Identifier

MSS.2.80

Publication Date

7-25-1921

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

30 Seymour Road,
25 July, 1921.

My dear Dada,

I am writing you because I feel somehow this afternoon
that you would be in the mood to talk if you were here. Do you know,
I have been studying Chinese by myself today, and just as I was reading
over some Chinese History, it suddenly came to me with renewed strength
that perhaps some day you and I will be able to work together and turn
out some rather decent stuff. I feel this way especially, because late-
ly I am beginning to feel the spirit of the old Chinese masters creeping
over me, as though I am getting the essence of their thought and per-
sonality. I do not know how to express this feeling, except that I
feel their nearness and and [sic] that they are tangible, and that to express
their thoughts would be natural for me. I must work hard, not become
discouraged, and accomplish something worthwhile. Of course, I know
very well that many people could do this far better than I, at the
same time, very people[sic] have done this sort of thing, and those who
have attempted have mostly been foreigners. Of course it is harder for
the foreigners to catch the spirit of our national atmosphere, so to
speak, especially as the writers who have made translations are mostly
men. I am very much conceited in that I believe that women as a rule
are more sensitive critically than men. I do not know why I should think
this way as the most noted critics of the world are mostly men. I came
across a very pretty comparison this morning to this effect, in de-
scribing the beauty of a certain lady in history, the author wrote that
so dazzling her beauty that the white clouds on the celestial dome
stood still, while the long streams of flying birds fell at her feet,
and the peony hung its blushing head with shape. The peony in literature
is considered the queen of flowers, its delicate coloring shaming the
wanton red of the rose, its satin texture outrivaling[sic] the snow white
petals of the lily.

Sometimes, I feel as tho I could write and write and never
stop, but when I begin to write, I can only hold my pen and chew the
blunted end, because, I feel the inadequacy of my vocabulary, and the
inaccuracy of expressions at my command. And so Dada, you see, you will
have to come and do the actual writing while I give you the essence
and spirit of our literature. But at present I do not know enough to
do that. Another year of good hard boning, however ought to be enough
for the beginning. Then you had better come over. I can easily get you
a job here either in Shanghai or in the Interior, a job with a good
enough salary to live comfortably on. I would advise you never to teach
for there is no job on earth that sucks the vitality and enthusiasm
of anyone so much as teaching. It is a worthy profession no doubt, but
then there are a great many people who are doubtless worthy and comme
il faut, but with whom you and I might not get along so well.

Dada, why don't you come across the Pacific? It is not
such a tremendous undertaking after all. Do you know, if Mother had
not lost such a tremendous loss in the gold exchange, I think I could
have persuaded her to let me return to America? You see during the
exchange of the last few months, she lost something like fifty thous-
and dollars in buying and selling. And so she is rather tight in ready
money now. Don't tell this to anyone, for no one outside the family
knows this, and even my brother in America does not know this. I suppose
we ought to be thankful that we still have enough left to be comfort-
able on, but I do hate to think of fifty thousand dollars going to
the devil. Suppose she had given it to me to take a trip around the world
with,,, wouldn't that have been grand. ? [sic] I am only hoping that we
will get some of it back in other investments this year.

Write to me soon. With love,
Daughter.

Share

COinS