The Story of My Life

Part II. Letters (1887–1901)

TO MISS MILDRED KELLER


...At last we are settled for the winter, and our work is going smoothly. Mr. Keith comes every afternoon at four o'clock, and gives me a "friendly lift" over the rough stretches of road, over which every student must go. I am studying English history, English literature, French and Latin, and by and by I shall take up German and English composition--let us groan! You know, I detest grammar as much as you do; but I suppose I must go through it if I am to write, just as we had to get ducked in the lake hundreds of times before we could swim! In French Teacher is reading "Columba" to me. It is a delightful novel, full of piquant expressions and thrilling adventures, (don't dare to blame me for using big words, since you do the same!) and, if you ever read it, I think you will enjoy it immensely. You are studying English history, aren't you. O but it's exceedingly interesting! I'm making quite a thorough study of the Elizabethan period--of the Reformation, and the Acts of Supremacy and Conformity, and the maritime discoveries, and all the big things, which the "deuce" seems to have invented to plague innocent youngsters like yourself!...

Now we have a swell winter outfit--coats, hats, gowns, flannels and all. We've just had four lovely dresses made by a French dressmaker. I have two, of which one has a black silk skirt, with a black lace net over it, and a waist of white poplin, with turquoise velvet and chiffon, and cream lace over a satin yoke. The other is woollen, and of a very pretty green. The waist is trimmed with pink and green brocaded velvet, and white lace, I think, and has double reefers on the front, tucked and trimmed with velvet, and also a row of tiny white buttons. Teacher too has a silk dress. The skirt is black, while the waist is mostly yellow, trimmed with delicate lavender chiffon, and black velvet bows and lace. Her other dress is purple, trimmed with purple velvet, and the waist has a collar of cream lace. So you may imagine that we look quite like peacocks, only we've no trains....

A week ago yesterday there was [a] great football game between Harvard and Yale, and there was tremendous excitement here. We could hear the yells of the boys and the cheers of the lookers-on as plainly in our room as if we had been on the field. Colonel Roosevelt was there, on Harvard's side; but bless you, he wore a white sweater, and no crimson that we know of! There were about twenty-five thousand people at the game, and, when we went out, the noise was so terrific, we nearly jumped out of our skins, thinking it was the din of war, and not of a football game that we heard. But, in spite of all their wild efforts, neither side was scored, and we all laughed and said, "Oh, well, now the pot can't call the kettle black!"...

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