March 1872, Albany Normal School Letters

Edith Emogene (Emma) Austin when she was younger.

Saturday, March 2, 1872
My dear, dear Mother,
I get so lonesome as it seems to me I must write to you as I can not live without going home. Yet I like it here very much. But you know it is my disposition to be discontented.

I have had the teethache all day today and this afternoon, I went to the dentist and had one drained.

This morning Mr. Bigelow, a teacher from New York, and a graduate from here, came in for the girls to go up to the legislature. He gave Carrie and I an invitation to go, too. We accepted the invitation and went. I hoped to see Gov. Hoffman, but in this I was disappointed.

I had the pleasure of seeing Senator Madden and hearing him speak. But did not observe anything remarkably brilliant either in his looks or conversation. They spent most of the time in which we were there in disputing the time in which they should meet again and finally decided to adjourn until Tuesday next.

They were rather more dignified and orderly in the Senate than in the House of Representatives. But I did not receive very exalted impressions of either.

We went from the Senate to the State Library and took a look at the books. It is a large and nicely finished building and contains 82,000 volumes of standard literature. We have the privilege of going there to read whenever we please, but are not allowed to take any books from the building…

We are going up to the Observatory before long. Dr. Alden thinks it very desirable that we should visit it once during our stay in Albany, but has forbidden us to go more than once as he considers it a very possible place for flirtations and he decidedly objects to anything of the kind among the students of the State Normal.

Mr. Wright tells me that it is the only or at least the principle object of the school to make old maids, and that we sign a contract to remain single when we enter the school, but Dr. Alden says a lady is always entitled to the privilege of changing her mind. So it is not so bad after all.

Wednesday: Dr. Alden says we must rest after dinner before we commence studying. I do not usually do so but I feel just indolent enough this afternoon to follow his advice and he says rest is not after all to be rest, but exercise and an entire forgetfulness of our studies. So I am going to spend my rest in the pleasant exercise of writing.

Miss Stoweman gave me the map of Maine to draw on the board and explain to the class. Carrie said I was as pale as could be and my hand trembled so I could hardly draw. I was frightened to death when I commenced, but I got along, at least she said so.

Miss Rutland, my teacher in Arithmetic, said this morning that she was very glad to see that Miss Austin learned her lessons so well. Excuse me for repeating these compliments (they are the first I have had) as if I were proud of them. I am not. They are perfectly worthless to me, except as you may prize them.

Give my love to all enquiring friends. And to Father. I suppose he is home.
Write soon to your daughter, Edith

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