I have graciously been given permission to write this letter to you, even though it is strictly forbidden for first-year students to have any kind of communication with the outside-world. We do not even have a Television set or a Radio in our dormitory.
First of all, from the bottom of my heart; let me thank you for allowing me to come here. I’m not exaggerating when I say I did not want to come here at first, and that I really felt uncomfortable here for the first few weeks or so, but now I have adjusted quite well to my new way of life.
We arrived to the train-station in plenty of time, and got nice seats, probably because Mrs. Jones having such a formidable personality. She is not one to take “no” for an answer, I can tell you.
The trip here was quite uneventful, apart from some snide remarks from some of our fellow-passengers about boys and dresses; remarks which were quite easy for me to ignore. There were even a few girls who seemed to be quite envious of us for having such nice dresses! Some of them actually wanted to know where we got them, so I’m guessing the dress-shop in town will have a slightly new clientele soon.
Anyway; this is what a typical day looks like:
We are awakened by Matron at 5.15 every morning, as we have to be out of our nightgowns and out of the showers by 6.15, by which time the dressing-procedure begins.
I get into my underwear, pantyhose, shoes and undershirt, and put on the corset. We stand in ring, and tighten it for each other, Matron or her assistant making the final adjustments. Then I put on my school clothes, which consists of a white, frilly, long-sleeved linen blouse, a couple of tulle petticoats and an ankle-long, black velvet skirt, over which I wear a white, bibbed apron. I don’t wear a hobble-skirt any more, as it was only a temporary solution; here my stride is kept short by a loop over each knee, connected by a short leather strap. It is just long enough for me to walk up and down stairs with relative ease, but I’m getting better and more graceful at it, as time goes on.
After we’ve gotten dressed, we go to the big hall to have breakfast, usually consisting of a piece of toast, butter, marmalade and tea or coffee, after which the days’ classes begin. The mornings we usually spend sewing, knitting, embroidering or working on my handwriting which, as you might have noticed, has improved considerably.
At noon we go back to the hall to have lunch. As it is the main meal of the day, it usually consists of meat of some kind, fish or poultry, salad, potatoes, pasta and/or rice, in fairly large amounts. (You have to remember I wear a corset all day, every day. The compression of my body it creates has resulted in me losing a fair bit of weight, as I am no longer able to eat as much as I used to.)
After lunch, I go back to the dormitory, to have an hours’ rest; then it is time for the afternoons’ activities, which usually consists of us taking turns reading out loud from various books (usually love stories) either inside or, if the weather is nice, outside in the garden, while the others continues with what they were doing that morning. Sometimes, we even play a game of croquet.
After the afternoon-tea break, I usually go riding in the surrounding woods or in the paddock for about one hour.
At seven o’clock I have supper, and then I usually go to the great hall, for an evenings’ entertainment, with song, dance or some kind of minor theatre-performance.
Such is the schedule for every day, except Sundays, which I spend contemplating in my room. I am told it will be added to as time goes by, with more domestic chores, something I am actually looking forward to. I can’t believe I made such a fuss when you asked me o help out, when I lived at home.
As I read what I’ve written, I realize it must seem like rather a dull and boring life to you, but I can assure you; it is not the case. I have made many more new and probably verier friends, both real girls and soon-to-be-ones, than I ever would have, had I stayed at home and gone to a regular school.
Hoping to hear from you soon
Your faithful son (soon to be daughter)
I was very glad when I got your letter the other day. I am sorry I haven’t had the time to write to you until now, but my new social commitments have simply taken up too much of my time (an excuse which looks very bad when I write it down on paper, but nevertheless is true) and are probably a lot more boring and dull than your activities seems to be. And I did notice the vast improvements your handwriting has undergone, already when reading what you wrote on the envelope. Your old teachers would go green with envy, if I showed them this. Well done, to both you and especially to whomever has had the patience to teach you!
Your schedule seems to me to be filled with normal summer activities, for a girl your age, and I do hope you will pay close attention as they continue teaching you other, more useful, skills.
I am sorry this is such a short letter, but I have to go to a party in a few minutes. I hope to hear from you soon.
I am sorry for the shortness of this letter, but I am writing it very close to my curfew.
I have now begun my domestic studies, and am actually doing quite well; so I’ve been told. I can now prepare a light meal, almost reaching my teachers’ high standards, and I am getting closer to that mark with every try. I also do the laundry and ironing close to perfection. So you see Mother; I do pay close attention to what they tell me.
I also would like to inform you, I will be home in a few weeks time, over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Your loving son (soon to be daughter)