Monday, July 31, 2017

Lafayette's visit to the Adams Female Academy

Adams Female Academy in Derry, New Hampshire
Above is an old picture of Adams Female Academy, which is the school that Clara's cousin, Hetty, attends in A Buss from Lafayette. Hetty's description of what happened when Lafayette visited there in June, 1825, is based on Amos Parker's Recollections of General Lafayette on his Visit to the United States in 1824 and 1825. Keene, NH: Sentinel Printing, 1879.

I recently was sent this photo of Adams Female Academy by Julien Icher, a young French researcher who just finished documenting Lafayette's New England visits during his Farewell Tour. (To visit his app based on this research, visit:  http://www.thelafayettetrail.com/)



* * *

Dear Clara,
 

You will be utterly pea green with envy when you hear what just happened to me. (At least pea
green is one of the few colors that does not look totally horrid with your carroty hair.) I have just
had the most thrilling time of my life!
 

Yesterday, the famous Marquis de Lafayette visited our school. Our teacher, Miss Grant, told
us to wear our best white dresses that day, so I wore my new white silk with the puffy sleeves and
the gored skirt with that stiffened band around the bottom that makes it bell out beautifully. It is the very latest fashion from Boston. I also stood out from the other girls because my dear father had
given me a very special gift: a pair of white gloves he bought in Boston, with the image of the famous
Marquis printed right on them!
 

I shook my head in disgust. Only my vain cousin would dwell on her fashionable dress instead of the
historical figure she was about to meet.

We all wore blue ribbons as sashes and red roses in our hair, so we looked red, white, and blue:
so very patriotic. The Marquis told Miss Grant that they are the colors of France as well. (It is
lucky you were not there. Terrible color on you, red.) Mother had done my hair in a special way
with soft curls around my face. Even I must admit the red rose looked very nice against my black hair.


I murmured to myself, “What a spoiled brat she is. I would rather be a hoyden than a brat like Hetty.”

When the Marquis de Lafayette arrived, Miss Grant announced each of our names and he shook
hands with us. I believe he thought me the prettiest girl there, although of course he had not the time
to say so. Too bad you will not get to see him, as I do not believe he is visiting any village schools.
Oh, wait, I forgot! You are not even in school this summer because you must help on the farm. Poor
you!

                                                                     - A Buss from Lafayette © 2016 by Dorothea Jensen