look at Miss ——." I looked, and saw a girl so anxious to speak that she could hardly keep still, and so waited to give her a chance to relieve herself. But when I heard my name I


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hadn't a word more to say, especially when no other candidate was nominated, and I found myself elected. Although I know I'm pretty conceited, I never, in my wildest flights, thought of aspiring to this. Why Mither, its the first & highest honor given for the senior year, and Just to think of its coming to me! Of course I'm delighted, but I'm rather overwhelmed too when I think of what will be expected of me. At most my first thought was, "What ever will I do next Founder's Day? " and I haven't been able to answer yet at all. The girls flew off and sent the telegram the first thing.

I hope you didn't think any thing bad had happened. Well I'm sure you must have had enough of this topic by this time, so I will spare you any further remarks.

Tell Nemmie I was so


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pleased to have her send me her pretty flowers that I went right down to the office and got a panel and then went to the studio and tried to paint her some. If the color and texture of my paint had been more favorable, I trust I should have had better success, but she must take the will for the deed this time. There is so much to tell that I can only give bare facts, and even then don't know where to begin.

On Friday afternoon, instead of having the annual "spread", the Shakespeare Club chartered a little steam yacht and took a sail up the river. The yacht was expressly a pleasure boat, just about large enough to accommodate our party of sixteen, and small enough to dance excitedly over the wake


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of a steamboat. The wind blew a gale and sometimes the spray would blow clear across the boat. The president and his wife were with us and seemed to enjoy it all very much. We sailed about twenty five miles, as far as Barrytown near which town is the old Montgomery place, built by the general of that name, who fell at Quebec. Ethel Jacobsen has friends by the name of Hunt who now own the place & who had invited her to bring friends there whenever she wished. We found carriages waiting at the dock for us and were soon out of sight of the river. We drove for about fifteen minutes, then turned in through a large gate into a beautiful wide shady drive. I should think we rode fully half a mile before we came in


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sight of the old house between the great trees. Every thing had had time to grow since the house was built about one hundred years ago. The house is a magnificent old mansion with great pillars and a wide piazza running around three sides of it. There is a beautiful view of the river and the Catskills from one part of it where Lady Montgomery stood to watch the boat which bore the body of her husband pass slowly by. Inside, the house is, if possible more interesting still. They have many old portraits of the different members of the family, among them. General & Lady Montgomery, both very young looking & she exceedingly beautiful. One room is fitted up in imitation of President Madison's drawing room in the


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White House. I believe it has been kept so ever since the original was arranged, great pains being taken to keep it always in elegant repair.

Ethel has visited there a great deal & has told me how quaint yet elegant the whole house is.

It is the kind of a place where no one need ever think what fashion is, but where it is a law unto itself. It was even more impressive than the places you read about could be.

We took one of the many walks about the place and went to see the waterfall. After a long walk through grand old woods we came to a good sized stream bridged by a kind of summer house. From this we looked up the stream to a most beautiful fall


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eighty feet high. Not one leap but all broken up into spray by great rocks. It was a place where one could spend every bit of a whole day just looking & listening. As if that wasn't enough, after a short walk we came to another fall not so high as the first but of the same style of beauty. Oh I mustn't forget to tell you another swell thing. As we drove up to the place we were met at the door by a Mr. Drummond, secretary of the English Legation (I hope you know what that is). He took us about the grounds as I have told you. We must have walked more than a mile about the grounds and yet only went to the waterfalls. It would need a month just to explore the place without trying to appreciate it.


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When we returned to the house we were served to ice-cream cake & lemonade on one of the great piazzas, and soon after were obliged to take our leave. It was just tantallizing to have that little bit of a glimpse of all that grandeur & elegance. What most people cherish by the inch they are quite accustomed to by the yard.

When we reached the dock the tide had fallen so far that we were obliged to take flying leaps down into our boat. The President & Helen B. stood on the deck & swung us in, in a very lively manner. We had a lovely sail home, taking our supper on the way & then sitting up on top of the cabin & singing. The President sat up with us and was as jolly as if he had been a great-


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boy. When it grew cool we had no difficulty in persuading
him to wear one of the girls shawls. Who
would have dared pro-
pose such a thing to
Pres. Raymond? He
was so much more
reserved and entered
so little into our
trips & jollity. Well
I think you have a
letter as is a letter
this time. I only
hope I shall get
a good long one on Tues. The money


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you sent was most acceptable, but shrank to almost half its
size before I had had it two hours. How everything but


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money does accumulate—especially demands for giving it
it will


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I want to go and see Miss Morse about it as soon as I can. I have
for a
on a
dor for
& think that
she will
get it.
(Mary S. Morris,