Writings by Emily Hale

1. Memories of the Berkeley Street School1

Margaret Rae Ingols

was born in Boston, December 16, 1842; she died in Cambridge, December 14, 1904. She was the daughter of Levi and Emily Ingols, the youngest of seven children, five of whom were boys. She was educated in Boston, went to the school of Mr Siedhoff. She spent most of her life at the home of her sister, Mrs Emily Norcross, the eldest of her family.

Miss Ingols had private classes at home and had a private school near Quincy Square. She was assistant to Mr Gale at the Berkeley Street School and when he gave it up in 1884 she succeeded him as head of the school, a position she held most acceptably for about twenty-five years.2

Other teachers during the first year under Miss Ingols were Madame Harney, French; Miss Jennie Newell, History; Miss Elizabeth Greene, Mathematics; Miss Hellrigel, German.

The following estimate of Miss Ingols is contributed by one of her pupils:-

‘Miss Ingols’ own personality is naturally the clearest in my mind, for even as a young girl I was more than usually impressed by her fine blending of old-fashioned severity and affectionate interest, which was evident in all her relations to the girls. I felt she knew each student, both her fine and less fine attributes, through and through, and yet considered them her friends, young as we were. The afternoon of her death, of course, stamped itself on everyone there, partly because her gaiety and kindliness seemed at their best – and I believe she was suffering much of the time.’

Emily Hale


My Latin classes with Miss Gregg were a delight always, her straightforward, almost mannish enthusiasm and wholesome-heartiness tied us to her strongly. Music, as I remember, was taught by Miss Swift. I can see her in the Assembly room beating out the time, encouraging us in her big hearty way. French was taught by Miss Sever for a couple of years. I think I am not mistaken, and I know we all thought her mass of lovely fair hair the most attractive accompaniment to teaching, - and when she took a part in one of the Radcliffe plays we felt that she was the ideal heroine and were properly thrilled when she was made love to.

Athletics were held on a field next to the Peabody Public School and we had beautiful times. Also in the indoor miserable hall under Brattle Hall, where we played basket-ball. All the athletics were under Miss McCarthy’s direction, I think.

The tidiness of the school building itself – I see still the wax on the floor glistening brightly, the sun pouring in the big windows. I remember the good hot cocoa served in the basement at early lunch hour.

Emily Hale

2. ‘Dramatic Art’3

Emily Hale
Assistant Professor of Vocal Expression

In the last five to ten years, the growth of interest in the Fine Arts, – Art, Music, and Drama – has been one of startling vigor and intensity. Every day, every week, every month, the attention of the American public is called to the far-reaching, fast-developing results of this growth. In the community, among the clubs, in the colleges, bulletins, posters, lectures teach us how to decorate our homes, how to follow a History of Art in the museum, when and where to enjoy the next concert or the newest singer, or what play and what player is the success of the season. Special schools, special courses, day and night, are trying to meet the demand of men and women, boys and girls, who are in quest of knowledge, self-expression, and achievement.

Day after day, night after night, play houses – too many of them moving picture houses, alas – are being packed with audiences intently absorbed in watching human life expressed in every possible dramatic form, while every city, every town, college, and school establishes a Dramatic Club, and – the world and his wife step out to act. Why should this be; what lies behind the curtains of the play which makes it so irresistible; why are the educational institutions today stressing the importance of dramatics as never before: why is a course in speech chosen by an increasing number of college students? First, because in all of us lies inherent the love of ‘make believe’; because the creation of anything is in itself thrilling; because even the work of that creation is a resource and a relaxation in our too highly organized, busy lives; because the elements of the drama demand the size of instruments we all possess, but allow to rust – voice and body; and because we learn and profit from the discipline of standards any art requires – intelligent, thorough application, sharpened perception, quickened imagination, sympathetic understanding, control of self, and a consequent freedom of self.

To the students of Milwaukee-Downer College, ample opportunity is given for this healthy, helpful, popular form of recreation; but it is first pointed out that ‘to act’ requires a good voice, well handled; good posture; easy social contact; and honest, direct interpretation of life – off the stage. To this end courses are offered in speech work, pantomime and interpretation, with the emphasis on beauty and ease of speech and bearing, that they may become necessary, useful means of gaining a livelihood, as well as a social adornment; to make clear and stimulating to the student that, being quietly competent on any occasion to meet its requirements, is [as] important a part for the women of to-day and to-morrow, as any longed-for histrionic role, or coveted public honor.

Training, then, particularly in the younger classes, lies along lines which are so simple that they have often been overlooked, and ‘Elocution’ substituted in their stead. The elementary course aims to find each student’s need or gift, and to guide it to better and fuller means of expression: whether it be to make a capable announcement before the college body; address a group of visitors; bring the beauty of literature to an afternoon’s program; or play the butler in the Christmas Play. To the student who chooses the study of drama courses are offered in contemporary European and American plays, from the latter [sic] nineteenth century on. Foreign environment, ways of life and thought, are vividly introduced to the reader; and of necessity she must analyse life and its problems as she sees it, must weigh her own decision and standards more carefully, before she solves and discusses those upon the printed page. More often than not, the student does [?goes] to the play in the class room, rather than to the local theatre; but when a road company does come, the production is attended by an increasing number of students who follow the play with growing appreciation and keener distinction between the worth while and the mediocre. Thus, through a heightened sense of criticism and maturing standard, the student influences others in turn, and ahead of her lies the opportunity of constructive work among similar students, when she herself teaches them, or takes a share in keeping alive the spoken drama, as against the silent silver screen.

A practical course in stage production follows the course in play reading. Here coaching, costuming, setting, make up, and lighting, further demonstrated by visits to other colleges and theatres, furnish problems for the prospective manager and technician.

The accented point today in all dramatic production is the very synthesis of the Arts. Color, form, design, music, and the dance become integral elements in the acted play; and once more the student must possess a broad working knowledge and a firmly established taste, before she can assume the responsibility of making her first set, or group of costumes, or criticising the details of accessories and properties. The dramatic work done all over the country by student organizations teaches many a lesson to less ambitious professionals, who, with more time and means to command, are often less ingenious, less intellectually sound in their performances. The yearly output of admirably compiled books for spoken work and interpretation attests the great urge for the presentation of this greatest of all needs, better speech and fuller appreciation of the written word, – an urge which comes from the business world, as well as from the professional. That the two phases of the problem – training the student to meet life abundantly, and to sense the highest value in her dramatic recreation – are absolutely interdependent, is the goal towards which the crowded path is leading.

Milwaukee-Downer College is rich in traditions of campus activities, chief and oldest among them being the Christmas Play, the Sophomore Class May Play, the Commencement Play and the Dramatic Club plays. In each one of these the student finds varied and rich fields of exploration and discovery, as she is responsible for all the acting, costuming, setting, etc.; in fact, the May Play and the play presented by the City Student Organization are written and directed by the students. To live in an Elizabethan atmosphere of Christmas custom and tradition, made freshly vivid and beautiful each succeeding year by the genius of Professor Emily Brown, its creator, leaves an unforgettable mark upon every participant; to be asked to write a play of Chaucer’s time, for May Day presentation, leads the young author very far along the tracks of research; to design the costumes for an Italian play of the sixteenth century is to catch a little the brilliancy and glow of the Renaissance. Art, History, and Music are summoned like magic genii to assist the student; and if she is on tiptoe to catch the lure and power of this charm, what worlds of romance can she conjure up in turn.

And if one does not act? Increasingly are there demands for speakers from the student body, representing this and that interest before this and that organization, in and out of the city. Formerly preparation for these demands was more or less perfunctory, and often mechanical and unsatisfactory in its results. Now one aims to send out students, once self-conscious and inarticulate, as poised, enthusiastic, self-reliant, alert representatives of the College and its interests. The large sunny class room in Merrill Hall, which houses this department, witnesses many a candidate trying out for dramatic work, or a would-be professional woman attempting her first extemporaneous speech, or a coming business executive conducting an imaginary round table discussion.

The stage in the College auditorium is transformed over and over in an amazing way – one country after another appearing in the set before us – familiar scenery of years scarcely recognizable in the new dress – physical limitations of presentation undoubtedly and skillfully [sic] overcome. ‘The Mountebanks’ is the College dramatic club, made up of students who have passed a successful test of membership – open to the College. This year it is listed among the Little Theatre groups in a current issue of Theatre Arts Monthly. Twice a year they give a public program, and monthly meetings are held to discuss dramatic affairs of the time, or witness a student workshop play. And in June, weather permitting, the Commencement Play carries the audience to the ‘Greenwood’. There, as the sunlight shifts through the shade and the colorful pageant weaves its story, the graduating student may look forward to her own career, as a drama in which the spoken words and the developed personality, play the leading parts.

The department offers the following courses:

Training of Voice and Body.

Voice: general principles of vocalization, articulation, and modulation. Body: poise, bearing, and gesture. Reading with special reference to correct speech and intelligent interpretation. Two hours a week for a year.

