Identifier

MSS.2.7

Publication Date

9-28-1917

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

491 Avenue Joffre
Shanghai, China
28 Sept. 1917

Dearest Dada:

Your 8th letter just came this movement.
Well, I am ashamed of my scrappy little notes compared
to yours so gloriously long and scholarly!
Well, after much deciding, some wrangling
and what not, we have decided to stay in this
home permanently! Hurrah! I am very very
glad. But both my brother and I have changed
our rooms. We have moved on up to the
third floor which has four large rooms.
We each have a bedroom, and together, a
wonderful library, and a sitting room with
a porch. It is quite wonderful here: we
are all by ourselves and enjoy our freedom
greatly. As he is away from home all day,
you can imagine what a lovely time I have
wandering in and out among the rooms
fixing the flowers, picking up a book here
and there. I have even my own teapot
which is always kept filled. There is a
servant up here whose only duty is to
keep these rooms in order, and answer [page break]
my bells. Often I have my luncheon sent
up here on the porch. I have dismissed my
maid: I have found that I simply did
not need her, as Mother's maid does all
my mending and picks up my clothes for
me, and it grated on me to have my
maid around when I could execute my
own orders in less time than it takes
for me to explain to her what I want
done. You see, all the years in democrat-
ic America have their effects on me.
I am quite contented with this one servant
who attends to Brother's and my wants.
He polishes our shoes, dusts, sweeps, and
make up the beds etc, and is of infinitely
less trouble than my maid who used to
grovel with him all the time.
Father has a good many books, and
so has brother: but I am anxiously awaiting
my own books. I am also waiting for
the curtains and couch cover you gave
me before you left school.
You remember how lazy I used to be at
school - how I wanted to sleep all the [page break]
time, don't you? Well, when I first came home,
I enjoyed having my coffee in bed tremendous-
ly. Mirabile dictu, though, now I cannot
bear staying in bed! I get up every
morning at five-thirty to watch the sun
rise. I wish you were here to enjoy with me
the myriads of lights and colors, and to
listen to the droning sing-song voices
of the laborers working in their fields.
You know, in China, men to a great
extent do the work of horses, and as you
pass through the streets, you hear the
coolies singing to lighten their loads.
When two men carry a load, one
says "Hai Ho," and his partner then
answers "Hi Ho." First the one, then the
other. Mother says that they sing be-
cause the rhythmic sounds help to sti-
mulate them.
This afternoon I am going to a wedding
of one of my men cousins who is about 27.
As they are Christians, the wedding will be
in the church; but the feast will be at
his home. In China both the bride's and [page break]
the groom's families have separate feasts.
Of course it is far more fun at the
groom's house, as the couple are there and
all the excitements naturally are there too.
The men and women guests are in
different rooms. I am real excited
about going - especially as I am
younger than my cousin, his wife will
have to give me a present for being
there. Isn't that jolly? His wife is
25, and I being their younger cousin, will
receive a present from them both; - rather
being related to the groom, the bride
will give me a present. Very often the
present is in the form of money.
Mother and Dad have given both
the groom and the bride presents, and as
the bride's family also sent us an
invitation, Mother sent the bride's family
a present of money. But the funny part
is that Mother and Dad will give some
more money to the Bride & groom tonight [page break]
as "feast money." This is according to
the Chinese customs here.
I suppose I have told you that I am
teaching a S.S. class of boys. I have
quite fallen in love with a chubby little
fellow of fourteen who is bright as a
penny. He answers all the questions and
calls me "Sir" when addressing me.
I am greatly interested in my class, and
I hope to have them here for a party soon.
They like me too, and point me out
proudly to the other boys as their
teacher. You see, I am the only "female"
in that S.S. school teaching boys.
It is very funny here in church as
the men and women sit in separate
aisles! Fancy that, will you? And
when one goes up to the Communion
Service, it almost makes one feel em-
barassed to walk past the men!
I wish you and Ted were here to [page break]
see Mother's antique furniture. We have
enough in this house to furnish three
houses - especially as last week
we moved all our furniture from the
Honken House too. Fancy having Four
parlor sets besides innumerable "Red
Wood" furniture. And oriental rugs
and carpets! And beautiful fur
bed rugs!
I wish the duty in America were
not so high: so that I could send you
ones some things, - or that some of
my friends would come on over so that
I could ask them to take back some
things for you kids! In another 4 months,
one of my friends will come to America &
I'll try to make her buy something
over. I need an invitation for Marion
D. Locke's wedding.

With love

Mayling

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