Abby’s entries for May and June 1867 continue:
Winslow Homer's "Croquet Scene" (1866) - from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
Tues, May 28 Went down to Mrs. Marland’s to play parlor croquet. Miss Lizzie Punchard, Amasa Clarke and his dog were there. Had a pleasant time. Found W.F. at home. He is going with Father to Richmond on Friday.
Wed. 29 Went to a speaking exercise at Phillips. Had a nice time. Saw Miss Palmer. Mr. G escorted me home. I like him so much. Mr. Merriam and Babbitt got the prizes. I thought Spaulding or Williams should have had it and they are from middle class. G. is just as splendid as he can be.
Thurs. 30 Saw Mr. Gilmore three or four time to day. Every time I come or go through town I see him. Hattie came up after tea.
Fri. May 31 Rainy and unpleasant in the morning. Cleared off in the afternoon. Mr. Tyler and Mr. Gilmore called and made quite a long one for they staid till ½ past ten. Willie Marland was in and Louise was down stairs when they came with W. and of course stayed.
Sat. June 1: Went over to L. in the morning to get a hat. Went up to Mrs. Paine’s and she persuaded us to stay all day. Willie Marland asked us to go to boat ride. We told them we would like to go but mother got angry with us about H’s dress at the supper table and wouldn’t let us go. Mr. Gilmore called for me while I was gone. Willie Donald came up in the evening.
Sun. 2: Went to church at No. Andover in the morning. Rolled two curls up and in this morn. (Mon) When I took them down they were perfectly straight. How I laughed.
Mon. June 3 Took a music lesson and took Monestery Bells. It is old but one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever heard. Louise, Edie and I took a short ride before tea and E. was up in the evening.
Rules for the modern game of croquet were standardized and published in both England and the United States during the 1860s, and until the game was eclipsed in the next decade by the growing popularity of tennis, croquet was the most popular social pastime among highly fashionable people on both sides of the Atlantic. One of the game’s greatest attractions was that it could be played by men and women together, but this aspect also led to some criticism from social conservatives on the grounds that it was too strenuous for women, or that it led to immoral behavior. The Andover Advertiser ran a mildly disapproving description of the game on January 18, 1867: “[The game is] sort of mixture of billiards and cricket. Add, with a flavoring of tenpins and attendant circumstances of a military skirmish, and you have it. When my John wants to go making love, I am determined he shall do it without the intervention of croquet.” Some people (perhaps Mrs. Marland among them) believed that the game’s indoor variations – Parlor Croquet, Table Croquet and Carpet Croquet – were more appropriate for women to play than the outdoor version. But perhaps, Parlor Croquet was merely a way to entertain guests on a rainy day. Abby’s hostess this day was either Mrs. William Marland who lived at the corner of Central and Chestnut Streets (in the house now called “Rose Cottage”) and had been during the Civil War one of the leaders of the Soldiers’ Aid Society or Mrs. John Marland, who was the mother of Abby’s friends Willie and Stewart. Lizzie Punchard was the adopted daughter of Martha Marland Punchard (and thus the niece of both Mrs. Marlands), and Amasa Clark — the son of another Marland sister – their nephew.
The Andover Advertiser reported that 13 Phillips Academy students took part in the competition for the Draper Prizes, that Abby attended on May 29. “The judges were Rev. Charles Smith, Prof. E.C. Smyth and William G. Goldsmith. The 20 dollar first prize was awarded to Alexander R. Merriam of Goshen, NY who recited a piece from Schiller entitled “The Battle” and the second prize of 10 dollars to George F. Babbitt of Barre, who recited a piece from Corneile, entitled “The Results of War.”
And Abby’s piano assignment was probably the romantic “Nocurne Opus 54 – Les Cloches du Monastere” by French organist Louis Lefebure-Wely (1817-1869. You can hear a nice rendition at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqhMjupyBoo .