-----SOCIETY IN AMHERST FIFTY YEARS AGO-----
Turning over pages of The History of The Meadow City recently, I was freshly
impressed with the chapter on their past social life written by Mrs Emerson
of Amherst; who by her temperament, talent, ancestry and social gift was espec-
ially fitted to draw the fascinating picture. The social life of Amherst two
generations ago was no less unique in grace and simplicity, although differing
always from her rival of those days across the river quite markedly in certain usages social habits held
contraband by piety and conscience in Amherst, -- usages
rather more native to
the larger town with its more courtly traditions; and as was natural to the
"shire" town touching the world through more cosmopolitan channels than our own. The harm-
less bores of cards and dancing, common there
according to Mrs Emerson, were
not even so much as mentioned
long after they were common in Amherst as suitable nay possible for ? beings ? ? ? ?
Bless Northampton! If there has been jealousy between us
we all boast of her now when we get far enough away from home.
Fifty years ago and more I could have shown you, dear moderns, in the small circle
of Amherst, -- for there was but one then, -- as beautiful girls, -- or young ladies
as they were then called, -- as ever graced any drawing room. As accomplished
well poised matrons, as chivalric young men, -- men both old and young as full of
high purpose and generous accomplishment as could be found in any town, either
university or commercial.
Under President Humphrey and also under President
Hitchcock society was one; the village being smaller than now, was represented
at all the college "levees" as the receptions were then called, and entered
warmly into all the college affairs, lectures and literary occasions.
H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9