Identifier

MSS.2.21

Publication Date

1-1-1918

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

491 Avenue Joffre
Shanghai, China
8 February, 1918

My dear Dada:

The Chinese New Year is next Monday,
the 11th, and of course the whole country is pre-
paring for the festival. For five days all the
shops and offices will be closed - And everyone
who has the least pretense of a family will
spend the holidays at home. There will be
much calling - The younger generation
will kow-tow to the elders, and in turn
will receive presents of money wrapped in
red paper. All the servants too will
receive presents mostly of money. I will
describe more fully after the festival is past,
as since I have been away from home,
I am forgetting a great many facts.

But one thing I know - all debts and
bills have to be paid before the New Year, -
and in some stores, as the shopkeepers have
bills to meet, they are reducing the
price of their merchandise in order to
attract the crowd.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and as Mother
does not allow us to buy things on Sunday, [page break]
I am going to take my little brother downtown
to buy fire-crackers and fire-works -
the two playthings dear to the heart of
every child in China rich or poor.

Mother has been shopping days and
days preparing for the festival. I believe
that it will be a far greater occasion
than Xmas.

Have I told you that we have a large
mahogany victrola, brand new one? We
sold our oak one, as it did not match
the reception room furniture.

Miss Kendall was in Shanghai for a
few days from Peking. She wrote me after
she arrived here, and I took her & Jack
for a drive, and then back to the house
for tea. It was a very warm
day: so we sat on the porch in large
wicker chairs at first. Later we
sat in front of a gleaming fireplace.

My face is well now, although
it still has scars. They will disappear
in time, I know.

I met a missionary the other day, - [page break]
a typical one, I swear! She asked me first of all
what I was doing for China. I replied that up
to the present, the climate here had done me
up. Later we happened to speak of moving
pictures. She said that she once went to a movie
and when she got up from there, she felt all
spiritually grimed in dirt, as some
men near her smoked. She then
added that no one could make her go
again. I innocently said that to my humble
mind, I thought movies are all right. She
then asked, "Would you like to be found
there if Jesus Christ were to come to
then world then?".

As I did not wish to scandalize her, as my
Mother is considered one of the most upright
and prominent Christians in Shanghai, I
kept my silence. I certainly did feel
like saying
"Sure, Mike! Provided that it was a
screamingly funny one!

It would amuse you, though, to see
the wry face I made after her back was
turned! But since coming home to China, I have [page break]
learned to keep opinions and pert remarks
to my humble self and to you in letters.
I suppose though everyone feels like a
boiler waiting or rather swelling to
burst at times.When things get too
thick, I go to the piano and practice
arpeggios: they are really quite effective
to relieve "over-timed" self-expressions!

By the way, Miss Kendall was delighted
to see so many magazines in this house. She said
that this is the first house that she has
visited in all China both of foreigners and
Chinese where the occupants seem to wish
"to keep up" with questions going on in the
world. She was particularly struck
with "The New Republic" and borrowed several
of them. She says that she expects to
settle permanently in Peking after she
resigns from Wellesley.

Higgins writes that Frances Kallam is
secretary to Charlie Chaplin, the movie
actor. Did you ever? No, I never.

Love,
Daughter

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