Writings by Susan Dickinson

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vide a district nurse to be at the beck and call of the just and the unjust

Lectures Then our lectures in those days how we loved them, and throve on them then! Though now we cry enough, --
and draw nearer to the fire with our books almost abhoring a lecture, for are
we not lectured to death? We did not have many, but the professors in turn gave
us of their best; wise men from Europe now and then, and sometimes John Lord
with his wizardry of style and maner, who could pursuade [sic] one against one's
better reason. But we were young then, and Professor Shepard's lectures
on botany, given in the basement of the old chapel on Summer mornings, were
graceful in style and matter, and the "young ladies" liked them because it was
a pleasant pastime to attend them, escorted by some attractive Senior before
whose class they were delivered. The walk and the escort, and the lecture had
a refinement of morning-glow quite fascinating to remember. Though a blur of
values clouded my young brain, when I found toward the last of the course, that
our charming beaux mostly got out of the window and took their botany au nat-
urel gracefully disposed on the grass under sky and trees. As the years have
passed and I have been often bored by instructive utterances and could not get out, their habit has seemed
to me increasingly enviable and delightful.

The poet Dana, father of Richard Dana, gave a course of six lectures on poetry
in the old college chapel Ivey? back in the fifties. They were exquisite, subtle, most poetic but rather
over the heads of sweet-sixteen and the college boys. But these, as all our
lectures not strictly in the college course, were given in the evening, affording
a delightful sort of time, as we were invited by our gentlemen friends; strolling
slowly up the long hill under their escort, and even more slowly back, under the
stars when the lecture was over. "And no chaperone!" I hear the conventional
modern exclaim. No such order was ever heard of in those days. Poor chaperones!
They earn their honors protecting protecting the budding beauties of today's
ball rooms and happy times. My experience of it in my later society years found it a tedious

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

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Writings by Susan Dickinson Main Page
Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith,
Laura Elyn Lauth, and Lara Vetter, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney  <rnmooney@umd.edu>
Last updated on January 25, 2008

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