Identifier

MSS.2.62

Publication Date

9-9-1919

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

30 Seymour Road,
Shanghai,
9 September, 1919.

Dearest Dada,

If thoughts were letters during the past few weeks
your postman might have reasons to complain of his load to be
deposited at your door every morning, but as facts are facts,
I have neglected writing to you these past few weeks. I know you
are wondering what the cause or causes might be, eh? Well, a little
of everything, being busy, being the cheif[sic] one. I know you want
to hear what I have been doing, so here goes.

First of all Tsliang my younger brother sailed for
America, with of course the usual hustle bustle common to such occur-
ences. Then a lot of students returned from America, most of them
being our friends, my brother and I entertained and were entertained
incessantly. During that time, the returned students had a conference
lasting for three days on the order of those summer conferences we
had while in America. Among the returned students was Ling Sing. As
her home is in Tientsin and as she was anxious to get home, she spent
only a few days in Shanghai, and spent only one night with me. But
what a good time we had! I gave a dinner for her that night[. A]fter-
wards at about midnight all the guests went for a midnight ride. We
reached home about two in the morning and talked until three, then
had to get up at six the next morning for her to catch her train.
It did seem good to see her after all this time.

Well, after things subsided a bit, Mrs. Kung, my
oldest sister gave birth to a little girl. They have named her Jean-
ette May, the May after me, and Jeanette after one of my brothers.
As the baby was some two weeks overdue, we were very anxious for
a while, but now both Mother and baby are doing well. The baby is
a perfect beuty, [sic] with wonderful eyes and mouth. The two other child-
ren Pauline and David are staying here with me, and it certainly is
a job looking after them. They are hungry from morning till
night in spite of the amount of food they eat. As sister gave strict
orders not to give them rich food, I think that is the reason why
they feel the need and insistent craving for candies etc. all the
time. Lately I have been giving them one piece of candy each day
and that seems to allay some of their perpetual demand for food be-
tween meals. The children are still here and will be for the next
three weeks. I am very glad to have them as Joie has passed the St.
John's examination and is now in school, and can come home only
once a month. Just after Sister's baby came, I had to get Joie off
to school. As I had not prepared for him thinking that he would never
pass the exams, I had to hustle around the few days between the
notice that he had passed and the opening of school. Mother of
course was with sister and so could not do much. I just received a
letter from Joie. It is rather funny but pathetic as this is the
first time he has been away from home. He spoke of being lonesome
and "inpplesent", poor little chap.

Now things are a little more settled except that
some old friends of mine from America[,] seeing that I have not be-
come engaged as they all though I was, have taken on a most
irritating and aggravating turn of falling in love and bothering [page break]
me, and just at a time I thought I was all thru with all that sort
of tommyrot and can settle down to being good friends with every-
one. You do not know how this sort of things aggravates me, as I
do enjoy having friends and have people drop in the house for a
good time. But knowing that they come for a particular purpose sort
of spoils things. I have not decided how to deal with this matter,
for while nothing has been said, I know the symptoms fairly well,
and right now, I am sure of three of them ready to pop the question.
They are all nice fellows but with nothing special to recommend them
out of the ordinary, I mean in ability except one who really has
a wonderful mind, and will be somebody five years from now, but
as I am not in love with him, what is the use?

A rather funny incident might perhaps amuse you. One of
the Chinese students whose father is a multimillionaire asked per-
mission from his parents to become engaged to a girl whose family
lives in Honolulu but who was studying abroad. As this girl has no
family to speak of, socially speaking and absolutely without any
dowry, his father refused. Therefore this couple came to China, the
girl being older than the man. The Man's family refused to have the
girl, but luckily the girl had a sister who had married and was
living in Nanking. The man's family is as conservative as they are
rich and not being christians, they believe in all the old super-
stitions. For instance altho they are worth millions, they live in
a very crowded part of the city and have a huge house consisting of
over a hundred rooms all beautifully carved, but to enter which
one has to go thru a narrow and dark alley way, just because the
mother believes that that particular part of the city and that house
brings them good luck. And this woman also never goes out of the
house without first consulting her family fortune teller to ask
whether the date is propitious or not. The man's family finally
asked for the date of the girl's birthday, and asked to what
family of animals she belongs to. Now everyone in China is born
under an animal family, something like the western idea of belong-
ing to a certain constellation. The girl's brother-in-law therefore
found out from the prospective groom what was his birthday, the year,
the animal kingdom, etc. and then consulted a professional fortune
teller, asking him to work out a birthday for the girl which in
every respect would be favorable when put alongside of the man's
birthday. For a few dollars the fortune teller worked out a fic-
titius birthday for the girl, making her some years younger than
the man and changing the month and day. Then the brother-in-law
went to the man's family and told the family what the fictious
birthday was, and so when the mother-in-law consulted her own for-
tune teller, she found to her surprise that from every point this
match could not be better. She therefore relented, and so the couple
are to be married this Sunday, and as the groom has not finished his
studies they are to sail for America in October for him to continue
his studies. This wedding will be very large, over four thousand
people are invited. I think I shall go as I am quite well acquanted
with both the man and girl. Please do not repeat this as people
will know immediately who this couple is as they are returning to
America so soon. It is lucky the girl is going to sail with her
husband for his family is so old-fashioned that they would make her
live with them, and with all the secondary wives, sister-in-laws etc. it
would certainly be hard to get along.

With love,

Daughter

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