Literary Interpretation I.

An advanced study of technique required to interpret different literary forms, in readings and dramatic work. The class is limited to ten students. Two hours a week, first semester.

Literary Interpretation II.

A course in interpretation designed to meet the needs of students taking Vocal Expression preparatory to teaching English and Vocal Expression. Prerequisite: Vocal Expression II or its equivalent. Three hours a week for a year.

Modern Drama. European and American.

Discussion, collateral current reading. Not open to Freshmen. Three hours a week, first semester.

Stage Technique.

Practical work in the technique of the theatre; stage models, lighting, costuming, play producing, acting. Not open to Freshmen. Three hours a week, second semester.

The College believes that, with this equipment, the coming teacher, professional woman, business woman, and society woman takes her place in her new life, competently ready to share in the affairs of the school and community, the spoken word an able tool at her command, be it used in the class room, the club room, the drawing-room, or the business office. For women, as well as men, are given opportunity today literally to voice their part in the hundred and one ways, as the world challenges them to discover and master life’s opportunities.

3. ‘They flash upon the inward eye’4

In the deepening light of the late summer afternoon, the beauty and peacefulness of our Cotswold town are seen and felt at their best. The long curving street flanked by the weathered houses of the warm grey-yellow Cotswold stone that stand in unbroken line from end to end of the town, is deserted at the tea hour – , smoke rising from the chimneys, a quiet murmur of voices within low rooms, the glow of the fire that warms the tea-pot, the hushing of even the children’s voices and laughter, are witness to the changeless hour of rest and friendliness that binds the British Empire together by this simple act, more strongly, more sincerely than many a government program. Sunshine and shade play over the old market, or touch in their patterns, moss covered stone tiled roof, an ancient Tudor window, or the beautiful church tower, that rises like a presence over the quiet parish below it.

As I stood for the one hundredth time trying to etch the details of this familiar setting upon my memory, into the stillness broke a delicate sound – intermittently faint and clear – of a musical instrument, that since music was upon the earth, has no equal in simple, natural sweetness of melody; a growing reed and a man’s fingers to speak for his heart, have inspired poets since the reed was first plucked.

The piping came nearer, the tune was now distinguishable and the piper himself distinct, as he came slowly towards me. He was tall and spare, his lean kindly face tanned by exposure to the winds, sun and rain, his faded clothes neat, but with a slight trace of graceful vagabondage in their wearing, a stroller’s pack on his back. He came stepping easily down the street, the notes preceding him like a bevy of pastoral attendants; his colouring seemed suddenly at one with the walls behind him, – his age as old and as eternally young as they; his dignified bearing and his gentle expression testified to the dignity and the love he bore and felt towards his simple art. That he earned his living in this rustic troubadoring, I could not but suppose, yet I also felt sure that a day on the road, a night under a hedge, his wooden pipe always with him and his simple communion with his God, were richer payment than any coin passed to him.

I considered therefore whether standing happily to listen to him were payment enough, but reconsidering that beer and cheese are good payment too, and that his feet walked many dusty miles if his head did stay in the stars, I gave him a few pence. He accepted them as I hoped he would, quietly, gravely with a sudden smile which I told myself was his recognition of my homage to Pan; he passed slowly down the street, piping always one tender little air after another. The sun dropped lower over sweet garden walls, the houses grew more golden in the deepening light, the smoke from the old chimneys hung like a blue veil in the cooling air, and the church bells rang out the evening hymn.


He lives alone in the last of a row of very humble cottages which face the Vicar’s garden. He is over eighty years of age and almost blind. He takes care of his rooms and himself – each morning sees him slowly setting the dark small front room to rights or going cautiously between stove and tiny larder. His clothes look as if they seldom left his back, yet this untidiness would distress him could he see – ; a few geraniums struggle for life in the dirty windows, dark red curtains make a dull glow at night under the light of his candle.

Some mornings he sweeps the walk in front of the house, each evening a faithful son brings water from the pump across the road. In fair weather he stands in the sunshine, in the open door-way, his ear, not his eye, telling him who passes. The old wrinkled leathery face is content and humorous, under the shabby cap worn at a rakish angle, he bites happily on the black stem of his strong smelling pipe, above an ancient neck scarf tied with pathetic attempt to recapture its former stylishness.

His comments on life and people are as pungent as his tobacco. To exchange greetings with him is the privilege of those who admire him. Kind village neighbors who enjoy his especial friendship help sweep and scrub from time to time (when they can no longer bear the old man’s living conditions that get beyond his control), a fresh baked loaf of bread, some cup cakes, a new tin of tea, are left under one pretext of another, for he is proud and will not accept charity as such. His independence, his calm, if dimmed outlook on life, his homely, shrewd sense of values, his uncomplaining fortitude under affliction, his lone silent patient hours of solitude, rebuke in their strength the first rush of pity that moves his friends, young or old. The unkempt but gallant little figure outside the thatched cottage, is gigantic in its power.

He was once asked how he did it. His answer was characteristic. ‘One third of it is God, the other two thirds is Will.’

4. [Untitled]5

I always like to go to church at St Michael’s. Ever since the first Sunday, when we climbed the unfrequented winding road, as worshippers for the winter season, I have counted the little building among the precious places which hold the affections deeply, as if a very bit [sic] of ourselves were left happily behind to join the pleased company of All Souls who have preceded us.

St Michael’s outside, boasts no architectural features, but inside, simplicity and dignity are admirably combined, affording pleasing contrast to the more elaborate chancel, where a gold starred blue dome matches the richness of the altar hangings and service, below. The lovely flowers from local gardens, charmingly arranged, are an important addition each Sunday to the reverent atmosphere within the building. The handsome pulpit is a reminder of the generosity of the old Duke of Beaulieu, who was a constant attendant at St Michael’s when he was in residence.

The view from in front of the church is a joy to us all. Coming out from the worship of God inside, one worships Him here again, as the Mediterranean below reflects an unearthly blue sky – or does the sky reflect the Mediterranean? – and the Alps rise in granite boldness and beauty above the myriad-colored shore, the brilliance of the flowers only equalled by the delicious fragrance, which the sun and wind carry over the land and the sea.

We are all fond of the round-faced, pink-cheeked Vicar, whose sweetness of spirit is seen in his face and heard in every word of his perfectly constructed, deeply spiritual little sermons. His wife is intelligent and resourceful and grows some of the best flowers in the town.

We are not without a volunteer curate thrown in for good measure from time to time, for the Colonel and the Doctor take turns in reading the lessons. The Colonel reads better, but the Doctor is unequalled for an impressiveness of manner and poise which would carry as effectively in St Paul’s. I sometimes wonder (in the dull passages) if this is also his bedside manner.

One Sunday, the Vicar, who happens also to be a Canon, told us that the Bishop of the Diocese was to be the guest of the parish the coming week, and would conduct a special service with sermon, followed by the Holy Communion, on next Wednesday. The usual request for a worthy attendance was made and we all congratulated ourselves after the service, that the bishop’s visit came in our best weather, We began making plans for his entertainment.

The Bishop arrived as scheduled, a simple, friendly, weary man – carrying faithfully the tremendous responsibilities of his widespread and exacting diocese. He lunched, teaed [sic] and dined with us and entertained as many as he could in turn, each evening retiring to confer with the church officials until late at night, as I learned from my friend the porter at the hotel where the Bishop stayed. But each day’s schedule passed happily, without untoward incident, and we remarked that the Bishop began to look less tired.

Wednesday came, particularly beautiful for the special service and by ten-thirty a respectable number gathered at St Michael’s, although I saw the Colonel’s wife, with the tail of her eye, checking off those who were absent, and at the same time making a mental note of the new spring fashions which also caught her attention.

The little procession of three clergy entered – the visiting Arch-deacon, the Vicar and the Bishop, in the full sleeved gown, which I always find so incongruously but so charmingly feminine. The Vicar carried the Processional Cross with the simple care of a devout child. I loved him for it.

The service proceeded in a quiet, orderly manner, as is the wont at St Michael’s; the choir of a half-dozen volunteers sang as well as their voices could meet their good intentions – the birds sang outside – the stars in the blue sky were more gold than ever – the carnations on the altar like a living detail from an Italian masterpiece; the peace of the atmosphere was like a spoken benediction.

The Bishop, conducted by the little Vicar, mounted the pulpit stairs (to the pulpit), announced his text and began to preach, haltingly, like a very weary man, finding first the thought and then the word, it seemed to me. The sermon was purely theological, interesting to students of theology perhaps, but frankly disappointing to me on such an occasion. The spell in the little church broke for me, although I could almost recapture it by watching the Vicar’s contented expression or trailing my thoughts outside with the clouds against the dazzling blue, whose shadows drifted across the clear windows.

