Vassar College Digital Library

Frantz, Edna (Bachman) — to Rosemarie Boyle, November 24, 1912

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24 Nov 1912

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: VCL_Letters_Frantz-Edna-Bachman_1912-11-24_068_006_003_001
Nov. 24, 1912

Dear Rosemarie,

I know it is unkind when I promised to write on Friday to put it off until Sunday, but if you could have seen me work these last few days you would forgive me. It is 7.15 A.M. I am writing in bed. Rising bell does not ring until 7.30 Sunday.

Nov. 9 the [Dannrewther] Quartette gave a concert. The music was wonderful.
It is so long since I wrote that I cannot remember whether I told about Junior party or not. Betty and I went to town that Saturday, shopped and went to a picture show. We saw Johnson and Lottie Briscoe. It was late when we got out. We had to run for a car and got back to college just before dinner. We had ^to put together our costumes for the part before 8.10 besides going to dinner and chapel so you can imagine how we hurried. Betty and I went as little girls. We had a fine time. The refreshments were delicious. The cutest little operetta was given.


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The night after the party one of our neighbors gave a spread. I went to a reading first, given in Freshman parlor by my English instructor.

A little farce was given at the Maid’s Club House on the 14th. Shummie and I went.

I heard an excellent lecture on “The Camp-Fire Girls” last week.

Last week end was most exciting. First Hall Play was given Saturday and about a hundred and fifty 1912 girls came back for it. In the morning ‘16 played ‘12 in basket ball and much to ‘16’s joy we won. Score 20-6. Our team did fine work. ‘12 was so sure of winning but when they saw they were losing they sang “ ‘16 we are growing old, Silver threads among the gold.”

Rosemarie, you never saw anything like Hall Play. Vassar dramatics are considered the best in the country. A famous actress who lectured here two years ago said that the dramatic work was not amateur but professional. I never saw such splendid acting


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*before. The play was Prunella or Love in a Dutch Garden. It was very intense and pathetic. Prunella was a sweet, little Dutch girl. The first act opens with three gardeners trimming the hedge. On the left was the house, with a tiny vine covered porch. On the right was the statue of Love. The gardeners tell how Prunella’s mother had acted as Prunella now does, walking around in an absent minded way with a book upside down in her hand. When the mother was a girl she had watched the making of the statue of Love by the young French architect-artist and when it was finished she eloped with him. A year later her little baby, Prunella, was left in the garden with a note from the dying mother telling the three old maid aunts to care for the child. The aunts are bringing her up in the strictest possible way. Prunella and the aunts enter. She is reading aloud and the aunts are knitting when a band of Mummers go by. The aunts, horrified, go into the house but Prunella drops her work and while she reaches to pick it up


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Pierrot, leader of the band, peeps through the hedge. It is a case of love at first sight. He enters and his band of care-free entertainers follow. At the end of the scene Pierrot swoons and his servant, Scaramel, declares that the only remedy is that which his master has asked Prunella for, a kiss. Prunella kisses him and then, covering her face with her hands, rushes into the house.

The second act is the evening of the same day. Pierrot returns to the garden. He orders a singer to serenade Prunella and after he has done this dismisses him. She appears at the window and this was the prettiest scene in the whole play. Pierrot stands at the foot of the ladder which he has placed below her window and begs her to descend. She consents and then he asks her to flee with him, to become Pierrette. She turns to the statue and asks for counsel. The lips seems to move and she hears a voice telling her to obey Love. She does and flees with Pierrot.

The third act is three years later. It is autumn. The ground


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is covered with dry leaves. A sign “To Let” is on the door of the house. Everything looks dreary and desolate. All the aunts have died but one and she cannot keep up the place any longer. She still hopes that Prunella will return. She has decided to sell the house. The purchaser is to come to make final arrangements. He arrives and it is Pierrot, but a different Pierrot. He is no longer the laughing, dancing, merry leader but is weary of life and there is a hopeless droop to his figure. He tells the aunt of Prunella. They travelled together two years and then he left her. But the old love returned and burned so fiercely in his bosom that he went back to find her but she had disappeared. Now he had come back to the garden where he had first met her. The aunt turns over the keys and leaves her old home. Lots of the girls cried then. It was so pitiful to see that poor old woman, leaving the only home she had ever known. Pierrot seems to fall under a spell. He is so preoccupied that his followers cannot under-


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stand him. They go into the house and leave him alone in the garden with his memories. At last Scaramel leaves the others and comes after his master. He tries to arouse Pierrot who talks of “Love in the garden and Pierrette.” Scaramel is alarmed and finally persuades him to come into the house and eat his supper.

The stage is empty for a while and then a soft stirring ^of the leaves is heard at the gate. A woebegone figure enters. It is Prunella. Scaramel comes out, takes her for a beggar and orders her off. She asks to stay and he says she may if she will sweep the path clear of leaves. Scaramel goes off and Prunella lies down before the statue. The band come out but no one recognizes the girl. Pierrot comes out of the house repeating the experiences of that eventful night. His followers think he has gone mad. The ladder is brought before the window and Pierrot stands and pleads the same way he did three years before. It was the strongest scene in the play. I am so glad I was able to buy a picture of it.


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Finally in despair he calls, “Pierette, Pierette!” Prunella awakens and answers him. He thinks he is dreaming but she convinces him that she is alive and the reconciliation takes place before the statue.

There is an allegorical interpretation but I do not intend to look for it until I have come down to earth and have ceased to be so wild about the acting. Mary Gowin, a Senior who played Pierrot, was the star. I am simply mad about her. I have not met her but I am very anxious to. She is not particularly attractive looking but she is a marvel. She played Joan of Arc last year and studied for weeks so as to be able to give a perfect interpretation of the part. She was Joan of Arc for a month before the play was given and took it so seriously that she fainted after the performance.

I saw Mrs. Rood last Sunday evening and talked with her. Miss Pardee came last Monday afternoon. I saw her on campus. We


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had a short conversation.

Wednesday noon I took lunch with Shummie and Wednesday night a girl from Philadelphia took me to dinner in Raymond.

I have started to take lessons in classic dancing.

Thursday afternoon I went down to Poughkeepsie to call on my English instructor. She is the dearest thing. Her room is the coziest place. She has collected odd pieces of old furniture and she told the history behind him. Her ancestors served in the English army two hundred years ago when India was first opened up. One of them brought back a wonderful black and gold lacquered cabinet. She speaks French, Italian, sings and plays and --- is crazy about the theatre, enjoys melodrama and likes moving pictures. She has a keen sense of humor and makes you laugh all the time.

Friday afternoon I was over in Faculty Row, calling on one of the Professor’s daughters.

Last night Bliss Perry from


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Harvard lectured on Browning. He is very prominent in literary circles and a fine lecturer.

Yesterday afternoon the Yale-Harvard game was played at Vassar. It was the most ridiculous thing you ever saw. The girls were in football togs. Some had their heads bandaged and court plaster on their faces. There were doctors, nurses, cheer leaders, mascots, fellows with their girls, reporters, water-carriers etc. Yale won 1-0. It was such a joke when the 20-0, favor Harvard came.

I must stop now and work on my theme. I am making progress and will always feel as if I owed you an eternal debt of gratitude for the material.


P.S. - I told you, I suppose, that Miss Cameron sent a card from Columbus. She was quite sick for a [while?].