Identifier

MSS.2.2

Publication Date

8-7-1917

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

491 Avenue Joffre
Shanghai, China
7 August, 1917

My dear Emma:

Here I have been home almost three
weeks, and not a word have I written you! Terrible,
I confess! Yet I have written only one letter
since my return, and that to Miss Burks. The
weather is hot and enervating: consequently
one does not feel like exerting oneself in the
least. I have been to a great many
dinners and teas, & other affairs.

We live way uptown. The further up the
more exclusive, It is lovely here: but it is
so far from the shopping district and the
theatres and eating houses! We have
a lovely carriage and two coachmen etc.:
but horses are such bother. One can only
use them just so much. Next week we
are going to get an automobile for
running around town, and let Mother
keep the carriage for her private
use. We have a beautiful garden [page break]
lawn tennis, croquet ground. The house is one
of the loveliest in Shanghai. The servants quarters
are better than the rooms in Wood Cottage.
We have verandahs, sleeping porches and
what not. The house has three stories and
has 16 large rooms not counting the kitchen,
baths etc. My sister Mrs. Kung of [Shansi]
is visiting us now with her children.
Her husband is thinking of transfering his business
to Shanghai, & if that is the case, we should
move to a 30 room house (not counting
servants quarters). It is really an immense
mansion of five floors with roof garden.
To tell the truth, I don't care for it: it
is too huge, and the ceilings are so
high that I feel lost in it. It is like a
huge hotel and very formal although
elegant. It is "too much" for a girl
just graduated from Wood Barn to
live in! By the way, I am taking charge
of the house now. We have five maids
and seven men servants. Let me tell
you it is no joke! As it is now, I
am so tired now from running up
and down inspecting the house that [page break]
it would kill me to have to inspect
five floors every day. Mother still
has charge of the financial end for which
I am duly grateful!

It is very annoying sometimes, as I
forget myself and speak in English
to the servants. I forget that I am not
speaking in Chinese. At times I cannot
express myself in Chinese; then I
ring for the butler who acts as
interpreter! Of course ordinarily, I
can express my wishes: but at times,
when I am displeased, all power
of speaking in Chinese flies!

It seems very queer to have a family.
I am so used to doing what I please
without consulting anyone that it is rather
hard to remember that I am not at
college and cannot do and think what
I please. Of course, though, I am very
happy at home, as I run this
place as I please. Only I do hope
that we won't decide to move to that [page break]
huge place they are considering. Of course,
I should like to have sister live with
us, - at the same time 30 rooms will
be no joke! I am rather plebian in
my taste, - at least the family think
so! Since I have returned home, it seems
to me that I am always buying clothes.
You know, Dada, during the last 2 years
at college, I have outgrown liking for
clothes, so it rather grates on me to hear
my sisters say, "Oh we saw the most
adorable dress at so & so a place. You
must have one like it." They enjoy
dressing me up, as I am the youngest
& the only unmarried one.

H.K. has been here from Peking,
and so has Mr. Yang. I like them: but
that's all. Oh, Emma, I might as well
tell you that on board ship, I lost
my head over a man whose father is
Dutch and mother a French. He is an
architect and was going to Samatra.
He asked me to marry him, and the [page break]
family here is greatly [wroupht] up! I
have been having a rather uncom-
fortable time. Remember that this
is a secret: don't tell it to a single
soul, for heaven sakes!

Both my little brothers flunked
last year, & the family is furious. The
poor kids have two tutors (an English
& a Chinese) to come every day. And
believe me, they are working! I am
also teaching them English grammar.
One of the poor kids is learning to
punctuate, & the other is learning
spelling with me watching them now.
The fact that the two kids flunk
enhances the value of my Durant
scholarship in the eyes of the family.
They think I am a wonder, especi-
ally as the two kids flunked. I
think the ten-year-old one will [page break]
stay home next year, and have a
Chinese tutor. I'll teach him
the other subjects. I have complete
control over the 2 boys, as Mother is
so disgusted that she handed them
over to me bodily. They are hard to
manage, because they are deucedly
clever and lazy at the same time.
I have whipped the younger one
several times, & they both are afraid
of me. You don't know what a
good disciplinarian I can be!

Tonight, a Frenchman I met on
the boat is coming to see me. We
speak nothing but French. Write me
to 491 Avenue Joffre. And for love of
Pete do not tell anyone what I
have told you.

I have something for you kids,
& as soon as someone comes to U.S. [page break]
I'll send them over to you.

By the way, will you subscribe
the Literary Digest, the Scribners
and a magazine on child psychology &
how to take care of them etc. for me. The last mentioned is for
Mrs. Kung as she has two growing
kids of about 2 and 1 yr old. But send
it in my name, & tell me how
much the whole thing is & I'll
refund the money.

Oh, by the way, please send
me 1 dozen pair of shoe trees like
the ones you get for 3 for 25 cts at
once. Send the bill to me please.
I have quite a liberal allowance,
so I'll be able to pay you, Dada.

With love
Daughter

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