Across my thoughts, across the Bishop’s pronouncements, across the respectful attention of the congregation, cut a sharp short cracking little explosion, followed by a patter, like fragments of splintered glass. The Bishop seemed not to hear it, but the little Vicar glanced over his shoulder, blushed pinker than usual, and pressed his hand to his lips, as if to smother an involuntary exclamation, the whole expression of distress and confusion suggesting the little boy he was. I shifted my position ever so little until I could see clearly what the Vicar had seen with such distress; the simple, small glass cruet that holds the Holy Sacrament at St Michael’s, lay in pieces over the chancel floor nearest the altar, the wine lying a quiet red pool on the stones of the pavement. The faint sweet smell of grapes began to fill the little church. No gust of wind had been heard or felt, no tremor of the earth shaken the ground, no human agent responsible, yet the guilty pattern of red and white betrayed the unseen presence of some strange disturber of the peace.

The little Vicar regained his composure, but I could almost see his mind working out a rapid solution to the problem, which he now shared with half the congregation about me. The Bishop concluded his sermon, the last hymn was sung, the benediction pronounced. The organ began playing softly to allow those who were not staying for the communion, to leave, reluctantly I fancied, on the part of some who longed to witness the outcome of the catastrophe.

A half-dozen only of us were left; like a round little bird, the Vicar swooped upon the broken glass, deftly gathered the pieces in his hand or pushed them against the wall, disappeared into a tiny vestry for a second, reappeared, crossed quickly to the communion table, then to his seat, where he knelt in prayer, uncommonly earnest, I felt sure. On the communion table stood a cruet or, at least, part of a cruet, but at least a requisite container for the Sacrament of which we should soon partake. As the service proceeded reverently, I wondered if the strange little incident, now so completely and expertly disregarded, had occurred.

There was a tea for the Bishop that after-noon, at the Rectory. The rooms were filled with guests as well as with bowls of the beautiful sweet-peas from the Rectory garden. It was easy to distinguish the guests who had been at church in the morning, from those who had not been, for among the former there was but one topic of conversation, the breaking of the cruet and theories as to the cause. Some held that there must have been an imperceptible earth-quake, if there can be such a phenomenon, while a small masculine contingent supported the Colonel, who believed with his butler, that contained wine often exploded, though he would have supposed such a small quantity would hardly have acted so, etc. etc

I wanted a word with the little Vicar more than anything else, and as the guests began to leave, I found the opportunity I waited for. I twinkled at him, he twinkled at me.

‘In the old days,’ I said, ‘it would have been considered an omen for good or for evil.’

‘The Bishop,’ said the Vicar, ‘was referring to the need of Peace at that moment.’ We looked at each other for a moment, then I ventured, ‘I admired the way you met the situation.’

‘Ah well, one has to do one’s best, if possible,’ answered the little Vicar.

The Colonel’s wife told me confidentially to-day (I found I was the sixth she had told) that an anonymous friend was to present a chalice and paten to St Michael’s, ‘as should have been done years ago,’ added my informant.

I smiled an assent and reflected while I walked to the beach that blessings do come in strange disguises, as I heard again the sharp patter of the broken glass and smelt the sweet native wine. I recalled, too, my words to the little Vicar about omens.

5. Mary Lee Ware

January 7, 1858 – January 9, 19376

When Mary Lee Ware was a very young woman, a beloved teacher, friend and guide, gave to each of her pupils as they left her to assume responsibilities in the world, a motto which she considered suitable to the character and circumstances of each girl’s life. To Mary Ware she gave the precept: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ The words became the cornerstone of her life structure. She did not bestow material benefits alone, though such benefits were varied and far reaching. She gave of herself to all sorts and conditions of men, to all phases and conditions of life, as she watched their growth, development and change.

To youth especially did she give herself. Boys and girls knew the hospitality of her homes, grew up, married and brought their children in turn to be welcomed at the stately city house where, to the joy of many a small person, they were given the respect due to a grown up guest; or at the beloved farm, sure of her eager generous enthusiasm in their varied interests and her warm sharing in their joys or sorrows. She set before them in plain terms with honest criticism the standards of living as she felt them, higher than many of us could reach, but held always like a summoning banner before them. If she knew of a struggle, if she recognized a conquest, how quick and affectionate was the word of encouragement, sympathy, or praise. She spoke from experiences of her own which often had demanded sacrifice, fearlessness and obedience to duty. Her loyalty and generosity to friends was conspicuous and those friends are everywhere in city, town and village on both sides of the Atlantic.

Miss Ware’s distinguished figure, her fine shaped head with its beautifully dressed handsome hair always carried high, moved among the children at a birthday party, or graced a foreign dinner table with equal ease, simplicity, and dignity. She was modest and reserved in appraising herself and her benefactions. Her conversation like her letters was vigorous, straight forward, spontaneous, with sensitive imagination and humor. She had the humor of her forebears, of whom she told one revealing anecdote after another, half conscious, half unconscious of her own likeness to them. Her interest in the arts was wide spread. She loved music, painting and poetry, but always of the best. Her scorn for the modern movements in these fields was a shattering challenge to their followers. She read poetry aloud as few can, with an underlying reverence for thought and word audible in her voice which heightened the effect upon her listeners, and they counted these moments as especially precious, since they revealed an ‘Aunt Lee’ not always realized in their thought of her. She responded alike to European travel and to the turning of the seasons around Monadnock.

Taken abroad as a young girl, her imagination and love of beauty were kindled into a flame that burned steadily forever after. Italy in particular claimed her fullest affection and sympathy. The daughter of New England of a long line of honored citizens stepped from one environment into the other as gracefully as if she had been born in Rome, or Florence. She spoke the language fluently, she understood the people, she reveled in the picturesqueness of the country and gloried in its art. To walk with her in a picture gallery, or in an out of the way village church, studying its faded frescoes, was to walk with a priestess of beauty. She could sit by the hour watching the kaleidoscopic life along the banks of the Arno, or share wholeheartedly in a tiny fiesta on a local holiday, or absorb every line of an Umbrian landscape. As she drove along the Florentine hills she would wave a salute to a group of children, or stop to praise the gay flowers and fruits of an itinerant vendor, whose smiling, appreciative grazia signora, brought as much pleasure to her as any compliment.

Her love of nature manifested itself everywhere. Her New Hampshire trees, birds and flowers she could call by name. She would watch all moods of storm and sunshine cross her vision with equal pleasure, draw refreshment of body and soul from the tranquillity of her piazza view from the farm, or from the magnificent view of the Charles River from her town house. Color was enchanting to her, whether in a friend’s dress, a Fra Angelico altarpiece, or a summer sunset. As a botanist she would examine an exquisite specimen in Sicily, Switzerland, or the Yosemite, with the same absorption and enthusiasm which she manifested in her own plants that filled her rooms summer and winter with bloom; or inspecting the last specimen in the great collection of glass flower models, which is the loving memorial to the name of Ware, given by her and her mother to honor her father.

When not in Italy her happiest days were spent on the farm, which she knew from early childhood. Here her parents had passed similarly happy days and hither had come also their many friends, the memory of whose personality and friendship enriched all the associations with the place for Mary Ware and her own circle. She presided over the multiple activities of life on the farm itself with unquenchable zeal and affection. Not to have seen her walking from garden to dairy, from dairy to pasture land, from the favorite wood path to the hay field, devotedly followed by her setters, or collies, or driving the handsome bay horses she always kept, presiding over a local village meeting, or inspecting cattle at a country fair, proud indeed when her own beautiful Jersey herd was awarded a prize, was to have been acquainted with but half her life. Every interest of farming and the farmer appealed very seriously to her. During the Great War and the post-war years she was eager in behalf of New Hampshire agricultural problems, going miles at all hours of the day or night to meet with a dozen or fifty men and women, as the case might be, to give encouragement and suggestions. She called by name her farmer friends and neighbors for miles around and was intimately acquainted with the woods and hills that made her horizon.

The books on the library shelves of the township of Rindge were largely of her choosing and many of her giving. The Grange Hall bears her name; each minister in the village was sure of her unwavering support of his work. She saw a generation of helpers at the farm grow up around her, devoting themselves to the place endeared to them by her own love for it and her interest in them. She never forgot one in bringing home remembrances from her European trips, each gift chosen with the individual in mind. The two ‘Welcome Home’ fetes planned to honor her return by every worker on the farm were happy experiences for her. She knew the personal problems of all who passed each day through the wide gate and she especially delighted in each day [sic] added to the farm family.

Under the magnificent elm trees, towering above the old house, she gave hearty welcome to one and all of kith and kin, who knew the farm as home and playground. We recall her voice as it would greet us from her bedroom window, where we often heard it early in the morning, giving orders across the lawn in no uncertain terms. We recall her figure standing in the beautiful shadows of the trees over the grass, waving au revoir, as we reluctantly turned towards the city. Each year, as winter slowly gave way to spring, she eagerly counted the weeks and days to her arrival at the farm in May. And when October brought its brilliant beauty at the summer’s end, she faced leaving the splendour and the peace, the companionship of open fires, the intimate memories, with marked reluctance.

