Society at Amherst, Folder 3: Page 1

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SOCIETY IN AMHERST FIFTY YEARS AGO
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S.H.D.
Turning 1 over the pages recently 2of the History of Northampton the Meadow City, I was freshly
impressed by the chapter on their past social life written by Mrs Annette Hopkins Emerson of Am-
herst; who by her temperament, talent, ancestry and social gift was especially fitted
to draw the fascinating picture. The social life of Amherst two generations & more ago
was no less unique in grace and simplicity, although differing always from from her
other, at that time, rival across the river, quite markedly in certain social habits
held contraband by piety and conscience in Amherst; usages more native natural to the larger
town with its more courtly cosmopolitan traditions, and to the a "shire" town, touching the world
through more cosmopolitan courtly channels than our own. The harmless bores of cards and
dancing, common there, were not even so much as mentioned in Amherst as suitable, --
nay possible, occupation for immortal beings, until quite a recent day.. [sic]
Northampton, -- how jealous we were of her, as our men trooped to her banks while
for years we had none, and our ladies pressed to the her dressmakers and milliners,
or hung over the counter at Stoddard and Lathrop's in hope of some more distinc-
tive elegance than Sweetser and Cutler could afford from their repertoire of
sober merinos and a good quality of black silk! But we felt sure that the college
was more than bank or court house and gradually forgave Northampton her smartness
and praised her beauty. O scimiter of Fate! She has now more colleges than she can
manage, -- but they are only women, -- and we are still amiable. Bless Northamton [sic]! If
there has been was jealousy between us in past ages, we all boast ? of her when we got far enough away
from home! Fifty years ago or more I could have shown you, dear moderns, in the
small circle of Amherst, (for there was but one in those days), -- as beautiful girls, or
"young ladies", as they were then called; as ever graced any drawing room. There were
as accomplished, well poised matrons, as chivalric young men, -- nay men both old and
young