ETHEL A. MORSE 1904 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY HANDWRITTEN BY A WELLESLEY COLLEGE STUDENT TORMENTED BY HER LOVE FOR HER FRIEND ANNA AND TROUBLED BY GRACE, HER RIVAL FOR ANNA'S AFFECTIONS
WELLESLEY MASSACHUSETTS MASS MA 1904 Very Good
On offer is a sensational, original 1904 manuscript diary handwritten by Wellesley College student Ethel A. Morse. This personal diary will be of particular interest to researchers, historians and collectors of women and gender studies or Lesbian and Gay studies [LBGT]. Wellesley College also figures very prominently in the narrative too. [Ethel is an upper class girl as we learn from references to her family and her home in Brookline - the library, servants etc. We also find her brother was a Lieutenant who serves in the Philippines.] Ethel struggles in epic fashion within her heart and the confines of her diary as she writes and pours herself onto paper. She loves another girl - Anna and seems to be tortured by their relationship and her desires. So strong are her feelings she states she did not want to return to school but was under pressure to do so. Adding an additional layer to this is a rival girl for Anna's affections which drives Ethel to distraction and it is enthralling to be an insider to Ethel's reactions to her rival. A super diarist the diary is filled, save for a month's worth of days, with very full page-a-day the vast majority covered entirely in her neat, tight script. Beginning January 1, 1904 she "decided to keep diary this year and next at any rate, partly for college records and partly for my own satisfaction......" Here are more snippets: "Jan 7 - More moderate than yesterday. Returned to college and I must confess, much against my will. Poor mother rather sober and weepy at having me leave her. After hustling around to get mending done and suit case packed, we walked down to the south station together. Mother wanted to see Anna, dear child! and also to see me off. It wasn't any more satisfactory to us, though for it was lots harder for her and thus for me. Trunk had arrived when I got here. Had jolly ride up from station. Couldn't wait for carriages, so about 20 of us came up in one of the trunk ponys (?) Girls perched on suit cases. It was certainly sport. PM gave little Katharine a music lesson. She is getting along nicely for having taken so few lessons. Poor little Leonard is quite sick with the whooping cough. Spent evening getting room right, hanging my two new pictures, etc. Felt mean as mean for some reason or other - bilious attack I guess. Tucked myself into bed about ten under my new slumber robe that Grace gave me. Jan 23 - Grace went home in p.m. after waiting for 4 o'clock mail for letter from Brooklyn. Wonder why? Anna going to spend Sunday with me. Won't it be fun - seem so good to have her all to myself to talk to and love all I want to. Telephone to Howard. Said he couldn't come out tonight anyway, on account of lay rehearsal in West Roxbury. Was coming out tomorrow until I asked him not to. Expect to have to work every minute. He seemed really very disappointed - made me feel so cheeky - but what could I do? Feb 9 - A.m. got room ready for sweeping. Anna came over about 10 to see me - she's just back from home. Sweet child! How good it seems to have her back! She's certainly my little "crush." Feb 25 - Worked all afternoon on Philosophy and all evening also, except for an hour and a half at Anna's. Poor little lady! She is dead tired. Gets so blue about next year and funds. More looking over scholarships tonight. Stayed there and talked instead of going to Alliance Francaise meeting. I'm afraid I'm not very much interested in it. Anna's the same sweet child as ever. What a comfort it is to have such a friend. I guess she really does love me a great deal. It makes me happy to think it. Won't it be fun when we get to be old maids or old married ladies to talk over these times. I hope we shall love each other then as we do now. March 3 - Called to a meeting of the Cap and Gown committee today, never realized until now that being on this committee meant a free gown.....Evening spent mostly at Anna's. Sort of puzzled in my mind. Can't decide upon something - what happened between Grace and Anna when they were together a week ago Saturday. March 6 - Anna and I got to talking about that talk she and Grace had a week or so ago. I was positive something had passed between them and so I asked Anna. My idea was correct. Grace had mentioned my name. Seems Anna and Ruth and I had all made her feel out of things this year. Made a bold resolve to see that it doesn't happen again. That is all I could get out of Anna. Got sort of blue. March 14 - ....Sewed with Anna and Mrs. Pinkham. Came away in p.m. about 4 o'clock. Wanted to go in to see mother, but figured I should have only a very few minutes to see her and that I should probably find a letter from her here, so resisted the temptation. Sure enough did find two letters waiting for me, but what a cold reception from Grace! She evidently was overcome by pans of jealousy or something, for she hardly spoke, refused as near as possible to kiss me, etc. April 25 - Got to thinking yesterday, by the way, about next year. Lately I have felt less certain as to how things are going to be settled. Mother surprised naturally that I hadn't said anything to her about it, but I have felt all along as if Anna had just as soon stick by Ruth in case of emergency as by me. Yet I am so afraid of being foolish, too exacting with Anna. I doubt sometimes whether Anna cares for me - in fact, I know she doesn't fully reciprocate all I feel. I have felt that I was doing all the running, all the everything. It has troubled me but for that I cannot love her friendship. Mother thinks I ought to ask Anna about the matter and have it settled. I want to, but I don't. I fear she will not understand it as I say it. Oh if only I didn't care so much for her! She is a regular ..?.. to me. The minute I see her, everything seems to be harder to say. April 26 - ....There is a sorry ending to a day beginning with joy. Evening I felt so troubled about the attitude