She met all that life brought of change, of adjustment, of difficulties and joys, with philosophy, high resolve and sensitive consciousness of the great mysteries underlying and transcending them. She deplored what she considered the lowering of standards in a great Democracy she wished to believe in and she eagerly sought opinions and vigorously maintained her own with friends of all ages, both sides of the water. To the very last, the life of her family and friends, solicitude for all who served her, the enjoyment of her loved flowers, the appreciation of the day’s simple round of incidents, the sunset light emblazoning her room, the pigeons sunning themselves outside her window, were the center of her thought and the heart of her life.

At the services in the historic King’s Chapel in Boston where she had worshipped since a child, a hymn was sung that she had long requested, ‘Awake my soul, stretch every nerve, and press with vigor on.’ The lines are an accurate description of the spirit in which she served her long stewardship of life.

6. The Personal Equation in Spoken English7

There are twelve girls in a room at Faunce Hall the first week of classes in September – a couple of seniors, one junior, six sophomores, and three freshmen. They are there because they have chosen to be: any course in Spoken English for the entering student is an elective. Their reasons for choosing to be there are varied. The senior hopes to teach and knows her voice and speech need assistance. The mother of one of the juniors, probably an alumna, has told her daughter she should take such a course. Another of the class reports her father, as a businessman, knows the value of good speech in any business field, and he has also complained that he never could make out what his daughter and her college friends are talking about at the table when they come to the house for the holidays. A sophomore is present who, in the speech tests given the year before to all freshmen not entered in a Spoken English course (a custom of long standing), was told by a member of the Department staff that her nasality gave her a social and professional handicap; it was suggested she try to overcome it. Another girl is very fond of dramatic work and has acted in a few plays in high school. She read in the Catalogue that second- and third-year courses gave her a chance to follow her interest, although from a purely educational point of view, not for professional preparation.

All parts of the country are represented as the girls speak and, as always, all degrees of preparatory education, all types of background. Only two students have had previous speech training, a very elementary class in high school. The class know they meet three times a week for fifty minutes; that there are some 250 to 325 girls also studying in the Department they have not realized. Each class has from eight to fourteen students. A textbook is required and the girls have understood that speech is taught by the phonetic method: the sound of a word, not its appearance. They have heard rumors that a recording is made of their voices and speech three times a year, that there is a two-hour written examination at midyears (how can one write about speech for two hours?) besides an oral class test. They have gathered from older girls that one learns to read poetry, prose, dramatic scenes, to give oral talks, and study public speaking as such; that there is a growing library of fine records by which one also studies these subjects through hearing well-known authors, readers, and actors. Yes, even a microphone and an amplifier for classroom broadcasting. The faculty, four men and four women, seem friendly. The girl with a marked lisp is told that there is special instruction for conquering or decreasing speech defects. As to learning better speech itself, probably it arrives magically, easily, effortlessly! Life in ‘Spoke’ promises variety, fun, and not too much work (the x of the equation).

The instructor looks at the twelve, hears them with eyes and ears of experience. She guesses their attitude toward their mother tongue is like the story of a colored man who found his daughter sitting on the lap of a stranger. ‘Mary,’ said father, ‘What’s this gentleman’s name?’ ‘Ask him yourself, Pa. I never seen him before.’ In other words, what seems like an intimate relationship between these girls and their mother tongue – what they have unconsciously assumed it to be – suddenly reveals not even, shall we say, a speaking acquaintance. As the instructor watches the class the first few weeks, she makes her mental notes: postures that are poor must be straightened to provide the first and fundamental requirement for a good voice – erect co-ordinated carriage; mouths that open unwillingly and lips that barely separate must be made flexible; tongues that are lazy must take setting-up exercises; definite colloquial speech or accent must be modified; standards of phonetic excellence universally accepted, constantly emphasized; and, most important of all, the choice of pronunciation, of standard, of oral discrimination will gradually become the girl’s own decision, her own taste. The instructor knows the hours of slow, painstaking, careful, patient work ahead of them all; she also knows that work accomplished out of the classroom by the conscientious eager student is fully as developing as that undertaken under supervision. The appreciation of the sounds themselves which make up the wingèd word she hopes to present by keeping the drill more of a gay game or competition than a technical task alone, incorporating each result in a progressive whole. She knows that for herself, at least, the hours will pass quickly because fascinating glimpses will come of developing speech awareness, of maturing bodily and mental poise, of a slowly broadening vocabulary, a quickening response to the best literature in prose and verse that make up the unofficial textbook.

The y of the equation is the future of these girls. Some will continue advanced work in the Department, now so planned that sequence of interest may follow through the four college years – in work of interpretation alone, in drama, in stage movement, pantomime, characterization, and even directing of plays (this last subject introduced this year at the request of the older students). A few will finish by taking the teachers’ course, and ten years from now will read a similar paper before other alumnae groups. They will be able to tell their audience even more clearly, more persuasively, about the work, because their own student days are still fresh in their minds; the remembrance of the first time they realized good speech was not affected speech, or ‘anxious’ speech as an Englishman once described her speech to a proud Bostonian. They will remember the class meeting where they put to successful test the accumulated assignments of classroom speaking, which keep their knees from shaking, their voices from trembling, their words from being inaudible.

These future teachers will find certain problems probably still the same in 1950, others greatly lessened through pressure of public opinion and education. A primary problem will be the lack of adequate preparation and care when the children are young, when the tongue, lips, and throat are naturally free, instinctively adaptable, before ignorance, carelessness, or a mental attitude develop speech faults and inhibitions. The phonetic method may perhaps have been more widely introduced in these early formative years when all senses, all organs, are such quick imitators of good or bad. Doctors and dentists will know more about the relationship between health and dental difficulties and the strong normal voice and unimpeded speech. Parents and teachers may help the shy or difficult child find in oral self-expression the guiding voice to confidence and normality,8 a creative objective to work towards; while thousands of average boys and girls who make up the college enrolment will from their homes and schools be taught that speech and voice are as personal a habit, as revealing a characteristic of themselves and their bringing up as habits of health, personal appearance, and good manners. These coming teachers, these outgoing students from the Department of Spoken English, becoming involved in the pressure of the outside world, will always remember, one hopes, that the voice is the most remarkable instrument created, for it is alive and can only be played upon by each individual possessing it. It keeps them alive by voicing the needs of life; it represents, with a command of words, their thoughts, their emotions; it can soothe a child to sleep or break up nations in terror.

X, the student, plus y, the care given to develop this instrument, should equal a rebirth of oral cultivation and a pride in language that will offset the decline and neglect of many practices and arts about us. Much of the proving of the solution lies with you in your co-operation, your enthusiasm, your comprehension of its place in life.

‘In the beginning was the Word.’

7. ‘Criticism and Its Function for the Teacher of Interpretation9

I would take as the argument for this paper two quotations from I. A. Richards.

‘The only and only [sic] goal of all critical endeavors, of all interpretation, appreciation, exhortation, praise or abuse, is improvement in communication.’

‘The arts are the express form of communicative activity.’

How do these statements influence one as a teacher of Interpretation? To communicate, according to the dictionary definition of ‘to make another or others partakers of’, ‘to interchange with’. This definition sets a high and basic standard because, first, one must know what one is to communicate and secondly, how to communicate it, or to express it another way, the critic should know through familiarity, analysis and clarification the material used, before he can ‘communicate’ his findings to his students, that they in turn may ‘communicate’ with others. A large order certainly and at what especial point shall the critic make his relationship with it? At what I feel to be the primary element in the education of the teacher, his own development.

‘In answering the question “what has the poet tried to express” … the critic cannot, without becoming – if only for a moment of supreme power – at one with the creator. That is to say, taste must reproduce the work [of] art within itself in order to understand and judge it, and at that moment aesthetic judgment becomes nothing more nor less than creative art itself.’

Creative Criticism – J. E. Spingaru [sc. Spingarn], p. 42.

‘The critic should be sure he has arrived at himself and should not fear the sound of his own voice above the others.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter I, p. 3.

With what does he ‘communicate’ daily in his choice of interests and pleasures, with whom does he associate ‘interchange with’ among his friends, in or out of the realm of art and human companionship? In the highest sense of the word, the life of the very fine man or woman, practising Christian ideals, is a ‘communication’ in itself, although too often in the world, there is no ‘exchange’, only a great embracing outpouring of character.

The critic then has first to develop himself as an individual, a personality, to analyse himself, his weakness, his strength, his limitations, his gifts, because the level of his criticism is as high or as low as its own source – whether he be called average, gifted or a genius.

‘In Aristotle the true nature of a thing can be expressed by means of that which it is capable of doing or suffering. Its effect is treated as synonomous [sic] with its essential quality.’

Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Art, Chapter IV, p. 210.

Even those men and women most highly endowed cannot afford to neglect their own self-discipline, though in the unfathomable workings of the Divine endowment, too often the balance is uneven between the creative mind and the character of man. The so-called laws of compensation seem strangely antagonistic to man’s higher self-seeking. But this problem is not one most teachers of interpretation will fall heir to, for I assume the ‘average’ teacher and his problem to be the subject of this paper.

At once this teacher should realize that his profession – that of a critic – is peculiarly fascinating and stimulating, because it deals wholly in helping one human being communicate the thoughts and emotions of another human being – the interpreter translating the creation – and since the critic and reader together share in this re-creation, one great bond of ‘communication’ is at once established and all three become an artist, a creator.

‘Every poet re-expresses the universe in his own way, and every poem is a new and independent expression.’

Creative Criticism – J. E. Spingaru, p. 29.

‘The matter of literature is life; the primary distinction between higher and lower forms of art depended on the different types of moral character represented by them.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter V, p. 305.

But always, always, the critic must find his way in the life and the lives, about him, before he enters the life of the imagination – for both the men and women out of books and in books are his daily companions, and in the world of literature he will have acquaintances through the centuries, in every country. To perfect this acquaintance before introducing them to his students, requires an unending patient study of life and living creatures, carried on with sympathy, breadth, and as much wisdom as he may possess or develop. And his students he must know equally well, as the painter knows the colors from his palette, for without knowing them, the critic cannot ‘communicate’ in the language both should understand – the language of

‘a wide and varied experience in the world of actuality.’

‘the final criterion of worth: truth to Life, to reality, not fidelity to the shadow.’

‘A crucial point for criticism, the question of the relations between life and art.’

The Art of Dramatic Criticism – S. S. Smith, Chapter XXII, p. 381.

To me, then, a great essential factor for the critic is the living of his every day life – making that an artistic creation – ‘communicating’ his own skills, his own self-disciplined character, and his humble recognition that the Divine speaks through him and his art.

Next to his ‘interchange’ with his pupils, the critic should apply the knowledge he has gained through his education, and by education of course I mean not alone school and college, following specified lines of study, but taking advantage of any cultural opportunities which offer themselves in the other arts, and of travel, if that is possible. By care in choice of tastes, interests and associates, as has been said already, intuition and sensitive appreciation are developed.

‘All this learning need not be dragged into his critiques. The reader (sic) should feel it is implied in the critic’s judgments. Only so can the critic give the sense of depth.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter XXII, p. 380.

‘It has been made clear what preliminary information should be acquired … by the intending critic. Once he has made this knowledge a part of himself, he should let it sink into his subconsciousness and call it up when he needs it.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter XXII, p. 387.

Furthermore, a deliberate pursuit after information, education, enjoyment, what you will, carries with it the by-products so necessary to the critic and his students – the tools of the art: discipline of mind and body, application, thoroughness, judgment, choice of values, sharpened observation. Working out the thought, finding the mood, analysing them, searching for the truth, linking images and references to make a complete picture, placing the work and its author in the significant sequence of history. Often these drills of technique shall we say, are the last phase the would-be artist considers, rather than the first. The critic must see that they are early in the pupil’s hands.

Speaking of Eleanora Guses’ [sc. Duse’s] acting, George Bernard Shaw wrote – ‘there are years of work, bodily and mental behind every instance of it, not mere practice and habit, which is quite another thing.’

The preceding pages attempt to present the important steps the critic takes to get ready for his art. Definitions of criticism as such as [sc. are] legion, but in the following pages I shall try to indicate a few of its functions, in the discussion of the way the teacher of interpretation is to criticise.

I think he must face at once a fact which imposes its own burden, or joy, of responsibility – i.e.

‘the Arts spring from and perpetuate hours in the lives of exceptional people, when their control and command of experience is at its highest … They record the most judgments we possess as to the values of experience.’

Principles of Literary Criticism – I. A. Richards, Chapter IV, p. 32.

In teaching the art of interpretation, the critic must realise he should, at his best, become an exceptional person, and if he cannot obtain that ambition for himself, his students at least must be made aware that they were handing on a priceless inheritance, through their own act of perpetuation.

How firstly will he present the world of literature to his students – open their eyes and ears to its beauty and magic? How will he help them find and weigh the worth of the poet, the writer, and the work representing them? How will he bridge for them the span between actuality and art? How teach them to look for the integrity of the creation, and help them keep their own interpretation as truly? How will the critic remain both subjective and objective in his teaching – keep at the necessary distance from the re-creation of the work, that the author and the interpreter are heard with no echoes of his own voice, consciously or unconsciously, present.

How will the critic help his students to find the place of literature in the world today? – to keep it

‘an element in the higher life of the community … not divorced from civic end.’

Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Art – Chapter IV, p. 213.

The critic too must bear in mind for himself and his students, a guiding principle in all interpretation.

‘What has the poet (the author) tried to do, and how has he fulfilled his intention? What is he striving to express, and how has he expressed it? What impression does his work make on one, and how can I best express this impression? … Only one caveat must be borne in mind when attempting to answer these questions: the poet’s intentions must be judged at the moment of the creative act, as mirrored in the work of art itself.’

Creative Criticism – J. E. Spingarn, pp. 21, 23.

‘If the ideas enunciated by poets are [not] those which we admire most, we must blame not the poets but ourselves; in the world where morals count we have failed to give them the proper material out of which to rear a noble edifice.’

Ibid., pp. 33, 34.

The profound truths in these quotations are but part of the functions of the teacher of interpretation. We must teach the art of criticism itself, in his work of individual criticisms of his students. We must teach them that

‘aesthetic judgment and artistic creation are instincts with the same vital life. This identity does not sum up the whole life of the complex and difficult art of criticism, but without it, criticism would really be impossible.’

Creative Criticism – J. E. Spingaru, p. 43.

In his direct dealings with his students, the teacher of interpretation must find a method fair to the individual, worth the calling to which he and his students are dedicated. He must be honest, courageous, impartial, recognizing that there is in education today a tendency to soften judgments, ease the censure, over-do the praise, disregard inaccuracies. As Bertram Russell has said, ‘accuracy is the morality of intellect; we need more of this morality, and less moralizing, in American criticism,’ or putting it another way, J. E. Spingarn reminds one that ‘each seeks not criticism but uncritical praise.’

But criticism need never be destructive – the teacher-critic I think should be very conscious of this valuable point as often discussed. Here again one may find opposing opinions[,] divergent attitudes. Goethe said long ago, ‘there is a destructive and a creative or constructive criticism – the first measures and tests literature, according to mechanical standards, the second answers the fundamental questions “what has the writer proposed to himself to do – and how far has he succeeded in carrying out his own plans?”’

Rephrase this to read, ‘what has the interpreter proposed to himself to do’, and the teacher holds in his hand a constructive tool, as well as remembering

‘The emphasis should be more on the things said than on the manner of saying it.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter I, p. 1.

To avoid the danger of artificiality, showmanship. I will close with two quotations, both changed slightly from the original context to suit the needs of the interpreter (as ideally taught by the critic) and the critic himself.

‘It is enough for the reader (sic) to determine that he will read what he thinks and feels of the works before him, first making sure he has grasped what is in it; to achieve this … requires more than a choice between random impressions and the application of standards. It requires nothing less than a conception of the complete critical process.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter I, p. 13.

‘In actual practice the … critic can bring nothing with him in the way of knowledge, half so valuable as keen senses and tough alert will to enable him to do what is before him, and interpret and analyse it aright. If he brings to bear a knowledge of life from outside – beyond the covers of books – he will come nearer to adding to the catholic and humane values which the arts can treasure up for us. At this point, criticism becomes an end in itself.’

The Craft of the Critic – S. S. Smith, Chapter XXII, p. 388.



Aristotle’s Theory of Poetry and Fine Art

Principles of Literary Criticism, I. A. Richards

The Craft of the Critic, S. S. Smith

Creative Criticism, J. E. Spingarn

Supplementary reading:

The Study of Literature, Louise Dudley

The Language of All the World, George Woodberry

8. For Senexet10

November 5th 1941
Unitarian Retreat at Putnam, Conn.

Even as a young girl, the beauty of the hymns written by Mr Theodore Williams, made an impression upon me which was as deep then, as is the impression of the words to-day. Mr Williams was a close friend of my father’s, Edward Hale. As Mr Williams’ spirit speaks to us to-day through his hymns, so the spirit of his wife Velma Williams speaks to us at Senexet.

I first came to a retreat in the spring of 1936. On a most lovely, early spring day I motored down from Boston. The great pines gave the first welcome – one can never forget the impressiveness of that grove. Mrs Williams, I am sure, must have drawn strength and comfort from their mingling dignity and gentleness. Entering the house, she stood quietly, half shadowed in the hall, to greet us, to make each guest known to the other. At once the eye saw the touches of her devoted care in the unforgettable arrangement of flowers, leaves and wild things, the furnishing, the placing of a picture.

