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ON THE EVE
You should see the way this college is studying! We've forgotten we ever had a vacation. Fifty-seven irregular verbs have I introduced to my brain in the past four days – I'm only hoping they'll stay till after examinations.
Some of the girls sell their text-books when they're through with them, but I intend to keep mine. Then after I've graduated I shall have my whole education in a row in the bookcase, and when I need to use any detail, I can turn to it without the slightest hesitation. So much easier and more accurate than trying to keep it in your head.
Julia Pendleton dropped in this evening to pay a social call, and stayed a full hour. She got started on the subject of family, and I couldn’t switch her off. She wanted to know what my mother's maiden name was – did you ever hear such an impertinent question to ask of a person from a foundling asylum? I didn't have the courage to say I didn't know, so I just miserably plumped on the first name I could think of, and that was Montgomery. Then she wanted to know whether I belonged to the Massachusetts Montgomerys or the Virginia Montgomerys.
Her mother was a Rutherford. The family came over in the ark,* and were connected by marriage with Henry the VIII. On her father's side they date back further than Adam.
I meant to write you a nice, cheerful, entertaining letter tonight, but I'm too sleepy – and scared. The Freshman's lot is not a happy one.
Yours, about to be examined,
I have some awful, awful, awful news to tell you, but I won't begin with it; I'll try to get you in a good humour first.
Jerusha Abbott has commenced to be an author. A poem entitled, `From my Tower', appears in the February Monthly – on the first page, which is a very great honour for a Freshman. I will send you a copy in case you care to read it.
Let me see if I can't think of something else pleasant – Oh, yes! I'm learning to skate, and can glide about quite respectably all by myself. Also I've learned how to slide down a rope from the roof of the gymnasium, and I can vault a bar three feet and six inches high – I hope shortly to pull up to four feet.
This is the sunniest, most blinding winter afternoon, with icicles dripping from the fir trees and all the world bending under a weight of snow – except me, and I'm bending under a weight of sorrow.
Now for the news – courage, Judy! – you must tell.
Are you surely in a good humour? I failed in mathematics and Latin prose. I am tutoring in them, and will take another examination next month. I'm sorry if you're disappointed, but otherwise I don't care a bit because I've learned such a lot of things not mentioned in the catalogue. I've read seventeen novels and a lot of poetry – really necessary novels like Vanity Fair and Richard Feverel and Alice in Wonderland.
So you see, Daddy, I'm much more intelligent than if I'd just stuck to Latin. Will you forgive me this once if I promise never to fail again?
Yours in sackcloth,
This is an extra letter in the middle of the month because I'm rather lonely tonight. It's awfully stormy. All the lights are out on the campus, but I drank black coffee and I can't go to sleep.
I had a supper party this evening consisting of Sallie and Julia and Leonora Fenton – and sardines and toasted muffins and salad and fudge and coffee. Julia said she'd had a good time, but Sallie stayed to help wash the dishes.
I might, very usefully, put some time on Latin tonight – but, there's no doubt about it, I'm a very languid Latin scholar.
Should you mind, just for a little while, pretending you are my grandmother? Sallie has one and Julia and Leonora each two, and they were all comparing them tonight. I can't think of anything I'd rather have; it's such a respectable relationship. So, if you really don't object – When I went into town yesterday, I saw the sweetest cap of Cluny lace* trimmed with lavender ribbon. I am going to make you a present of it on your eighty-third birthday.
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
That's the clock in the chapel tower striking twelve. I believe I am sleepy after all.
Good night, Granny.
I love you dearly.
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