Anna had been taking toward me, that I couldn't stand it any longer. Started out with her for singing on the Chapel steps, but finally wandered off by the lake and had a serious talk with her. She said she had always wanted to be with me, wished we three could be together. Even that she would go with me in preference to Ruth, but somehow she didn't ring true somewhere. I felt as if she were saying it to comfort me. Goodness knows I needed it. I believe she cares for Ruth as much as, if not more than she cares for me. After all she has said, how can I explain it? She takes me in such a light mood, too when I am so serious. She doesn't understand me, nor I her. Asked me to go to an entertainment in town. April 27 - Such a pour all day long! Such an ocean of wars inside me as well as out of doors too! Why was I even made with any feelings, any love for anyone - much less with such a jealous streak in me. Yet I don't think it is entirely jealousy. Anna, I think, has gone to work and told Ruth all about what I said last night. I shall be disappointed in her if she has. I shall ask her. The attitude of the two girls has been as queer toward me today, as if they said "Poor girl! she is awfully silly, but to make her feel better we'll baby her." I felt it; it hurt.... May 10 - ....I came back quite happy, but the same old thing is bothering me. If only I didn't care so much about Anna. I can't make her out. I had supposed that she would say something about my note, but not a word. I feel that I was right in sending it, however, yet I would rather have given that up almost than lose her friendship. I think she will admire me more and I shall have more respect for myself if I take an independent stand. May 23 - ......Anna spent the night with me, for Grace was at home. I wanted to say something if I got a chance and did get it. I asked her to forgive me for writing that last horrid note to her. Seems she was very angry when she got it. That led to more talk about this year. I think this trouble about Grace has brought us three together. Anna is so mad at Grace. She vows she will give her a piece of her mind before the year is through. Vowed I should never do such foolish things as I have done before this year. May 25 - Picked up these two four-leafed clovers (still in the diary) and thought perhaps they would become symbols of the day of good luck, of course. If today has been lucky, let me never have another. It has been of the harder days this year. Last night and this morning, I made the vow that, in spite of everything, I was going to forget about Anna and Ruth and live my life with nobility and power. I have not succeeded and at least it has been a day of struggle. I had the matter on my mind from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. .... But I have not given way; I am going to be courageous. Perhaps tomorrow will be easier. That small soul has certainly wound herself all about my heart. When I was disappointed in Amy, somehow it didn't trouble me this way; with Mary, when I felt that she didn't love me as well, it was the same. But this haunts me day and night, when I am reading or studying, I must not get so fond of anyone again. It is not right. I lose my independence, my individuality, my mobility when I care so much. I could hardly care more, I mean think more, of - well never mind! Perhaps this just what I need to make me strong in my own strength. July 11 - ....Was surprised about one O'clock by Anna. such a good time we had! We just talked, talked, and talked some more! It all seemed quite like old times. She looks yet very tired, though. I fear that the hard work at home wears on other more than she realizes. She's a dear girl. I can't help loving her very dearly. We simply made her stay to dinner. I went home to Dudley Street with her on the electric. Two weeks from today we have planned a day at Nantucket together. We and our two dear mothers. August 18 - Anna here with us tonight. Arrived before I knew it....It seems too good to have the dear child here. There is something about her which I simply can't resist. When college closed, I felt a little hardened toward her - I couldn't help it - but somehow I seem to have lost all that. To me she seems quite like her old self. Only I have knocked out a little of my foolishness in regard to her. I admit I was very foolish at one time.- but we all must be foolish in one way or another. August 23 - Another beautiful day - only Anna had to go home. It seemed indeed lonely here tonight without her beside me in bed. I forgot to say anything about that heart to heart talk we had until 10 last night. We just opened right up for the first time since that little fuss this spring. We found we had both forgiven and almost forgotten, as near as we could. We just discussed everything and felt better for it. She was so mad when I wrote her that last note, but she never has said one word about it to her mother or any of the family. I thought once that she had, and that they were a little prejudiced against me for it. How cold anyone blame them! Yet I was not the only one in the wrong. Her queer silence about all her own affairs this spring - which hurt Ruth and me so much. She explained by saying our attitude....... Oct 28 - ....But ever with such a happy day, my mind is far from happy tonight. The same old suspense. The heart still pains the wound doesn't heal. If it weren't for Ruth, I would pick up everything I possess and go home. In such an atmosphere, I cannot live. Mother referred to Anna tonight. I say nothing and try to keep her from knowing how I feel at heart. If only I can keep up the role, and act as if all were right between us, but I fear I can't long. Dec. 2 - ...And this afternoon, Anna and I have been having a new experience. We were invited to A. K.X house to their afternoon by Marian Berry p to be rushed, so the girls say. Of course, we are too modest to believe them, though. haha! Imagine our being invited! Imagine the awful blow to them when they received our replies! Bust we won't worry about such .... in the air, when they are of such a very doubtful and terrible character." Overall VG.