As I stepped into the refectory – for such seems the appropriate name – it seemed almost a return to the mediaeval world – even to the excellent fare upon the table – since common sense bade the body be refreshed as well as the spirit. She, like a wise abbess presiding, placed the flock that strangers might become friends, congenial spirit meet congenial spirit. Merriment was the wholesome leaven often at these hours, for she loved quick wit and happy exchange of experiences.

The bedrooms – simple but tasteful – bespoke hours of cooling restfulness – in meditation by day, or sleep by night – soothed by the murmur of the great trees. Before and after the hours of meditation, indoors or on the porch, came the chance for Mrs Williams to share with the household her own wide experiences of life – her travels, her reading, – spoken with individuality of phrase, philosophy or perception. The telling of the establishing of Senexet, which to her seemed quite like a fairy-tale – and as such she told it – is always associated with her figure in the high backed Italian like chair – an unusual dress and ornament decorating her, as she did the scene. The height of the Retreat came, as we all know, when one turned beyond the doorway at the end of this room, and found the chapel. I think I remember tears coming at once to my eyes. Whether at a communion service, or daily homily, we worshipped a Spirit breathlessly close to us, and felt the presence of loved ones, whose spirit also was by us. To kneel before the little light on the altar was like coming to the Inn at Bethlehem.

Through these offices of the day, Mrs Williams moved serenely, reverently, unostentatiously. The well being of Senexet and its guests was her only thought – and through the infusion of her own faith and worship, the guests were caught up, like prophets of old, to worship an unseen god. The constant ascent of the finite to the Infinite, the retreat from the little world of men to the great spaces of the Divine – expressed in the natural beauty about one, as well as within – touching us here constantly – is the great heritage left to us to carry on, by its founder.

9. Christmas Verses

A Christmas Prayer

Grant us the vision clearly to see Thee, little Child,
The star, the angels, the lowly stall.
Keep our hearts, we pray, humble and purified
Forever in Thy blessed presence, Saviour of all.

1949—————————————Emily Hale11

Christmas Greetings
Emily Hale

Does a star still shine over sin, smoke and flames?
Do frightened angels still herald His birth?
Yes, my friend, believe that still over the earth
A Baby’s first cry our faith proclaims.

A Christmas Prayer

We ask that the Star may shine each night
To help us daily manifest Thy light.
And another gift would we ask of Thee,
The vision pure, the Child in our heart to see.

Emily Hale

Christmas Greetings
Emily Hale

I pray God to give to you and all whom you love, at this most tender, most holy season of the Christian year, the precious gifts of the Spirit in full abundance. Surrounded by the anxieties and dangers of a too restless, too avaricious world, may you possess the calming strength of faith, a reassuring gaiety springing from a contented, thankful heart, and eager courage to meet the needs of God and of mankind.

All this I ask for you in the Name of the Holy Child of Bethlehem.


Christmas Greetings
Emily Hale

Not the rich gifts in the Gospel told
Which the Wise Men offered, myrrh, frankincense, gold,
Shall we give, kneeling, The Child, to-day.
But rather give us, seeking too, Thy blessing, dear Child, we pray.

10. King’s Chapel,

The Last Honors for John Carroll Perkins12

December 26, 1950

‘Praise him now for snowy rest
Falling soft on Nature’s breast.’13

So, in the words of the old hymn, did Nature manifest herself that Tuesday afternoon. The sky was grey, the air was grey and white, the streets were grey, the old Chapel greyest of all seen through the falling snow, as friends from all walks of life, and parishioners, began gathering promptly at two o’clock to listen to the half hour of ‘Memorial Music’. They came from the gentle gloom outside into the beautiful, warm glowing interior of the sacred edifice, beautified beyond its own architectural form, by many flowers of all colors, expressions of love from friends near and far. Like the flowered borders of a garden, the multi-colored sprays along the bases of the pillars and in the window ledges carried the eye from color to color – ; soft shades of spring flowers, brilliant masses of red roses, gleaming white of chrysanthemums or lilies, austerer wreaths of green unadorned by any color. The Christmas greens, simple and effective, in garlands and trees about the chancel, and in wreaths on the panels of the galleries, accentuated the many colors like prisms, throughout the church; a large green star on the front of the pulpit was the significant symbol of the Season of the year – whose celebration had so often [been] sanctified and treasured by the minister in whose memory all gathered.

The Holy Communion table in the chancel was covered by gold colored brocade which shone under the light of the stately lighted silver candlesticks; in the silver vases were Easter lilies and stevia whose delicate tracery were shadowed against the tablets behind the table – on which The Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments stand inscribed for future generations. Two large sprays of white flowers containing lilies also, lay either side of the entrance to the chancel on the chancel railing, flanking the casket when it later lay at the head of the aisle. From two to two-thirty the growing number of friends heard the organ in one beautiful selection after another – a hymn – the tender carol, ‘Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming’, the triumphant setting by Parry to Blake’s great dedicatory words to England, ‘And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England’s mountains green?’, another hymn, ‘Now the Day is Over’, and just before two-thirty, cutting through the hush inside, and the confusion in the street outside, the haunting tones of the great Paul Revere bell, as it tolled a last salute to its departing minister.

By now, the church was filled, the trustees of the church, the wardens, the vestry, ushers, and honorary pall bearers, gathered together to meet before the casket. A moment more, and to the solemn chords of ‘O God, Our Help in Ages Past’, the quiet, sad, reverent Dr Palfrey Perkins’ voice steadily announcing ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life’. High on the shoulders of six men was the casket, no longer an emblem of funereal woe, but a bier of beauty; – a deep rich purple velvet pall fell almost to the shoulders of the bearers: upon it – a glowing radiance – lay a great wreath of small yellow roses – a golden band – each blossom distinctive and erect, surrounding an inner wreath of graceful golden tipped Oregon cedar – sent from John Carroll Perkins’ western home – and once again, within this plume-like green and gold wreath – an inner smaller crown of the yellow roses. Extending loosely along the velvet – tapering from the wreath the length of the casket – were glossy green sprays of a well-beloved shrub – the choisya ternata – green, gold, purple – a pall worthy of the body it sheltered. Immediately behind the casket, walked erect and strong in composure, Mrs Perkins, accompanied by her niece.

As the gentlemen of the church took their places in the pews assigned them, the casket was gently laid the length of the aisle, before the chancel, upon two long carriers, in front of one of which towards the aisle, completely masking the carrier, was placed a wreath of magnolia leaves and calla lilies. A service followed of memorable beauty and distinction. Selections from the Scriptures, prayers from the King’s Chapel Prayer-Book, all chosen by Mrs Perkins, and read both with strong feeling, yet control gave courage and comfort to the silent listeners. Henry Vaughan’s great poem, ‘My soul, there is a country, Far beyond the stars’, brought ‘Peace’ indeed within the walls of the Chapel. The congregational hymns were sung with full expression of gratitude and praise for mortal and immortal life. Preceding the benediction, the choir of eight men sang unaccompanied the movingly inspiring anthem, ‘God be in my head and in my heart’. The benediction, pronounced from the side of the casket, with an answering sung ‘Amen’ from the choir, completed a service, every moment of which lifted each and all high among the things ‘not seen and eternal’. A moment’s hush before the music of Handel’s ‘Largo’ accompanied the procession down the aisle. The representatives of the church, the honorary pall bearers, formed lines on either side in the vestibule as the casket was again tenderly carried out of the church, into the lightly falling snow which shared its purity with the other colors of the pall.

The words spoken at the beginning of the service, from the reading desk – ‘Let there be peace in this place’ – were the words each friend present carried in the heart, into the New Year.

Emily Hale

‘We therefore commit his body to the flames in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.’

Directly following the service at King’s Chapel, the immediate family and closest friends, with two or three representatives of the King’s Chapel wardens and vestry, proceeded in the first snowfall of the year, to the Bigelow Chapel at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.

Dr Palfrey Perkins again conducted a service – short and dedicated to the thought of final commitment – and the organist of King’s Chapel softly played two well-loved hymns. A few flowers on the altar of the dignified little chapel, the pall and its gold wreaths, with a wreath of green against the casket, gave the only color in the twilight of the dark afternoon.

After a brief tender service, all left the building before the final rites of purification.

11. ‘… All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.’14

When Shakespeare wrote these familiar words, actors had acted on a stage for centuries before his time, as, I hope, actors will for centuries to come. Why? Because fundamentally each individual who can do so loves to escape from his or her personal world into the happy land of ‘make-believe’; loves to be someone else, to enjoy the illusion of becoming another personality than the one familiar to himself; enjoys ‘dressing up’ and ‘pretending’ as do boys and girls in childhood. The ageless lure of the theatre – however amateurish or simple – beckons irresistibly to men and women, young and old, the world over.

This urge to ‘playact’ becomes, in the terms of modern psychology, a need for ‘self-expression’, a desirable form of ‘escapism’, a ‘release’. Such an outlet of self expression is recognized increasingly as a ‘must’ by educators, psychiatrists and all leaders of youth. Hence the presence in schools and colleges everywhere today, of dramatics.

