May it please Your Most Excellent Majesty:
This morning I did eat my breakfast upon a cold turkey pie and a goose, and I did send for a cup of tee (a china drink) of which I had never drank before.
Don't be nervous, Daddy — I haven't lost my mind; I'm merely quoting Sam'l Pepys. We're reading him in connection with English History, original sources. Sallie and Julia and I converse now in the language of 1660. Listen to this:
'I went to Charing Cross to see Major Harrison hanged, drawn and quartered: he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition.' And this: 'Dined with my lady who is in handsome mourning for her brother who died yesterday of spotted fever.'
Seems a little early to commence entertaining, doesn't it? A friend of Pepys devised a very cunning manner whereby the king might pay his debts out of the sale to poor people of old decayed provisions. What do you, a reformer, think of that? I don't believe we're so bad today as the newspapers make out.
Samuel was as excited about his clothes as any girl; he spent five times as much on dress as his wife — that appears to have been the Golden Age of husbands. Isn't this a touching entry? You see he really was honest. 'Today came home my fine Camlett cloak with gold buttons, which cost me much money, and I pray God to make me able to pay for it.'
Excuse me for being so full of Pepys; I'm writing a special topic on him.
What do you think, Daddy? The Self-Government Association has abolished the ten o'clock rule. We can keep our lights all night if we choose, the only requirement being that we do not disturb others — we are not supposed to entertain on a large scale. The result is a beautiful commentary on human nature. Now that we may stay up as long as we choose, we no longer choose. Our heads begin to nod at nine o'clock, and by nine-thirty the pen drops from our nerveless grasp. It's nine-thirty now. Good night.
Just back from church — preacher from Georgia. We must take care, he says, not to develop our intellects at the expense of our emotional natures — but methought it was a poor, dry sermon (Pepys again). It doesn't matter what part of the United States or Canada they come from, or what denomination they are, we always get the same sermon. Why on earth don't they go to men's colleges and urge the students not to allow their manly natures to be crushed out by too much mental application?
It's a beautiful day — frozen and icy and clear. As soon as dinner is over, Sallie and Julia and Marty Keene and Eleanor Pratt (friends of mine, but you don't know them) and I are going to put on short skirts and walk 'cross country to Crystal Spring Farm and have a fried chicken and waffle supper, and then have Mr. Crystal Spring drive us home in his buckboard. We are supposed to be inside the campus at seven, but we are going to stretch a point tonight and make it eight.
Farewell, kind Sir.
I have the honour of subscribing myself,
Your most loyall, dutifull, faithfull and obedient servant,
Dear Dear Mr. Trustee,
Tomorrow is the first Wednesday in the month — a weary day for the John Grier Home. How relieved they'll be when five o'clock comes and you pat them on the head and take yourselves off! Did you (individually) ever pat me on the head, Daddy? I don't believe so — my memory seems to be concerned only with fat Trustees.
Give the Home my love, please — my truly love. I have quite a feeling of tenderness for it as I look back through a haze of four years. When I first came to college I felt quite resentful because I'd been robbed of the normal kind of childhood that the other girls had had; but now, I don't feel that way in the least. I regard it as a very unusual adventure. It gives me a sort of vantage point from which to stand aside and look at life. Emerging full grown, I get a perspective on the world, that other people who have been brought up in the thick of things entirely lack.
I know lots of girls (Julia, for instance) who never know that they are happy. They are so accustomed to the feeling that their senses are deadened to it; but as for me — I am perfectly sure every moment of my life that I am happy. And I'm going to keep on being, no matter what unpleasant things turn up. I'm going to regard them (even toothaches) as interesting experiences, and be glad to know what they feel like.
'Whatever sky's above me, I've a heart for any fate.'
However, Daddy, don't take this new affection for the J.G.H. too literally. If I have five children, like Rousseau, I shan't leave them on the steps of a foundling asylum in order to insure their being brought up simply.
Give my kindest regards to Mrs. Lippett (that, I think, is truthful; love would be a little strong) and don't forget to tell her what a beautiful nature I've developed.
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