We left Episode 4, The Coming of Girls 1840, with young Will, the boy who wanted to study instead of playing football, hugging and kissing one of the young ladies as she stepped down from the Lebanon Stagecoach onto the Hilltop.
His behavior would have been extremely shocking to Mrs. Kimball and Principal Richards as very little communication, public or private, was allowed between young ladies and gentlemen; he probably would have been expelled. Although the manner of expression was different in 1840, the 27 articles of The Regulations of the School are similar in intent to many of KUA’s rules today: good character and behavior, no illegal substances, required evening study hall, required class attendance, respect for one’s classmates and teachers, etc. The first rule, Article 1, states, “Satisfactory evidence of good moral character and such previous attainments in study as shall hereafter be specified, are required as the condition of membership….” Article 10 is more specific to what is expected. “The use of profane or indecent language, playing at cards, or dice, or any other game of chance, rude or indecent behavior, insult or abuse to others, making clamorous or improper noises, to the disturbance of other students or the inhabitants of the place, and all other conduct inconsistent with decorum, are strictly prohibited.” And Article 13 looks for dedicated and happy students. “Every student is expected cheerfully to pursue that course of study in the respective departments, prescribed by the teachers, and seasonably to furnish himself with all the necessary books.”
However, Article 20 is, surely and thankfully, an idea from KUA’s distant past. It states that “All calls, walks, rides, etc. between the members of the two departments, male and female, are strictly prohibited except by special permission from the Principal.” It’s hard to imagine a more awesome task for a young man than to ask Principal Richards or Miss Green if he could call on a young lady at her residence or take a walk with her.
Thus, the shock of Will’s classmates as he greeted the young lady in so familiar a fashion.
Episode 4: The Coming of Girls August 20, 1840, cont.
WILL: My dear sister, how glad I am to welcome you!
SARAH: My precious brother, how glad I am to be here!
SEVERAL OF THE BOYS: Hm!
Mrs. Kimball with Mr. Richards, Miss Green, and Dr. Frost form a little group near her garden gate. As these girls descend from the stage, they straighten themselves out to go up to be presented by Miss Green and Miss Baldwin to Mrs. Kimball, who receives them all with much graciousness, but also with a rather stiff repression of her real feelings. The boys are standing mostly together in a group by themselves on the other side of the grounds, eyeing Will enviously who had the entre to Paradise by virtue of his unfair relationship to one of the girls. The stage drives off.
With one of the girls comes her mother. In turn they go up to be presented to Mrs. Kimball.
MRS. HEATON: This is my daughter, Martha Heaton. I wished to come with her to see what the labor performed by the young ladies themselves in the Boarding House will consist of.
MRS. KIMBALL: The manual labor system has been decided upon,––and all else with regard for propriety, economy and the public taste.
RICHARDS: Miss Green, who is the principal instructress of the Female department will tell you all the details.
As the reception proceeds, Miss Green draws the mother and daughter a little to one side.
MISS GREEN: What is the girl’s name?
MRS. HEATON: Martha S. Heaton.
MISS GREEN: And she lives where?
MRS. HEATON: Post Mills, Vermont.
MISS GREEN: Yes, what can I tell you?
MRS. HEATON: How much work will the girls do in the care of the building?
MISS GREEN: The Boarding House will accommodate some 40 or 50 young ladies. If practicable the labor attending the care of the house will be performed by the young ladies themselves. By this arrangement it is expected that the whole expense, exclusive of wood and lights will not exceed $1.25 per week.
MRS. HEATON: I understand.
MISS GREEN: You made application 4 weeks in advance?
MRS. HEATON: Yes.
MISS GREEN: Then Martha can have a room in the Boarding House. (To Martha) You have brought with you a tablespoon and a teaspoon, towels for your own use, and bedding for your bed?
MARTHA: Yes, Miss Green.
MISS GREEN: And suitable shoes for storm weather?
MARTHA: Yes, Miss Green.
MISS GREEN: Then you are properly equipped for the work of the Academy.
RICHARDS:Now, young ladies––you may betake yourselves under the superintendence of Miss Green and Miss Baldwin to your rooms in the Boarding House, or in the various houses in the village to which you have been assigned. Young gentlemen, you may carry their baggage for them. (Cheers from the boys, heartily given; they jump forward to pick up the valises and bundles.)But after the young ladies have preceded you. I wish to announce a regulation. Students of the two departments, that means the young gentlemen and the young ladies––will not be allowed to meet and converse on the street or elsewhere, except in the presence of a teacher or with special permission for proper reasons from me or Miss Green. (Manifest disappointment among the boys.) The two departments will meet together at least once a day for morning or evening devotion. (He turns for a moment to consult with Mrs. Kimball who nods approval and then to Miss Green who bows assent.)
DICK: Will, I feel that I, too, have not been leading a sufficiently pious life.
NED: Nor I.
DICK: Will you help us?
WILL: I shall be glad to, in so far as I can. I hoped you would come around to feel as I do about duty to our studies.
RICHARDS:Now, young ladies, you may go. (Miss Green and Miss Baldwin precede the girls in quaint and stately procession out at the Meriden vista.
RICHARDS:Yes, Mrs. Kimball, I am more and more confident that the coming of the girls will be the beginning of a new success for the Academy. They will be all greatly indebted to you.
MRS. KIMBALL: Yes,–-yes. But,–-they are my children. (She looks at Dr. Frost, who bows understandingly.)
RICHARDS:The atmosphere of cheerfulness seems already to be spreading over our little community. Now, young gentlemen.
The boys rush forward with an enthusiastic cheer, pickup all the valises and baggage and run out with it in the same direction as the girls. Mrs. Kimball watches them a moment; then turns with a smile to Mr. Richards and Dr. Frost and goes back in the house.
The End, Episode 4
The dialogue in the pageant was taken from people’s memories as spoken or written and sometimes the actual words were used. The conversation between Miss Green and Mrs. Beaton was drawn from the 1840 annual catalogue under the heading, The Female Department. “… Provision has been made for a Boarding House, accommodating some forty or fifty young Ladies, where it is designed that they shall be under the more immediate care of their teachers. If practicable, the labor will be performed by the young ladies themselves, under the direction of a governess, skilled in domestic economy. By this arrangement it is expected that the whole expense, exclusive of wood and lights, will not exceed $1,25 per week.” Plus the cost of one’s own spoons as they were evidently not plentiful at KUA in 1840!