All Abbot alumnae probably know the three major productions a year which represent the chief drama expression at Abbot: i.e: the Senior Play, the A.D.S. play, and ‘Draper Dramatics’ at Commencement – in addition to less ambitious presentations by individual house or corridor groups throughout the year.

As you all think back to the plays in which you appeared during your school days, I wonder how you evaluate today the experience as related to your activities, your interests, today? Perhaps you continue your love of acting as an active member of a local club, perhaps you direct a group of amateurs, or share in a play reading group, or appreciate more fully good drama and help others by your influence, to the same appreciation; or, not continuing to act, you perhaps conduct a meeting with a greater poise, or read a report so that all in the room are able to hear you, or guard the speech of your children against the too prevalent carelessness and discord of American diction.

If you have a daughter, granddaughter, or niece at Abbot today, or soon expect to see them in the school, are you conscious of the unchanging need for dramatics, in spite of the changing pressures and activities in the crowded routine of the year? What, you may ask, will any young relative receive from taking part in one of the campus productions, which make it worth her while to carry the extra responsibility beyond the academic requirements?

Ideally, she will learn self-control in movement, posture and the assured poise necessary to meet the demands of the completed production; she will acquire better voice and speech, the power of concentration in memorizing and retaining lines and cues, flexibility and quickness to meet calmly any unexpected circumstance which may arise under the excitement of the final evening, and the appreciation of the subtle, fast disappearing relationship between a visible audience and herself. Furthermore, she will acquire a happy sense of accomplishment and self-development, perhaps beyond her own anticipation or knowledge; she can prove to herself that she spends her hours wisely, budgeting her precious time between classes and the demands of rehearsals; she will find opportunity to co-operate as a member of the whole cast, not as a star player, to understand that ‘the play’s the thing’ first and last, to appreciate that any art to be well done, requires hours of hard, conscientious, application; to accept criticism naturally and to accept the discipline of the art which may mean choosing between diversions which cannot all be followed, if rehearsals are called for the same date.

If the Abbot student cannot act, she may find ‘release’ in backstage work, scene shifts, or properties, one of the most responsible and least ‘glamorous’ of assignments; or help on the costuming, make-up, stage decoration, or even crouch behind the curtain to hold the prompt book.

To teach that organization is a fundamental necessity to a performance is one of the still discouraging factors for the director to deal with. Life is lived so casually, so thoughtlessly, that many young girls – and boys – do not understand the necessity for preparedness in advance for a ‘dead line.’ The assembling of costumes, the tidying up after the performance, are by-products of the play to which some funny housekeeper may look back with gratitude as she picks up the rooms after the young Abbot girl has left for school or holiday!

Each and all concerned in preparing for a play worthy of public presentation must learn to be courteous, patient, forbearing with one another, persistent and cheerful in the face of all discouragements and difficulties, adaptable to the pressure of the crowded hours surrounding or interrupting the concentration of the dramatic and personal developments involved. After six to seven weeks rehearsing, after hours of fatigue and responsibility what a happy reward to hear the shy student, who has forgotten himself [sic], say, as she steps from the stage after her first appearance, ‘What fun! Can’t we do the play again?’

In this 20th century of stress, tense emotional backgrounds, in this age of mechanized amusement – ‘passive entertainment’ so called, the active, personal arts of recorded history, are among the few surviving inherited human accomplishments, inherited through the centuries from one group of artists to another, devoted beyond all obstacles to their particular creative muse. May education as it progresses along its difficult, if challenging road, keep burning brightly by that road-side, the altar fires to creative expression through dramatics.

12. Summer Sunshine

A Memory of Miss Minna Hall15

Three of us were sitting on the sheltered porch of the southwest corner of the house – the house where the Little Lady (as we always thought of her) was born nearly ninety-two years ago. About the house lay lawns on which trees and shrubs gave shade and color in the cycle of the seasons. A pond almost hidden from sight by the thicket of growth circling it added to the impression that we were enjoying the amenities of a country estate, miles from a city, rather than a spot of sanctuary in the midst of a suburban residential district. The birds who regarded the Little Lady’s house and grounds as also belonging to them shared with us the June afternoon sun and breeze.

Planes at regular intervals interrupted any conversation between us.

‘The bird bath needs filling,’ said the Little Lady, a benefactress for years to every bird that flew in to see her, and she stopped, like the brightest little bird of all, to summon assistance. Soon the bath under the great pine was filled to the brim.

‘There’s a Song Sparrow now. They are a little afraid to go into the water until they see how deep it is.’

Three pairs of eyes focussed upon the cautious bather as he nervously approached what seemed to him a bottomless pool.

‘I hope that black cat isn’t around anywhere,’ said the Little Lady. ‘Thomas tries to drive him away, but he’s always coming back. Myra tries to shoo him off too when she sees him from the kitchen window.’

The smell of pine needles in the hot sunshine was suddenly delicious to our senses. Tiny drops scattered by the active little bather in front of us splashed lightly back upon the clear water as he preened.

‘Do you hear another Song Sparrow there by the pond?’ asked our hostess. ‘There, the bath is finished at last.’ The pool resumed an unbroken surface, and the bather dried himself decorously in the sun.

‘My Great-uncle George was once lost between this house and Grandfather Dexter’s. The houses were only a mile apart across what were meadows then, where the town playground now lies. My father heard a man calling for help, and when he investigated found Great-uncle George completely lost down the lane.’

The Little Lady’s bright eyes twinkled as she recalled the discomfiture of her great-uncle George under such humiliation.

‘I think,’ said the younger guest, ‘that a baby bird is having trouble in the trumpet vine under your window.’

‘What kind of a bird do you think it is?’ asked the Little Lady.

‘Well, there are Blue Jays making a great fuss near the lilac bush by the gate.

‘Two days ago,’ said the Little Lady, ‘a young thrush was learning to fly. I could easily see it from my bedroom window. They are so helpless at first.’

A plane roared again across the sky – flying, as we say, like a bird.

‘I wish more birds would come to the bird bath,’ said the younger guest.

‘Do you remember, Edith, how we watched the birds crowd each other in and out of your Washington garden bird bath?’ the Little Lady asked with interest, wishing wistfully she might again see the birds and flowers of the Pacific coast.

The sun caught the round circle of brilliants pinned to the ruching of her black silk dress. There was silence momentarily in the lilac bushes, in the trumpet vine, and in the sky.

Then a robin flew near to the bath, caught sight of the three figures on the porch, but did not recognize the Little Lady and so flew off again.

‘We must be going too,’ said the younger guest.

‘I wish you wouldn’t,’ said the Little Lady, ‘but I’ll walk to the corner with you.’ And in her black straw hat, shading bright eyes and pink cheeks, and her simple black silk dress, the brisk little figure went with us as far as the street.

‘Come again,’ she said. Her own gay call as we turned away was echoed, we thought, by the birds.

A few weeks more and the Little Lady had gone with the birds on her last long flight.

13. ‘The Gioconda Smile’16

A review of the play The Gioconda Smile by Aldous Huxley (first produced in 1948)

So unusual is the last production, ‘The Gioconda Smile,’ by the Concord Players, in choice of play, direction, and acting, that this reviewer can write very little that is not highly complimentary to all three contributing factors which made even the opening night performance strikingly successful.

The story of the play will not be repeated; suffice it to say that Aldous Huxley has written a psychological murder mystery interleaved with very obvious Huxley philosophizing and ideologies of Life, Death, Good and Evil. Whatever criticism might be levelled against the play lies rather in certain improbabilities and inconsistencies of character and character development; that such weaknesses did not obtrude more noticeably upon the evening is further tribute to the high standard of directing and acting which kept the audience absorbed in the play throughout a long evening’s entertainment.

Only in the first act did the tempo drag and this fault may easily have improved after the first night. When the standard of production is so high, even technical effects become more conspicuous and one wished for closer co-operation between switch-board and stage lights and a more convincing thunderstorm, since it became so important an element of the scene.

The ingenious third act set was both practically economic and effective theatrically, as side by side the two harrassed [sic] personalities fought through the hours to the final climax.

As to the acting, each and all contributed to the professional quality of this most ambitious ‘first’ among New England amateur groups. Even the two maids, usually glorified walk-ons, gave contributing conviction to their scenes, especially Clara, who read her lines with unusual naturalness. The Warder, too, in his brief scene with Hutton gave a three dimensional quality, so to speak, to his brief appearance.

Mrs Chase showed her skill in casting as well as in her directing, for by the time the audience relaxed at the solution, nearly as limp as Janet, it was hard to imagine the characters as other than those on the stage. Mrs Wood, inclined to overplay the opening scenes – partly the fault of Mr Huxley – developed a clear, consistent portrait of the middle-class, talkative, roughish woman, excellent, devoted nurse; familiar in type, but acted intelligently and forcefully.

The General was as much a stock sample taken from the shelves of a playwright’s store-house as any of the characters. Mr Smith did all he could that his wheelchair and his stock number allowed him.

The part of Doris required real skill to play and Mrs Hoar demonstrated ably such skill. Introduced to the public under most unfavorable conditions, appearing shallow and childish, she and Doris together grew to an understanding, unselfish, mature, devoted woman. Whether Doris, as she appeared first, could have speculated upon the mysteries of Life and God, is for Mr Huxley to clarify; Mrs Hoar, however, acted the scene in the prison cell with noticeable ease and persuasion.

Mr Putnam was the Doctor, so effortless, so strongly effective was his restrained, easy playing of the finest, most intelligent person in the story. The long, slightly obscure philosophizings between the doctor and Hutton could so easily have dragged, had not Mr Parks and Mr Putnam carried them so surely in interpretation and technical art of line reading. Mr Putnam’s presence on the stage was always a dependable source of pleasure. Mr Parks in the long exacting role of Hutton was wholly in control of his character, except in the opening scenes, when, like Mrs Wood, he was forcing his action and lines, though here again Huxley may be responsible for a difficult opening. Apparently the more difficult Mr Parks’ assignment, the better he likes it, for as the story developed, involving him in more and more difficult situations, he met each demand, each mood, each emotional involvement, more and more completely, understandingly giving back to the audience, as a good actor should, the impression that audience and player alike were sharing the shattering experience. Mr Parks’ voice and facial play reflected each inner thought or emotion. All the cast, in fact, spoke with welcome carrying power and good diction.

It is fitting that Mrs Peterson should be last in this list of ‘Oscars,’ for we know from reliable sources that ‘the last shall be first,’ and without her, in this most complex, demanding lead, the play would have been without a strong influence and inspiration. From the cool, hypocritical, deceiving friend and neighbor with a charm and social poise perhaps a little too restrained at the outset, she developed little by little into the frustrated, tortured, broken, pathetic wreck of an unhappy abnormality whom Huxley creates for the sake of or because of his abnormal tale. Few professional actresses on the American stage today could give the harrowing emotional, subtle, compelling performance which Mrs Peterson and Mrs Chase have left unforgettably on the memory.

It is always a pleasure to observe the courteous reminder of workers back stage as well as those out front and it is through such contribution of appreciation that an organization like the Concord Players builds in a community, dramatically and co-operatively.

14. Actors at Alnwick17

For a week last summer I was a student in the British Drama League Summer School, for actors and directors, or as the English say, ‘on the course’, at Alnwick Castle, Alnwick, Northumberland. (Omit the L and the W in the pronunciation of the name and you will be as locally correct as you please.)

Each summer the League, a national organisation interested in and promoting the best in the dramatic arts among professionals and amateurs, leases, for a long or shorter period, a large house and property to care for this summer school of fifty men and women; in finding as unusual and attractive properties as possible, the League furnishes a holiday as well as instruction to its members, at a very modest fee.

Alnwick Castle has been, and still is, the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, and is so vast that the present Duke may rent part of the castle winter and summer, while living in his own apartments, which in themselves form quarters as cosy as half of Draper Hall. The wings of the castle in which we were resident for a week were rather formidable, chilly, very extensive and a veritable labyrinth of residence and class rooms. Bewildered, as well as thrilled, were we all in learning our way around and becoming accustomed to castle as well as school routine. There was the long distance to cover between my tiny bed-room in one of the turrets, to the dining room, over 60 steps down. To reach my room at any time I climbed even higher than to my class room at the top of Draper.

There were innumerable corridors, left and right turns, to memorize before reaching a destination for classes, and to find a classmate in off hours was like playing hare and hounds without a trail to guide one; the one comfort was, in playing this impromptu game, that one always met others surprised and lost as oneself. There was the time allowance to learn to reach the Great Hall – a small riding arena in size, where general lectures and all classes in stage movement and pantomime were held. From the three walls, (the fourth was curtained, and held the small platform which served as our stage) looked down upon us, the heads of all the wild geese shot, I am sure, by countless Dukes of succeeding generations. Only the heat from your body as you exercised, kept you warm, and at the lectures even the English students brought extra wraps. And we were fortunate, too, in the weather; clear skies and sunshine each day but one. A tiny coal grate in my room piled high with fuel was not necessary but always cheerful.

The evening of our arrival we were sharply reminded of Ye Olden Dayes as all electric light went out during a storm and unfamiliar with everything stretching above and around us, we crept up and down the long stairs or through corridors, lighting our faltering way by candles or the very few electric torches.

Classes were an hour or an hour and a half in length; rehearsals for the four one act plays presented at the end of the week, were held each evening. The assignments were often very novel, difficult, but stimulating, because of the excellent teaching by the staff of four instructors, two women, two men, and because of the marked ability of the students themselves; their quick grasp of characterization and criticism, and their lovely voices and diction delighted me daily. I was the only American among the group and could not have received a friendlier more courteous welcome and consideration from staff and students alike. I chose production, acting and choral speaking for my special study and had the extreme pleasure of taking part in one of the plays. On the tiny makeshift stage we huddled like sheep waiting our cues: there would have been no room for Mr Robb, and off stage noises were almost a literal interpretation of the name. But the excellence of the plays, memorized faultlessly in the brief week and the skilful cheerful cooperation of every one assisting, was a lesson in itself.

We were given opportunity each day to do errands or sightseeing in the quaint rambling old town or to take trips fa[r]ther afield; I was given special permission to go to Edinburgh to be present at the ‘world premiere’ of T. S. Eliot’s new play ‘The Confidential Clerk’. The school attended another performance. Martin Browne, the director of all Mr Eliot’s plays, came to Alnwick our final day to lecture on and discuss the play and Mr Eliot.

The great park, the river walks opposite the castle, the entrance over the old moat, the portcullis arch, the views from the narrow windows as I climbed to my turret cubicle, sunlight or moonlight enhancing the beauty of the Northumberland scene flooding the towers, turfed courts and massive walls in an intense white light or blacking out a spreading archway, all were settings beyond compare for the leading ‘dramatis persona’ [sic] of the Drama League School, ageless, compelling, many voices, irresistible, Alnwick Castle itself.

1.Courtesy of Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Cambridge, Mass. The Berkeley Street School – a private school for girls – ran from 1862 to 1912.

2.Justin Edwards Gale was the second principal of the Berkeley Street School, 1870–80. Margaret Rae Ingols took charge of the school from 1880 to 1904.

3.Published in Milwaukee-Downer College Bulletin, 2: 2 (Nov. 1928), 5–11.

4.First published in Campden & District Historical & Archæological Society: Notes & Queries 5: 4 (Spring 2007), 47–8. Discussed in TSE’s letter to EH of 10 July 1936.

5.Referred to in TSE’s letters to EH of 13 June and 16 Aug. 1935.

6.Commented on in TSE’s letter to EH of 6 Apr. 1937.

7.Published in Smith Alumnae Quarterly, May 1940. Discussed in TSE’s letter to EH of 31 [March] 1940.

8.The word used here, in the draft that EH sent to TSE, was ‘normalcy’: see his comment.

9.Written as part of the programme of work for the summer school in Madison, Wisconsin, that EH attended in July/Aug. 1941. The paper is not discussed in any of TSE’s letters to EH, but for comments on the course see letter of 21 July and note to letter of 8 Aug. 1941.

10.See TSE to EH, 14 May and 18 May 1936.

11.Receipt acknowledged by TSE on 31 Dec. 1949.

12.TSE complimented EH on her ‘admirable’ address, which he had just received, in his letter of 15 Feb. 1951.

13.‘Praise to God, your praises bring’ (William Channing Gannett, Unitarian, 1872).

14.Published in Abbot Academy Bulletin 18: 3 (May 1951), 3–4. EH also discussed her work at Abbot Academy in her surviving letter of 29 Feb. 1948.

15.Published in The Bulletin of the Massachusetts Audubon Society (Dec. 1951), 379–80.

Minna B. Hall (1859–1951), a social luminary, was born and lived her entire life on Ivy Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 1896, with her cousin Harriet Lawrence Hemenway, née Lawrence (1858–1960), she revolted against the wholesale slaughter of plumed birds, including terns and snowy egrets, for the sake of supplying the fashion for sumptuously feathered hats. (It has been estimated that some million American birds were slaughtered annually, with the consequence that there were fewer than 5,000 egrets left nesting in the USA.) Hall and Lawrence recruited about 900 women with a view to conserving native wild birds by discouraging the buying and flaunting of feathers, and they founded the influential Massachusetts Audubon Society. See further ‘The Mothers of Conservation’, Sanctuary: The Journal of the Massachusetts Audubon Society: Centennial Issue, Jan./Feb. 1996.

16.Published in The Concord Journal XXVI (Thurs. 18 Dec. 1952), 1, 8. TSE praises the review in his letter to EH of 7 Feb. 1953.

17.TSE acknowledged receipt of this article in his letter of 14 Nov. 1954, and returned it to EH.